Monday, April 19, 2010

Turned in my Gilman keys for a reason.

I turned in my keys Friday & resigned from the Board of Directors & as Secretary. It's the 1st time since 1989 that I haven't had keys there & I am completely unaffiliated with 924 Gilman now. I feel a huge wave of relief, although it wasn't an easy decision to make.

Short version:
Gilman's always been a half non-profit, half-tax paying entity. It's been operating as a non-profit under the umbrella of another non-profit for a couple of years, and it's finally really close to being a legally independent 501(c)3 non-profit. This means it can go out & raise funds & in-kind donations from individual donors & foundations.

Part of Gilman becoming a non-profit involves having a Board of Directors (who would probably organize fundraising efforts) and restructuring it's governance structure to accommodate this, as well as rewriting the by-laws to add some tweaks & some major changes. It has been a collective that is run by the 2xmonth collective meetings since 1986, open to all. Before this weekend's by-law changes, anyone who had attended at least one meeting in the past was allowed to vote. I believe that the new by-laws (at least the last version I saw) requires voting members to do at least 1 task a month (which is completely reasonable).

I have a lot of experience with writing by-laws for non-profits & egalitarian entities, reorganizing governance structures, and planning fundraising efforts for these types of places. Doing this for Gilman was my main reason for attending the twice-monthly collective meetings again.

The recent by-law revision that happened showed me that the super-close coordination & collaboration that these HUGE efforts require wasn't going to happen, at least not with me involved. I reached out to the main regular volunteers & asked for us to collaborate, to work together, but was mostly rebuffed.

It's kind of crazy to me that a group of regular, hard-working volunteers would shine on legitimate offers of help to lighten their already heavy load. I was always up front with what I could offer & that I was not interested in personal drama. Unfortunately personal drama created by some of the current volunteers definitely played a part in their reluctance to collaborate.

So I said, fine, here's my keys, here's my resignation, good luck.

I'm ambivalent, because while I feel strongly about Gilman's history, I am very worried by the statements & actions of some of the current volunteers. "Gilman hasn't been run as a collective for 2 years" is one that is factually wrong but fervently expressed by the current Head of Booking. No doubt the recently-passed by-law changes will move the place further in his preferred direction. (By-laws that I happily helped re-write, by the way- I don't think a place should stay sacred & unchanging, especially when a lot of the changes are good ideas)

There's a sense of "us" (the people who can give many hours a week) and "them" (the larger community, including many Gilman veterans who have previously given many hours a week for years- decades- at a time). There's a contempt for the worth of the contributions of "them," even though "they" will be some of the main targets for any successful fundraising effort.

Additionally, there are issues of volunteer retention & volunteer relations- another out-going volunteer said that they were always afraid of being yelled at by their "parents," i.e. some of the main volunteers, if they did something those main volunteers disagreed with.

This disapproval of dissent by the main regular volunteers is not healthy for a community-organized space. I ran into this myself over the past few months when I refused to leave my experience & knowledge at the door & get in line, and instead have a discussion about pros & cons of various things. Nothing I have done is any different than what I or hundreds (thousands?) of past Gilman volunteers have done over the decades. Advocate for a position, go to a vote, & win or lose a collective vote. Rinse, wash, repeat. Democracy sucks, get used to it- or change the rules.

While I will not say that donating to Gilman is a bad idea, I can't recommend it either. That sucks to write after all of these years of being a huge booster, but that's where it is.

23 comments:

SirCorbyGordo said...

Jesse, I'm sorry, man. After all of your hard working years trying to help keep it together... for this to happen, is just unsettling. It is not a brand, a trademark or anyone's booking vehicle. It is truly not a place anyone should fear the judgment of any kind of parental figure. I hope things work out for the place. I'm just saying, you served as a kind of beacon for reality and sanity there. Problems, problems, problems.

cheetahrob said...

so wait what happened at the meeting? are they making it so you can't go to meetings anymore unless you're a select few people in that committee? im confused...i wish i was at that meeting. i've been feeling really alienated from the gilman community lately, i have been trying to coordinate shows lately but my feel efforts unwanted. my general presence seems unwanted.

got this link from a friend on facebook btw...making this comment less creepy i guess.

