Thursday, March 08, 2007

Solmonese of HRC in SF on March 21; No Public Community Meeting Scheduled

Two little very reliable birdies have told me this nugget of news. HRC leader Joe Solmonese is coming to San Francisco on March 21, but he has no public community meetings on his schedule. He's coming to town to meet with big donors and board members.
The very fact that HRC's leader, and by extension one of the community's leading self-designation spokesperson, has not one public community event on his agenda for the one day he's in town smacks of elitism. Where is HRC's commitment and execution of open dialogue with the community, not just here, but everywhere they hold their dinner and in at their lavish headquarters?
For a organization that claims in an email to Andrew Sullivan that they are committed to transparency, it strikes me as odd Solmonese would travel to San Francisco and not hold a town hall meeting, say, at the gay community center. Just to tell the community what's happening with HRC and listen to our concerns, and provide transparency to the local gays.
Actually, today, March 9, marks two years since Solmonese took the helm at HRC, and frankly, not only can't I recall any significant thing he's accomplished in Washington, I know of no public meeting he's held in San Francisco during his tenure.
HRC has always enjoyed financial support from this city, and many local leaders have either served on the board or continue to do so today. The San Francisco HRC dinner is a highlight of the gay social season, and the group vacuums up much money to carpetbag back to Washington. But what does HRC do year round in San Francisco, to engage the local political activists?
It holds monthly cocktail parties. From HRC:
Throughout the year, HRC hosts and sponsors several events in your community to raise awareness in our community, attract a growing and diverse membership and help raise money to support HRC goals. Plus, we have a lot of fun! Check back often for upcoming events.
Oh, and what might some of the events be for 2007? Cocktail parties!

Please join us for the 3rd Thursday Event! HRC San Francisco cordially invites you and your friends to our Third Thursday Party at Lime, one of the Castro's coolest restaurant and lounge. Come and meet up with your friends or make new friends in this uber-chic space. HRC membership is not required to attend.

If you haven't looked lately at what HRC is doing in other local areas, click here and learn about upcoming activities, very many of which are centered around annual dinners, cocktail hours, and other socializing opportunities, like the May HRC bowling challenge in Boston.
Those Thursday night booze-fests, which don't sound to me like one can really get all that much serious political organizing done, are the only ways one can plug into HRC politically this year in San Francisco. Wait, there's also the "action center" where one can purchase the latest useless item with an HRC logo stamped on it. That's it.
Hey Joe. We've got a community center, you're facing plenty of criticism from the local print gay press and gay bloggers, you could afford to rent a room at the center, invite the community to a good old-fashioned New England-style town hall forum, and start to honesty address the problems facing HRC.
Joe, are you leader enough to recognize the need for you and HRC to organize a public community forum on March 21, while you're in San Francisco?


Anonymous said...

"Joe, are you leader enough to recognize the need for you and HRC to organize a public community forum on March 21, while you're in San Francisco?"

Joe's answer....
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...Uh, Huh???

Anonymous said...

Since when does having a community "meeting" in SF mean anything to the LGBT community at large in the rest of the country?

I, for one, like the fact the Joe & company are spending less time in the ghettos and more time in the red states where we need to get things done instead of the usual leftist claptrap you get from the whiney Castro crowd.

Harvey Milk would not recognize today's SF gay community -- nor would he like it, I suspect.

Anonymous said...

Of course this will be seen as a vindication of the pressure put on by the gay insurgency rather than not following up with any research:

Unknown said...

Cocktail parties, huh? Back in the days of New York's Gay Activist Alliance we certainly knew how to party but only after the zaps and picketing and all the rest of the work was done. I've no doubt there are groups who are doing a lot of good, but today gay activism seems to be big business -- and endless fund-raising and awards dinners and yes, cocktail parties at swanky places that yesteryear's activists wouldn't have been caught dead in. Years ago activists worked like hell because they were passionate about Gay Rights, not because of a six figure salary -- which is why many of us eventually burned out of course.