Running for NY City Council Seat?
(Johnson, left, posing with Chuck Wolfe, the head of the Victory Fund, a group devoted to electing Democratic LGBT people. Credit: Klaus Enrique.)
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is no stranger to LGBT politicians in need of employment.
Two of its executive directors, Neil Giuliano and Jarrett Barrios, ran the organization after their political careers ended, and there's also been aspiring elected official Corey Johnson using his perch at GLAAD to pretty much run a nascent campaign for New York City's City Council in 2013.
Yesterday, Johnson, along with ten other staffers at GLAAD, was fired because of severe budgetary problems. The Advocate is so far the only source of info on the firings and continuing fiscal troubles of GLAAD, but their story omits the names of who was laid off.
GLAAD's staff directory no longer lists Johnson as the deputy director for programs, and there is nothing posted about the shrinking of the staff.
My sources in NYC inform me that much of Johnson's time while on the GLAAD payroll was spent shoring up support for his next step up the political ladder, and that his advocacy for the group was all about promoting himself.
He currently serves as the board chair of Manhattan's Community Board 4, for the Clinton/Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea neighborhoods, a position he's held since July of 2011, and last summer spoke with the Chelsea Now paper and had this to say when asked about his interest in running for the City Council:
Q: There’s been lots of speculation, in the pages of our sister publication The Villager, for example, that you have ambitions for the District 3 City Council seat in 2013.
A: I think it’s flattering that people are talking about two years from now. But my only focus is to do the best job possible as Community Board 4 chair, and to continue the amazing, deliberative, engaged work that this Community Board does.
After months of hearing supposedly interim San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee say he would not seek a full term, only to see him run last November, I know dog whistle code when I hear it. My sources don't believe Johnson's coy protestations about no interest in becoming an elected Democratic gay officeholder, and I believe them.
They say Johnson is not solely focused on the Community Board, that he is campaigning already for 2013's race and spending lots of time on Facebook. Now that GLAAD has sent him packing, he'll plenty of time to work on his City Council campaign.
The larger picture, GLAAD laying off so many staffers, while it's terrible that LGBT folks are losing their jobs, is something that leaves me deeply untroubled. GLAAD is a bloodsucking leech upon the gay body politic and pocketbook, putting on an endless number of meaningless awards shows and getting all riled up about pathetic TV shows dying from their own stupidity.
When the day comes that GLAAD goes out of business, and make no mistake it is business first and foremost, it will be an excellent development for the LGBT community.