UPDATE: According to Politico, six members of the GLAAD Board of Directors are out, including American Teachers Federation President, Randi Weingarten.
GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios resigned Saturday after a tumultuous two weeks in which he was caught up in an uproar over the organization’s involvement in the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile.
Barrios came under fire from the LGBT blogosphere after an appearance on the Michelangelo Signorile show by former GLAAD board of directors co-chair Laurie Perper, who questioned a series of official statements released by Barrios’ office supporting telecommunications giant AT&T.
“The GLAAD Board has received Jarrett Barrios’ resignation letter and discussed this among other topics on our call. We expect at our next Board meeting set for Wednesday to reach a conclusion on all issues so that Mr. Barrios can begin to help The Board manage transition and bring on his successor,” the organization said in a statement.
But the story didn’t end with Barrios’ resignation, as several other LGBT organizations were pulled into the fray, either by close association to AT&T, a paper trail of their own similar letters or a connection to a GLAAD board member at the center of the controversy, Troup Coronado.
Coronado occupied seats on the boards of no less than four LGBT organizations in 2009, at the time the letters to the FCC began to emerge from these organizations’ head offices.
In 2009, when the letters containing the pro-AT&T language — later found to be opposing net neutrality — were delivered to the FCC, Coronado sat on the board of directors for GLAAD and the Equality California Institute, and served as dinner co-chair of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, according to Politico and other media reports this week. Each of these organizations sent seemingly innocuous, nearly identical letters to the FCC containing language supporting the telecom industry’s position against net neutrality.
The organizations, except for Equality California and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, sent follow-up letters to the FCC retracting their original letters after the matter was brought to their attention.
In addition, the Human Rights Campaign refused to support the telecom position by joining the sign-on letter, though Coronado also sat on HRC’s Business Council at the time. Coronado was later removed from the body in March 2010.
Meghan Stabler, a transgender LGBT activist, educator and Business Council member, said though Coronado’s departure was unrelated to the controversy surrounding the letter, his participation on the body was a factor.
“Each year the HRC Business Council reviews member participation and HRC Workplace Project objectives, doing so allows members to retire from the council and new members to be on-boarded as needed,” she said.
Coronado — who once worked for Orin Hatch — is turning out to be a controversial background player in the world of LGBT philanthropy. As reported last week in the Blade, both OpenSecrets.org and the Washington Post have questioned Coronado’s conduct in one way or another over the years.
After an investigation into Coronado’s past, the Blade has discovered that a Troup Coronado who graduated from the University of Texas at Austin the same year as AT&T’s Coronado, and whom an anonymous source confirmed is the same person, appeared in several CSPAN videos from 1991-1993 as a representative of the anti-gay conservative think-tank the Heritage Foundation. Jeremy Hooper of the GoodAsYou blog was able to identify several instances of media outlets covering the Heritage Foundation opposition to pro-LGBT legislation in the 1980s and 1990s, and Heritage has been vocal in opposing same-sex marriage over the past decade. The CSPAN video gives Coronado’s title at the organization as Director of the New Majority Project.
The Heritage Foundation declined to comment about the purpose of this now-defunct program, but according to a July 14, 1991 Newsweek article by Charles Lane, titled “Defying the stereotypes,” the project is defined as the body’s “minority outreach program.”
A search of the Heritage Foundation archives reveals transcripts of presentations given on behalf of the program including controversial conservative figures such as Errol Smith, who would go on in 1996 to serve as vice chair of the California Civil Rights Initiative, which successfully pushed for a ballot measure prohibiting the use of so-called “Affirmative Action” at California public institutions. Coronado was present for Smith’s February 1992 speech before Heritage Foundation members on racism in the African-American community, and was referenced several times in the text of the speech.
In addition, CSPAN’s website features videos of Coronado acting as president of the Washington chapter of the Ex-Students Association of his alma mater, as well as another video introducing disgraced radio host Armstrong Williams, who later apologized for taking $240,000 from the Bush administration to promote the Department of Education’s “No Child Left Behind” law on his television and radio appearances.