--Jen

Athena said...

Thanks for all of your hard work and patience over the years, Jesse, sincerely. Can't say I'm surprised by the turn of events, but this whole situation makes me really sad.

Jesse Luscious said...

There's still some good people volunteering there, don't get me wrong.

I'm pretty sure what passed was you have to go to one meeting a month & do at least 1 task a month. (You also can't have freedom of speech in meetings if you're the Secretary (rolls eyes).)

Honestly, except for the 2nd part, it's not so bad, but the idea that I would put other projects like KALX & Indy Arts on hold to dive headlong into Gilman Board of Directors work & Gilman fundraising is totally unrealistic, based on what I've experienced over the last 3 months.

Suzanne Dell'Orto said...

This is like the inverse of the Groucho Marx "wouldn't want to be part of any club that would have me as a member." I can't imagine how bad it had to be for you to walk away from Gilman...is there anyone more punk rock/grassroots than you? I'm really sorry to hear the whole deal.

English Listening said...

It`s a scary feeling--but shit`s gotta change for things to stay the same. Others have thought "The Golden Years" passed a long time ago anyways, but who knows....the last time I went to Gilman it was guys like Jeff who was booking. Don`t worry Jesse, this is all pretty predictable: even Yoda had to take a step back but when The Shit goes down they gotta come back. You can come visit my chain of 924 Gilman clubs in Europe and Asia, we have dry cleaning, immigration services and sneaker rentals. This post was informative, I love Gilman--not enough to go there once a month!!!

C.V. Blawgger said...

Hey Jess,

Sorry to hear about this as you've been a stalwart volunteer since the beginning. It's disheartening that another link from Gilman's "early days" has severed ties. If only I still lived in the Bay!

-James

danasexmuffin said...

Hey Jesse, my name is Dana... you might not remember me...I used to do sound for Gilman. Anyway, I am sorry about what happened. I quit Gilman a few months ago and while I felt like my childhood was ripped out of my chest by doing so, I also experienced a huge wave of relief. I quit because I was being ostracized out. I don't agree with how Gilman is being run these days, with the select few being in charge. That's not what Gilman was meant to be about...hence the word "Collective". Honestly, there was never a decision to turn Gilman into a dictatorship. As with most dictatorships, he came in liked what he saw, and threw a coup. At least that's how I see it. The head of booking doesn't see it as a collective because what the head of booking says has become what is done. It's more or less being run by one person who will frighten people in to backing down and doing what he wants. He managed to push me out when i did some things he didn't like. And yes, I got "yelled at by my parents". It was weird to be pushed out after 7 years. It was weird to fight with people i thought were my friends. it was weird that suddenly people were trying to make a name for themselves and needed recognition. I guess that's always existed, but I had managed to stay on the fringes of it.
I came to Gilman when I was 13 or so because I was looking for something that wasn't watered down...and Gilman delivered. In a world where I, as a teenage girl who was mostly told I couldn't, shouldn't, and can't, was told that YES! I could! It was fabulous! I was given responsibilities and respect for who I was! I'll never forget that experience. The volunteers at Gilman really looked out for me in what was not at all a normal teenage hood. Sure it had the drama and angst. But for me there were some real reasons behind it. Reasons that some adults find scary.
I've heard that there are some disturbing new rules in the effort to make gilman "more professional" which is fucking ridiculous if you ask me. Don't we have enough fucking professional Slim like places in the world already? The fact that Gilman wasn't like this is what made Gilman, Gilman. Now it's just a watered down version of it's former self. Disturbing new rules include, the back wall is to remain black...not writing on it to keep it 'professional". No grabbing in mic in between bands to make announcements. Nobody is to grab the mic during bands, you can only be a select few people to attend meetings... etc, etc, etc....
Personally, I don't want to be apart of turning Gilman into Slim's. I'll always love it and appreciate it for what it was. But mostly I'll love the spirit, and when that's gone... well, it can be found in other places.
Thanks so much for writing your blog and having the courage to let go of your keys. My own key broke in half and I took that as a sign to never go back and to just move forward with new projects. Someone like me, well, a bunch of people like me turning in out keys and leaving after years doesn't say much. But someone like you leaving, well it makes a statement and I am really happy you did it! Thank you Jesse! There's a new all ages venue trying to start up in SF a la Gilman style. I'm excited about that!

