Since it came up in the comments section …

First, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's LGBT Advisory Committee.  Word from the Mayor's office is that an official announcement is imminent.  Now, this is what they told me in early August so frankly, I'm skeptical EXCEPT that it will be a nice little quasi-progressive pre-election move on the part of the campaign.  What we should be wondering is how a Mayor can organize the G-20 in a few months, but take 10 months to get a committee of 8 people organized?  He didn't even need to consult City Council.  Sheesh. 

I've asked individuals serving on the committee to demonstrate their accountability to the community, but I read between the lines that they aren't allowed to do so.  So we got nothing … no names, no dates, no times, no details.  Just more promises and requests for patience. 

We'll discuss in more detail on Sunday night's episode of Sister ShOUT and unveil the official lesbian plan to prod Paul McKrell the Mayor into being a bit more transparent.  Translucent, even. 

You can count on us to be live at the meetings and report back faithfully here and on the air.  I'm *sure* the Mayor will hold open meetings.  Ahem.

A second topic of recent debate in the comments is the ability to post anonymously.  I took the privilege away and had a slew of complaints about how difficult blogware can be for those wanting to set up a user account.  I also missed your feedback.  Anonymity is a long gay tradition.  More than one person in our community has a fake name.  Plenty of folks planted in the bars, spending their hard earned money, are cloaked in anonymity.  Hundreds of local women join the Queer Events List using a very anonymous screen name to protect themselves from their employers, families and neighbors.  Don't even get me started on the bath houses, the private parties, the personal ads, etc.  In these cases, there's nothing wrong with being anonymous as long as you are being smart and safe.

Some would argue that anonymous comments open the door to bitchy gossip and innuendo.  I dare you to name a gay event that involves more than 10 people that doesn't have the same issue.  You think those tables at Bingo are filled with pious, uplifting conversation?  Or the corner booths at Images and Pegasus?  The bench for the softball team?  Of course not.  The difference here is that those subjected to innuendo and gossip have a chance to set the record straight, if they are willing to use their real name. 

Also, it is libel, people.  Slander is what happens in conversation.  Libel happens in print.  I keep an eye out for that and we take care of it.  I've removed comments, but I also think this is one of the few places where people can get their opinions out.  Name an organization that has public meetings?  Our leadership in Pittsburgh is pretty insulated from public opinion.  Granted, they may not read this little blog but its better than 10 minutes at the end of the GLCC Board Mtg (sorry, Rick, but there you have it).  And that's the BEST case scenario. 

So, the overall themes are a desire for more transparency and accountability from our leaders as well as an opportunity for people to get their opinions out there. 


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  • Can we sell the assets of the Propel Pittsburgh commission to help fund our pensions?
    The question I'd be most interested in is whether the Mayor envisages this Commission as being a very active one. I know even the Ethics Commission is on kind of a laid-back schedule except rarely when it gets called up to respond to “emergencies”. Maybe this one will spring in to action to deal with LGBTQ emergencies like the last one.

  • This is not a Commission, Bram. It is an Advisory Committee. The Mayor's spokesperson was very clear about that. So this has absolutely nothing to do with Council — Bruce Kraus didn't even know about it until after the December meeting was announced. There will be no budget, no power and, pardon the pun, clearly no transparency. The Mayor can do what he pleases — or at least what the appointees let him get away with doing.
    The conversation about this committee began well before the Delta Foundation got involved. The Mayor allegedly promised Pennsylvania HRC chair Stephen Glassman and the Women's Law Project that he would do this before June 2008. So we are really looking at an 18 month effort to organize an 8 person advisory committee.
    Then it will be formed, a statement released and we'll go back to business as usual with a Mayor that needs his bodyguard when he's around homosexuals. I think Paul can speak gay for him on the campaign trail, but in official Mayoral capacity I don't know that he anyone on his team who is fluent in gay. Hmmm…..

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