December 12, 2012 | by WBadmin
Stein Club election was a farce

By JERI HUGHES

The Gertrude Stein Club election for officers on Dec. 3 was a farce. It became a farce when a group of new members — most whom have never attended a Stein Club meeting or participated in the local issues affecting the District — attended the election night process with the sole intention of usurping the Stein Club leadership.

Martin Garcia, Angela Peoples, and Vincent Villano — the individuals who won the election — state that they are active and involved in issues that are related to the LGBT community. That may very well be. The reality is I don’t know. My associates at the Stein Club don’t know. They are strangers. By their own admission, none had been Stein Club members for more than a week. None are representative of the population that has steadfastly and painstakingly participated in the process or progress that the Stein Club has endorsed and initiated within the District of Columbia.

Had they desired to enhance the Club’s efforts, or make the Club more effective, they would have been welcomed to participate. They would have been welcomed as friends and as members. I must assume that they were just too busy or preoccupied to be a part of that effort. They did not have time to work with the Club, or the members this year or in the years before. They did, however, have the time and energy to recruit 40 or so of their associates to pay dues and stack votes immediately prior to this election of Club officers. This might be a neat trick to win an election, but it does not inspire my faith in their integrity or in the process of Democracy. Quite the opposite.

To maintain electoral integrity, there is a 30-day mandatory Club membership prior to a vote on the endorsement of political candidates. This is to ensure that only real and actual Stein Club members participate in the electoral process. Unscrupulous candidates could potentially stack the vote with their supporters to gain advantage. Unfortunately, that same waiting period does not apply to the election of Club officers, which in hindsight, of course, is an extremely poor policy.

This vulnerability facilitated the election of Garcia, Peoples, and Villano. In future elections, it could potentially facilitate adversarial organizations like the National Organization for Marriage or the Family Research Council to stack new members and essentially destroy the Club’s mission. Admittedly, the maneuver was effective and legal. Some might even call it clever. I witnessed the ballot count. It was an accurate victory supported by a margin of two to five votes. No matter how clever or effective the strategy, it was not ethical. It does nothing to enhance the credibility or integrity of the Gertrude Stein Club, or the fair application of our officer elections.  Personally, I believe that their strategy exhibits contempt for the actual participating Stein Club membership, and the Stein Club in general.

The election process on Dec. 3 is an irrevocable scar on the exemplary history of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club. Even though the newly elected officers may harbor the best of intentions and provide youth, enthusiasm and talent to the organization, their introduction to the Club outweighs any benefit that they might contribute. Ethics isn’t a mere word. It is a way of life.

It is a measure of how the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club has maintained credibility and support from our neighbors and our allies. We cannot afford to compromise that reputation.

Jeri Hughes is a local Democratic and transgender rights activist.

5 Comments
  • The Stein Club takeover was all orchestrated out of Mayor Gray’s LGBT Office. Gray now owns the Stein Club.

  • Agreed. It’s common knowledge in the community that Jeffrey Richardson in the Mayor’s LGBT Office orchestrated the takeover and put the newcomers up to this. He even had Greg Cendana of DC DNC Caucus fame manage their campaign. Richardson and Cendana are noticeably silent now that the controversy has blown up and the good folks on both slates are the ones in the fire. The question is was Richardson acting on his own or on orders from Mayor Gray?

  • Seriously – you lost. Move on.
    You’re not entitled to office.

    • Sounds like a bunch of whinning babies to me… no better than the life long members on the Hill.

      Move aside people, its a new generation with new ideas and new needs that you could fix.

  • The election process on Dec. 3 is an irrevocable scar on the exemplary history of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club. Even though the newly elected officers may harbor the best of intentions and provide youth, enthusiasm and talent to the organization, their introduction to the Club outweighs any benefit that they might contribute. Ethics isn’t a mere word. It is a way of life.
    **********
    Thanks. You’ve persuaded a lot of us, I’m sure, Jeri.

    We have LGBT people being murdered and suffering horrific injuries due to increasing anti-LGBT hate crimes violence. Mayor Gray and Jeff Richardson have done nothing but aid and abet a failed MPD Chief with her annual hate crimes increases– while publicly professing otherwise. Does anyone trust Sterling Washington to be anything but a Richardson-like yes-man for Gray’s Chief of Police, too?

    Gray’s 2010 campaign funding was apparently conducted in a sleazy, unethical manner, as well. Could it be that Boss Tweed Gray (and his LGBT lapdogs) are using sleazy, unethical tactics to turn Stein into their own private Tammany Hall club?

    How cynical can they get? And just how much more contemptuous of DC LGBT Democratic voters will they become if LGBT voters– Dems and Independents alike– don’t rise up and say, ENOUGH?

    I think DC’s burgeoning new arrivals of younger LGBT voters will see through Gray’s cynical attempt to wrap himself in his hand-picked, no-named slate of “See!-We’re-for-the-young-too.” political hacks.

    Let’s hope they join Stein and warn Gray’s would-be Tammany Hall machine to make DC’s streets safe for LGBTs– or ELSE prepare to be fired by LGBT voters who care about their own public safety.

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