Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Friday, February 29, 2008

A Pink House divided...

"A house divided against itself can not stand."
- Abraham Lincoln

Last night J and I attended Vote Pink* - a campaign event for two potential City of Columbia Council members, Belinda Gergel (district 3) and Cameron Runyan (at-large), you may have read about it over at Brad Warthen's blog.

It was a fun event a chance for me to see people I've not seen in a long while as well as realize just how completely out of touch I am with the community. [Let me add a caveat to that statement, I say out of touch because I'm not into the bar scene, nor am I actively involved in any organizations or groups - partly because I've "settled" and partly because there's just not enough time in the day, I suppose if I were an entrepenour or of 'management' class I could afford to be more actively involved (in a lot of things), but as of now no.]

Belinda did a fantastic job of laying out her positions and ideas on what to do to move Columbia in the right direction. Cameron addressed many of the specific concerns of the crowd and has a comprehensive plan that is supported by his vitality and sheer enthusiasm. Without too many parallels - Belinda at least in speaking last night came across as a Wonk - and Cameron, as a Charismatic - it's good that they've "teamed" up as it were.

On the way home a friend and I discussed the candidates - to us both it seems as though Ms. Gergel is more than anything else, a rising star with well enough potential to go beyond just council woman. Then when discussing Mr. Runyon and both have a shared concern over the issues that he discussed and the plausability or viability of succeeding. It concerns us that Cameron presented himself to the attendees of VotePink as a one topic kind of guy, and then discussed how one particular policy move may or may not be doable. The policy that I speak of is the notion that the city can use the power of the purse to influence private enterprise by closing the door to new contract and contract re-ups who do not include sexual orientation and gender identity in their descrimination policies. My friend expressed concerns that contractors wouldn't be open to this, I said that in the face of lots of government money (free money for all intents and purposes) that even the most ardent conservative would probably be willing to compromise - Mamon would win out, but I wouldn't be suprised if some contractors would infact walk away. But this morning I examined Mr. Runyan's website - perhaps I'll share that with my friend to dissuade our concerns over the single issue notion.

So why then do I mention a pink house divided.

It only takes talking to a handful of people and you'll see the division - and as I learned last night, it's specifically along the lines of age. See Belinda and Cameron aren't the only ones 'courting' the LGBT vote in Columbia. Their opposition is as well, and the night before Think Pink, Councilman Rickenmann (at large) and Brian Boyer (3rd district) held a meet and greet at Mr. Rickenmann's restaurant Mo Mo's Bistro. Where as the younger members (35 and under) of the community overwhelmingly are all supporting Mr. Runyan, the older members conversely seem to be backing Mr. Rickenmann. Where as Mr. Runyan says more needs to be done, and needs to be done openly, many older members of the community say that Mr. Rickenmann has been supportive of the LGBT community for a very long time and has been a "behind the scenes" councilman pushing for inclusion policies etc etc. Mr. Boyer - who on all accounts simply felt uncomfortable and unnerved in a room full of homosexuals seems to have lumped himself together with Mr. Rickenmann not only because of shared policy outlook on fast growth, but also his main competition has "grouped" with Mr. Runyan.

What is the most likely outcome is that the 'bloc' vote will be split and that the LGBT community will not be the mamoth block that pushes anyone candidate to victory.

But what's very interesting beyond that is that all members of the community though voting specifically one way (along the lines of age mainly) are using the power of their purse effectively and are giving to both campaigns in the hopes that no matter who is elected that their voices will continue to be heard and not forgotten or overlooked which in the end despite the division will be their saving grace.

*the website was down when I created this post, try it to see if it's working!

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