Early voting results in

Posted on 06 May 2017 at 7:14pm

District 6 challenger Omar Narvaez

In Dallas City Council District 1, Scott Griggs has 86 percent of the vote and looks like he will be reelected to his fourth and final term.

In District 2, Adam Medrano has 91 percent of the early vote. He faced only token opposition.

In District 6, incumbent Monica Alonzo has 38 percent of the early vote. Lambda Legal educator Omar Narvaez has 27 percent of the vote and Alex Dickey has 25 percent. Three others split the rest of the early vote. This race will probably go to a runoff between Alonzo and either Narvaez or Dickey.

In District 14, Philip Kingston is leading with 55 percent of the early vote. Matt Wood is second with 42 percent. Kim Wood has less than 3 percent. If Kingston maintains a lead of more than 50 percent, he’ll avoid a runoff.

In District 8, former Councilman Tennell Atkins is leading incumbent Erik Wilson. Former Councilman Dwaine Caraway has a slight lead over incumbent Carolyn Arnold. Tiffinni Young is leading in her six-way race, but will probably have a runoff.


Mica England recounts applying to DPD and her suit against Dallas

Posted on 05 May 2017 at 9:22am

From left: Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Mica England and Maj. Barbara Hobbs

Mica England spoke to The Dallas Way at S4 on May 4 to tell her story of when she applied and reapplied to the Dallas Police Department in 1987 and 1989. After she was rejected for “deviant sexual behavior,” she sued the city and won.

Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who introduced England, said she was in the closet at work while England stood up and refused to lie. She pointed out that while the police and sheriff’s departments refused to hire gays or lesbians, they hid officers accused of domestic violence and other offenses.

“Mica England was my hero,” Valdez said. “She had guts.”

England said the story that unfolded 25 years ago and resulted in Dallas Police changing its hiring policy as well as the sodomy law being declared unconstitutional in North Texas remained very emotional to her. Sensitivity training by Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance began as part of the settlement and continues today.

Maj. Barbara Hobbs has been a Dallas police officer for 30 years. She said attitudes at DPD began to change after England won her case. Around that time, the very progressive Ben Click became police chief and actively sought LGBT officers.

Hobbs pointed out that today Dallas has one of the most progressive police departments in the country. She said 17 percent of the force is women making it the second highest percentage of women in a major city police department in the country. Number 1 has just 18 percent women.

England said by the time she won her lawsuit, she was too high profile to serve in the department. However her case has had a lasting impact. Last year, Monica Cordova, who is lesbian, was named officer of the year.

The full transcript of England’s talk and the video will follow.


Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson’s statement on the passage of the Trumpcare

Posted on 04 May 2017 at 4:53pm

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson released the following statement after Trumpcare, formally known as the American Healthcare Act, passed the House of Representatives. If passed by the Senate, it’s estimated the replacement for the Affordable Care Act will take healthcare away from 24 million people.

Rep. Johnson’s statement:

Today’s vote for the Trumpcare bill is disgraceful and hurtful to the American people. This Republican-led bill did not afford the American people time to hear debate while lacking transparency. We also never received an official score from the Congressional Budget Office stating how many Americans would be negatively impacted and the amount of money it will cost the nation.

What happened today has stripped away the basic fundamental right of health care for everyone. My office received numerous calls from constituents in the 30th district, health care professionals and health care advocates opposing this bill. Additionally there seems to still be a divide because there were a number of my Republican colleagues who opposed this bill as well.

This bill is not perfect and it is our job as elected officials to represent the bests interests of the American people. So we should not be supporting or applauding the passage of this most recent bill when it makes coverage unaffordable to those with pre-existing conditions and imposes an age tax on seniors who are the most vulnerable.

Unfortunately, an opportunity was wasted to really work together to address the current issues of the Affordable Care Act, but it will be up to the Senate to take up this bill. I urge my Senate colleagues to act with humility and do their due diligence to safeguard health care affordability and coverage for everyone.


