Saturday, April 02, 2011

EQCA Endorses Straight Democrat
Over Gay GOPer in CA Rep Race

The secretive ways of Equality California march on. After not informing the community about two important hearings on the gay education SB 48 legislation, EQCA is now withholding the news that it has endorsed in the May 17 special election to replace Rep. Jane Harmon.

If you want to know who EQCA backed, you won't find the news at their PAC or general sites. You'll have to check the campaign site of California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, a Democrat, to learn the news:

Grassroots Support for Debra Continues to Grow

Torrance – ... The PAC, which is a sponsored committee of Equality California, cited Bowen’s commitment to full equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community as reason for their backing.

“Equality California PAC only endorses candidates who support full equality for the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and Debra Bowen has a long track record of standing with our community when we’ve needed her most,” said Jim Carroll, Equality California Interim Executive Director. ...

Bowen also recently received the backing of California LGBT leaders, former State Senator Sheila Kuehl and State Senator Mark Leno. ...

Where is this alleged grassroots support? EQCA is a Democratic Party-affiliated Astroturf group, while Leno and Kuehl are Democratic pols, and Bowen misspeaks volumes labeling any of them grassroots.

Her opponent, openly gay Redondo Beach mayor Mike Gin, is said to be a great guy and an effective politician. His campaign site, of course, talks up his gayness and the fact that he's married to his partner of 16 years, Christopher Kreidel. I would think EQCA couldn't do enough to elect a gay married politician to the House.

Why didn't Gin receive the EQCA endorsement? He's a Republican and EQCA is simply not an organization at all interested in working with GOP candidates, even when they're gay or lesbian.

Add all this up: no info on hearings in Sacramento for a gay educational bill and no info about the endorsement in the race to replace Harmon at EQCA sites, no public meetings, no town halls with the board or search firm hired to find a new leader, and no plans to change their secretive ways. No way to be a statewide group.

There's also the problem of the Bay Area Reporter laying off criticizing EQCA or in any way challenging how they (don't) engage the community. Heck, when the BAR editor's wife receives money and muscle for her campaign to win a judgeship as an open transgender woman, and the wife is also a grand honoree at EQCA's annual awards, you can count on objective reporting to quickly fly out the window.

Things aren't much better in Southern California where Karen Ocamb's blog LGBT POV publishes only the most glowing and positive essays on EQCA and its leadership. If there's been an iota or smidgen of even mild constructive criticism toward the group at that blog since it was founded about a year ago, I've missed it. Where is the proof LGBT POV is not co-opted by EQCA?

The only news outlet asking tough questions of EQCA's board and donors is the LA Weekly, thanks to its out reporter Patrick Range McDonald. To me, he puts the BAR and LGBT POV to shame covering this group with a serious degree of much-needed skepticism.

More than two years after EQCA lost gay marriage and $45 million, in part because of their way-less-than-transparent operation that disrespects a wide portion of the community, not a damn fundamental thing has changed with the group.

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