It’s not often that I see something that really, really ticks me off. This is one of these things.
The title of this post may well be word-for-word what Sean Parker, the billionaire best known for founding Napster and later becoming the president of Facebook, said at one point when he started planning his wedding in the redwood forest in Big Sur, California. Normally, I don’t link to Cracked.com as my main source, but I think their post title hits it spot on, except for the gratuitous reference to feminine hygiene products: 4 Ways to Hold the Douchiest Wedding of All Time.
The best summary I can give: Mr. Parker shells out some $12 million for the decorations, including the wedding gate, outdoor dance floors, flowers, artificial pond, stone bridge, elevated floors, castle ruins, and last but certainly not least, planting 125 imported trees and flowers. This wouldn’t be such a big problem, were it not for the fact Mr. Parker completely ignored the law and didn’t get any type of permits, completely neglected such things as erosion prevention measures, and built structures into the protected redwood trees.
Somehow, Mr. Parker gets off with a paltry $2.5 million fine. This is what really burns me up, because compared to what Mr. Parker spent on the wedding, and his net worth, $2.5 million is at least an order of magnitude too low. I think $30 million is the bare minimum to make a real statement that this kind of thing cannot and will not be tolerated in a decent society. Ideally, criminal charges should enter the picture as well–a jail sentence, even for only a year, would be an even stronger deterrent to anyone else thinking of trying this. But Mr. Parker got off for less than a tenth of this. Pardon my French, but in effect the California Coastal Commission is saying his “fuck you money” is good, and one can buy the privilege of screwing up nature for the right price.
To put it in perspective, the Napster settlement was for a total of $36 million in 2001 dollars, or about $47.3 million in today’s money according to US Inflation Calculator. Especially with that in mind, how does $2.5 million even begin to make any sense as a reasonable settlement amount?
There were some other quirky and crazy things about the wedding. But let’s be honest, hiring the actual costume designer from Lord of the Rings and requiring all 300 guests to wear them as a condition of admittance kind of pales in comparison. Although it does help show just how inflated Mr. Parker’s sense of self-importance is. Spending money on fancy cars, private jets, or similar financial phallic symbols doesn’t offend me nearly as much as ruining an environmentally sensitive site to have a dream wedding. When I have that kind of money, I may not spend it the same way, but I believe money can’t buy everything.
Money certainly can’t buy the redwood forests again once they are ruined.
This recent article on addictinginfo.org tells the story of John Dryden, an Illinois high school teacher who informed students of their Fifth Amendment rights before handing them a survey which contained questions about such things as drug and alcohol use. John saw the students’ names were on the surveys, and feared the worst. This follow-up story from the Kane County Chronicle indicates he was not the only teacher to do so; however, John was singled out by the school board for some reason, and his reward for this was a written warning of improper conduct, and he was docked one day’s pay.
To their credit, the school board’s side of this is that students are already protected from self-incrimination at school based on existing laws. Even if this is the case, this is knowledge that is sufficiently uncommon that at least one teacher didn’t know it. Given the number of students that are arrested at school these days, it’s really hard for me personally to fault John for looking out for his students, especially given that it was not immediately obvious to him that students could opt out.
What also stuck out is the pre-printing of students’ names on surveys with such personal questions. This presents two problems. First, the students that opt-out will have a blank form with their name on it hanging around. Second, it’s way too easy for either the filled-out forms or the blank forms with the students’ names on them to get in the wrong hands. The surveys should not be keyed on name at all, but on a student ID number which is only ever shared with the student, the parents, and the appropriate members of school staff, specifically for surveys such as this one. Student privacy should come first, not be an afterthought.
I hope word gets around to the other school districts, not just in Illinois, but across the US, about this survey as it was handled at this school. It is an example of something that needs to be highlighted as an example of what not to do.
Yes, this article is a bit old, but it’s still pretty timely.
This blog entry on missionlocal.org describes the enforcement–or lack thereof–regarding posted capacity limits at bars in the Mission area of San Francisco, CA. Specifically, bars with a posted capacity limit of 49 are in effect unregulated, and often have double or even triple that many people inside at once. From the article:
No one monitors bars with a stated maximum capacity of 49 on a regular basis. The Fire Department is the only city agency that monitors maximum capacity, and it only sends an inspector or a battalion chief to these bars if someone calls to complain. So bars regularly pack in as many people as come to the door.
