The South Glen Falls (New York) Planning Board currently consists of two men and three women, but there’s a vacancy for an alternate member that has to be filled. What sort of qualifications should the city look for? Someone with expertise in zoning and regulation, perhaps? Someone who can work with a set budget? Someone committed to learning the issues and representing the people?
All of that is important, according to the board’s chairman David Linehan, but he also had another suggestion: The new board member should be a man.
Because that’s what God wants.
“If you go back to the earliest years of Creation, God created man first. So it was man’s responsibility to make sure the woman didn’t eat from the Tree of Good and Evil,” Linehan said. “So if I had a man who was sensitive to the idea that man didn’t do a good job of reminding the woman, we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in.”
The 30-year chairman added that men would take the job of planning seriously.
In audio obtained by the Post Star, you can hear Linehan say some of these things during the board meeting, and one of the women on the committee laughs, perhaps thinking he’s making a (not really funny) joke. But then he reiterates the sentiment. And then, when a reporter asked him directly about it, he went all in on the idea and brought up the biblical justification for it.
Before you jump to conclusions about how dumb, sexist, and irrational that sounds, Linehan had mathematical reasons for his decision, too.
Linehan said women make up about 51 percent of the population, so they now are over-represented on the board.
“If you only have two males, you’re less than 50 percent,” he said. “It was more of an affirmative action statement. We’re in the minority.”
Jesus H. Christ… Women make up just over half the population, but on a board of five people, there were three women (60%), so they needed a man to make sure it didn’t get any more extreme.
You know some conservative somewhere used that same justification to vote against Hillary Clinton. Women are half the population, but if Clinton is president, then 100% of our president will be women. We can’t have that!
In case you’re wondering, there was a time when only one woman was on the board. However, you won’t find any record of Linehan saying they need more women to balance the numbers.
As you might expect, there was a lot of backlash to his comments. He was alone in his not-thinking here, but Linehan wanted to let everyone know he wasn’t being sexist.
He added that he thinks women are capable people.
“Don’t get me wrong. My wife does my budgeting,” he said, emphasizing that a man on the board is a matter of equality. “I guess I was trying to be all-inclusive.”
See, everybody? His heart is in the right place. He’s just looking out for the little guy who never catches a break. It’s so hard to be a guy.
By the way, just looking at the pictures of the board, the advocate for an “all-inclusive” board seems to ignore the fact that there’s not a single person of color on it. I’m not accusing them of racism, but you would think anyone who seriously wanted to include everybody would’ve at least mentioned that.
The good news is that the backlash to Linehan’s comments has been so overwhelming — both from critics outside the city and from within the local government — that he resigned yesterday. There’s some cosmic justice in the fact that his resignation was requested by Brigid Martin, the board member whose appointment to the group last summer tipped the numbers 3-2 in favor of women.
Linehan sent his colleagues a (somewhat bizarre) apology letter.
Please know that I now consider the remark made to Trustee Bodkin at last month’s meeting as prehistoric and unbecoming of any servant (public or private.) I sincerely apologize to you Brigid, Mayor Gutheil and Trustee Bodkin — with a contrite heart — because all of you are sincere in your efforts to better the Village of S. Glens Falls. I most of all will need to apologize to friends of the www [World Wide Web] who are also deserving. The many apologies will be a heavy lift — BUT I do believe anything is possible.
“A heavy lift.” Yes, the road ahead will surely be a tough one for him. He’s the real victim in all this. Pray for him, everybody.
No word yet on who will fill Linehan’s vacancy. I hope they find someone truly qualified, whoever it is. But wouldn’t it be sweet if he were replaced by a woman?
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Will for the link)