Why is the new ‘Union-Tribune’ Community Editorial Board void of LGBT representation?Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest, Online Only Monday, July 25th, 2011
Commentary: Conversations With Nicole
With great fanfare, this past Sunday’s issue of the San Diego Union-Tribune announced its new Community Editorial Board along with color pictures and bios of each of the 20 new members. Many are well known and are indeed civic and community leaders. There is only one major problem: there is no representation from the LGBT community.
Editor and Vice President Jeff Light praises the new Community Editorial Board as people “committed to San Diego, community service and to advancing a constructive conversation about the issues of the day.” Mr. Light further states “that a newspaper must reflect its community.”
Are we to believe that they could not find any LGBT citizens committed to our city and community service? I was very happy when I heard that the Union-Tribune would be announcing the formation of this historic board. While it was good to see such outstanding San Diegans appointed – such as Eugene “Mitch” Mitchell, Ronne Froman, Gracia Molina de Pick, Ernie McCray and Victor Torres – it was still very disappointing and insulting to see no LGBT San Diegan appointed.
I know there is no way that the Union-Tribune would have announced this Community Editorial Board without representation from the Latino, Asian or African-American communities. However, they felt comfortable moving forward without LGBT representation.
Today, I contacted the Union-Tribune over my deep concerns and disappointment over its exclusion of LBGT San Diegans. I had a conversation with Editorial and Opinion Editor William Osborne, who stated that the community board is a “work in progress,” and that the board will grow and change. When I asked Osborne when a representative from the LBGT community would be appointed, he would not commit to such an appointment.
I had better luck with Community Opinion Editor Blanca Gonzalez, who I found to be very sincere and honest. She agreed with me that an LGBT San Diegan should have been appointed and it was indeed a mistake that one was not. You cannot blame Gonzales as she was brought into the board selection late in the game, but it will be her who will oversee the board. She assured me that she would get back to me with a time table when an LGBT appointment would be made.
I gave Gonzalez the following recommendations: Dr. Delores Jacobs, Bruce Abrams, Ben F. Dillingham, Dwayne Crenshaw, Susan Atkins and Carolina Ramos.
I had a conversation with one of the new Community Editorial Board members, Victor Torres, a prominent civil rights and criminal defense attorney. Torres stated that he told the Union-Tribune that he was concerned about the lack of LGBT representation on the board. Yet, the board was still announced.
The LGBT community and the HIV/AIDS community were not treated very fairly by the previous Copley owners. Under their leadership, the Union-Tribute was very homophobic, especially in the 1970s. While I do believe the new Union-Tribune is more fair and balanced, this situation does not send the LGBT community a good message.
I believe my concerns were heard and that an LGBT San Diegan will be appointed. However, I will be watching closely to see how quickly they correct this mistake.
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