Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kors, Kendell, Foreman Pull Prop 8 B.S.;

Prepare to Lose 2012 CA Initiative

On Tuesday morning, key leaders of Gay Inc - Matt Foreman, Kate Kendell, Geoff Kors, Patrick Egan, and others - held a presser at SF's City Hall, and to get to it, one had to go through building security, some questioning at the City Attorney's office, in whose domain the presser was held.

It was a replay of our leaders whipping up some supposedly great new findings from their social researchers, and no town hall meeting this week in the evening at, say, our local community center, which needs meetings to be here there, desperately too.

The only focus on Tuesday for the team that lost us gay marriage in CA, and spent $45 million dollars in the process, without producing any pro-gay educational gains because their ads omitted fags and dykes, was spinning the press. Community engagement be damned.

I was at the presser and raised the matter that these leaders were dooming us to failure again, and demanded they hold more town halls and one especially on this new polling of theirs. What a brilliant idea, they exclaimed, as if they relish the idea of having to hold public forums open to all community members, including the likes of me, and the failures of Gay Inc on Prop 8 in 2008 flooded the room.

But I digress from my point, which is that Patrick Range McDonald of the LA Weekly has taken a skeptic's look at the Gay Inc presser and pointed out a few problems:

Interestingly, a press release on the EQCA and NCLR Web sites appears to pass off the study as an independent endeavor, describing the Haas fund as "a long-time supporter of extending the freedom to marry to gay and lesbian couples."

Which is certainly true and good.

But Kors and Kendell fail to mention that the Haas fund has also been a major contributor to EQCA and NCLR over the years. In 2009, gay blogger Michael Petrelis uncovered that from 2003 to 2008, "the fund contributed $1,385,000 to EQCA and $1,175,000 to NCLR, for a combined total of $2,560,000."

The motives behind the study are questionable.[...]

Armed with his study, Kors appears to be not only trying to set the agenda for the gay rights movement in California, but he's sending a message to other gay rights groups -- a pro-gay marriage ballot measure in 2012 is no sure thing. [...]

Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, came up with this chestnut about the study's findings: "Clearly, the time to changes hearts, minds and votes to support equality is before a campaign starts."

That's common knowledge, no?

No word on how much the groundbreaking study cost to help Kendell and Kors figure out the basics of political campaigning and grassroots activism [...]

Oops, they just forgot to disclose all those millions flowing from Haas to EQCA and NCLR. Good of McDonald to recall my earlier research on this. Just one more bit of proof these folks have a hard time with transparency at every opportunity.

If only we were holding regular community forums with Foreman, Kendell and Kors, we could all be get over the Gay Inc-created divisions, and debate with them about their stewardship of movement dollars and direction.

Sadly, throughout 2008 I saw up close how these leaders didn't respectfully and continually engage with the larger community, beyond their self-contained circles of friends from other non-profits and their boards, and we know what that got us.

Now, inching ever-closer to the 2-year mark of Prop 8's loss, I bore witness to Gay Inc taking a page from the 2008 playbook and enact it all over again. Prepare to lose whatever repeal effort is made in 2012, or any other year, with this sort of (dis)-organizing.

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