Nine years and one month ago today, I moved to the intersection of 18th and Castro, to an unrenovated flat above the Sausage Factory, right next to the Bank of America. I never thought I would move to the Castro, with all its tourists, gentrification and body fascism.
Yet every year on Pink Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people flood the street outside my front door, celebrating their lives and their loves, looking for freedom. I am surrounded, and I love it. For me, the hearts of all those visitors are tied to my own, and we together are tied to the queer heroes who made all this possible. I see the crowd on the street, and I think of Jose Sarria, of Harvey Milk, of Audre Lorde, and of Harry Hay. I think of the fierce queens of ACT-UP and Queer Nation who refused to be silent until we as a nation began to take responsibility for our queer brothers and sisters.
I have deep ties to the legacy of the GLBT rights movement pioneers. I am seeking to continue their work. My goal is to nurture and tend the deep heart of the city of Saint Francis, the compassion and tolerance we have always been known for, and to make sure that as new people move here, especially new GLBT people, they have a chance to discover their own ties to that tradition. That’s why Pride is so important to me: if you’re a refugee from someplace more homophobic, or if you’re like me, and you’re vanilla on the outside but kinky on the inside, you can find the people who share your heart and spirit. By throwing the United States’ largest Pride celebration, we are saying to queers the world over: you can come home to San Francisco, and we will welcome you. That’s what Pride’s all about.
I won’t say much about my qualifications; the information is in my handouts. I hold a PhD in anthropology from Berkeley. I am also a web and mobile app developer. I have broad experience in non-profit operations, particularly technology and fundraising. In short, I balance the activist mentality and the community focus of Pride with the management expertise necessary to make it function well.
It seems to me our highest priorities are membership, governance and money.
A year from now, I’d like to see 2000 members, and five years from now, I’d like every GLBT San Franciscan with an interest in Pride to be a member of this organization.
Yet, who will join an organization they cannot trust? We can only expand the membership if we can regain its trust, and we do that through practicing good governance by a board that rises above partisan conflicts and attends to the long-term health of the organization.
For the new board to win the trust of our members, we must demonstrate that it is the process, not the politics, which we aim to safeguard. We do that by being fair, transparent and accountable, and by following the democratic process of the organization instead of finding shifting technicalities on which to overrule it.
We also need to talk about money. At City Hall on Thursday, former Pride attorney Brooke Oliver pointed out that she got more support from Los Angeles for a convention of 50,000 people than Pride gets from San Francisco for an event of 1.5 million.
We need to ask the Supervisors to conduct an Economic Impact Review. If it is the case, as we believe, that Pride contributes $100 million or more to the city economy every year, then it is a net revenue generator, not just a private client for police services. In that case, why did the city only contribute $53000 to a recent Pride celebration?
Corporate sponsorship is an important part of the picture — I’m not opposed to it at all — but I do think Pride is healthier to the extent that its revenue comes from closer at hand. If we want a celebration that reflects our values, we need to pay for it ourselves.
At Pride, we celebrate life and we celebrate our bodies. We celebrate the freedom that allows us to connect with each other, and we celebrate the open hearts, outstretched arms, and lively passions that allow us to touch and snuggle and hug and kiss and more.
My wish for all of us is that today leaves Pride healthier and leaves our community stronger. May our celebration be joyous, may it be free, and may it be long. Thank you.
My comments concern the members’ meeting of July 16, at which the members passed a set of resolutions requiring the board to comply with its own policies and procedures and California law. Several of these resolutions have been ignored.
First, the members resolved that the board should post the updated election procedures with 2013 dates within a week of that meeting. These still had not been posted as of the August 13 meeting.
Second, the members resolved the board should send out candidate statements per the policies and procedures. These were not sent out according to the timeline discussed at that meeting and the format indicated in Pride’s own election procedures.
Third, the members resolved that the board should comply with its statutory obligations under California Corporate Code section 6332 to allow inspection of records & membership lists within 5 days. As of 7/16, two members had made such requests and 5 days had passed without response. After 7/16, several other members made such requests and I am not aware of a single one that was honored within five days. It took more like a month and a half.
Finally, at that meeting, the members repeatedly asked the board why the online form had been removed from the Pride website. No one on the board would offer an explanation except for the secretary’s claim that there was a “technical error with the database.” As a professional web and database developer, I am still curious what this technical error may have been.
Moreover, the secretary claimed that the provision of a downloadable PDF on the website amounted to an “online form.” This is disingenuous in that it requires redefining “submission” contrary to generally accepted language we all use to describe the web and web forms. Apparently “submission,” for the secretary, meant emailing a scanned PDF.
Since the PDF must be saved and/or printed to be completed and filled on a local computer or a physical piece of paper before being scanned and returned to Pride via email, the form still cannot be completed online. In allowing the actual online form to be down for over four months, the current board has therefore drastically reduced the accessibility of membership.
