Isla Vista landlord James Gelb will be charged with one count of disturbing the peace after he was filmed yelling homophobic slurs at I.V. CSD President Ethan Bertrand.
Santa Barbara County District Attorney, Joyce Dudley, announced Tuesday that she would file charges against Gelb. Dudley said in a press release that the charge is a response to a Nov. 7 incident where Gelb “allegedly used offensive language” in order to likely provoke a “violent” reaction from Bertrand.
Disturbing the peace can result in imprisonment in county jail for up to 90 days or a fine of up to $400, according to California law.
Gelb is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment on Dec. 4. He told the Nexus on Tuesday that he has hired an attorney to “aggressively defend” himself from the “unfounded” accusations.
Bertrand said the incident shows the LGBTQ+ community still faces hate and challenges within the local community, but said he could not comment on the charges due to the pending nature of the case.
Bertrand and the Pacific Pride Foundation will host an event rallying for LGBTQ+ equality and denouncing hateful language and homophobia at De La Guerra Plaza in Downtown Santa Barbara from 5 to 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Dudley said Gelb’s actions did not constitute a hate crime because California law defines a hate crime as requiring an action, while Gelb’s behavior only involved offensive language.
Gelb was filmed yelling profanities and homophobic slurs at Bertrand at approximately 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7. A friend of Bertrand’s filmed the incident.
In the video, Bertrand confronted Gelb about the landlord’s decision to sell all of his 37 properties in I.V. and said he did not treat his tenants well.
Gelb became upset and began to follow Bertrand down the 500 block of State Street, shouting homophobic slurs at Bertrand, who is openly gay.
Gelb claimed that before the video was filmed, Bertrand confronted him and accused him of placing cameras in the women’s bathroom of one of his properties.
Gelb said in a statement on Friday that he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome as a child, which causes him to say things without a social filter.
Dudley said she has never heard of a similar defense for a charge of disturbing the peace in her 27 years as the deputy district attorney and in the more than seven years as the district attorney.
She emphasized that Gelb is innocent until proven guilty and if the case goes to trial, it is a jury’s responsibility to decide whether his statement is an adequate defense.
To reach a verdict, a jury would need to determine whether the words spoken were offensive, if the event was in a public place and if the words were inherently likely to produce an immediate violent reaction, Dudley said.
Gelb listed his 37 properties for sale for $80 million after holding real estate for over 23 years. He told the Nexus on Tuesday that he already has multiple offers and will likely be relocating his portfolio out of state.
He also said that his properties are fully rented for 2018 and 2019 with backup tenant applications on file for each of his properties.
Alright, let’s face it, Gelb is a sleazeball, always has been, nothing new there. But you got to ask yourself a few questions about that little video “clip” w/ him & Bertrand:
1) What happened between the 2 PRIOR to the video being shot?
2) Why was the video “conveniently” started when it was?
3) Why was Bertrand conveniently being followed by somebody taking a video?
Comes down to a case of MAYBE Bertrand initiated the whole incident & all that’s being seen is the aftermath? Just curious.
1) Ethan Bertrand approached Gelb at State Street and started a civil discussion on how Gelb treated his tenants like shit.
2) and 3): Honestly, it was probably circumstantial. People like to take videos.
Agreed – plus, Bertrand approached Gelb to begin with, from what I understand. There is no law requiring someone to be PC. Does he really deserve to do time for this? Worst case he may get a small fine, which I’m sure he can afford. Using taxpayer money to prosecute someone for being an asshole is what’s going on here and the ever present PC police.
90 days in jail for shouting at someone on the street? This is ridiculous.
And while Gelb’s behavior was unacceptable (and from everything I hear, he has a long history of this sort of thing), I’m certain this was provoked. The CSD cheerleaders have been trying to drum up a war with the “slum lords” for a while now, to further their own political goals. The political left at UCSB likes to provoke, step back, start the cameras rolling, and then play the victim. Unfortunately Gelb (who may well have a social disorder) fell for the trap.
From the SLO Tribune: “According to Mollie Culver, a Democratic Party strategist who emailed the video to Noozhawk, it was taken by a friend of Bertrand whom she declined to identify.” Yeah, that’s not a setup at all.
You can set up a creep to enable his/her creepy behavior. I a person is decent in many/most ways, it is hard to entrap him/her via a behavior not in their “skill set.”
I guess complex issues admit to simple interpretations when one’s reasoning is equally simplistic.
Your display of “logic” makes me worry that UCSB is failing in its (ostensible) mission to provide educational opportunities for undergraduates.
So do you have any sort of opinion on the issue? Should Gelb have to serve time?
Should he have to serve time for this particular offense of yelling at people on the street? Absolutely not. And you are very right to be worried that UCSB is failing in its mission to provide educational opportunities for undergraduates, but I am not the one you should be looking at if you want proof of that.
I tend to agree — if it can be proven to be entrapment. But that was not the nature of my comment/argument.
I also agree that you are not the exemplar of the educational worries I point to. You are, however, too unidirectional in your stated observations/arguments/remedies (I obviously have read some of your previous work). A fair and balanced (the goal of our respectable news organizations, from what I am told by the tele [LOL]) is a necessary (not sufficient) component of a well-educated mind.
It’s true, I was something of a conservative polemic during my time at UCSB. Was that fair and balanced? No, but I think it was warranted nonetheless because so many other institutions at UCSB only provided the left-wing point of view. Having two polarized sides in a debate is far from idea, I would agree, but it’s significantly better than having one polarized side… and on the occasions when I was moderate and nuanced during my first few years at UCSB, no one wanted to hear me either (and it was easier for them to ignore me). If you don’t… Read more »
In a search for “truth” (though ill-defined, this is what we should seek), there always is the VERY real possibility that your efforts will go unrecognized by the current majority (very true in science as well).
Love of truth makes one an outlier in probably every society since hominids acquired cortical capacity sufficient to fashion societies (goodbye Socrates!), one must decide whether the desire to be heard now is preferable to adopting a stance that most closely approximates what you feel is right/true.
And that depends on one’s ultimate motives.
I certainly share your concern with truth. Did I live up to the standard set by Socrates during my time at UCSB? No, I certainly didn’t. I do honestly believe that I was a little closer to Socrates than most leftist students, though. For a very long time, I stood up for men’s issues and due process in cases of sexual assault, and I got nothing but derision for it from campus feminists and their lackeys. I was talking about Title IX abuse long before most people in the mainstream recognized it was a problem. Now that the issue of… Read more »
So, Dec. 4th has come and gone. What happened?