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Harvey Milk deserves no credit for the defeat for Prop 6


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A poster recently wrote that Harvey Milk deserves no credit for the 1978 defeat of Prop 6.

 

Furthermore the poster wrote that the real cause of Harvey Milk's murder was because he took $384,000 in kick backs.

 

I can do all the research that I want, but the fact is that this event took place before my time. I wonder if anyone who is more familiar with that time chime in.

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Return of S, you have to consider the source. Of the people I know who personally knew Harvey Milk, none of them ever made such accusations, and I talked directly to one of his main opponents. So take it with a grain of salt, and frankly, don't help spread it if you don't know it to be true.

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Of course, that's not at all what I said. What I said was that The Advocate did a piece -- it's not my research, it's theirs -- that mentioned the $384,000 in kickbacks that Milk took in office and that "may" have contributed to his death and that it wasn't necessarily about his homosexuality. That's what I reported, not what I "claimed." I just repeated what the Advocate said.

 

As for Prop 6, the entire US political establishment was against it from Ronald Reagan to Jimmy Carter. It was never going to pass. That's an established fact. Milk just got famous from it but I think a case can be made that Reagan and Carter convinced more people to vote against it than Harvey Milk.

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Of course, that's not at all what I said. What I said was that The Advocate did a piece -- it's not my research, it's theirs -- that mentioned the $384,000 in kickbacks that Milk took in office and that "may" have contributed to his death and that it wasn't necessarily about his homosexuality. That's what I reported, not what I "claimed." I just repeated what the Advocate said.

 

As for Prop 6, the entire US political establishment was against it from Ronald Reagan to Jimmy Carter. It was never going to pass. That's an established fact. Milk just got famous from it but I think a case can be made that Reagan and Carter convinced more people to vote against it than Harvey Milk.

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The Advocate was owned by David Goodstein. He was the Uncle Tom of gay life in the 70's who considered Harvey a radical upstart who was going to ruin things for the good gays, who only wanted crumbs from the establishment. Goodstein went on to exploit gay men with an EST -like event called The Advocate Experience, where he, with no training in the area, tried to become the next Wernhard.

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I've lived in Philadelphia for thirty-eight years. Mark Segal, the publisher of The Philadelphia Gay News, has been the most powerful leader in the gay and lesbian community here for all of those thirty-eight years. Big city politics is not for sissies; it's a very rough

contact sport.

 

Without getting into specific about Segal, I can state: if you asked twenty members of the community about Segal you would get twenty different opinions about the man, some great and some awful.

 

Although's Harvey Milk's days as a community leader in SF were much shorter, the same may be true of him. I really do not know because I have never lived on the west coast, as much as I love SF and LA.

 

The Advocate article is not pro-Harvey Milk. Yet, Lucky and many others have a very different view of Milk. For my part, I need to read more about Milk. I suggest others do the same. Finally, I may have concentrated on gay political leaders, but much the same could be said for all big-city politicans.

 

On EST and Werner Erhard, I had a terrible experience just spending two hours at an introduction to EST. I was doing a friend a favor by attending. It was one of the worst experiences of my life -- the group mind think was intolerable. But, there are people who swear by EST, and it subsequent incarnations.

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Lucky is correct. At the time of Harvey Milk’s assassination the owner-publisher of the Advocate, David Goodstein, was most definitely NOT a political friend of Harvey Milk. For a whole host of reasons, not least their totally different temperaments, the two intensely disliked each other. Right up to the moment of Milk’s election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Goodstein had apposed his quest for political power. To the best of my knowledge the only periodical that ran any article about Milk accepting $384,000 in kickbacks was the Advocate. There was certainly nothing in the L.A. Times or the San Francisco Chronicle regarding this matter and if there had been any validly to the assertion it would certainly have appeared in BOTH of those newspapers in screaming headlines.

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I have already written here that I do not know a lot about Harvey Milk or San Francisco politics. After seeing "Milk," a film that I really enjoyed, I want to read more about Milk and SF during the late 70s.

 

The Advocate has published an article about a FBI investigation concerning Milk. I tend to believe Lucky and you on this much more than The Advocate. But people who have mentioned the article have a right to present a different point of view.