I attended the July 16 members’ meeting of SF Pride and took the notes below. No doubt the official minutes would be more detailed, but it has been two months and they are still not forthcoming. What’s up with that?!
The lack of official minutes is of particular concern because the members passed a set of resolutions at this meeting requiring the board to comply with its legal obligations regarding membership lists and to conduct the board election in a fair and transparent way. The board largely failed to comply with these resolutions, so I offer the notes below as a way to job peoples’ memory of what exactly happened that evening.
I am particularly concerned about the current board’s lack of response to resolutions #3 and #5, which were passed with the overwhelming support of the members. On #3, the board did not send out candidate statements as provided by the member resolution and the policies and procedures; rather, they sent out a paragraph of text which was requested after the deadline in the policies and procedures, and the form requesting that information also asked for a whole bunch of other information they did not provide to the members. On #5, while they eventually provided memberships lists, it took almost a month and a half before the first requests were fulfilled. They certainly did not provide the membership information within the 5 days required by the California Corporate Code.
pride members’ meeting 7/16
chaired by davace chin
1) Brooke Oliver. proposes to add to the agenda: six motions to add to agenda:
- board post to website and email to membership the updated and most current nom & elec procedures with exact dates (postings are not current)
- board permit widest possible participation & attendance at agm by holding mtg in a large & accessible space (at least 200 people)
- membership directs board to send out written candidate statements from all duly nominated candidates to all members eligible to vote according to the policies & procedures.
- board determine and announce the record date for eligibility to vote in sept agm within a week from today (withdrawn, already on agenda)
- board comply with obligations concerning inspection of records & membership list within 5 days permitted by statute (two members have made such requests and 5 days have passed without response)
- (Pat Keenan) add discussion of military recruiters — how did decision get made to allow them?
- (Petrelis) post online last 12 months of minutes from board and membership meetings, and continue posting ongoing.
Petrelis speaks. Glad to see 3 years of 990s; would like to see new 990 within a week of filing.in august; what is written process to determine contingent lineup? post lineup for 2013 on website –
(board response) was not posted this year “for security reasons” (235 contingents in 2013)
2) discussion of privacy concerns
3) motion for new member applications to be submitted online.
4) why did board decline mediation from hrc?
approval of agenda is tabled until after reports
reports: (about 10 minutes)
- joe waggonhoffer — events manager “we’re in pretty good shape — too early for full report”
- vice pres — no report. financial in progress
- pres — general report on pride. successful. Richmond raising flags for first time
- john: question — why is treasurer’s report not present in writing?
- Lou: development report numbers still in progress
back to agenda approval. agenda is approved with no dissent.
announcement of party on saturday. tomorrow is contractor wrap up meeting, 7pm at center. only contractors and committee chairs speak, others can attend and listen
1) feedback on parade etc question about gaps in parade — maybe ask Marsha Levine? — more gap monitors? running out of bevvies disability access — declining volunteers year over year
john caldera — violence!! several shootings. why are people coming from elsewhere?
joey — thanks for absolutely fabulous awards theme did not come across on Saturday & Sunday. something more ? pol demand?
gary virginia — party at w — grand marshals should have been onstage. why not?? be seen benefit at Clift also poorly managed; more about congratulating board of directors. lou says she announced every one …
grand marshal process: any resolution? too many appointed by board vis bylaws? why such inflammatory, divisive, unprofessional communications
Keenan — a woman fainted at cmy mtg. like people being shot. board members appeared not to care. why til 7/2 before people were shot?
Bruce Beaudette — was in contact with lenny broberg that day … plante barely responded
2) record date — deadline is 7/17 for membership application submission. duly recorded.
3) procedure announcement — actual procedures & this year’s dates. 7/23 deadline for posting and emailing. moved and seconded. … pause while we figure who is eligible to vote …
4) agm room size. you can attend if not a member but not electronically
5) written candidate statements sent to all members eligible to vote. date: 14 days before agm.
(justin): is email acceptable? posting online? postmarked snail mail to members who do not have an email address. amendment to post online as well
process interruption …. voting process: red paper handed out to 14 people. Davi W. raises various objections. which mistakes were made? by whom? what happened to online signs? how long to approve it? what is the record date? date submitted? isn’t record date tonight?
davace volunteers to make sure personally and verify that people are indeed in the database by a certain date.
6) proposal re: inspection. brooke on privacy concerns — there is privacy re: rest of world but not for legitimate non-profit business (even churches like Scientology!!) … so that members can communicate for legitimate corp business purposes … and as long as reasons are legitimate (like voting and elections). not part of govt, not hipaa. pride org is a public trust and hence members must be able to communicate with each other about their business. level of distrust has risen to a level where it is essential board allow this inspection. privacy concerns are frivolous; nondisclosure agreements can be signed.
