Friday, March 23, 2012

Who is Thomas Strobhar?

Thomas Strobhar was the second person to ask about marriage equality at the Starbucks' shareholders meeting. The first, of course, was NOM's guy     Jonathan Baker. Mr. Strobhar, who probably owns all of one share, intimated the threat of a boycott. Strobhar's question was embarrassingly greeted with the applause generated by two or three people.  He received a response similar to the one that Baker received which was followed by the vigorous applause of the other shareholders.


It's kind of hard to fight with management when stock value looks like this over the last three years. In fact, look at the growth since they announced support for marriage equality in January:


Strobhar has also gone to the pages of the always erudite OneNewsNow to further kvetch.
Oh, I'm very much concerned. Boycotts -- not everyone's going to boycott them, but if two, three, four, [or] five percent of the people boycott, that could result in lost earnings of ten to 20 percent 
Aside from Strobhar's questionable math, I wrote recently about the organizational and corporate culture issues that neither Strobhar nor Brian Brown are likely to understand. Furthermore, there is the real potential that Starbucks will attract more customers than they lose as a result of their policy. After all, 40% to 50% of the population have a close family member who is gay.

Turns out that Thomas Strobhar is yet another would-be Knight Templar on a crusade for the Catholic Church.

According to Mr. Strobhar, he is the  "Author of the first shareholder resolution against child pornography, religious bigotry, fetal tissue research, abortifacient drugs and domestic partner benefits." Since he doesn't provide further details, I am guessing that the resolutions was not adopted. He further claims that he was "Instrumental in changing corporate policies at American Express, AT&T, Berkshire Hathaway, General Mills, Target, and others."

American Express, AT&T and General Mills score 100 on the HRC Corporate Equality Index. Only Bershire Hathaway does not offer domestic partner benefits (a good reason not to buy insurance from GEICO).

Strobhar is best known for his opposition to all things Planned Parenthood. He doesn't like abortion and he doesn't like family planning or contraceptives. Strobhar has orchestrated a weird and suspect boycott of organizations that donate to Planned Parenthood. He makes the dubious claim that his boycott has resulted in $40 million dollars of withdrawn funding.

First of all, I don't know how he gets information. Itemized donations are not required in corporate reporting and Planned Parenthood doesn't report its donors. More importantly, a boycott is effective when you get as many people as possible to participate. The only way to participate in Strobhar's boycott is to pay his Life Decisions International $19.95 for the privilege. The list is copyrighted and recipients are explicitly told that they cannot share it. It wouldn't seem like an effective way to run a boycott with any impact.

If that doesn't make sense, consider the suspect reason that they give for charging for the list. According to them, those evil people at Planned Parenthood nearly bankrupted LDI by asking people to request copies of the boycott. Could they possibly not know what a "PDF" is?

Not much help is provided by the tax returns. They have a budget of about $125K. However, they don't seem to have filed their 2010 return yet. I requested it and will update this post accordingly, if and when I receive it. For 2009, on schedule A, Part III, line 2; they don't show gross receipts from merchandise sold     as required. Yet, they do show $22,000 in printing and postage. Who knows what they are really doing?

Ultimately, Mr. Strobhar appears to be nothing more than another fundamentalist Catholic gasbag.  He claims to be a financial adviser to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops; He claims many things that don't make much sense.

Oh, by the way, Starbucks' shareholders meeting video is now available to anyone online at: http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/7q44eny8/lan/en There is a selection box so that you can isolate just the ten minutes of questions and answers.
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be civil and do NOT link to anti-gay sites!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.