According to finance reports filed by District 1 City Councilman Roberto C. Treviño, his re-election campaign has received $1000 in contributions from former District 9 City Councilwoman Elisa Chan, who in 2013 voted against the nondiscrimination ordinance and in a recording made by one of her employees, expressed disgust for LGBT people.
During the fight to pass the NDO, Chan made national news when a secret recording made by James Stevens, one of Chan’s aides, revealed her real opinion of LGBT people.
In the recording, Chan is heard telling her staff, “This is my philosophy, guys. Whatever you want to do in your bedroom is none of my business, but do not impose your view on other people, especially becoming policy . . . because personally, I think it’s just disgusting just to even think about.” The discussion went on for several minutes.
Stevens later leaked the tape to the San Antonio Express-News which days later called for Chan’s resignation, saying, “Bigotry and intolerance might define Chan’s personal view on homosexuality and gender identity. But they have no place in public representation.”
In October 2013, Chan resigned from the City Council and in March the following year, she unsuccessfully challenged Tea Party Republican Donna Campbell in the primary election to represent Texas Senate District 25.
Chan and her husband, Clifford Hew, own Unintech Consulting Engineers, a firm which contracts on construction projects with local public agencies.
Out In SA contacted Councilman Treviño to ask about Chan’s campaign contributions. He issued the following statement: “I am proud of my record supporting the NDO, the LGBT community, and equality issues as well as expanding the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and I will continue to champion this cause in our community and beyond. Elisa Chan contributed to my campaign DESPITE our great differences on social issues because of my design background and my understanding of infrastructure issues. In no way do I agree with her position on equality issues and campaign contributions do not affect the decisions I make on council.”
Treviño was chosen to represent District 1 in a special vote the by the City Council on December 11, 2014 when then-City Councilman Diego Bernal resigned to run for the State Legislature.
District 1 is of particular interest to LGBT San Antonians because it has the largest number of “gayborhoods” in the city and is home to the Main Avenue Strip, the Metropolitan Community Church and numerous other community businesses and organizations.
Treviño’s relationship with the LGBT community has been cordial and he has many supporters. At last June’s vigil for the victims of the Orlando shootings, the councilman said, “I believe in embracing the LGBT community and bringing them into the mainstream of our city’s life. In that way we make San Antonio stronger and less hospitable to the bigoted.”
During the current election cycle, Treviño received the endorsement of the Express-News. However, he was not endorsed by the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio, who instead gave their endorsement to Michael Montaño.
Stonewall co-chair Chris Forbrich offered the following response upon learning of Chan’s contributions to the Treviño campaign: “Councilman Treviño’s acceptance of Elisa Chan’s money is disturbing when you consider her past hateful rhetoric. Treviño should do the right thing and return Chan’s contributions. Our neighbors in District 1 deserve better.”