Marilyn Murrillo: privacy concerns. board please get other advice. asks for independent legal advice. alternative like emails instead? send an email or phone # instead of real address because there are “a lot of political people in the room right now”
1) posting of election info. 17/0/0
2) pride have a big room for 300 ppl for agm.
3) candidate statements. details of how this is to be done. received 21st day before. sent (postmarked or emailed) 14 days before agm, by whatever means. (point of process re: voting rights. will it be a zoo in agm?) motion passes, 17/0/2
4) records inspection. Murrillo: is there a way to provide email and phone (rather than address) if purpose is to contact? Jeff Duvall: give members an opportunity to decide whether their names can be given out. Brooke: cal corp code says (6320) — that law still applies. name and address must be provided. “open and notorious” law of state; members can’t opt out. bylaws 4(ii)c says 6330 not 6320 is the applicable code. 6313 — rights of members in this chapter may not be limited by contract, articles or bylaws 6311– inspection includes to copy and make extracts lou: i won’t argue law but 6332 says privacy. 10/6/1. passes by majority vote
how many openings? 9 or 12 running for sure: justin, Pam, javarre, shaun Lisa: board has decided we want to be a board of 12. board can reduce this. Lisa: we will check with counsel regarding how many slots there are.
john caldera: accepts is Lisa’s position open? we will know in a week Brooke Oliver: accepts Jokie: declines joey cain: defers
aug 13 for more nominations
four people nominated. more in August?
joey: moves to table. suggestions to email@example.com
joey: tables til after votes
Minutes — Petrelis
mp1: minutes: past 12 & every month? inc. 990 by 8/15
mp3: contingent lineup for 2013
justin: moves to table discussion
joey: amendment: proposal is to get policy & list within next month 16/1/?
apparently Marsha talks to Charlotte Schulz(!!!) — 16/1/?
Mickey — membership form
* why was it changed to a diff system?
* why not use an electronic form?
Kirk: isn’t it bc it’s a contract?
joey: submit a signed form to
proposal to look into it before next meeting?
can’t answer. will look into it? (no one from board will speak to why online
form was taken down)
“record date” for voting at agm is tomorrow.
* new apps are accepted online via PDF (Lou)
gary: who is responsible for processing?
Lisa: staff does it, secretary follows up
Brooke: core issue. fair, transparent, accurate
jokey: sign up procedure without more equipment
Bruce: auto fill? goes on for some time about process
Lou: this is my problem / mistake and i will try to fix it.
justin: validation — that is a valid concern
HRC Concern: tabled since Davi W. left
Pat Keenan: military came. big issue. how did pride make this enormous decision
and how can we change it?
How many LGBT organizations seek not only to commemorate, celebrate, and educate, but also to liberate? Pride is truly a San Francisco treasure and serving on its board would be a sacred trust. I would rather SF Pride be sustainable and inclusive than wade into controversy. Yet our celebration’s fierce community focus is its strength and sets it apart from Pride celebrations elsewhere. If we want SF Pride to continue reflecting our values, we need to reform board process, expand our membership, and locate new revenue streams. At the core of it all is reaching out and connecting our neighbors to the movement that made their lives possible. Specific proposals:
Reforming the Board
- Increase the size of the board to the maximum of 15.
- Prioritize recruiting candidates from transgender communities.
- Establish a fundraising goal for each board member and increase annually.
- Report board members’ fundraising activity to the board and members.
- Hire a part-time note-taker for public meetings and make the minutes available in realtime using a technology such as Google Docs.
- Follow the recommendations from the 2010 report of the City Controller.
- Begin a multi-year campaign to increase membership. Establish a goal of 2000 members by the end of FY2013-14.
- Reinstate the online membership form and lower the barriers for any San Franciscan who supports our mission.
- Provide incentives to partner organizations to sign up their members.
- Empower members to vote online for grand marshals, the parade theme, and other non-policy event details.
Reforming Our Finances
- Reach out to the tech sector and build relationships with SF’s LGBT tech employees.
- Reward members who make monthly contributions.
- Recruit employee and interest groups as sponsors with potential value-added services such as dedicated tents at the celebration.
- Explore an additional fee of $1 on hotel reservations made during Pride.
I am a web and mobile app developer with clients including a Fortune 500 company and funded startups. I hold a PhD from Berkeley, a BA from Columbia, and I have been practicing mindfulness meditation since I was 14. I have been IT Manager of the National Organization of Women’s Legal Defense Fund and an intern for the development director of GLSEN, handling everything from major donor events to database design. Since 2008, I have been among the most active board members of Nomenus, the consensus-based radical faerie religious 501(c)3, including two years as treasurer. I raised over $20000 in new contributions during my first year alone. More recently, I helped the extended community of members achieve consensus on an historic deal that opened membership to all genders and brought on two sponsored projects that together triple the organization’s revenue.
