December 13, 2012 at 11:10 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Stein Club election challenged by losing faction
Lateefah Williams, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, gay news, Washington Blade

Lateefah Williams (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The officers of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club announced on Wednesday that the club will hold a special membership meeting on Dec. 19 to consider invalidating its Dec. 3 election in which three new members won three of the club’s five officer positions.

In a development that stunned many of the club’s longtime members, at least 46 mostly young LGBT activists who joined the club less than a week prior to the election appeared to have lined up enough votes to defeat Stein President Lateefah Williams and her two vice presidential running mates, seemingly gaining control of the club.

But this week, several unidentified club members came forward to challenge the election of the three new officers on grounds that the home address for 11 of the new members who voted in the election couldn’t be confirmed, according to a memorandum prepared by an attorney advising the club on the challenges.

The memorandum by Donald R. Dinan, general counsel to the D.C. Democratic State Committee, says the club also could not verify whether another six of the new members qualified for a special membership category under which they joined at a discounted membership fee of $15. The regular membership fee is $35.

Under the club’s bylaws, the special membership is restricted to “senior citizens, students and limited income” members.

“Providing an incorrect or false address would be grounds for disqualifying a voter,” Dinan states in his memo. “Likewise, if one were to misrepresent their status in order to qualify for Special Membership and pay the lower dues, that representation could likewise disqualify the voter.”

Dinan added, “In this case, the number of questionable votes is greater than the margin of victory in each of the three races.”

The challenge to the election comes after a number of longtime Stein Club members expressed outrage that a group of newcomers, most of whom had never attended a club meeting, managed to wrest control of the club from its established officers and members.

Supporters of the new crop of members point out that the club’s rules and bylaws do not prevent people from joining the club immediately prior to an election of officers.

Martin Garcia, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, gay news, Washington Blade

Martin Garcia (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The new members were led by gay political consultant Martin Garcia, 27, who defeated Williams for the club’s presidency by a vote of 47 to 45. Garcia is an account manager for the D.C. based political consulting firm The Campaign Workshop. He worked for three years on election campaigns for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund prior to starting his current job in January.

Angela Peoples, 26, a policy analyst for the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, beat club backed candidate Jon Mandel, a staff assistant to D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), by a vote of 47 to 44. The two competed for the post of vice president for legislative and political affairs.

Vincent Villano, 26, communications director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, defeated club backed candidate Hassan Naveed, a public relations firm staffer and vice chair of Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence, by a vote of 48 to 41. If he withstands the election challenge, Villano would become the club’s vice president for administration.

“We are disappointed that the Stein leadership intends to challenge new members who want to contribute to Stein’s growth,” Garcia said in a statement released Wednesday night.

“Stein’s membership rolls nearly doubled because of our recruitment efforts, and that’s a good thing,” he said.

“These new members are young people, people of color, and people from low-income backgrounds who were otherwise not engaged in Stein’s activities…We should be having a special meeting celebrating these new members, and finding ways to engage them.”

Villano said the Stein Club officers who called the special meeting with just a week’s notice appear to have violated the club’s bylaws, which require a two-week advance notice of a special meeting.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the club said its officers voted to call the special meeting to address the challenges to the election “brought by Stein Club members,” whom the release did not identify. The release said any officer whose election may be impacted by the special meeting did not vote on the question of whether the special meeting should be called. Williams, the club’s current president, is the only officer that could be affected by the special meeting.

The club’s current two vice presidents, Julius Agers and Jerome Hunt, did not run for re-election. The club’s treasurer, Barrie Daneker, and secretary, Jimmie Luthuli, were not challenged by the new members and won re-election unopposed.

Dinan said that because the club election was held by secret ballot there is no way of knowing how each member voted.

“Therefore, the number of voters whose addresses and/or Special membership status cannot be confirmed substantially affected the outcome of the election and would be grounds for invalidating the election,” Dinan states in his memo.

Dinan told the Blade in a telephone interview Wednesday night that his memo is not a fact-finding document and that it is the responsibility of the club and its members to determine whether the membership status and addresses of the new members in question are valid.

