Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sorenson from Select Staffing Responds

Back from a relaxing vacation, I found the following presumably written by Steve Sorenson from Select Staffing -- which was posted in the comments section of a recent post. As always, I'm happy to give a venue to his civil request -- even though I don't agree with all of the reasoning herein. To be clear, he is welcome to his opinion but I am not sure the workplace is where they should be promoted!


Hi it’s Steve Sorensen here! Since my email to our valued employees showed up on your blog, I hope you don’t mind if I respond…

I am a thirteen year resident of Santa Barbara and, as you point out, I am the Chairman and C.E.O. of Select. Select is a company founded by my family—specifically my father-in-law and sister-in-law. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working with many talented individuals in building Select into a $1.5 billion staffing service which provides a fast “value add” way for employers to find employees and vice versa. I note a few derogative comments on the blog about “temps”. Since the topic is Proposition 8 rather than the benefits of staffing to the economy—I won’t debate the issue here. But, I will note that we found a job for over 300,000 people last year.

And yes, undoubtedly we have valued recruiters among our 1,500 trusted employees who are gay or lesbian. Without question, many of the people for whom we have found jobs are gay or lesbian. I don’t have specific statistics because we don’t attempt to identify sexual preference. I mention it because contrary to what is suggested by your posting—I am not “anti-gay”. In fact, I appreciate the tireless and talented effort offered up by our gay and lesbian colleagues and temporary associates. Furthermore, I am not mounting an effort to reverse domestic partnership rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, probate rights, etc.

However, I am very “pro-family”! And I feel a strong moral duty to promote traditional family values.

Notwithstanding our business successes, my greatest accomplishment in life—without qualification—is the joyous and fruitful 26 years I’ve achieved in successful marriage to my wife Shannon. Together, we’ve been blessed with 8 wonderful children. And as a family we share a love that brings harmony, satisfaction and prosperity.

Indeed whatever successes in life I may have achieved so far, including any economic, educational, and spiritual achievements, have primarily been made possible by the love and support of either my wonderful wife and children or my incredible parents or my wife’s incredible parents.

I believe every child deserves a mother and a father. I realize this may not be achievable in all circumstances. But it is the ideal. The love of a mother and the love of a father are each unique, powerful, and sacred. To suggest a child will not benefit from both, or does not need both, is beyond the dictates of my conscience.

There is an old adage which states blood is thicker than water. Blood relations carry a powerful genetic and spiritual link which cannot be denied—and cannot be replicated without a man and a woman.

I feel strongly that it is our duty as citizens to make sure our common law reflects this ideal. And I feel strongly that we cannot allow those who put their own interests above the interests of children to obfuscate what is ideal.

Proposition 8 assures clarity. If it passes, our public school curriculum will be protected from having to be modified to teach something other than the ideal. Our churches—including mine—will be protected from being forced to consummate gay or lesbian marriages. Our civil practices will be protected from confusion. Most importantly, as a society, we will maintain the strength to direct our citizens towards a code of conduct that assures the sanctity of our families.

Society benefits from having the correct goal or ideal to aspire to: Family with a Mom and a Dad. I try every day to reach my potential as a father, as a son, and as a husband to my beautiful wife. I want us, as a society, to strive to maintain these ideals.

In closing, your charges of “electioneering” seem somewhat heavy-handed. Have you also taken Pacific Gas and Electric to task for their $250,000 contribution and official endorsement of No on Prop. 8? Or McDonalds for their large donation and press release? I hope not. I cherish free speech. I cherish my right to speak out. And I cherish my ability to do my part to influence public opinion. I also respect and cherish yours, and PG&E’s and McDonald’s! I hope we can discuss and debate this important issue as fellow citizens and stakeholders in the future of our great country.

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Anonymous wineguy said...

This is a strange argument...that we need to pass Prop 8 in order to "assure clarity". Nobody's church is being required to consummate marriages that are counter to their teachings. There are no confusions in civil practices. Schools are not modifying their curriculum to teach something other than the ideal. (I hate to even ask...what is the ideal curriculum?) Good lord what is he trying to save us from!