C.V. Blawgger said...

Dana, I used to coordinate and stage manage shows back in 90-94 era and it's sad that the collective spirit seems to have finally dissipated. Twenty years is a damn good long run though for a bunch of anarcho-syndicalist idealists and other assorted radicals. Even though I'm an east bay boy through and through I have to wish the SF club luck if it's stepping up to the proverbial plate!

the said...

Sorry to read this. Gilman has always been (at least in the eyes of outsiders like me) a beacon of light in the DIY punk world. I wonder if the changes there reflect what's happening to that scene in a lot of places. I don't see people being as motivated to make these kinds of collectives work (at least not in the punk scene), so it would make sense that the people power void could easily be filled by a dictatorship. My last band (before I moved down here) played Gilman last summer, and we were really disappointed in how we were treated. The sound people were making out with each other while we were playing (so, no, the sound was not good) and the woman who booked the show had a very strange way of dealing with the money, but none of us were in the mood to fight for an extra $20. Did better with money as an opener in the early and late 90's (at similarly attended shows) than we did as a headliner in 2009. Must make it hard to get good bands excited about playing there.

pops normal said...

BTW, the last post by "The" was me.
-Pete

MissDirectedAnger said...

Jesse-
Gilman has never been a non-profit, plain and simple.Obfuscating this point makes it seem like we’ve ever come close.Sure, you helped us get involved with Indy Arts in lieu of formal incorporation,which was great,but there were real problems with dispersal of funds when we got a donation. You became utterly dismissive when criticized or even questioned in this regard.Hopefully, we can still count on the cooperation of Indy Arts,our area’s city council representative and the Berkeley Police Department in your absence. You seem pretty intent on making sure we are seen in a bad light!
To say that you were ever ASKED to put KALX & Indy Arts and/or any part of your political career on hold to “dive headlong” into the Gilman Board of Directors or work on Gilman fund raising is simply not true. You were never asked for any level of commitment and it should be clarified that this what you ASSUMED would be required.
We were working on the incorporation paperwork for a mere 3 weeks before you quit. There was more collaboration than you seemed to have perceived while revising the bylaws. Whatever expectations you had were not well communicated. If the collaboration didn’t take the exact form you wanted doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. In fact, I thought we (you and I) were still collaborating until the moment you handed me your keys. Collaboration in a collective setting REQUIRES discussion of pros and cons, PLUS listening to what the rank and file members have to say at meetings and at shows. You weren’t asked to “leave your knowledge and experience at the door” you were asked to acknowledge that the Secretary position could be overly influential in the decision-making process and offered ways to mitigate this. You have the most, self-proclaimed, experience with non-profits of any former or current volunteer. Naturally, based on your statements at meetings, we were counting on the help you kept offering. Now we have to look elsewhere and our incorporation is further delayed by emergency elections.
BTW- for anyone reading this, the elections are open until May 1. The sign up sheets for the Secretary and one Board of Directors position are posted just outside the office door.

MissDirectedAnger said...