Coronado was once an executive at AT&T, as well as a lobbyist for AT&T’s former parent company, BellSouth. Coronado left his position at AT&T late last year to launch a consultant firm — where it is alleged one of his most prominent clients is AT&T. The company reportedly tasked Coronado with securing LGBT organizational support for the AT&T/T-Mobile merger.
Coronado could not be immediately reached for comment.
When reached by phone, Jim Carroll, interim executive director of Equality California — who came into the position far after the controversy broke — says the fallout from the Oct. 12, 2009 letter was a wake-up call for the organization.
“I’m not denying the genesis of the letter was a request from AT&T,” Carroll told the Blade. “There were and there are no policies and procedures that would require the executive director to vet such a request … I would assume that this is a wake-up call for all of us to carefully consider requests of support for any of our allies — it doesn’t have to be a corporate ally.”
The letter was never amended, as Carroll was unaware of the letter at the time, and the issue is only now coming to his attention.
Carroll confirms that Coronado remains on the board of the California Equality Institute, despite the controversy, though Carroll says that in his six years at the organization, he believes there has never been an incident where a board member with a corporate relationship has ever asked the organization to take a position on any issue that would be considered a conflict of interest, including Coronado.
However, Carroll has yet to hear from Coronado himself about the controversy, despite requesting a conversation with the board member days ago.
Another organization that recently revealed it too was duped by the AT&T sample text, was the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which has revamped its policies and procedures for vetting what are known as “sign-on letters,” from colleague organizations.
“I signed them and I take the responsibility for the mistake of issuing both the 2009 letter and the January 5, 2010 letter,” Rea Carey, the Task Force’s executive director, told the Blade.
The Task Force issued a correction on Jan.14, after colleagues familiar with the net neutrality issue called Carey’s attention to the true meaning of the AT&T suggested language.
Carey clarified, “we get offered sample text, and language for sign-on letters,” by organizations seeking the Task Force’s support on matters of government policies and legislation, but “rarely get requests from corporations to write letters.”
“Almost always the request comes from a colleague organization — someone in ‘Labor,’ maybe a pro-choice organization, one of the civil rights organizations — those requests almost always come to me, and I forward them on to our Policy staff, and they assess them, and determine whether or not its appropriate for us to sign on to any particular letter,” Carey said.
However, when she saw the letter came from corporate partner, AT&T, Carey forwarded the sign-on letter to staff in charge of corporate relationships to review the request.
“That was the mistake I made,” she admits. “Our procedure now, no matter who on staff gets a request for a sign-on,” Carey clarified, “if there is a policy matter involved, our policy staff are involved in the full analysis and the decision on how to proceed.”
That procedural change was a direct result of the oversight on the Jan. 5 anti-net neutrality letter.
Fausto Fernos hosts the LGBT podcast, “Feast of Fun” with his partner, Marc Felion, where Jarrett Barrios first began giving conflicting statements about the origin of the GLAAD FCC letter.
“Most of our advocacy groups have a profound lack of understanding of how the Internet works, and why it’s valuable in the fight, and what it means to every single LGBT individual,” Fernos said. “We don’t value all of the amazing content that’s being created.”
Fernos became passionate about promoting this story because he believes that the AT&T position on net neutrality will create barriers to LGBT advocacy in the future.
Surprise rides of 2022
Fun, frugal, and full of frills
Each January, I list my top vehicle picks of the year. But with so many contenders this year, the focus this time is on surprise rides: Three solid choices that are unexpectedly fun, frugal and full of frills.