He said it is also up to the club to decide whether membership category and residential address issues are sufficient grounds for invalidating the election.

The club’s bylaws do not have a residency requirement, and supporters of the new officers say it should not matter whether the new members submitted their correct address on the membership application form.

Kurt Vorndran, a former Stein Club president, said he supports the decision by the officers to call the special meeting. But he said members participating in the meeting should be cautious about what action they take.

“Many club members are unhappy about the way the slate won the election,” he said. “But the question before the special meeting will be if any rules of the club were broken, not about what we think of the election tactics of one side.”

The special meeting is scheduled to take place Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m. in Room 120 of the John A. Wilson Building at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

Ward 8 gay Democratic activist and longtime Stein Club member Phil Pannell, who supported Garcia’s bid for the club presidency, said the club’s bylaws and rules don’t define or provide a process for determining whether a member qualifies for a low-income membership.

“Never in the history of the club has a member’s claim to be low income been questioned,” Pannell said. “If this isn’t handled right it could lead to the destruction of the club.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

    • Peter

      I have never felt less welcome to be part of a group.

  • Peter

    The pettiness of some who want to discourage participation by young LGBTQ in DC. If this goes through, perhaps those LGBTQ individuals who want to DO something should form another group, one where the old guard does not fear new membership.

    • Peter

      Additionally, I have never felt less welcome to be a part of a group than I did that night.

  • Katherine

    That is more evidence that the whole election should be thrown out and re-run.

  • Its all about control, not the greater good. Sour Grapes… sounds a little like Fox news after the national election.

    Ego is a strong driver! Move aside last year’s team. It is a new day.

  • Bob Summersgill

    I voted for all three of the losing candidates. I know two of them fairly well and respect all three of them. However, we lost. And that is okay. The Club had a boost in membership and new young and energetic people will be the new Club leaders. Good for them. They followed the rules and out organized Stein President Williams and her VP picks. No one’s membership in the Club should be questioned. The by-laws state, “Membership in the Club shall be open to all people who are interested in furthering GLBT involvement in the political process.” President Elect Garcia and his VPs easily meet that criteria, as do their supporters. There is no residency or voter registration requirement. The only other criteria for membership is paying dues. No one disputes any of the recent members’ dues haven’t been paid. The sole question is did they register in the correct category of membership. The Special category is “for senior citizens, students and limited-income members.” None of those terms is defined in the by-laws and is up to each individual to say if they qualify. Whether or not someone is in the correct membership category should not disenfranchise them. Nor should anyone’s age or income level be open for discussion. These are personal issues that are not asked of anyone else in the Club. They are irrelevant to Club membership. I ask that Lateefah Williams, Jon Mandel, and Hassan Naveed repudiate the notion of challenging anyone’s right to vote, and refuse to stand for any re-votes.

    • Lane Hudson

      Well said, Bob. Thanks for adding a voice of reason to this situation.

    • brian

      Bob, you always bring more light than heat to a discussion, and often your legal expertise is the relevant tipping point. But Stein Dems is an enormously important LGBT political organization, where favorable public opinion– including that of non-Dems– matters a whole bunch. So I respectfully disagree.

      To paraphrase Elton, at this point anyway, it is Stein Dem’s current credibility and future effectiveness that lies bleeding on the floor.

      The prompt and common-sense way to ‘settle’ this issue is to simply hold another election– to show LGBT Dems and non-Dems alike that LGBT Democrats have no fear of open and free elections.

      No Bush v. Gore, here, people– puh-leeze.

  • Wesley

    The quote, “…several unidentified club members came forward to challenge the election of the three new officers on grounds that the home address for 11 of the new members who voted in the election couldn’t be confirmed…” makes absolutely no sense when compared to this statement, “The club’s bylaws do not have a residency requirement…” What exactly is the purpose of “confirming” these addresses other than to disqualify votes of paying members??

    Gee… Challenging votes based on proof of address and appropriate fee payment… Something feels slightly familiar about those tactics. This has to be an embarrassment to outgoing leadership.

