City Paper weighs in on the Mayor’s Advisory Council

Melissa Meinzer, one of two media outlets to cover the planning meeting for the Mayor's new advisory council, has the scoop here.  I found her take to be interesting, especially the follow up interviews with the Mayor's liaison Gary Van Horn and the Mayor's spokeswoman. 

The idea for the council, Van Horn said in a later interview, germinated in January. No action was taken on it, he says, because “nobody was stepping up to the plate and holding the feet to the fire.” So Van Horn, who, as president of the Delta Foundation, a local LGBT business group, has cultivated a relatively close relationship with Ravenstahl, met with him about six weeks ago. “The mayor needed to fulfill his promise” of reaching out, Van Horn said. “We've seen in the last two years, he needs educated.” For instance, he says, the mayor, without someone directly explaining it to him, might not have understood that without domestic partnerships, loving partners of 20 years might be denied hospital visits to one another.

The council will be comprised of 8 to 10 actively involved members of the LGBT community. Preference will be given to city residents, Baginski said at the meeting, and city employees are eligible.

“The committee will create their own bylaws,” Van Horn said.

Other than that, the selection process is not clear.

Baginski said at the meeting that the applications, due Jan. 15, would be culled by herself, Van Horn and others in the mayor's office. But Van Horn said in a later interview “that was news to me”: He said he hadn't realized he'd be on the selection committee until Baginski mentioned it.

How council members will be chosen “will be the mayor's discretion,” Doven says. “I don't have any word on that.”

As to how Van Horn got to be the de facto liaison for the LGBT community, Doven says “that's sometimes how things get started, perhaps he had a relationship with the mayor. I know that [Van Horn] has expressed concern to the mayor and he's had dialogue with the mayor.”

Van Horn won't say if he plans to apply for a council spot himself: “That's to be determined. I want to see how this all pans out.”

At the meeting, Van Horn stated that he and others, including PA Human Relations Commission Chair Stephen Glassman, had met with the Mayor “earlier this year” to discuss this plan. Glassman has confirmed for me that he and local activists, Tara Reynolds, attended that meeting, but has not yet responded to my requests to confirm the other attendees. 

After 40+ comments showed up on my blog post, the Mayor's office asked for my contact information.  I have not yet heard from them and have no idea if they plan to answer my questions or not.

The inconsistencies around this whole plan are a bit troubling.  Why is the Mayor so reluctant to have his people talk with the gay media?  His Deputy Chief of Staff promised me, in front of 27 people, to answer my question about campaign contributions being revealed.  She lied to me.  In a public meeting.  There has been no answer or attempt to answer that question.  I'm a City resident and I should get a real answer, not have to read about it in the City Paper.

Let's talk for a moment about the campaign contributions.  Yes, I want to know about contributions of substantial amounts of money, but I'm also interested in contributions that are smaller but still significant for the donor.  If I give any elected official $50, it represents a big investment on the part of this social-work-salaried lesbian.  It makes a statement about my alliances and my values and my personal support.  The number of nominees for this committee that make donations of $500 and up are probably low.  So, yes, Mayor Ravenstahl, it does matter if there are numerous individuals who supported you with modest amounts.  And you should share that information unless you have something to hide. Period. 

As I've said in previous posts, I think Gary does some good stuff for the community and I think there's nothing wrong with self-promotion to make himself the Mayor's go-to-guy on LGBT issues … after all, no one else was trying to be that person.  But I think it is a violation of ethics for Gary to be part of the planning and nomination teams if he is considering submitting his name for the board.  I think he should pick one or the other.  If the Mayor wants Gary on his board, fine.  Just ask him to pull out of the nomination process to keep things transparent and fair.  That's not difficult.  Make the process fair and transparent.  And that's a decision both Gary and the Mayor can make as part of their commitment to build genuine trust and communication with the community.  This is the point where self-interest should take a back seat to what's best for the community.

As for the “putting the feet to the fire” quote, there are several heads in this community that should roll over that one.  This was initiated by other activists who have not taken responsibility for their actions.  Gary is not the only player, he is the only one willing to be held somewhat accountable.  That's ridiculous.  He gets to deal with all the personal crap in the comments section while others sit back and say nothing.  Shame on them.  If there's even a remote possibility their names are submitted and I find out about it, all details will be forthcoming. 

One other advantage to the new board is that you will get to read some other opinions in future City Paper articles, aside from Gary and myself!


