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Salt Lake County leaders denounce councilman’s ‘culture wars’ comments, affirm commitment to diversity

David Alvord said he’s sorry for ‘any who misunderstood’ his message.

(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, July 22, 2020. Wilson denounced a recent Facebook post by County Council member David Alvord and reaffirmed the county's commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The day after Salt Lake County Council member David Alvord took to Facebook to claim the “left” wants a world filled with people with the same “light brown” skin tone who are all bisexual, but also neither male nor female, county leaders from both sides of the aisle are releasing statements denouncing his views.

Mayor Jenny Wilson, a Democrat, issued a joint statement with Diversity and Inclusion Officer Efren Corado Garcia and Diversity Affairs council chair Corey Hodges reaffirming the county’s goals to create a welcoming community for all.

“Yet many in our community continue to experience biases and inequities in a spectrum ranging from age to race to socioeconomic discrimination, just to name a few,” the statement said. “As a new member of the Council, Council Member Alvord may not be fully aware of Salt Lake County’s commitment.”

Alvord, a Republican, was elected to the council to represent District 2 in November and took office in January. He previously served as the mayor of South Jordan.

“Statements, such as those shared by Council Member Alvord, negate the suffering of those historically marginalized and promote attitudes that perpetuate the very inequities that systematically neglect the well-being of those who need our help the most,” the mayor’s statement continued. “The comments shed light on why it is important for us to continue our work towards a better understanding of equity and inclusion in the community. ... We are leaders in a world already suffering. We must rally to give one another hope, not to take it away.”

Alvord’s Facebook rant claimed the left’s “equity movement” will “ruin life for everyone.” He made the post private Wednesday afternoon a few hours after publishing it, when The Salt Lake Tribune asked for comment.

Later that evening, he wrote another public post clarifying that his comments did not refer to Democrats, but instead the left that represents “cancel culture” that is being too aggressive. He also took down that post Thursday when several people left critical comments.

County Council Chair Steve DeBry, a Republican, issued a brief statement distancing himself from Alvord’s words.

“I do not agree with the statements of Councilman David Alvord. He speaks for himself and himself only,” DeBry wrote. “Salt Lake County is a diverse community. I’m proud that the County was recognized as the first ‘Certified Welcoming County’ in the country. I’ve made it a point in my service to work for all constituents and find common ground.”

The Utah Democratic Party used the controversy as a fundraising opportunity, sending out an email that called Alvord’s post “bigoted and racist.”

“Utah deserves better representation than this, and none of us should be happy until people like David Alvord are out of office,” the email said.

In response to the blowback, Alvord issued an email statement of his own.

“My post was meant to engage discussion about where ‘cancel culture’ is heading, which I believe has a dangerous destination,” the council member wrote. “The examples I came up with were simply hyperbole meant to illustrate why cancel culture is problematic. I recognize that as an elected official, words take on extra meaning and significance. I would like to apologize for any who misunderstood my intentions. I assure you that I don’t hold any ill will towards anyone.”

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