Friday, September 12, 2014

SF Pride Candidates, My Questionnaire & Engagement

The reform slate of candidates who in 2013 waged a full-on campaign to engage publicly with the old board of directors organized many tactics for communication including a town hall meeting ( Unfortunately, none of those reformers who were elected to the new board and are up for reelection this Sunday, and the facilitator of the town hall, replied to my questionnaire earlier this week.

But let's focus on the positive and the response from Don Wagda, who wasn't on that slate, joined the board this year and seeks reelection:

(1) Do you favor immediately giving the membership full control of the monthly members' meetings (setting the agenda, facilitation, taking of minutes, etc), with details about transferring control from the board to the members to be decided at public meeting?

Wagda: I'm all for it, so long as there is enough support among non-Board members to sustain the effort. There needs to be coordination with the Board and its committees to codify and implement these changes, and to ensure that the general membership doesn't take any action that would exceed the scope of its legal authority. These changes won't be easy, and I don't think they can happen "immediately." In my mind, the December 2014 general planning meeting is a realistic deadline for implementing some set of the currently circulating proposals.

(2) Do you favor holding one public meeting in early June for the executive director, board members and the membership to collectively determine the lineup of contingents for the SF Pride Parade?

Wagda: I support dialogue through a forum on this topic, especially since this is an area of widespread concern among SF Pride stakeholders. The Parade Manager is uniquely positioned to discuss the many factors that need to be juggled in the formulation of the lineup. I think such a meeting would become unmanageable, however, if actual decisions had to be made in that context. As an alternative to your 'collective determination' approach, I would support decentralization of the parade lineup process from the current 1-2 decision makers, to perhaps a committee of the Board. I also would support reserving a certain number of slots in the first 1/3 of the parade for nonprofit/activist groups, which would be selected by lottery or by vote of the membership.

(3) Do you favor making the amounts paid by each SF Pride Parade 2014 and future contingents transparent and posted on the web?

Wagda: I think we need a parade fee waiver policy that sets/limits the number of fee waivers available each year, makes public any fee waivers granted by the Board and requires the Board to set forth the reason for each waiver granted (e.g., financial hardship, new participant etc.). Otherwise, our parade entry fees are already pretty transparent to my understanding. Regarding sponsorship arrangements, I would support assigning and publicly disclosing dollar thresholds for each of the sponsorship categories/levels (which we already publish without the dollar amounts). Due to various contractual commitments already in place re nondisclosure, any of these changes would have to be for 2015 onward.

Thanks, Don, and you've certainly earned my vote. Here's the response from David Currie, also not one of the 2013 reformers:

"I will respond to your questions if asked at the general membership meeting."

Michelle Meow is also on the current board and was the reform town hall facilitator. She replied:

"Thank you for reaching out! I unfortunately will not be able to participate given the short notice of the request as well as my belief these questions should be addressed in a much more formal manner- or I would rather address the questions to the members of SF Pride than your blog. Though I know members do read your blog and this engagement would have publicity around it, I am a new board member and need more time to consult rules of proper engagement."

I heard from Veronika Fimbres, who wasn't a 2013 reformer and presently isn't on the board:

"I don't think it is appropriate for me to answer at this time. I am sure you understand."

Leading 2013 reformer and current board president Gary Virginia said:

"Any individual is free to respond to your personal questions, but SF Pride Board of Directors candidates are not required to respond to your inquires in your status as an SF Pride Member. I don't feel it is appropriate to have SF Pride's business posted on your personal social media page for your run for political office.

"SF Pride Members who are eligible to vote at the Annual General Member (AGM) Meeting on September 14 have all been members for 60 days or more. As such, they have had opportunity to attend monthly Member Meetings and ask questions, are welcome to attend monthly Board Meetings."

Below is a slate card from the 2013 reformers who created the SF Pride Members for Democracy, Accountability & Transparency. See you all at the meeting this Sunday!

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