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  • Here we go again.
    First, Gary is not going to sit back from anything. He can have his cake, eat it too and act demurely about it to the only publication that in town that even notices this turn of events. Who exactly is going to stop him? This blog? Fucking ha ha. You can't even get the Mayor to answer a question.
    Second, what you say about these other people needs more scrutinizing. Why arenot the “advocacy” and “activist” groups and people working together? Why is everything such a big secret? If they sit back and do nothing while Gary and the Mayor dance a jig, they deserve every setback they experience.
    What should happen is the people who put these folks into their little elected offices need to get off their asses and put their feet to the fire. All that political goodwill Steel City Stonewall built up is going to elect the chair's lover to a cushy judicial seat rather than focusing on relations with the Mayor. Steel City tacitly gave up on the City. Yes, they sent one person — so prove me wrong by nominating some people to this board and putting in some calls to get answers. Don't just wring your hands and complain.
    Let's see if anyone even notices.

  • Let's try this round with a little less lesbian bashing. It does sound like it was a woman who dropped the ball, but that doesn't mean we need to go there.
    I'm confused about a few things. Did Gary meet with the Mayor early in the year or just six weeks ago? Was Gary part of the planning team or is he saying he stepped in to save the day? Because it sounds like he's making himself out to be some sort of hero here at the exact same time he's being stupid about serving on the Council? Is he suggesting we should be so grateful for his help that we want him on the Council that has no shape, structure, or format as you put it?
    This article just generates more questions.

  • John McIntire is paying attention. He posted about this and a ton of people read his blog (including the Mayor's staff, you betcha). That means other bloggers will read all these posts. And maybe start poking around. That Comet guy broke a big story on the Mayor and ethics. Maybe he can do it again.
    I'm sorry. I should have written the Mayor and the lack of ethics.
    Look out Luke. Johnny Mac is sniffing around.

  • John MacIntire is a hottie. I wish he would do more gay events. With Mayor McHottie – tell the truth, you know Luke Ravenstahl is a more fine piece of man than all those old guys running around to the bars to get our votes. The hot ones are always the most gayphobic.
    Except MacIntire. He loves lesbians.

  • Dunno. I guess the lesbians outlasted all the anonymous pundits. Way to go PghLesbian who also has a real name and isn't afraid to use it.
    Maybe that's why there are suddenly comments on all these other blogs. People need an outlet. I'm looking for new things to read. This seems as good as anything out there.
    OK, so let's look at this story objectively. The Mayor's main conduit to the gay community has no hesitation contradicting himself in public or ignoring requests to share information. The Mayor pretty much feels the same way. What does that tell you about the future of anything gay related in the City? Either it happens through this Gary or it doesn't happen.
    Unless all those crazy kids and suburban moms who turned out for the big march in Oakland start turning up at these meetings and putting Gary's feet to the fire (man, is he going to regret that quote).
    So, go to meetings. Don't just stroll through Oakland with a sign and a baby in your gunnysack. Hire a babysitter and drive through rushour traffic and go to a meeting.
    When is the next planning meeting?

  • Don't trash Steel City because of one fey candidate. They got rid of Gary after the “big secret” started leaking out. Steel City actually has members and meetings and events. They have a long way to go to being actually relevant in local politics, but they are trying to make an impact and be accountable to their members. They survived Gary and Scott S. Give them some breathing space.
    Chris resigned when his boyfriend decided to run for judge. There is no agenda there. His boyfriend may be annoying, but at least Chris did the honorable thing. Unlike guess who?
    I see someone mentioned MacYapper's link to this blog. Is this a good time to ask why isn't MacYapper in the City paper anymore?

