Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Herrera PR Pleas for Becker's Gay Marriage Book; SF Chron Bestsellers

New additional public records from San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera's staff publicist have been released to me and they show more evidence of how the office made phone call pleas to local reporters, to help promote Jo Becker's book "Forcing the Spring" during an event held in Herrera's City Hall office.

Herrera's publicist slickly told reporters and at least one activist that they were especially welcome at the book reception. The above emails illustrate how it wasn't enough for this publicist to email invitations out to various reporters, while on City time, he also was calling them trying to garner media attention for his boss, the book and Becker. It's never explained in any of the emails from the City Attorney's office why promoting the controversial book on City property was official City business.

The SF Chronicle's legal reporter Bob Egelko received special treatment and Herrera's guy also wonders about inviting a book critic to the reception. The City Attorney sure was doing all he could to generate favorable PR for Becker and her book.

The longest email from Herrera's publicist was to local gay advocate Trey Allen, in which he acknowledged the controversy swirling around the book and then says, "there were some very courageous people who took on the federal Prop 8 challenge when many LGBT leaders were against it." You don't need three guesses to figure out who one of those courageous folks is the man whom the publicist is promoting.

Despite the best PR efforts of Herrera and his taxpayer-funded staff, not to mention loads of online, print, TV and radio attention about "Forcing the Spring" and the attendant controversies, the book has not cracked the San Francisco Chronicle's bestselling books list for nonfiction hardbacks sold in the Bay Area. Yes, in the one market where you'd think the book would find many paying readers, it's not on the list.

However, the divine filmmaker and humorist John Waters' new book "Carsick", all about his hitchhiking adventures across America, has landed at number three on the local list. There's probably more insight for gays and straights in the Waters book than in Becker's tome.

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