Equality California Board: Why?
(Stuart Milk. Credit: Kevin Winter, Getty Images.)
The board of directors of Equality California and its affiliated institute board are riddled with A-gays, wealthy lawyers, power networkers, a Hollywood celebrity and a resident of Florida. For just a moment, let's leave the matters of not a single grassroots activist is on the boards and the community has no say in who gets on the board on the back burner and come back to them later.
EQCA recently faced controversy over how it lobbied the Federal Communications Commission on matters of import to AT&T, then rescinded a letter to the agency once it came to light and many community members were upset our statewide gay group was taking positions on corporate business unrelated to the gay agenda.
At the center of the criticism was EQCA and GLAAD board member Troup Coronado, an AT&T lobbyist who brought about the meltdown at GLAAD over phone merger, political corruption and net neutrality issues. Coronado was forced off the GLAAD board and EQCA soon followed suit. Nice that he's gone, but the corruption, lack of transparency and democratic engagement at both groups are still major problems.
Today I checked the EQCA institute's board page and saw that Coronado is still listed as a member, and chalked up that error to simple laziness on the part of EQCA's web person.
I also looked over the EQCA board page and saw that Stuart Milk, who, you should pardon the pun, is milking his uncle's good name and legacy for all it is worth since he has no real accomplishments of his own to tout, is on the board. He lives in Wilton Manors, Florida, according to EQCA.
A reminder that Harvey's gay nephew, as reported by Matthew Bajko for the Bay Area Reporter in December 2010, "filed trademarks on March 24  with the United States Patent and Trademark office to control the use of Milk's name on alcoholic products and various articles of clothing, from shirts and swimwear to underwear and lingerie. ... Stuart Milk said he decided to pursue the federal trademarks to secure greater protection over the use of his famous uncle's name. He also wanted to ensure that the sale of Milk merchandise would benefit the Harvey B. Milk Foundation, which he helped form last year."
But I digress. Why is any Floridian, much less one with no deep roots in or genuine connections to California, deciding the agenda for EQCA and the gay community here? I see nothing special on Stuart Milk's thin resume that would be a reason for him to be a member of EQCA's board.
As with everything to do with EQCA, who gets on the board and why, how the group decides to lobby the FCC or any other regulatory agency, or how the group decides our gay agenda in Sacramento all takes place in the dark far from public scrutiny. If EQCA embraced democratic principles and held regular town hall meetings in San Francisco, I would attend and insist that the executives explain how their board operates and why the heck a non-resident of California on it.
Lastly, there are a total of 48 people, excluding Coronado, on the two EQCA boards. Would be great if those folks started holding steady forums with the grassroots and finally adopted genuine democratic principles that bring much-needed transparency to this group.