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Can San Diego Pride pull off CAPI given the current turmoil?

(SAN DIEGO) As San Diego Pride continues to suffer from a scandal regarding the alleged misuse of the nonprofit’s funds, questions remain as to the impact the turmoil will have on the future of the Pride festival and the other programs San Diego Pride oversees.

Although San Diego Pride may have time to restructure and strengthen itself before July’s Pride events, of particular concern to many is next week’s Consolidated Association of Pride Incorporated’s (CAPI) annual conference, which San Diego Pride is to host.

“The senior staff who have worked hard to bring CAPI to San Diego and make it successful have quit, and I was told volunteers instrumental to making [the conference] successful have stated they will no longer assist with CAPI as long as the three remaining board members remain on the board,” said San Diego Pride’s former Director of Development Ken St. Pierre, who resigned last week in protest of recent actions by the Board. “So at this time it’s anybody’s guess as to who is now working to make sure this event is a success.”

The four day conference is scheduled to take place at the Sheraton Mission Valley. The twenty-two hour event is to feature local and regional speakers, along with discussion panels, workshops, and training sessions aimed at helping Pride organizations throughout the Western United States enhance their annual celebrations.

Discussions and forums will cover such topics as creating community partnerships, volunteerism, marriage equality, parade and festival production, developing creative activist events and more. Roughly 40 Pride Organizations from New Mexico to Hawaii are scheduled to take part in the conference.

An Arizona Pride official who asked not to be identified stated they’ve “heard of the ongoing situation at [San Diego] Pride, but are planning to attend as normal.”

“We don’t know what to expect once we arrive in San Diego. We keep hearing different things but our tickets have all been purchased and dues paid so we will attend hoping that everything will be productive once we get there.”

Jeffrey Redondo, San Diego Pride’s former Production Assistant (who also resigned last week), believes the handling of the conference is under control.

Said Redondo, “The remaining staff will do its best to make sure that the the conference attendees will continue to see San Diego Pride as a leader within the pride movement conference, and the event will be just as memorable as the last time San Diego Pride hosted CAPI.

“But as one of the leading pride organizations in the country, I believe that the current situation will have an effect on the conference, to what degree I do not know. I do believe that there will be a lot of questions surrounding the termination of now former San Diego Pride Executive Director Ron deHarte, [as well as] the resignation of Ken and I. The current board will need to be ready to answer those questions truthfully and honestly.”

The focus of the CAPI conference is “Sharing proven practices, evaluating challenges for Pride organizers and setting the course for tomorrow.” San Diego Pride last hosted the conference in 2002. Keynote speakers will include Metropolitan Community Church founder Troy Perry and former assistant to President Jimmy Carter, and longtime equal rights activist Midge Costanza.

Phone calls to San Diego Pride indicate Mike Karim, current Treasurer of the San Diego Pride board of directors, is now supervising the CAPI conference. Karim, who also serves as Treasurer of CAPI, did not return phone calls to SDGLN at the time of deadline.