John Wiley Price trial begins this week

Posted on 20 Feb 2017 at 11:23am

County Commissioner John Wiley Price

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, 66, goes on trial on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Government prosecutors claim Price took $950,000 in bribes over the past decade.

According to the government, the bribes were in the form of cash, cars and property in exchange for contracts with the county.

Price is charged with 11 counts and faces decades in federal prison. More than 170 witnesses are expected to be called in a the trial that could last four months.

Jury selection is expected to take several days. Because of the publicity surrounding the case since Price’s home and office were raided in 2011, finding jurors who are impartial may be difficult.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn, who presided over the Dallas City Hall corruption trials, will hear the case.

Price has represented Dallas County District 3, which includes Oak Lawn and parts of Oak Cliff since 1985.


First cracks appear in SB6

Posted on 16 Feb 2017 at 11:08am

You can pee here

Anti-transgender forces may be starting to cave in their fight to regulate where transgender people pee.

An amendment to SB6, better known as the Texas bathroom bill, would exempt stadiums and convention centers from the regulation. In addition to the cost of inspecting everyone’s vagina before entering a restroom at places like AT&T Stadium or the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, the NCAA and NFL have threatened boycotts of states with bathroom bills. The Final Four has already been moved from Charlotte to San Antonio next year because of a bathroom bill in North Carolina, costing that state tens of millions in revenue.

Sports boycotts, however, are not dependent on allowing transgender fans to pee in their arenas. They’re prompted by opposition to state-sponsored discrimination.

“It exposes how bullshit this bill is,” said transgender activist Leslie McMurray. “The bill is supposed to be about ‘safety.’ Are they saying women are inherently safer in stadium bathrooms and not in need of protection?”

She also pointed out that with this exemption, children who weren’t allowed to use the restroom in their schools could just run over to the American Airlines Center and pee.


Republican Congresswoman supports her transgender son

Posted on 16 Feb 2017 at 10:31am

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., released a video to support the rights of transgender people to use public accommodations.

Ros-Lehtinen represents a South Florida district that includes Miami and has usually been the first Republican to sign on as a co-sponsor of employment nondiscrimination legislation each time it’s introduced in Congress. This video is to discourage anti-trans legislation like SB6 in Texas for very personal reasons — her son is transgender.


Gonzalez files sex ed bill; Johnson files immigrant protections

Posted on 15 Feb 2017 at 12:33pm

Rep. Mary Gonzalez

On Valentines Day, state Rep. Mary Gonzalez, D-El Paso, filed HB1547 a bill to expand sex education in the state of Texas. Currently, all sex education is abstinence-based. Her bill would require evidence-based, age-appropriate information on birth control be taught.

“We say we don’t want abortion, but we’re also not providing sex education that will limit teen pregnancy,” Gonzalez told KVUE in Austin.

Texas regularly is in the top five states for teen pregnancy and six out of 10 high school seniors admit to having sex. Abstinence-only sex education that includes teaching teens that condoms don’t work isn’t preventing teen pregnancy. Gonzalez bill would require accurate teaching of birth control.

State Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, filed HB1855 to protect immigrant communities by prohibiting Texas law enforcement officers from asking witnesses or crime victims about their immigration status. Data shows that immigrant communities underreport crime because they fear being questioned about their immigration status. Underreporting makes immigrant populations especially vulnerable, as they are often targeted by criminals.

“The well-being and safety of our communities should be the first priority of Texas’ public safety agenda. All too often immigrants fear that their 9-1-1 call will result in them being separated from their families.” Johnson said. “There is a clear need for consistent policies regarding this issue — policies that put public safety first.”


AIDS Arms announces its new name

Posted on 09 Feb 2017 at 7:30pm


AIDS Arms is changing its name. See Friday’s Dallas Voice for all the details, and watch the video to learn the new name.


9th Court refuses to re-instate Trump’s Muslim ban

Posted on 09 Feb 2017 at 6:08pm

President Donald Trump

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling today refusing to reinstate President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order banning anyone from seven majority-Muslim countries — including refugees fleeing the violence in Syria — from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days to give the U.S. time to “reform” immigration law and put in place “extreme vetting measures” to make sure no Islamist terrorists got into the country.

The ruling was unanimous.

(No one from the banned countries has committed any terroristic attack on U.S. soil since 9-11. All the attacks carried out by non-white terrorists in this country have been committed by immigrants from countries not on the ban list and in which Trump has significant business interests.)

Trump, as usual, responded via Twitter: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!”

Trump’s administration will obviously appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said the appeal’s court’s decision “not to reinstate the Muslim ban is correct. The government’s erratic and chaotic attempts to enforce this unconstitutional ban have taken a tremendous toll on innocent individuals, our country’s values, and our standing in the world. We will keep fighting this un-American executive order until it is permanently dismantled.”

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer — who’s great-grandmother and seven of her nine children were killed in the Holocaust and who Trump made fun of because Schumer cried while talking about his family — said,

“President Trump ought to see the handwriting on the wall that his executive order is unconstitutional. He should abandon this proposal, roll up his sleeves and come up with a real, bipartisan plan to keep us safe.”