Mpg: 18 city/24 highway
0 to 60 mph: 7.3 seconds
Sure, Tesla, Rivian and other newcomers may be garnering lots of press these days. But other automakers also have been upping their game. Cue the Nissan Frontier pickup, completely redesigned with bold, bad-boy styling. This includes a pugnacious grill, menacing headlights and sleek LED taillights. Inside, new laminated side windows reduce wind and road noise. Refined, soft-touch surfaces are a pleasant surprise, as are various clever storage spaces. And then there are the zero-gravity seats, built to alleviate driver fatigue. Despite the space-age description, these NASA-inspired seats have a traditional design but are built with 14 different pressure points to reduce stress on tired muscles. They may not be as fancy as massaging seats in luxury vehicles, but they feel just as effective. Other cabin niceties include large easy-to-read gauges and an optional 9-inch touchscreen, along with wireless charging, Wi-Fi and 10-speaker Fender stereo. One minor annoyance: the steering column tilts but has no telescopic function. While there may be a few less-expensive pickups on dealer lots, none come with as many features. As for performance, the 310-horsepower V6 is the best in its class, and overall handling is more akin to a well-mannered SUV than a workhorse hauler. For off-road enthusiasts, a Pro-4X model comes with heavy-duty Bilstein shocks, electronic locking rear differential for better grip and beefy all-terrain tires.
16 city/22 highway
0 to 60 mph: 7.3 seconds
While oversized rides don’t really fit my urban identity, the all-new Jeep Wagoneer had me almost pining for a Brady Bunch lifestyle in the burbs. Out of production since 1991, this resurrected land yacht made me feel safe and secure on the road. It also tapped into my love of a beloved cruiser: the Pontiac Grand Safari station wagon that I drove across country in my 20s. (Alas, those tawdry travel tales are another story.) But while such behemoths may be described as big and boxy, the Wagoneer is definitely chic, echoing many of the more sculpted elements of a ritzy Range Rover. Powered by a gutsy V8 Hemi engine, this super-sized SUV quickly hustles down the road. A mild-hybrid system not only helps conserve fuel but also adds some extra oomph. Front-wheel drive comes standard, though many buyers will prefer one of the four-wheel-drive options for even better drivability. Air suspension lets you raise and lower the Wagoneer, which has up to 10 inches of ground clearance and can trek through two feet of water. Along with offering more standard features than most competitors, there’s also more second- and third-row legroom. The rich interior, with contrast piping and stitching on the seats, includes a wraparound dashboard with up to three large screens. Two more screens are available for rear-seat passengers, who can stream thousands of programs via the Wi-Fi. Notable amenities include automated parking, rear-seat monitoring camera and premium 19-speaker McIntosh stereo. Fully loaded, a Wagoneer can reach $75,000. That’s still less than the primo Grand Wagoneer ($89,000), which can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in a wickedly fast 5.7 seconds. That glam model, with goodies such as a refrigerated front console and a hidden touchpad safe to store valuables, can easily top $100,000.
Mpg: 24 city/31 highway
0 to 60 mph: 8.6 seconds
Of the three vehicles reviewed here, the updated Mitsubishi Outlander was the biggest surprise. After all, the automaker isn’t the most popular or reliable brand on the block. But like a washed-up diva making a stunning comeback, the Outlander is now taking its star turn in the highly competitive crossover market. The overall styling is dazzling, with sheet metal that has been stretched and pulled into an edgy origami design. Built on the same platform as the Nissan Rogue, this new Outlander is taller, wider and longer than that popular compact. It also offers a third seat, even if legroom here is miniscule. And despite what is a capable but rather tepid engine, the Outlander handling is crisp and spirited. Driver visibility is especially good, and I found the cabin to be pleasantly quiet. But most notable are all the amenities, including head-up display, wireless smartphone integration, 10-speaker Bose stereo, panoramic sunroof, power tailgate, heated steering wheel, heated seats (both front and back), a full slate of the latest safety gear and much more. Another plus: the 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. All in all, it’s nice to see Mitsubishi start to regain its footing—with the Outlander center stage.
Is cash always king?
How to stay competitive in the face of all-cash offers
One of the frequently asked questions I get as a real estate agent serving the DC Metro area and Delaware beaches is: How can I be competitive in a market that is seeing an increase in all-cash offers?