We thought you would participate in an open e-mail discussion about the bylaws (among heads of and officers) but you created your own personal addendum as well as civics' class-esqe explanation instead and brought it to the meeting. Perhaps this is because we couldn’t meet in person before hand, I don’t know. I get tired of reminding people of how many hours I work and my non-traditional work hours as much as I get tired of being accused of "martyrdom" and "insanity" because a person with my workload is not taking advantage of or extracting ANY help offered, and so on and so forth... If you had an expectation of in-person meetings as a condition to your involvement you should have said so. If you knew of a required amount of people necessary to constitute a "legitimate" collaboration, you should have said so. If you had an expectation of a certain level of experience by folks initiating this discussion or for their revisions to be taken seriously, you should have said so.
As far as and getting “in line” goes, in line behind who? Behind Jay? I think this is THE REAL ISSUE: your, Dana and Athena's(?) personal dislike for an individual within the collective. You told me once, I “didn’t have to be friends” with everyone involved, what happened?! You misinterpret some of Jay's statements here in a way that furthers your own point. This distracting, personal drama is irresponsibly inflamed by Dana’s rant.

MissDirectedAnger said...

Dana-
Jay did not “take over” Gilman. Those that work with and support him in his efforts as head booker are not mindless followers!
We paint the wall behind the stage black because we got sick of seeing the same sloppy AssCactus tag behind every touring band on youtube. The rules are the same as they ever were: no painting right before and after the shows, basically when a lot of people are around.
We still make announcements in between bands but they are usually security related (at least when I make them). PLEASE BE ASSURED THAT NO ONE IS NOW, OR HAS EVER BEEN, PREVENTED FROM USING THE MICROPHONE FOR MAKING ANNOUNCEMENTS. OUR MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS CONTINUE TO BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. What we decided is that there should be a minimum contribution of effort required to vote and defined it as one meeting a month and one task per month.
Finally, Jay is not responsible for your leaving the club, you are. Jay would regularly ask the previous head of sound to put you on shows when he didn’t see your name on the board and he also offered to train you as a booker. This was, of course, before you decided to blame all the club’s problems on him, actively spread gossip and accuse him of being a dictator undertaking some grand coup... You never actually turned in your keys, by the way, and should acknowledge using your past involvement and keys to get into the PHG show for free, after quitting.

MissDirectedAnger said...

Jen- I’m not sure how you reconcile your feelings of alienation without acknowledging that throwing money or other objects at our head coordinator and others, out of frustration during count-out, was totally inappropriate. Why should that sort of behavior be tolerated? You don't handle stressful situations well and should be given a free pass to lash out at other volunteers because of who you are or what you've previously contributed? We wouldn't accept this from a new volunteer! You must have made some attempts at reconciliation because Jeff was looking over the calendar for shows you would be interested in working. Posting here and making this one-sided interpretation of your experience known doesn’t really seem in the interest of respectful communication. It just seems like gossip mongering.

***
It’s unfortunate that Dana’s experience was so bad but I cannot help but reflect on her own words: she was given responsibilities and respect simply for being...
The end result: she doesn’t acknowledge that she could be very confrontational with bands and seemed to have the attitude that they should be grateful for whatever she chose to do for them. She constantly blamed her bad experiences on someone or something else EVEN when a band was so frustrated by their interaction with her that they ASKED TO PAY TO RETRAIN HER.
We talked to her, attempted to constructively criticize her and finally tried to get her involved in other areas of the club where help was needed. What more could we have done? Why isn’t Dana asking what SHE could have done differently? The responsibility seems to fall on the collective at-large to figure out how to fit people in even though we never really had any control over what the individual member does or contributes.
***
Personally, as a woman who approves of the changes happening at Gilman, I find it rather unfortunate and limiting that my contributions are diminished to that of “follower” and “parental figure”. These are very gender-stereotypical and ageist perceptions. I should treat a teenager, who completely betrays my trust, differently than an older person simply because I am a woman of a certain age? The position I hold within the organization, my age and gender are not empowering me in this “all ages, anti-discriminatory” setting, they are working against me and anyone else with similar qualities because of ingrained perceptions some folks aren’t willing to challenge and, strangely, use as part of their argument against exclusion. That said, I would much rather be considered parental, or whatever, than someone who sits idly by while mistakes are made or worse uses the club for other, personal, advantages. There’s been a lot of questionable interaction between teenage patrons, band members or volunteers and their older counterparts over the years at Gilman. Thankfully it’s had little effect on the club’s image other than a couple of Berkeley Parents’ Network posts about Gilman being a place for creepy guys to meet underage girls.
At it’s best Gilman is a place where a person could really learn their strengths and weaknesses; could give service and work with others in furtherance of something bigger than an a particular individual’s idea of what the place "should be", the size of any particular clique, scene, record label or genre of music. At it’s worst it’s a place for a small group of people to see their friends' bands play or a record label to use for free promotion. An exclusionary boys-club or clubhouse whose "politics" became irrelevant a long time ago because it's own leaders would "go around membership as often as possible." At times, a place kept alive by the exploitation of a few bands or volunteers who were never adequately appreciated.

