Gay Inc. (the mostly Southern California branch) is vetting Facebook executive and California Attorney General candidate Chris Kelly at the West Hollywood nightclub Eleven on Thursday night.

We received our invitation via email on Saturday from West Hollywood City Councilman Jeff Prang, who suggests the evening will be the first of many such events where “leaders in the LGBT community” will meet with political candidates and discuss their views on gay issues.

Sounds swell, but a closer look at the invite made us wonder about a few things.

First, there doesn't appear to be one gay grassroots activist on the host list.

From Equality California's Geoff Kors to L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Lorri Jean to EQCA board member Joe Guardarrama to big time political consultant Steve Afriat, the list is jammed with Gay Inc. regulars, who will probably promise the “gay vote” to whatever candidate these handful of people decide to back.

Then Kors, Jean, and the rest will send tons of emails to you and me in

the coming months, asking for our votes and, more importantly, money to

support that candidate so a “right wing” nut doesn't run wild in

Sacramento and strip us of our rights, with the world most

certainly coming to end.

That's how this stuff plays out, and it starts with these seemingly insignificant

nights at Eleven — Kelly, by the way, appears to be hitting the Equality California campaign circuit … he attended an EQCA dinner on Saturday in San Francisco.

And ever notice the motivation to get the rest of us to fall in line is almost always based on fear and playing some kind of defense?

Anyhow, grassroots folks like gay rights activist Robin McGehee did not make the host list, which is undoubtedly a move by Gay Inc. to maintain their political influence and power.

The second thing we were wondering is will Gay Inc. actually follow through with more of these get-togethers? If so, why not hold a public forum at the West Hollywood auditorium rather than a boozy party at a Boys Town bar?

It gets the larger gay community more involved in the political process and helps the candidates to meet more of us and hear our concerns.

Kors and Jean complained endlessly how gay folks were not engaged for most of the campaign to fight off Proposition 8, but it's this kind of little known event for Chris Kelly, and all the inside politics that follows it, that keeps people out of the loop and unengaged.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

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