Sunnyside recall flyer sparks national anti-gay controversy

Simone Del Rosario

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Sunnyside recall flyer sparks national anti-gay controversy

CREATED Aug. 27, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The latest attack in the Sunnyside Unified School District recall fight goes viral. It's an anti-gay smear campaign against board member Daniel Hernandez, known as the hero intern who helped save Gabby Gifford's life.

It all started with a flyer stating Hernandez is part of the LGBT community, reading, "Put a REAL man on the Sunnyside board."

The tactic has disheartened Hernandez, has the board president on the defense, and above all, a looming question mark: Who made it?

The story broke on a site called Right Wing Watch, a group that says it's dedicated to exposing the risks of the extreme right agenda. 

The group reported a source from the Sunnyside school district sent in the flyer that was handed out to parents at school. The flyer has heavy allegations against Hernandez. 

"It's very disheartening that it's 2013 and anyone is leveling these allegations," Hernandez shared.

The flyer attacks his sexual preference, stating: "Put a REAL man on the Sunnyside board," "We need someone who will support sports," and "We don't need someone who hates our values."

The recall fight pits Hernandez and Buck Crouch against board president Louie Gonzales and member Bobby Garcia.

Nine On Your Side asked Hernandez if he thought Gonzales or his campaign manager were behind the flyer. He answered: "You know, it's pretty tough to say that they're not."

Gonzales replied, "I didn't do it...Could have been Daniel Hernandez for his own selling his book. I don't know, could have been a lot of reasons for it. I'm just saying, Daniel blamed us: Could have been him, too."

Both sides are pointing fingers, but no one can point out whether the flyers were actually handed out. The district said it wasn't notified of any flyers.

But the controversy has sparked a Twitter hashtag: #StandWithDaniel; an apology from the superintendent, and a plea from one resident at the board meeting Tuesday.

"I'm asking you personally to think about what's going on and please just stop the recalls. Let's go ahead with our business of educating our kids."

Both groups have 120 days to turn in more than 1,300 signatures to force a recall election. If they make the deadline, a recall election may be held next August.