Friday, June 18, 2010

SF, SJ Report Back to the Community

on Town Hall Forums

Below are reports from two town hall forums that took place in California last night. One was in San Francisco and the other down in San Jose. Please give them a read.

My trusty little Canon PowerShot pooped out yesterday morning, otherwise I'd have some pics from the SF event posted here. The camera cannot be fixed, so I'm putting the plea out there, that if someone has a working digital still camera sitting around gathering dust, I could use it. If you have a camera to donate to me, lemme know.

And big thanks to all who came to both forums, those who were able to listen in via web phones, and everyone who is committed to attending San Francisco's next town hall. Nice to know there is support and interest in our efforts.

Mark your calender. July 8 is when San Jose activists meet again, while July 22 is San Francisco's next town hall. We want you there!

Here are the reports:

Minutes of 6/17/10 San Francisco Town Hall Meeting

Attendees: Patrick C, Robert C, Michael P., John B, Stephen Z., Robin M., Michelle W., Jeff T. Resha, Joe T. and at least three others via conference call.

Reason for Call for a Town Hall Meeting: Patrick...he went over the reason for his first article in SF Weekly about all the recent concern over the examination of Get Equal and the need to have this level of examination provided for all of our orgs. He also discussed his most recent article concerning the research done on the effects of marriage PR on the eventual voting patterns.

Attendees then determined the following proposed agenda for the evening:
- 20 Minutes for Q & A of Get Equal
- 20 minutes for local next steps
- 20 minutes for ways to connect on a national level

Q &A of Get Equal
Robin stated that she was willing to answer any and all questions. Questions were raised about the lack of transparency and accountability. Specifically, who their benefectors are/were and what their goals were for GE.

Robin responded that they have only one benefactor and that the money was entrusted to them based on their demonstrated work with Meet in the Middle, the National Equality March and One Struggle One Fight. There effort is for non violent civil disobedience with combined on line and off line activism. There are only five paid staff. The three goals of GE are 1) to eliminate homophobia and transphobia 2) developing creative ways to fight back 3) implementing those ways with others..

Next Steps at Local Level
Michael P. suggested we show our concern that Nancy Pelosi has not meet her promises to our community by encouraging SF Pride to not have her address us at Pride. All appeared in agreement with this and a small group was formed to discuss how we could have this happen.

Next Steps at National Level
Much discussion was had that our leaders need to be more accountable to our community. All were in agreement that we should have regular town halls and invite our leaders to attend. Special chairs would be reserved for them at each meeting. Focus would be on Kate Kendall, Geoff Kors, Matt Foreman and Dan Bernal for our next meeting.

Next Meeting: 7/22...Location TBA

Respectfully submitted...Stephen Zollman

And this report from the San Jose area meeting comes from Gloria Nieto:

Marriage Equality Silicon Valley had a community meeting on Thursday night at the DeFrank Center. The intent was to discuss the Prop 8 trial and then have dialogue about what next steps to take.

We were joined by Cleve Jones who is part of the advisory board for the American Foundation for Equal Rights who has brought the judicial challenge to Prop 8.

We talked about the court case and then what to do in the future. Cleve talked about why he is against going again in 2012 and I actually think it is a sound argument. Let's step back and let the court case go through the system. I doubt that we will have the majority opinion despite what Solomon and Kors say. He said the polling you covered the other day was a CYA poll.

It was decided that we would rent a booth at the DeAnza flea market to talk to people about marriage equality; work in the Asian and Latino community to develop support for outreach in our communities; create a flyer for San Jose Pride to distribute at the event in August; have a demonstration on the day Judge Walker announces his decision.

Planning for the demonstration will be convened on July 8.

Also we will out reach to labor about the guerrilla theater they did in SF and see if they have other songs and plans for actions; we must engage immediately with the youth group and see what they would be interested in leading.


AndrewW said...

Unfortunately, the SF Town Hall was largely a waste of time. GE didn't answer the important questions. Three overly simplistic goals of GE were: 1) to eliminate homophobia and transphobia 2) developing creative ways to fight back 3) implementing those ways with others.

That's it? How do publicity stunts designed simply to "embarrass Democrats" accomplish any of those goals? An exmaple of "one of their creative ways to fight back" was Robin McGehee's suggestion that we all send Nancy Pelosi a pack of "chewing gum" every day until she learns she can "walk and chew gum at the same time." This is the creativity we get for $89,000 a year.

What GeEQUAL should have been prepared to answer were questions surrounding their formation and whether or not they represent the LGBT Community. It is clear from all the information gathered to date, that they are simply employees of Jonathan Lewis and Paul Yandura - two disgruntled Democrats. ALL of their publicity stunts have the single goal of embarrassing Democrats. HOW does that help us or achieve any of their simpleton goals?

At some point we need to have meaningful meetings seeking answers, not only from our organizations but answers about tactics, methods and strategies. Sooner or later we have to focus on winning.

If GetEQUAL was focused on winning they would have some ideas, strategies and a Plan - complete with a date for completion.

I have held a dozen meetings in cities across the US inviting people to find and create SOLUTIONS. Those meetings have delivered several very attractive ideas and media campaigns.

It's a shame that Lewis has wasted $300,000 on a few childish stunts. I've spent considerably more on research, idea development and media campaign development. I respect everyone that has come before us and would never jeopardize our movement. GetEQUAL and their employers continue to do that. Accountability requires that they provide some RATIONALE for their "crazy shenanigans" that most of us believe are counterproductive.

Chewing gum to Pelosi? Wow.

Anonymous said...

AndrewW, how much money did you spend on those community meetings? Where did you get the money from? And where have you posted the results? If you've done all the work, why are you keeping the results to yourself? Will you share those results, or just complain from the sidelines?