Are you a member of SF Pride? Please attend the Annual General Meeting, Sunday, September 15 at 2pm at the W Hotel in downtown San Francisco (Howard & 3rd). Voting for our new board of directors will take place at 2:20pm. I would be honored to receive your vote.
Folks may have heard that I am standing in this week’s election to the board of directors of San Francisco Pride, California’s largest free public event. As a longtime community organizer and queer liberation activist, SF Pride means a great deal to me.
Pride’s standing policies & procedures specify that candidates for the board should write a letter of intent introducing themselves for distribution to the membership at the annual general meeting. Here’s the letter I submitted to Lisa Williams, former Board President and now interim CEO, on August 27:
August 26, 2013
Members and Directors
1841 Market Street, Fourth Floor
San Francisco CA 94103
What an honor to be nominated for our Board for Directors! I’d like to introduce myself, present my intentions in accepting the nomination and ask for your support in the upcoming board election.
I am a lifelong activist for sustainability, compassion and liberation, with a social conscience that emerged from the conflict between my family’s values — fairness, nonviolence, justice for the oppressed — and my experience of isolation as a victim of schoolyard bullying in the Midwest. My life straddles San Francisco’s old and new economies: I am an anthropologist of queer subcultures who lives in a collective in the heart of the Castro, but I am also a mobile and web app developer with clients that include venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. I believe that we LGBTQ communities must create our own futures, must explore and develop the things that make us distinct and precious. I also know that revolution does not come overnight and that progress can often entail compromise.
I’ve been involved with various LGBTQ nonprofits since I was a teen. As treasurer of Columbia’s queer student group, I helped pull New York City’s longest-running gay dance night out of debt and into good relations with the university administration. I then worked as an intern for the development director of the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), where I worked on event planning and significant upgrades to GLSEN’s technology and database. After graduating from college and a few years with a news startup (Money Media, now acquired by the Financial Times), I returned to the non-profit sector as IT manager of the National Organization of Women’s Legal Defense Fund.
Meanwhile, I was a resident and organizer at a queer artists’ warehouse in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood, where a mission of liberation organizing led us to hosting scores of events focused on our communities’ arts, culture and politics. I will never forget hearing Sylvia Rivera speak out against the corporatization of the New York City pride parade, which she had helped organize as a protest march, or the night Le Tigre played their first live show and several hundred of my peers lined up in the snow outside and tried to listen through the brick walls.
After moving to Berkeley to earn a PhD in cultural anthropology, I conducted fieldwork on LGBTQ life in Central Asia, Europe and the United States; my professors and colleagues introduced me to stories from many other regions besides. I became convinced that LGBTQ communities are far more diverse than we imagine, with continual reinvention at the core of a profoundly important evolutionary process. I based my doctoral dissertation on interviews and collaborative engagement with the Radical Faeries, a population that includes people of many genders, colors, abilities and other markings that set them apart from easy power and privilege. I would like to bring my respect for diversity and my listening skills to San Francisco Pride.
Our celebration’s financial needs are not inconsiderable, and while I’m delighted that we’re back in the black, gate donations are down and costs continue to rise. My dream is to reach out to the new economy in the Bay Area, to startups and tech corporations, and involve them more directly in sustaining Pride. I have raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Radical Faerie non-profit Nomenus, of which I am a core organizer and architect of a significant multi-year expansion, and I would like to raise much more for San Francisco Pride.
I believe Pride would be stronger with an expanded base of support from members and businesses directly connected to San Francisco. While generally progressive on LGBT issues, the tech sector lags far behind traditional business when it comes to charitable giving, and Pride is in a good position to help close that gap. If elected to the board, I would explore ways Pride could offer resources and education on LGBTQ history to employee groups at the major technology companies, and whether doing so could serve as a new source of revenue. With queer tech employees moving to San Francisco en masse, we have our work cut out for us. We need to reach out to our new neighbors, help them discover their close connection to the movement that made their lives possible, and build a strong base of support for the next generation of Pride. While my commitment to social justice is strong, I would rather Pride be sustainable and inclusive than that the organization take a stand on every issue that comes its way. I believe Pride benefits when its board members’ actions demonstrate moderation, consistency and integrity, and my intention is to offer these qualities as a member of the board.
How many LGBTQ organizations seek not only to commemorate, celebrate, and educate, but also to liberate? Pride is truly a San Francisco treasure, by design an inclusive and democratic organization, a testament to San Francisco values as well as the hard work of the many activists who lived, fought and died to make possible all that we have. The opportunity to serve on Pride’s board is therefore a sacred trust. I thank you for your support.
Jesse Oliver Sanford