Thursday, April 07, 2011

Shower-Nuts Complain About Ethics Commission

We call them the "showernuts," because a few years ago they tried to convince Montgomery County, Maryland, residents that a bill preventing discrimination on the basis of gender identity would allow men to lurk in women's showers and restrooms, leering at the women and molesting and raping them. Oh, and killing them, one guy said there would be dead bodies of women and girls all over the county if the law went into effect. The law, which added the term "gender identity" to the already-existing law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, and so on, has been in effect since September 2008 and has not -- of course -- resulted in a single case of any man doing anything in any ladies room while claiming to be a woman, claiming to be transgender, or even claiming to know that the law exists.

After the law was passed, the showernuts tried to stage a referendum, but they failed to get enough signatures, even standing outside supermarkets saying, "Would you like to sign a petition to keep men out of women's bathrooms?" After that failure, the president of the anti-gay, anti-transgender Citizens for Responsible Government, Ruth Jacobs, filed an ethics complaint against transgender activist Dana Beyer, saying that Dana had harassed CRG members while they were trying to collect signatures. Dana was on the staff of a County Council member at the time, and the charge was that she had misused her official position to intimidate individuals who were gathering signatures for the referendum. All but one of the charges were thrown out after a year-long investigation that included a secret search of Beyer's office computer, and after a recent hearing the last charge was dropped.

This morning Ms. Jacobs sent out a CRG newsletter with the subject line: "Marylanders Punished For Using "Wrong" Pronouns."
Rockville, MD- April 7, 2011/The Montgomery County, Maryland Ethics Commission has rejected the testimony of two Marylanders for not addressing a transgender woman with feminine pronouns.

In dismissing a complaint brought by Maryland Citizens for a Responsible Government (MCRG) against Dana Beyer, a former man known as Wayne Beyer, the Commission deemed the testimony of MCRG's witnesses to be biased and not credible because they did not use preferred pronouns as determined by the Commission.

"The Commission refused to consider our evidence," said Dr. Ruth Jacobs, President of MCRG. "Instead, they focused on our witnesses' use of pronouns."

The Montgomery County Ethics Commission listened to a parade of witnesses, including myself, who were present when some members of our group interacted with members of their group who were trying to get signatures. Everyone's behavior was legal, they had the right to try to get signatures "to keep men out of the ladies room" and we had the right to be there and tell potential signers what the law really said. Dana and I talked to the manager of the Giant where the CRG people were, and we talked to the people who were getting signatures. Dana never mentioned her official position, never intimidated anyone, and the Ethics Commission came to that correct conclusion after hearing everyone's reports.

The Commission was not convinced by the testimony of the CRG's witnesses. Partly this was because some of the witnesses were obviously prejudiced against transgender people. One of the CRG's witnesses, Steven Schall (who is not a Maryland resident), was quoted in the Ethics Commission's report:
“He gave me his name and told me that he was a woman and that he had a license that proved he was a woman.” Nonetheless, throughout his testimony Mr. Schall repeatedly referred to Dr. Beyer with the male pronouns “he” or “him.” He testified, “I have no idea what Dr. Beyer is.” But he denied holding any personal animus toward transgendered individuals.

Another witness, Giant manager Verlon Mason (who also resides outside the state), referred to Dana Beyer as "the shim," which is a derogatory term (and not a pronoun), in his taped testimony. So two of the CRG's witnesses used disparaging terms to describe Dana Beyers, and not necessarily pronouns.

In fact, let me say something here. Sometimes it is hard to use the right pronouns when you are referring to a person whose gender is ambiguous. When you're talking at full speed you don't keep track and sometimes you might say "him" instead of "her" or vice versa. It is easy enough to apologize quickly and keep on, it is surely a kind of faux pas that transgender people are familiar with. It may be awkward or embarrassing but it doesn't mean you hate anybody or that you are a bigot. Using the wrong pronoun intentionally and repeatedly is rude and does signal prejudice (e.g., see HERE).

Let me say something else. The county's gender identity nondiscrimination law doesn't care what you call anybody. It is not a language bill or a thought-crimes bill. Nobody gets "punished" for using offensive language. In a hearing such as this one, however, it is possible that the Commission will take into account the obvious fact that a witness is an unapologetic bigot when they try to determine the truth about what actually happened in the situation being investigated.

Ms. Jacobs' newsletter says,
"The free speech rights of Marylanders are being infringed," said Jacobs. "The County Council must rescind this controversial 'gender identity' law and prevent Montgomery County taxpayers from facing millions of dollars in lawsuits."

