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Salicco is indeed supported vocally by the majority of Dolphin Club board members. But even some who support him concede that better judgment was called for in light of Salicco's own political aspirations. "Maybe he should not have done it on letterhead," says Robert Youngquist, a Salicco supporter. "Maybe he should have just done it on, 'William Salicco for Commissioner,' or whatever. But I think deep, deep down, his heart was in the right place. People do make mistakes."
Watchers of gay politics also see electoral maneuvering in Salicco's newfound enthusiasm for women's equality. In 1997 Salicco opposed an amendment to the Dolphin Club's bylaws that would have mandated that the president and vice president positions be split between a man and a woman. The measure was defeated, but not before several prominent female members quit in disgust over what they felt was an organization run by a white male clique.
"It's total hypocrisy," says Yoezle, who is also a former vice president of the Dolphin Club. "Bill Salicco has publicly stated he's opposed to affirmative action, that everybody needs to earn their own way. And Bill Salicco was adamantly opposed to gender parity in the Dolphins."
While the dustup could be discounted simply as personality and ego clashes, some fear that the fallout will be a diluted power base for the Dolphin Club and a slimmer chance that a homosexual will be elected to office in the near future. "Right now there's only about 200 members [of the Dolphin Club], because everybody's resigning because of Bill Salicco," says Gunderson. "The club's falling apart."
Cimoch says the whole fracas is much ado about not much. "This is a group of people that, if you walked up and handed them a million dollars in cash with no strings attached, they would bitch about the denomination of the bills," he says.
Contact Paul Demko at his e-mail address: Paul_Demko@newtimesbpb.com