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Saturday, April 19, 2003

Lavender Magazine Political News

Column: Profiles in Cowardice by Eva Young

Also: Republican Senior Statesman Wheelock Whitney Advocates GLBT Rights
By Melissa Paglia

from the article: Running for the U.S. Senate in 1964 and for governor of Minnesota in 1982--plus being a longtime donor to the Republican Party--earns Whitney invites to legislative dinner parties like the one held at the St. Paul Hotel on January 9.

As Whitney recalls, "I went to a dinner hosted by Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum and Majority Leader Eric Paulson. The House is heavily Republican, for the first time ever. After dinner, Steve said, 'If you have something that means a lot to you that you'd like to tell us, this is the time to do it.'

"They went around the room--there weren't more than 10 or 12 people--and I said, 'The one thing I'd like you to do is to rethink your attitude toward gays and lesbians. As most of you know, I have a gay son, and I love him a lot. I'm proud of him. I'm close to him. He's a wonderful citizen, and he deserves to be treated equally with other people, and not be discriminated against because he's gay.

"I believe in treating all human beings equally. I'm offended by the attitude of the Republican Party in their platform. I know a lot of the people in the Legislature, and their elected officials don't feel the same way as the party, but in order to be endorsed for office, you have to say and do things to appeal to these conservative, right-wing people, who use Biblical passages to justify this hatred.

"I realize I'm in the minority. Maybe you don't have any gay or lesbian people in your family, but you will, because it is a lot more widespread than you think. What we need are people who have the guts to speak up for others who are discriminated against.'"

Whitney continues, "I didn't see any heads nodding like they do when you're saying something everybody agrees with. But after you reach a certain point in life, you are free to say what you want, whether people like you or not."

At the time, Whitney was not aware that Representative Arlon Lindner shortly would introduce the controversial bill to overturn civil-rights protection for the GLBT community. Regarding Lindner, Whitney states, "He has a firm conviction that these people are second-class citizens."

Whitney adds, "I wrote three letters: one to the governor, one to Steve Sviggum, and one to Eric Paulson, saying that I agreed with the editorial in the Strib, and asking them to reconsider their positions. There are 82 employees of the state of Minnesota who applied for same-sex benefits. Out of 50, 000 employees, they're the ones being discriminated against. Eighty-two? Come on, that's just vicious."

"That's all I can do," Whitney shrugs. "I don't have a vote. I can just tell them how I feel. They're all good friends of mine. I can't find anybody who agrees with me on everything."

Whitney emphasizes, "Letters and e-mails do make a difference. That's why I wrote them. Those of us who disagree are not going to be silenced. Certainly not me. It's not a gay issue. It's a human-rights issue."

Responding to Whitney, Sviggum assured him that he was very supportive of Whitney's position, and that the bill was not on the Republican agenda. This response was written weeks before the bill eventually was tabled.Running for the U.S. Senate in 1964 and for governor of Minnesota in 1982--plus being a longtime donor to the Republican Party--earns Whitney invites to legislative dinner parties like the one held at the St. Paul Hotel on January 9.

As Whitney recalls, "I went to a dinner hosted by Speaker of the House Steve Sviggum and Majority Leader Eric Paulson. The House is heavily Republican, for the first time ever. After dinner, Steve said, 'If you have something that means a lot to you that you'd like to tell us, this is the time to do it.'

"They went around the room--there weren't more than 10 or 12 people--and I said, 'The one thing I'd like you to do is to rethink your attitude toward gays and lesbians. As most of you know, I have a gay son, and I love him a lot. I'm proud of him. I'm close to him. He's a wonderful citizen, and he deserves to be treated equally with other people, and not be discriminated against because he's gay.

"I believe in treating all human beings equally. I'm offended by the attitude of the Republican Party in their platform. I know a lot of the people in the Legislature, and their elected officials don't feel the same way as the party, but in order to be endorsed for office, you have to say and do things to appeal to these conservative, right-wing people, who use Biblical passages to justify this hatred.

"I realize I'm in the minority. Maybe you don't have any gay or lesbian people in your family, but you will, because it is a lot more widespread than you think. What we need are people who have the guts to speak up for others who are discriminated against.'"

Whitney continues, "I didn't see any heads nodding like they do when you're saying something everybody agrees with. But after you reach a certain point in life, you are free to say what you want, whether people like you or not."

At the time, Whitney was not aware that Representative Arlon Lindner shortly would introduce the controversial bill to overturn civil-rights protection for the GLBT community. Regarding Lindner, Whitney states, "He has a firm conviction that these people are second-class citizens."

Whitney adds, "I wrote three letters: one to the governor, one to Steve Sviggum, and one to Eric Paulson, saying that I agreed with the editorial in the Strib, and asking them to reconsider their positions. There are 82 employees of the state of Minnesota who applied for same-sex benefits. Out of 50, 000 employees, they're the ones being discriminated against. Eighty-two? Come on, that's just vicious."

"That's all I can do," Whitney shrugs. "I don't have a vote. I can just tell them how I feel. They're all good friends of mine. I can't find anybody who agrees with me on everything."

Whitney emphasizes, "Letters and e-mails do make a difference. That's why I wrote them. Those of us who disagree are not going to be silenced. Certainly not me. It's not a gay issue. It's a human-rights issue."

Responding to Whitney, Sviggum assured him that he was very supportive of Whitney's position, and that the bill was not on the Republican agenda. This response was written weeks before the bill eventually was tabled.

EY: Wheelock Whitney deserves some thanks for bringing up this issue at the gathering of party donors. I called Whitney to thank him for what he did.



Andy Eddy of LCR Florida comments on the Log Cabin Republican/Loggerhead Connection

Thanks Eva

Richard Osborne raised a point of interest when comparing gay women and men, who are Republican, to a species of turtles called "Loggerheads." Those of us who are into conservation know that Loggerheads are endangered, they are being nursed back into existence after years of being abused and mistreated, and like all turtles who race the rabbit they have a way of
creating-change in the long, not the short run race.

AJE
A long-time-scuba diver involved in "Save the Turtles"

Northside Guerilla Cameras Against Drugs?

Via Minneapolis Issues and Minneapolis 3rd Ward

Kelly Phillips writes,
"Calling on Northside residents, or Minneapolis residents who want to volunteer to help out this summer, either with ideas or more...
Jordan residents are trying to think of ways to target those who BUY drugs in our neighborhood. It seems the majority of buyers are not from our community and for some reason think the Northside is an acceptable place to come and commit a crime then leave. Whether its buy "just" weed, crack, or a prostitute we want to find a way to show the "demand" side they are not
welcome in our community. If the people of this list have any ideas they would like to share, please do. I attached a link below to a story the Star Trib recently did at one of our community meeting that explains a little more the some of the issues facing our community this summer."

Jim Graham responds:
CD's have become cheaper than bumper stickers. We in Minneapolis need to make use of that cheap technology, as well as marrying it to another technology - Digital Video. Equipment for Digital Video has become high quality and also has become very cheap. Minneapolis residents will NEED to be creative to face a summer where Council Members do not seem make their
duty to provide adequate public safety much of a priority

My suggestion is: The neighborhood should invest in a digital video camera. Volunteers should be sought among the area residents to take video of the buyers during a transaction, which clearly shows their license number if at all possible. This video could be transferred to a computer and a CD copy sent to the owner with a questionnaire about the awareness of laws directed
at the confiscation of automobiles involved in drug activity. Include information about affects of drug transactions on a community and the possible effectives of video surveillance.

That video CD could also be forwarded to Drug Judges and the Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety. That office could possibly look at Drivers License revocation or non-renewal since they are driving while possessing intoxicating substances. Or perhaps an identifier could be attached to the license. An identifier that would notify people looking at it that this person occasionally is involved with drug activity. If it works for alien visas, why not drugs.

If someone really wanted to get creative they could show this video on cable TV. Possibly join with the neighborhoods along Franklin Avenue to have a great weekly or bi-weekly show. Ventura Village on the Southside is already exploring, and beginning to implement this very possibility. It could be a great tongue in cheek show. Sort of like a spoof on the old "Taconite Industries" television show. Name it "Guerilla Pharmaceuticals" the face of a Minnesota Industry.

Don Samuels likes to do vigils, and is to be commended for that. Don could be even more effective doing something to prevent some of the murders, before they happen. Don could volunteer to be the guest photographer occasionally. He could do a commentary as he shoots the video. He could even be on the "Guerilla Pharmaceuticals" cable show occasionally. This
might also get Dean Zimmerman, Johnson-Lee, Lillegren, and other affected CM's to be competing for airtime of their own. Wouldn't it be cool to have Zimmerman or Samuels making buys from a drug dealer while the other Council Member surreptitiously videoed it? (I suggest those two only because the greatest amount of drug traffic is in their wards.) It would make great evidence in court and really create some excitement politically.

This is probably just whimsical because I am not sure the CM's have the moral courage to be personally and directly involved in addressing the drug problem. We would probably have to rely on the residents living in such areas. We know they have the courage and resolve the Council lacks, or they would move. "Mothers" from those communities are probably the bravest of
residents, so perhaps they would make good camera people. The threat of a drug dealer is trivial compared to the prospects of raising a child in those neighborhoods.

I have attempted some small amount of humor, but it is a deadly serious discussion. It is also a deadly serious suggestion. The "Impacted Neighborhoods" are not only the most impacted by zoning, they are also most impacted by crime and drug dealing. They should also be coalescing around mutual solutions to drug crime. If you remove the buyers the dealers will leave. A new dealer will spring up to fill any "business opportunity" that is vacated. The only successful means to addressing the problem is by
attacking the buyers. The dealers are not scared; the profits are too great, the chance of being caught by the reduced and over worked Minneapolis
Police Department is too small, and the chance of one of the "Drug Judges"
putting them in jail is almost non-existent. The only chance Neighborhood
residents have is for those same residents to attack this problem them
selves. The more creative the better!

Jim Graham,
Ventura Village

EY: The main issue with this is the safety of the camera people. Drug Dealers can be pretty violent. Still this is an interesting idea.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Lavender Greens on Log Cabin Republicans

Ok, someone needs to take that boy's gay membership card away. That was just creepy. --Stephen [this was referencing a pro-war letter from a Conservative Gay author.

David Howe writes: You can have my membership card too. There is no connection between socialism and gayness. Never was. Never will be.

Richard Osborne writes:
Ooooh, Stephen, you're such a NAUGHTY BOY! When I suggested the same thing in a Lavender Magazine piece a while back, the Republicans almost bit my head off, equating my disagreement with their morally bankrupt principles with "intolerance" and "opposition to diversity". Clearly, those of us on the left are apparently suppposed to abandon all of our boundaries and standards, and just let those Loggerhead Republicans enact whatever racist, violent, repressive public policy measures they want to--in order to demonstrate our values of compassion, charity, and inclusiveness.

So don't you go badmouthing them anymore, OK?!

;)

David Howe writes:

Richard, that is not the entire truth - is it?

You neglected to state that your article on gay Republicans proposed a violent response. You suggested that Log Cabin Republicans be pitched in the river. (A perfect Left wing solution, by the way! Chairman Mao used to do the same thing.) Alternatively, you settled for "shunning". That surely sounds like intolerance to me.

Speaking of boundaries and standards, I think you need to keep a boundary between yourself and all gay Republicans and live up to the standard of not drowning people you disagree with.

Question: I'm not a Republican, but I am an anti-socialist. I think gay Republicans are perfectly OK. Does that make me shunnable by proxy?

0ichard Osborne writes:
David Howe--

Please read more carefully! In my Lavender article, I expressly stated that while a part of me WANTED to toss the GOP homosexuals into the river, my non-violent Green values wouldn't allow that--so I proposed shunning as a non-violent alternative. (If
the Amish can use that approach to community protection, why can't we?!)

EY: I don't get it. I disagree with the Green point of view on a number of issues - tending to trust in the free market more than Greens do. That being said, as gay caucuses within different parties, there are times we can work together.

I read both the GLBT Press and Lavender. The way it works if you want to write for Lavender, you have to agree to exclusivity - that means you can't also write for other GLBT Press competitors, or write regular columns on
GLBT issues in other media.

If you are interested in getting a column in Lavender, call Travis Stanton the editor and pitch it to them.

David Strand writes:
Of course, Lavender did have that whole union busting fiasco a couple of years back when it became the first
glbt community publication in the country to actually unionize. The union has told me that there is not a
boycott of the publication and they support writers getting views expressed their.

EY: Yes, and as I understand it, the current staff at Lavender voted the union out. And if we are going to talk about unions, let's talk about how our "friends" at AFSCME Council 6 worked to get the contracts passed without the negotiated Domestic Partner benefits.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Dave Stack of Harrison Neighborhood opines about whether the vote against CCHT Developement on Queen and Glenwood was Represenative of the Neighborhood as a whole. He also points out that Maura Brown is a former employee of CCHT.

Maura's original post posited that the largely white dominated and homoowner dominated meeting skewed the vote against CCHT - and she made the assumption that the minorities and renters in the neighborhood would have been supportive of the project.

Maura Brown wrote: "... the adage that the world is run by those who show up. ... But I find myself increasingly concerned that this rather cavalier
attitude is directly contributing to the death of any meaningful role for neighborhood groups. ... "

I agree in large part with the perspectives of Maura and Jay. However, my experience in various issues has made me come to the conclusion that one person who feels strongly about an issue, equals about maybe 20, or 30, or more, who feel just likewarm about the issue. I am not saying that those who did not show up for this meeting only felt lukewarm about the CCHT project, but at this time we can only speculate. They may have felt indifferent, or they may have not shown up for the various reasons given by Maura and Jay. Theoretically, dispite the demographics, it is possible that the attending group may have actually represented the views of the neighborhood people who had developed somewhat of an interest in the issue.

CCHT facilitated the meeting, thus, I would guess that they were, or could have been, influencial in the methods for organizing for the meeting, and therefore maybe should carry some of the responsibility for the turnout. The cry keeps going out all the time, "Get involved in your neighborhood", but then it seems like, all too often, the involved volunteer gets subjected to various types of unpleasantries.

I do not think that the vote at the meeting was the end all and final "the neighborhood has spoken". However, this particular vote at this particular meeting should carry some weight in the minds of the real decision makers. If not, then why were we asked to vote.

*******************snipped parts of post******

As far as I can tell, Maura is a reasonable and thoughful person, and I respect for opinion. This may very well not have any bearing at all on the current controversy, but, in the name of disclosure, it is noted that she is a former employee of CCHT.

EY: It is always worth disclosing these things.