Gee Scott: Newcastle mayor’s comments ‘are awful, what he represents is awful’

Jun 20, 2024, 11:17 AM

newcastle mayor...

Exterior of Newcastle City Council. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

Newcastle Mayor Robert Clark fired off a plethora of controversial comments during a city council meeting debating whether the City of Newcastle would fly the pride flag throughout the month of June — a decision they voted not to do nearly two weeks ago.

The Newcastle City Council reversed its previous decision Tuesday night and elected to raise the Pride flag at City Hall on a 4-3 vote after hours of public comment and debate.

More on Newcastle flying a Pride flag: Pride flag raised at Newcastle City Hall after City Council reverses decision

During the four-hour city council meeting, Clark, who argued against raising the flag, fired off thoughts regarding the local LGTBQ+ community and reparations for Black people in Washington and California.

“To all of you in the pride movement, you’re very welcome in our city, but be very careful of the hate that’s in your midst,” Clark said. “It’s not coming from outside, it’s coming from within.”

Clark used this topic to talk about the importance of forgiving one’s country, as no country is “without sin.”

“These flaws or sins have historically led to bad outcomes, marginalization and so on. But you got to ask yourself, at what point do you just continue to hold on to these, or do you let go and move forward? Are you going to hold on to something forever?” he said.

Clark referenced the Civil War, which ended 160 years ago, but the state of California is just now establishing a committee to study reparations.

“California was a free state with no slaves and nobody is a slave there today,” Clark said. “But they can’t let go and that causes the division and hate and creates victim groups.”

“How long do we hold on to grievances? A couple of years, a couple of decades, a couple of centuries?” Clark continued. “You want to pass down to your great-, great-grandkids that, ‘Hey, one day, you know, I was called a bad name, you know, 200 years ago, so don’t forget, man. Be a victim.'”

Clark made these comments on the evening of June 18, one day before Juneteenth — a federal holiday in the U.S. to commemorate the ending of slavery.

KIRO host Gee Scott responds to Newcastle mayor

“This isn’t a Newcastle problem, this is a Newcastle mayor problem,” Gee Scott, co-host of “The Gee and Ursula Show,” said on “Seattle’s Morning News.” “It’s not OK what he’s doing. It’s not OK with this environment that is happening. I am not going to laugh this off. This is not funny. It’s not fair to the people who live in Newcastle that this is happening.”

“I also want to say that it’s really important to understand and know that the injustices that have happened here in this country, they have to be known so we can know how to do things going forward in understanding the history of injustice in America. All it does is help folks become more aware of the systemic issues that have plagued this country,” he continued.

Gee cited the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, the median wealth of white households was $285,000 while the median wealth of Black households was $44,900 — just 15.8% of the white median. The gap between Black and white households increased by $49,950 between 2019 and 2022.

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“The reason why I am bringing that wealth gap up is so everybody can understand that gap is a result of historical and systemic inequalities that have disproportionately impacted Black communities in terms of access to education, employment opportunities, home ownership, wealth, building assets, real estate, I can go on,” Gee continued. “It is not the tropes in the narratives that some have given, claiming African Americans have been lazy, been wanting handouts, or in the case of the Mayor of Newcastle to say, being a victim.”

“We have to stop empowering and encouraging these words, and I’m going to continue to talk about the Mayor of Newcastle in this way because I think those words are awful,” Gee concluded. “I think what you represent is awful.”

Newcastle mayor ‘doubles down’ on comments

In response to an interview request, Clark reiterated his thoughts to The Seattle Times via email.

“The perpetual victim mentality has to stop somewhere,” Clark told The Seattle Times. “Of course, our history has had some imperfections. We are supposed to learn from them and grow stronger as a people. We are not supposed to linger on past slights forever. That is what is happening now. It’s not healthy and it tears the country apart.”

As for why California was used as an example, he explained the state’s situation regarding reparations “was just something that came to mind because of how ridiculous it is. Juneteenth is just a coincidence.”

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Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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