by Will Harper
Check out the agenda for today's 2 pm AC Transit board meeting and you'll see a request by Director Rebecca Kaplan for $1,487 to attend the International Gay and Lesbian Lesbian Leadership Conference in Houston next month. Hmmm, what does schmoozing with Howard Dean and Barney Frank have to do with public transit? Usually, requests for travel get placed on the "consent calendar," noncontroversial items that get approved without discussion. But AC Transit board president Greg Harper asked to have Kaplan's travel request put on the regular calendar for debate. Harper says that there's a question as to whether this is a trip that the transit agency should pay for. "We've got a fairly narrow charge-we run a bus company," Harper says.
The conference's own Web site makes no bones about the event being a schmoozefest: "One of the primary objectives of the International Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference is to provide an opportunity for peer-to-peer discussions and networking among LGBT leaders in elected and appointed offices and in senior level corporate and non-government sector leaders."
The conference's program includes a panel called "Ascending the Political Ladder," in which "a panel of LGBT officials will discuss what it takes to move ahead as an openly LGBT politician, as well as the rewards and challenges of seeking higher office."
We left Kaplan messages at her campaign and AC Transit phone lines, but didn't hear back from her right away. We hope to get her side of the story soon.