Thursday, August 1, 2013

Doc Spad: Second Pride... Another Perspective On Truth

Today I received this email from Doc Spad, the outgoing chairman of Second Pride.  I am going to publish in it's entirety, without comments at this time. I will however, in the interest of full disclosure, inform you that Doc Spad has been a friend of mine during the last two years.



"Below is my response to all that has happened over the past few days... you have my express permission to publish this... contact me with any questions 
SECOND PRIDE....ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE ON TRUTH 
Over the past several weeks I have seen what could have been a “normal” election process crumble into a mud-slinging free-for-all rife with rumor, innuendo and attacks from all sides. 
It’s been reduced to personal attacks directed at people that just wanted to run for office of an organization this is supposed to bring the LGBT community together. Instead I see the entire process as as pulling the community apart. I’ve been torn over the past 36 hours or so as to what to say or do. What can I do to try to stop the dissension without making it worse. Every time I look at FB or the forums I see more behaviour that has hurt Pride and created more strife. I have been involved with Pride for over 6 years. I have seen earlier Boards deal with the same issues and over the past two years as Prides chairman have done my best to limit the drama and turmoil that have plagued Pride in the past. Personally, I think we did a fairly good job. Pride has grown substantially in members, vendors, sponsors, and attendees.. Donations have reached a point where the Board is in a position to make contributions to the good work of other LGBT nonprofits and make a substantial donation to RL groups as well. However, the unnecessary drama and lack of truthfulness that have publicly emerged during this election have taken all the hard work of restoring the credibility of Pride and wasted it. 
My actions over the past two weeks have been to do what I can to quell this fire without adding new fuel to it. I fear that there is no way to accomplish that and after I finish writing and posting this response it might make matters worse. But I feel the membership needs to understand my motivations and and why I contacted Cortez in the first place. I disagree with some of what Cortez Brandriss said in her statement to the Board, but do understand her ire, as my notecard on “tickets” must have encouraged a great deal of communication directed to her that she did not deserve. I have the chat logs that might explain better what really happened during that discussion but in releasing them I would bring more undue attention to someone that just wanted to serve our community and never deserved being drug into this. I apologise to her for my role in this whole affair. 
Last year, early in the election, I had, myself, suggested to some of the other candidates that they form a “ticket”. After some thought, I decided it was a bad idea, and nothing was ever done with regard to the formation of any alliances. A new Board was elected and a very diverse group of people took their positions on the Board. I had worked with Khar and Tootsie on the previous Board and knew them both well. None of the other people on last year's Board were friends of mine. I knew who they were, but none of us were close friends. It was a diverse Board with people having new and fresh ideas. No one or one group “controlled” the board and because of that there was a lively and effective exchange of ideas and I think the success of the Pride Festival this year showed what a diverse and independent group of people could accomplish. I was but one vote on the Board and many times my ideas were “shot down”.The independence of each board member allowed for a dynamic effective Board that worked on the basis of “what was best for Pride”. 
This year, before all of the candidates even declared, a group of people did in fact create an alliance This alliance was formed by Dex and included several other candidates running for various positions, most of them selected by Dex and asked to run by him. There is nothing in the by-laws that prevents this. There is nothing wrong with Dex asking others to run for some of the other offices. I was concerned by the prospect of having a single group of people led by one person, in control of the Board. Were these people assembled because of the abilities they brought to Pride or because of the votes they could deliver from the various groups they were affiliated with.? I felt that a slate might stymie and restrict new ideas and in effect place one person in control of the entire Board. These concerns grew as the election progressed and the selected slate of candidates both denied the nature of their alliance while simultaneously making statements hinting at rule changes and other actions that they had apparently agreed to, but which they were not discussed in a public forum. We have seen this in past Pride boards and it resulted in stagnation.The board was run from a perspective of “my way or the highway” mentality. This created drama and because of a single perspective being the only way, Pride suffered. 
When I looked at the candidates for Event Director I was encouraged by the entry of Cortez. Here was a person that could bring great things to Pride. She had experience running events that resulted in huge involvement from many communities and I was excited seeing her in the running. As far as I was concerned she was head and shoulders above the other two candidates and would bring great things to Pride. Then I learned about the “ticket” created by Dex. Another candidate for the Events chair, Mz Marville was part of his “team” as were others. I was alarmed in hearing about a threat to Cortez, and I contacted her. I asked her if she might consider joining forces with Hotboy in an attempt to garner greater support and counter the effect of the “ticket” against her. They both brought different talents to the job. She suggested that she could concentrate on the fundraising and social events and he had great experience in working in clubs and DJ’s. She even suggested that the next Board divide the job up into two board positions. Not a bad idea. But her dismay at knowing that Mz Marville was allied with “someone running for Board chairman” disturbed her and in her own words...”this process, people changing rules and adding people to their ticket in the middle of an election just seems to completely insult all of the work that has gone into making this election process happen”. The end result was that Cortez pulled out of the election. 
I assume responsibility for bringing news of the "ticket" and the idea of how she might counter that strategy. In my enthusiasm to see a worthy candidate elected, it violated her sense of fairness. In retrospect, it was an error of judgement for a board chair to take this role. I wish I had approached it in a different way. I’m saddened and dismayed that Cortez left the election. She was one of the most qualified and talented people that has run for a Pride office in a long time. My only intention was to present to her a means of countering what I considered a formidable challenge to her candidacy.Unfortunately, my motives and my intention backfired in a way that was wholly unintended. 
