Waldport councilor admits racist posts, blames addiction

Greg Holland

WALDPORT — A city councilor who is seeking a fourth term in office made an emotional confession to posting racially-offensive jokes on a restricted Facebook account, blaming his addiction to a prescription drug for the hateful humor.

“That is so not who I am,” said Greg Holland, a retired lawyer who acknowledges he is both gay and a Democrat. “I am the most liberal person on the city council — probably the most liberal in Waldport.”

The postings to “Waldport Uncensored” became public knowledge Wednesday when a critic tacked copies of the repellent Facebook images to a bulletin board at the U.S. Post Office, including odious sendups on blacks, Jews and car bombers. Holland said he discovered them after going for his mail.

“I tore them down,” he said. “The Post Office isn’t supposed to have political material, right?”

Holland admitted the revelations later that day in a mea culpa posted to an open community Facebook page.

The posts included an image of a boy who appears to be of Middle Eastern descent holding a goat, with the words “When your little car bomber brings home his first girlfriend.” Another entry links Jews to outdoor grills.

“These jokes don’t represent me, not in any way, shape or form, or my ideals,” he wrote. “Sometimes we all find inappropriate humor funny. That’s why it was on an uncensored site. Now, however, it has been suggested by some cowardly, unsigned author to a reporter that because I copied and pasted the jokes that somehow I am a white supremacist racist, neglecting the fact I am a gay man who has faced discrimination himself and married to a Pilipino.”

What Holland failed to mention is the dark secret he claims drove him to circulate “hate speech,” defined by legal scholars as language that attacks a person or group based on race, religion sex or ethnic origin. Denigrating as it is, such dialogue is widely protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Blaming a 15-year addiction to the prescription drug Methadone that ended in February, Holland told the News-Times he lost touch with “common sense” during a long struggle with a painful disease, neuropathy.

“I regret any stupid jokes I posted while on Methadone,” he told the News-Times on Wednesday at his favorite coffee shop, stating he had been weaned from the drug with the help of his doctor. “I was stoned. It clouded my mind. I haven’t been on that site for over a year.”

Confronted with the images he once found funny, Holland’s voice cracked with emotion and his eyes began to water.

“I’m not a racist,” he said. “I don’t believe any of those jokes. It was stupidity. I would ask people to forgive me. I’m only human.”

A native of Kansas City, the 58-year-old Holland holds a graduate degree in political science and law degree he earned at night school in California, where he practiced family law for 20 years before retiring to Waldport in 2006.

Holland was appointed to fill a two-year vacancy on the city council in 2008, and was twice elected to full four-year terms. With a 12-year term limit imposed by city charter, Holland is running again to fill an unexpired two-year opening in the election’s only contested race.

“It sounds pretty inappropriate and I’m surprised that he would post something like that,” remarked Cyndi Karp, Holland’s rival. “I feel strongly about everybody’s rights, and I find it quite unusual that this has come up. I guess the people will have to decide.”

Mayor Susan Woodruff, unchallenged in her bid for a four-year term on the city council, found the revelations about Holland uncharacteristic of the man she has known for 10 years.

“I’m surprised,” Woodruff commented, saying she had not visited the inflammatory website. “I’ve never seen anything like that with Greg, absolutely not. He’s quite the opposite, never prejudging, biased or derogatory to anyone.”

Dann Cutler, unopposed in the race for mayor, was also flabbergasted by Holland’s admission.

“He’s probably the least prejudiced person on the Waldport City Council,” Cutler commented, saying he’s known Holland for a decade. “He’s always been the most accessible and open person on the council. But this is a tough race.”

Meanwhile, Holland continues to run for office, pledging he won’t be stopped by those who have been tearing down his campaign signs. He denounced the anonymous messenger for “smear tactics” while conceding he made terrible mistakes.

“I love this town,” he said.  “I have lots of friends here and, frankly, I’m the first one you call if you want something done. But if people don’t want me on the city council, so be it. I’m happy to retire.”

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