  • The only that is clear here is that the Mayor moved ahead on a project without a clear plan. Suprising? No. But bashing him for being so cavalier about his affiliations with the gay community, including his personal posse of gay business owners, aren't going to win him over. Clearly, the Mayor feels comfortable with homosexuals who have the most in common with him. That doesn't include transgender men or women, lesbians, bisexuals or effeminate gay men. He feels comfortable with business owners who are also white men that happen to be gay. He's more at ease with men who make their living off of sex and alcohol because they don't threaten him nearly so much as a lesbian who makes a living as a social worker. It makes a weird kind of sense even if you consider which would be a more positive role model for his son.
    Rather than complain about it, gay leaders should take a page from Gary's book and try to establish an independent relationship with the Mayor. And the Mayor should recognize that's he's painted himself into a corner on this one.
    The advisory committee could be a good way to make everyone happy. The Mayor can have his close advisors, but at least make some attempt to get to know other gay people without having a homosexual translator at his sleeve. The Mayor might even realize that his gay filter isn't quite as accurate as he once thought and we could break through to a new era of gay understanding in Pittsburgh.
    OK, that's a little over the top.
    I agree, though, that Gary should make up his mind about the committee. Either be part of the planning or be part of the committee, sir. Coy comments are beneath you and do a disservice to the community you profess to lead.
    And let our friend from the last thread “Mr Who” pop up again, let me add that this isn't just about who serves on the committee. It is about the process and Mr. Van Horn's own interview threw several more murky layers on that entire discussion.
    Now would be a good time for Stephen Glassman or some other gay leader with prestige to step into the foray and offer us some true leadership.

  • John McIntire is one of the best friends this community has. His blog has its limitations, but people of influence read it. With the loss of the burgher, we must work hard to cultivate good relationships with our allies. It is going to take pressure from straight allies on the Mayor (or his campaign advisors) or gay pressure on Gary and friends that hits them hard to make any change here.
    John McIntire, sir, I would suggest you focus on the Mayor. Hold this up high and wide as a very local example of what's happening on the national level with Obama's administration trying to softpedal the gay community at the inauguration. We have to put pressure locally.
    Just my humble thoughts.

  • The Mayor is probably going to table this whole project because of you ninnies. Keep your noses into other things. Ask why Steel City has like 4 people who come to meetings they hold in inaccessible locations and times? Ask why their website is completely lame and literally entirely fine print? Ask why they are more concerned about the National DOMA than a very local event like this?
    Ask if Gertrude Stein even exists beyond the occasional handout from Steve and Peter?
    Ask if the GLCC has any actual political support to find a new home and stay in the City?
    Ask why the faith community is completely closemouthed about Rick Warren after YEARS of asking people to support Janet Edwards? Where's the payback, ladies?
    Ask WHY we've let someone declare themselves the head of the community with no input, except our bar tabs? Gone are the days when the tavern owners were at the forefront of activisim? Did you seen the scene in Milk where they poured out the beer?
    Ask. Ask. Ask.
    And, sure, keep asking the Mayor's office to provide campaign contribution information on all nominees. It is a simple, to the point request. Don't accept no. Keep asking. Just don't be surprised if he balks and tables the whole matter until Gary can get things under control again. Or until he can figure out what the big bad secret is and realign himself if necessary.
    You can bet I've started asking people about it. Clearly, its something from back in the day so you need to dust off your phonebooks and talk with the old-timers. Find out so we can purge this stupid issue once and for all.

  • We should not forget that the Delta Foundation which is now a business owners guild rather than a foundation tried to take over the Dyke March and that its female owners tried to trick other women into selling out their little dream for a corporate sponsorship. This group is no friend to the lesbian in Pittsburgh. They have one woman on their board. Do you really think the Mayors committee will look that much different? How many gay women spent $500 to see President Clinton for lunch? Why would we when there are so many women-centric organizations that desperately need our help such as Planned Parenthood and the foodbank.
    Women of Pittsburgh, you can either work to get women on this committee or you can say fuck them all and invest your energy into projects that are not controlled by men. You can't have both.

  • Are you saying we have to hold the Mayor and the gay community accountable for this stupid sticky mess? Not just Gary, the poor shlump, who just saw an opportunity to redeem himself. That's the sad part. The ultimate bad guys here is everyone and no one. Our community is so divided that a street party is literally the only way to turn out a crowd. And that's a reflection on us, not just those who saw the opportunity to make a few bucks in their businesses.
    We have real problems facing our families in the coming months. Jobs, losing our homes and health insurance, retirement, all of it. Just like every other family in Pittsburgh. That should be the message — that we are all in the same boat, our just have a few less oars because of some of the current laws. I'm in no position to have a wedding, but if a trip to California or New York gave us some peace of mind about those things with survivor benefits and health insurance and custody, I'd find a way to make it happen. That's a no brainer in my book.
    So Pittsburgh's gay community isn't doing a very good job telling me why all of these other things matter on that same level of taking care of my family. Is the Mayor's Advisory Committee going to negotiated with local business so my partner's employer who is City based will offer domestic partner benefits? Will they make sure the local hospitals lets me at her bedside? Will they get some ==any == kind of gay family information into the schools instead of demonizing us?
    To get to that point of what they are going to do, it matters who we nominate and how that nomination process is going to work. If we don't have a committee with a “me” or someone who really gets me on it, you aren't going to convince me it means a hill of beans. And a group that is more than 30% people who can afford to attend a fancy fundraiser with Bill Clinton is not getting me. No damn way they get me.
    The committee should be a tool that we work together to use for the advancement of our entire community. It seems pretty clear that there's some rallying going on here. We should keep that going and insist that the Mayor be accountable to his residents, not just his campaign contributors.
    Full disclosure!

