Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Did GLAT&T's Barrios Push Merger
at His White House Meetings in February?

The White House visitor records are a step in the right direction for transparency, but two aspects seriously undermine the info and its usefulness. Point one, the layout of the records involves quite a bit of left-right/up-down scrolling because of the horrible horizontal presentation of data that is user un-friendly. Second point, the info is thin gruel or missing.

Two visits earlier this year by Jarrett Barrios, GLAAD's outgoing executive director and AT&T lapdog, highlight both points.

The records show that Barrios had two meetings with out White House assistant for public engagement Brian Bond on February 2 and 4, and they were the only persons in attendance, for unknown period of time.

For the February 2 meeting, the description is left blank, while the February 4 session is defined simply as a "meeting".

As with so much in terms of the dearth of democratic and respectful public engagement from Barrios and Bond, neither informed the at-large gay community about what was discussed. Why should we worry our pretty little heads over what they strategized about? They would never cook up plans or letters to regulatory agencies that would do harm to gay Americans, right? Every reason in the universe to trust these knights of the Gay Inc leadership round-table.

Bond, who before he hooked up with Barack Obama's 2008 campaign was the head of the Victory Fund, an affiliate of the Democratic Party whose purpose is to elect gays to political office.

Recall that in 2000 with Bond at the helm, the fund endorsed Barrios in his bid for a Massachusetts state house race. In May last year they appeared together on a panel in Philadelphia discussing the Obama administration's gay appointments and related concerns. To my queer eye, I see two bosom buddies there to support each other. Fine for them.

But what about the rest of us who want to know what the heck it is that our public gay leaders discuss behind closed doors, both at the White House and elsewhere, ostensibly on the behalf of the LGBT community? When do we get a clue about what Bond and Barrios were collaborating on in February? Was the AT&T proposed merger with T-Mobile on the agenda? I'm more likely to get answers from a crystal ball than Bond or Barrios.

The best solution to the corruption of Gay Inc and the stench of rancid gay Democratic Party stewardship of our community organizations is transparency that strictly adheres to regular town hall meetings, board of directors opening their sessions and decisions to scrutiny, monthly reporting back to the community about their closed-door and letter-writing activities with government agencies and other methods of democratic engagement with ordinary gays.

Anything less is not just accepting the status quo, but is really a step backward. Let's not waste this meltdown and crisis at GLAAD that reaches far beyond just one group and permit business as usual at Gay Inc. Be smart and reject calls just for certain board members at GLAAD to hit the road. Troup Coronado leaving the board will solve very little structural problems.

Open. Meetings. Now.

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