"We urge the Maryland Senate to vote against the statewide transgender bill now before it. As shown in Montgomery County, these dangerous gender identity bills harm Marylanders and infringe on our Constitutional rights as Americans."

MCRG has requested that the Ethics Commission reconsider its dismissal of their complaint.

The Ethics Commission may choose not to take the testimony of ignorant bigots seriously. To Ms. Jacobs this is a serious infringement of free speech rights.

Here's what the Ethics Commission said about their decision to clear Dana Beyers' name:
The ethics law is not an unbounded general code of civil conduct for county employees. Rather, the ethics law is concerned with the way employees conduct County business; the law addresses employees’ private conduct only where the conduct intersects with their public employment. Accordingly, inherent in § 19A-14(e)’s proscription against a public employee’s intimidating, threatening, coercing or discriminating against any person for the purpose of interfering with that person’s freedom to engage in political activity is a nexus with County employment. In order for § 19A-14(e) to be violated, the employee’s conduct must be on the job, include self-identification as a public employee, or otherwise entail the prestige of office. Assuming that Dr. Beyer did confront MCRG volunteers, Giant Food managers, and patrons, there is no credible evidence that she invoked her County position while doing so. The Commission found Mr. Schall’s testimony, as well as Verlon Mason’s audiotape and affidavit, unpersuasive. Mr. Mason’s use of the derogatory term “shim” when referring to Dr. Beyer, evidences a bias against transgendered individuals. Similarly, Mr. Schall displayed a palpable and unapologetic disdain for transgendered individuals which, in the Commission’s judgment, makes his testimony not credible.

On the other hand, the disinterested witnesses do not support the charge. Montgomery County Police Sergeant Douglas Cobb did not testify to any confrontation, let alone conduct that might violate § 19A-14(e). And while Giant manager Aaron Williams testified that there was a “confrontation,” “shouting,” and “loud talking back and forth,” he would not identify what, if any, role Dr. Beyer played in this confrontation. It is apparent to the Commission that MCRG and Teach the Facts have very political agendas and this is reflected in their support or opposition to the Bill. There may, in fact, have been harsh words exchanged at the Arliss/Piney Branch on the day in question. But it was not proved that Dr.Beyer violated § 19A-14(e) by intimidating, threatening, coercing or discriminating against any person’s freedom to engage in political activity as a function of being on the job, self-identifying as a public employee, or entailing the prestige of office.

The Ethics Commission, in other words, found that Dana Beyer did not invoke her official status as a county staffer in interacting with the petition handlers. This was based on testimony by a number of credible witnesses, including a non-bigoted Giant manager and a cop who was on the scene, among others.

How can Ms. Jacobs say that "Marylanders were punished for using 'wrong' pronouns?" She can do it by lying, pure and simple. No one was punished. Neither of the people who used prejudiced terms to describe Dana Beyer were Marylanders, their prejudice extended beyond the misuse of pronouns, and no negative consequence of any kind of delivered to either of them. The Ethics Commission took their testimony, considered it, and decided correctly that they were bigots. The Commission did not rule in their favor, is that "punishment?"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a development that instantly changed the race for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, revised vote totals for Waukesha County released this evening show that incumbent Justice David Prosser picked up more than 7,500 voters over challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg.

The additional votes almost certainly will give Prosser the victory in the heated race for the high court. As of early afternoon, Kloppenburg had been ahead in the race, according to totals compiled by The Associated Press.

The additional votes for Prosser were found after it was determined that all the votes for the city of Brookfield were not included in the initial counts the county provided to The Associated Press, which has been maintaining a statewide tally of votes.

April 08, 2011 12:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a dramatic turnaround in a state Supreme Court election full of dramatic turnarounds in Wisconsin, Waukesha County’s clerk has announced that due to human error, vote totals for the city of Brookfield had not been included in the final totals for her county. The resultant addition added a net of 7,583 votes to David Prosser’s total, putting him in a commanding lead over JoAnne Kloppenburg.

Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus, a former Assembly Republican staffer, explained the mistake in a press conference:

Nickolaus said she failed to properly save a spreadsheet after inputting the Brookfield numbers Election Night, leading to the error. Once she ran the report to show the aggregate numbers for the county, she assumed incorrectly the Brookfield numbers were included.

She said the mistake was discovered yesterday during the canvass.

She stressed it was not a case of votes being found.

