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Maloney says 'habla español' comments were misconstrued

Maloney says 'habla español' comments were misconstrued

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College Station City Council Place 6 incumbent Dennis Maloney has stated on his website and social media page that his remarks during Monday’s Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce candidate forum were misconstrued.

During the forum, the Place 6 candidates, including Maloney’s opponents David Levine and Marie-Anne Mousseau-Holland, were asked if College Station is the best city it can be at its current tax rate.

“Oh you betcha,” Maloney answered, fielding the question first. “You know, of cities our size, comparable cities our size in the state of Texas, we ranked 17th as the lowest tax rate. The ones that do better than us, you wouldn’t want to live there unless of course, habla español only. I think we do so much with the little bit we have.”

“I regret that my comment was misconstrued and hurtful to members of our community, especially our Spanish-speaking community of which I am a part of,” he stated on his campaign Facebook page. “I was trying to convey the message that was relayed to me by some of our Hispanic relatives currently living in the Valley in South Texas. It is a shame that my own words have been weaponized by my opponents’ supporters. That is all that I can say regarding this subject.”

When asked for comment by The Eagle, Maloney said he did not have any further comment on the subject and directed people to view his comments in the “Answers” page of his website maloneyforcollegestation.com.

Apologizing that his comments were not taken in the way he intended, he explained his wife, Frances, is Mexican-American, as are his children.

While some have taken to social media to call Maloney’s comments offensive, others have posted their support for him, noting the importance of speaking Spanish in communities along the Texas-Mexico border.

Maloney’s campaign Facebook page shared a post by Wajahat “Bobby” Mirza in which Mirza said, “Lately I have had the displeasure of seeing a barrage of hullabaloo regarding College Station City Councilman Dennis Maloney, where some have gone as far as calling him racist. I can say unequivocally that Dennis is not a racist. Those who are branding him as such, don’t know anything about him or his family.”

In sharing screenshots of a KBTX story about Maloney’s comments, a supporter of Levine with the handle @cp_619 tweeted, “I was here in-person when this comment was made. I am disgusted that Councilman Dennis Maloney would say such inconsiderate, racist statements in a city, county and state with a rapidly growing Hispanic population.”

Levine said he was shocked to hear the statement on Monday and hoped it was unintentional.

“I hope it doesn’t come from a place of malice, and from what I know of the man, I don’t think it does, but it’s certainly not appropriate,” he said.

Mousseau-Holland posted on her campaign Facebook page that Maloney’s comment did not sit right with her, saying she thought he should have issued an apology for his comments instead of “blamed those who did feel offended for trying to hurt his campaign.”

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