After some thought I decided to send the note card out concerning “tickets”. A notecard to the entire membership that specifically stated that there was nothing “illegal” about forming such tickets, but that people might consider voting for people because they are the best person for the job and not because they are part of an alliance. I was hoping to encourage candidates and voters to consider that there was more at stake in this election than getting elected, that Pride’s independent Board was at stake. 
Apparently, this note card, where I mentioned that “a candidate” had dropped out because of the “ticket”, brought considerable and undeserved attention to Cortez and she wrote the Board a private note explaining her reasons for withdrawing and condemning me. I can understand her wrath at me after she had received numerous IM’s from people and her feeling that I used her as an example in my note card. That was never my intention. I believed she was an outstanding candidate - one that would win in a normal election in which the best candidates were chosen based on their qualifications and not their affiliations with other candidates. All I attempted to do was try to suggest a way to counter an organized alliance that was detrimental to her candidacy. 
As one might surmise, Dex was thrilled in receiving her note. Ms Bradiriss' justifiable anger made it look like. I was behind some grand conspiracy. The Board discussed this in a Skype conversation. I wanted to issue an apology to her in public assuming responsibility for my part in this.( I did send her an apology personally). Dex wanted her private note to the Board released to the public. Cortez was contacted and she expressly asked that her note remain private and that she did not want to be bothered about this any longer and that she would continue her PLATINUM sponsorship next year at Pride. 
Evidently, Dex thought he knew better and decided to release her note against her wishes. In doing so Dex deliberately violated Cortez’s trust and unilaterally went against what the Board had decided. This unfortunately resulted in a subsequent communication form Cortez where she pulled entirely out of Pride and will not be participating in future Pride festivals. . Dex's unilateral decision to publish this information - knowing that one of our largest sponsors was already angry and had expressly asked us not to, did not just rob me of an opportunity to apologize for my role, but more importantly illustrates a calculation that the damage it would do - to me - to Cortez - and to the credibility of Second Pride was less important than his own short term gain. 
I have always attempted to lead Pride from the perspective of “what is best for Pride”. I’ve always encouraged others on the board and all members to look at Pride from that perspective. Yes, I may have made some mistakes in this whole affair, but my intentions were doing what I thought “was best for Pride”. I have swept many, MANY situations under the rug concerning Dex but I choose to keep quiet about them rather than bring any discredit to Pride. In a recent blog posting, Dex purports to express his outrage and declares that "when I am chair I will not stand for the lack of transparency".. I agree. In view of the information Dex has chosen to release thus far, , membership deserves to know more about our actions in recent Days. Specifically, Dex has made several attempts within the board both to eliminate his only opposing candidate, and to purge questions he does not feel it is fair for him to answer from the public forums. At the eleventh hour he tried to convince the Board that the cut off needed to be rolled back 12 hours, thus disqualifying his only opposing candidate. In effect allowing him to run unopposed. .. After the Board sent out notices to the membership defining the cut off times and dates which were published for over a week and a half. Dex demanded that we change these cut offs retroactively and eliminate his opposition This after the Board agreed to and sent out notifications to the membership stating the cut off dates and times over tens days before. Of course it is easier to win an election if you are able to remove a candidate through a backdoor maneuver. 
I pose this question... were Dexs’ actions in releasing Cortez’s note against her wishes...”the best for Pride” ? Does it help people make a better choice on who to vote for? Remember, I am not running for office. No.. he released it to discredit me. Dex and I have had issues all year... and I have done my best to keep them quiet for the sake of Pride. His only motivation in releasing this private notecard was to hurt me. I’m a big boy and yes maybe I should get a trip to the “woodshed” but his releasing of her note does nothing to further voter’s knowledge in choosing candidates...it was an attack on me. And I’m sorry that Dex’s and my issues have distracted voters from the real issues. 
There is plenty of blame to go around this year for these elections being reduced to a mockery from BOTH sides. Dex’s “scorched earth” mentality justified by his sense of “principle” has harmed Pride. Damian’s use of an alt asking Dex questions was obvious. 
An independent Board is the only way for Pride to effectively manage the attainment of Prides’ Mission. Would it have been easier this past year for me to manage the Board if I had a bunch of hand picked “yes” men ? Absolutely!! Would it have been the best for Pride. Absolutely not!! 
Independent board members allow for the expression of many more ideas and a more dynamic governing body. Yes, it’s messy. People argue and make their case, but in the end each board member independently makes a decision and in most cases reaches a decision that works best. Each member represents one vote. If one Board member is out in “left field” the collective Board tempers the crazy ideas and comes up with a decent solution. I as the Chairman have many times had to bow to the collective will of the Board and then stand up in the end and speak the Boards wishes. That is leadership. That is doing what is BEST FOR PRIDE. 
All I ask is that each of our members vote based on what is best for Pride. And vote to create an independent board. My time here is over. Term limits and a desire to “get my Second Life back” have brought me back to being just a member, just like the rest of you. Yes I would like to see Pride continue to grow and build upon what myself and many others have done, but that will have to be left to whoever we elect this year. I trust that the collective will of the membership will bring Pride a thoughtful and dynamic and independent board that will move us in a positive direction. I also pray and trust that all of the division and strife over these elections can be but in the past and WE ALL WILL DO WHAT IS BEST FOR PRIDE. 
Doc Spad
Outgoing Chairperson Second Pride"

