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Huntington Beach commissioner under fire for ‘colored people’ comment

An Ocean View School District trustee is calling for the removal of a member of city and school district panels who is alleged to have referred to minorities as “colored people” in a YouTube video.

“I defend her right to speak her mind, but the fact that she’s been provided an elevated platform, she’s done more harm than good,” trustee Gina Clayton-Tarvin said of Gracey Larrea-Van Der Mark, whom Clayon-Tarvin appointed to Ocean View’s Citizens Oversight Committee for Measure R in 2017.

Larrea-Van Der Mark of Huntington Beach was appointed to the city Finance Commission by Councilman Patrick Brenden last year.

Clayton-Tarvin said the “colored people” comment promotes bigotry and does not reflect the school district. She said she voiced her concerns to the school board president and superintendent this week.

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Board President Jack Souders and Supt. Carol Hansen did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Clayton-Tarvin said she also planned to contact Huntington Beach officials to request Larrea-Van Der Mark’s removal from the Finance Commission.

City officials declined to comment.

Larrea-Van Der Mark said Wednesday that neither Clayton-Tarvin nor city officials have contacted her about the incident.

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OC Weekly reported last week that Larrea-Van Der Mark made the comment in a video she uploaded to YouTube in 2017 showing protesters crashing an anti-racism workshop in Santa Monica by a group called Committee for Racial Justice.

According to the paper, Larrea-Van Der Mark wrote: “This meeting was being ran by the elderly Jewish people who were in there. The colored people were there doing what the elderly Jewish people instructed them to do.”

It isn’t clear when Larrea-Van Der Mark made those comments, which have since been deleted.

Larrea-Van Der Mark said she referred to the Committee for Racial Justice as it identifies itself on its Facebook page. The group currently lists an upcoming event in which a guest speaker will focus on “the impacts of climate change policy on communities of color.”

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But the group’s “About” section on Facebook doesn’t mention color but rather “racial justice and cultural competency.”

Vega writes for Times Community News.


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