- The Washington Times - Monday, May 19, 2014

A Central California mayor is facing fire after he criticized an anti-bullying proposal at a recent City Council meeting — by saying some people just need to “grow a pair” and stick up for themselves.

Council members in the city of Porterville suggested off-campus “Safe Zones” where children can get help if they’re being bullied.

“I’m against bullying, but I’m getting damn tired of it being used as a mantra for everything, and the ills of the world,” Porterville Mayor Cameron Hamilton said in video from a recent council meeting, a local ABC affiliate reported.

“All most people just have to grow a pair, and stick up for them damn selves,” he said.

Councilwoman Virginia Gurrola backs the safe zones and told the mayor it’s difficult for a 10-year-old girl to do what he called for.

“Then maybe the other 10 year olds that think they want to stop bullying will stand up for her, instead of a safe zone and a placard and a bunch of training that goes on,” Mr. Hamilton said.

Members from a local gay group called Gay Porterville said they felt singled out, because some safe zone projects are designed primarily with gay students in mind.

“My feelings were really hurt and I was, essentially shocked by the end of it because it kind of felt like a little bit of a witch hunt, even though that was not the initial intention, from my understanding, of the safe zone project,” member Melissa McMurrey told the station.

Gay rights activist Barry Caplan added: “It’s just entirely inappropriate and another black eye for the city for the mayor to say something like that.”

The mayor’s was the only vote against the safe zone proposal, which will be back up for discussion on Tuesday.

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