“I’m thankful that this error was caught early in the process and during the canvass,” Nickolaus said. “The purpose of the canvass is to catch these kinds of errors.”

There are a host of questions associated with this discovery. First, Nickolaus’ practices for handling elections have been called into question before. She apparently put the election results collection and tallying system on her personal computer, with a password that only she knows. She has resisted multiple efforts to review the system and the backup, or to bring more people into the process rather than just her. In 2010 she was subject to an audit that criticized her methods. The entire election system for the county is on this standalone equipment. And that just so happens to be the county that “finds” the extra votes.

Despite these questions about process, it’s worth noting that the Democratic member of the canvassing board agreed with the results:

Ramona Kitzinger, the Democratic member of the county board of canvass, defended the process. She agreed with Nickolaus that the board “went over everything and made sure that all the numbers jived up, and they did.”

“I’m the Democratic vice chair of Waukesha County, so I’m not going to stand here and tell you something that’s not true,” Kitzinger said.

April 08, 2011 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In addition, the numbers in Brookfield, the missing city in the initial count, were broadcast on April 6, the day after the election. So these votes do exist, it seems, though the process is quite fishy. And the total turnout for Waukesha County has been called into question after viewing these numbers, by One Wisconsin Now:

On Tuesday, shockingly-large turnout suddenly emerged from Waukesha County, which did not comport with either the results of previous spring elections, or even internal estimates from city officials mid-day. In fact, a Waukesha City Deputy Clerk said at 1:18pm that turnout was very typical, predicting somewhere between 20 to 25 percent. As Tuesday night wore on, reporting in Waukesha County stopped altogether for hours, leaving observers to wonder what was going on. Then suddenly, results suggesting massive turnout started to pour in rapidly with Prosser adding dramatically to his total by a 73-27 percent margin.

One Wisconsin Now estimates put overall turnout near 38 percent, a wild outlier to historical data and the earlier mid-day estimation of Waukesha’s own officials. In April 2009, turnout was 20 percent; April 2008, turnout was 22 percent and in April 2007, turnout was 24 percent. All of these elections had hotly-contested Supreme Court races as well.

Others have claimed that the turnout does not yield any red flags.

The news was broken earlier today at National Review Online, by a operative at the conservative Wisconsin Public Research Institute.

Uppity Wis sums it up:

This may turn out to be true. But you can certainly understand why supporters of JoAnne Kloppenburg, who was leading by 204 votes in unofficial returns on Wednesday, will be disbeleving. They will no doubt claim fraud. It may be a little hard to swallow that a Republican clerk in the biggest vote-producing county in the vote for conservative candidates, including Prosser, discovered another 14,000 votes in her personal computer, if that’s where they were. Only Christian Schneider knows, presumably.

April 08, 2011 8:48 AM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

I was rummaging around Wikipedia the other day and stumbled across this fascinating snippet of 17th century literature:

(from )

“Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, "Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless."

"What giants?" asked Sancho Panza.

"Those you see over there," replied his master, "with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length."

"Take care, sir," cried Sancho. "Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone."

—Part 1, Chapter VIII. Of the valourous Don Quixote's success in the dreadful and never before imagined Adventure of the Windmills, with other events worthy of happy record.”

You can find background info about Don Quixote here:

Have a wonderful Friday.


P.S. Glad they “found” those votes. Now they don’t have to go to a Supreme Court to appoint the winner.

April 08, 2011 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Ruth Jacobs thinks Marylanders were punished for using pronouns? That's odd. In its report, the Ethics Commission addressed Jacobs' concern that one of her witnesses use of the term "shim" might be a problem but she chose to rely on that witness anyway:

"Sometime after the incident, Mr. Schall told her that the assistant manager at the Giant, Verlon Mason, was willing to give them an affidavit describing what he witnessed that day. Tr. 23. On February 28, 2008, she went to the Giant in order to get Mr. Mason’s affidavit. Alberta Bertuzzi brought a cassette tape record and accompanied her. Tr. 24. They spoke with Mr. Mason in the break room. Tr. 25. The tape was occasionally paused during recording, but “I don’t think we did anything during the pauses that was not integrity, did not have the integrity of what was there.” Tr. 29. “I know that at some point we spoke to Mr. Mason about the word ‘shim’ and I though [sic] that that could potentially be offensive. to people.” Tr. 29.