 

 

 

http://www.advocate.com/issue_story_ektid63957.asp

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RE: Harvey Milk Today

 

Who said that they didn't? What I said was that one should not spread derogatory information unless you know it to be true. The OP wasn't even willing to research the matter himself. He wanted those of us who did know to prove his gossip to be wrong. That's a pretty lazy way of getting to the truth.

 

There is no evidence that Harvey Milk lived a lavish lifestyle. No sums of money were found hidden after his very unanticipated death. I personnally viewed the apartment where he lived when he died. It was pretty meager. So, if he had $384,000. which only one enemy said he did, where is it? What did he do with it? More importantly, why would someone bribe a freshman supervisor with that kind of funds? For what? The people that didn't want to pick up after their dogs surely weren't willing to bribe Harvey not to sponsor that law. I interviewed numerous people who knew Harvey Milk...that means that I personnally talked to them. I interviewed some of his main opponents to see what it was that they found to oppose about him. Not one, not one single one of them, ever accused Milk of impropriety. But now that a film has been made in effect creating him as a gay hero, people who don't even want to do the research themselves feel the need to spread dirt on him. I find that highly offensive.

 

In an earlier post, I said that Harvey Milk would have been vilified had he been a poster here. My point is now proven. There is something about some gay men that make them determined to bring down any gay man that rises to a position of leadership.

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Guest ReturnOfS

RE: Harvey Milk Today

 

>The OP wasn't even willing to research the matter

>himself. He wanted those of us who did know to prove his

>gossip to be wrong. That's a pretty lazy way of getting to the

>truth.

>

 

What is OP? Original Poster? Are you referring to me?

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RE: Harvey Milk Today

 

Are you the one who made this statement:

 

"I can do all the research that I want, but the fact is that this event took place before my time."

 

Then, yes, you are the OP. Why not do all of the research necessary to prove your suspicions before making them? Would you like it if someone said they had heard you were a child molester/slasher/thief or other nefarious person but didn't want to research it, so they just posted it so others could refute it?

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Guest ReturnOfS

RE: Harvey Milk Today

 

>Are you the one who made this statement:

>

>"I can do all the research that I want, but the fact is

>that this event took place before my time."

>

>Then, yes, you are the OP. Why not do all of the research

>necessary to prove your suspicions before making them? Would

>you like it if someone said they had heard you were a child

>molester/slasher/thief or other nefarious person but didn't

>want to research it, so they just posted it so others could

>refute it?

 

I was in an argument with ariadne1880 in another post arguing against the negative information that he was saying about Harvey Milk. Everyone else let his statements slide without a challenge. I created this post to bring ariadne1880's statements to everyone's attention. Now others besides me have finally challenged him on his statements about Harvey Milk. But you attack me.

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Guest ReturnOfS

RE: Harvey Milk Today

 

>Rather than leave it in its otherwise ignored post, you gave

>it a thread of its own. Adriadne must have been very happy

>with you.

 

When you let the statements go unchallenged then you are doing the same work as the uncle toms who make them.

 

Remember this?

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Guest ReturnOfS

RE: Harvey Milk Today

 

Even the post that came before this post was not the first time that Ariadne and I argued on gay rights and that post was not the first ti e that I defended Harvey Milk.

 

And now we are arguing.

 

Imagine how happy Ariadne is now.

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RE: Harvey Milk Today

 

I didn’t see ReturnOfS’s original post as passing along gossip. Maybe I missed something, but I took it at face value as a request for insight from folks who were closer to what really happened. And I found the personal insights to be exactly what was asked for. They sure provided me with some perspective on a situation I wasn’t familiar with, and I appreciate both the question and the responses from those who were. It's not the first time the Message Center was used for research, with good results.

 

PS: Lucky, your passion was a welcome bonus. But I’ll bet you hear that from all the guys. ;)

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RE: Harvey Milk Today

 

"In an earlier post, I said that Harvey Milk would have been vilified had he been a poster here. My point is now proven. There is something about some gay men that make them determined to bring down any gay man that rises to a position of leadership."

 

 

If you count the one person on this site, who quoted Mark Thompson in an article published in the November 8, 2008 edition of The Advocate, as someone who vilified Harvey White, I guess you have been proven right.

 

I agree with Lookin in viewing the glass as half full, not half empty in this thread. I learned a lot from your personal recollections of discussions with associates and friends of Harvey Milk.