  • Barrie Daneker

    Dear Mr. Doyle,

    The meeting had not been called to order when 3 members requested to pay their memberships. Since we have Wi-Fi in the JAWB they gave me their credit card prior to the meeting being called into session. These people where then given the opportunity to complete the online membership application and allow to receive a ballot, on the basis that they had provided a means of payment prior to the meeting being called to order. Just as the other members who signed up at the last minute. There were members who were turned away from paying dues after the meeting was called to order. There were others who had the ability on their smart phones and did so right. We have records showing the date and time of those transactions done via the internet. The last transaction allow online occurred at 7:07 pm. The records are available for review and will be provided at the special meeting for any member. Once the meeting was called to order no memberships were allowed.

    I hope this clarifies what you witnessed. Furthermore, these were members who have appeared on our rolls in the past. I have no personal association with any of those members, they are acquaintances know through GDSC. I can assure you not one of those person has been to my home or broken bread at my dinner table., hence I would prefer you refrain from suggesting they were “friends”.

    Thanks for your question and observation, I hope this will clarify this for you.

    • Peter

      Dear Mr. Deneker,

      I witnessed at least two people allowed to sign up after the meeting was called to order. Regardless of their relationship to you, and regardless of where bread was broken that night, it seems slightly irregular. However, I should say that I do not know for sure if they were permitted to vote.

      I doubt this clarifies anything.

      I will reiterate my earlier point. The behavior of certain members at this meeting indicated to me that the Stein Dems do not want any new blood. I have never encountered such a disorganized, unwelcoming group of people. This was my first meeting, and barring any change to the organization it will be my last. I hope that in the future the Stein Dems either open their arms to new members, or that I am able to find a genial progressive/LGBTQ Dem organization to join.

      • Peter

        The second part of my comment was not meant to be addressed to only to Mr. Deneker. He seemed glad that there were new people there, and I appreciate that.

        • Barrie Daneker

          Thank you Peter. I have no horse in this race. I have a responsibility to the membership to maintain the integrity of this situation. And yes and I am very happy that new members are eager to get involved…as I firmly believe “longer term” members are too!

      • Barrie Daneker

        Mr. Hudson:

        I would suggest one phrase I live by…”Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see”. Members have filed a challenge, there are responsibilities to of the executive committee which choose to bring this items to the membership. It’s not an easy position to be in. i suggest you attend the meeting as I am sure you will and given the reputation you have I’m sure you have something to say.

      • Barrie Daneker


        Let me reiterate my statement again. Members who you witnessed presented payment prior to the meeting being called to order.

    • Lane Hudson


      From the conversations I have had with many folks in the past 48 hours, it appears that you are the driving force behind this effort. Please stop. While you may not like the outcome of the election, it was done within the existing rules and if you don’t like those rules, you should work to change them. If you proceed, you will be stopped. There are enough of us that will prevent you from further undermining the reputation of the Stein Club with this effort.

      It’s time to move on.

      Thank you,
      Lane Hudson

  • Konrad

    So a bunch of employed, decently paid people came to a meeting of a group they never participated in before and took over a club and its treasury while not even paying regular dues by claiming they were in poverty. Sleazy but legal? I guess so.

  • Pat

    I don’t know why some criticism is being directed towards the old officers when they’re not the ones who filed the complaints. It seems from the article and the club’s press release that they simply called the special meeting in response to the complaints. If they didn’t call the meeting on the challenges, some members would complain. By calling the meeting, others complain. It’s a no win situation for them.

    • Barrie Daneker

      On behalf of the executive board. Thank you Pat. I think what people may be missing is that it’s not a position any of us wanted to be here be their is a responsibility and a process to be followed in order to maintain the integrity of a democracy, and election and an organization. The executive board actually has the power and authority to rule on this matter and choose not to and to bring to the membership and allow the membership to see the information and decide. Everyone will have their opportunity to weigh in on this matter. Thanks again for having the wisdom to see that no matter what your position is or will be.