Help get HB 225 (ENDA) and HB 290 (pay equity) to the House floor

Posted on 04 May 2017 at 3:23pm

Rep. Eric Johnson’s employment nondiscrimination bill passed out of committee this week. That doesn’t guarantee a floor debate and vote in the House. Where the bill is placed on the agenda is up to the Calendars Committee.

Call members of the Calendars Committee and urge them to make HB 225 a priority. Reps. Alonzo, Giddings, Koop and Rose are from the Dallas area. If you are their constituents, it’s even more important that you call their offices.

Johnson’s pay equity bill — HB 290 — also passed out of committee. That bill requires equal pay for equal work regardless of gender.

Tell members of the Calendars Committee that HB 225 and HB 290 are a priority and should be set for a floor debate as soon as possible.



Alabama prefers homeless youth to LGBT parents

Posted on 04 May 2017 at 2:29pm

With a vote of 87-0, the Alabama House of Representatives voted to allow “religious” adoption agencies to refuse to place homeless children with LGBT parents. Four representatives abstained, including Rep. Patricia Todd, who is lesbian.

“This bill obviously came about because same-sex marriage was approved,” Todd told Al.com. “It’s based in a stereotype. And it’s wrong. And we shouldn’t discriminate and I will always fight that.”

In a report released in 2014, Alabama ranked 50th as the state with the most homeless children per capita with 37,816 kids needing homes. That was down from the year before when more than 50,000 kids needed homes, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

Compare that to Texas, which usually has more than 70,000 children needing homes at any one time. What keeps Texas from ranking last is its much larger population.

Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law. Ivey became governor in April when Gov. Robert Bentley resigned amid a sex scandal and the threat of impeachment.

“This bill is not about discrimination, but instead protects the ability of religious agencies to place vulnerable children in a permanent home,” Ivey said.

Yes. Unfortunately there aren’t enough good Christians providing the type of homes lawmakers and Ivey imagine, so her new law insures more kids will remain homeless in Alabama.


BREAKING: Texas ENDA voted out of committee

Posted on 03 May 2017 at 3:22pm

State Rep. Eric Johnson testifies before a House committee in Austin (courtesy office of Eric Johnson)

State Rep. Jason Villalba has voted with Democrats on the House Committee on Business and Industry to get Rep. Eric Johnson’s HB 225 to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression out of committee.

Texas ENDA now moves to the Calendars Committee to schedule the bill’s hearing on the House floor.

Employment non-discrimination bills have been submitted in most sessions of Congress since the 1990s and have always failed. An ENDA bill has never gotten out of committee in the Texas Legislature.

Whether or not ENDA passes the House, time spent debating employment non-discrimination is time not spent discussing bathrooms or the “right” to discriminate based on religious beliefs.

To thank Villalba for his vote and encourage him to get fellow Republicans to vote for the bill, call his local office at 214-363-8700.

Todd Hunter is the Republican chair of the Calendars Committee. Contact his office at 512-463-0672.

Donna Howard is the Democratic co-chair of the committee.You can call her at 512-463-0631. Dallas-area Democrats on the committee are Roberto Alonzo, Helen Giddings and Toni Rose. Poncho Nevarez is from Eagle Pass.

Republican LGBT allies on the committee are Linda Koop of Dallas and Sarah Davis of Houston. Contact Koop at 512-463-0454 and Davis at 512-463-0389.

Other Republicans on the committee are Byron Cook, Charlie Geren, Kyle Kacal, Ken King, Chris Paddie and Dade Phelan.


Lambda Legal sues Mississippi funeral home for refusing transport and cremation of gay man’s body

Posted on 03 May 2017 at 11:33am

Jack Zawadski

Lambda Legal has joined a lawsuit against a Picayune, Miss., funeral home for refusing to provide any services for Robert Huskey after his death, leaving his 82-year-old husband, Jack Zawadski, desperate to make other arrangements in the hours after his spouse’s death.

