Editor,

Many comments responding to Supervisor Canepa’s stand against Chick-fil-A opening in Redwood City try to flip the issue on its head, saying that opposing Chick-fil-A is bigotry, discrimination against religion. It is not. Others claim government is overstepping its bounds. ‘The government’ isn’t doing anything. Others said a company’s or its owner’s political stands shouldn’t matter. They do. Still others said leaders should not take stands on issues like this. Of course they should. 

Voicing opposition to or supporting, protesting against or rallying in favor of a cause, are legitimate tools we are blessed with and should use. Also, when we open our wallets we vote with our money. I prefer buying from companies that care about the impacts they have on their workers, the community, the environment and the world and which don’t promote discrimination. According to 2017 tax filings, the Chick-fil-A Foundation gives money to organizations actively fighting against LGBTQ rights, lobbying for anti-LGBTQ laws, openly discriminating against LGBTQ people in services and hiring practices. A portion of every dollar spent at Chick-fil-A goes to anti-LGBTQ causes.

Without leadership, slavery and child labor would be the norm, women would not be able to vote, and LGBTQ people would not have the right to marry. Chick-fil-A opposes marriage equality and other LGBTQ rights, with its voice and with its profits. I urge my neighbors in San Mateo County to vote with their voices, dollars, and actions to support the 60,000 or so LGBTQ+ people who live and work in our county by saying NO to Chick-fil-A opening in Redwood City. 

Craig Wiesner

Daly City

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(6) comments

MiddleOfTheRoad

What we need to know regarding this issue is: 1) what specific organizations did they donate to. 2) what exactly constitutes an antigay stand? Most houses of worship in San Mateo County teach that marriage is between a man and a woman; should these houses of worship not be welcome in our County? 3) Should we start in inquiry into what stands various business owners have in the County to determine if they are welcome? Where does one stop with all this? The supervisor isn't answering emails regarding any of this so it may be up to this paper to do an interview with him to find out this information.

Ray Fowler

Commissioner Wiesner Yes, a constructive dialogue is good... very good. I apologize for not checking back to review the comment section following the Journal's June 5 article. I just checked, and you are correct. There were many adverse remarks directed to Supervisor Canepa's call for a protest against Chick-fil-A. It's odd how many of them focused on letting the marketplace settle the matter. Like I said earlier, I do not agree with Mr. Cathy's position, but he has the right to articulate his point of view. And while Supervisor Canepa has every right to state his opinion on this issue, I'm just not convinced that a protest is still a good idea even though it may be a protected form of expression. Aside from the possibility of someone getting injured, a protest may just be seen as an effort to squelch Mr. Cathy's freedom of speech. I submitted a letter to the editor and it appears in today's Journal. I closed with a quotation from Pete Buttigeig about the Chick-fil-A controversy. He said three months ago, "I do not approve of their politics, but I kind of approve of their chicken." I drove through the McDonald's on Whipple Avenue in Redwood City, yesterday. I asked the cashier if he was interested in working for Chick-fil-A. He replied that he would probably apply because they have good chicken and they pay more. So, in the end, maybe the marketplace will decide who will say "No" to Chick-fil-A. Thanks (again), Ray Fowler Redwood City, CA

Ray Fowler

Commissioner Wiesner I disagree with Mr. Cathy's position. Even though the ACLU disagrees with him, they believe he should be able to openly express his viewpoint. And while Mr. Canepa's vocal opposition to Chick-fil-A's founder is also protected, is a call for protests a wise move? I certainly appreciate your point of view...NO to Chick-fil-A in Redwood City, and as a union leader, I negotiated for full benefits for our gay members and their partners 15 years before Prop 8 was overturned in 2010 by a federal district court. The good news is that most Americans already support same-sex marriage. However, how do they feel about someone (Mr. Cathy) with a very different viewpoint who also owns a highly visible business (Chick-fil-A)? Maybe an active campaign in the press or a petition drive would prove more productive than a demonstration. Plus, your standing as a county LGBTQ commissioner could aid in that effort. I try to read every edition of the Journal, but I missed the groundswell of criticism aimed at Supervisor Canepa. Who is trying to squelch the voices of our elected leaders? Can you provide any examples? In the alternative, are there any other local leaders who have embraced Supervisor Canepa's comments? Your letter makes some strong points in opposition to Chick-fil-A, and yes, Chick-fil-A's founder has a record of supporting groups that oppose the LGBTQ community, but where have those groups openly discriminated against LGBTQ people in services? Is a portion of every dollar spent at Chick-fil-A really funneled to anti-LGBTQ causes? Voltaire is credited with saying that although he may disagree with you, he will fight to the death for your right to voice your opinion. Some bad news. He didn't say that. What he did say is that we should think for ourselves and allow others the privilege of doing likewise. I feel Voltaire is giving us cogent advice. Thanks, Ray Fowler Redwood City, CA

craigwiesner

Thank you for your thoughtful response! I have to admit how glad I am that we have the ability to engage in a healthy dialogue and learn from each other. If you look at the original story and the comments that were posted in reaction to it, you'll see what led me to write my letter to the editor. I do actually believe a portion of every dollar spent goes to anti-LGBTQ causes and organizations that discriminate against LGBTQ people. Chick Fil A Foundation's web site lists some of the organizations to whom it gives. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which receives nearly $2 million dollars from the foundation, bans all LGBTQ athletes and coaches from participating. Student athletes and potential employees must sign a sexual purity statement that specifically bars homosexuality. The organization has also actively advocated exclusion of LGBTQ people, again in one example, through filing an amicus brief with the Supreme Court to keep gay people out of a St. Patrick's Day parade. Chick Fil A Foundation also gave to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, where it teaches them that “homosexuality is wrong†and that same-sex marriage is a “rage against Jesus Christ and his values. LGBTQ youth comprise nearly 40% of the homeless in our country. Would any of them be well served by this organization? No. So, thanks again for giving me food for thought and asking some really good questions!

Terence Y

Sorry, Mr. Wiesner. Most people don’t care for King Canepa trying to influence the decision for us as to whether Chick-fil-A opens or not. Let the market decide. If you don’t like Chick-fil-A, there’s no law that you have to eat there. EAT MOR CHIKIN!

pfield

I agree with that if they're trying to stop another group from having "their" rights then why should others be respectful of theirs. Besides every time I've gone there I've gotten sick.

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