Families can be as diverse as societies. Children today are raised by Moms, Dads, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and all sorts of folks in many different rich combinations. Ain't it grand?

9/30/2008 4:33 PM  
Anonymous adoptive mom said...

Just one of many objections to this sanctimonious, judgmental and altogether narrow-minded and intolerant view: Steve's comments about the superiority of blood relations exclude the loving bonds of adoptive families. Very insensitive.

10/01/2008 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Bigotry is as bigotry does said...

Wow. An advertisement for his firm AND a homophobic rant all in one!!

Again, we all now know where NOT to take our business when seeking temporary employees for a job.

The adage still holds not to mix politics and religion into business.

10/01/2008 1:34 PM  
Anonymous zpg said...

oh, and having eight kids is totally selfish and completely unsustainable--and I don't care who you are or how much money you have.

10/01/2008 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Shoreline Shark said...

Yeah! Save the planet -- abort a baby!

10/01/2008 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Wouldn't it be great said...

Wouldn't it be great if life was as simple as Mr. Sorensen believes it to be. Are children better off with parents that are living a lie and are truly gay/lesbian but society frowns upon them coming out and being honest with themselves and loved ones? What does that teach our children? I think it is better to teach our children respect for others choices; in politics, religion and who they choose to love. Treat others how you want to be treated. If you don't want to be discriminated against, then don't discriminate others.

10/02/2008 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All you need to know is that Mr. Sorenson is Morman. Enough said.

10/05/2008 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Remember Names, Anon! said...

All you need to know is that Mr. Sorenson is Morman. Enough said.

10/05/2008 3:19 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Mormon. I don't know if we want to get into religion as we have a hard enough time with politics! Maybe that is enough said.

10/05/2008 3:20 PM  
Blogger Don McDermott said...

So I see the central argument from Sorensen as well as other proponents of Prop 8 is this fear of forced gay marriages in non-supportive churches. This fear is a religiously based ruse. Forced marriage is unlikely. A conservative supreme court would selectively uphold a challenge while a liberal supreme court would righteously uphold the constitutional "freedom of religion" and "secularity" of government.

"Marriage" is a contract with the "secular" government. That is why you go to the "secular" county to get your marriage license (rather than the church.) You have "religious freedom" to "consummate" or have a ceremony at the "religious" church but you are in the United States of America and are not required to because marriage is a government function or "secular."

There also is this argument that children are deserving the superior father/mother household to the point where prop 8 proponents would punish children of same-sex parent households by depriving this reportedly inferior same-sex household 1,100 legal and financial benefits that are inherent with "traditional" marriages. When I hear this argument in the context of Sorensen boasting about his familial blessings I just cannot help but think of the words braggart and selfishness.

Also, when I read these arguments I still cannot help but read that there are these underlying accusations that gays and lesbians are responsible for every ailment natural or manmade that "society" suffers. We all have heard pious leaders pursuing a "moral foundation" while blaming a minority group. At times these leaders pursue a "moral foundation" as a distraction for the flock or so as not to look at ones own moral failures and possibly even to gain an immoral outcome.

Sorensen's original email to "Corporate Colleagues" really does go too far. It is of such a personal nature that it could be hurtful and intimidating to the "colleague." Electioneering at the personal level of course no one could argue about. But whether it is Select or any other corporation, isn't corporate electioneering part of the problem with so much spare time, spare money and the influence that follows?

In closing I'd suggest that everyone consider SDLG's previous suggestion. Rent or Buy the DVD "For the Bible Tells Me So," especially if you're "Feeling Spunky."

10/05/2008 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Bulldog said...

If Sorensen is indeed Morman it is actually quite relevant, Sara, given it is the Morman Church that has been the major funder and sponsor of every anti-gay ballot measure in CA and in other states in recent history.

It is time to reveal who is really behind the curtain pulling the bigotry levers...

10/07/2008 12:49 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I agree Bulldog and religious conversation can get so out of hand without respect to a person's religion. From the financial position -- yes, very relevant.

10/07/2008 3:35 AM  
Anonymous Joseph Smith said...

Mr. Sorenson is truly seeing the world through tainted glasses.

He equates his electioneering efforts to other corporations making campaign contributions. Sorry, that dog don't hunt.

