Pasco council member calls for unity

Pasco council member Irving Brown Sr. during the Pasco City Council meeting on Nov. 21. Screenshot from the City of Pasco YouTube channel.



Pasco Councilman Irving Brown Sr., called for unity after receiving an apology this week for comments made about his appointment as the District 3 representative on the Pasco City Council.

Councilman Brown Sr. voiced his frustration with criticism he received that he said was motivated by his race, during a Special Council Meeting on Nov. 14.

David Cortinas, the publisher of the La Voz newspaper, who made the statements Brown found offensive, apologized during a council meeting on Monday.

“I called him the very next morning. I apologized to him If I hurt his feelings,” said Cortinas. “I come here today to apologize to Mr. Brown publicly that I did not say anything [about] racism. There is no racism in my body.”

Cortinas clarified that the disagreement had nothing to do with Brown himself or his race, but with the process followed by the city council to appoint the seat. He also said he and Brown will continue working together.

For his part, Brown said if there is disagreement with the process, people have to talk to the process, not to him.

Brown says city progress comes by working as a community, even if people disagree.

“Let’s be the city that everyone wants to emulate. We should stand together,” Brown said. “There are going to be many things I disagree with. But together, if we get to the table, we see the invitation to do great work.”

Several, including Hispanic community members, expressed their support for the council and for Brown.

Martin Valadez, the executive director of the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said Cortinas didn’t speak for him or for any other Latinos he knows.

“I support the process, support the appointment of Irving Brown,” said Valadez. “This is not a Hispanic seat. It’s a seat for somebody in the city who can represent it. I’m very honored to have Mr. Irving represent my district.”

Another constituent, Hayley Grimes issued the reminder that Pasco is a diverse city.

“It’s not just Hispanic and White. There are many other races that live here in Pasco, and I’d like to see the city council looking like the city,” Grimes said.

Nikki Torres, whom Brown replaced, says she is proud of the diverse and inclusive council the city currently has.