Let’s look at this. Why 49? Well, the answer may well lie within the International Code Commission’s International Building Code (commonly referred to as the IBC), specifically in section 303.1.2:
303.1.2 Small assembly spaces.
The following rooms and spaces shall not be classified as
1. A room or space used for assembly purposes with an
occupant load of less than 50 persons and accessory to
another occupancy shall be classified as a Group B occupancy
or as part of that occupancy.
2. A room or space used for assembly purposes that is less
than 750 square feet (70 m²) in area and accessory to
another occupancy shall be classified as a Group B occupancy
or as part of that occupancy.
Okay, so a space for less than 50 people (thus the limit of 49) automatically gets classified as a group B occupancy (which is the same class that is assigned to most businesses not otherwise excluded (post offices, dry cleaners, banks, barber/beauty shops just to name a few). The reality is that most bars should in fact be regulated as a group A-2 and should not be getting a free pass from inspection when they don’t apply for a higher capacity permit.
San Francisco is choosing, however, to not do any follow-up inspections of these venues after they open, thus making the “Maximum Occupancy 49″ sign have little real meaning. Another part of the problem is that a lot of bars don’t qualify for a higher occupancy limit because they only have one exit. The city is assuming that the bar owners will never have that big of a crowd, because they lack a permit for a higher occupancy, when in fact exactly the opposite is happening: the bar owners are not getting the permits, either because the facilities are not up to standard or because of added expense, and packing the people in anyway.
Allowing bars to pack double the legal occupancy limit into their space is dangerous and short-sighted. Does it really take disasters such as the Kiss nightclub fire in Brazil and the fire at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island to make it clear just how dangerous it is to exceed the capacity limits? The limit in the IBC, and thus in the laws in cities that have adopted the IBC as a building code, is not like the highway speed limits set for a revenue-based “speed trap.” The limit is there for safety and to ignore it is asking for disaster, sooner or later.
(I will be revisiting this topic at a later date in 2013 or early 2014.)
I try not to use terminology like “un-Texan” and “un-Houstonian” without just cause. But I think in this case it definitely applies.
The Houston Chronicle’s Celebrity Buzz blog recently reported on the lawsuit filed by Junie Hoang against the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Ms. Hoang was claiming invasion of privacy and breach of contract after IMDb published her true birthday instead of the fake one she provided.
The crux of the story from the article:
Creating her profile page on IMDb, Hoang submitted an incorrect birthdate in violation of the website’s terms of service, IMDb attorney Harry Schneider Jr. told the court. IMDb staff reviewing Hoang’s submission found the inaccuracy and corrected it against her wishes.
Hoang used another person’s account in 2004 to adjust her IMDb profile and make herself appear seven years younger, said Schneider, an attorney with Perkins Coie. That fake age persisted on her profile for three years until Hoang asked that it be removed entirely.
“In September 2007, as the 36-year-old Hoang approached her phony ‘birthday’ when she no longer would be a woman in her ‘twenties,’ Hoang decided that she no longer wanted the false (birthdate) on her profile,” Schneider told the court.
The story goes on to say that Ms. Hoang went as far as to fake a passport and Texas identification card to hide her age, both of which are criminal acts in violation of (at least) Section 37.10 of the Texas Penal Code.
In essence, Ms. Hoang was fighting for the right to publish a lie and keep the truth hidden under the guise of privacy. IMDb was fighting for the right to publish the truth. It is rare that I champion the cause of large corporations (IMDb is now owned by Amazon), but as a free speech advocate and champion of ethics, it’s reassuring to see that IMDb won this lawsuit and that Ms. Hoang’s true age is now known to the world, and her attempts to lie have been thoroughly repudiated once and for all.
Ms. Hoang should really count her blessings she was not criminally prosecuted in her attempts to keep the lie about her age going. Besides being illegal, that kind of conduct crosses all sorts of ethical and moral lines, and is a prime example of the kind of conduct I call un-Texan and un-Houstonian.
What’s even more unfortunate is that Ms. Hoang has never made more than $9,000 annually from acting in a decade in the field. This severely limited the amount of damages she could have hoped to recover. That, and age isn’t even necessarily a barrier to finding work as an actor or actress. Just ask Betty White or Gene Hackman (among others).
This post is spurred in large part by the well-publicized comments by Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Michael S. Jeffries from 2006, which came to light after an industry analyst made a reference to them. See this article from The Globe and Mail and this article on NJ.com among many others. This is my first time even trying to write about this topic, and I’ve tried my best not to offend anyone.
