It seems to happen like clockwork. Just as the ballots go out and shortly before Election Day, out of nowhere ugly charges are dumped on a candidate. As we head into the final days of the 2015 campaign for the Burbank Primary Election on February 24, 2015, city council candidate/Burbank Planning Board vice-chair, Chris Rizzotti, is battling anti-gay accusations.
At the Burbank City Council meeting last night, a number of Rizzotti supporters spoke up for his character and what they described as his lack of bias against anyone for their race, religion or sexual orientation. Also, Rizzotti went before the council, during public comment, to defend himself.
“I’m sorry that we’re taking, uh, business time away from our city to answer to this issue … last week you heard accusations from a member of the public that I have never met or spoken to in my entire life…last week I was hurt by the accusations and the words that the speaker said… but shortly thereafter, I received so much support from my friends that are gay, straight and members of the community that it has been uplifting.”
“I have never posted, spoken, or supported any belief that can be construed anti-gay or bias toward any group or individual.”
Rizzotti’s accuser, Burbank resident Brett Loutensock, took a turn at the podium as well Tuesday night. Loutensock demanded Rizzotti resign from a faith-based group called Young Life because of what he charges is its “… discriminatory policy against homosexuals.” Loutensock, who is openly gay, accused Rizzotti of “talking out of both sides of his mouth.”
Gee, hasn’t Loutensock heard of the Catholic Church where many of its 1.2 billion members disagree with strict church policies on gay marriage, divorce, birth control, and so on? However, it doesn’t stop those members from still worshiping as Catholics.
When asked if the attack is politically motivated, Rizzotti said “I have to say that the timing is quite interesting. Coupled with the fact that I’m the only candidate being questioned about their faith, my beliefs and my community service..”
I have to agree with Rizzotti. The timing of this attack is, ah, interesting. As I have reported, Rizzotti launched his high-profile campaign for city council last March. Since Rizzotti has never hidden his association with Young Life, why wait until right before the primary to call him out for being anti-gay?
Why go before the city council to make accusations against a candidate who is not sitting on that panel? Also, Loutensock has called on State Assemblyman, Mike Gatto, a Democrat, to withdraw his endorsement from Rizzotti, who is a Republican. Yeah, it smacks of dirty politics.
Hate to say it Fronnie, but you’re completely wrong on this,
It’s not a new story at all. I first broke it last March in regards to Mrs. Rizzotti and her authoritarian style of hypocrisy. Afterwards this connection was very much hidden from view, because the local YL group immediately pulled the specific web page that had listed the names of these adult directors from the community. It’s where I had first spotted the Rizzottis.
Your analogy about this being just like Catholics is also faulty. It’s one thing to follow a religion with certain controversial or unpopular views, but it’s something else entirely to be on the board of directors of a local youth-group that actively discriminates against gay hiring and adult leadership roles.
I suspect that if YL had a prohibition against African American adult leaders you’d be viewing this all a bit differently.
It raises serious questions why Rizzotti continues to serve with this group. He can pine away all he wants to about the injustice of being exposed here, or falsely claim that it’s about his “religion” (is it really?), but he’s a rank hypocrite to continue to be involved as he is with this discriminatory outfit. I think it also proves that he’s got a big problem with homosexuals — at least religiously.
Chris Rizzotti is welcome to his beliefs, but he shouldn’t be helping them out in practice. Anti-gay sentiments, or even just active support of discriminatory practices, is very much a community concern.
You have a right to your opinion. I stand by mine. As I pointed out, Rizzotti announced his candidacy last March. He has a website up for months and in his bio he mentions his association with Young Life. Why did Brett Lautensock wait to just before the primary election to call out Rizzott?. Also, Lautensock went to the city council meeting to demand that Assemblyman Mike Gatto withdraw his endorsement of Rizzotti. Well, since Gatto is not on the city council — what was the point of that? Lautensock has made reference to Rizzotti being a Republican. Gee, the Burbank primary is a nonpartisan election.