14 comments :

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    1. tl;dr is English-Internet initialism meaning "too long; didn't read". Used to indicate that one did not read a (long) text.

      I would say to that, that sometimes life and experiences cannot be summarized too much, but one needs to elaborate to make it understandable. It's a pity when so many do not take the time to read.

      Delete
    2. sorry bock, for not being able to follow these any longer ...

      reading hours of chat logs or too long vice versa statements on the screen isn't easy to assimilate (not a native speaker) and something i don't like to spend my time with.

      how about a discussion round on gwnews-tv?!?

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    3. I do understand teno, buddy, no need at all to excuse yourself!

      Myself. I am attracted to long and complete discussions of an issue, I blame force of habit and my first life profession for that.

      Your suggestion is excellent, if you think you could set it all up fast. ;)

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  2. There will be no such thing as "Pride" if Dex and his people take control.

    There will only be vanity, ego, pettiness and revenge on his enemies.

    I know Dex very well. I have the chat logs to prove it. I cannot think
    of a more divisive person to run what should be an incredibly
    inclusive organization. This is just his latest vanity project to help him
    fill an empty life and a shallow soul. I wish I could stop this, but it's
    too late. God help us all.

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    1. Bock, SL is crashing my system today. Call me or email me.

      Dej

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  3. All I can say is the entire thing disgusts me. Both sides.

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    1. Thanks for the insight, Dex,

      Delete
  4. Bock, I really tried to stay away from it all, especially cause I'm close to one of the candidates, Garrett (and I make it clear here, so there's nothing hidden). As I've told some close friends more than once, I especially dislike what went on in comments, on the election official forums, between Dex and Damian - and in my opinion both did wrong there. Nonetheless, I think Doc's behavior during the whole thing is especially unbelievable.