Without a solid and sustainable basis for fund raising, structure and folks willing to work for a common, not singular or personal goal, it will simply go away.
-Karen

me said...

Jesse would only talk about his experience and knowledge at meetings but the truth of the matter is thats i haven't seen him actually working a show at the club since the pinhead gunpowder show....as well as dana...huh??????
some people seemd to be attached with things that worked back in the day but we all know half of that doesn't work nowadays. do you want to keep charging 5 dollars? it seems like people are afraid of responsibilities and to bag in critics.....

Jesse Luscious said...

I've made clear in public & in private that I'm willing to work with whomever on crafting by-laws, structuring the Board of Directors, and planning a major fundraising campaign. (I've also made clear that I cannot commit to nightly volunteering, except when asked to. For instance, I was asked by a Heads Of to work the Pinhead Gunpowder show.)

Unfortunately, the typical response from the "Heads Of" to collaboration has been like this:

Friday April 2nd, I receive a proposed change to the 1991 by-laws via e-mail. I had no idea that this was coming so quickly, and wasn't contacted until this point. I had previously offered my input in revising the by-laws.

Saturday April 3rd, the collective meeting votes to not approve these bylaws by 1 vote. I propose a 4-week group by-law revision process done by a group of people- like the 1991 by-law process. This is voted down decisively.

After the meeting I speak w/ Karen, who wrote the comments above (& the proposed by-law changes), and say that I'm happy to send her reorganized by-laws based on my direct experience w/ the 1991 by-laws & co-writing similar documents for other organizations. I offer to meet in person or via e-mail about it. She mentions that she'll be out of town for one of the upcoming 2 weeks & isn't sure if that'll be possible.

Tuesday, April 6th, I send out a draft of reorganized by-laws. (No response)

Saturday, April 10th, I go down to Gilman to talk with whatever "Heads of" are around. We chat briefly about the by-laws, although the people I spoke with had only had time to skim the draft I sent. I thought it was a really positive discussion & I left feeling happy & optimistic about the communication between all of us. Head of Booking said he wanted to post the draft by-laws on the Gilman site before the next meeting so that people had a chance to read them.

Wednesday, April 14th, I e-mail & asked if this was going to happen, and if the by-laws were going to be brought up @ the April 17th meeting.

The response is:
"Jesse,
I finally read through the revised bylaws you sent, along with some of the other heads of at the club, and we weren't in favor of passing that version.
It's close, but we discussed some adjustments that we'll try to send you asap. The weekend is almost here, so we'll see how that goes time wise."

I replied early on Thursday April 15th,
"I'm honestly approaching this as a collaborative effort. I want to make crystal clear that to me, this is NOT an oppositional or antagonistic process.
I look forward to seeing the next draft. As always, I'm willing to meet up & help out if I can make the time/date/place."

The response 1 hour later read in part:
"...If we can get the new version finished, and if we can all agree that it's what we will be presenting at the meeting, then I can post them some place for other voting members to check out."

