Thursday, February 17, 2011

EQCA: We Don't Need 
No Stinking Democracy

(Good thing this chap doesn't fear town halls like Gay Inc leaders do. Obama public forum on health care reform, July 2009. Credit: Mark Wilson, Getty Images.)

The gay elites who run Equality California, and who wasted $45 million in 2008 in their No on 8 campaign that not only saw a healthy chunk of change but also gay marriage go down the toilet, still are not the least bit interested in providing the average Golden State gays with genuine democracy.

It's been more than two-months since A-gay Geoff Kors announced he was stepping down as head of EQCA, and not a single public meeting has been held with the community to process his tenure, departure and what the rank and file want in his replacement. Democratic engagement through town halls, which are quite frequently just fine for the likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, are anathema to the board and donors of EQCA.

Holding open meetings, which I'm very sure Harvey Milk would be screaming for and demanding on a regularly basis, are omitted from the job description for the leader of EQCA:

Community and Public Relations - Serve as the face of EQCA for external communication with the media, LGBT organizations and external audiences; use mainstream and LGBT media to communicate EQCA agenda to promote progress and goals; demonstrate visible leadership to the LGBT community; work within and outside the LGBT community to lead outreach and education efforts, specifically regarding issues of concern to the LGBT community. ...

My recollection of the last time EQCA's director was forced to meet with average gays in San Francisco, who weren't paying hundreds of dollars and wearing tuxedos and gown to schmooze with him, was two long years ago. In February 2009, 400-500 hundreds of people attended a town hall at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium proving there is deep community need and interest in such forums.

Let's be brutally honest. If one doesn't have a big bank account, fancy clothes, work at a corporation that can buy a gala dinner table or isn't a Democrat running for public office, EQCA simply is not interested.

Check out comments Kors made at EQCA's $350-a-ticket fundraiser this past Saturday at San Francisco's City Hall, if you need a reminder who matters to him and his org:

I want to especially acknowledge a few donors who are here tonight who have made gifts of more than $100,000 to our fight for equality. Tonight's presenting sponsor AT&T and 2009 equal award recipient AT&T California President Ken McNeely, PG&E, Bank of America, Wells Faro [sic], Horizons Foundation, Kathy Levinson and Naomi Fine, and Michael Dunn. To a true hero — Jim Hormel — and his partner Michael Nygen thank [sic] for more than half a million dollars of support. And let's show our thanks to our million dollar plus donors: the Walter and Evelyn Hass [sic] Jr. Fund and the California Teachers Association. ...

A local gay rag covered the weekend's gala, and reminded us that democratic principles are not an integral part of EQCA and its operations:

The search for Kors's replacement is proceeding rapidly, according to EQCA board member Cary Davidson. Executive search firm Morris and Berger is in talks with a broad range of stakeholders, he said, and they welcome suggestions and resumes.

But there are unlikely to be any public meetings regarding the search process. "I'm not sure that we gain anything through public meetings," Davidson said. "So much is done through professionals and conversations with candidates." ... [Emphasis added.]

The former rulers of Tunisia and Egypt would probably agree with Davidson's thinking that there's not much for the ruling elite to gain from public meetings. Little things, like community empowerment, true grassroots coordination, and respect for the views and needs of low- to moderate-income gays are not on the EQCA agenda.

Nope, they don't need no stinking democracy, not when they've hired a professional search firm, whose fee has not been disclosed, and not when EQCA is committed to closed door leadership. California gays deserve actual democracy from the organization that claims to represent us. If anyone needs a refresher as to just a few of the problems with this lame organization, be sure to read Patrick Range McDonald's excellent LA Weekly piece from early January.

With democracy breaking out across the Middle East, I wonder what it will take to get a dose injected into EQCA and the rest of Gay Inc.

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