When Y’all doesn’t mean ALL

Last night, at the May 5th city council meeting, the City of Leander honored Leander Pride with a proclamation to recognize May 14th as Leander Pride Day.

It was a welcome and emotional celebration for community members who’ve been working to establish Leander Pride as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in the city and to plan the upcoming event.

Council Member Esme Mattke-Longoria read the proclamation issued by Mayor Christine DeLisle, and they and Council Member Ross joined the team for photos after the proclamation was read.

Council Member Pantalion-Parker, seated, while Mayor Christine, CM Mattke-Longoria, and CM Ross join volunteers and supporters to mark the City’s proclamation of May 14th as Leander Pride Day.

Except, we noted with disappointment that not everyone joined in.

Two members of Leander City Council who were on the dais for the rest of the meeting yesterday and who are running for re-election on May 7 chose not to show support for the group.

Council Member and Place 1 candidate Kathryn Pantalion-Parker and Council Member and Place 5 candidate Chris Czernek declined to participate, one of them quite visibly, and one of them out of sight. In both cases, this seems to be on-brand for the city leaders.

Councilmember and candidate Pantalion-Parker has made previous public comments that show not just a lack of support but disdain for many of the voters she is supposed to represent. At the September 2020 Leander City Council meeting, residents proposed the adoption of an inclusion and diversity council. 

Pantalion-Parker called the proposed council “divisive” and “a political move.” She said it seemed to “presume or infer that there’s a huge problem to be solved which remains to be seen.”

It’s worth noting that her comments that night ignore entirely news reports from the prior week about local students stealing Black Lives Matter signs in a nearby neighborhood, and make no mention that the prior year had seen credible threats of physical violence toward LGBTQ residents at a Leander Library event, including one that stated, “…After I rope, hog tie and drag by horseback all those that show up at The Library… There is a crematorium close by. Short drag for my horse.”   

Pantalion-Parker said the proposed inclusion and diversity council sounded like “indoctrination or reeducation.”

People do not want this shoved down their throats. This whole concept adds another reason to be a victim, and what I have found is people like who they like, they don’t like who they don’t like,” said Pantalion-Parker.

She later stated, “This seems to be an elaborate solution to a problem we just don’t have” and made the motion to deny approval.

During the same 2020 meeting, Councilmember Czernek voted against the proposed inclusion and diversity council.

He noted that it was not something he would support, “but I will look you in the eye and tell you I love you. I will look you in the eye and tell you I respect you… if you find a few bad apples I am sorry. I apologize for them right now. That is not the city and I’m here to stand up for those things too.” He then seconded Pantalion-Parker’s motion to reject the I&D proposal.

So much for standing up. And convenient that last night, the councilmember and candidate chose to remain out of frame rather than stand with some of the folks he’s running to continue to represent.

Pantalion-Parker has also participated in activities hosted by the anti-LGBTQ political action committee Texas Values. The group targets any city or school activities that seek to advance equality, tries to codify discrimination based on their religious beliefs, and then fundraises and supports politicians who will continue to advance their hateful narratives.

Texas Values has engaged in legal battles targeting transgender athletes, anti-discrimination policies, and even the right to marry. Watch the video below where she spoke at their event following a Leander ISD school board meeting, where the group worked to prevent the school district from adding inclusive language in its policies for students and staff.

Pantalion-Parker’s comments here about the Overton Window are extremist references to growing societal acceptance of equality for anyone not exactly like her: White, straight, and Christian.

As we’ve said before, we don’t care what Council Member Pantalion-Parker believes, and we support her right to practice her faith as she chooses in her own home. We do care that she engages in events and activities that advance hate against people she is supposed to represent and allows political groups’ extreme views to influence her decisions in her official role with the city.

Do you want council members who will stand up with you or against you and others in our community?

The election is happening right now, and your last chance is Saturday, May 7. If you haven’t voted yet, check out our 2022 IDEAL Voter Guides and go vote.