  • Stephen Gorman

    I am one of those veteran members, a former VP of the club, two term member of the DCDSC, and former appointed chair of a city committee by Mayor Anthony Williams. I was out of town at the time of this vote. I have also read the legal memorandum solicited of DCDSC General Counsel Don Dinan. I have no dog in this fight.

    When a member of the DCDSC, I was appointed to the DCDSC committee that conducted votes on behalf of Democratic clubs and organizations throughout the city. Integrity of the vote is directly tied to the integrity of the membership list. The DCDSC never had the resources to verify whether or not a person was eligible to vote. We relied on records of the DC Board of Election and Ethics or failing that, the most recent membership list available. I need to add that we were highly sensitive to the notion of voting rights because our city is filled with people (American and abroad) whose culture legacy includes the repression of their right to vote. I recall episodes of elderly voters who could not read. There are people in Washington who cannot read even their own legal documents. Whenever there was any doubt of the authenticity of a voter, many similarly above described by Mr. Daneker, we used a “provisional ballot” which was set aside to be counted at a later date if there was no clear winner or if there was a challenge. Our use of the provisional ballot is was routine and, I may add in some parts of the city, FREQUENT. The presence of the provisional ballot during these elections was a standard and explicit requirement in the adopted rules of the day in any election that the DCDSC conducted.

    This all said, the voting process just described is part of the DCDSC’s institutional expertise and memory. The officers who are current members of the DCDSC know about this. Many veteran Gertrude Stein members also know about this voting procedure. Were the new voters given provisional ballots?

  • Pat

    This whole situation is unfortunate. 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?

    • Bob Summersgill

      Jeff Richardson is no longer in the Office of GLBT Affairs, so this conspiracy theory doesn’t pass the giggle test.

      • Barrie Daneker

        Oh cause he left a week ago…Bob do your research because PAT is 100% correct on this one!

  • John Fanning

    All of you are capable of serving our community in some capacity. I ask that we unite together so we can build a stronger Gay Democratic Political Organization, one that we can all participate and be proud of.

  • Jessica

    There are so many assumptions being passed on and its getting to a point of ridiculousness. It was not a huge organizing effort but rather community members who have worked with the new candidates in various capacities and campaigns coming to support those individuals. We were not orchestrated, we do not have a secret Illuminati society operating under Pennsylvania Avenue, and both Jeffrey Richardson and Gregory Cendana who have served the DC community in various capacities are not “Putting us up to something”.

    For some of us this was not our first interaction with the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club or even our first meeting but because we are not familiar faces we were treated instantly in an adversarial way. There was one gentleman at the meeting who I will not call out because for me this is not about playing a blame-game or pushing people around like bullies until someone calls uncle and takes themselves out of the game or in this case what is supposed to be political representation and real organizing. Nevertheless, as I was in line to vote with friends (Let me be clear, I have definitely interacted with GSDC club before, I paid the full dues amount and the address which I submitted for membership is the address I voted based on in this election- just in case anyone wanted to clarify) this gentleman pushed past us to talk to his friend and say loudly and obnoxiously: “What I really hate is all these straight people coming into OUR meeting and this is their first meeting, and they’re never going to come back again. They don’t even know who their ANC Commissioner is.”

    I was completely flabbergasted. I asked him if he was talking to us and he said, “I don’t know am I?” The ridiculous part is not only had I met this man before but I had met him where he works because there was an event being hosted about Black LGBT folks that were working on a project talking to our elders. He didn’t remember me, but I remembered him but now I was an enemy. Not only was I an enemy but I was now straight, ignorant in regards to my communities representatives, and non-committal. I had never felt so unwelcome at any meeting of any organization I have ever been to, and trust me living in various cities on both coasts and being politically active for the past 10 years– I’ve been to a lot of meetings.

