I got in touch with RAD Board and the 2005 Conference Chairpersons, Bill Terrell and Ricky Drake about the questions surrounding the conference. I simply wrote an email to RAD Board with three questions that I listed:
1. Why $350 registration fee? According to some, it was massive increase from 4 years ago -- economy has not been going very well in the last 5 years, why bother to increase the two-fold prices?
2. Why move to Grand Hyatt Hotel? What's wrong with the one at Washington Plaza Hotel -- why change to Grand Hyatt Hotel? Someone said that the hotel cannot meet the accomodations but wait a minute, this is the same hotel that hosted the annual International Men's Leather which has more than 1,500 registrants! If there are not enough rooms, there are 4 or 5 hotels around Thomas Circle -- Washington Plaza Hotel has the accessibility to 4 gay bars and several gay-owned restaurants. Grand Hyatt Hotel is in downtown, way far from the DuPont Circle or its connections with gay bars. Why change the premise?
3. Why is that there are not enough information on workshops, the numbers of registrants? I asked one person on the committee about how many had been registered -- one said that he is not bound to release the figures because the RAD Board does not permit -- but four years ago, NWRAD had a counter on its website to indicate the numbers of registrants.
You will read the responses from RAD President Bob Donaldson and Vice-President Barbara Hathaway. Soon after that, Hathaway referred me to get in touch with Terrell and Drake, the RAD 2005 Conference Chairpersons. I forwarded the three questions to follow up with their answers.
As expected, Terrell never responded, mainly because he condemned me after I deflated his pitiful ego trip few years ago when he claimed to know the gay issues MORE than I do because he said that he is much older than I am in his senile 70s. I came out around 18 (13 years and counting) whereas this fool has been hiding in the closet for more than 60 years! Ageism does not make one experienced in this matter, though. But I digress.
On other hand, Ricky Drake responded but you could see the way he became defensive and accused me of not volunteering for the committee on an assumption that I lived in DC last year. Excuse me, I lived in New York for the last 2 1/2 years.
The whole thing is that if they wanted to attract people to come to the conference, they have to market, convince and sell the idea that it's cool to come down to the conference -- do not alienate. Apparently, their job is to alienate others.
Some emailed, videophoned and IMmed me that I had the guts to pop the questions to the RAD Board and the nutty folks in Terrell and Drake. But someone has to say something here, really.
Here is the response from RAD President Bob Donaldson after I popped 3 questions:
Good evening, Thanks for your concern... It s not RAD board that decided this. It s the host by CMRA - RAD 2005 and I just forward to chair and vice chair to reply to your questions. OK
Apparently, someone within the committee of 2005 RAD Conference lied. I was told by a certain member of a committee that it was RAD Board who instigated the move to Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Then I got a response from RAD Vice-President Barbara Hathaway:
Have you spoke directly to Bill Terrell and Ricky Drake? From reading your email we got from you, it looks like you didn't communicate with them.
Actually we are very strict with the idea of sticking with the "chain of command". You will need to start with Bill Terrell and Ricky Drake. They have the actual answers and facts. It looks like you were asking the persons who had little knowledge of what Bill and Ricky is doing. It would be much easier if you spoke with right person.
Once you communciate with Bill and Ricky and then if the problem still does not satisify you then RAD Board will answer your questions.
One question to answer your question. The RAD Board does not make the decisions. RAD Conference Committee writes down the budget and propose to RAD Executive Board for approval (agreement). We did ask questions and RAD Conference Committee made a lot of valid points and RAD Exexutive had seen their point and the discussion has been understood of why and how the cost has come up to. RAD did not make sole decision in this. It was both teams. CMRA has the control of how things should run within the RAD Conference Committee since they are the host. RAD is there to help out if any problem arise. We do not tell chapters or RAD conference commiittee what to do. We just do what our RAD members would think of and make suggestions to RAD Conference Committee. So this is the reason why I said to you in the beginning that you will need to speak with Bill and Ricky.
RAD Vice President
Ahh, they hadn't address the 3 questions that I requested. So I forwarded the email to the conference chairpersons. I then told Barbara Hathaway that I will get in touch with Drake but I also wondered if it is necessary to keep things secretive like the workshops and the numbers of registrants?
