Brian Ellner, Empire State Pride Agenda Quitter (And Enter Ross Levi, The New Chief)

Brian Ellner was all set to replace Alan Van Capelle as the head of Empire State Pride Agenda, New York State’s leading activist group, but now he’s dropped out of the running because some activists had a problem with — get this! — his record. Is he just a political opportunist? Does he support conservative agendas? So many tedious questions! Update: ESPA has named Ross Levi, a decade-long vet of the organization, its new exec director in a unanimous board vote. [GCN]

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  • Lauren

    We need leadership in all LGBT organizations, especially organizations as political and powerful as NY’s Empire State Agenda, to be beholden to no one other than the grassroots members of the movement. (Not beholden to Republican Billionaire Michael Bloomberg) There must be major changes within Gay Inc.

    We are a civil rights movement, not a corporation.

    We need to not only Take Back Pride this year — WE NEED TO TAKE BACK OUR MOVEMENT. If not now, then when?

    Thankfully there are activists our there who are willing to stand up and say what needs to be said. We all need to be activists. At the rate our political progress is going, we will experience Full Equality in this country in what, 30 years from now, in 2040 – ya wanna wait that long?

  • Queer Embrace

    Classic example of “activists” scaring away moderates and folks who haven’t always been on our side but are coming to the table. Moving from the minority to majority cannot be done with a purist ideology. (Read some history and find out how southern whites were key to the civil rights movement.) My fear is that these “activists” are so hard up on their own idealogical purity that they’re now the inverse mirror image of Tea Party members. Calling you the Tea Bagger Party. Congrats for taking the NY movement back another huge step…

  • Jason_Activist

    Thank you New York ACTIVISTS. We continue to flex our muscles. From Queer Rising to EqualityAcrossAmerica to the exciting new guys GetEQUAL – we are now taking over the movement.

    This weekend million of activists are march, rallying and creating civil disobedience. It’s about time. Demanding is the only path to victory. It takes courage and bravery to stand up and demand our equality and move to change our government so that is serves all people.

    From New York to California we are taking our movement back – back to the streets.

    Louder. Stronger. Bigger.


  • CHIP1218

    I don’t think most people realize this, you can’t find many young professional lgbt political/non-profit executives who haven’t got some involvement with Mayor Bloomberg! He’s a billionaire and spent over $100,000,000 on each campaign re-election. Many Democrats took jobs working for Bloomberg even with the consent of their former Democratic bosses. If the left-wing activists amongst the NYC lgbt community won’t allow anyone associated with Bloomberg to be elected executive director of Empire State Pride Agenda they have two options – find someone from upstate NY or import someone from out of NYS. Also, since when is Mayor Bloomberg a Conservative???

    Instead of concerning themselves with if a candidate worked for a Republican, ESPA has more important things to be doing – they can’t seem to plan an appointment with a local state senator if their life depended on it! Twice I was asked to participate in a meeting, twice they gave me a list of date options to hold such meeting, twice I told them I can attend any date but one, and twice they went about choosing the one date I couldn’t attend! These activists within ESPA should be more worried about the dysfunction of their lobbying organizing than which cookie cutter “Will Truman” type of gay will be leading the organization…

  • Lauren

    Your statement: ” I don’t think most people realize this, you can’t find many young professional lgbt political/non-profit executives who haven’t got some involvement with Mayor Bloomberg! He’s a billionaire and spent over $100,000,000 on each campaign re-election.”

    This is sooo sad. Think about what is going on with Bloomberg’s far-reaching power & control. It shouldn’t be this way. Bloomberg is worth about $19 Billion dollars – that is Billion with a B. He is one the wealthiest men in America. That is means power. An insane amount of power. Many, many people are under his control. Many are afraid of him due to that amount of power. And NYS residents then handed him over the Keys to the City – for an undemocratic Third Term – a total of 12 freaking years in control!

    We need to take back our movement.

    All the staffers in Gay Inc. may not be as motivated to see our Full Equality because the moment that happens, they all Lose Their Jobs. We won’t need those organizations anymore.

    What would Harvey Milk do ?

  • CHIP1218

    Not only do people have contact with him as the mayor of NYC, but also through his philanthropic endeavors. He does not control the New York State Senate. He is not responsible for us being denied our right to get married in New York. Who is responsible, NYC Democrats!!! Sen. Carl Kruger, Diaz, etc. are the ones who denied us our rights! Consider yourself lucky to live in NYC if you are gay, it is not like that in most major cities. It’s not perfect here but it is so much better than what millions of our LGBT brothers and sisters deal with where they live. Why do you think we have such a huge LGBT population in NYC? Because people move to live here for its opportunities!

    As for taking back the movement, wasn’t that the rationale for choosing Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton – that he was going to change everything and make our lives all better? How has that worked out? Ooo, Europe likes us more because we elected a black President? They would have liked us if we had elected Hillary as well, and most importantly, where are all the minority Presidents and Prime Ministers in Europe??? Oh, right, they are more afraid of their minorities than we are, so they don’t let them have the opportunity to become full citizens!

    It doesn’t matter who is running the movement if those against us are so entrenched and won’t change their opinions. Unless we’re willing to go the route of terrorists or play dirty somehow, we’re not going to change the hearts and minds of most conservatives, evangelicals, and Republicans! We’ll just have to wait another 10-20 years for many of them to die off and then we’ll have the numbers on our side to enact non-discrimination and marriage equality.

    And with all the money Bloomberg has, he hires the SAME consultants and strategists that the major DEMOCRATIC candidates hire for their re-election campaigns. So until you start boycotting all the other politicians who spend their campaign war chests with YOUR dollars you and others donated, you are just jealous that Bloomberg is a billionaire! An election is different than an administration. How many times do you have to be lied to before learning that lesson? (Candidate Obama and President Obama are not the same!)

    Oh, and NYC is a much better place to live in in 2010 than in 2000. The schools are better, the parks are nicer, the neighborhoods are better, the streets are cleaner, etc.

  • NYCer

    @CHIP1218: You can find many LGBT non-profit types who have no involvement with Bloomberg. Most of us realized when he sued to prevent same-sex marriage and refused to implement the Dignity for All Students Act that he SAID he supported us but in reality, just did what was easier. So we didn’t support him. That Ellner did is part of what made him a questionable choice.

  • CHIP1218

    If you work for a non-profit in NYC that takes grant money from the city or sponsors events with the city or gets Bloomberg to attend a function to help you raise money, you have a relationship with the Bloomberg administration. You can have a relationship with the administration, even work for the Bloomberg administration, without voting to re-elect him. The city employees thousands and thousands of people, and most jobs are NOT at risk of being fired by the mayor if you get on his bad side.

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