(JTA) — A councilwoman in Santa Ana, Calif., offered to apologize personally to a Jewish businessman she had compared to Hitler.
Claudia Alvarez, the council’s mayor pro tem, invoked Hitler during an Aug. 24 debate on a tax for downtown property owners in comments directed at Irving Chase, the son of Holocaust survivors who owns several blocks of downtown property.
"Hey, so if Hitler rents you a place, he’s giving us a great deal, so who cares what he stands for?" she said.
Organizations including the Anti-Defamation League called for Alvarez’s resignation after she offered what the ADL called a "half-hearted" apology to Chase and his son.
"I do want to apologize to the Chase family for whatever reason they found my comments offensive. That was not my intent," Alvarez said in her Aug. 25 apology.
In a statement released Sept. 2, Alveraz went further.
“At the council meeting, in the midst of built-up frustration in the chamber, I inadvertently drew an egregious analogy to Mr. Chase and his son," the statement said. "I now understand how hurtful and egregious this must have felt to them whose family suffered in the Holocaust. To the Chase family I want to say how sincerely sorry I am for having caused you pain.
“I also did not in any way, shape, or form intend to trivialize the atrocities of the Holocaust and now clearly understand the magnitude of the offense my words created. My apologies go out to anyone who was offended by my comments, especially to the Chase family and the Jewish community as a whole. I sincerely regret having let my emotions get the best of me and I’m working on making amends and to rectify the situation.
“I have personally and through others reached out to the Chase family and to the ADL requesting to meet so I can apologize to them in person and have a constructive dialogue."
The City Council on Tuesday will consider whether Alvarez violated the city’s code of ethics and conduct in making her remarks, according to the Orange County Register.