    I want to be clear though that yes at that meeting I was coming to support three friends, three strong leaders who have worked tirelessly for the communities they love in various capacities but that is not the only reason I committed to not just them but to the GSDC. I believe in the mission of the organization and the work I know its capable of. I had been to other events GDSC was but this new energy coming of the biggest marriage equality victories ever, coming off my organization taking a stance for marriage equality which in its 105 year history it had never done, coming off an election where all parts of my identity were reinforced with vigor through the election of more women to the Senate than ever, through the protection of my right to decisions regarding my body– something told me the moment to get involved as much as possibly can was now.

    Let me also be clear that I’m not straight, it wasn’t my first meeting just my first meeting as a member, and I do know who my ANC Commissioner is. But let me also be clear that the GSDC has always been open to the participation of straight allies- in this case there was even one straight ally running for election. Furthermore, what does it matter if it was or wasn’t my first meeting? Are meetings the only place we try to turn people out? Isn’t there a lot of work to do outside of meetings? As I am someone who works for a membership organization trust me I deal with meetings, and in our organization work happens in and outside of meetings. Lastly, would it be more ridiculous for me to not know my ANC Commissioner or not know the work of that person? To not be able to see and recognize the work of the people that hold those positions? I ask you to take to the streets of DC and ask citizens if they even know what an ANC commissioner is let alone who theirs is.

    But I shouldn’t even have to explain this all. If I saw myself as low-income I shouldn’t have to explain that anyone, unless there was a publicly available pre-approved definition in the by-laws of what it means to be low-income- and there is not. What “fact-finding” are you doing to determine based on individual perspectives what defines low-income? Issues in address discrepancy? There are no residency requirements so this simply cannot be the case. Also please keep in mind that many of us young people, or people of color are not homeowners and with the steadily rising cost of living in the DC area often move to ensure that we’re getting the best available rental option to fit our financial situations. Anyone who does census or election work can give more detail on the highly transient nature of young people and people of color- this is not new. I myself have moved 3 times in the past 4 years.

    This is ridiculous though, as if any membership dues are not appreciated, as if there is just not enough work to do in our community that we should spend the time tearing down ourselves, instead of figuring out how to work together. As if this isn’t exactly the opposite of what is in the mission of the organization.

    The meeting was called with less than 2 weeks notice which is a requirement based on your by-laws so I unfortunately without enough advance notice will not be able to be in attendance because I will be traveling but I truly hope this situation is dealt with appropriately and justly. Not justly based on hurt feelings, or interpretations on what is not included in the GSDC guiding documents but justly based on what is actually in writing.

    I truly hope nothing like this ever happens again to anyone working with the GSDC club. I would love to get to the point where we can have a conversation about the work ahead of us. Maybe getting to the point where the news in the news section of the website has something to do with something other than candidates and elections, or I don’t know maybe getting a face of a woman or a woman of color of the website, working on adjusting membership so it doesn’t run a simple calendar year but a calendar year based on when you join so that it can be a more welcoming membership system. Possibly working with organizations outside the LGBTQ sector, working on real coalition-building so our issues are not minimized and people can really see and understand that LGBTQ issues are really human rights issues that effect all people. But then again, these are just the hopes of a non-straight, informed not ignorant, politically conscious and actively engaged black woman.

    • Barrie Daneker

      Jessica you are incorrect about the two week notice! PERIOD! Please read the bylaws. They say if a special meeting is announced at a general meeting then two weeks notice is required. It’s very clear! Sorry you won’t be able to attend but 7 days notice is the standard for the govt, and it’s highly acceptable in most organizations for a special meeting. I agree that i hope this matter is also settled but you did leave out one thing…this should be settle in good fatih, honesty not some slick move…that’s what Gertrude Stein would say if she were here today! Further more the use the the term people of color has never been utter by anyone at GSDC and I will be speaking to everyone about that. RACE BAITING is for others with less intelligence. GSDC has never entered in such areas before. There is no reason to even utter a single word about race in this matter and it’s frankly shameful for you or anyone else to even suggest it was a factor. RACE WAS NOT A FACTOR!

  • Katherine

    It is great that there were about 45 or so mostly young people who had a common friend they wished to support in his activism. I guess they sat around and said “Gee we should form a group to support our friend.” And then another said, “Why should we start a new group? Let’s find an existing group we have never before cared enough about to even join and take them over along with their treasury.”

