Councilmember’s social media comments drives wedge into community and City Council

July 10, 2023 – Ten members of the Clovis public came to speak out against comments made by Clovis City Councilmember Diane Pearce in a recent Facebook post.

 In the post, alongside a photo of LGBTQ+ positive informational books Councilmember Pearce posted her opposition to the pride display saying:

“Might want to wait until June is over to take your kids to the Clovis Public Library. FYI, the Clovis City Council has no direct control over this…these are Fresno County Libraries.”

Councilmember Pearce then faced a backlash of comments from LGBTQ+ supporters under the post saying they did not support the rhetoric being displayed and asking for Pearce to be voted out of office in the next election.

One comment stated, “You are an embarrassment to society and do not deserve the privilege of being a public servant. I am ashamed you are a representative in my city.”

The comments continued at the Clovis City Council meeting Monday night, as Clovis citizens made their opinions known publicly.

“It’s your duty to represent the diverse voices of our community and this responsibility extends to all the residents, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

While we may hold differing opinions and beliefs, it is vital that our City Council recognize the importance of inclusivity and equal representation for all its residents.”

That member of the public made it clear that this is not what Pearce did when posting on Facebook, the social media site.

Another member asked Pearce to acknowledge her perceived misconceptions and notions saying, “I think the thing to do when you make a mistake is say, ‘I made a mistake, I was wrong.’ I would encourage Mrs. Pearce to say, ‘I was wrong.’”

Pearce only recognized that as an elected official she was elected to represent everyone in the Clovis community, “…regardless whether or not if someone voted for me”.

The November 2022 elected official then stated that it was “illogical to argue that representing everyone meant agreeing with all positions”.

She then continued her claim that the books she posted against were an “attempt to normalize the sexualization of our children”.

She then doubled down on her comments saying, “No child can be both boy and girl, born the opposite gender than he or she was born. To deceive them and confuse them is not okay. I issue no apology for speaking that truth.”

One of the books in the display that Pearce was talking about was on Alan Turing, the British Mathematician who helped decrypt Nazi Germany communication during World War II effectively bringing an end to the Nazi regime. Turing was arrested by his own government three years later for homosexuality, at the time an illegality in Britain, with a punishment of chemical castration.

After his contributions to society, he was barred from continuing his cryptographic consults for the British government because of his sexuality.

A member of the public stated, “These displays are not about propaganda or indoctrination as some people may suggest, instead they are a celebration of diversity, a symbol of support, and acknowledgement of the LGBTQ communitie’s valuable contributions to our society.”

Mayor Lynne Ashbeck weighed in on the issue saying, “For forty years this council has operated on two principles: One, only weigh in on issues that affect the jurisdiction of Clovis. And two, don’t criticize each other in the press…Local government stays in the local government lane. Your opinions are 100% perfectly your opinions. They have no place in building a community.”

By posting to Facebook, Ashbeck said that Pearce was acting disrespectful to her and the rest of the council by acting on their behalf. Pearce also commented on a video produced by GV Wire.

Mayor Ashbeck then commented saying that this topic has driven a wedge into the community and has not made it better. She also acknowledged that it has offended city staff who are “merely trying to do their job”.

“You didn’t make these folks’ lives better…You had the logo, you spoke for all of us, you did it for me, you represented me and I resent that.”

Ashbeck finished her comments saying that people’s opinions are “…to themselves”.

“To the people who are here tonight, we are trying to build a community where people feel safe here, [where] all people can live.”

JT is a recent college grad with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. He is mainly interested in sports and entertainment but covers a wide array of subjects. He currently writes for the Fresno State Baseball Dugout Club. JT looks forward to continuing his career at the Clovis Roundup and is excited to be working closely with a community that is very proud of its people.