    The whole thing about the so-called ticket is such a drama, and created by Doc, who sent a notice which was meant to influence on the results of the election. And it's not that he did so from a mere sler position, he did it as a Second Pride board member, sending an official notice through the SP group! What is that?

    Then, there is a whole lot of fast conclusions, which is also unbelievable considering that he is the outgoing chairperson... On FB, he declared his vote, stating for instance that Garrett was asked to run by Dex - well, because I'm close to Garrett, i can say it: this is just a false conclusion, a fast one, and Garrett is not Dex's robot, he decided to run by himself, he was not approached by Dex to do it.

    So, let's think about it: Garret and Mz Marville's "independence" are, according to Doc on FB, "questionable", "because they were asked to run by Dex". We've already talked about that fast conclusion, but let's go further: Mr Gracemount's candidacy is unopposed by Doc. Sorry, but did I miss something there? Mr G is probably the closest person to Dex running for board - but suddenly Doc says he's ok. Garrett and Mz Marville are not as close to Dex as Mr G, but then they are "contaminated" by the "ticket" thing? I'm sorry, but I can't understand what ways Doc's reasoning is going there. (Let me be clear about it, I think G is great for the position - my problem here is with Doc trying to make it look like as Garrett and Mz Marville are compromised for being friends with Dex, come on!)

    Then, let's take a look at the supposed ticket: the problem seems to be, according to Doc's vote declaration, with 3 people: Dex, Mz Marville and Garrett. What a ticket, right? 3 in a board of 9!

    Frankly, I don't know Doc, and I don't wanna speculate about his reasons for doing what he did, but the fact is that it caused more drama and division than any other personal attacks during this election. Actually, to be honest, I hadn't seen drama or personal attacks, at least to an annoying level, until Doc's decision to send a notecard to the group. I'm sorry to say so, I don't even know Doc (as I said), and I'm sorry for the consequences of it all to Second Pride, but I will state it again: Doc's behavior is unbelievable - and I would dare to say, unacceptable - to a chairperson who supposedly would like to unite the community. And this message by him to you, saying you could make it public, is just another example of this unbelievable behavior.

    Finally, this is all particularly disturbing because Doc controls both the SP website and its in-world group. His neutrality in the process is not only desirable but also required, not to throw distrust and doubts on all the election process.

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    1. Thank you for sharing this, Ricco!

      I agree with you that questions can be raised whether or not the outgoing chairperson has played a too active role in these elections or if should be morally bound to be impartial in the process.

      However, I have come to the personal conclusion, that Doc Spad as well as anyone else of the membership is allowed to voice his opinions one way or the other.

      The question then remains if Doc Spad should have used the special privilege given to the board members to send out notices in the Second Pride group. Although there is no rule against it, my view is that he should preferably have used the other means at his disposal to make his opinions public.

      On this blog, for some reason that escapes me now, chose to publish Doc's note card in the group. I did so however without any comment and instead asked all the candidates still in the race what their thoughts were on "tickets" and if they thought they could work with someone who wasn't on the "ticket". I was content with the candidates answer.

      In a response to Eddi Haskell's comment on that post I say "Thank you for adding your thoughts on this matter, Eddi. I agree with most of what you are saying. I hope you have also noted that nowhere do I say that I believe it is wrong. However, the question concerning the existence of a "a ticket" has been raised in the community and I merely wish to provide all the candidates the opportunity to respond to this.".

      When Dex soon afterwards dropped Cortez note card to the members of the Second Pride board on me I felt morally bound to publish that too, this time also without any comment from myself. I later learned - after the damage had already been done - that Cortez had specifically asked that the note card should not be distributed publicly. In my mind she could have told me that when I contacted her about it, in which case I would not have published it.

      Later again when I was contacted by Doc Spad, when he asked he wished to respond to Cortez allegations I told him I would publish his response, as I felt morally bound to do.

      We agreed he should send his answers to me in an email where he specifically stated that I was allowed to publish it. (I do not post chat logs or personal emails on my blog without prior consent.)