    One of the writer above referred to GSDC as “us”. If “us” is just whatever mob took over GSDC this week, then the club really has no meaning.

  • Max

    I have to agree with Pat. I found it odd that the people who orchestrated this, Jeff Richardson and Cendana, are oddly quiet. Let’s be clear – Richardson reconstituted the Mayor’s Advisory Committee hand-picking people who wouldn’t present any strong challenges to the Mayor, Now he has handpicked officers of Stein who are unlikely to present any strong challenges to the Mayor. There are many important issues yet to be addressed at the local level ….. and none of us really know if we can count on Stein Democrats, as we have counted on them in the past, to be a STRONG, INDEPENDENT, and POWERFUL VOICE for our community. This is not just about Stein, it is about a power-play that gets a friend a seat on the State Democratic Party, and the local LGBT community potentially weaker as a whole. Have any of the new officers ever testified before DC Council on an issue? Do they even know how? In the past we relied on Stein for this and many of us are left unsure of whether this is even something the new officers will onsider taking on. Have any of the new officers EVER challenged the Mayor to do better on any issue, ever? Yes we have a Mayor that supports our community, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need to be pushed and challenged to do right by us sometimes. Do they know how to push? And will they? Or are they too beholden to Richardson for coordinating this whole takeover?

  • Tom

    OK, so let me see if I’ve got this right: a nearly defunct political organization with an exaggerated reputation that exceeds its apparent functionality can’t get even 50 people to an annual meeting to elect its officers so a bunch of politically active people in their 20s network among themselves to match the old guard numbers, hoping to breathe some life into the moribund group, and when they win the long-time members go ballistic and involve an attorney looking for some way to nullify everything that happened.

    And this is the vaunted political machine representing our community’s interests on local issues? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

    To the commenters who ‘hope this won’t destroy the organization’ or whatever…..uh…..I think that ship has already sailed, folks.

  • brian

    Max asks important, relevant questions. Listen up.

    This isn’t just about mere political patronage anymore. It isn’t about who gets elevated to hollow titles and who gets silenced with a seat in feckless mayoral offices and on made-for-PR commissions.

    It isn’t about so-called LGBT-friendly Council Members who prefer to showboat rather than provide serious oversight and ask relevant questions of MPD. (How many hate crimes cases were closed with an arrest? How many detectives’ hours were spent on them? Who at Council is reviewing those closed case jackets to insure due diligence? Where’s the Chief’s long-promised force-wide training?)

    DC LGBT politics has a higher, much more important ‘reality show’ concern, now.

    Horrific anti-LGBT hate crimes in DC have gone *UP*… EVERY YEAR for 5 YEARS running.

    This is about life and death. This is about kicked-in teeth. It’s about shattered jaws– and shattered lives. It’s about facial reconstructions– or months of physical therapy and rehab.

    It’s about a kid who won’t complain of the black eye he got because he’s gay– but knows deep down that Mayor Gray and his Chief Lanier don’t give a damn… ‘cuz that’s the way it’s always been in his short life.

    It’s about LGBT residents who have to constantly look over their shoulders because they can no longer trust their MPD Chief and her regular beat cops to even handle a complaint without appearing discriminatory against DC LGBTs.

    What has “LGBT-friendly” Mayor Gray and Jeff Richardson REALLY done to end violent hate crimes against our LGBTQ citizens and visitors?

    Has it been any better than the PR-minded team of Fenty and Dyer– who apparently consulted with one another little or not at all for 4 years?

    Has Sterling Washington promised to push for new leadership at MPD?

    Let’s stop kidding ourselves with this dirty, backroom political charade. While the Stein Club is destroying its credibility throughout the region with this election controversy/ farce — real LGBT residents of DC and their visitors are still in fear for their public safety.

    What good is any *independent* lobbying organization that cannot offer credible, relevant help for the public safety of the citizens they purport to serve?

