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Former Chan Staffer Explains His Own Comments On Leaked Tape

Ryan Loyd
TPR News

People around City Hall are on edge about what they say following the release of a secret recording that revealed homophobic comments made by District 9 Councilwoman Elisa Chan and her staff members.

In the audio, given to the Express-News by former Chan staffer James Stevens, who recorded the strategy meeting, are comments by Jeff Bazan, then Chan's chief of policy, who at one point makes talks about sexual orientation by linking it to incest.

"No morals and values," he said. "And then pretty soon what's going to happen -- you know, because a lot of the liberals and the pro-gay folks, they say that as long as it's between two consenting adults. That can go for incest -- and say it's an adult man and his adult daughter. Hey, they're consenting adults."

Bazan has now been put on indefinite leave from his new job, as chief of staff for District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg.

Bazan, who is raising a new family, said he's learned a valuable lesson in the last few days.

"And that is that political victory isn't more important than ensuring that all folks are treated with dignity and respect," he said in a text message.

"Regarding the incest comment," he said, "I was merely explaining to the councilwoman what many folks feel on one side of the gay marriage issue believe will happen if gay marriage laws pass, and I was not stating my personal views."

There is no word from Nirenberg on if and when Bazan will be invited back to his job.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.