Dallas Voice has lost one of its own: Joey, our company’s gentle mascot

Posted on 09 Feb 2017 at 2:44pm

If you’re out on the community and happen to be around a Dallas Voice rack on a Friday, chances are you’ve bumped into our distribution manager, Linda, and her constant companion, Joey. A miniature Chihuahua, Joey has become our de facto mascot over the last five years or so. He’s always in the latest clothes and loves to be held. He’s simply the best goodwill ambassador Dallas Voice has ever had.

But tiny as he is, Joey was unable to fight back when a stray dog attacked him today. He died as a result.

We’re all pretty upset here at the office, not the least being Linda, his mommy. My own Chihuahua, Popeye, often visits Linda and Joey and they get along like gangbusters.

If  you knew Joey, hold him in your heart tonight. Maybe make a donation to a shelter — or better still, adopt from one. And if you see Linda, give her an extra long hug. In fact, give anybody you see one. We could all use it about now.


SWAT raid leads to arrests at Oak Lawn apartment

Posted on 09 Feb 2017 at 2:43pm

Cory Smith with NBC5 (KXAS-TV) tweeted these photos of a SWAT operation in Oak Lawn Thursday afternoon, Feb. 9.

Four people are reportedly in custody following a SWAT operation at an apartment located near Dickerson Avenue, between Wycliff and Douglas, according to reports posted on Twitter by Cory Smith with NBC5, KXAS-TV.

Dallas police spokeswoman Diana Flores told Dallas Morning News a SWAT was serving a warrant in the area but offered no other details.

At about 1 p.m., Smith reported hearing “a series of loud booms in the Oak Lawn area,” and tweeted that there was “a growing police presence. Multiple officers.”

In successive tweets, Smith noted that four people had been taken into custody. At about 2 p.m., he tweeted, “State police now inside apartment that was target of SWAT operation in Oak Lawn/Cedar Springs area.”

Smith posted several photos, including one of the apartment building and several of men being led away in handcuffs by SWAT officers.

One of the men arrested as been identified by several sources as a former Club Stallions dancer who appeared in at least one Naked Sword Originals porn film.

We’ll update as we get more information.


DISD opens drop-in centers for homeless students

Posted on 08 Feb 2017 at 2:04pm

Josh Cogan

An estimated 3,600 Dallas Independent School District students are homeless. Estimates put the number of those who are LGBT at somewhere between 20 and 40 percent.

In response, these DISD schools in collaboration with an organization called Focus on Teens, has opened drop-in centers that are open before school from 8-9 a.m., allowing students to pick up clothes and food.

DISD also has a homeless education office that acts as an advocate and activist for kids who are homeless, fighting discrimination against them and making sure they get the education they’re entitled to receive.

The Mayor’s LGBT Task Force supports DISD’s efforts and encourages more schools to open drop in centers. Josh Cogan chairs the LGBT Homeless Youth Committee for the task force.

Focus on Teens will be opening a non-sectarian permanent drop-in center in collaboration with Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, located directly next to Madison High School. A permanent drop-in will have complete wrap-around services for youth experiencing homelessness with computer lab, food, clothes closet and social services. Youth up to age 21 will be served.

DISD school with drop-in centers:

James Madison HS
W.W. Samuell HS
John Leslie Patton Jr. Academic Center (High School)
Woodrow Wilson HS
Maya Angelou HS
Franklin D. Roosevelt HS
Thomas Jefferson HS
North Dallas HS
Moises E. Molina HS
Sunset HS
Wilmer-Hutchins HS
H. Grady Spruce HS

Barbara B. Manns Education Center (Middle School)
Lincoln HS & Communications/Humanities Magnet
Sam Tasby MS
JL Long MS
Thomas J. Rusk MS
James S. Hogg Elementary
Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School

Ignacio Zaragoza Elementary
Cesar Chavez Elementary


BTD opens 2017 application with first-year beneficiary initiative

Posted on 08 Feb 2017 at 1:54pm

Black Tie Dinner begins its 36th by opening its application process for new and returning beneficiaries. For the first time, new applicants will be allowed to participate with fewer seat, raffle ticket, auction and volunteer hour requirements.

Even long-time recipients of Black Tie funds must re-apply each year and discuss new goals, past goals met or missed, and submit financials. Each year, the Black Tie Dinner Board of Directors selects up to 20 LGBT-supportive organizations from the North Texas area.

Beneficiary applications are now available on the Black Tie Dinner website. To be eligible, candidates must have a tax-exempt status as determined by the IRS, be able to demonstrate significant service to the North Texas LGBT community and must use a majority of these funds for direct programs and services.

The First-Year Beneficiary program will allow new organizations to participate with fewer requirements in their first year. Along with decreased requirements, the organization’s share of the financial distribution will be proportionally less, but will give newer participants to ease into the process and learn what’s needed to be a full participant.

After the first year, they will have to apply as a full beneficiary. First year and returning beneficiaries will not be in competition with each other for slots.

“We are excited about the launch of our new First-Year Beneficiary Program, as we feel it will further out outreach into the North Texas Community,” said Black Tie Dinner Co-Chair Nathan Robbins.

“At the end of the day, we want our Dinner to make a major impact on the community, and we hope this brings our reach to newer, up-and-coming organizations that our vital to our success,” added Black Tie Dinner Co-Chair David Robinson.

In its 35-year history, the dinner has distributed more than $21 million. Beneficiaries will be selected in April.