Geoff Kors Resigns;
EQCA Still Stinks
There isn't much that's been left unsaid about the track record of Geoff Kors, as the head of Equality California, since he announced he was stepping down as executive director at the end of March 2011. Many bloggers have commented on his disastrous leadership as head of the No on 8 campaign, how he lost gay marriage in California, reinforced dangerous stereotypes that gays are sissies afraid to even say the g word in TV ads, and flushed $45 million down the drain doing it.
To be fair, he raised a lot of money for EQCA and worked well with Sacramento leaders to get a decent number of bills enacted, and he built up the org's infrastructure. I wish to also point out the when state AIDS programs for cocktails and laboratory testing were threatened, Geoff sprang into action for the betterment of people with AIDS, and my gratitude for that effort is authentic.
What I've not seen mentioned is how the board of EQCA, which doesn't hold public meetings and does no grassroots outreach that I've seen in the past 3-4 years, is part of the problem with the org. Even Stevie Wonder can see that EQCA is our state version of the Human Rights Campaign, in that it's got a corporate and aloof business structure, is good at pricey, glam parties, and is beholden to A-Gay donors and Democratic Party bosses.
Sure, I'm happy Geoff is moving on, finally, but removing the head of the stinking fish does nothing to address the fact the EQCA body is still not the org California's vibrant and diverse gay community deserves. The board and longtime executives, who are not leaving, will continue the same old tired-ass, elitist operation that kept Geoff at the top for so long.
Board members, picked by Geoff and his cronies, will deny the 500-pound elephant the room: the lingering and widespread anger in the community over the myriad failures of the No on 8 effort.
Because he resisted public accountability, it took four long months to force Geoff to appear at at town hall in San Francisco after the marriage loss, and he never organized regular open-to-all meetings that would have allowed folks to properly process the depth of the fury of the loss, and maybe some of would have come around to see some good in Geoff, we are still two-years after Prop 8 dealing with the campaign debacle and his role in it.
You don't need to look beyond the resignation release to see how the board will not be holding a single community forum to discuss what the ordinary gays who can't afford $250 tickets to swimming pool parties want from what is supposed to be our statewide org. If EQCA had really thrown out their losing playbook after November 2008, the board would have already set up several open meetings up and down the state about engaging the community, beyond asking us to donate to and vote for Democrats.
Should a miracle occur and EQCA leaders got the notion to democratically engage California gays of all economic levels, and forums were held in the new year, we could discuss matters like do we want the current structure and board to remain in place? What is the relevancy of EQCA, when Democrats control so many levers of power in Sacramento, and there is no Prop 8 repeal to wage? Why do we need this org?
Other ideas that need airing, starting with getting some fresh air and voices at the board and executive level, include making EQCA an org with dual executive directors, one each for the southern and northern sections of the state. If we had two such directors, it would behoove both of them to not repeat Geoff's unwillingness to regularly engage in public forums. I'm sure there would be loads of other proposals coming forward, if the EQCA leaders would simply ask for community input.
However, given the past two years of Geoff and EQCA living with their bunker mentality and the failure to plan for community forums in the new year, I'm staunchly skeptical that much will evolve at the group with Geoff gone. Let board members Wanda Sykes and Stuart Milk prove me wrong.