DIXON (CBS13) – Some residents are planning to protest the Dixon’s vice mayor during a council meeting Tuesday night.
Ted Hickman recently wrote an editorial using homophobic slurs and calling for “straight pride month.”
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In the article, published in late June in an independent local newspaper and on his personal website, Hickman referred to gay men as faries (sic).
An online petition to remove Hickman from office has gained traction and now has more than 20,000 signatures.
In a statement, Dixon’s Mayor Thom Bogue said he was concerned by the column saying, “Vice Mayor Hickman should have realized as a public servant he represents all segments of people regardless if they are LGBTQ, straight or otherwise.”
Independent Voice Publisher Dave Scholl said his and his columnist’s constitutional rights are under attack.
“Having a free press is absolutely required for a free society. I will not tolerate attempts to silence a newspaper,” Scholl said.
Scholl said the newspaper has lost some advertisers since the publication of Hickman’s column, but has also gained some.
Dixon’s Chief of Police Robert Thompson released a statement late Tuesday morning, asking for people who plan to attend the city council meeting tonight to adhere to decorum.
“I’m asking attendees to use their voice to express the depth of their passion and conviction, and pay others the same courtesy,” Thompson wrote. “Being respectful of the process, investing in it, keeps the focus where it belongs; on the speech, not the speaker. Don’t hijack the message by making the focus on the messenger.”
Thompson notes there will be more officers than usual at the meeting, but no city councilmember specifically asked for the extra protection.
Hickman has declined to give a comment to CBS13 about the situation.
He’s up for re-election in November.