The exact statement:
In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong, and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.
The latter article above from NJ.com also makes reference to the fact that rather than donate old clothes to those who can wear them, Abercrombie & Fitch does the unthinkable: they burn them, on the grounds that “[o]nly people of a certain stature are able to purchase and wear the company name.” Which, incidentally, flies in the face of the company’s philanthropic efforts. Having a PR campaign like “A&F Cares” at the same time the company is burning wearable clothes qualifies as an example of egregiously unethical PR.
I’d like to say with some degree of confidence that David T. Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch would roll over in their graves if they knew that clothes which could be donated were senselessly destroyed for flagrantly elitist and classist reasons. Unfortunately, Wikipedia (at least) has not a single reference to the philanthropic efforts of either man. So my assumption either man would be horrified were he still alive stems mostly from a desire not to unnecessarily blacken the memory of the dead, and to give as much benefit of the doubt as I can.
However, those that currently represent the brand, and thus the legacy of Messrs. Abercrombie and Fitch, can certainly turn things around. While I frown on making clothing “just for the cool kids” it may be unrealistic to expect that part of A&F’s strategy and brand positioning to change (figuratively) overnight. But the very least A&F can do to be a socially responsible company (which certainly matters today, even if it didn’t matter much in the 1920s) is give everyone a fair chance to be the cool kid: don’t discriminate on body size.
The refusal of Abercrombie & Fitch to make clothes larger than a certain size, is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes time for me to speak on matters of clothing size and body image. I have, for a long time, noticed what at first glance appears to be a huge female chauvanist bias in the numbering of clothing sizes in the US. Particularly, the most common sizes, men’s sizes for males, and misses sizes for females, are completely different such that most adult males wear pants sized 32 to 40 and most adult females wear pants (or skirts or other bottoms) sized from 6 to 14. Misses sizes go up to 20 or 22, and there do exist women’s sizes which more closely resemble those of men’s clothing. But every diet testimonial I’ve seen (and I’ve seen plenty) has always said “I went from a size 14 to a size 8″ or similar. It just does not sound anywhere near the same for men to say “I went from a size 44 to a size 38″ and this is my basis for asserting female chauvanism in clothing sizes.
The perception, chauvanism or not, that is shaped by the size numbering system we have in use today is a large part of the problems with body image, particularly for women. The Wikipedia article on clothing sizes linked previously hints at a plausible origin of the term “plus size” which has persisted even though the plus itself is a mere footnote on clothing size history:
In 1958, the National Bureau of Standards invented a new sizing system, based on the hourglass figure and using only the bust size to create an arbitrary standard of sizes ranging from 8 to 38, with an indication for height (short, regular, and tall) and lower-body girth (plus or minus). The standard was not widely popular, and was declared voluntary in 1970 and withdrawn entirely in 1983.
Let me make sure we’re clear on this: this standard, from where I would assume the term “plus size” came from, was withdrawn some three decades ago. Yet somehow, the term “plus size” itself, and its absurd negative connotations, has stuck around long after the standard itself has bit the dust, though another Wikipedia article claims the term has been “losing [favor] since the 1990s” but does not cite a source for this claim. (In fact, in the process of writing this article, I took a break to added a “citation needed” tag as a Wikipedia editor in hopes this will be addressed.)
Don’t get me wrong. I would like to see the term “plus-sized” do a disappearing act that would make Houdini proud. But I’ve seen no evidence that this has been happening, that it will happen any time soon, or that the same wave of political correctness that has made uttering terms like “disabled” shameful has let “plus-sized” pass by unchallenged. Especially when the meaning has changed over time to denote smaller and smaller clothing sizes–and arguably, never really had a cut-and-dried definitive meaning (certainly not after 1983, if then).
The lack of clothing size standardization has led to a host of problems. The first of which is “vanity sizing“, or the practice by which the same numerical size has become physically larger over the years. As noted in the linked article, this problem affects men’s clothing as well as women’s, though not to the same degree yet. (However, it’s widespread enough that this very male blogger has, at least once in the past, noticed he fit in size 38 pants just the same as a completely different pair of size 40 pants by a different manufacturer). This lack of standardization is the whole reason we even have abominations like size 0 and size 00 (at least here in the US, and in the UK). Any sane clothing sizing system should not need to have sizes at or below zero, as Ellen DeGeneres said much more eloquently and humorously on her show (1:40 to 2:15 or so). (BTW, that whole clip is worth watching, that 35-second clip is just the most relevant to my point.)