Barbara responded back with few comments:
My question is - why did you wait until now? RAD conference has been there for 4 years now. Why wait til now?
Regarding to price, the deleagate was at the meeting and it's recorded in RAD's minute and it's also in the chapter's file that shows how much the tickets would be and where it be. It has been announced on the RADchapters for a long time, let's say for 2 and 1/2 years they have announce the price.
To answer the rest of your questions, I'll wait until Ricky answers you first so I don't jump out of my boundry.
We have more people who have lot of concerns of what is happening, why cant they come to us. I would have done some investigation. Your complaint and concern is important to me. I do not have enough of evidence to go about. I am trying but at this time people not telling me who or not reporting to me is like "tying my hands" because I do not know which direction to start. I can't assume and bark up wrong tree. Without names of your friends who is telling you this, I am not going to do anything. I am not going to "assume". I have to protect the innoence and grab the dirty ones. I will only go by your comments, not the ones that asked you not to release their name.
Talk to Ricky Drake. He may be defended now because he has no clue of what is happening and you drop a bomb. He feels like people is "gun maching" at him. Be pateince and try him.
Barbara, that is the whole point -- Four years ago, the hotel was determined to be at Washington Plaza Hotel when I agreed with. Then last year, everything changed. What's up with it? It does not matter if I waited or not. You are on the Board as a representative of the RAD. You are supposed to facilitate and nurture the growth of RAD, not to alienate others by turning the tables to question my timing -- it is irrelevant.
As for three questions that I asked to be addressed. Still no answer.
Then Ricky Drake, 2005 Conference Vice Chairperson responded:
Thank you for the e-mail. I only will answer your questions as short as I can.
1)Yes, Washington Plaza Hotel was the original site plan but later moved to Grand Hyatt Hotel due to lack of specific accommodations like a banquet would hold no more than 300. Through Bob Donaldson, RAD President's recent statement on MAL (Mid-Atlantic Leather) events which occur in Washington, DC on Martin Luther King, Jr weekend, the MAL meetings and contests were held outside the hotel due to insufficient space area for these events. This hotel was used for rooms and exhibits only.
2)The cost of room at Washington Plaza is only 20 dollars less than that at Grand Hyatt Hotel. The standard room rate at Grand Hyatt is about 379 dollars per night but for RAD conference participants through RAD code, the room is $179. 00 per night. The price will reduce if more than one person per room up to 2. More than two, it would cost little higher. We are fortunate to pay that price for such luxury hotel in the heart of downtown.
3)Why the combo price is higher?. We will have three hot meals, instead of 1 or 2 meals at the past conferences. Combo price is much higher at any other events like NAD, for instance. It would cost atrociously high. If you could have bought early bird combo for $250 two years ago. Secondly, there is a lay-away plan so the participants would make several deposits in timely manner until it is fully paid.
Are you a member of a RAD-affiliate chapter?
Vice-Chairperson, RAD 2005
Ok, the banquet will happen only three times in 5 days of conference -- you could find a hall or two around the neighborhood. Thomas Circle is convenient, Downtown is not. The metro station closes at midnight during the weekdays. Think with your little brains, please. So far, Drake has only answered 2 out of 3 questions then decided to turn the tables on me by asking me whether if I am the member of some RAD chapter. Again, it is not relevant.
Drake tried to compare the RAD Conference with NAD Conference -- that is trying to compare an apple with an orange, really. NAD routinely hosted 2,000 people. RAD might be lucky to reach 500. NWRAD of Seattle, which has cut the relationship with the RAD 3 years ago, was the most successful of all, registered more than 600. RAD charged $250 two years ago for the earliest combo ticket whereas NAD charged $195 for the earliest combo ticket. Nice try but no cigar.
Suddenly, RAD Treasurer Larry Pike responded with a defensive remark, enjoy this:
Thank you, you tell the facts. It is not worth to attack us each other again and again. I believe that some people will complain about some issues. That is nothing new. That is it.
Again, that is not the point here. You wanted us to attend the RAD Conference, don't you, Larry? Then do something proactively. Don't be defensive or lash out at people who asked the legitimate questions. But what do you expect from these people, really?
