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.
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.
Winter Restaurant Week a welcome escape from the cold
Enjoy D.C.’s diverse culinary scene at great prices
Saving Washington, D.C. diners from winter doldrums, RAMW Winter Restaurant Week is back in action. It returns Jan. 17-23 with the motto of “Dine Out. Take Out. Eat Up.”
The city’s signature winter dining event is back as a one-week promotion focused on dining out and tasting the city’s diverse culinary scene. Yet it also is providing diners with newer programs that they have grown to love over the past few cycles. These include the popular “RW-To-Go” takeout dinner meals, outdoor dining spaces, as well as cocktail pairings, allowing diners to take advantage of a range of indoor/outdoor comfort levels and dining opportunities.
Participating restaurants are set to offer multi-course brunch and lunch menus for $25 per person, and multi-course dinner menus for $40 or $55 per person for on-premises dining. Most are offering the traditional three-course meals, while others may include extras.
Many restaurants will also offer the RW-To-Go dinner meals, a program introduced in 2019, available at two price points: $70 or $100 for two people and $140 or $200 for four people.
More than 200 restaurants across the area are participating.
“Our restaurants have shown resilience, creativity, and perseverance over the past two years, and they continue to count on the amazing support of loyal diners and newcomers through promotions like Restaurant Week,” said RAMW President & CEO Kathy Hollinger. “Designed to get diners out to experience all our great food scene has to offer, we have evolved this turnkey promotion to help meet diners where they are in terms of comfort. With offerings to include RW-To-Go, curbside pickup and delivery, heated patios, cozy igloos and indoor dining, there is truly something for anyone looking to support their favorite spot or try something new.”
New restaurants participating in Winter Restaurant Week include Ala, Bar Chinois, Bistro Du Jour, The Mayflower Club, Officina Cafe, Penny Royal Station, and Urban Roast in the District; Diabolo’s Cantina at MGM and Rosa Mexicano at National Harbor; North Italia Tysons; and the newest The Capital Grille location in Fairfax.
2021 RAMMYS Winners and finalists participating include Convivial, Cranes (also Michelin-starred), Espita, Estadio, iRicchi, and Sababa.
In the 14th Street and Dupont Circle areas, popular participating restaurants include Agora, Cork, Duke’s, Floriana, and Sushi Taro, among others.
Winter Restaurant Week also extends beyond core neighborhoods, stretching far past the city’s borders. Areas like Takoma Park and Bethesda in Maryland, and Alexandria and National Landing in Virginia, are also hosting participating restaurants.
Some spots are offering additional deals, extended timelines, and other options. “I’m excited about the creativity of our local restaurants,” says Hollinger, “with their offers and spaces that give diners great experiences during the promotion, and the flexibility to dine in the way that works for them whether indoor, in heated outdoor dining spaces or at home with our Restaurant Week To-Go program.”
For example, Ambar (both the D.C. and Clarendon locales) will have a $70 seven-course to-go menu for two people. The deal includes a bottle of wine in addition to the food.
James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Schlow says, “This is a great way for Restaurant Week diners to experience more of our menu offerings, and perhaps explore some of our restaurants they haven’t tried yet. Plus, with [our] Restaurant Week extended an additional week through Jan. 30, there’s ample time to dine.”
Gay-owned KNEAD Hospitality + Design group is involving all its restaurants in the promotion. The group’s restaurants include Gatsby, Mi Vida, The Grill, and more. Owner Jason Berry notes that he is “excited to participate in this year’s winter restaurant week. Each year Restaurant Week brings new diners to our doors to experience the creativity and talent our staff continues to showcase at our restaurants.”
Recall that the city has reinstated mask mandates for indoor spaces. In addition, On Jan. 15, 2022, per Mayor’s Order 2021-148, the District of Columbia adopts a citywide vaccination entry requirement that requires COVID-19 vaccination to enter indoor facilities within the city. This includes restaurants and bars.
What to know if you’re buying or selling in 2022
Research interest rates, contractors now before spring arrives
The years 2020 and 2021 were wild on the books for real estate. Many successfully sold a house, bought a house, or sold a smaller residence and bought a larger one due to the new “needs” that they realized they had.
After a year or more of staying home, working from home, dining out (at home), studying from home, many just realized they needed a different home than the one they were sitting in. Many experts are saying that 2022 might be the year we go back to our “normal cycles” in real estate. If that is the case, then what does that mean?
It means that right now, first time buyers can find deals on one- or two-bedroom condos that are sitting on the market, and the single family home market is going to be ramping up in the spring, when more buyers are out in the streets and more homes are getting ready to go on the market. So, if you are thinking of selling this year, you might already need to be calling painters, carpenters, and other contractors to do those little projects that make a home ready for photographs and to be shown in its best light. Now that the holidays are over, many of the contractors we hire start getting calls, and their schedules start to fill up. As a Compass agent, we have the “Concierge” program that helps sellers to finance, at zero interest, projects that spruce up their home, and then it gets paid back when the home sells. I know other brokerages have some similar programs, also.
If you are going to buy a home this year, you might want to seriously look at how long homes have been sitting in the market in the neighborhoods that interest you. If the “days on market” are more than 20, 30, 40 or even 50 days, this might be your time to strike. Call a local lender or two and see what interest rate you can get and how much you can get approved for a loan. Interest rates could be going up this year, so you might want to get this done in the first half of the year, if your current situation allows.
At any rate, if you are thinking of making a move this year, feel free to sign up for one of my homebuyer seminars, or give me (or your favorite Realtor) a call and find out what you need to do to get ready to make this move.
Joseph Hudson is a Realtor with the Rutstein Group of Compass. Reach him at [email protected] or 703-587-0597.
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