The suit seeks damages for breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, according to a press release from Lambda Legal.

Huskey and Zawadski were together for more than 50 years.

Marriage became legal in Mississippi after the 2015 Obergefell decision and the couple married. Huskey’s health began to decline soon after the wedding and he entered a nursing home. When it became apparent that Husky was nearing his final days, the couple’s nephew, John, made arrangements for Picayune Funeral home to handle the necessary services after his death.

After Huskey died on May 11, 2016, “the nursing home provided Picayune Funeral Home with necessary information confirming Bob’s death and identifying Jack as his husband. Shortly thereafter, the nursing home called their nephew John and informed him that Picayune Funeral Home was now refusing to pick up the body and perform the cremation,” according to the Lambda Legal press release.

“Since the nursing home could not keep Bob’s body on site, Jack and John had to scramble to locate another funeral home with an on-site crematorium,” the press release continues. “They located one in Hattiesburg, some 90 miles away. By that time, because Bob’s body could not be housed at the nursing home for the hours it would take for the Hattiesburg hearse to arrive, they had to find yet another funeral home in Picayune willing to transport Bob’s body to Hattiesburg.”


Officer fired, but no arrest made in murder of 15-year-old

Posted on 03 May 2017 at 9:46am

Jordan Edwards

Days after it was determined that Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver shot into a car as it was moving away from him and killed 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, Oliver has been fired but not arrested for murder. And that makes a lot of people very angry.

On April 29, Balch Springs police were called to a house where a party was taking place. According to the latest BSPD media release, the 911 report indicated there were “underage intoxicated juveniles” in the house. While inside the house trying to locate the homeowners, police heard gunshots outside.

Once outside, officers confronted a car backing down the street. Despite ordering the car to stop, the car continued to back away.

In his original report, Oliver claimed the car was coming toward him. Video showed the car was backing away and Oliver shot into the car, hitting Edwards.

Sheriff Lupe Valdez and District Attorney Faith Johnson are conducting separate investigations into the murder.

State Rep. Eric Johnson released this statement:

“Devastating does not adequately describe this tragedy. My prayers are with the Edwards family. As a father, I cannot begin to imagine the pain they are experiencing. As the father of a black son, I share the anxiety that many black parents feel when we hear about situations like this. 

“I would encourage the Balch Springs Police Department to continue to display the transparency and accountability this sensitive situation demands, including reporting the details of this terrible incident to the Texas Attorney General as state law requires.”

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson released this statement:

“I am deeply saddened to hear of the fatal shooting of Jordan Edwards. I offer my thoughts and prayers to the Edwards family and to the entire community, who all have suffered a painful loss.

“I have spoken with Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson regarding this incident. Both Sheriff Valdez and Judge Johnson said they have already started to conduct separate but fair, independent and thorough investigations in their own right. I will continue to receive details as their respective investigations unfold.

“It is also imperative that we aggressively pursue these two separate investigations to preserve the trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

Oliver had been on the Balch Springs police force since July 2011. Police know who committed this murder and it’s time for an arrest in the case.


One more thing about the Wings …..

Posted on 02 May 2017 at 5:50pm

During Media Day today at College Park Center, Dallas Wings players Tiffany Bias, Kayla Thornton and Courtney Paris decided to bust out a little Destiny’s Child ….. And apparently Tiffany and Courtney didn’t know how well Kayla can sing !


Dallas Wings get ready to kick off the season

Posted on 02 May 2017 at 5:37pm

The Dallas Wings, DFW’s WNBA team based at the College Park Center at the University of Texas in Arlington, kicks off the 2017 season on May 14, and their first home hame is May 20. On Tuesday, May 2, the players and coaches invited the DFW media to College Park Center for Media Day, giving the reporters a chance to get to know the 2017 Wings. Here are a few shots from the activities. And watch for a report here on InstanTEA from the press conference also held Tuesday.