Fort Worth

This online petition gains support for removing Mike Steele from anti-bias commission

Mike Steele, a member of Fort Worth’s Human Relations Commission, has been accused of racism. Posts shared on his publicly available Facebook page degrade immigrants, attack transgender people and appear to advocate for civil war.
Mike Steele, a member of Fort Worth’s Human Relations Commission, has been accused of racism. Posts shared on his publicly available Facebook page degrade immigrants, attack transgender people and appear to advocate for civil war. Facebook

An online petition urges Fort Worth City Council members to oust Mike Steele from the city’s Human Relations Commission.

Steele used an open Facebook profile to share offensive and demeaning posts about transgender people, Muslims and immigrants and seemingly called for civil war. The posts concerned some residents as early as 2016, though the city received only one formal complaint in 2017. Steele has served on the commission, tasked with combating prejudice an discrimination, since March 2015.

In a change.org petition, TCU political science professor Emily Farris asked people to voice support for the council removing Steele from his position. Farris drew attention to Steele’s posts last week on Twitter.

As of 11 a.m. Monday the petition had more than 260 signatures with a goal of 500.

Mayor Betsy Price, who called on Steele to resign last week, and the council can act unilaterally to remove Steele. Or it can wait for the commission to vote on recommending his removal. That would require a super majority, two-thirds vote, of commission members.

The council is in recess until August, requiring a special council meeting if council members wanted to address the matter sooner. Eva Bonilla, chairwoman of the commission, has called a special meeting for July 15 to vote on recommending Steele’s removal.

Some council members have already said they support removing Steele.

Councilwomen Gyna Bivens and Kelly Allen Gray said on Twitter they supported ousting him. Councilmen Carlos Flores and Brian Byrd said in Facebook comments they agreed Steele should step down or be removed. Councilwoman Ann Zadeh posted on her council district Facebook page that she supported removing Steele.

“His posts are completely inappropriate and do not in my opinion represent the values of the citizens of Fort Worth,” she wrote July 3.

Councilman Dennis Shingleton told the Star-Telegram the council should “dump” Steele. Price said if Steele didn’t resign the council would vote on removing him.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

Luke Ranker covers the intersection of people and government focused on Fort Worth and Tarrant County. He came to Texas from the plains of Kansas, where he wrote about a lot, including government, crime and courts in Topeka. He survived a single winter in Pennsylvania as a breaking news reporter. He can be reached at 817-390-7747 or lranker@star-telegram.com.
Support my work with a digital subscription
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
  Comments