Local officials sling mud on social media

Published 3:16 pm Monday, June 10, 2019

By Michael Cole

The Orange Leader

(Editor’s note: online posts were not altered in any way, they were taken verbatim, with no changes for spelling, syntax, or grammar)


What started off as a Facebook post turned into an argument between Pine Forest Mayor Cathy Nagel and Orange City Councilmember Annette Carson-Pernell about religion and race in America.

In a post on her personal account that has since been taken down, Nagel shared a meme equating the Hajib Muslims wear to a diaper.

The meme had a picture of Democratic Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

Pernell shared the post to her timeline with the statement:

“Cathy Ellender Nagel.  I changed my mind because that is MY RIGHT.  People of Pine Forest, Texas… This post came from YOUR MAYOR – Now YOU may not give two d**** with a side of fries BUT I DO!  As an elected official we must remain neutral in the things that are posted and said.  Funny is funny BUT this photo and the caption brings more hate in the picture and the subliminal (hidden) message speaks volumes.  I am ashamed of you Mayor Cathy Ellender Nagel and I am looking forward to the un-friend…. Shame on you!”

As the exchange unfolded, Mayor Nagel responded with:

“Annette Carson-Pernell i never apoligized to you.  I told you I wasn’t rascist and I’m not. I took the post down because of the language.  I will never accept a race of people that have openly hated my country an continue to try to enforce beliefs contrary to what America stands for.  There is no place in this country for muslims.   If you think that makes me racist thats your privilege but Im not changing my stance and there are so many people  who feel the same way.  Remember 9-11. That was a race of people that hate us.  I will never embrace them.”

Mayor Nagel’s assertions of all Muslims hating America was countered in the exchange by Orange County Democratic Chair Louis Ackerman:

“Cathy Ellender Nagel Muslims don’t openly hate America…

In fact less than 3% of muslims in the world are radicalized.

 Do you even know any muslims?”

Nagel responded with stating she felt the 3-percent Ackerman referred to must mean all those who hate America are Muslims elected to office in America.

As the exchange went on, Pernell and Ackerman made the argument, “Muslims have lived in this country for as long as you (Nagel), and the teachings of their religion is totally against what you and others claim.”

Pernell also said, “I do not know if Pine Forest would allow the KKK to dress up and stand on 105 like Vidor has done, but I do know that there are some extraordinarily amazing civilians and elected officials whom I love on purpose, whereas you Mayor appear to relish in the dark, nasty corner where hate, bigotry and racism breeds.”

Ackerman pressed Nagel for proof of her claim of all Muslims hating Americans lamented, “Vidor never changed, they just moved to Pine Forrest.”

Pernell argued that Vidor has changed a lot, slowly, but tolerance is improving.

Ackerman replied, “I have never had any problems in Vidor or Pine Forest.”

He attributed it to never having met Nagel.

Adding, “It’s sad we still have bigots calling themselves public servants.”

Nagel shot back with:

“If you remember the conversation, you accused me of being racist to my face.  Muslims have hated Jews and Americans throughout history.  Maybe you should do some more resesrch.  Seems to me you are the racist.  You cant call me that if you continue to perpetuate these nasty hateful comments about me and my city and Vidor.  Lets just stop this now.  You are a public service too and you are defending your beliefs.  Im defending mine.  I won’t engage in any more of this with you.”

In a statement to The Orange Leader, Councilmember Pernell wrote, “Cathy Nagel is also the current Region 16 Vice President under Region 16 President who is Mayor David Rutledge (Bridge City)… Mayor Nagel’s viewpoints are not conducive to inclusion of all, but rather exclusion. (Region 16 encompasses the Counties of Jefferson, Orange, Newton, Hardin, Liberty, Tyler, Polk, Jasper, Angelina, San Augustine, Sabine and Shelby).  Mayor Nagel represents the Elected/Appointed Officials in our Region… We deserve and demand better.”

Ackerman released the following statement:

“It is sad that in 2019 we still have people who judge others just because they are different. In America, our diversity is our strength and we have built our society on certain freedoms, including the freedom of religion. I cannot fathom being an elected official and public servant while harboring such discriminatory feelings. How can you advocate for your citizens if you don’t support all of them? Obviously, my mentioning of Vidor’s difficult past is not, in any way, a commentary on the modern community. I have always championed Vidor as a changing community and will continue to do so.”

Mayor Nagel has not responded to a request for a comment or statement at this time.


UPDATED 6/11/19 8:43 AM  Added statement by Orange County Democratic Chair Louis Ackerman