Kissel says the organization is focusing too much on the African American race. He says the HRC is a waste of taxpayer's money, and hopes his letter will convince county and city leaders to cut the organization's funding.
"Everyone can file a complaint with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. There is always that recourse. We don't have to have their activities duplicated down here in Evansville and Vanderburgh County," says Kissel.
HRC chairman Robert Dion, Ph.D. says Kissel's claims are false and mean spirited. He says the organization provides a local outlet where people can go for help when they are faced with discrimination.
"If we were to go away, that person would have to go as far as Indianapolis to talk to the Indiana Civil Rights Commission," says Dion.
The HRC receives around $350,000 total from the city and county each year.
Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says cutting the HRC would leave hundreds of residents affected by discrimination 'out-to-dry' every year. Winnecke says he has asked the HRC to draft a written policy regarding the organization's sponsorships.
Kissel's letter to city leaders reads as follows:
"Dear Councilmen McGinn, Mosby, Brinkerhoff-Riley, Robinson, Friend, Lindsey, O'Daniel, Adams and Weaver,
Gary, Indiana and Richmond, Indiana have defunded their Human Relations/Rights Commissions, and it is time for Evansville (and Vanderburgh County) to likewise defund its Human Relations Commission. The Human Relations Commission (HRC) has been a stain on our community with its incompetence, misuse of tax dollars, introduction of illegal actions, extremism, elitism and divisiveness.
Incompetence: The HRC has pushed for passage of an age discrimination ordinance (in effect in Evansville only) which makes Senior Citizen discounts illegal for apartment complexes, and potentially other situations. The HRC now realizes the mistake, but should have thought through this issue before presenting it to the City Council and County Commission.
Misuse of tax dollars:
- Cronyism: The HRC in April handed $500 to one of its fellow Human Relations Commissioners for his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi, of which he is a board member. Similarly, in November, the HRC handed $500 to the YWCA at the behest of one of its own commissioners. Astonishingly, this $500 was used to fund an event where participants simply held hands around a building! (The "Stand Against Racism.")
-Immoral/Unethical Favoritism: Just last month the HRC gave $200 to homosexual activists for their homosexual party ("Pride Picnic") at Burdette Park. These were the same activists who pushed the sexual orientation/gender identity ordinance.
- Other examples of such misuse can be cited. Clearly the HRC has no mechanism in place to evaluate community monetary requests on an equitable basis. Indeed, what business does the HRC have handing out tax dollars to private groups?
Illegality: The HRC worked sneakily to push a sexual orientation ordinance which criminalizes Christians and violates freedom of association. Neither the City Council nor County Commission have legal authority to pass such an ordinance. Further, in the past two years, the HRC illegally dragged a faith-based institution, St. Mary's Medical Center, to court, only to be blocked by the Vanderburgh Superior Court judge.
Extremism: The HRC shamelessly pushed a gender identity ordinance which mandates that men dressed as women be allowed to use women's restrooms, and other women's changing rooms.
Elitism: The HRC never once went out into the community to face parents, school teachers, churches, pastors, businesses to defend their pro-homosexual agenda and ordinance.
Divisiveness: The HRC has invited racially divisive speakers, like Cornel West, to address its annual banquet. Its advocacy of programs and funding decisions is virtually oriented toward one race, as evidenced by:
- $3800 for a trip in 2008 to the Social Status of African-American Males Annual Conference
- $1500, $1500, $750 for Family Day in the Park (2009, 2010, 2011), put on by WEOA and Black Women's Task Force.
- sponsorship of Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program to screen black males for hypertension and diabetes (2011, 2012)
- HRC was the legal applicant for $75,400 of federal funds from Indiana Criminal Justice Institute for the Boom Squad, whose application
targets African American juvenile
delinquency,which is less than 30% of juvenile delinquency in Evansville.
For these and other reasons, the Human Relations Commission should be immediately defunded. My tax dollars should no longer be wasted on its activities.
Glen Kissel, Ph.D., M.Div.