Dan Onorato’s Silence is not Moot

Let me just say this.  If HB 300 becomes law and our community gains statewide civil protections in the areas of housing, employment and public accomodation, it will be a good thing. 

However, it is shortsighted to celebrate that avoiding a county vote on this issue — especially any public commitment from our Chief Executive — is some sort of auxillary victory.  It is most decidedly not, especially when Dan Onorato gets to run for Governor without doing anything for gay people. 

Electing a social conservative to follow in the footsteps of Ed Rendell is not going to be very good news if you aren't protected by the privileges of race, gender, sexual orientation or class (or any combination of those).  No human rights ordinance can protect us from that. 

Is it completely unrealistic to ask Chief Executive Onorato to make a show of good faith on any one gay issue over which he holds sway?  Just one, Dan.  It doesn't have to be the HRC.  Just do one thing.

My God, why is this so unreasonable? 


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  • Two things to say. First, it is not our movement's responsibility to test and vet Onorato. Is it our goal to destroy any politician who does nothing for us, or is it to get our agenda passed? If it is the first option, we have a shit load of politicians to destroy. I say start with the Republicans, and then move on to the Democrats. In the end, it will be us along with Barney Frank (except on trans-issues!) and maybe Russ Feingold. My point is, things are that bad.
    I'm with you. Onorato has not been a useful ally. His record is pretty well established. A capable opponent would have all the ammunition needed to make that case he is not a leader on gay rights, based on what he has done so far, because his record is such that he has done fuck all since I've been paying attention, and it's not like there were not opportunities for him to have done something.
    But in the great scheme of things, if you don't like Onorato, volunteer for his opponent. Donate to his opponent. Write bad stories about his campagin. You know the drill. But for now, he's potentially irrelevant to the process for two reasons. The first is if 300 passes. The second is if 4201-08 passes with a supermajority that can override his potential veto. He is only really necessary if 4201-08 is not passed by enough and 300 fails. While it might be an interesting academic endeavor to see what he would do in that situation, it is obviously not a situation I am rooting for. I believe based on the text of this article that you are not rooting for it either.
    As for pushing Onorato to do something? Please continue. He, like most politicians, will probably only do something if pushed. Maybe it will happen. You're certainly fighting the good fight.
    Second thing, let me link to what Sue is responding to here for people wondering what she is talking about.
    And for the record, I think it would be a shit situation if 300 passes before 4201-08. It would be a sign of cowardice on the part of our county. I don't think it will happen. But at this point, it is technically a possibility, which is what I pointed out.
    Of course, there's no guarantee that 300 will pass at all. So the smart thing, of course, is to keep pushing for both with nearly equal fervor.

  • You seriously think that “testing and vetting” a man who runs the second largest county in the state and has higher ambitions is not our responsibility? I'm stunned. I thought that was the whole point of a record. You continue to reduce issues to these choices. Destroy politicians or get our agenda passes? Where did that come from? I don't want to destroy Onorato.
    You had me until “the smart thing” comment. Dismissing Onorato is easy to say when you move away — he won't be your Governor. I understand that a statewide PA victory will have more impact wherever you end up living that anything happening in Pittsburgh, but I think you are wearing blinders when it comes to the negative fallout for those of us who continue to live here with Mayor Luke and Chief Dan.
    Also, your link was not the only source of my post. I have been receiving phone calls and email messages about my lack of support. Including someone who told me that putting pressure on Onorato has eased some the minds of people who perceived their guy Luke was the only one seated in the fake-gay-ally pantheon (you'd be surprised who pulled a seat up to that table). I suppose turning attention on the non-allies at the state level will ease their concerns even further. I don't want to see that happen.
    My point continues to be that people can only do so much “with equal fervor.” You've provided a lot of information and insight that is not coming out of the advocacy corner. I spoke with three people yesterday who kind of knew about the bill — smart queer people — but essentially remain uninformed about the politics of everything.
    We only have so much leverage, Adam. I was fully prepared to roll up my sleeves and help until I saw some of the realities of what is happening beind the scenes. When my confidentiality was violated by someone who gets paid to do this, I realized that I can continue to be a tool for the party line or I can speak my own mind.
    If the County ordinance passes, it won't be a big risk for Onorato to sign it. His window to be a leader on this issue passes. His failure to expend domestic partner benefits and his choice to ignore LGBT related questions from his cyber Town Hall meeting — he is in the driver's seat there and we are heading nowhere. His team is probably smart. The ordinance passes, he signs it because the state is passing the same bill anyway. He looks like a good guy and he didn't do anything that controversial. He showed up and signed a bill without using a single ounce of effort to get it passed or garner public support for the local gay community. Then he takes the campaign donations from those who view this as
    'ally' behavior.
    How do we apply pressure? From where do those resources come? I submitted my question, I sent follow up email messages, I called his office. I contacted my Councilwoman. I can't make anything happen, but I can continue to assess the situation.
    Clearly, our area for disagreement is much more vast than we originally believed. That doesn't make us antagonists. Perhaps hashing this out will provide the information, perspective and dialogue missing from the public sphere.

  • Christopher you should go reread the comments posted by the angry guy from Steel City Stonewall. Then reconsider who is being targeted for destruction. If these are the people working with Dan Frankel, good luck.

  • I've gotten very similar comments from exactly the same source. I kinda know from where I'm speaking.
    Despite appearances, I'm kind of on Sue's side here.

  • 1. As a rule, I don't delete comments. On the rare occasions that I have, blogger says that the comment has been deleted. I always leave a post explaining why.
    2. You have clearly not read far into my archives.
    3. Many of the comments I am referring to came via email. And they were sent by the same person sue quoted. And it has been on more than one occasion.

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