Dr. Jacobs testified that after their taped conversation they had another conversation which was not taped, that formed the basis of the affidavit she wrote. Tr. 25-27, 37, 43-44. She admitted that during the second, unrecorded conversation, she tried to talk Mr. Mason out using the word “shim” which appears in his affidavit because “she was worried that people would perceive it as a bigoted term.” Tr. 38-40. They then went to a nearby bank where Mr. Mason signed the affidavit in front of a notary. Tr. 28."

I see why you call them "nuts." Ruth Jacobs is willing to say anything in her obsessive attempts to maintain her right to discriminate.

April 08, 2011 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you believe these bigoted fools. How do they spend so much time simply hating gender variant people? I'd think they would tire of it. Ruth Jacobs needs to see a psychiatrist. Really. She sounds like something is missing in her head.

The fact that the CFRG creates these same tired old lies every time a trans-protection bill comes up for a vote shows that she doesn't have any real evidence to use to stop these bills from becoming law.

April 09, 2011 5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"she doesn't have any real evidence to use to stop these bills from becoming law"

All laws infringe on the freedom of citizens to some extent.

The burden should be on those who propose such laws to prove the need for them, not the other way around.

There appears to be little need for this bill and it's purpose is more for propaganda value than any pragmatic need.

A similar law has been around in Montgomery County for a while now and has yet to be invoked by anyone other than an employee of the councilman who introduced it.

Gay advocates don't have any real evidence to use to necessitate this bill become law.

April 09, 2011 7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The County Council reviewed evidence from many witnesses who testified about the discrimination problems they experienced on the basis of their gender identity. The County Council also heard the fears of shower nuts who testified this bill would mean girls would end up dead in MoCo bathrooms. The County Council voted unanimously to approve the addition of "gender identity" to our anti-discrimination law, and so far, not a single one of the shower nuts' fears has come true, except the time they staged the event upcounty.

The trans woman who helped write this law, however, did suffer legal expenses defending herself from trumped up charges filed by bigots. The head shower nut even worried about the use of the word "shim" by one of her witnesses but went ahead and relied on that obviously biased witness, and another witness who the Ethics Commission found "displayed a palpable and unapologetic disdain for transgendered individuals" anyway. You have to be really nutty to be willing to count on two witnesses who are so brazen about their bias to bring a claim against a trans woman.

Jacobs does need a shrink. How is someone so nutty allowed to practice medicine here in this County?

April 09, 2011 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe Ms. Jacobs does not "practice" medicine (and we can all be thankful for that). She is safely ensconced in some sort of office or laboratory, investigating "scientific truths" (not related to anyone's sexual or gender orientation).

Perhaps she will enlighten all of us about her credentials in putting words to her prejudices.

April 09, 2011 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Google search of Jacobs shows that she does "practice" medicine, if you want to call having an obsession with Anal sex a practice. Google produced some interesting facts about the Dr. - take a look at her patient "satisfaction" responses.

April 09, 2011 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon, can you post a link to those responses?

April 09, 2011 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


April 09, 2011 11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, two stars. How is this person allowed to "practice" medicine?

April 09, 2011 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well...that could have been the responses from patients who had some problem with her. I couldn't imagine, however, how she would deal with a Lesbian or a Gay patient. No doubt she spends an inordinate amount of time preparing her insightful and professionally scientific testimonies before Committees (who are able to see through her bigotry right away). I think she is delusional.

April 09, 2011 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The County Council reviewed evidence from many witnesses who testified about the discrimination problems they experienced on the basis of their gender identity."

And the problem instantly disappeared the second this law was passed?


Like what problems?

Trans in MC are coping fine without government interference both before and after the passage this useless law.

It's not the government's job to force everyone to pretend they like you.

"The County Council voted unanimously to approve the addition of "gender identity" to our anti-discrimination law, and so far, not a single one of the shower nuts' fears has come true, except the time they staged the event upcounty."

Nor has the claims of the bill proponents been validated.

If the claims has been valid, trans would be bringing lawsuit now over the discrimination they've suffered.

Other than general social disfavor, they've suffered no victimization.

April 09, 2011 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that you purport to speak for transgendered individuals, Anonymous. Should we assume that you are aware of any and all cases involving discrimination against transgendered people in Montgomery County that would entitle you to make your phony assertions?

Just exactly how have the rights of transgendered citizens interfered with your rights?
You may hate whom you choose, but you cannot, in our democracy, discriminate against other citizens who are entitled to "Equal Justice Under the Law".

April 09, 2011 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Interesting that you purport to speak for transgendered individuals, Anonymous. Should we assume that you are aware of any and all cases involving discrimination against transgendered people in Montgomery County that would entitle you to make your phony assertions?"

