Following is an email that District 9 Elisa Chan sent to her constituents on Tuesday:
Dear District 9 Residents & Friends,
I know that many of you question my delay in responding to the recent incident, but my daughter's birthday was last Saturday, and we had a planed out of town trip to help celebrate the occasion. At the end of the day, family should always come first. So, I thank you for your patience.
My former staff member, James Stevens, secretly recorded a confidential and routine staff meeting back on May 21st. I say confidential, because like all of my staff members, James' employment contract has a confidentiality clause. And for reasons unknown to me, James held the recording for nearly 3 months and never once told me that he was uncomfortable with our staff meeting discussion. As a matter of fact, he requested to become a full-time employee which I agreed to.
In addition to discussing constituency concerns, my staff meetings also serve as brainstorming sessions where we can discuss a variety of issues with independent viewpoints. My expectation, as well as my staff, was that we would be safe and free to express our personal opinions and thoughts.
Part of the May 21st staff meeting was to address the City Council Request regarding the possible ordinance on non-discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity. At that time, we did not have a draft ordinance, we were only speculating what direction the ordinance could go.
I know that many people find the comments made in the meeting offensive, but again it was a confidential meeting set in the privacy of my office where none of us are suppose to worry about what we say. These meetings have been and will always be a free speech zone.
Many of the comments reported in the newspaper have been taken out of context. An example is the word, "disgusting." I made that comment in reaction to pedophilia and bestiality. And frankly, I still find those behaviors disgusting.
There are additional comments you are aware of that reflect my belief system. My belief system is mine, and it does not mean I want to impose those beliefs onto anyone else.
Even though the LGBT community and I do not share the same views, I respect and support their personal freedoms and right to their lifestyle.
I will however, not change my own values or beliefs for political gain or survival; I would not expect that of anyone else. I stand firm in my right to have my private views in a private conversation.
I govern from fairness, because one of the basic tenets of our democracy is the guarantee of the right to live in any manner unless it poses a threat to an individual or society at large. Any opinion I hold is surely superseded by this fundamental principle.
Political correctness will not win this day; standing firm as an individual in service to the whole community does. I stand strong in my First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech and our right to privacy. As an immigrant, I consider this to be the greatest privilege of being a U.S. Citizen.
As always, please contact my office with any questions or comments.
W. Elisa Chan