To be completely fair about it, Abercrombie & Fitch isn’t the only retailer or clothing manufacturer responsible for our current slate of young women and girls (and maybe even some young men and boys) with body image problems. But the concept that “you must fit into size 10 or smaller to be this cool” combined with the lack of standardization which allows A&F’s size 10 to be what a size 8 or 6 might be elsewhere is certainly not helping. While the backlash against A&F is justified, the madness won’t stop until at least two things happen: clothing sizes are standardized and clothing manufacturers who discriminate based on body size are held accountable by a customer base that deems this practice unacceptable as a group. There’s more to it than that, of course, but if I tried to be comprehensive in just one post I’d never finish it. So at some point I will probably revisit this topic; it is not something anyone can cover comprehensively in one blog post of reasonable length or even a week-long series of posts.
Venturebeat recently reported on AppGratis and its unsuccessful attempts to just get a dialog with Apple after abruptly and quickly having its app removed from the App Store. Which, for iOS apps, basically means it was dead in the water (it has since been restored, though for how long remains to be seen).
I’ve said many times just how bad it is to place oneself at the mercy of a large corporation. If you’re lucky and don’t run afoul of either the published rules and the whims of Apple, then it might work out okay. Then again, it might not, as Apple can change the rules to make your app non-compliant, like they did to AppGratis. They can also decide on a whim to just not approve your app. Apple rules the iOS platform with an iron fist. This isn’t news, it’s been like this more or less since the beginning.
Google’s Android platform, though not perfect, doesn’t have these issues, in addition to giving consumers a wider choice of manufacturers (though Samsung is far and away the front runner at the time of writing). Unlike iOS, Android will let you install apps from sources besides the Google Play store; you do have to acknowledge a rather scary-looking warning to do so, but you can do it.
I still wish picking a smartphone platform wasn’t about choosing between the lesser of two evils. Well, actually, the least of four evils if you’re counting (Windows Phone and BlackBerry are also technically possibilities, but I find them equally as repulsive as the iPhone and for similar reasons).
So, I would hope by now most of you saw my exposé on WordCamp Houston which wound up focusing specifically on the scholarship money (what wound up being $2,790.30, finally awarded in late January). If not, it’s still there, waiting to be read. Anyway, if you have read it, you might have thought I was done talking about that, the still-effectively-dead Meetup group, and certain people involved with same. Yes? Seriously?
Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not. I thought I was, but I’m not. And in a larger sense, I won’t be for quite some time. There’s more to be said. People want me to shut up, but that’s not happening. I will not be squelched.
First, I want to lay out some facts that some of you may not know and put them in context, mostly how they relate to this blog. My first posts to this blog were made on 2008 December 15, some four years and change ago. Over the next few months I rapidly settled into a groove of talking about current events and things that I found interesting, felt were outrageous, or maybe just pissed me off for one reason or another. Time went on, and I started taking on more and more politically-oriented topics. It could be said this is now a political blog which occasionally goes off on a technology or sports tangent now and again.
When someone becomes a public figure (whether all-purpose public figure or limited public figure), the threshold for legally actionable defamation against that person changes. To win a defamation suit, a private figure only needs to prove negligence. However, a public figure also needs to prove actual malice, which is one of two things: knowingly publishing a lie, or acting with a reckless disregard for the truth. I believe anyone in politics, not only as candidate, but also working in campaigns as a social media consultant, event planner, treasurer, campaign manager, or any combination of the above, would fall into the latter category of public figure. I believe anyone who has organized an event like a WordCamp would at least qualify as a limited purpose public figure.
If you read that and you’re thinking “holy cow, he just described Monica Danna” then you see where I’m going already. If not, then yeah, I just gave it away. That’s exactly where I was going. For those that are unaware, Ms. Danna was involved with Bill White’s campaign for governor in 2010, as well as her father’s campaign for Harris County Precinct 1 Constable in 2012.
If I was talking about any other campaign treasurer or campaign manager, whether it be in Harris County, some other county in Texas, some other state in the US, or even some other country on this great big rock we call planet Earth, there wouldn’t even be an issue.
