AC Transit director Rebecca Kaplan called to say that her colleagues voted 4-1 last week to pay her way to go to the International Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference next month in Houston (see earlier blog post.) Kaplan says the conference isn't all about schmoozing and there will be panels on topics like homeland security. Still, she acknowledges that schmoozing will be on her agenda-and that's a good thing, she says.
She argues that by getting in good with Rep. Barney Frank, for instance, could help AC Transit get federal funding down the line, especially if the Dems take back the House in November.
Kaplan grouses that nowadays politicians are afraid of traveling on the public dime for fear of bad publicity, even though the trip is in their constituents' best interests: "I think it's killing us in terms of innovation. Some of the best transit systems that we need to learn from are in ... Brazil , and Amsterdam, and in Vancouver. And people are scared to travel because they're afraid it'll be made to look like a junket."
She adds, "If I was going on a junket, I wouldn't go to Houston. "