That's the last communication I received about the by-laws, which were passed @ the April 17th meeting. The draft of whatever passed was not posted on the Gilman site before the meeting.
----
Please note that all these attempts to collaborate & work with the Heads Of were initiated by me. I did not receive any drafts via e-mail or in person, and the only conversation I had about the substance of the draft happened because I went down & started the conversation.

Even in (especially in?) past crisis situations, Gilman volunteers were willing to communicate & agree to disagree with each other about important issues. My experience above, which was typical for me over the past few months, has shown me that my efforts are better concentrated elsewhere.

Mark said...

Does anyone else find it absolutely hilarious that a couple posts after Dana, Pete writes "The sound people were making out with each other while we were playing (so, no, the sound was not good)"? Gee, I wonder which sound person he could be possibly be referring to???

The Evil Eye said...

Questions for Karen:
* At what point in any of his posts did Jesse claim that he had been ASKED to put his work with KALX and Indy Arts on hold to help out with Gilman?

* Are you really trying to say that, as a member of the club and a volunteer, the Secretary should not be entitled to their opinion? Why should they not be allowed to have any influence in a decision-making process? Is this about changing the job description, or is it about silencing Jesse specifically? Considering sentiments expressed to me after the 4/3 meeting, I'd say it's the latter. You may not have come out and told him to leave his experience and knowledge at the door, but your actions are clearly stating otherwise.

* Have you ever thought that maybe there were reasons why people don't trust those who are currently in positions of authority at Gilman?

* If you and other people at the club are tired of reminding people of how many hours you work, then why is it that you don't accept the help when it is offered? It's like the club's motto these days is "We need help...but not yours."

* Was Dana a bad worker? I don't know. Did Jen have the ability to handle situations that would arise while doing her job? Not in the slightest. But what is the point of tearing them apart here?

* Has it occurred to you that teenagers have much less life experience than older people and therefore, maybe they should be treated with a bit more tolerance when they screw up? That isn't discrimination; it's accepting reality. Would you really talk to a 16-year-old kid the same way as you would to someone like Jeff Armstrong? Probably not.

* If you don't like being perceived as a parental figure around the club, why not rethink your approach to not come off that way? John Hart was the oldest volunteer we had for years, and not one person looked to him as a parental figure. There are reasons why that was, but it's safe to say that one reason was because John never presented himself in a way that would cause people to perceive him as a surrogate grandpa.

I am concerned that the current staff is one that has no experience in dealing with a real crisis around the club similar to that of the Pyramid Brewery's arrival, or the battles with DiCon Fiberoptics. In those days, the Gilman staff gladly accepted whatever help they could get in dealing with these situations. All avenues were explored. Most of all, there was a positive feeling that we were going to get through this in one piece. This seems to be lost on the Gilman staff of 2010.

People like Jesse are the voices of reason; a reality check when one is needed. You may not always agree with what they have to say, but it is undeniable that people like Jesse are an asset. Not a liability. Why treat him as one?

The Evil Eye said...

This is Jake, in case anyone was wondering.

MissDirectedAnger said...

