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[August 29, 2014]
Sandwich town clerk admits to anti-Muslim posting [Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass. :: ]
(Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, MA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 29--SANDWICH -- Sandwich Town Clerk Taylor White is apologizing for comments he made on social media declaring September "offend Muslims month." On Thursday, White admitted making the comments, saying he was responding to a news story posted on Facebook about a Vermont restaurant that is no longer advertising bacon because members of the Muslim religion find the pork product offensive. White said he found that frustrating.
"The comments were made in jest," said White, who has since scrubbed them from his page. "I'm embarrassed for the comments and I apologize." It will be up to the public to decide if the comments will hurt White politically. As an elected official, there is no recourse for town officials. He was first elected in 2009, winning a three-way race for the post to finish an unexpired term. He was re-elected in 2013 when he ran unopposed.
He earns $72,000 annually.
The Facebook comments were captured by a Twitter user who uses the handle, "Patronage Perry" -- a shot at White's former boss Jeffrey Perry, the special sheriff of Barnstable County. White worked as legislative aide to Perry when he was a state representative.
On Friday morning a small group of protesters urge White to resign "Do everything in your power to irritate the 'religion of peace,'" White wrote in the post. "These people NEED to be taught a lesson!" In a separate comment, White wrote, "I will be tossing a slab of bacon." White said the comments were made after having a couple of beers.
"That was my first mistake," he said.
The comments were in "poor taste," but not racist, he said.
An attempt to access his Facebook page on Thursday indicated it had been removed. White said he has put his social media accounts on hold, but has not removed them.
Gerry Nye, a member of the town's Republican Town Committee, defended White.
"I'm a great believer in the First Amendment," Nye said. "Just because he's the town clerk doesn't mean he's not entitled to have an opinion." Democratic leaders in town reacted to White's comments with outrage and shock.
"He has some explaining to do as a public official," Paul Houlihan, chairman of the Sandwich Democratic Town Committee, said. "That's offensive and it's inappropriate." Lou Cerrone, another member of the Democratic board, called White's comments "offensive on so many levels." "This reflects on my town and me as a resident of Sandwich," Cerrone said. "Does he speak for the town in doing that? It implicates us all in a certain sense." An attempt to make the town clerk's position appointed in 2013 was defeated by town meeting.
Selectman Patrick Ellis reacted in disbelief at White's comments, saying it's another example of why the position ought to be appointed.
"Wow," Ellis said. "I think that's a comment that's totally uncalled for." Perry did not return a call seeking comment.
Follow George Brennan on Twitter: @gpb227.
___ (c)2014 the Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.) Visit the Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.) at www.capecodonline.com Distributed by MCT Information Services
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