David Taffet and I had the DVtv table all to ourselves today. So we talked about Turtle Creek Chorale other events coming up over the next few weeks (Taylor Dayne at MetroBall, anyone?). And we talked about the Texas Legislature and bathroom bills and the Trump clan’s current shenanigans.
In a statement to the press in response to House Speaker Joe Straus’ declaration that there will be no more compromise on ridiculous bathroom bills, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told the press that it’s Straus’ fault the Legislature will be called into a special session.
(Funny that, coming from the man who insists on passing a bathroom bill, even though it can’t even get a hearing in the House.)
Patrick also declared, “We will be in a special session caused by Joe Straus himself.”
Braddock, noting via Twitter that Gov. Greg Abbott could weigh in on the issue at any moment — only the governor can actually call a special session, despite all of Patrick’s bluster — Braddock concluded with a tweet saying, The speaker takes bathrooms off the table, leaves property taxes in play for leverage to bring the budget to the floor. That’s check.”
As we noted in a previous post, a source in Austin said that the consensus there is that Patrick “is unraveling. He can only grandstand so much. … This is unreal.”
Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus said today (Friday, May 26) that he and the House members have compromised enough when it comes to anti-transgender bathroom bills, referring to the amendment to Sen. Larry Taylor’s SB 2078 that the House approved last Sunday. Straus said that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and his right-wing minions in the state Senate can take it or leave, because the Legislature has already spent way too much time wrangling over where people can pee.
Instead, Straus said, lawmakers should be paying attention to funding public schools and bolstering mental health services.
According to Quorum Report, Straus said today he WILL NOT appoint conferees on the latest bathroom bill.
Gov. Greg Abbott has urged lawmakers to reach a compromise, and Patrick has threatened to force a special session if he doesn’t get his way.
According to a Dallas Voice source in Austin, “Patrick is unraveling. He can only grandstand so much. The Senate has played its last cards. This is in Abbott’s hands and he is, of course, going to fuck up.
“This is unreal,” the source said.
The House passed the SB 2078 amendment, offered by Rep. Chris Paddie and which would require schools to have single-stall restrooms available for trans students who do not want to use multi-stall bathrooms, and Straus said today that schools had approved the amendment, saying it would allow trans students to use the facilities matching their gender identity. But Taylor said the amendment didn’t go far enough and when the amended bill ended up back in the Senate, he said he wouldn’t allow it to go through with the amendment.
Instead, the Senate tacked Sen. Lois Kolkhurt’s SB 6 — which would restrict bathroom use in schools and government buildings and rescind local nondiscrimination ordinances — onto a “catchall” bill by Rep. Garnet Coleman. Coleman has, in turn, said he will pull his bill rather than allow it thru with SB 6 attached.
Patrick is slated to speak to the press at 7:30. Stay tuned for updates.
Luxembourg’s Gauthier Destenay stands back row left
At the NATO summit, spouses of world leaders got together and posed for some pictures. Among the spouses in this picture is Gauthier Destenay, husband of Luxemboug Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.
Bettel has served as prime minister since 2013. He is the world’s third openly-gay head of state and the longest-serving. The two previous LGBT prime ministers were Iceland’s Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, who served from 2009-2013, and Belgium’ s Elio Di Rupo, who held his office from 2011-2014.
Luxembourg is a landlocked country in central Europe bordered by Belgium, Germany and France. It’s area is a mere 998 square miles, making it only a little bigger than Dallas County.
Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ will award Mayor Mike Rawlings with its Hero of Hope Award at its 11 a.m. service on Sunday, Aug. 27 and honor him with an evening of recognition on Saturday, Aug. 29 at the Hilton Dallas Park Cities.
The Hero of Hope Award originated in the early 1990’s as a way for CoH to single out and honor people who have courageously taken a stand for LGBT rights and for the rights of all people without regard to gender, race or sexual orientation.
Rawlings is known nationally for his leadership during the shootings of police officers in 2016. In Dallas, he is recognized for his effective leadership and advocacy for the LGBT community, as well as for his advocacy and leadership in initiatives to end homelessness, including youth homelessness. Religious bias is a significant factor in youth homelessness, with nearly 40 percent of homeless youth identifying as LGBT.