      Like you I have also seen that Doc Spad has today decided to post his endorsements - and his reasoning for them - on both his blog and on Facebook.

      I fear that Doc's action could anger people and therefore have the opposite effect to what he may have intended. I myself decided not to post any endorsements today, for the reasons mentioned in todays post. Like you, I can also see the same flaws in Doc's reasoning as the ones you have stated.

      Living in a democracy is not always easy and unexpected things happen, as in these elections. However I do not see that there have been any actionable or truly major wrongs committed (except defamation in certain cases). People have stated their views and opinions, not always in the respectful way we could have wished or using the methods we would have preferred, but they have all been utilizing their right of free speech.

      Now it is up to the voters to decide it all by their vote! I trust democracy, and will live and deal with any outcome of these elections.

      I will forever be a proud member of Second Pride!

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    2. Bock, thanks, your answer showed me that I should address 2 points:

      1. The right for free speech is sacred, but it can't be evoked to avoid one's responsibilities. Only the owner of the group and the members identified as "SecondPride Chair" and "Festival Team" are allowed to send notices - so, Doc could only send that as a member of the board (actually, he's owner of the group). As such, the consequences of what he says are different from the consequences of what an ordinary member of the group says (for instance, I can't explain my position to the whole group). That's why he has to be technically neutral, and by that I mean: group notices can't be used for him to express his personal opinions. By doing so, he reached far more people than any ordinary member could and, I'd risk saying, he abused power. The right for free speech can't justify that.

      2. About Cortez's notecard, I think it's wrong to have passed it ahead if it's true that she opposed to that - and I don't mean to excuse Dex for it. Nonetheless, Doc's NC to the group says that "one of the best qualified candidates just removed herself from the running after learning about a "ticket" that was created by some of the other candidates". As a chairperson, he couldn't have said that without being 100% sure of it (and maybe not even being sure, since the candidate decided not to talk about it publicly). On her NC, we can see that this is not true. Her words to Doc: "I withdrew from the Second Pride election because of *our* conversation - a conversation in which the current Chair of Pride, yourself, came to me with an attempt to coerce me to join forces on a ticket with someone I have not ever met [...]. I withdrew [...] because I was uncomfortable knowing that the Chair of Second Pride was so willing to discuss other candidates with me [...], because I felt that I was being asked to be a pawn in a [...] game of manipulating the vote. The unprofessional freedom you took in that conversation was what caused me to withdraw [...]." In order to try to avoid the release of her NC, Doc should not only "issue an apology to her in public", but also to the candidates that he tried to damage. I mean, If I were a candidate accused by Doc, I would want that the story was made public, unless he would admit that what he said was false - a lie or a mistake, whatever, but untrue. That's why, though it's ok that Doc wanted to respond to the release of Cortez's NC, his answer was unbelievable. I also thought the form was weird - sending an email to you and asking you to make it public - but now I understand his choice. Still, instead of him fully recognizing his mistakes, he accepts them only partially and again attacks the supposed ticket! Hasn't he seen that enough damage has already been caused - to members of the “ticket”, to Cortez and to Pride?! Lots of people are disgusted by the dirtiness that he helped create - a good chairperson can’t keep on damaging the event he should care about.

      I hope democracy will solve all problems, but democracy requires checks and balances. Doc's NC went to the whole group. Has the whole group had access to things that were said after that on blogs or FB? Idk. And, though I'm not accusing Doc, he's an owner of the Second Pride group in-world and he has control over the SP website. A person with that power can't look that biased to the community. It could jeopardize the election process. They are entitled to have their opinion, but they have to look fair and balanced.

      Finally, I'm not criticizing you for having published things. It's not you who should decide on Cortez's NC or Doc's answer. It's not your fault if others didn't abide to what they should.

