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Local official should resign over racist comments citizens say

Hector Gastelum, Otay Water District
Photo credit:
San Diego Free Press

Otay Water District Board member Hector Gastelum is in hot water among several community members who ask that he be removed from his position.

During the Chula Vista City Council meeting on Tuesday night several people asked that the council save room on their agenda to address Gastelum’s actions at the next meeting.

Gastelum is amid controversy over since-deleted tweets he made about Muslims.

"let's pressure our legislators to increase list of so-called #MuslimBan to prevent #Subhuman #Scum from #USA,” he tweeted.

ABC 10 News talked to Fayaz Nawabi, spokesman for the San Diego Office of the Council on American Islamic Relations, about why she thinks Gastelum should be forced to resign.

"He has been posting extremely hateful things on his social media with regards to his Facebook and Twitter accounts that are targeting the Muslim community, the transgender community and women and people of color," said Nawabi.

Local activist Mona Dibas said his social media comments were not appropriate and the city should step in.

"Had this comment been made in any other work environment, Hector would have been removed," said Dibas.

They are threatening to force him out of office with a recall if he doesn’t voluntarily resign.

"With your silence, he has continued to discriminate against people like me and the people that you represent," said Dibas.

Muslim American Kilian Collin believes as a taxpayer they should not be subject to such language from someone who is elected into a city role.  

"He's a public official. I defend the Freedom of Speech for anyone as a private citizen," said Collin. "His salary is paid from my taxes and I refuse to [pay] my taxes to someone who is using bigotry against me as a Muslim American."

Gastelum has said he won’t resign.

“My comments were specific to the people that are doing gang raping women, stoning them to death, throwing homosexuals from the roof,” Gastelum said in February. 

Another tweet reads “This is how the left learns #Muslim #Islam #Sharia aren’t compatible with any form of #civilsociety #equality.”

In a recent interview, Gastelum said, "It's never my intention to be hurtful. Nowadays, sometimes people are hypersensitive."

The news station sent Gastelum a Tweet on Tuesday asking for more comment on the situation.

His response:

@10NewsRBianco @10NewsThanks for the interest but #SocialMedia comments not newsworthySpecially #GasTax #PropB #SanctuaryCity#FakeNews

— Hector Gastelum (@HectorVote) April 12, 2017

Chula Vista City leaders cannot force Gastelum out of office, but some community members would like them to vocalize their opposition too his socail media behaviors. 

The next council meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 25, in which they will address the issue