Monday, October 10, 2011

EQCA Loses Finance Whiz Steve Mele

A little birdie with access to key players at and donors to Equality California spilled some beans over the weekend, about what he sees as unhealthy developments for the group, and the larger community. This anonymous source and I disagree on many EQCA and LGBT issues across the state, but his facts have been correct in the past, so I'm sharing his info and analysis today because he provides much-needed transparency regarding this group and some of what is happening regarding staffing.

Before we get to the source's details, I want to point out that in the coming month EQCA will not be holding a single public forum to discuss items like their anti-repeal decision, personnel turnover and inform LGBT people of any plans the group has to create democratic engagement principles to make the grassroots feel like they have a stake in EQCA.

However, they'll be doing what they are experts at - putting on the gay glitz! A gala awards show! Noshing, schmoozing and boozing with the ladies in LA! Swimming and cruising at the beach! Raking in LGBT dollars!

We queers sure could use an Occupy EQCA effort, but until then, give this a read:

I don't know know the whole story, but at the same time EQCA decided not to pursue it ballot initiative, the main proponent of going froward, Steve Mele, was let go. Earlier, Jim Carroll, who came within a hair's breath of being appointed Geoff Kors' successor, was forced out. The Board itself has seen some resignations. There was a major battle within the organization over the ballot initiative issue. The staff wanted to go, the Board did not. Roland Palencia will always do as the Board says.

Steve and Jim were forced out because of their strong advocacy of a ballot proposition and because they lost the leadership battle with Roland (just barely). When the Board decided to ignore the organization's previous promises, upon which much of its fundraising had been done in the past 2 years, and go against the wishes of the vast majority of its members, it decided to get rid of any dissenting voices as well.

EQCA is still the largest, richest and best organized LGBT rights organization in CA. Politicians listen to them and want to be seen as partnering with them. Many activists take their cues from them, rightly or wrongly. When EQCA chooses not to pursue a course of action, it is much like taking the bat and the ball with them. If they won't play, no one else can either. The grassroots cannot repeal Prop 8 on its own.

Personally, I don't believe that the Perry case will get us marriage equality in CA anytime soon, if ever. At best, marriages will resume in 2014. More importantly, the conservatives on the US Supreme Court could use the case to deal a blow to the very concept of LGBT rights across the board. I think that is a very likely scenario and legal experts are pretty unanimous that the chances of success for Perry at the Supreme Court are remote. Most of them are too terrified of Chad Griffin to say so publicly.

To me, the Perry case is a runaway train headed for disaster and the community has been lulled into complacency by a favorable ruling in the lowest court which was always a foregone conclusion

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