      Delete
  5. Hi Bock,

    It actually IS NOT part of operating protocol during an election proceeding, to post notices without the board approving one if it's not sent by the Community Relations Director during the election proceedings. Only the Community Relations Director is allowed to send one notice a day according to policy. The only other position that is permitted to send notice is the SecretaryCo-chair for board meetings (if they are not present someone else may). Those are the ONLY two authorized types of notices without approval of the board. Doc did not run it through the board. Why? Because he knew it would not be approved because its underlying electioneering was absolutely obvious. Period. So, he messed up. There is no denying it or working around that conclusion. It boggles my mind why people are even trying to at this point. I may seem biased as a candidate he doesn't endorse but setting all that aside I would still find him to be wrong for doing so as Ricco has. Before anyone actually says it was not wrong or there is no rule against it, I suggest they review the SP by-laws.
    They can do so on the second-pride website here:http://second-pride.com/aboutus/sp-by-laws/ or by choosing "About Us" then "SP By-Laws".
    ------------------

    Section 4, Election Procedures, Article IV

    4. The Membership Director will send out daily announcements to the membership, in-world, reminding them of the election during this period and include the procedures for voting, locations, and any other pertinent information to effect a successful election.

    -----------------

    For reference to anyone that may not be aware of whom the Membership Director is, it is the Community Relations Director. The board decided to change the official title of that role.

    As a candidate in the running for this position, I have decided it is necessary for me to point this out to clear up any bewilderment. It is indeed not a duty listed in the by-laws there it is against the by-laws. Just because there is no by-law stating that specific roles SHOULD NOT send a notice out doesn't give them the right to because the by-laws do not specify it as an election procedure that is necessary. With that said, his notice was not deemed necessary nor was it approved by the board. Also, I should remind people that the Chairperson does not speak for the entire board or make decisions for them unless there is approval from them.

    I hope everyone knows by now that I think this behavior in his final days is not respectable at all. It is such a flagrant fit and a means of retaining influence on the board when he steps down. I just cannot imagine how anyone may not see this.

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  6. Regarding my independence being questionable...I was present on the Second Pride main sim before the non-profit build was even finished being conceptualized and the sim was bare. That was the very first large thing to materialize on sim for those that do not know. I was there by my own choosing because the whole thing fascinated me and I felt a part of it even though I could not help without authorization. I stood in to give feedback and moral support. I was also there for the entire building process and was also present on the sims more than Doc was before AND during the festival. I had asked Mr. G how I could help since it was obvious that there was a dire need for additional assistance. He suggested that if I wanted to get more involved in insuring there was adequate help, that I should run for a seat on the board in the coming election. Once I had decided to do so, Dex merely encouraged me in support of my qualifications. He did not ask me to run for any reasons people have presumed. He also cannot make me because no one has that type of influence over me. I have even considered withdrawing because of Doc's attempt of ruining my chances of getting elected (ironic, right?)but, I decided I would NOT back down and finish what I came to do...and that is to get elected and make a POSITIVE change and to offer all my expertise and help. So you see, there has been an effort over several weeks to do something better for Pride and it's all been in our thoughts and no one and their petty false allegations will break me.


    And, I will say now that my independence should not be in question because I tend to disagree with things, even between friends as I am a free spirit. (Ask Ricco, lol) In regards for the Community Relations Director NEEDING to be completely independent, I disagree. The position requires cooperation within the community as well as independence on the board. Being completely independent would mean you serve yourself and your own principles, I would be serving the community so the idea of not being independent of the boards influence is absurd whether or not its the case. I do not know how many times I have told current board members that are my friends that I disagree with something. Anyone that thinks I fear their judgment or any consequences they would like to see rain down on me, are sorely mistaken. I also do not fear people that bring my qualifications or character into question as I have not a single horrible thing to hide. So, Dex is not trying to install me into position to execute some agenda. Anyone that thinks so is NUTS and has their own agenda to push. These people are in a panic because there is now actually a great chance for a unified board who will change Pride for the better. In knowing this, they are right to gather that a unified board would mean a fairer distribution of involvement within the organization's collaborative efforts. This is why some are in a panic and are grasping at straws to hold onto being the majority. Rather than speculating things, I encourage people to remain neutral in the matter because if I am elected, I would indeed like everyone to come to me with their suggestions on how they would like to be involved. Sorry for how lengthy this was but it had to be said. Hugs all around! :D

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  7. Thank you Ricco and Garrett/postdandy for sharing your views in this matter with my readers!

    Hugs

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