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February 08, 2007

Comments

So the thought is Pride (and the WPC) have a better process? A process that allows candidates to recruit people to join the organization and vote on endorsements?

Give me a break! All endorsement processes have flaws and can be manipulated. I'd prefer the process be manipulated by long-time, committed members.

This is 2007. What are these endorsements worth on today's political market?

Basically, the value to candidates is the chance to meet more voters, nothing more. Endorsements carry very little weight outside the group of people actually screening the candidates.

Then why do they [politicos] "cherish and embrace" them if they have little or no value?

could it be because voters are lazy and would rather take the word of someone they possibly trust than do the actual research work themselves?

that would mean they would need to do work, process information utilize rational thought processes, expend personal time and energy.

whew I get tired just typing it.

we get the elected officials we deserve. if a person relies on someone else to think for them considering candidate qualifications, if it goes bad look in the mirror to determine the actual culprit for making a bad choice. if you point the finger at others on who you relied, remember three more are pointing back at you.

Sandy Diva

Ok, so we learn who Calvin Williford wants us to vote for in the mayorial race by looking at the KCPRIDE endorsement. And we learn who Scott Burnett, Doug Gray and Calvin Williford want us to vote for in the Four Freedoms endorsement. So the only thing we REALLY learn is the names of three men will decide who gets public contracts and jobs, if we vote for who they want us to vote for.

If we are going to deal with this kind of insider dealing, why don't we go all the way and vote for Shields?

kayceewolf

"Pride's endorsements were based on votes from its large membership."

Yes, and that membership was made even larger because the firefighters were allowed to buy last-minute memberships for two people who would have been ineligible to vote under the club bylaws in an attempt to force the club to endorse their candidates. Those two votes caused a 20-20 tie in the 4th District races and call into question the credibility of the endorsement process.

Frankly, I think allowing an outside group to step in and try to buy the club's endorsement at the last minute is far more controversial than having people involved in campaigns to cast votes on endorsements.

The flaw of allowing the morally perverse input on decent society.

Up2Late

Cowardly anonymous poster, I'm sure you could argue that the firefighters might be corrupt, but I'm not sure how you reach the conclusion that are "morally perverse."

Sorry, wrong referent. I refer to KC Pride and Four Freedoms as morally perverse, not the fire department. You're probably right about them being corrupt though.

Up2Late

So you have something against Democratic political clubs?

Patrick Dobson

As Pride's VP for communications, I am glad of the comments on our endorsements. The tenor of opinions makes it evident that the club has enough respect and impact in the community to get people talking about us, good or bad.

Frankly, I think most political clubs are corrupt leftovers from the boss age or organizations whose members stand to gain personally (socially, politicly, and monetarily) from helping people get elected. The difference is that a Pride endorsement comes from a vote of the membership of regular people interested in the political process. Sure, there are a few A-listers and politicos involved in political cliques. But most of our members are hard-working people who believe in the inherent good of our democracy and don't want to see it sold to a few insiders.

Pride is not what a top-down organization. We don't ask for donations from candidates. We don't broker deals for support. We don't stipulate that the candidates be members. Our board of screeners are volunteers drawn from the membership. Our vision includes civil rights, social justice, and good government issues--with an emphsis on clean government and elections. We believe in each other and trust the members to make the right decisions. A Pride endorsement comes with a commitment from club members to do street-level work for the candidates they endorse.

Granted, our charter and bylaws state that anyone can be a member--it's part of being an open and democratic organization. And this sometimes causes a race to pay for memberships before an election. But the rule we follow is that new members must be members for a month before they can vote. We stand by this and don't waiver. If the firefighters were in evidence at our meeting, then good for them. We are glad they have the commitment to join us. We hope other Democratic organizations will do the same.

Calvin Williford is a long-time club member and hard-working activist who has as much say as anyone else. Those who think he controls Pride are mistaken. Our recent vote for endorsements shows that even if we had a rather larger meeting than usual, the membership prevailed.

Calvin

Thank you Patrick.

The KC PRIDE membership is diverse and strong because all voices are heard. I think our process has been open and fair and although I did not participate in the screening process I have absolute confidence that the screeners listened to all voices equally and their recommendations reflected that and when we voted we did so without rancor or intimidation and frankly deadlocked in two races. That is reflected in dual endorsements in two races. I think that is true democracy. As for members who also happen to be Firefighters let me say this: there would not be domestic partner benefits in Jackson County or Kansas City without their help and support. Anyone who would like to challenge the commitment of Local 42 to progressive values needs to really understand that without them the struggle for LGBT equality in Kansas City would look very different today. As recently as this week the Police Department was balking at including DP benefits in the newly combined city package. It was the Firefighters Union that once again stood firm and help enlist the political support necessary to maintain these benefits. Firefighters are not show up and vote members of KC PRIDE they are a key part of the progressive coalition that is KC PRIDE.

Roger Gooden our founding president and Terry Norman his successor were determined that social justice for all would be our rallying cry and by doing so the LGBT community would be part of a stronger and more durable coalition that could help us accomplish that which any community standing alone could not. Their vision continues...

kayceewolf

Undoubtedly the firefighters have provided their support in the past on issues. How deep that support runs is open to debate. (Some of us who were around for the club's first participation in a get-out-the-vote rally in 2002 still remember overhearing members of the firefighters making comments about how they'd "never been around this many fags before.")

The issue of the legitimacy of the endorsement process remains when the club ignored its own bylaws on who can vote. As a result, two votes by firefighters union member were cast - one by someone who did not show up member rolls before that night and the other whose membership had lapsed for more than a year - that violated club rules. Those two votes made the difference between a real endorsement and a watered-down, wishy-washy dual endorsement. That's neither an example of true democracy nor a vote of confidence for a questionable endorsement process.

