The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

January 27, 2009

City commission candidate defends himself against accusations of racism


James is most adamant about customers wearing hats in his establishment.

“I have one rule that does away with 95 percent of the trash,” James said. “If they are rude enough to wear a hat inside a building, I don’t want them here. Most of those little faggots have their hats on backwards.”

Enid attorney John Hodg-den said Chapter 21 of Title 25 of Oklahoma Statutes prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, gender, national origin, handicap or age. Sexual orientation is not a protected class of people under Chapter 21. Discrim-ination is prohibited in housing practices, employment and public accommodations. Restaurants and bars fall under the definition of a “place of public accommodation.”

Under that statute, “any place, store or other establishment . . . which supplies goods or services to the general public or which solicits or accepts the patronage or trade of the general public qualifies as a place of public accommodation.” Private clubs are exempt from that regulation provided the policies of the private club are determined by its members, and its facilities or services are available only to its members and their guests, he said.

James understands he is a lightning rod for controversy but that doesn’t bother him.

James is running for the Ward 4 seat, even though his residence is in another ward. He defended his decision to run in Ward 4 because that’s where Chicaro Club is located, and he says he spends most of his time at the business.

According to state election law, James could have been removed from the ballot if either of his opponents had put up $250 and successfully protested his candidacy. Neither incumbent Loyd Kaufman nor Drew Ritchie protested. If James wins, the commission could make the final determination to seat him since his permanent residence is outside Ward 4.

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