Then here is the absurd defensive attack by Drake towards me when I asked him if he had checked the hotels & halls. He attacked me that I did not volunteer when I was in DC "last year". As Vice Chair, he is supposed to be inclusive of everyone else. AS you can see, he failed in that.
To answer your questions:
1) Yes, Bill and I checked several hotels around Thomas Circle including Marriott Residence and Holiday Inn. They do not offer what Grand Hyatt has to offer. Those hotels on the circle don't have any room big enough to accommodate delegate/board meeting and three-night banquets. We also checked Radisson Hotel, across from old Convention Hall, now demolished, next to Grand Hyatt, we found out the price would remain very steep for the month of July and won't go down as much as Grand Hyatt did to $179 (tax not included) per room. You are right about Grand Hyatt as a luxury hotel but look at the price. A good deal for the downtown area. Far more convenient in transportation since the metro is right underground of the hotel without even going outside to get the metro. We have good cafes, restaurants and bars right inside the hotel. Like all other hotels, they may be bit expensive but some people may prefer to stay at the hotel at night.
2) Why didn't you join the RAD 2005 committee before you moved to New York City about a year ago? You said about the others that shared the similar grievance with you, why didn't they inform us and moreover, you expressed your grievance to the RAD executive board and then me only 2 months before the conference. Why didn't you tell us long ago instead of two months before the conference?
3) It doesn't matter whether you are a member of a chapter or not, you never lifted your finger and help us the committee all along.
4) Why do you have to complain about the hotel, price and you name it if you don't plan to come to the RAD conference at all this year?
5) You said NAD hosted more than 2,000 people while RAD hosted up to 500. I concur with you but you need to remember the estimate of the total gay population in the United States. It is said to be more or less 10 percent. It may apply to the deaf GLBT community. Think about hypothesis.
6) Almost all of us on the committee don't go to Eagle's in any way. You could have find a any bar or place where you could communicate in better and more light. No one would stop you from going away from Eagle's if you find too dark to communicate. It is as simple as that. It is no need for me to consider about that.
7) Grand Hyatt isn't far from the 14th and 17th Street gay bars. A metro may be a convenient means of commuting from the hotel to any of the bars. (Metro Center and McPherson Square for the 14th Street bars or Dupont Circle Metro for the 17th Street bars. Walk would make a big difference to those who would enjoy their walk to the bars.
Vice Chair, RAD 2005
See? Another defensive mechanism by Drake.
1. Because I got the information from people in diffrent cities that expressed their frustrations with the RAD's responses regarding this in the last few months!
2. Again, dumb question -- I lived in New York for 2 1/2 years, I did not move to NYC last year, you dumbfuck. And your question is already answered above. NO need to repeat unless you wanted me to!
3. Is that my problem?
4. Did I say that I won't go? I said I will *still* go, dumbfuck!
5. That is one pitiful and low of you to use the hypothesis. You are supposed to aim for the best. Not to settle with what is on the table!
6. You still do not get what I meant -- DC Eagle is the only closest gay bar to Grand Hyatt Hotel -- not all of us wanted to go because it is dark there.
7. Again, again, again and again -- Metro closes at midnight during the weekdays! Don't you get it?
I fired back at Drake for lashing out on me with misleading assumptions and all that shit. He thinks he's all that, read:
Rest assured, Ricky. I only gave an answer to your question and nothing more. Period.
You got terrified so easily. I sense that you only want to get provoked all along from the beginning. You need to calm down, Ricky
If we keep Washington Plaza for the conference, would you register and attend the conference as a whole? If not, it would make me wonder
I am referring your recent antics to the RAD President and let him deal with you from now on. From now on I merely will ignore you.
Drake, you accused me of not helping out when I was living in New York for the last 2 1/2 years. You accused me that I was not even going to come down for the conference. You need to be inclusive with everyone else -- use the marketing sense. OH, I forgot -- you lacked the means to market the conference.
And my readers, where is Bob Donaldson? He's playing dead, of course.
2 out of 3 questions has been answered, but not completely. They still did not respond about the information on workshops, events and the numbers of registrants.
I heard that they only had 90 registrants. I do not know if this is true. If so, it reflected on how the Committee did a magnificent job of alienating others from attending the conference by any means.
Feel free to chime in with your opinions, my dear readers!