Friday, September 13, 2013

Who Gets My Vote for SF Pride Board this Sunday?

(Credit: Ben Sargent, retired Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist for the Austin American Statesman.)

Invitation only meetings. Rejection of ideas to overhaul the SF Pride Parade contingent line up. Ignoring calls for clarification of a confusing complaint. Unwillingness to call for City Hall hearings. Not interested in an activist town hall meeting. Sucking up to an elected official.

Those are just a few of problems I've witnessed with some of the self-proclaimed reformers and members of the San Francisco Pride Members for Democracy, Accountability and Transparency (SFPMDAT). Doesn't exactly roll right off the tongue and an indication of how simplicity is not a paramount concern, that could engage more folks with a stake in the annual Pride event but who have no patience for the process queens who've spent years attending endless Harvey Milk Democratic Club meetings.

This Sunday, September 15, is the Annual General Meeting of the SF Pride board and membership. It starts at 2 pm down at the W Hotel, located at 181 Third Street at Howard. Since I am a member of SF Pride with voting privileges, I'll be attending and as of this writing, I'm not sure which candidates will get my vote.

While I have had numerous public qualms with the SF Pride board since the queeruption in the spring when Chelsea Manning (nee Bradley), was stripped of being a grand marshal, and have seen up close their dysfunctional methods that harm the LGBT community, I've been quite disappointed with some of the methods of the reformers with SFPMDAT.

Permit to disclose that several of the reformers are friends and I separate my friendship from the very genuine concerns of mine about for major changes with practically everything to do with SF Pride. Who will get my vote? Depends on answers to these questions, primarily, and what my gut tells me at the meeting this Sunday.

My questions to all SF Pride board candidates, and I welcome hearing from them via email before Sunday or at the annual meeting, are as follows:

1) Do you favor grouping Parade contingents by theme and placing elected officials in one contingent, to be at the end of the Parade at least for 2014?

2) How will you push City Hall officials to develop a pro-active approach to City funding of SF Pride and solving the myriad fiscal and governance problems?

3) Are you willing to lower the sound level at the weekend Celebration in Civic Center, while also providing a mix of musical styles to be played?

4) What plans to you have for engaging members of the community who are not Milk Club members, political animals nor interested in lengthy discussions over process?

5) Exactly how will you make the SF Pride site more user-friendly and full of minutes from board and committee meetings, financial documents and a place for respectful debate about the direction of the organization?

6) Do you plan to make all contracts with all corporate sponsors transparent and easy to locate on the SF Pride site?

7) What about severely limiting the number of grand marshals and keeping the number of honorees to less than five, 5, so that being a grand marshal carries some meaning?

8) Are you backing my proposed theme, Housing for All, for 2014's theme?

9) Why should I vote for you, if you were one of the individuals who rejected my proposals for City Hall hearings and pushing gay electeds or were less than transparent in SFPMDAT meetings and such?

10) Do you favor revisiting the SF Police Department security rules for the Parade and creating a safe method for folks on the sidewalks to join contingents as they march by on Pride Sunday?

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