I get it, the real estate market is super competitive, but it’s not just because of the low inventory, it’s also because of the cash offers sellers are seeing.
Money is money right? Why would a seller be inclined to take a lower all-cash offer versus a higher offer with a mortgage. Let’s break it down a bit.
An all-cash offer usually comes with very limited contingencies in addition to the more important piece, which is the timing. A cash sale can close in less than a week whereas a sale with a conventional mortgage can usually only be expedited to a 21-day close. Don’t lose hope! There are still a few ways you can have a competitive edge over cash offers with a few steps your agent can advise you through:
OFFER CASH – THEN ACQUIRE FINANCING: If the stars align and you are purchasing a home that the sellers currently reside in, you can expect that they will need some time to gather their items and move — they also have to gather their great great grandmother’s wedding dress and Uncle Fester’s golf clubs that they just HAVE to keep. This will allow you time to go the conventional mortgage route. Please note that this is a very detailed alteration and it is recommended fully that you speak with your real estate agent prior to doing this to ensure that you are fully educated with the pros and cons of this method and what is at risk. The biggest item to highlight is that a mortgage comes with the infamous appraisal. The appeal of an all-cash offer is that there is no appraisal. With a mortgage an appraisal is required. If the appraisal comes in low, you will need to be ready to come to the table with the difference in appraised value – in cash. For example: Appraised value is $100,000 and you are under contract for $200,000 – that is a delta of $100,000, which you will need to come up with in cash in order to continue with the transaction, separate from any other monies you have already placed down.
OFFER $$$ OVER LOW APPRAISAL: Following up on the appraisal aspect here – you can write a contract with financing in place from the onset and provide an addendum that you will pay the difference in low appraisal (referencing the example above) or you can offer an alternative that would be to pay up to XX over a low appraisal. In this example of paying a dollar amount over a low appraisal, you write into the contract that you are going to offer $50,000 over the appraisal if it is a low appraisal. So if the contract price is $150,000 and you offer to pay $25,000 over a low appraisal value and the property is valued with appraisal at $125k then you would have to pay a total of $150k for the home and that $25k difference would, again, need to be in cash. This allows a bit of leverage with lower cash amounts on hand – but again similar to the example of acquiring financing above, the sellers must allow for the timing of a mortgage application process to occur.
GIFTS FROM FAMILY: What is family for if it isn’t for providing you large sums of cash!? In all seriousness – this is a fully accepted method of cash funds. You will want to speak to a financial planner/tax individual to fully understand tax implications for both parties (giftor and giftee) to fully understand what this means, but there is always the ability to be gifted funds from parents, aunts, uncles etc., to ensure that you are liquid and can purchase the property of your dreams.
OFFER “RENT BACK” TO SELLERS: Following the guise that the sellers must find a property to purchase or perhaps they are moving across the country and need a month or two in order to get their affairs in order. This allows you to provide a “rent back” to the sellers and basically become their landlord. In this scenario you would typically charge them rent, which would be equal to your carrying costs for your home expenses. For the purposes of being competitive in this market, you can offer a “rent FREE rent back” where you afford them the ability to sell the home to you and they still reside in the home for an established time post closing at no cost to them. This sounds silly — why would you let someone stay in your new home rent free for two months when that means that you are paying for your mortgage and other expenses in addition to rent for an apartment or maybe shacking up with mom and dad again?
It’s important to remember that in order to get a property in this market there is the need to think creatively if you don’t have all the cash in the world — you can still be VERY competitive.
Justin Noble is a Realtor with Sotheby’s international Realty licensed in D.C., Maryland, and Delaware for your DMV and Delaware Beach needs. Specializing in first-time homebuyers, development and new construction as well as estate sales, Justin is a well-versed agent, highly regarded, and provides white glove service at every price point. Reach him at 202-503-4243, [email protected] or BurnsandNoble.com.
