Queer Town

Equality California Honchos Wanda Sykes, Stuart Milk & Others Won't Meet Public During Executive Director Search?

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Thu, Mar 24, 2011 at 8:00 AM

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The search for a new executive director for gay rights powerhouse Equality California (EQCA) is still underway, even though ordinary gay folks know very little about it.

Blogger Michael Petrelis has been constantly demanding that EQCA hold town hall meetings so the public can give their input and hear what's happening during the important hiring process -- whoever lands the job will lead an organization that helps create laws and policies on the behalf of some 850,000 gays and lesbians in California.

Equality California board members will ultimately hire the next executive director, but they appear to have no desire to hold town hall meetings and face regular gays and lesbians -- the very people who help fund the group through small and large donations.

Asked if Equality California has held town hall meetings as Petrelis and others have suggested, Cary Davidson, chairman of EQCA's search committee, says in a prepared statement to L.A. Weekly:

"Morris & Berger [the consulting firm spearheading the effort to replace outgoing executive director Geoff Kors] have contacted more than 1,000 people in the course of the search and are continuing to have conversations. They have spoken with people from grassroots organizations, unions, large and small nonprofits, foundations, elected officials, and a diverse array of advocacy organizations, per the recommendation of the search committee."

Davidson is a practicing attorney, so we'll simplify his answer: No town halls meetings have been conducted. Not only that, the above list of people and groups are largely gay rights insiders, not the general public.

Davidson does suggest that people send recommendations via the Equality California web site.

"Community members are encouraged to contact Morris & Berger directly to provide input and candidate recommendations," Davidson says in a prepared statement.

That heavily hints that EQCA board members such as comedienne Wanda Sykes, Harvey Milk's nephew Stuart Milk, and labor union icon Dolores Huerta have no plans to face ordinary gays and lesbians in person and hear what they have to say.

We aren't surprised when you consider EQCA's reputation for not playing well with others.

Read L.A. Weekly's cover story "Mission Drift at Gay Inc." to understand exactly how Equality California works behind the scenes.

Davidson does inform us that the "search committee has received many applications and hopes to name a new [executive director] by the beginning of June."

Wonder if people will go to the EQCA web site and recommend town hall meetings? What will happen then?

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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