Mayor Rawlings has received honors including:
• 2007 Innovation Award from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
• The Dallas Historical Society’s Award for Excellence in Humanities
• The Anti-Defamation League’s Humanitarian of the Year for 2010
• 2015 Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance Hope for Humanity Award
• 2017 American Architectural Foundation and United States Conference of Mayors Joseph P. Riley Jr. Award for Leadership in Urban Design
Rep. Eric Johnson with his son William on opening day of the legislature
Dallas Rep. Eric Johnson’s had a busy and successful session. His HB674 passed the House 135-10 and the Texas Senate by a vote of 22-9 and awaits signature by Gov. Greg Abbott.
The bill bans out-of-school suspensions for students in pre-K through second grade except in cases involving drugs, weapons or extreme violence. The law will also encourage school districts to implement research-based, positive disciplinary alternatives to out-of-school suspension.
“This might be the most important bill I’ve ever passed,” Johnson said. “The school-to-prison pipeline must be addressed in Texas, and this bill helps to shut off that pipeline by requiring us to work with some of our most vulnerable kids, rather than labeling them and writing them off.”
In addition, he got an employment non-discrimination bill and a gender pay parity bill out of committee and through the House.
Those are quite a few accomplishments during a session where the biggest priority has been making the lives of transgender people miserable.
From Grow South press release, the new trolley that stops near Bishop Arts District, not at Bishop Arts District, passes by a new, unwanted Soviet-style apartment block in Oak Cliff.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings’ Grow South initiative is concentrating on all the wrong areas. Instead of working to get a supermarket with fresh fruits and vegetables into poorer neighborhoods in South Dallas, the victories claimed are mostly in and around booming Oak Cliff.
Bishop Arts District began to boom when Mayor Laura Miller — the only recent mayor Dallas has ever had from Oak Cliff — had street improvements done in the area. Restaurants, art galleries and studios and stores began filling Bishop Street at Davis Avenue and cross streets.
Once Bishop Arts became a success, North Dallas decided to move in.
The new streetcar from downtown was supposed to connect Bishop Arts with downtown. Instead, the new trolley stops in front of a major construction project several blocks away that will become Oak Cliff’s first Soviet-style apartment block atrocity (one that Oak Cliff residents don’t want).
Oak Cliff residents wanted nearby Adamson High School to be renovated. Tone-deaf DISD decided to tear down some historic buildings and build an unattractive new building instead.
Grow South also takes credit for an increase in neighborhood associations in north Oak Cliff. As the LGBT community began moving to Oak Cliff in the 1980s, buying and renovating houses and improving neighborhoods, they worked with the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League to create and expand neighborhood associations.
However, the city gets no credit for Oak Cliff’s neighborhood associations that really were improving neighborhoods until Grow South dedicated itself to destroying some of these neighborhoods to benefit developers.
One ridiculous metric Grow South seems to use is increasing population: “Notable trends: Construction of new apartments has increased population and households,” Grow South notes in its latest press release.
Stuffing people into an area isn’t an improvement. Making Oak Cliff look like currently-being-destroyed-by-overdevelopment Oak Lawn isn’t a good thing. While North Dallas seems to need a CVS on every corner, Oak Cliff doesn’t.
Old Oak Cliff Conservation League has helped keep Oak Cliff one of Dallas’ most diverse and livable areas for decades. OOCCL’s new mission should be to drive Grow South out of Oak Cliff.
According to Texas Competes, the bathroom bill has created $216 million in bad publicity for Texas.
“And the national headlines are just beginning,” Texas Competes warned in a recent tweet.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called passage of some sort of bathroom bill one of the two most important priorities of this legislative session. Although his pet bathroom bill — with Sen. Lois Kolkhurst’s name on it as author — passed easily in the Senate, it was shunted aside in the House. So Patrick has managed, in the waning days of the session, to tack it on as an amendment to unrelated legislation and, failing that, has threatened to force a special session to get it passed.
During the current legislative session, 25,774 articles have been written about the attempts to pass a bathroom bill to discriminate against transgender Texans. Of those, 20,000 were written out of state, according to Texas Competes. Meltwater, a media tracking service, was used to generate the data. Of that, 73 percent of the coverage was negative while 2 percent was positive. In other words, the coverage generally put Texas in a bad light, especially as a bad place to do business.
