Thursday, March 24, 2011

LA Weekly: EQCA's Lack of Forums
and the Search for a New ED

What would Harvey Milk do (WWHMD?) about the outrageous lack of regular, open community forums with the executive director and board of directors at Equality California? Would he only appear at EQCA galas and not set a good example of holding his own town hall meetings, like Mark Leno, Tom Ammiano and John Perez?

Might he hide behind a lawyer's verbiage when asked about full democratic engagement with the grassroots, as the A-gays ruining EQCA are doing?

These questions came to mind as I read Patrick Range McDonald's post this morning at the LA Weekly about EQCA's very-less-than-open search process for a new leader. Recall that Patrick in early January wrote an excellent and comprehensive cover story about longstanding lack of accountability and transparency matters at this statewide group.

We could certainly use more reporters and bloggers demanding more of EQCA and the process to replace Geoff Kors. Hello, Karen Ocamb and Syd Peterson of LGBT POV, and your guest essayists?

Please don't settle for business as usual at EQCA with minute changes, my friends. Our out vibrant, economically and politically diverse community in the state is only minimally embodied, represented and engaged by EQCA. That should not be the status quo.

What I would like to happen during the search process is for the top candidates to hold a public forum and discussion, so the community could size them up before one of them is presented to us as our new leader. Let us ordinary gays, and not just the straight search firm and EQCA board, get a look at potential EDs.

Why is it we demand political candidates debate openly before we cast our ballots, but when it comes to choosing Gay Inc executive directors, the community largely says it's okay to keep the selection process behind the curtain before someone is hired?

Kudos to Patrick for keeping tabs on EQCA's board and their murky search process to replace Geoff Kors. From his post:

Asked if Equality California has held town hall meetings as Petrelis and others have suggested, Cary Davidson, chairman of EQCA's search committee, says in a prepared statement to L.A. Weekly:

"Morris & Berger [the consulting firm spearheading the effort to replace outgoing executive director Geoff Kors] have contacted more than 1,000 people in the course of the search and are continuing to have conversations. They have spoken with people from grassroots organizations, unions, large and small nonprofits, foundations, elected officials, and a diverse array of advocacy organizations, per the recommendation of the search committee."

Davidson is a practicing attorney, so we'll simplify his answer: No town halls meetings have been conducted. Not only that, the above list of people and groups are largely gay rights insiders, not the general public. ...

That heavily hints that EQCA board members such as comedienne Wanda Sykes, Harvey Milk's nephew Stuart Milk, and labor union icon Dolores Huerta have no plans to face ordinary gays and lesbians in person and hear what they have to say. ...

Wonder if people will go to the EQCA web site and recommend town hall meetings? What will happen then?

No comments: