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Open letter to San Diego Pride Board from Pride Community Accountability Committee

Open Letter to Pride Board from The Pride Community Accountability Committee
Photo credit:
Timothy Rawles - SDGLN

To: Bianca Burt Co-Chair, San Diego LGBT Pride Matthew Verdeflor, Treasurer, San Diego LGBT Pride Jaime Carrillo Secretary, San Diego LGBT Pride Nenette Agulto, Lynn Barnes-Wallace, Phyllis Jackson and Jim Seal Directors, San Diego LGBT Pride

From: Pride Community Accountability Committee www.savesdpride.org

Date: October 17th, 2016

Subject: Community negotiations with Pride Board fail

Dear San Diego LGBT Pride Board, We are writing to you today to express our deep disappointment that you have failed to work with the Community Negotiating Committee to address our concerns by the deadline that we discussed and agreed upon.

1. On September 21, 2016 a group of 65 members of the San Diego community came to the Pride Board meeting with of concerns and suggested corrective actions.

Of the corrective actions presented to the Pride Board, not a single one has been implemented. To add insult to injury, some of your board members have engaged in slander against the members of the Community Negotiating Committee and the suggested members to the San Diego Pride board.

One current Pride Board member, Lynn Barnes-Wallace, for example, has compared the 65 concerned community members to the homophobic counter protesters who tear gassed parade marchers at pride in 1999 and your sponsored representative to the Consolidate Association of Pride, Inc., has alleged falsehoods about members of the Community Negotiating Committee that rise to the level of libel.

2. On September 28, an elected community committee of five representatives was to meet with five representatives of the Pride Board.

In addition to violating our agreement on the number of members to be present, you had seven present, you also invited your attorney to the meeting without notice.

In spite of the hostile environment that was presented to our representatives and the hostility from the chair of the meeting, Lynn Barnes-Wallace, the Community Negotiating Committee stayed in the hope of reaching an agreement.

The agreement from that evening was that you would consider our board suggestions and change the membership of the board before the Oct. 19 Pride Board meeting and that you would post your minutes on Oct. 15th. Neither of these actions have been met.

To understand the severity of your refusal to post minutes requires that we revisit the timeline of your failure in this matter:

  •  The last minutes of the San Diego Pride Board meetings were published on the San Diego Pride Website in May 2015. Of the minutes from 2015 you only have January, February and May available which means the meeting minutes from March and April are missing as well.
  •  On January 18, 2016 the then Pride Co-Chair Romer De Los Santos directed Secretary Jaime Carrillo to post the minutes from your retreat and from 2015. Current Co-Chair Bianca Burt was cc'd in this email. That request has not been met.
  • In March of 2016 the minutes were brought up by another member of your board/emeriti and the conversation was that Jaime Carrillo was not fulfilling the basic role of secretary. No minutes were posted as the result of that conversation.
  • On April 21, 2016 Julius Manabat via e-mail requested a copy of the Pride Board meeting minutes. Julius is the individual who has been helping the Pride Board take minutes recently. The then Pride Co-Chair Romer De Los Santos responded to Julius that the minutes would be discussed at the board meeting of April 20, 2016 and that the minutes would be ready by the end of the month. Current Co-Chair Bianca Burt was cc'd on this email conversation. Still, no minutes have been posted.
  • On July 6, 2016 the then Pride Co-Chair Romer De Los Santos directed Secretary Jaime Carrillo to post the minutes. Current Co-Chair Bianca Burt was cc'd in the email correspondence. Still, no minutes have been posted.
  • On September 14, 2016 Pride Festival Manager Bob Leyh, Medical Director Joe Smith and Parade Manager Chad Ryan approached the Executive Committee about the termination of Stephen Whitburn and brought up the issue of the Pride Board minutes not having been posted for over a year. Bianca Burt who refused to allow the group time to address the Executive Committee then said “This is the first she has heard of it” and that she would “Look into it.” And still, no minutes have been posted.
  •  On September 21, 2016 65 community members attended the Pride Board meeting with concerns and suggested corrective actions. No less than five speakers brought up the Pride Board's failure to post meeting minutes. And still, no minutes have been posted.  On September 28, 2016 an elected group of five community members met with a Committee representing the Pride Board of Directors and established an Oct. 15, 2016 deadline for the Pride Board to post the Pride meeting minutes. October 15 has come and passed and still no minutes were posted.
  • The posting of full, complete and certified minutes is one of a few bare minimum requirements for our negotiations to continue and for this conflict to be resolved and yet the current Pride Board has failed to accomplish this universally agreed upon corrective action. Further, you have sent the Pride Board Secretary Jaime Carrillo, the Pride Officer responsible for the posting of minutes to France on an all expense paid trip to represent San Diego LGBT Pride at Inter-Pride.
  • On October 17, 2016 uncertified minutes were posted for February, March and April of 2016, still over a year’s worth of meeting minutes are missing.  On October 17, 2016 newly posted uncertified minutes for February 17, 2016 show that minutes for September 2015 and November 2015 were approved and for reasons unknown have not been posted.  On October 17, 2016 newly posted uncertified minutes for March 15, 2016 show that meeting minutes from unspecified meeting dates were pending but neither approved nor posted.
  • On October 17, 2016 newly posted uncertified minutes for April 20, 2016, indicate a backlog for minutes for unspecified meeting dates ready to be approved and published but were neither approved nor published.
  • As of October 17th, 2016 meeting minutes are still missing for most of 2015 and 2016 and meeting minutes for 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 have links which are no longer functional. 

3. The current Pride Board of Directors has failed to address the serious allegations of impropriety among its current membership. On September 21, 2016 the Board was reminded of an incident where Jaime Carrillo behaved inappropriately toward a pride volunteer and disability advocate. Further that he was publicly intoxicated at Pride functions and has failed in his principle responsibility to keep and publish minutes.

4. The Board of Directors has failed to communicate a timeline on any matter with the Community Negotiating Committee. As a result of the failure of the current Pride Board, we, the Community Negotiating Committee, have determined that the current Board of Directors of San Diego LGBT Pride is not operating in good faith and as a result, we have disbanded the Community Negotiating Committee.

We have reorganized the Community Negotiating Committee into the Pride Community Accountability Committee and we now present the following list to the current San Diego LGBT Pride Board for immediate action:

1. The immediate resignation or removal of Pride Board Secretary Jaime Carrillo for his inappropriate behavior toward a pride volunteer, intoxication at board functions while acting in an official capacity and failure to keep and post the Pride Board of Director meeting minutes.

2. The immediate resignation or removal of Pride Board Director Lynn Barnes-Wallace for her incendiary comments about members of the community and her hostile actions against the Community Negotiating Committee.

3. The immediate appointment of the following former San Diego LGBT Pride Board members: Ebony Burnett-Mullins, Tiffany Gonzalez, Will Rodriguez-Kennedy and Carlos Salazar.

4. The reinstatement of a Community Advisory Council by the end of the 2016 calendar year.

5. The reinstatement of Stephen Whitburn as Executive Director of San Diego LGBT Pride.

6. The posting of all prior San Diego LGBT Pride Board meeting minutes by October 31, 2016.

7. The creation of a new policy for board member selection in partnership with this committee by the end of the 2016 calendar year.

8. That you take up these issues immediately after public comment at your Oct. 19, 2016 Pride Board of Directors meeting.

Should this list of actions not be met, please know that Pride Community Accountability Committee is prepared to do the following:

1. Hold a community town hall on Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 2 pm to address our concerns and request a public vote of no confidence in the current San Diego Pride Board of Directors as well as the resignation of the majority of your board.

2. Organize a volunteer strike of the 2017 San Diego LGBT Pride.

3. Organize a protest and picket line at all Pride Events and meetings.

4. Organize an outreach effort to each of your sponsors to withhold their sponsorship.

5. File complaints with any public body which provides San Diego Pride financial support including but not limited to the City of San Diego via the Commission on Arts and Culture which provided a $118,000 taxpayer funded grant and the County of San Diego that provided another grant.

6. Organize a parallel Pride organization to compete directly with San Diego LGBT Pride.

Entering these negotiations it was our hope that we could work in good faith with the current San Diego LGBT Pride Board of Directors to resolve this matter in a professional manner. Instead the Community Negotiating Committee has been met with hostility, slander and stonewalling as we attempted to make progress. We strongly urge the current Pride Board of Directors to accept our recommendations at their Oct. 19, 2016 meeting.

We do not believe that the majority of the board understands the severity and urgency of our concerns. In keeping with the Community Committee's commitment to transparency this letter will be made available to the public and we will be present at your October 19, 2016 Board meeting to receive your public response and hopefully swift action to implement our recommendations.

Very Respectfully, The Pride Community Accountability Committee, 

Ebony Burnett-Mullins

Timothy Caudill

Edward Condreay Jr.

Jay Evans

Kurt Francis

Tiffany Gonzalez

Cindy Green

Martha Henderson

Eric Hufford

Michele Krug

Howard Menzer

Nicole Murray-Ramirez

Zandro Palma

Jennifer Restle

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy

Carlos Salazar

Joe Smith

Luke Terpstra

Ryan Trabuco

Naomi Velez-Mack

Tres Watson