By Jan Reicher
Concerned Congregants of Congregation Emanu-El
Dear Concerned Congregant:
As you now know, Paul Zarefsky qualified as a nominated member to the temple board by following the by-laws and working on a grassroots campaign with great integrity and courage where he garnered votes from over 5% of the congregation in about 10 days (including Yom Kippor and Sukkot). He has been incredibly thoughtful, strategic, transparent and articulate. He has one agenda: to improve our temple and restore its reputation. He clearly has what it takes to be a great leader and trustee.
Sadly, the temple leadership and clergy decided to challenge his candidacy by creating, for the first time in the temple history, a Proxy system a week before the elections whereby congregants were sent a letter whereby they can assign their vote over to a predesignated board member who would then have the power (and we believe the intent) to vote against Paul. We understand that certain members of the board are soliciting this proxy in order to gather enough votes to counter anyone voting “yes” for Paul.
What is very disturbing, is that Rabbi Pearce has been verbally campaigning, on Temple premises, for congregants to sign this proxy, and vote against Paul. Importantly, Rabbi Pearce has written a letter, “Cherished Congregants”. We have gotten a copy of this letter and were informed by Mr. Colvin, that the Board does not see any problem with it or with Pearce reaching our to members to try and direct their votes. We believe it is appalling. Particularly disturbing is that the Head Rabbi is allowed to interfere with due process and with Temple’s Corporate Governance. This is the reason why, again, we need to gather our strength and speak up. And this time, it is our opportunity to demonstrate our feelings by casting our votes.
Now we need to speak again for ourselves for what is right and just.
Please take the time to have EVERY congregant in your family (18-26), vote for Paul Zarefsky and Ted Storey. Upon completion, please fax the forms to the temple and retain your copy. Please also let us know you have completed and submitted the forms and the names of the people who have done so.
We need your support. Please forward it to any past and present member of the temple. Unless you officially resigned, you may still qualify for these important elections.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Sentinel recommends Zarefsky and Storey supporters vote ONLY for them and vote for no other candidates. Known as bullet balloting, the result is that vote totals for Zarefsky and Storey rise, while vote totals for other candidates do not rise. The Sentinel also recommends a Board by-laws change requiring Board members to abide by The California Brown Act, which prevents backroom deals. Under the Brown Act, a quorum of Board members would not be able to communicate — not by written note, not in person, not by telephone, not by email, not by fax — except in an open public meeting.)
Email Jan Reicher at firstname.lastname@example.org
See Related: ON SCENE WITH BILL WILSON ARCHIVE
Bill Wilson is a San Francisco-based veteran photojournalist. Bill embraced photojournalism at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR), The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, SFist, SFAppeal. Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past six years. Email Bill Wilson at email@example.com.
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