Today, at the endorsement meeting, the SCSD members cast thewir votes and produced a slate of endorsed candidates for the upcoming primnary on April 24, 2012. Their website lists the following:

However, there was also a motion to endorse Barrack Obama, which seems to have been neglected in their web posting.

I personally can only disagree with one of these, and that is the endorsement for Bob Casey. While Casey has been good on some issues important to LGBTQ constituents, he has a fairly poor record when it comes to Women’s Rights, and specifically around reproductive rights. Either the folks gathered didn’t recognize the value of not endorsing him or are too closeminded, pretending that they can be single issue voters. Truly, no one in the LGBTQ community can ignore the current attack on women, and it is flawed to feel we can endorse someone who doesn’t see the connectivity of all Civil Rights issues, and act accordingly. The organization- SCSD-  can’t really be faulted for this, as the announced endorsements are what the members present have voted.

I have not been engaged with the SCSD all that long, but it seemed to me that the ballot was especially “small” this year. For example, in my own State House District 24, Ed Gainey was the only name that appeared on the ballot. He is not the only Democrat running in that election, yet, only his name appeared. Why is that? To help an informed membership, I think a ballot which listed all Democrats running for each office would have been far more meaningful.  The ballot could list some notification of which candidates completed a questionaire and which did not. The crowd was quite small, and so while endorsements were made, I haven’t a clue as to what real value they hold except to those candidates who know how to really work the endorsement. For a city of our size which is so predominately Democrat, it is unacceptable that a stonger Democratic club does not exist and operate. Pittsburgh needs to pay some attention to our sisters and brothers over in Philadelphia to learn how to become an active political machine that can achieve things.

Perhaps that is part of the issue- the (gay) political machine here in Pittsburgh. The endorsement meeting was held at Cruze Bar, owned by three of Pittsburgh’s highest profile gay men including Gary Van Horn, Peter Karlovich, and Steve Hernforth, and hosted by the current Mayor, Luke Ravenshahl. It is no secret that these three are big supporters for the Mayor, so the event was perhaps in many ways, just business as usual for the Gay Pittsburgh Democratic machine. Or, the small crowd could be due to the lack of any real contentious battle in the Primary, and thus many folks opted out of the meeting. Or, the fact that the SCSD’s seem to be totally non-existant for 10 months a year, and then come to life to have this one meeting. They have a new web site and a new slate of officers which looks really great (both the site and the officer slate) so they may be heading in a great direction now.

One of my biggest complaints every year is the lack of any attention to school board races. This is an area where conservatives make major headway, and if we are to ever stem the epidemic of teen bullying, it will happen only by getting school board members who understand the issues and are committed to making our classrooms safe for all students. The seemingly simple process of getting questionaires out, returned and posted is no small venture, and to add school board races would be a big undertaking.

In other words, the LGBTQ community needs a stong robust communicative and active political club, and would Steel City Stonewall Democrats please step uyp and feel that great need?

I’ll be posting video and writing about the various candidates over the next few weeks and adding links and other resources to help all of you, my readers be informed.  As for Mr. Gainey, I think he well deserved an endorsement. As much as I have had a great working relationship with Joe Preston, and I like him, it may be time for a change and bring in someone who will really get things moving in Harrisburg. Gainey displays a real passion and energy for leadership, and I believe him as he talks about advocating for the whole of his community, which includes me. A special note too for Mike Doyle for personally making it to the meeting today. With his track record and history, he could easily have left it off of his schedule and made it to another meeting instead. But his decision to be there, shake hands and talk to his constituents says much about his real commitment to our community. I have things to write about all the endorsed candidates, so stayed tuned.

 

3 Comments

  1. Caesar de Chicchis says:

    I appreciate your comments, Tom, and thought I would respond to a couple of the issues you’ve raised. 

    With regard to the ballot, only candidates who have submitted a questionnaire are eligible to receive the endorsement.  So, there is no obvious point in including ineligible candidates on the ballot.  Also, just keeping up on which candidates are running for a particular seat can be a chore, especially when situations arise such as in the race you mentioned where two candidates had their petitions rejected. So, we rely on returned questionnaires as the standard for inclusion on the ballot.

    The board does its best to track down and invite all federal, state, and judicial candidates in Allegheny County as well municipal candidates in the City of Pittsburgh.  I agree with your suggestion of adding Pittsburgh School Board candidates in the future, though to clarify, none of these seats were up this year. 

    Traditionally SCSD has held a Summer and a Winter event in addition to the Spring endorsement.  It was also typical to hold monthly board meetings which are open to the public. The past year has been a time of reorganization for the board and as a result we have been less visible. In spite of this fact, I would describe Sunday’s event as quite successful, both as a fundraiser and in terms of the quality of the discourse it engendered. 

    In addition to a new logo and new board members, I think that we can expect new ideas for how the organization can increase its presence as well as increase the level of participation it receives from the community.

    • Thanks for adding all of this info! It is great to see the SCSD continue to grow and reach to meet the needs of the community here. Thanks for all the hard work.

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