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Is California’s State Bar Assocation Avoiding Doug Manchester’s Hotel Because of the Boycott? Or a Better Deal?

The American Historical Association learned the hard way about crossing the boycott line in front of Doug Manchester’s Hyatt hotel in San Diego: People will scream at you! With organized protests against the Prop 8-supporting hotelier popping up anytime a large organization plans on holding a convention at the property comes word the State Bar Association of California has nixed plans to hold its 2011 conference at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. But not because they’re scared of some angry homos.

The official reason for the Bar Association’s move? Finances! In this economy, hotels are frothing at the mouth to attract money-making conventions, which guarantee huge blocks of rooms are rented out in addition to collecting fees for conference room use. Which means the State Bar got a better deal elsewhere. In Long Beach! Or at least that’s their public position, negating the argument made by Californians Against Hate’s Fred Karger, who insists it was the public pressure — and in-fighting among the group’s local and LGBT chapters — that has them heading elsewhere for the 2011 conference. As Karger notes, last year’s Bar Association convention was held at the Manchester Hyatt, and attracted a maelstrom of negative publicity and outcries.

But if the Manchester boycott is the real reason the Bar Association is changing locales, why not own up to it? Perhaps not to infuriate Doug Manchester, whom they might return to when all the hubbub dies down. Or to insist they won’t cave to public pressure. Either way, the change means many fewer zeroes in Manchester’s pocket.

(NB: Ridiculously, in reporting on the story, San Diego’s Gay and Lesbian Times argued “not everyone in the GLBT community supports the boycott’s efforts,” but the only person they quoted as disagreeing with the boycott is gay publicist Howard Bragman, whose client is none other than Manchester himself. That’s not a showing of “lack of support”; that’s a showing of “supporting my bill-paying client’s interests.”)

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  • Johnny

    many groups honor the boycott and relocate to another hotel but dont want to own up to it to avoid the controversy. The State Bar has some members and board members that are not supportive of either workers rights or lgbt rights, but because many of the members in the association did support the boycott, they moved but didn’t want to make a big deal about it so as not to get into more heat with their more conservative members.

    just a thought

  • Christian DeLuca

    Cleve Jones is an admitted paid union employee. This has become a Labor issue, not a Gay issue. These Gay Leaders, as it appears to me, seem to be driven by ego and aren’t disclosing all of their reasons for their personal engagement in this “fight”. Can’t Manchester and Karger just sit down together? No they can’t. Manchester has no stake or management in the hotel. It’s a Hyatt hotel. He just gets paid rent. Shouldn’t these protests happen at Manchester Financial Group HQ? Why hit Hyatt, they have been good to us….or right, its because this particular Hyatt is one of the largest hotel properties on the West Coast, and boy wouldn’t that just fatten the Union’s wallets if they unionized! Gross.

  • DBB

    “Papa Doug” posts an apology to the LGBT community and then makes every effort to take the credit Hyatt has earned in the arena of LGBT rights and issues. Doug is correct that Hyatt has established an excellent record in treating gays and lesbians fairly. This is not Doug Manchester’s record. I worked for the San Diego Hyatt and “Papa Doug” did not treat employees fairly. My paycheck was drawn on Manchester resorts payroll and I for one never felt comfortable or fairly treated by him as an employee. It should not cause Doug any pride that he treated all employees poorly, but gay employees were treated especially poorly. We felt the need to hide our sexual orientation and were told, “to act straight”. That is not an acceptable workplace environment.

    Doug’s apology seems disingenuous at best and appears to be an attempt to use Hyatt’s reputation in the LGBT community to cover his own poor record. This effort appears to be yet more hypocrisy coming from a man whose reputation for hypocrisy is becoming legendary. It is regrettable that the employees of the Hyatt have to suffer the effects of a boycott (both financially and emotionally). It must be especially difficult and humiliating for Hyatt’s gay employees to have to cross that picket line knowing their employer donated so much money to deprive them of their civil rights. If Papa Doug wants to demonstrate true remorse he should stand up and take a leadership role in the fight for LGBT civil rights. I don’t mean a small cash donation and some comp room nights. He should really take on leadership role and show his employees, customers and community that he is serious about making amends for his contribution to prop 8 and the way his company has treated gay employees in the past. Anything less is lip service to protect his income and soothe his conscience. Is Mr. Manchester really sorry for his actions or does he simply regret the consequences of those actions? I suspect it is the latter and until he demonstrates otherwise I will continue to stay elsewhere when I return to San Diego and I will continue to consider Manchester Hyatt something less than grand.


    oh well oh well


    oh well of hwlll

  • Michael

    Believe me, the only benefit of that boycott was to get a handful of people out of the house for some fresh air. Folks in San Diego – gay and straight – boycott: high prices, bad food/beverage, bad service, and all else, in precisely that order.

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