  • I saw this on MacYapper. A middle aged white straight comedian is more tuned into gay needs than our Mayor and his advisor. What does that say? That we elect John Mcintire? That we turn him gay so he can be our spokesperson?
    Why isn't 2 Political Junkies or Pittsburgh Comet writing about this? David? Maria, the graphics alone should tantalize you. imagine Luke and Gary a la Brokeback Mountain. No one? Anyone? Just a few gay people and MacYapper and Potter.
    Sad. Hard to get full disclosure if no one cares about the story.

  • I saw this on MacYapper. A middle aged white straight comedian is more tuned into gay needs than our Mayor and his advisor. What does that say? That we elect John Mcintire? That we turn him gay so he can be our spokesperson?
    Why isn't 2 Political Junkies or Pittsburgh Comet writing about this? David? Maria, the graphics alone should tantalize you. imagine Luke and Gary a la Brokeback Mountain. No one? Anyone? Just a few gay people and MacYapper and Potter.
    Sad. Hard to get full disclosure if no one cares about the story.

  • This is a persistent story. Keep up the pressure, Sue. We need independent thinkers like you. Bar owners have their place. Bath houses have their place. Community centers should have a place. None of those places should be in the back pocket of the mayor.
    You are one quirky chick, but you have staying power. You don't need anyone's vote to share your opinion.

  • For probably the third time in three years, I deleted a comment. The anonymous commenter made some serious accusations without providing evidence to support his/her claims. I've permitted the sly remarks and the personal opinions to remain posted because I want this to be a forum for multiple perspectives and it is not my role to censor people's perspectives.
    Please try to stay focused on issues and opinions, not gossip and accusations. I don't want to be the comment mom.
    ps: thanks for the grammar correction. 🙂

  • Some of the posts on this thread have been misleading or completely false. So I feel the need to try to correct some of the claims being made on this thread.
    Gary Van Horn was briefly a board member of Steel-City Stonewall Democrats. He resigned due to his work load with other organizations. We would have liked him to have stayed on the board. He is still a valued member of our chapter.
    Earlier this year, Gary brought his mother and many others to the Public Hearing on the Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage & civil unions in Pennsylvania. He was the only person to bring printed material to hand out at the Hearing. He was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primary and after she dropped out, he became an enthusiastic supporter & volunteer for Barack Obama. He supports progressive people & causes throughout the region. The attempt to vilify him on this thread is very misguided.
    Kris Rust is our current Chair. He has worked tirelessly for Steel-City Stonewall Democrats & progressive candidates & causes. He has not resigned as one person on this thread claimed, though he would like to step down after our next board election. His partner Hugh has worked for practically every good good government cause & progressive candidate in the Pittsburgh region.
    All of our board members work very hard and are unpaid. One of our board members uses her vacation days to work for us.
    We don't need to be creating fake enemies. We have REAL enemies. Check out the AFA of PA web site below –
    I worry some of the people making posts on this thread may be homophobes who are trying to sow discord and misinformation in our community.
    If people don't like the Steel-City Stonewall Democrats web site please join us and help us make the site better.
    If people don't like the political efforts & events we have sponsored please join us and help us improve.
    You can check out some of the past events we have sponsored by going to our Face Book Group below.
    Please feel free to join our Face Book Group.
    You can become a member of Steel-City Stonewall Democrats by going to our web site below.
    By joining you also become a member of National Stonewall Democrats. Ten Dollars of your dues go to National Stonewall Democrats.
    Our Board is elected by our membership. Our next board election is tentatively scheduled for February 2009.
    Our primary focus is on electing good people in the Democratic Primary. We collect questionnaires detailing a candidates position on Bi/Gay/Lesbian/Trans issues. Our membership reviews the questionnaires and then votes on which candidates to endorse in the primary.
    We then do everything we can to get our endorsed candidates elected in the Primary & General Election.
    Our Primary Endorsement Meeting is tentatively scheduled for February 2009.
    In 2009 there will be important elections for School Board, City Council, County Council, Mayor, Magistrate Judge, Court of Common Pleas, Superior Court, & Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
    We need help getting good people elected to all of these positions. So please get involved.
    I'm also, along with another person, planning a DOMA protest & volunteer recruitment effort. If you would like to get involved in the planning click the link below.
    If you have any questions or constructive advise please email me.
    Lance Friedman
    Steel-City Stonewall Board Member & Web Site Committee Chair

