Opinion: Support LBGT rights or get a free trip?

OPINION

BY DAVE PRICE
Daily Post Editor

What a conflict city council members across the Peninsula are facing. The state of California has banned travel by state employees to nine states that have laws on the books that LGBT activists oppose. One of those states happens to be North Carolina where the National League of Cities is having its annual conference Nov. 15-18 in Charlotte.

City council members will have to decide between attending this conference in Charlotte or standing up on behalf of LGBT rights activists.

North Carolina last year passed a “bathroom bill” that prevented people from using restrooms in public buildings that don’t match up with their sex at birth. In March, North Carolina repealed the bathroom aspect of the bill but retained other features that still allow for discrimination against transgender people. As a result, North Carolina remains on California’s no-go list. But the ban doesn’t apply to cities, which can send their elected officials anywhere.

What will they choose?

If you think the conference is a four-day-long party on the taxpayer’s dime, the agenda includes speeches by Magic Johnson and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Seminars include “Facebook for Local Government: Tools, Tips and Best Practices,” “Parliamentary Procedure: Making Robert’s Rules Work For You” and “Using Transparency to Rebut Public Misinformation and Misunderstandings.” And despite California’s travel ban, a “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Local Officials Business Meeting” is scheduled for Nov. 15.

Palo Alto, San Mateo, Redwood City and Mountain View have sent officials to this national conference in the past. This spring, Palo Alto council members Adrian Fine, Cory Wolbach, Liz Kniss and Mayor Greg Scharff went to the league’s conference in Washington, D.C. East Palo Alto’s City Council tomorrow will decide whether to send Mayor Larry Moody to this November’s conference at an estimated expense of $2,600.

Editor Dave Price’s column appears on Mondays. His email address is price@padailypost.com.