Music in the Mountains, what should we do?

We enjoy our relationship with Music in the Mountains — both as patrons and promoters for years. It is a wonderful performance group, embraces diversity, and in our “50s” with a teenage son, we are the next generation of patrons.

This season, tight on the budget like most nonprofits, MIM asked us to voluntarily distribute 500 of their flyers throughout the region for their “Holly Jolly Holidays” program for free.

We have a well-established distribution network throughout the region, thanks to our magazine’s success, which is why they approached us. We normally reserve this service for paid advertisers, but wanted to help out.

Sounds like a plan, but then we hear this from an MIM volunteer board member, George Rebane, who runs an extreme right-wing political blog. George is one of 15 MIM board members. He writes: “Jeff Pelline is both an embarrassment and a disgrace. His banal blog’s prime focus is to attempt engagement in the discussions on RR for which he is abysmally unprepared, so his alternative to build his readership is to denigrate RR and its readers on his own blog, and from time to time also to attempt to inject himself into RR’s comment streams. This Saturday evening he was successful because Jo Ann and I were at the Amaral Center attending a Christmas Sing Along presented by Music in the Mountains. When we got home the damage was done, and I have had to spend time cleaning up the crap. My apologies for not nipping this in the bud earlier.”

MIM: What would you do if you were us? What is your protocol for volunteer board members to show some dignity to your promoters? We are very disappointed.

Here’s a sampling of George Rebane’s “commentary”:

•”Minorities — “Unaware and Compliant Voters” is here.

•”The liberal mind: Hilary Hodge can’t connect the dots” is here.

•”The Pope and the Raghead” is here.

•”Obama is a self-declared Marxist” is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

11 thoughts on “Music in the Mountains, what should we do?”

  1. Here are some comments from Facebook:

    Susie Cunningham Bavo — “Wow. As a board member of the Friendship Club and the Center for Nonprofit Leadership, I have always been very aware that what I say or do could reflect on them. George needs to consider the consequences of his comments. Frankly, appalling.”

    Sue Williams Clark — “As a member of Sierra Master Chorale I have always felt that our Organization is filled with kindness. While it is true that we have to do fundraising and certainly appreciate wealthy benefactors, the spirit of friendliness prevails. We thank you and your family for supporting our choir as well.”

    Gary Frankel — “Having been on the Board of a non-profit before — board members need to realize that what they say publicly does reflect on the organization — especially something this obviously derogatory and over-the-top. Of course, he is free to disagree with you, but this sounded like a petulant teenager. MIM does some really excellent things, but sometimes you need to vote with your dollars/time.”

    1. Jeff, if MIM changed from a wonderful organization and started featuring bubblegum/pop/Madonna whining instead maybe he would change his mind

      1. As it turns out, a number of longtime MIM’ers have been astounded that George Rebane was brought onto the Board, given his “awful” blog (one comment) and extreme political views/activism in the local newspaper. I have not talked to former ED Cristine Kelly about it, but it would interesting to know her perspective. She helped revitalize MIM in her tenure. She left about the same time George Rebane came onto the board. And then there’s Rebane’s rant against Hilary Hodge, who loves MIM and sings in the choir:
        This is not a First Amendment issue; it’s a judgment issue. He should agree to step down for the betterment of MIM. Fran Freedle, the State of Jefferson activist, stepped down from the Penn Valley Cultural Center Board. If the goal is to raise funds, you want to make sure your board members understand the downside of expressing extreme partisan political views. Our community is more moderate overall. It’s common sense. The local Leadership Academy program teaches this.

        MIM is such a wonderful organization. It’s terrible this happened.

      2. In an effort to defend George’s inappropriate comments, including his screed against Hilary Hodge, Pruett has made up his own false narrative. Good luck with that!

  2. I have no idea how MIM picks members or nominates people to be on their Board, but it seems bad policy to have someone who puts out such an effort to be a bombastic insulting right wing hack like Rebane. Why would they want someone who is so insulting to people who are politically in the center or left leaning, which by the way, is a majority of voters in Nevada County. There is either a high level of cluelessness going on with what Rebane is about, or denial. MIM is showing very poor judgement.
    As to what you should do Jeff, its a tough call either way.

  3. Hi Margaret,
    We did decide to distribute the brochures despite the nasty comments from George Rebane. But your point is well taken: We are hoping the board will help George understand that his comments reflect on this great nonprofit and that he needs to be more respectful of their mission, rather than a “cowboy.” I have also been distressed at George’s involvement on the KVMR “News Hour.” He is entitled to his opinion, but it should be on a regular program. I hope that a “pay to play” mindset is not overtaking our best nonprofits. You never know how much money you’re leaving off the table, because people are offended.

  4. Pruett is a hoot! A working “professional” who does not understand the difference between “effect” and “affect.” What would Gibson Dunn & Crutcher think?

  5. Fran Freed resigned from the Penn Valley Cultural Center which is working on the new site for InConcert Sierra due to a major donor pulling support if she remained because of her advocacy for The State of Jefferson. MIM donors and supporters need to step up.

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