Did she or didn't she? | Arkansas Blog

Friday, July 17, 2009

Did she or didn't she?

Posted By on Fri, Jul 17, 2009 at 12:42 PM

City Director Erma Hendrix has long seemed a few bricks shy (memorably, she stooged for G.W. Bush in his road show to privatize Social Security), but she seemingly outdid herself this week by scapegoating gay people in her latest broadside against a day center for homeless in the former Job Corps building at I-30 and 21st. The city has the matter under study. Neighbors have objected.

"A lot of them are homosexuals. They're criminals," Hendrix was quoted in the Democrat-Gazette in explaining her opposition to  the homeless center in her ward.

The Center for Artistic Revolution, a voice of sexual equality, urges a response to Hendrix. Polite, of course. Write her at board@littlerock.org, CAR says. Its statement is on the jump.

UPDATE: Hendrix called. She insists she was misquoted. She indeed opposes the homeless center (as do most of the neighborhood associations in the area), but she said, "As long as I've been out here I've never ridiculed or talked about anyone's sexual life."

HOWEVER: A person who was at the meeting tells me he heard her use the word homosexual, as the reporter indicated.

At the meeting on the homeless center she said, "I did not say anything about homosexuals" She said she compared the likely people being served with those proposed to be served by a probation program Judge Willard Proctor had wanted to set up near an East End elementary school, but which was beaten back on account of the records of those who'd attend. "We knew who those people were," Hendrix said. "They had names and numbers. But with people coming from out of town, we don't know. Have you visited with these people? They are ex-offenders. They are sex offenders. You just have to consider that."

 

Hendrix believes the reporter confused her remark about sex offenders with homosexuals. She says, however, that she has complained to the reporter and her supervisor and the reporter insists she quoted her accurately.

 

"My phone has been ringing off the wall," Hendrix said. She sees the furor as a way to divert attention to her from Mayor Mark Stodola's attempt to force the homeless facility into the neighborhood.

Hendrix favors a site across from the Salvation Army shelter on Markham Street, a vacant building. Here's a list of other sites that have been considered.

1. 1110-1122 WEST MARKHAM (NORTH EAST CORNER OF MARKHAM AND CROSS (VACANT SCHOOL SUPPLY BUILDING DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM SALVATION ARMY)

2. SOUTHWEST CORNER MARKHAM AND CROSS(FORMER ROY ROGERS AUTO PARTS AND MACHINE SHOP BUILDING)

3. ROOSEVELT & MAIN (FORMER STINGER SAM AUTO PARTS BUILDING\VACANT CLUB)

4. 201 EAST ROOSEVELT ROAD ( FORMER LITTLE ROCK HOUSING AUTHORITY MAINTENANCE BUILDING

5. FORMER VA HOSPITAL BUILDING ON ROOSEVELT (BOTTOM FLOOR EAST WING OWNED BY IBLP)

6. FORMER VA HOSPITAL MAINTENANCE BUILDING NEXT TO OUR HOUSE ON ROOSEVELT
(CURRENTLY HOUSING LITTLE ROCK HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE COMPANY)

7. *CONFEDERATE BOULEVARD (FORMER UNION RESCUE MISSION THRIFT STORE OWNED BY UNION RESCUE MISSION)

8. *RIVER CITY MINISTRY 1021 EAST WASHINGTON NLR **


9. JOB CORP BUILDING 2220 VANCE STREET

 

*INDICATES RESPONDENT TO RFP FOR CONTRACT TO SERVE AS INTERIM DAY RESOURCE
CENTER

**INDICATES CURRENT AGENCY PROVIDING SERVICES UNDER CONTRACT AS DAY RESOURCE
CENTER.


CAR STATEMENT

It has come to our attention that in the city of Little Rock’s quest for a location for a homeless center city Board Director Erma Hendrix has weighed in with some extremely homophobic remarks regarding a proposed location.

In response to the proposed location - the former Job Corps site, sandwiched between Interstates 30 and 630, Director Hendrix is quoted as saying, “A lot of them are homosexuals. They’re criminals.” 

This is an outrageous tactic to try and keep those most vulnerable in our society, the homeless, from having access to a center in a particular area of the city. Scapegoating the Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community to support this agenda is inappropriate and inexcusable scare.

We are asking our membership to POLITELY contact Mayor Stodola and Director Hendrix and ask that these remarks be retracted and that an apology is issued to our community. And finally urge the city to support the implementation of a homeless center as soon as possible. With a concrete site for the center that will promote a more cohesive access to resources and assistance, many of our homeless population can be transitioned into self-sustaining lives.

CAR does not encourage nor endorse any form of abusive contacts. So please no matter how upset these events may make you feel remember: calm, clear comments are what they will hear. Rudeness and yelling will only alienate people and they stop listening.

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