  • That's a great question. She was a chair of Steel City Stonewall and made rare appearances. She's held like 7 political or advocacy jobs in 4 years.
    Follow through on gay issues is not in her DNA.

  • I've written a lot of positive things about this group over the past years so my bias is very evident. I think it is the best vehicle to advance LGBTQ rights in Western Pennsylvania (and statewide).
    Lance lays out some very good points and shows how effective leadership can leverage criticism into opportunity to move forward. He's one of the most promising young leaders I've worked with in a long time and I'm really impressed that he took the time to publicly respond, rather than just internalize some of the negativity and let it seethe.
    That being said, I think it is perfectly fair for people to use this blog to share their opinions on the organization, its direction, leadership and bias — even when those opinions are negative. Pittsburgh's gay advocacy often fatal flaw is being too insular and secretive. Information is hard to pry free. Accountability is hard to determine. Leadership is stretched too thinly over too many areas leading to burnout. Calls for new leaders are muffled by the insularity and secrecy. The most current example involving the Mayor's GLBT Advisory Board can be just another bump in the road OR an opportunity for systemic reflection.
    Lance, this gives you some data on some perceptions and perhaps you can use that to grow your organization. It also gives the individuals who were specifically mentioned a chance to reflect and determine if their actions reinforced those perceptions or if its just a throwaway comment driven by personal reasons. Your response was measured and appropriate.
    Isn't that the value of public discourse? Is there any other genuine opportunities for public discourse that you can identify?
    Keep reading.

  • Dear Lance,
    In a democracy, people get to criticize other people. The very idea that some people are “off-limits” because they do some good things is undemocratic and ironic coming from homo-democrats. Defend your colleagues by all means, but don't tell me that I should shut up and take a back seat because I'm not active in your group.
    Most of your events are in bars or churches with inaccessible stairways. How is that reaching out to people with disabilities who might want to participate? Do you make it known that children are welcome so parents can attend? Do you recruit someone to play with the kids in another room? Does anyone from your group comment on this blog when Sue writes about you? Other than you?
    I think your organizations do good stuff. But if someone's feelings are hurt over a stupid anonymous comment on a blog, they don't have what it takes to run for office, be partnered to one or be a leader in a community. Setting aside my personal opinions on Chris, Hugh and Gary, I have to ask one questions. Why all this fuss by one white man over the comments about three other white gay men who live pretty good upper middle class lifestyles? WTF? People in our community are LIVING ON THE STREET and you are worried about someone hurting Gary's feelings? Is Gary's mother distributing pizza to hungry gay people or the GLCC teens through the Pittsburgh Foodbank's restaurant leftover program? I looked up her business. Do the gay bars allow homeless men and women to come in for some warmth and a cup of coffee on a cold night? Is anyone meeting with Bruce Kraus about this whole Mayor's gay advisory committee? Did any of the gay bars collect toys for the kids of lower income gay people? Is anyone doing anything to help people in a time of real need? Maybe yes, maybe no. But we get to ask the questions.
    What is Steel City doing about this opportunity the Mayor has presented? What? How many people will you nominate? How many will Hugh nominate? According to his bio, he worked for the City and should know at least a handful of other gay City employees? How many will not be other upper middle class white gay men? Those are the questions.
    You personally stepped up here. Good for you. Keep challenging people to get involved. But you need to get Steel City out of the bars and the basements to be where the peole are. I see all of your blog posts and your email messages. You are taking this too personally. You are one of the most promising emerging leaders in Pittsburgh, but you have to remember that there are real lives and issues that require a little anger and outrage.
    And maybe you need to work with your leadership to hold each other accountable. You have access to this Tara Reynolds. Go have a discussion with her about this and challenge her to follow through on her part. Ask Gary about the discrepency between what he is reported as saying in the City Paper and at the meeting. Ask him to do the right thing on this issue. Do something positive with all this credibility you have.
    I got all this information from this blog and yet I don't see any of these names except for Gary posting comments or sharing information.
    And if you decide to have a meeting somewhere that is reasonably public and in a nice easy to get to space, maybe I'll come. I have to bring my kids, but I'll try to come.
    Merry Christmas.

