Kerr County leaders heard from a series of speakers who expressed their views on the issue of a controversial – some say pornographic – exhibit at the library, a heated topic that took up a considerable portion of a meeting previous to the Court of Commissioners and later to the Kerrville Town Council.
The backlash came at the October 11 county meeting during a late part of public comment.
Hunt resident Scott Allen, a retired attorney, said “people misunderstand the First Amendment. People have the right to write or publish whatever they want… It does not compel the government to endorse, support or promote the speech… It is not an excuse to allow what is happening. go to the library.
He added that the town of Kerrville supports and endorses him, and his press release says the library is “hosting an exhibit featuring thought-provoking material,” inviting the public to come read the banned books. He said the press release cited the American Library Association as “the gold standard.” He said the ALA was led by a Marxist lesbian who encouraged people to exercise their power for social justice and racial equality.
“This is a program and should not be endorsed,” he said.
Mountain Home resident Sarah Bauch said the recent agreement between the city and county didn’t solve anything but appeased some people.
“You swept it under the rug and left out the majority,” she said.
Bauch said she wants the librarian to be held accountable for her actions and for the library to sever all affiliation with the ALA, along with all sexually explicit materials removed from the children’s section.
“Otherwise, I would support the end of the interlocal agreement with the city,” she said. “Stop them now. You have to be more discerning who are conservatives. You need to develop a backbone and not back down.
Robert Damron of Hunt said he knew the difference between right and wrong and the truth could not be compromised. He asked that something needed to be done, even beyond the issue of the library.
“There is no gray area,” he added.
A long-time sexual health educator, Ram Damron, called for the sexualization of children to be the last thing on people’s minds.
“The county is promoting public obscenity…advocating gender confusion, self-hatred, gender dysphoria…you will be held accountable in higher court,” she added.
Ingram resident Mark Piper said that although people in Texas are serving jail time for having pornography on their personal computers, “This public exposure is a much more egregious offense.”
He said other visual images, not just photos, fall into the same category. Piper said the library director made the decision to post them, but there was no apology or admission of wrongdoing. He urged the county to withdraw its funding from the library until its director resigns or is removed from office.
Pastor Thomas Jeffers, who thanked Kelly for “saving my son’s life,” asked. “Who will defend the rights of children?
“How can laws override a child’s safety? ” He asked. “We have to stick together or we will lose our children. We have to protect them and cannot let them slip through the cracks.
Jacqueline Hall said there had been no change in city policy and that library funding would have to be cut if obscene books were not removed.
Barbara Ferguson read a statement from another person she did not name. The letter said it was not misinformation that caused the problem.
“It wasn’t,” she said. “We understand exactly what was going on,” she said, and that the media was not reporting the facts accurately.
The exhibition was set up in front of the children’s area, which was not suitable for children.
“The parents protested. We’re trapped, the liberal media twisting what’s going on to make it look like crazy extremist jobs,” Ferguson read. “The letters are not published. When an official discovers that the information is incorrect, he has the power to obtain it from the log. The three articles all contained incorrect information from the ALA, the director of the library and those who supported it.
Cheryl Fitch spoke about the “addictive power of pornography” and how the more children are exposed to it, the more neurological and chemical changes and trauma they experience.
Bethany Puccio said Judge Kelly’s statements that he did not believe the children had seen the photos could not be verified.
“We find out who the real Republicans are, and thank Commissioners Belew and Harris,” Puccio said.
A written statement submitted by Zach Sumrall, read by another speaker, said he had not seen the literary classics that Banned Books usually targets, such as Huckleberry Finn or others, but rather had seen books with graphic images that no child should see.
These images, he said, were in front, but “they got caught and moved the table twice.”
He said the offending books were taken down by parents and librarians.
“This is all politically motivated. My morals will not be influenced by politics,” Sumrall said.
He noted Kerrville Mayor Judy Eychner said someone could ask the librarian to remove the books, but said, “My wife did this and was punished.”
“It’s not the First Amendment but ‘Grooming 101.’ there should never be a compromise in this situation.
In public comments, Pct. 4 Commissioner Don Harris said he attended the fundraiser for the Mountain Home Volunteer Fire Department, where he said the library was frequently discussed.
“It’s not going away…there’s no gray area,” Harris said.
In other cases, county grant originator Noel Putnam advised the court of addenda to the request for proposals for a new land mobile communications system. It also received approval of inter-local agreements for the risk mitigation action plan.
It will last five years and will include local school districts, the towns of Kerrville and Ingram, UGRA, Peterson Regional Medical Center and Schreiner University, which will each pay $2,000 in matching funds to Kerr County, which will pay the majority of the cost.
PCT. 3 Agent Paul Gonzalez asked the county to accept surplus equipment donated to underfunded counties, including light bars and other items worth approximately $9,700. The court voted yes, 4-0. He also accepted his application for a grant that will help cover/reimburse travel expenses for the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, which would cover hotel, mileage and meals.
The court approved a 2023 resolution for an indigent defense formula grant program, separate from funding for the Office of Public Defenders.
The court also approved an interlocal agreement with KISD allowing the school district to use the Hill Country Youth Event Center as an emergency evacuation site.
The Texas Governor’s Office has approved a grant to combat sexual exploitation that will partner Kerr County with Mercy Gate Ministries in the amount of $46,450. Mercy Gate Representative Carla Solomon said it will be used for education and training of victim advocates, first responders and members of the criminal justice system, regarding victims facing criminal charges. . The court approved his acceptance.
Use of the former Union Church, a county property, will see a rent increase after Jan. 1, 2023, to $400, plus cleaning and key deposits.