Turmoil May Sink SF's Gay Pride Fest in 2011

By Matt Baume
|  Friday, Dec 17, 2010  |  Updated 12:45 PM PDT
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Turmoil May Sink SF's Gay Pride Fest in 2011

AP

People wave peace flags at the gay parade in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010. Riot police in Serbia clashed with some hundreds of far-right protesters who tried to disrupt the gay pride march in Belgrade on Sunday, with more than a dozen people reported injured, officials said.(AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

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Staffing changes and money woes have plagued the organization that puts on the SF Pride festival, raising the possibility of major issues for the event in 2011.

Recent woes include the resignation of a co-chair, furloughs for staff, the resignation of its executive director, the loss of its beverage manager, and questions regarding the organization's fiscal health. Significant budget deficits were revealed last month. The City Controller is currently conducting an audit of the group's finances.

Earlier this year, the event's beverage partners discovered that they'd been underpaid by thousands of dollars. Pride described those underpayments as a "misunderstanding" and pledged to fix the oversight, but so far has yet to do so.

Supervisor Dufty told the Bay Area Reporter that the event will definitely take place in 2011. He's made it a priority as he runs for mayor of San Francisco, he said, and offered to help raise funds for the organization. But progress has been slow, and Dufty expressed frustration at Pride's tendency to involve large groups in decisions rather than moving more quickly with a smaller team.

At this point, it seems unlikely that Pride will be canceled altogether. Sponsors have been lined up, and are expected to contribute at least a half million dollars. The event is budgeted for a million and a half. An anonymous donor has pledged a large amount of money as well, though it's unclear whether it's a gift or a loan.

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