A debate in Palo Alto over permits, traffic, and safety turned into frenzy of internet warfare after unsavory tweets from an associate pastor were leaked to the city’s website.
The recovered tweets were posted on a public document addressing the city’s latest council hearing, in which the city and the First Baptist Church of Palo Alto sparred over permission to lease the church to outside tenants as a community center.
On his public Twitter account, which has since been removed, the Rev. Gregory Stevens called the city “an elitist sh** den of hate,” and “disgusting.” Stevens also lambasted the city’s “social justice” on Earth Day, calling it a “f****** joke” and criticized the church’s elderly community.
Palo Alto Vice Mayor Eric Filseth called the tweets vile, and said he would think twice before sending children to an event at the church, the Palo Alto Daily Post reported. Filseth did not respond to a request for an interview.
In an email statement, Stevens wrote that he had resigned from the congregation to “help minimize the negativity focused on the good community work being done at the First Baptist Church of Palo Alto.”
“I tweeted to vent my frustration, and I acknowledge that I did so in an unprofessional and often hurtful way. My Twitter community has always been a small group of progressive ministers and Leftist political activists to whom my rants were geared,” he said.
In Stevens’ 623-word statement, he elaborated on his frustration with what he perceived as a lack of action to address the city’s wealth inequalities.
“In my experience of trying to work with this community for almost 3 years, I believe Palo Alto is a ghetto of wealth, power, and elitist liberalism by proxy, meaning that many community members claim to want to fight for social justice issues, but that desire doesn’t translate into action,” Stevens said. “If the same energies used to organize neighbors around minor parking issues, a young girls choirs, and ‘nasty tweets’ were honed to fight actual injustices, Palo Alto would be a very different city. Palo Alto needs more action, less lip service.”
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Source: SF Gate