Sunday, July 03, 2011

EQCA's Deputy Director Departs;
Group Silent About Staff Change

There's the telephone - cell, land, et al. - and a bevy of electronic devices, online programs like Twitter, blogs, emails, web sites, and fax machines, and those old standbys smoke signals, carrier pigeons and other tools to communicate with people.

And yet, none of them were employed by the folks at Equality California to inform the gay community represented by this group that the longtime second-in-command deputy director, Jim Carroll, has left the organization. He most recently served as the interim head while a search was underway to replace Geoff Kors with a new executive director. He's shown in the courtesy photo above.

Recently, I noticed the EQCA staff page no longer showed Carroll's picture and bio, the omission struck me as odd. He was just all over the news regarding EQCA's troubling shilling for AT&T before the FCC and their dumping of controversial board member Troup Coronado, and then Carroll's presence simply vanishes without a word from EQCA's site.

Since he's the top traditional gay journalist watchdogging EQCA, the LA Weekly's Patrick Range McDonald, I emailed him to see what he knew about the possibility that Carroll was no longer at the organization. Click here for links to his many EQCA pieces and questions for the LA Weekly. McDonald said:

Jim is leaving EQCA. I asked them myself. Apparently he gave notice several weeks ago and it was always part of the plan. It surprised me since he was so involved with the recent town hall stuff. But they said that work was completed and now he wanted to leave. I didn't write anything because I've been swamped at work.

Okay, he wanted to move on and maybe one of the reasons why was to give incoming executive director Roland Palencia, the chance to hire his own right-hand deputy. FYI, Palencia's first day is July 5 and I hope he hits the ground running, especially about cuts to state health and safety-net programs affecting thousands of low-income gays. He's getting paid $170,000 for his skills-set and he should not need more than a few very short weeks to show leadership.

Here's what's not good about the lack of communication from EQCA, again, regarding Carroll's departure. It's a continuation of EQCA not fundamentally changing its communication practices since the 2008 Prop 8 ballot loss. Remember all the info EQCA kept close to its vest in the campaign?

Frightening to recall how they feared telling the at-large community regular and honest updates. For a more recent example of how EQCA operates in the dark, away from gay watchdog eyes to our great detriment, look at their heretofore unknown letter to the FCC shilling for AT&T. What else are they keeping from us?

Now, one week after New York legalized gay marriages and the dust from back east gets in the nostrils of a few key California executive directors and bloggers, and serious talk is raised about heading back to the ballot in 2012 to repeal Prop 8. Such chatter was to be expected, it's healthy to see a small public debate taking place about 2012 repeal, which I believe will be another disaster.

There is simply no way 2012 repeal will become reality because by the default logic and way of operating at Gay Inc, the key group at the center of the repeal would be EQCA, the group that finds it impossible to just tell us the former all-important managing director and interim executive director has moved on.

EQCA can't handle transparency regarding leadership changes, democratic engagement is minuscule and haphazard, and respectful communication is not an integral component. Not the best building block for a statewide 2012 ballot campaign.

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