Friday, January 17, 2014

Fab SF Pride Board Continues Great Liberating Strides Forward

The monthly membership meeting of San Francisco Pride was on Tuesday and after months of both criticizing and praising the new board, it's time for me to say a few positive comments about their terrific work. This is not to say that everything is perfect, but there are so many good developments of liberating benefit to the membership and those who attend Pride, that I need to point out some of them.

First of all, the meetings are expertly run by board president Gary Virginia and on Tuesday he again showed his well-honed facilitating skills. He kept us focused, respected all board members and the public no matter what was being said, and even managed a few genuine laughs.

During his dense and detailed verbal report of the work the board and staff have performed in the past month, we learned info about numerous Pride topics -- improved vendor relations, interviewing and recruiting potential new board members, successful fundraiser with our local professional hockey team, the annual $58,000 grant from the City is in the pipeline soon to be released, and so much more.

I singled out Gary's excellent and informative column in a recent Bay Area Reporter, for giving everyone a much-needed report back on exactly what has transformed at Pride in recent months and the better path we are on now. Read the column here. Nothing but gratitude came from me to Gary for citing the posting of IRS 990s on the Pride site and to treasurer David Currie for making that happen. The 990s are a version of porn and I can't get enough of them!

Next up were Marsha Levine, Joey Cain, Joey Cain, Justin Taylor and David Currie shared their written and verbal updates, and I was impressed with the changes made to the grand marshal rules and reduction of number of them, that the response to the Controller's Office audit has been submitted to the City, major revisions soon to hit the Pride web site including posting of more documents and sooner, and reminder of the hard work office manager Lucky Guiterez continues to carry out.

Haven't a clue as to what Jose Cital has done during his tenure on the board and can't recall him speaking on Tuesday. Also not sure what contributions Jesse Oliver Sanford has made and he was absent this week.

Most of the comments from the public and general members were constructive and on the positive side, and I admit to making one or two grouchy complaints that we heard, addressed by the board and we all moved on.

However, I have to say board member John Caldera twice almost forced a major and wasteful distraction to derail the meeting. He was complaining about not getting emails from other members and I don't think a single person in the room wanted to deal with the matter. Why he didn't communicate with his colleagues before the meeting is a mystery and I wish he'd get with the program of making 2014 SF Pride the best yet.

Back at the November members' meeting, which I skipped because of a health problem, Caldera took a leading role in trying to remove David, keeping us all mired in the troubled past. From James Patterson's Bay Area Reporter story:

Board member John Caldera, who arrived late, distributed a letter to members calling for them to support a motion to remove Currie from the board "without cause." Caldera took his seat close to Currie but the treasurer stared in the opposite direction. [...] 

He said there was no one else on the board who could serve as treasurer, a clear swipe at Caldera, who challenged Currie for the job at the October meeting. Among board members, only Virginia focused on Currie as he pleaded his case to members. Caldera continued to shake his head in disagreement with virtually everything Currie said.

During member comments, Caldera jumped to his feet and said Currie was "confrontational" and "disrespectful" to members at the annual meeting and urged members to unseat him.

What nonsense, trying to remove Currie, which I would have voted against, and then not having a qualified person waiting in the wings to replace him if Caldera had his way. FYI, the number of votes to get rid of Currie was 6 versus 29 to retain him.

Let's hope Caldera makes peace with his colleagues and gets on the same page as them, while also acting more constructively at monthly meetings.

A highlight of Tuesday's meeting was a fantastic explanation about the selection of grand marshals, and I'm learning to live with the still too-high number of them but at least the total has been reduced. My plan is to push for members of LGBT communities across Africa to be honored with one of the grand marshal slots. More about that as the months march on toward SF Pride 2014 -- which is gonna be beyond fabulous!

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