    Both factions of Stein need to get the Club’s credibility back. Rerun the election– or the new “winners” will rightly forever be under a cloud of suspicion.

  • Konrad

    After stealing the Mayoral election, Gray has now stolen the Stein election.

  • Jeri Hughes

    I am one of the “several unidentified members” who has requested a meeting to challenge the validity of the December 3rd election. I care about the integrity of the Stein Club, and the process of our elections; for that cause I am indeed a member of the “losing faction”. When a group of individuals outside of an organization would band together to collectively and successfully drown out the will of those who a have devoted their time and energy to the success of that organization, I submit that a wrong has been committed and that we are all members of a losing faction. It behooves us all to review the process and sort out a reasonable course of action.

    I would like to make clear that this meeting was specifically not requested by Lateefah Williams, Jon Mandel, or Haseem Naveed. These individuals, defeated in their bid to serve on the Stein Club executive committee, possess too much dignity and integrity to turn Club policy into a forum for personal motives. In truth, no matter if the meeting takes place, or not, or if said meeting validates or invalidates the December 3rd election, or not, it is my opinion that the integrity of the Stein Club electoral process and the reputation of the Club have been damaged. Perhaps the December 19th meeting can help reduce that damage, and bring about a consensus within the Club that all can live with. For that cause, I encourage all to attend.

    Club President- elect Martin Garcia is quoted as saying “We are disappointed that the Stein leadership intends to challenge new members who want to contribute to Stein’s growth. Stein’s membership rolls nearly doubled because of our recruitment efforts, and that’s a good thing. These new members are young people, people of color, and people from low-income backgrounds who were otherwise not engaged in Stein’s activities…We should be having a special meeting celebrating these new members, and finding ways to engage them.”
    These statements demand a response. First the Stein Club leadership is not initiating any challenges. The challenges are a response to member requests to review an election process which was highly irregular. Secondly, every standing member of the Club actively seeks new members who want to contribute to the Club’s mission. Thirdly, the statement that Stein membership nearly doubled because of Garcia’s recruitment efforts is a gross misrepresentation. The Stein Club membership exceeds 200. Forty six new members can hardly substantiate the claim of an increase of “nearly half”. However, those forty six new members do provide explanation for Garcia’s tally of 47 votes – and account for the 2 vote lead he obtained to win the election. It is obvious that Garcia and this new “slate” received a miniscule amount of support from any member who had actually participated in the Clubs efforts prior to November 28th, 2012. Fourth and last, any inference that the new members are an introduction of diversity to the organization is highly offensive. The Stein Club has always welcomed and celebrated diversity. However, I find it extremely difficult to celebrate and welcome individuals whose first and only participation in the Club is connected to an effort that would drown out the voices and overwhelm the votes of the members who have consistently contributed to the Club’s efforts.

    Members of the Club – standing members of the Club who have participated in the past – have rallied behind Garcia, and defend the position that the election took place according to the Club’s bylaws. They argue that the proposed meeting violates the Club bylaws. They defend the fact that historically we have never questioned a member’s financial status, or held them accountable for providing accurate address information. These are honorable individuals, dedicated to operating within the rules and bylaws. They are dedicated to fair play. I would expect nothing less. But I want you to remember that these are the very same Stein Club members whose voices and votes were removed from consideration during the December 3rd election. Their votes were not solicited by Garcia; and he did nothing to earn them. He did not participate in club events or efforts. The club and our members just weren’t important. He simply lined up enough individuals to submit dues – with many at a reduced rate – and participate at the annual election. Winning the election appears to be his only priority.
    I do not believe that the intent to hold open elections which allowed for the participation of new members was meant to include instances where the collected voice of standing members would become irrelevant. Am I a sore loser? I was not running. I owe no one any particular allegiance. Lateefah Williams is disheartened and disgusted by what has occurred, and will no longer serve under any circumstance. On a personal level, I have lost nothing. But I am sore, and we have all lost. I support the Club, and respect the rules by which it operates. The Club deserves better than these newly elected “leaders”. And we deserve an electoral process that respects and reflects the will of the members.

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