Gastelum remains barred from committees because of anti-Muslim tweet

Hector Gastelum won’t apologize.

The Otay Water District board member didn’t apologize in April 2017 after sending a controversial tweet that drew outrage from the Muslim community and resulted in the district barring him from serving on sub-committees.

And he didn’t apologize Wednesday when asking the district to reconsider its decision.

“The thing that I never heard was a statement from Director Gastelum that he understood the damage that those comments and those things did, particularly to the Muslim community, at the time,” said Otay Water board member Mitch Thompson.

Board members agreed that Gastelum, who is now running for mayor of Chula Vista, has shown an admirable eagerness to learn about water issues. His colleagues would like Gastelum to serve on district sub-committees but only if he apologizes for the tweet.

The controversy stems from a tweet that included a link to a now-debunked Fox News segment titled, “Sweden now rape capital amidst Muslim immigration.”

Gastelum’s tweet read, “Let’s pressure OUR Legislators to increase list of so-called #MuslimBan to prevent #Subhuman #Scum from #USA to #MAGA.”

At the time, Gastleum defended his comments on Facebook by telling people, “It is not hateful, it is the reality of how Islamic men are raised and they are not compatible with civil society.”

When someone asked if Christian males are any different, Gastleum replied, “White Christians – and by that matter any other civilized men or women – don’t have it in their religion to kill homosexuals,” and included a link to a website dedicated to examine the, “Ideological threat that Islam poses to human dignity and freedom.”

During Wednesday’s Otay Water District board meeting, Gastelum maintained that he didn’t paint everyone with the same brush and was simply speaking out against rape.

“What kind of society are we if we can’t condemn someone who rapes women?” he asked fellow board members.

Per water district rules, only the president has the authority to place Gastelum back on committees.

“Even though we have really strong convictions, it is my belief that we still need to come to the point and say we’re sorry sometimes,” President Tim Smith told Gastelum Wednesday.

Smith added that, “there’s a path forward, if desired.”

Wednesday night, after the Otay Water District meeting, Gastelum took to twitter to voice his disappointment with the president’s decision not to allow him to serve on committees.

“It was very specific & numerous times I said I didn’t paint everyone with the same brush #CensureSucks” Gastleum tweeted along with a screenshot of the original #SubHuman tweet.

Contact Gustavo Solis via Email or Twitter

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