Jake-
Thank you for bringing up John Hart! As I understand it, his involvement began when a group of volunteers kept "losing" the deposits and he was given total control of the club’s finances. Maybe folks can’t see past the convenience factor of not having to be financially responsible AS AN ORGANIZATION but saying he was “never looked to as a parental figure,” well, I don’t buy it. Maybe he looked at as a Saviour rather than a Daddy. He did save the club from thieving junkies and for that I am thankful!
In dealing with John Hart directly, I tried to appreciate what he did for the club. What I didn’t appreciate were his insults, refusal to participate in the collective and in the end his dumping the job in the Treasurer’s lap with little or no training. I have never been treated so badly or spoken to in such a dismissive and patrician manner by someone who is supposed to be working in a collective and anti-discriminatory setting. I personally took over parts of John Hart’s assumed responsibilities because he was constantly admonishing membership about the stress of his job and how we didn’t “understand” how to be responsible and I felt like he needed some relief.
When faced with a group of volunteers who weren’t going to accept the finger-wagging, authority-figure schtick he perpetrated so as not to be questioned; a group that demanded answers instead of being satisfied that things were being "taken care of" without proof, well, he dumped and ran. *Jake may not know this because he wasn’t around the club during this period, or at least not at meetings.*
Your statement “current staff has no experience dealing with real crisis” totally dismisses the months of meetings with police through 2007, answering calls from the neighbors at 1 a.m., direct outreach to other neighbors, planning commission meetings attended, etc. etc. I got involved with Gilman because of a crisis created by inadequate staffing of security personnel. What we have now is better than ever cooperation with the BPD and the understanding that some of our neighbors are just fucking cranky and the cops don’t take their concerns as seriously anymore. Just because you don’t know about this stuff doesn’t mean it didn’t happen or that your lack of personal involvement diminishes what was accomplished.
Re: answers to your other questions, I suggest a re-reading maybe you will find them, if that's your intention.
One person does not cause or solve all the problems in a collective. It’s important to keep this in mind.

Jesse Luscious said...

One note about Gilman's non-profit status:

Gilman has, as a sponsoree of Independent Arts & Media, been legally acting as a non-profit. All donations from 2008 or whenever Gilman became a sponsoree are tax-deductible.

What Gilman is doing now is becoming an independent non-profit.

It would be great if this could be made clear to possible donors. Also, I know that people @ KALX are setting up a Public Service Announcement to alert listeners to Gilman's situation, and KALX only does PSAs for non-profits & gov't entities.

For the purposes of KALX, the gov't, & donors, Gilman has been a non-profit since 2008 or so. That was the whole point of becoming a sponsoree of Indy Arts in the first place.

The Evil Eye said...

Karen:
It's certainly true that working with John could be quite the unrewarding experience, as he was significantly older than most of us and often didn't take us seriously because of it. And honestly, I can understand why. Many people in the punk scene are flaky and inconsistent with their actions and what they supposedly believe in. You know that, and so did John. I endured many screaming arguments and ridiculous political battles with him over the years, and so did others at the club. In hindsight, John likely saw me as a fuckup with a shitty attitude that was hard to get along with. And I'll be the first to admit that he was right. But John did respect people who stuck with the club despite the bullshit, worked hard without ulterior motives, and owned up to their shit. When he finally gave me that same respect, dealing with him was easy as pie.

But really, the point of my bringing him up in the first place was to illustrate an example of an older volunteer who was not seen as being anything remotely close to being a parental figure. If anything, most of the staff saw him as a crazy old man and nothing more. But those of us who were more closely involved also knew that there was more to him than that. As rude and insulting as he could be, there was a method to the madness.

Your statement about the meetings with the police and planning commission only proves my point regarding the lack of experience in much of the current staff. What you are talking about is not unique to Gilman; every legit club in the world has to deal with the police and city government. If it were a crisis on the same level as DiCon circa 1999 (or what's happening now), wouldn't there have been announcements posted on the website? Wouldn't the club have made the effort to spread the word if this were in fact the case?

In other words, the meetings with the police and such were obviously not considered a crisis on DiCon levels, since there weren't steps taken to inform the general public. So I haven't actually dismissed anything here, seeing as I'm going by the information (or lack thereof) that the club itself is presenting. If it is anyone who is being dismissive here, it is you with your attempts to place the blame on Jesse's shoulders (as well as two girls whose contributions to Gilman were minimal at best). There is also your refusal to answer even one question that I asked, all of which arose from reading your multiple comments here. That speaks volumes to me. Most of these questions don't seem to be difficult ones to answer. Why are you so unwilling to clarify your position? Are you going to be this unwilling to answer questions asked by potential club supporters with open wallets and checkbooks?