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  • « Equality by way of 'elegant activism'? | Main | One down, seven to go...who's next? »

    March 24, 2010

    Service + sacrifice > Dolce + Gabbana

    Posted by: Chris

    Joe solmonese elegant activist dolce gabbana Following up on my post yesterday about the stark contrast between the "elegant activism" of Joe Solmonese and the direct action activism of Dan Choi, a reader pointed me to some recent data about the salary on which Solmonese affords his Ann Demeulemeester, Billy Reid and D&G.

    According to a Washington Blade report based on 2008 numbers, Solmonese was paid $338,400, a staggering sum that practically doubles the measly $176,000 that Kim Gandy got paid that year to run the National Organization for Women. The Solmonese salary is a good deal higher even than the governors of all 50 states -- Arnold Schwarzenegger tops the list at $206,500, though he waives compensation. Even the President of the United States earns only slightly more, at $400,000.

    The point isn't just how much Solmonese rakes in or the types of clothes he wears. Especially given the FAIL he has to show for the millions he has already earned at HRC, the image he projects is symbolic salt in the wound for the LGBT Americans who he supposedly represents. It is a mixed message to say the least for one of Washington's highest paid lobbyists to be leading a movement of people who claim to suffer from discrimination in the workplace.

    More importantly, Dan Choi's message of service and sacrifice is far more empowering and inspiring than Solmonese's message of Dolce and Gabbana.

    We can only imagine how things might look if Dan Choi were at the helm of the Human Rights Campaign.

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    Comments

    1. Tom on Mar 24, 2010 4:07:53 PM:

      Well Dan isn't suffering that much. I mean you have to remember that Dan also did the marchto the White House chained himself to the fence to get Dan attention, what he loves best. Dan isn't working with any organization because he doesn't want to share the spotlight - he wants it all on him and only him. I thank Dan for working hard, but he is not our savior - he has his own selfish motives too. Just saying.

    1. Chris on Mar 24, 2010 4:36:59 PM:

      That's not valid criticism, Tom. Name one leader worth his/her salt who didn't enjoy attention. No one said that Dan is our savior, but I can only wonder what would happen if he were in charge of the Human Rights Campaign right now.

    1. Phil Attey on Mar 24, 2010 5:02:02 PM:

      Chris -

      To be fair, please rank Joe's salary with those of the EDs of similarly sized (members and staff) political groups -- or even better, of businesses showing equal percentages of growth, with the same number of employees. I think you'll find that what the HRC Board has decided to pay Joe is appropriate. More, last year, when every group was laying off staff in fear of recession, before Joe was willing to let go of a single staffer, he voluntarily took a pay cut himself.

      Is he a diva? Sure. But if we removed all the divas (including many of our best diva bloggers) from our movement, we'd have only half of our the rugby teams and a few straggling Rainbow Dwarfs Dungeons & Dragons groups left fighting for us on the front lines.

      And as much as I'm consistently in awe of Dan Choi's ability to rally up gay activists, it's easily argued that he's got a bit of a diva complex too. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I'm just being real.

      But the biggest disagreement I have with your piece is that, for a variety of reasons, I'm really glad Dan Choi is not our community's top lobbyist (or fundraiser).

      The bottom line is that we all have our roles to play in the movement. The goal is not to tear each other down for our weaknesses, but to coordinate our strengths -- especially now, when the only thing standing in our way of passing TWO major pieces of legislation, there are only a handful of Senators and Representatives we need to move.

      Time to focus on them ... not each other. And in that spirit, let's get to work!

      Yours in the united stand for equality(and your friend),

      + Phil

    1. william calvo on Mar 24, 2010 5:34:43 PM:

      HRC have a long tradition of issues related to Transgender, race and immigration policies affecting our community. Have you ever wonder why HRC looks so similar around the nation?... They exemplify a queer version of the T-Party... but in Dolce and Gabbana!

    1. Thomas Anthony on Mar 25, 2010 3:11:20 AM:

      @Tom:
      YOu said, "Dan is not working with any one organization because he doesn't want to share the spotlight..."
      Uhhh, you need to look at the bigger picture. Dan is not working with any one organization because he is a liability. During his time in the military (and he is still active) he hit (read that punched) one of his commanding officers.
      Let me know how researching that goes, the story has legs.

    1. JC on Apr 26, 2010 1:37:26 PM:

      Phil is absolutely correct in the salary comparison he suggests.

      Without wanting to diminish valid criticism's of what Solmonese and HCR have done/not done, his salary is not at all dramatic for other DC organizations of comparable size and budget.

    1. Pandora Bracelete on Aug 19, 2010 3:47:31 AM:

      The Solmonese salary is a good deal higher even than the governors of all 50 states -- Arnold Schwarzenegger tops the list at $206,500, though he waives compensation.

    1. VA loan on Sep 2, 2010 1:39:43 PM:

      While his pay scale may seem excessive, it is not when compared to other lobbyist. Besides what is the big deal? As long as he is fighting for human rights, then any pay is fair pay IMHO.

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      While his pay scale may seem excessive, it is not when compared to other lobbyist. Besides what is the big deal? As long as he is fighting for human rights, then any pay is fair pay IMHO.

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    1. Kimi Slezak on Aug 24, 2011 3:08:00 PM:

      This sort of salary is nothing compared to what CEO's of some of the largest banks that have bilked America out of billions and caused a world wide economic meltdown make. So this doesn't ruffle my feathers. Sorry.

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