Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Wednesday Wind Up and Pitch

If you check in with COP 24/7 often, then you have to know that sometimes this forum goes into a "catch up"mode. As schedules change, meeting occur and daily life decides that "its not all about you today," I do what I can to take the right course of action. Subsequently, I find myself either producing post early for later post or sometimes catching up because stuff is late breaking or needs further exploration. Meanwhile, COP 24/7 continues to roll on, roll out and keeps it funky fresh as Arkansas only daily updating LGBTQ platform. Don't forget, if you are thinking about it, then most likely we're talking about it. Now let's see what's really going on....

Community Assessment A Go-Go

Let's start with this first. Are you aware that their is a " Arkansas Community Planing Group," charged with acting as a "community voice" in the effort to impact the use of federal dollars in regards to the overall plan design of HIV/AIDS programming. Ever heard of it? NO. Well in case you haven't its been "in and out" of existence for at least a decade or more. Why is this important you ask? It depends on who's asking or who really cares. For COP 24/7 what's most interesting about this group is the fact that despite its mission, it appears that even though the supreme being could create the world in seven days, this outfit can't get much done in a year. After being revitalized or reorganized in 2011, the group better known as ARCPG was suppose to become a energized community based advocacy entity based on guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control. The group is to work in concert with the Hep C/ HIV/AIDS Section of the Arkansas Department of Health in formulating a comprehensive plan to address numerous issues around HIV and AIDS in Arkansas. Now here comes the "But" of the situation as the group has become mired in organizational gridlock and not much else. Most recently yet another consultant's contract has been terminated due to uncompleted work and other associated items that were planned but didn't get done. Also the group has had "by-law" issues, Hijacked by Robert's Rules of Order, lack of capacity building skills scheduled, missed deadlines and a host of other items to the angst of some members. In the discussion, Section Chief T. Long has responded that she will move forward with assessing the situation and rectifying the issues. It would seem to COP 24/7 that this "leadership" should have been in tact from the onset as well as oversight of the entire process. It takes strong and laser focused management to discern if a project is on track and meeting its obligations to stakeholders or end users. There's very little room for continued excuses and rambling explanations of the "see what had happen," nature. Loosing credibility and confidence are sure killers of any organization if they persist.  At this point lets insert that favorite adage that is a departmental favorite," when we know better, we do better."  This forum has pointed out previously that these carpet bagger "consultant" types keep getting invited to swoop into the process with "good intentions." Spew lot's of fancy consultant talk then make off with their contacted loot to the tune of $150 per hour plus ancillary expenses such as carriage, lodging and sustenance. That's fancy talk for "air fare, hotel stay and food," to the tune of few thousands when its all said and done. Meanwhile, most of the contracted work left haphazard, marginally effective and often times unused. It continues to amazed this forum that after 30 years of dealing with HIV and AIDS, this state finds itself still struggling with some of the basics as other states have constructed one stop clinics, embolden community based organizations, housing structure, and navigation systems that provide users with linkages to services and culturally competent providers. In my thinking, three strikes and your out should be the order of the day. No more bullshit consultants that have no knowledge of the "boots on the ground" situation which is Arkansas. There are qualified people and sources here in the area that have either done assessments, can do capacity building, or offer the necessary leadership to kick start what needs to be done. If we "no better" then damn it why does it take so long to "do better."

PETA Smack down at TRAX

If I had not seen this for myself, I would've though it to be one of those "urban myths" or Internet hoax's. The patio of TRAX, the north shore venue has been closed due to threats from none other than PETA. Yes that group entitled People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals which has stepped in to support a "endangered bird species" of some type that has a nesting somewhere in the patio area. When I and other patrons saw the signage citing "Closed by PETA," I thought perhaps the folks at Trax were trying to "punk" us in some strange way. Really I thought?  Upon asking about the situation, the bartender on duty seemed not actually clued in or not totally up to speed on factual details. Nor was he "feeling it" to find out much about what was going on. It was revealed that allegedly PETA threaten to "picket" or do some type of demonstration on the premises if the patio was opened for patron use. I just couldn't imagine that an animal rights groups would be protesting at a local rainbow watering hole nor that some other resolution could have been reached. I'm all for animals being afforded protections including those wild geese in Burns Park, Bo, the first Dog of the United States and even killer whales deserve some love. However in my opinion, the management should have at least posted a reasonable explanation and offering a timeline instead of relying on the bar keeps who don't always have the businesses best interest at hand. I have to assume that until the blessed birth and departure of "Trax" the official bird of the bar, we'll have to shift those legendary cook outs and outdoor activities to the Miss Kitty's outpost. In other TRAX's news, another one bites the dust, it seems that the bartender revolving door will now see angelic cutie Adam leaving the business. According to him, he couldn't justify the cost of driving from Bryant for his scheduled one day of work. At one point he had more hours however his schedule was reduced and he felt that he should follow other pursuits. Although extremely nice, Adam appeared to have been dropped into a bar atmosphere for which he had a "high learning"curve. His departing shot was him telling this forum that he was "waiting for his turn at being non other than FAMOUS." Well keep you posted....

PRIDE in the City: The WTF Edition

COP 24/7 has prodded, probed and pondered about anything "Pride 2012" that may or may not be happening in Little Rock. At this posting we don't have much to add to the discussion since we can't tell if there are any discussions going on. There's one exception and its all about those Facebook posting concerning Little Rock Black Pride and the folk promoting these activities, namely S.Rogers. He has been at the center of controversy of last years sketchy and shadowy events. Plus his more than shady deal with a local CBO entity which fronted his organization some $4000 which he has failed to pay or acknowledge. This forum asked International Black Pride CEO, Earl F. to share his view on the situation, however, we are still awaiting his response. What we know is the fact that Mr. F. was not enchanted and as best we can tell, "pissed" at the whole matter. In the meantime, the situation continues and as soon as their is any update, we will get it to you hot off the presses...As for any news on activities been planned for the area, it is our assumption that we will probably see another rehash of some of the same old, same old. Its so sad that as I scan other websites concerning pride activities these cities are providing exciting programming, empowering speakers, and so much more. I keep hearing talk from locals who state that "why can't we have this or that?" Enough already, if you want it then by golly get your asses out their and make it happen. There are many local community based organizations that are open to assisting or offering space, but if there's no push to form a "committed committee" willing to undertake the mission, then there will be whatever by whoever decides what "pride" looks like to them. Personally, I've tired of the strip shows whether they be women or men. I've become skeptical of events that promote bringing the "stars" to town especially in lieu of last years Noah Arc's star Rodney Chester who didn't appear all too engaging or approachable. No matter what, we'll wait, watch and leave the light on...


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