  • Typical stupid, selfish dyke. It's all about you. You'll complain and bash up a storm, but can't be bothered to get a babysitter for your kids. Or make any effort to get to a meeting. It has to be handed to you. And don't tell me your kids are my problem. You made that decision, you need to deal with it. You certainly can bitch, but you apparently won't participate.

  • Karen,
    You mined a lot of information — you must be a social worker! Way to work the computer and search functions.
    I agree with a lot of what you have to say about the impact of the economoy on the gay community. It is a challenging space where privileges of race and class intersect with the experiences of being sexual minority. That's another entire thread on the topic of who sits on this darn council and I'm sure it will dredge up another round of ugly.
    Your point about parents being included in the Steel City meetings is a very interesting point. I can't say that I've ever seen that mentioned. Certainly, the bar events are inappropriate, but they do have other kinds of events — like the barbecue they just had, would be fine for kids. But maybe they should make an effort to indicate that on the event literature so people know for sure. I doubt they could get a babysitter since its hard to get volunteers, but that would be really cool discussion for Steel City to have with the Pittsburgh Families Like Ours (FLO) Group and maybe help set something up so parents can attend. Anyway, it is something I never thought about before.
    Lance *is* a good guy and his involvement is a really good sign for the future of the organization. I hope you do get to a meeting so you can meet him and the other good folks in the organization. I know I say it all the time, but Steel City is the best vehicle to build a viable gay advocacy presence in Pittsburgh.
    People from Steel City do participate on the blog. Some have told me they read it, others comment (sometimes anonymously, but that's cool). Others email me or talk with me about my posts. They are pretty good about sharing information with me and typically take constructive criticism very well. I suspect the personal nature of some of the comments hits folks in a very uncomfortable way and I can't blame anyone for defending their friends or colleagues. I think you might be a little harsh here, but I don't know what kind of experiences you've had.
    The coming months are going to be tremendously hard for working class and middle class queers, much less those living at or below the poverty line. Your suggestions on how gay groups and business can help are pretty concrete. The trick is to make something happen. I'm going to contact the Foodbank's Three Rivers Table to see what gay owned companies participate. That gives me a whole host of ideas about future blog posts (and articles to pitch/pester Chris Potter about).
    I can hear your frustration, but thanks for being willing to share some of it to help people realize that there are many queer families who are struggling. Please keep commenting.

  • Erin,
    Your comment reminds me to follow up with the Delta Foundation about their board composition. Two of their threee female board members left the board in the late summer and there's been no announcement if/how those vacancies have been filled. Thanks for the reminder.
    The gender distribution on the council will be interesting, especially when you have to factor in other diversity strata.
    While it is probably true that not a lot of queer women dropped $500 to lunch with President Clinton, would that make a difference to you? Would you be okay with anyone who has that kind of resources representing you or is gender the issue? Maybe a little bit of both?

  • Involved is an understatement, Adam. I heard I missed a chance to meet you the other day.
    I think the commenter did say “don't just” do the marches, but I'm a big believer in the continuum of advocacy so we definitely need marches and letters to the editor and donations and volunteers and voters and more bloggers and candidates and protestors and on and on and on.

  • H –
    I emailed Mr. Glassman for comment last week, but have had no response. I also tried to email Tara Reynolds and had no response. The one person who has dialogued with me on this matter has been Gary Van Horn – to his credit, he has typically been very open with me and willing to discuss issues. And he has always been civil. I may not like his answers or agree with his opinions, but he doesn't ignore me.
    Sadly, our infragaystructure is not very organized or cohesive. That's going to require some real commitment and it is VERY SAD that the only discussion of change is coming from the Mayor's office. The Mayor who is opposed to “gay” unions. Sigh.

  • Independent thinker and quirky chick are compliments I'll gladly accept. Staying power might be a euphemism for stubborn? I've been called much worse. 🙂
    You make a good point about not needing votes to share opinions. We need more blogs and email lists and opinions.

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