“But wait a minute, Shawn, those campaigns are over, so why don’t you stuff a sock in it already?” I hear you asking. Not so fast. It seems reasonable to me, at least, to infer from the past that Ms. Danna will, at some point in the near future, be a part of a political campaign again in some form.
So now maybe you’re saying: “Okay, Shawn, so how about you stuff a sock in it until she’s actually involved with a campaign again?” Well, I would, but there’s more to it than that. By her involvement with WordCamp Houston 2010 as organizer, Ms. Danna also made herself a limited public figure for the purposes of the Houston WordPress community. The WordCamp Houston 2010 keynote as recorded on UStream (P2P magnet link if you want to download a copy, or if the Ustream copy disappears for whatever reason) is ample evidence of that, by itself (notwithstanding at least two breakout sessions where she spoke at the event, which we don’t have video of for whatever reasons). It also happens that the poor handling of the scholarship money, lack of communication, and dishonesty would be at least somewhat relevant to judging the trustworthiness of a political campaign treasurer, and by extension the candidate’s judgment.
It doesn’t end with WordCamp Houston 2010. Ms. Danna was also caught writing a review on Yelp of one of her clients, Azur Salon. I wish I had reported it sooner than I actually did, but yes, I’m the person who reported the review, which has since been taken down for “violating [Yelp's] Content Guidelines or Terms of Services.” Posting a review with an obvious conflict of interest is arguably the biggest no-no possible on Yelp, and is a textbook example of unethical practice of public relations.
Lest this be dismissed as an isolated incident, some time after the Yelp review was pulled, Ms. Danna chose yet again to break common-sense PR rules against conflict of interest, this time on Google+ with a review of Primer Grey (evidence available on request), which her former company Colab shared office space with up until its demise about a year ago. As critical as I have been of Google at times in the past, this is one case where they have earned praise, as my report of this TOS violation was acted on within two business days. A true PR professional would know this was a conflict of interest and unethical to post, even if not codified as against the terms of service, content guidelines, etc of the service in question. (Unfortunately, my situation at the time precluded keeping a close enough eye on the non-compliant Yelp review to get an accurate time of action relative to my report, so I can’t make a fair comparison.)
I have acted with a careful regard for the truth, I have never intentionally published a lie, and I have always been willing to correct errors in fact. You can look as hard as you want for negligence, you won’t find it here. You certainly won’t find actual malice, but you’re welcome to look. I honestly feel like I would have been sued by now were there grounds for a lawsuit.
Make no mistake about it, I have the right to say what I did about Monica Danna. In a more general sense, I have the right to talk about anyone of a similarly high profile. I believe the public has a right to know that someone who has held themselves out as a professional event planner fell far short of that, at least based on my experience. Also, the public has a right to know that this same person felt completely comfortable taking a political campaign treasurer position while still sitting on event proceeds earmarked for award as a college scholarship, with a pattern of conduct that (at least to me) appeared highly suspicious and indicative of a plan to “take the money and run” at some point (no offense intended to Steve Miller Band fans).
Further, I have the same right to talk about Chris Valdez, who has worked with Ms. Danna regularly in the past. Mr. Valdez’s day job at Primer Grey revolves around the trust of clients to keep their websites secure and available (i.e. online and serving only the content they are supposed to be, not malware). The public has the right to know that the security of the wordcamphouston.com website was neglected while business related to the event was outstanding, and that for at least five months the website showed a malware warning screen in Firefox. While I am willing to concede that Mr. Valdez keeps a somewhat lower profile outside of the Houston WordPress community, I believe within it his profile is high enough to be considered at the least a limited purpose public figure.
I have the same right to talk about Christopher Smith. My reasoning for asserting my right to talk about Mr. Smith, however, is a bit different and comes in direct rebuttal to fraudulent assertions he has made as the nominal “organizer” of the Houston WordPress Meetup. On one hand Mr. Smith said “this is your Meetup group too.” That was in 2011. Fast forward about a year and Mr. Smith thinks nothing of going AWOL for most of a year and not leaving a competent and willing co-organizer in charge who is willing to actually announce legitimate, confirmed meetups to the rest of the group. Yes, my name was on them as the person who first entered them on the Meetup.com website. But that’s completely irrelevant for whether or not they should have been announced. Mr. Smith’s profile is also high enough to be considered a limited purpose public figure.
