JWG (jwg) wrote,

Cambridge Pride Brunch planning or lack thereof

Another chapter in my civic life.

Every year for the past 15 years, the Cambridge Lavender Alliance (CLA) has hosted a brunch in City Hall on the morning of the Boston Pride brunch. We organize it and run it, get local restaurants to donate food, the Mayor's office to donate some $$ to pay for some expenses and busses to Boston, do publicity, etc. We like to think of it as Queers take over City Hall. All the local politicians show up.

This year the leader of the CLA wanted to stop doing it. I met with her and one other CLA leader and said that I would propose to the GLBT Commission (I am also a member of it) and talk to the Mayor. The GLBT Commission said it didn't want to take on the responsibility (it is all volunteers who don't have much spare time).

Several of us attempted to schedule a meeting with the Mayor and eventually we got one. It turned out that the other two people couldn't meet the meeting so it was only me.

The Cambridge Mayor (has little power since we have a strong City Manager form of Government and he is selected from and by the City Council) does have some staff and a good sized budget. I thought it would be reasonable to "stick" it to him which is how he characterized the meeting when I'd talked to him while trying to set up the official meeting. The Mayor is Ken Reeves, an out gay man who was mayor a few years ago at a time when that was pretty rare, likes to have celebrations and be in the limelight so I thought it might work. I've known him for quite a few years, he's a charming person, and likes to talk a lot (he is a politician). We had a very nice meeting talking about a multitude of local political things that he knows I am involved in. However he didn't want to do it.

1) He is somewhat annoyed at the CLA because it didn't endorse any candidates for last year's election and the two leaders I mentioned above had written a personal endorsement letter for two candidates (not him) that explicitly said that it wasn't the CLA but it seemed somewhat that it was. They didn't sent it to the CLA mailing list since I maintain it and didn't give it to them, but they might have gotten an old copy from one of the candidates. He characterized it as - they endorsed 2 straight people and no-one else; I'm angry, why should I bail them out?

2) He said he didn't want to do anything for which there wasn't a ground swell of support for and he saw no evidence of any. I was somewhat surprised by that statement since nothing like that has stopped him in the past, but maybe he is getting older and wiser. It was interesting, however that at some point in the meeting his eyes lit up, he called in one of his staff, and started reeling off names of people and local organizations to convene for a meeting to discuss some form of event which would probably have nothing to Pride but could be quite interesting.

I mentioned to him at the meeting that there was still no Mayor's web page after three months; he mumbled, staff..... The next day it was created and at another meeting I attended that day that he also attended I said it looks good and he said playfully - see, you asked about it and I got it done.

Now it looks like the CLA will run the Pride Brunch again, but it isn't a sure thing, and perhaps a couple of the GLBT commissioners will help out. Running it isn't too hard since we've done it so many times.

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