Heaven knows as Democrats we questioned the legitimacy of Bush's election. We should be just as diligent in seeing that rules are followed within our own organizations if we expect to have any credibility.

girlpower525

kayceewolf (Van):

How do you how anyone voted? Your assumptions seem to be based on the bias viewed that anyone who wears a uniform votes the same way. I am a firefighter and I am not supporting Becky or others that my union has endorsed. I support my union but not all of their endorsements and I support PRIDE because I believe in the PRIDE cause. You should check yourself on your own bias and potential bigotry and stop attacking other based on where we work. If I am right, you work for the Prosecutor and are a member of the Carpenter's union. Do you support all the candidates they endorse? Does Jim Kanatzar tell you who to vote for and do you follow those directions? Take your bitterness elsewhere if you need to vent and get some help for your sterotyping behavior.

Van:

Girlpower has it right. How do you know how anyone voted? Why are you taking shots at Local 42? Because of some drunken comment 5 years ago? Does 1 or 2 people mean a whole organization is homophobic? Does the support of the union leadership since then mean nothing? I would also guess that our boss doesn't share your view. Does he know about your cheap shots against them? I work for the same person you do and think you are doing harm to him but more importantly you are doing harm a club that I thought you cared about. What is this all about?

Gentle Ben

Congratulations to kayceewolf for holding everyone to the same standards of conduct. How refreshing. If the other two cared about the future of "a club I thought you cared about" they would join kayceewolf in demanding that its elections be run in a straightforward and honest manner.

The reason we get down the road 4 or 5 years and wonder why things have gotten worse instead of better is that we don't hold our own accountable.

Not a club member

Get a clue folks. KC PRIDE is like any other club there are factions and these factions disagree about all sorts of things but if people want to raise questions about election protocols they should have the courage and decency to raise them at the club meetings not on the blogs in a way that I find just plain weak and cowardly. This is as true for the Four Freedoms, CCP, Citizens Association and Freedom Inc. If you cannot say it at a meeting of club you belong to then maybe you don't really need to be in that club. And, if you believe in that organization then have the bleeping decency to actually act like a member and not some cynic sitting on the sidelines just waiting to critize when everyone else has left the room. I find the post election whinning to be sourgrapes and pathetic. Were have all the real men and women gone who actually would stand up and fight for what they believe in rather then just wait like cockroaches in the dark. You post result whinners make me ill.

Gentle Ben

What kind of a club is it if you can't discuss its actions in public?

Not a club member

Anonymous blogging attacking the ethics and values of others is not a public discussion. My point is that members of these clubs should be discussing these issues with members of their clubs at the forums provided and not wait until all actions have occurred to then launch critical acts. Cowardly.

Gentle Ben

OK, good point. But, is this also a suggestion that perhaps the members of the group don't feel comfortable expressing themselves on issues that are controversial to the organization itself? If that's the case, maybe that's the first issue the organization should address.

Not a club member

I agree.

The Voices in Calvin's Head

Calvin it was the fire fighters union under the cloak of "Taxpayers United" who intimidated voters and poll workers in the Historic Northeast and Midtown areas. Be careful Calvin, "He who rides the tiger often ends up inside."

We believe it is you and the Brooks campaign that has been stiring the pot on here over Doug Gray and Scott Burnett. First you ran Patrick Dobson against him, and Doug ran the superior campaign for Scott. So now you and your people libel Doug.

Were you ordered to do this by Sanders or are you off on your own? This all could embarrass your boss you know.

Wondering what this thread is actually about

The heading of this thread is "KC PRIDE endorses Brooks" how did this become about "homophobic firefighters" who might eat someone? I know the firefighters are supporting Nace not Brooks. So firefighter support didn't translate into an endorsement and yet it sounds like many have been longstanding members of the club. So what is the problem here? I would ask what am I missing but I am certain that this is all insider politics not related to the February primary.

kayceewolf

"My point is that members of these clubs should be discussing these issues with members of their clubs at the forums provided and not wait until all actions have occurred to then launch critical acts."

Just to clarify this ... As a member of the club's executive committee who chose to step down, I justified not taking any action at the time because, frankly, I could use the excuse 'it's not my problem anymore.' I was content to walk away and wash my hands of the situation - even after other club members expressed similar sentiments about the endorsement process and encouraged me to speak up. (And heaven knows I've never been one who is shy about expressing his opinions.)

What prompted me to finally speak up was the original post and the comment about how Pride's endorsements went smoother than Four Freedom's. I think the phrase used was that Four Freedom's endorsements were "tinged with controversy." That was a snarky and hypocritical slap at a fellow LGBT organization. I don't believe Four Freedoms broke any of its bylaws in allowing people involved in campaigns to vote on endorsements. (And, truth be told, the LGBT community in Kansas City is not huge. There will always be overlap between members who are political active and those that work or volunteer on specific campaigns.) I don't know whether the catty swipe at Four Freedoms in the original post came from the Star or someone in KC Pride, but considering that KC Pride violated its own bylaws in the voting process, there is absolutely no room to criticize Four Freedoms' endorsement process when Pride's was so seriously flawed.

My criticism is not about individuals. Calvin, John, Patrick and the other officers and members of KC Pride are all great people and the club has made tremendous progress over the past several years. I've been proud to have been a part of KC Pride since it began. If anything, my criticism has been about the broken process by which endorsements are made. That process must be fixed if KC Pride is to have any credibility in its endorsements.

Sadly, the club took a giant step backwards with its last endorsement vote. I really do hope the club can reverse course and regain the principles it once stood for back in the days when we were the scrappy new kids on the block.

here, here!

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