And before you get on a high horse about “… had a prohibition against African American adult leaders you’d be viewing this all a bit differently,”let me enlighten you a little. I’m a Christian who attends and supports a church where women are not allow to preach nor be involved in leadership roles. That includes no hiring of females as youth ministers … etc.
This same church, like hundreds and thousands here and around the world, holds beliefs that many consider anti-homosexual. I don’t hold those views, but I continue to worship at that church, support it financially and participate in some of its volunteer projects. As I have written on this blog and told anyone who has asked, church members and others, I am not about discriminating against anyone or any group.
You have had issues with the Rizzottis for some time and have expressed them frequently on your website. So it’s no surprise you have grabbed onto this anti-gay controversy and used it to bash Chris Rizzotti. I agree, he’s in the public eye and has to answer to those in the community who question him about his associations.
I actually agree with you to a point. What I would like is for Chris Rizzotti to address is the fact that he is on the board for Young Life – a leadership post.
In a leadership post, if his views are what he says they are – no reason to doubt him – I would hope that he has tried to change their viewpoint. What has he done?
You’ve explained pretty well your views and what you have done / and do to align your views with your church’s – now I would like Mr. Rizzotti to do the same. Right?
I think you have a good point. Since Chris Rizzotti apparently is in a leadership role in Young Life and he’s in the public spotlight right now, he really should explain how his personal views mesh with the policies of that group. I don’t it would be unreasonable to ask other candidates the same question, if they happen to be in a leadership role at an organization or church that holds so-called anti-gay views.
Well, Fronnie, I’ll ask it again. “So-called?”
Oh? You got a question to ask me? Then go ahead and be clear about it.
Well, I’m not going to engage in snark.
Not to keep this subject alive … but if Young Life did nothing more than not support marriage between gays – that can be understood via religious interpretation (which honestly varies wildly between different denominations and even by region). Unfortunately it does much more than this – it doesn’t allow gays to be in leadership roles. Here is a great piece that shows just how it hurts people simply for being who they are:
An excerpt: “When friends and family asked him what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, he wouldn’t be able to tell them what career path he’d take or where he’d live, but he’d always tell them he’d be a part of Young Life for the rest of his days.
That is now impossible.
Young Life’s “Faith and Conduct Policies” address what the organization calls “sexual misconduct.” The policies strictly forbid any LGBT person from being a staff member or volunteer for the organization:
“We do not in any way wish to exclude persons who engage in sexual misconduct or who practice a homosexual lifestyle from being recipients of ministry of God’s grace and mercy as expressed in Jesus Christ. We do, however, believe that such persons are not to serve as staff or volunteers in the mission and work of Young Life.” ”
Personally I wouldn’t want to be part of an organization that discriminates – and that goes for the Scouts too. It’s discrimination pure and simple – there is no debate, it’s a fact and I think it’s very sad.
This differs from being a member OF Young Life or a church that practices the above. However, being in leadership post that does practice this type of discrimination, for me, is a non-starter.
Thankfully I count myself an Episcopalian who long ago embraced gays, and women in leadership posts. Not to mention they consider “Thou Shalt Not Kill” a tenet which includes wars (ie Iraq, Afghanistan, etc etc etc) – they are the most anti-war religion I know personally and the list of religions I’ve practiced is pretty diverse: Presbyterian, 7th Day Adventist, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and of course, the one I settled on: Episcopalian, but I did really like the Presbyterians.
Interesting. Yes, Young Life does not have a blanket anti-gay policy it is selective — allowing gays to be members, but not to hold leadership positions. Again, if a politician or candidate is in a leadership position or advisory role for such an organization there are going to be questions from voters and residents. Also, this could mean city officials, candidates, and city agencies that have close ties to churches that share the same views — could face some tough questions as well.
Well, Rizzotti just got busted for having an affair (a long standing one at that) and is now getting divorced. Let’s not take anything he says serious. Zero morals and ethics. Period.