So, we went to the Fairness/C-FAIR meeting last night. Wow. We almost got knifed or whatever and we thought LEO’s Stephen George was going to get jumped.
Nothing was resolved and we have no idea when it will be. But that’s not to fault Fairness, necessarily. It was just a big, hot mess that no one could dig their way out of.
What we know: There’ll be more meetings (one on June 26th, according to a C-FAIR member) and Fairness may investigate and may file complaints with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance and the Office of the Attorney General urging an investigation into the nasty, homophobic mailer that went out trashing Ken Herndon. We’re certain the organization will hold true to its word. And at the very least, we think the organization will file supporting complaints to back any complaints filed by Ken Herndon.
That said, there are a few details and some personal gripes after the jump. If you care to read on. (There’s a little bit of drama)
Fairness/C-FAIR folks on the panel:
- Joanne Lynch
- Aletha Fields, Co-Coordinator
- Yana Baker
- Dawn Wilson
- Monica Roberts
- Darnell L. Johnson, Organizational Manager
- Dorene Stein
- Carol Kraemer
- K. A. Owens
- Nick Wilkerson
Joanne Lynch opened the meeting by describing the endorsement process of C-FAIR (Dawn Wilson helped), which is the political action committee of the Fairness Campaign. Lots of questionnaires, interviews, discussion, all kinds of stuff goes into selection. She said both Ken Herndon and George Unseld were interviewed by members of the Fairness board and they didn’t deviate from their regular endorsement process.
Aletha Fields explained to the audience that the role of the Fairness Campaign was that of a multi-voice movement with a core built on anti-racist work. Said statewide fairness was the organization’s focus at current. When she turned the floor over to Darnell Johnson to continue talking about the Fairness Campaign, he had no idea what was going on because he wasn’t paying attention. And that was the end of the discussion about the the basics of the Fairness Campaign.
Lynch informed the crowd (of about 20 or so) that the Secretary of State and Board of Elections informed Fairness that they had no ground to file complaints over the hate piece because it wasn’t a criminal matter. I kindly informed them that, uh, that’s not accurate. Anybody can file campaign finance complaints and complaints with the OAG. And clarified that they needed to wait until after the final campaign finance reports from the primary election were filed (yesterday). Just to give the fake family values organization (that doesn’t exist) enough time to file any appropriate campaign expenditure documentation and any appropriate campaign finance report.
She also said the mail piece had marks of Frank Simon but nothing was conclusive. We say that’s bunk because Frank Simon ALWAYS takes credit for the garbage for which he is responsible. This wasn’t produced by Simon and it’s a little crazy to suggest otherwise. Because we all know he’d be claiming credit.
There was all kinds of argument about whether or not Ken Herndon had responded to Fairness re: anything, ever. And we mean all kinds. Discussion about Fairness being mad at Herndon for running for a “black seat.” Lynch not returning Herndon’s phone calls but calling Unseld instead (she apologized, loosely). Questions about moving forward, leveraging the moment, nothing concrete was ever decided upon.
So, that’s the meat of the meeting. All kinds of bitching, moaning, attitude and semi-openness on the part of everyone present. That’s not necessarily negative but it’s not necessarily positive, either.
The whole panel of folks professed fairness and openness along with willingness to hear what everyone has to say and to take to heart what everyone feels. Unfortunately, Aletha Fields felt the need to tell me she didn’t care what I had to say after the meeting. She got all nasty (about our previous stories) without saying anything constructive and then had the gall to prance off when I suggested that she act professional or like an adult. Oh, oh– during the meeting she went on and on about how terrible it was to discuss someone or their actions if that person wasn’t present. Then she spent minutes upon minutes doing that very thing. Nice.
Carla Wallace felt it appropriate to refuse to talk to me after introducing herself. I suppose she’s pissy that we reported what she’s said and done re: Ken Herndon? We know she’s spoken to news outlets about him. Should we have just kept that info quiet? Maybe I shouldn’t mention that Carla shook her head (in disagreement) any time a Herndon supporter mentioned anything factual about Denise Bentley. E.g., She appeared visibly distraught when someone mentioned that Bentley was a Northup supporter. Or that she shook her head (in agreement) when someone suggested that a Herndon supporter was up to no good. (We later found out that up to no good meant allegedly being a pedophile– which is a batshit insane allegation to throw around.)
Words of advice: Don’t say one thing and do another at the same meeting and don’t get all huffy at me because we report what you do/what you’ve done. Just don’t effing do stupid crap if you’re part of an organization trusted to do work on the behalf of an entire community. It’s that simple.
Aside from Carla and Aletha, everyone was professional and courteous when face-to-face– even during disagreement. And that’s flipping AMAZING no matter how you cut it. Dawn Wilson was even cool with us after a major disagreement during the discussion. Things weren’t so pretty during open discussion with the whole room, but, uh, that’s because everybody wanted to turn things into a Tuesday Night Sissy Fight (Dave Chappelle joke, not being insensitive, since I’m obviously a sissy/takes one to know one).
Hopefully this all gets resolved. Hopefully Herndon will file complaints with KREF and the OAG. Hopefully Fairness (Carla?) will throw some money into investigating the mail piece. Hopefully we’ll be able to out whomever is responsible. And hopefully everyone can take off their pissy pants and put on a clean pair so we can move forward.
I’m not holding my breath. So come tell me how awful I am now, everybody.