The Texas House added an anti-trans amendment to a bill targeting public school students. The bill would force students to use the bathroom based on the sex on their birth certificate or to use a single-stall bathroom. That bill, with the bathroom amendment, passed the House, but the Senate rejected it for not discriminating against all trans people. They’re adding the original SB6 language, which does discriminate against all trans people, as an amendment to a House bill instead. A conference committee will meet to reconcile the two forms of discrimination. Because the amendment is attached to a bill that must pass, if the two houses come to an impasse on just how to discriminate, a special session will be called.
Because, you know, people having been peeing in Texas very long and we need our legislature to regulate it.
Earlier today, during a conversation with Dallas Voice Distribution Manager Linda Depriter, she told me that she had been told about a year-and-a-half ago to remove Dallas Voice newspaper racks from the Gloria’s restaurants on Lemmon Avenue and in the Bishop Arts neighborhood. She said the managers at those two locations told her they didn’t want our paper in their establishments.
Well, I was irritated by that, and posted a note on my personal Facebook page saying that if they didn’t want a gay newspaper in their restaurant, then I wouldn’t be eating there anymore. That post spread like wildfire, and almost immediately angry folks were calling for a boycott. BUT — and this is very important — within an hour, Gloria’s owner Jose Fuentes had contacted our publisher and co-owner, Leo Cusimano, to let him know that he (Fuentes) and his co-owners at Gloria’s most decidedly did want Dallas Voice racks in their restaurants, and that the restaurants’ owners owe a lot to the LGBT community — here in Dallas and in Houston and other cities in which Gloria’s restaurants are located.
“The gay community built Gloria’s,” Fuentes told Cusimano. And in a follow-up call with me, Fuentes said that the LGBT community “was always there when we needed them most.”
Dallas Voice newspapers will be available again in the restaurants here in Dallas by the time the Friday, May 26 issue hits the streets.
And the lesson here is just because one employee of a business might have a problem with LGBT people, doesn’t mean that every employee does, and it doesn’t mean that the people who own and operate that business have a problem with LGBT people. A little communication can go a long, long way.
So thanks, Jose Fuentes. We appreciate your support. And I’ll be heading over to Gloria’s for lunch very soon.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson made the following statement regarding death threats received by Houston Rep. Al Green:
“I stand with the entire Texas Democratic Delegation and condemn the attacks on our colleague, Congressman Al Green. Many of these threats are racist in tone and are too disturbing to repeat. We stand with our friend and against the violent threats made against him and his family that are not just despicable –they are criminal. We hope law enforcement is able to uncover the perpetrators.”
Her Dallas office said they had not received similar threats.
Congressman Al Green, the Democrat who represent’s Texas’ 9th District in the U.S. House, on Sunday revealed that he has received death threats — complete with profanity and repeated use of “the N word” since making a statement on the House floor calling for Donald Trump to be impeached.
Green, who is black, played recordings of two of the threatening calls at a town hall meeting in Houston on Saturday, May 20:
“Hey, Al Green, we got an impeachment for you. It’s going to be yours. Was actually gonna give you a short trial before we hang your n—– ass.”
“You’re not going to impeach anybody, you f—— n—– … You’ll be hanging from a tree. I didn’t see anybody calling for the impeachment of your n—– Obama when he was born in Kenya. He’s not even an American. So f— you, n—–.”
(Transcription of the recordings via The Washington Post. Listen to the audio recordings below.)
Green told those at the town hall that he got the calls after he criticized Trump for firing FBI Director James Comey and called for the president to be impeached. He said he wanted his constituents to “decide for yourself what we’re dealing with.”
According to The Houston Chronicle, Green said, “It does not deter us. We are not going to be intimidated. We are not going to allow this to cause us to deviate from what we believe to be the right thing to do, and that is to proceed with the impeachment of President Trump.”
The Chronicle noted that Green played the recordings during a meeting at the Fountain Life Center in southwest Houston, adding that security was high at the meeting, as security officials used wands to check the about 100 people attending as they entered.
“You cannot allow hate to be hidden,” Green said. “You have to expose hate. Hate is a means why which people can be harmed. It’s an evil. The best way to deal with evil is to expose” it.
Green said he had received the messages at his offices in Houston and in Washington, D.C.
Texas’ 9th congressional district encompasses the southwestern portion of the Greater Houston area. Green has represented District 9 since 2005. As of 2015, the district was 5.5 percent white, 38 percent black, 12.2 percent Asian, 38.3 percent Hispanic, .25 percent Native American and 13.3 percent “other.”