After reading longtime transgender and progressive leader Denise D'Anne's fantastic letter in the Bay Area Reporter last week, I called her. When we queens weren't telling each other to hush up so we could say something of importance, the conversation was a joy.
As longtime readers know, I find the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club to not-be the self-proclaimed "home of San Francisco's queer progressive left" and don't engage with the club because of broken promises to reclaim historic Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro and other matters, such as having zero interest in worshiping Sup. David Campos or Assm. Tom Ammiano. To me, the club is open for eating by political vultures even when it's not election season.
Denise is a veteran member and knows the club and its leaders and members way better than I, so her words carry much weight. It gives me tremendous pleasure to publish Denise's letter. Let's see if the club uses her letter for a soul-searching discussion, one where the voices of progressives who aren't only into elections have a political home base.
The recent voting by the political action committee at the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club for issues and candidates for the June ballot has been hijacked by the hordes of one-time voters taking advantage of the club's allowing all votes to be counted no matter the dedication of its core membership. For instance, Nancy Pelosi, whom the Milk Club has rejected time and time again, was not endorsed by the PAC but voted in by the "membership."
The Milk Club likes to think of itself as a gathering place for fair-minded people dedicated to democratic principles. We think we are superior to that other club, which some believe is corrupted by money, cynical politicians, and wannabes. Sorry, but when it comes to voting for candidates and issues that the club's dedicated members spend time and energy vetting, we can match the other club's cynicism.
For years the cynical packing of our club has muted our voices when voting is most important. This not only reflects poorly on the club's leaders but on our integrity as a model of democracy in action. Why spend our precious time and intelligent vetting of issues and candidates if all is lost on one night of voting? Why even bother being a member when City Hall comes in force to undo hours of research and thoughtful weighing of the pros and cons of issues and candidates.
We should be known for the quality of our membership and not the quantity, which we like to boost as our influence on politics of the day. No, no our quality is dissipated as we are cynically used like an ATM machine. We need to stop the distortion of our core principles for the sake of appearing to be ethically and democratically above corrupting influences.
Having members of City Hall, unions, or the Democratic establishment should not be the goal of the club and somehow we have to mute their influence. We need to establish strict rules such as requiring all voters to attend at least three of the last five membership meetings in order to qualify for voting.
The Milk Club is noted for its influence and every action we take has long-term debilitating effects when we allow corrupting self-interest interfere with our decision making processes.