Honestly, it says a lot about the character of Mr. Smith that he is willing to just all of a sudden come back to a meetup group he abandoned for nearly a year, and worse, return like it’s only been a week or two. If the group truly belongs to the community, Mr. Smith would have resigned as organizer by now. Paying $19 per month to Meetup.com does not make one a leader. In fact, in this case (like many others that happen on Meetup.com), just paying the organizer dues and remaining absent was one of the worst things Mr. Smith (or anyone else in the organizer position) could have done to the Houston WordPress community. A responsible organizer would have stepped aside within the first six months, and let someone else take over. (This is, coincidentally, just what Jenia Lazslo did when she could no longer run the group.)
What really makes my blood boil, however, is that this is a guy that wanted to run WordCamp Houston in 2012! Worse yet, WordCamp Central almost let him! Get real! (I’m glad nobody gave him a venue. Personally, I think we are better off as a community not having had a WordCamp in 2012, than having had one under Mr. Smith’s “leadership.”)
If Christopher Smith, Chris Valdez, Monica Danna, or for that matter anyone else out there, feels their safety is threatened by my revelation of uncomfortable truths, such as lies told to and unethical actions towards the community, the logical thing to do in response is to stop lying and/or start acting in a more ethical fashion. If the meetup group truly belonged to the community, and was not just an extension of the personal ego of Christopher Smith, I’d still be in it. It’s so obvious that my removal from the meetup group online was retaliation for speaking out and letting the truth be known about unethical, unprofessional, and unbecoming conduct by Mr. Valdez and Ms. Danna.
Before I wind up this post, I’m going to address something brought up by some friends recently. One of the comments on a prior related post was read to imply by its wording that volunteers should be given a “free pass” to do a poor job. I can’t confirm that’s what the original poster meant at the moment.
Let’s consider a similar, hypothetical situation: A professional truck driver with a CDL (commerical driver’s license) is driving his/her personal vehicle (say, a mid-size sedan) as a volunteer for a non-profit. During his volunteer duties, this driver gets a traffic ticket. In Texas at least, the driver would be stuck paying the fine as CDL drivers aren’t allowed to take the driver safety course. In some others states the driver may even be looking at immediately losing his/her job for a while due to a license suspension. Is it unreasonable to hold the driver to the same higher standards of any other CDL driver even though he/she is a volunteer in a non-commercial vehicle at the time of the accident?
Another similar situation: While driving home from work, an off-duty professional EMT happens upon the scene of a traffic accident before the (paid) EMTs arrive. He/she is of course protected by the same “Good Samaritan” laws that you or I would be. Is it unreasonable to hold the EMT to a higher standard than you or I would be held? (Certainly, a “screw it, I’m not on the clock” mentality is unacceptable at least this case.)
How about a CPA who also serves as a volunteer treasurer for a non-profit? Is it acceptable for the books to be off by a few more bucks because the treasurer is a volunteer? Is it not unreasonable to expect better from someone whose day job is attention to financial details?
You get the idea. I don’t think it should be all that different for event planners and public relations counsel working in their field as volunteers.
I restate and renew my previous objections to Christopher Smith, Chris Valdez, and Monica Danna holding themselves out as Houston WordPress community leaders, and I ask should cease doing so immediately.
I believe it is not appropriate for Christopher Smith, Chris Valdez, or Monica Danna to be organizing, sponsoring, presenting at, or volunteering at WordCamp Houston 2013, or for that matter, any other WordCamp anywhere else for at least the immediate future.
My attendance at Houston WordPress community events of which the aforementioned trio are nominal organizers should not be construed as endorsement of their past, present, or future involvement. My absence from those same events, on the other hand, is likely due to retaliation for spreading the uncomfortable truth (especially when I have announced my intentions to attend). As a notable exception to this rule, tonight I was unable to attend due to an entirely unrelated reason. It was my intent yesterday morning (Wednesday, 2013 May 8) to be there yesterday evening.
The truth is that I care a lot more about the Houston WordPress community. My involvement with the Houston WordPress community goes back to at least 2009 November 30 — weeks before Ms. Danna even thought of organizing WordCamp Houston 2010, weeks Mr. Valdez joined the organizing team, and months before the meetups began. To the best of my knowledge, I am the only remaining community leader who can claim involvement going back that far; everyone else has left Houston, left the local WordPress community, or both.
Sometimes the truth is uncomfortable. One reasonable response, when one finds the truth about oneself to be uncomfortable, is to change the truth going forward. It is certainly not a reasonable response to try to squelch the truth.
I will not be squelched.