Actually, I'm a citizen of our democracy, entitled to my opinion.

I'm not aware of pervasive unemployment, homelessness or excessive hardship suffered by trans that reaches a level that necessitates government intervention.

I'm pretty sure gay advocates would have alerted us if any such circumstance existed and, in any case, it is there burden to establish the case.

The problem with certain elements of our society is that they have deified government and see the role of government as being to continue to strive to overcome all of life's unfairnesses.

"Just exactly how have the rights of transgendered citizens interfered with your rights?"

Never said they did but if someone has a business in MC and wants to hire a team of employees that he likes to grow his businees, for example, he could have his rights violated if a transgender he happens to dislike applies to be part of the team.

Or if a landlord in MC decides they want to provide rental housing to a nice young couple, his rights could be violated if some trans decides they want to rent the place.

The scenarios abound.

"You may hate whom you choose,"

Thanks. Too bad you don't think people should be free to like whom they choose as well.

Oh, right, people can like or dislike whom they choose as long as it has no practical meaning.

For the record, I have no particular dislike of trans, although, truth be known, I don't know any. I do take exception to the idea that personal relations between private individuals is something people are accountable to the government for.

"but you cannot, in our democracy, discriminate against other citizens who are entitled to "Equal Justice Under the Law""

we all discriminate regularly

it's not the same thing as injustice

it's only unjust if someone's legtitimate rights are violated

success and social favor are not rights

April 09, 2011 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Special justice under the law, you mean?

These gender identity laws are a beautiful thing for those it benefits.

If an employer rejects someone with gender confusion, that person can now get the job simply by saying he or she (or perceived he or she) going to file a discrimination complaint.

Voila! Instant job, regardless of why the employer may have overlooked the person.

Some other poor dupe who applied for the same job, but doesn't have the gender identity law to hide job for him.

April 09, 2011 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, another brilliant coment submitted by myself has become lost in cyberspace

April 09, 2011 6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly, made my point: "it's only unjust if someone's legtitimate rights are violated."
Do you contend that transgendered individuals should not be guaranteed the same "legitimate rights" that you enjoy? They are not entitled to employment, housing, access to public facilities and services as you are?

Discrimination seems to be your forte. Perhaps you would enjoy having some of your rights denied because of who you are?

You are a fine example of what has been going terribly wrong with this country. Compassion, understanding, Christian charity and forgiveness - being "Christ-like" are eroding quickly, thanks to people like you!

Do some needed soul searching and keep your hatred to yourself and we will all be better off!

April 11, 2011 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Do you contend that transgendered individuals should not be guaranteed the same "legitimate rights" that you enjoy? They are not entitled to employment, housing, access to public facilities and services as you are?"

I think you're confused.

Employment, housing, access to public facilities and services are not "rights". I've always assumed if someone doesn't like me, they are free to refuse to business with me. I actually think that's their right.

"Discrimination seems to be your forte."

Don't know why you say that. I'm generally open to all types of people.

"Perhaps you would enjoy having some of your rights denied because of who you are?"

Well, under your definition of rights, that would happen to everyone, on a regular basis.

"You are a fine example of what has been going terribly wrong with this country."

Oh, that must be what's wrong with this country. People like me.

btw, if it's such a horrible place, why do you stay? There are people all over the world who love to take your place.

"Compassion, understanding, Christian charity and forgiveness - being "Christ-like" are eroding quickly, thanks to people like you!"

hmmm..I think I try to understand those different from me, notice I frequent this lunatic spot and I always ready to forgive anyone who asks.

btw, can you tell me when most people were Christ-like and when that started to erode?

"Do some needed soul searching and keep your hatred to yourself and we will all be better off!"

I don't really any intense feelings of hatred.

You reall are confused.

April 11, 2011 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you don't like a transgender person you don't have to hire them. If you don't hire them because they're transgender you have a problem, at least in this county. They will have to prove your reason.

You don't get that, do you?

April 11, 2011 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for one thing, there's no way for the government to objectively prove why you don't like someone

further, people may dislike people for all sorts of reason

why should transgenderism be off the grid? why does it deserve extraordinary protection?

again, I'm not encouraging anyone to discriminate against anyone

but, getting the government involved in interpersonal relationships between citizens is the worst thing we could do

sounds like we won't be doing it though

at least in this state

April 11, 2011 11:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, we do it in Montgomery County, and that's good enough for me.

April 12, 2011 6:34 AM  

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