Photo from Councilman Daryl Supernaw's Facebook page.
UPDATE | Fourth District Councilmember Daryl Supernaw’s office responded to the Post on Friday with the following statement, which was also included in the councilmember’s weekly newsletter released the same day:
“Our office welcomes all new businesses to the Fourth Council District, and we feature grand openings in our weekly newsletter whenever possible. In the case of Chick-fil-A, I felt I was on solid ground considering Mayor Garcia's relationship with the company. Of all the local restaurants available, he has chosen Chick-fil-A as the sponsoring caterer of his annual golf tournament for the past three years. Severe criticism of my actions, while giving the Mayor a pass, would be considered by many to be a blatant double standard. More importantly, our office has, and will continue to be, in complete support of our LGBTQ residents, businesses and organizations.”
The Long Beach Mayor's Trophy Charity Golf Tournament has indeed been catered by Chick-fil-A’s Towne Center location for at least the past three years while Mayor Robert Garcia has been in office.
Garcia’s Chief of Staff Mark Taylor, responding to a request for comment on behalf of the mayor, who is currently on a flight home from Japan, referred the Post back to Garcia’s August 31 tweet, which stated that he personally chooses not to eat at Chik-fil-A and that he patronizes companies that support LGBTQ rights.
The tournament, held at Skylinks Golf Course, is marketed as “an exciting day of golf hosted by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia” and is organized by the Long Beach Century Club.
Garcia and his office are not involved in the planning of the tournament, which has been held for the past 11 years, said Taylor. He also said he was not aware that Chick-fil-A had been catering the event until he was told by Supernaw.
As for a response to Supernaw’s statement that he felt he “was on solid ground considering Mayor Garcia's relationship with the company,” Taylor provided no comment.
The story was updated at 5:23PM.
PREVIOUSLY: LGBTQ Center Director Pans Councilmember in an Open Letter Following Grand Opening of Long Beach’s Second Chick-fil-A
10/19/17 at 4:59PM | In an open letter emailed to Fourth District Councilmember Daryl Supernaw on Tuesday, Executive Director of The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach Porter Gilberg asked for, at the least, an apology for his “disregard for our LGBTQ residents” following the councilman’s lack of response regarding the opening of a second Chick-fil-A franchise location near the Traffic Circle.
The letter is Gilberg’s second public attempt to solicit a response from the elected official and was also sparked by Supernaw’s inclusion of the businesses’ opening celebration in his weekly newsletter. Photos of Supernaw attending the grand opening on Thursday, October 12 with owner and operator Kristie Bergstrom are included in the newsletter, as well as on the councilmember’s Facebook page, offering congratulations to the corporation.
In August before the Chick-fil-A had officially opened, Gilberg stated in a Facebook post that The Center had reached out to both Supernaw and Mayor Robert Garcia, asking them to disavow support for the fast food business with its “longstanding history of exhibiting animosity and discrimination towards the LGBTQ community.”
Later that month, Garcia responded during an AMA (ask me anything) he hosted on Twitter, stating that he chooses not to eat at Chik-fil-A and that he patronizes companies that support LGBTQ rights.
I don't eat at Chick-fil-A because I choose to support companies that support LGBTQ rights. I vote with my wallet. https://t.co/Z1QPk7zPlf— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarciaLB) August 31, 2017
The open letter claims that Supernaw’s actions (or lack thereof) have sent a message that he does not care about LGBTQ people, their safety or their value to the community of Long Beach.
“The openness with which you [Supernaw] have ignored feedback from your constituents and The Center demonstrates a blatant disregard for LGBTQ people,” Gilberg wrote. “That you would prioritize the grand opening of a business with a longstanding history of discrimination over the concerns of your own community is shameful. Your actions reek of homophobia and incitement towards The Center and the LGBTQ community.”
Before stating that the Long Beach community deserves an apology for Supernaw’s apparent disregard of its LGBTQ residents, Gilberg also wrote, likely in reference to Supernaw’s past participation in Long Beach’s Pride Parade, “I hope you will consider these concerns prior to your participation in any future city-wide LGBTQ events. Your presence will ring hollow for many.”
Fourth District Councilmember Daryl Supernaw participating in the 2017 Pride Parade in May. Photo from Long Beach Pride’s Facebook.
Requests for comment from both Supernaw and Bergstrom had not been returned at the time of publication.