DIXON (CBS13) — Emotions flared Tuesday night as protesters tried to push Dixon’s vice mayor, Ted Hickman, from his position.
For the first time since publishing an article calling for a Straight Pride American Month, Hickman addressed the public, as angry citizens filled a city council meeting.
Hickman started the meeting off by saying he did not give up his First Amendment rights when he became an elected official. Still, many argue this goes beyond free speech and demanded his resignation. Some say they at least expect an apology. Neither came.
“Any leader knows that words matter,” said one Dixon resident.
His written words sparked international outrage, but on Tuesday, Hickman’s spoken words fell short on an unforgiving crowd, as he admitted to having just one regret about his controversial column appearing to attack the LGBT community.
“If I were to rewind time and write the column again, I would not use the words—sarcastically or not—of vice mayor, because I see where that may be unacceptable to some. That’s all I have to say,” said Hickman.
With no apology issued, dozens of citizens called on him to step down.
Dixon resident Alex Lopez said, “I care for you Mr. Hickman, I care about what you say, about what you write, about what you do. So, I ask that you do something good for the community and resign.”
Hickman recently made headlines after calling for a Straight Pride American Month and using derogatory language to describe gay men in a local paper.
“I kept reading and thought this can’t be real,” said Liam Pourner.
As people packed into council chambers, a spillover crowd watched from outside where a lone counter-protester, a chiropractor who traveled from Santa Clara, drew his own crowd as he defended Hickman and what he says is actually an attack on heterosexuals.
“This is a cultural battle. He’s just trying to have one straight pride,” said Dan Gruddman, Chairman of California Constitution Party.”
But for the majority of people who showed up, it’s about acceptance for all and holding elected officials accountable.
“I do think for sure the rules committee needs to be convened,” said Dixon City Councilman Devin Minnema.
Minnema says he believes Hickman violated the city code of conduct and says he will push for punishment.
“We have three options that are available to us- admonishment, reprimand and censure.”
There was also an effort to recall Hickman, but that is stalled at this point because legally a recall can’t happen within six months of an election. Hickman is running for re-election in November.