LOS ANGELES | April 16, 2011
Orange County, California is full of beautiful sprawling oceanfront homes and locale, fine dining and shopping, Disneyland and California Adventure and on its surface, makes life appear the way it should be...or should it? Orange County is also home of hate crimes where notable hate crime cases include crimes against Hispanics, Jews and homosexuals. Orange County is also a place where racism runs at an all time high where once people may have shouted at African-Americans, Jews, Hispanics and gays, but as a sign of the times, they now send it in an email.
In February 2009, Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose, an Orange County Republican, welcomed the inauguration of the first African American U.S. president by sending out an email that depicted a watermelon field in front of the White House drawing international attention. He later apologized.
On Friday, another Orange County Republican, Davenport, continues this embarassing newfound tradition and attempts to best the watermelon imagery with another racist attack on President Barack Obama. Davenport is a Southern California Tea Party activist and member of the central committee of the Orange County Republican Party.
Under the words, "Now you know why no birth certificate," there's an Obama family portrait showing them as apes. [PHOTO]
Davenport was later contacted by telephone and asked by the media if she thought the email was appropriate. Her response:
"Oh, come on! Everybody who knows me knows that I am not a racist. It was a joke. I have friends who are black. Besides, I only sent it to a few people--mostly people I didn't think would be upset by it."
According to a report in the OC Weekly, Scott Baugh, chairman of the OC Republican Party, told Davenport that the email was tasteless.
"You're not going to make a big deal about this are you?" Davenport asked reporter R. Scott Moxley in a telephone interview covering the story. "It's just an Internet joke."
Moxley says that Baugh believes the email is a big deal.
"When I saw that email today I thought it was despicable," Baugh said. "It is dripping with racism and it does not promote the type of message Orange County Republicans want to deliver to the public. I think she should consider stepping down as an elected official."
Michael J. Schroeder, an Orange County resident and former chairman of the California Republican Party, also said he was disgusted. "This is a three strikes situation for Marilyn Davenport," Schroeder said. "She was a passionate defender of former Newport Beach city councilman Dick Nichols who stated that he was voting against putting in more grass at del Mar's beach because, he said, there were already 'too many Mexicans on the beach.' She was also on the wrong side of the fence with the Los Alamitos mayor and his White House watermelon patch picture. Now, she has managed to top both of those incidents by comparing African Americans to monkeys. She has disgraced herself and needs to resign. If she doesn't, the Republican Party must remove her."
According to Moxley, Davenport has yet to admit she has made a mistake. After Moxley's report was published, Davenport sent yet another email to fellow California conservative activists demanding to know the identity of the person that gave him a copy of the email message.
Davenport represents an inland section of Orange County: Fullerton, Brea, La Habre, Placentia and, home of the Presidential Birthplace & Library, Yorba Linda.