Rep Dan Frankel Statement on Delta and Pridefest

Dan Frankel Pennsylvania
State Representative Dan Frankel

Trish Mifflin did a great job summing up the situation about the Delta Foundation. I have been reaching out for some statements.

State Representative Dan Frankel has been a member of the Delta Foundation Advisory Board for several years. I asked him to comment on this matter. His formal statement is

I don’t speak for the Delta Foundation and they never asked for my advice, but they do seem to have generated substantial controversy over their decision which is regrettable. It takes away from where the focus of the community should be. And that’s on supporting efforts such as passing a statewide nondiscrimination law to ensure that all LGBT residents have protection against the indignities of discrimination.

According to his Chief of Staff, Carey Cumings “While Representative Frankel is listed as a member of the Advisory Council of the Delta Foundation, his advice has never been sought nor is he aware of any meetings of the Advisory Council.  To his knowledge, the Advisory Council is inactive.”

I have a lot of respect for Representative Frankel, but to be honest – I think he’s being disengenuous here. I went to him directly (directly, directly – even speaking with his wife) with an ethical concern involving Delta. That was two years ago. He told me the same thing then – that he wasn’t actively involved. But he didn’t have his name removed. So he sort of benefits from the best of both worlds, here. He’s affiliated with a powerful group of white gay men with a lot of money, but he’s not responsible for their collective decisions?

I think that’s part of the problem – allies not holding Delta accountable.  Former City Councilor Doug Shields is also on this advisory body and hasn’t responded with a comment. If you are freaking out that I tied our community champion Dan Frankel to this quagmire, then please take a breath and calm down. He can handle it.

When people say “How did this happen?” the answer is not that a secret cabal made decisions in a hidden cave. A lot of otherwise good allies to QTPOC and all of us played a part by turning a blind eye to the fact that the Emperor wasn’t wearing new clothes. So it very much matters now that we dismantle the Fortress of Good Intentions and do some collective soul searching, especially white gay men and lesbians.

The reality is that the board of directors of the Delta Foundation, past and present, should be called on the carpet to explain themselves. They should explain where the money came from and where it was allocated. They should answer the ethical and moral concerns raised by members of the community.

And if they protest about not *really* being involved, their reputations should be sullied a bit for allowing themselves to tolerate such goings-on all these years.



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    The PDN – Pittsburgh’s Downtown Network is an interwoven group of mostly the same individuals made up of private, public entities and elected government officials. It’s built on collusion amongst a designed network of non-profits in a private/public arrangement with our city and county government using the code word partnerships to justify the means. It is the furthest thing from transparency nor is the networks actions consistent of being a partner with its citizenry and organizations who have helped in building Pittsburgh.

    Up until recently thanks to the Pittsburgh LGBTQIA community, what I have noticed is that there has been little inquiry by the public into how the important principles of accountability, conflict-of-interest, executive compensation, fiscal custodianship, and fair wages and benefits have been applied by arts and entertainment organizations, non-profits and even some instances for profit entities that receive tax subsidies in addition to being tax exempt if classified as non-profit, as well as, funding granted by Foundations.
    There is undoubtedly a benefit in receiving money from private foundations and other forms of public money to fund arts, entertainment and non-profits in the region, as these dedicated sources help insulate those entities from an uncertain economy. However, there is also a dark side to the dependency created by this arrangement. An atmosphere of “entitlement” is created among cultural institutions and non-profits which have come to expect annual increases in funding year after year, and this money received begins to approximate a “bailout”.

    I would venture to say the general public has only the faintest understanding of the inner workings of the alphabet soup that comprises the many private Foundations and public entities that grant money such as the Regional Asset District (RAD), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Regional Authority of Allegheny County (RAAC), Sports and Exhibition Authority (SEA), Stadium Authority (SA), Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), and the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Projects (RACP). The public remains largely unaware of how its own money is used by these entities and most certainly unaware of how private foundation money is used. This is especially disconcerting when one realizes that many of the very same politicians and their appointees who authorize distributions to these entities, are actually sitting on their boards of directors – a conflict of interest that could not be more stark!

    And maybe that’s the problem. Pittsburgh’s cultural and non-profit community is a “closed shop”. From what I can see, not one major arts organization in Pittsburgh for instance has had a representative from labor to serve on a board. One giant inequity existing is evident the practice of appointing those to boards who are beholden to them, seeing that even supposedly independent board directors have subtle connections. These connections create a number of negative things from exclusion to convenience. Take for example pay to non-profit arts organizations CEO’s which have in the last ten years skyrocketed. As well as, exclusion from the Pittsburgh LGBTQIA community and organized labor.

    Shawn W. Foyle Secretary Treasurer, IATSE Local 3 Stagehands

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