I guarantee the CEOs of McDonald's and PG&E are not sending emails to their employees advocating how to vote on any candidate or issue. They would be canned immediately and there would be litigation from the employees.

That is exactly the problem with guys like Sorenson. They like to bloviate about their First Amendment rights but don't realize those rights are (and need to be) legislatively restricted so as not to allow intimidation by people in positions of authority (like the CEO of a company, for example).

Mr. Sorenson did exactly that. Intimidate his employees by telling them how to vote and asking them to join with him in walking precincts. Does anyone really believe at bonus time those that showed up and walked with him will not get the bigger bonus, along with a wink wink from Steve?

This is a perfect example of how corporate corruption is born. Non-job performance issues are brought into the workplace and effect business and employment decisions. Unfortunately, I doubt guys like Steve Sorenson will ever see it that way.

10/09/2008 9:00 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

You ever notice that the Morman Temples are high rising phallic shaped edifices? Seriously...I think a persons religeous beliefs should be put into perspective if they choose to make public statements. One only needs to do the most basic research into Mormanism to understand they're in the same camp as Scientology. A made up religeon who's sole purpose is to create a secret society beyond the reach of government.

As to Sorensen, his hubris is self evident.

From a recent study:

"Narcissists like to be in charge, so it stands to reason that a new study shows individuals who are overconfident about their abilities are most likely to step in as leaders, be they politicians or power brokers.

However, their initiative doesn’t mean they are the best leaders. The study also found narcissists don’t outperform others in leadership roles.

Narcissists tend to be egotistical types who exaggerate their talents and abilities, and lack empathy for others. The researchers stress that narcissism is not the same as high self-esteem.

“A person with high self-esteem is confident and charming, but they also have a caring component and they want to develop intimacy with others,” said lead researcher Amy Brunell, a psychologist at Ohio State University at Newark. “Narcissists have an inflated view of their talents and abilities and are all about themselves. They don’t care as much about others.”

She added, “It’s not surprising that narcissists become leaders. They like power, they are egotistical, and they are usually charming and extroverted. But the problem is, they don’t necessarily make better leaders.”

10/12/2008 4:45 AM  
Blogger skealoha86 said...

I actually quit my job as an IT Manager for the Select Staffing corporate office because of Steve's email to Corporate - and forwarded the original BlogaBarbara blog entry to Steve and his brother Paul post-employment to try to show them the error of their ways (which triggered Steve to respond here, as well as to the whole corporate team again, from what I've heard). Part of the email exchange between myself and Steve are detailed here:

I did later receive a response from Steve to my last email... which offered Mormonism as a solution to my problems: "Sounds like we’re far apart on the politics…

Too bad.

I think you’re partially right about the Prop. 8 thing not being about childbearing…


What you could really use is a little gospel living! Relationship management is difficult. And I mean every relationship. Father/Son, Son/ Father; Wife/husband; Husband/wife; brother/brother; brother/sister, boss/subordinate, you name it—they are all challenging. The fundamentals of my success in managing these relationships has come from my involvement in our faith! It has led me through and past innumerable landmines. And given me the guidance to navigate the deep waters. It wasn’t so long ago that I was just out of college, newly married and fully broke. I was starting out with very little. And lots of challenges! But somehow, we’ve been able to work our way through the challenges and find some functional love.

I’d be flattered if I could buy you lunch and talk about some of the fundamentals some time. I’m not joking—it could change your life."

So I personally DO believe a fair amount of the politics involved here are related to the Mormon religion, or at least the communication methodology of that organization in particular - although now that it's post election day, I suppose the correct thing to do is to fill in the trenches dug between fighting neighbors...

Needless to say, I skipped the lunch.

12/27/2008 1:09 AM  
Anonymous jake said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/23/2009 10:18 AM  
Anonymous The Evangelist said...

People can say whatever they want, but in the end their actions tell the truth about who they really are.
Sorensen typifies those who most loudly advertise their devotion and faith - they're almost always the same persons who exhibit the greatest degree of hypocrisy.

3/23/2009 7:06 PM  
Anonymous jake said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/23/2009 7:08 PM  

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