Thursday, December 09, 2010

KTVU: HRC & Milk Shop Upsets Gays;
Tune in at 5:00 PM

David Stevenson, a reporter with KTVU, contacted me this morning about my criticism against the Human Rights Campaign leasing the Harvey Milk camera shop on Castro Street, and I urged him to get reactions from folks on the street. I also passed along contact info for Dan Nicoletta, who worked in Harvey's shop, and hope he reaches Dan.

David just called to let me know his story will air in the 5:00-6:00 PM news hour on KTVU. Let's hope the piece gets posted to their site, so folks beyond the Bay Area can watch it.

The more I've thought about HRC's move into the former Milk store, the more I've seen proof that they still just don't get it, in terms of why so many ordinary and famous gays are pissed off with them.

As I have long argued, it would kill the Democrats who happen to be gay and running HRC to hold regular town hall meetings, and in this instance, that lack of community engagement is kicking them in the butt. Crazy as it may sound, I honestly believe that if HRC had organized an open forum, say, at the Milk shop before signing off on the lease and plans to move, there wouldn't be so much anger directed at them.

However, because Joe Solmonese and his minions are terrified of actually debating their agenda and strategies in public meetings, they fell back this week on their usual divisive ways. They quietly struck a deal, either totally ignorant of or maybe unconcerned with how local gays would react, issued an announcement cloaking their elitist operations as supposedly inspired by Milk's genuine grassroots organizing. Feh.

This next part will shock many because I have something basically nice to say about Cleve Jones, longtime Milk associate. In a glaring omission, HRC's release contained no approving quote from Cleve, the main public keeper of the Harvey flame, and yes, they should have sought his ok, along with first lining up support from other Milk associates and gays outside the HRC-orbit.

Now, they have the Queen Bee royally upset and all over the news, speaking against HRC. Can't believe I'm writing this, but I'm actually looking forward to seeing Cleve slam HRC on KTVU later today.

As the controversy has enlarged and swirled this week, HRC has made no moves to dial back the heat and high volume. For a group that claims a grassroots gay leader who led with open door at his camera shop and easy-access to all in the community, HRC does a lousy job of emulating Harvey.

Typical HRC "we rule by decree, not collaboration" b.s. that gets them nowhere.

No public meetings have been announced by HRC, either at the shop, you know, as if they were really out to use the space to mobilize for anything other than selling trinkets, or at the gay community center.

Oh, what I would give to have this lease controversy be the straw that finally breaks the camel's back, forcing the gays to once and for all confront the sloth, arrogance and incompetency of HRC.


Paul Barwick said...

Michael, the video is up:

Unknown said...

thanks much, paul, for the heads and link to the story.

Stephen R. Stapleton, Sacramento, CA said...

I am unclear why HRC had any obligation of any kind to discuss with anyone, other than the landlord and, perhaps, city zoning, renting the space previously rented by Milk. It has been available several times over the more than three decades since Milk last occupied it, so there has been more than ample time for the community to organize itself and do something else with the space. If Cleve (and I like Cleve a great deal) really wanted something there other than HRC, he's had all the time in the world to make that a reality as well as access to people with enough money make it happen. We are rather lucky the Westboro Baptist Church or some other equally hateful group (though finding a group equally hateful to Westboro would be a challenge) didn't rent the place.

As much as I love the Castro, it is not the neighborhood Milk lived in anymore. It is much wealthier, much straighter, much less funky, and decidedly more corporate. I can think of only two or three business that remain from his day, Cliff's being the main one. Would he even recognize Badlands if he wandered in?

Remember: if thing were different, they wouldn't be the same.