Leather and lace in your home decor
From couches to countertops, add some flair
When I was very young, I would visit my maternal grandmother and marvel at the hand-tatted and crocheted doilies that adorned the arms and backs of her sofa and chairs. They were also found on her dressers and side tables, and on the dining table as coasters and placemats, to prevent scratches on the furniture. Like snowflakes, the designs of the doilies were both intricate and individual.
I’m convinced that people had better posture in the early 20th century, because I never saw the remnants of men’s hair tonic, Macassar oil, or pomade on Nana’s doilies, even though they were there to keep the furniture from absorbing those hair products. Certainly, people weren’t the couch potatoes lounging on sofas then that we are today. Being able to Netflix and chill was a long way off.
I was impressed with the amount of work that had gone into such a little piece of fabric, so I later tried to learn to crochet. Sadly, all I was able to accomplish was string after string, never having been taught how to join those strings together to resemble a doily. At least with knitting, I was able to form squares large enough to be blankets for my Barbie.
In my mid-century childhood, doilies were put away and saved for grandchildren who, years later, would neither want them nor appreciate their historical value. The ‘50s saw polyvinyl chloride (PVC) go from a commercial substance used frequently in post-WWII construction to a residential fabric that we now refer to fondly as “pleather.” I can still remember the sound of my thighs peeling off the vinyl banquette at the diner when I would get up to leave a booth.
To be without a leather couch in the ‘60s was déclassé and, although styles have changed, such a couch remains a timeless piece. These days, if you are looking for a little more leather in your life and in your home, you can look beyond that couch and chair, where options range from the subdued to the highly decorative.
While vinyl is still the least expensive leather-look fabric, we now have “bonded” leather, made with scraps that are bonded together using polyurethane or latex. As you can tell from the prices of such furniture, the actual leather used in the process can vary from 10-90 percent.
Of course, top grain leather is the most expensive, and we have suede, die cut, embossed, patent, and a variety of other techniques used to change the look of a hide. In addition, there is now vegan leather.
For something unique for your kitchen or bar, check out the tooled leather countertop from Kosel Saddlery (koselsaddles.wixsite.com/marty) in Montana. They also make saddles and chaps.
Instead of the shiny granite counters that we all know, MSI Surfaces (msisurfaces.com) makes honed and leathered granite finishes for a more subtle appearance and has dealers throughout the DMV.
For a do-it-yourself application, Amazon sells the Aspect brand eight-pack of leather glass, peel and stick subway tiles for backsplashes in five neutral colors for less than $20 each.
EcoDomo (ecodomo.com) in Gaithersburg offers a variety of custom leather treatments, including countertops, door and cabinet panels, floor planks and tiles, and wall systems. Your color choices aren’t limited to black or brown either. They can manufacture pieces in blue, red, green, and even in custom colors to match other items in your décor.
Many online stores such as Wayfair and Overstock carry real and faux leather headboards, footstools, poufs and benches at affordable prices.
There’s always something in leather at Pottery Barn, even for the conservative budget: pieced leather pillows, tufted stools, basket collections, and even a leather-bound coffee table book for cigar aficionados.
If you’re looking for small accent pieces, try a leather coaster, placemat, napkin ring, or my personal favorite, a cutlery pouch for your tableware collection from Lucrin Geneva (lucrin.com). They also offer office accessories such as crocodile desk sets, wastebaskets and storage boxes.
And for the connoisseur of leather, vinyl, rubber, or even neoprene items of a more personal nature, head to the Capitol Hill Hyatt Regency this Friday through Sunday for Mid-Atlantic Leather weekend. With plenty of specialty items, high-impact fashion, toys and games for all ages and yes, even custom-made furniture among the vendor exhibitions, you’re sure to find something that will tickle your fancy.
Just remember that you (and your puppy) must both be vaccinated and masked to attend. We take COVID (and rabies) very seriously here in D.C.
Valerie M. Blake is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with RLAH Real Estate. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.
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