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Alan, I found your comparison with Mark Segal appropriate. I worked closely with Mark when he was a young gay activist, and I was quite fond of him, so I was surprised in later years by the vehement dislike that some in the gay community expressed toward him. Since I had little interaction with him after 1976, I had no personal knowledge of what he was doing; however, although I was aware that in his youth, his political ethics could sometimes be, shall we say, flexible, I found it difficult to believe that he had gone totally over to the dark side. As Lucky says about Milk, I prefer credible evidence to unsubstantiated rumors. (A lesbian friend who worked at "Au Courant" assured me that Mark was "thoroughly corrupt," but when I pressed her for details, she couldn't come up with anything, and that seemed typical of the people who mentioned allegations about him to me.) I think it is human nature for many people to automatically assume that anyone who achieves success and/or fame must have unsavory secrets--and they may, but I wouldn't just take it for granted because someone makes a claim.

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I really appreciate your comments.

 

When someone like Mark Segal is so visable (and writes a weekly newspaper column) for so long, he is going to be criticized. My concerns about him in the last decade have been political, specifically many of the people he has endorsed for public office.

 

But, those concerns are minor compared to what Mark has done for the gay and lesbian community in Philadelphia in the last thirty-five years. I am proud to live in the same city as Mark Segal.

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RE: Harvey Milk Todaya

 

Not happy but certainly bemused at the ridiculousness of this thread.

 

And this comment about "gay men wanting to take down gay men who rise to prominence" is just about the most hysterical thing I have read here and that's really saying something.

 

You missed the point of my post. And since I have no horse in this race I could care less whether Mr. Milk took bribes or not. The point I was making -- and that you all missed -- is that no one in political life is a saint and my problem with the film is that they turn him into one with no blemishes. Even his rather sordid personal life -- which has been commented on by many reviewers -- is glossed over because that would take away from the saintly image the filmmakers are trying to present. The same was down with "Valkyrie" and with "Che" and neither of them were gay, to the best of my knowledge.

 

I have no idea whether or not he took bribes but the accusation is out there (and I'm sure the Advocate is very anti-gay LOL). Vague recollections of "I knew him" "I saw his apartment" "I sucked his dick" won't make the allegation go away.

 

But when I see a film about a historical character I want nuance and a well-rounded portrait. And that was my only point. But there are those who have sought to canonize Harvey Milk (and the above posts show that) and who will not listen to or hear even one, tiny little negative word about him. I find those kinds of people kinda sad. They are the kind of people who think blacklists and boycotts of their political opponents are OK. That's a dangerous world that I want no part of.

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RE: Harvey Milk Todaya

 

Ariadne1880

 

There are, I am certain, posters on this site, myself included, who would agree with you that there are NO saints in politics. I saw “Milk”, enjoyed it, and did not come away with the feeling that the director was attempting to canonize Harvey Milk.

 

Along the same line I am certain there are posters on this site, myself included, who are extremely wary of media new reporting. Most news channels, newspapers, and news magazines report news in a way that corresponds with their individual philosophy and position. Furthermore they don’t limit their biased opinions, dislikes, and innuendos to their editorials. It is highly unlikely that CNN and Fox News would present the same news story in the same manner. Thus one MUST read the Advocate story regarding Milk’s taking kickbacks in the light of the open hostility that existed between Harvey Milk and David Goodstein. The two men detested each other both personally and politically. Certainly The Advocate was a gay publication BUT that fact doesn’t make it’s reporting on all gay issue honest, accurate, and above reproach.

 

What has not been discussed on this thread is how influential Harvey Milk was in the defeat of Proposition 6. You claim that there was no way Prop 6 was going to pass considering that it was opposed by former Governor Ronald Reagan, then current Governor Jerry Brown and President Jimmy Carter (not very eagerly). That simply is not accurate. Right up until the day of the election polls indicated that it would pass. During the campaign Milk debated John Briggs, the pompous author of the initiative, from one end of the state to the other. Most of the audiences were favorable to Prop 6 but Milk made Briggs look like the pompous fool he was at every debate. Those debates were highly reported in newspapers all over the state and are believed to have been a major influence in the outcome of the election.

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Guest zipperzone

RE: Harvey Milk Todaya

 

>Even his rather sordid personal life -- which has been

>commented on by many reviewers -- is glossed over because that

>would take away from the saintly image the filmmakers are

>trying to present. The same was down with "Valkyrie"

 

Now are you talking about the actor here or the person he was trying to portray?

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