UPDATE: Similar graffiti found blocks from Cathedral of Hope

Posted on 09 Jan 2017 at 4:48pm

Graffiti similar the that found last week at the Interfaith Peace Chapel at Cathedral of Hope was found today on an abandoned shopping center on Denton Drive Cutoff across the street from Inwood Station. The building formerly housed the Resource Center Food Pantry but has been vacant for more than a year.

Instead of “kitty porn,” this graffiti says “child porn.” An address that is in the neighborhood is painted on the wall. That address wasn’t on the Cathedral of Hope graffiti. The phone number is the same, this time without the Shreveport area code and the name is written the same — Johntion (presumably for Jonathan) and Kimbrou (possibly for Kimbrough).

Because the graffiti is scrawled on an abandoned building, this may not have been a hate crime. The tagger might have simply been looking for a white wall to send a message about someone who he accuses of dealing in child and feline pornography. The phone number does belong to a Jonathan Kimbrough and there is a Jonathan Kimbrough in Acadia Parish jail in southern Louisiana. An elderly couple lives at the address written on the wall.

UPDATE: Chris Chism sent a picture taken a few days ago of similar graffiti taken on the wall of a storage unit building on Lemmon Avenue. Same phone number. Same reference to kitty porn. Tagging around the neighborhood makes this look less and less like a hate crime and more like someone who just doesn’t want his cats appearing in X-rated videos or has a vendetta against someone he thinks is distributing child porn.


Texas would lose 174,000 jobs if ACA is repealed

Posted on 09 Jan 2017 at 11:34am

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

A new study by the Commonwealth Fund and Milken Institute of Public Health at George Washington University found that repeal of the Affordable Care Act would cost Texas 174,700 jobs and 2.6 million jobs nationwide in 2019.

The report debunks the idea that the ACA has been a job killer.

“These losses would not be limited to hospitals, clinics, and patients; they would have widespread repercussions for businesses and workers as well, affecting multiple sectors of each state’s economy,” the report says.

A third of the jobs lost would be in the healthcare sector, but other losses would be in construction and real estate, retail, finance and insurance and public employment.

In addition, the number of people without health insurance would double.

“We in Congress must be mindful of not only the thousands in our districts, but the millions across the country, who are at risk of losing health coverage,” Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson said after reviewing the report. “A repeal of the healthcare law would put millions of jobs under attack. Repealing the ACA is dangerous and a threat to our community and our nation’s economic growth. After the years it took to dig this country out of recession that followed the 2008 housing collapse, why would we do something to put our citizens, our economy, and our country’s future at risk again.”

Gross State Product in Texas would also decline. Repeal of the ACA would result in the loss of $107.4 million in gross state product in Texas from 2019 to 2023 and the loss of $2.7 million in state and local taxes in Texas from 2019 to 2023.

In addition, a heavy burden would be placed on counties like Dallas that have public hospitals as the number of uninsured patients increased. Parkland Hospital’s costs not covered by insurance are paid by Dallas County residents through property taxes that must balance the Dallas County Hospital District’s budget. Although a number of patients from surrounding counties also access Parkland services, Dallas can’t recover those costs from those counties, so Dallas County residents are stuck with those expenses as well.

“I am committed and will continue to work to ensure that the ACA stays in place, despite the uproar and support Republicans have put forth to dismantle it,” Johnson said.


Texas author declines Legislature’s invite over SB6

Posted on 09 Jan 2017 at 10:17am

Rick Riordan

Author Rick Riordan turned down an invitation to be honored by the Texas Legislature in March because of SB6, the bathroom bill introduced last week by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and state Sen. Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham.

Riordan tweeted, “Just turned down an invite to be honored by TX state legislature as a Texas author. If they want to honor me, they could stop this nonsense.”

Riordan is the bestselling author of more than 20 novels for young readers. Born in San Antonio, he graduated from UT Austin and now lives in Boston.

The event honoring Texas authors takes place on March 8 and is organized by Dallas state Rep. Jason Villalba.

SB6 would require transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings and public universities based on their “biological sex.” It’s unclear which bathroom the bill would require that person to use if the sex assigned at birth differs from the birth on his or her birth certificate if that birth certificate has been corrected. The Bureau of Vital Statistics has been correcting birth certificates since October 2015 as part of the settlement of the state marriage-equality case and will continue to do so under that federal court order.

North Carolina’s HB2, a law similar to SB6, has cost that state an estimated $600 million in its first six months. The conservative Texas Association of Business has condemned SB6 and said it will do everything it can to defeat the bill, which it estimates could cost Texas up to $8.5 billion in its first year.

The North Carolina law also outlawed local protections for LGBT people. In Texas, local ordinances protect LGBT people in Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso. Other cities like Grand Prairie and Mesquite have policies that protect their LGBT employees. Other bills have been filed in the Legislature to strip cities of their right to protect their own citizens.


RIP Angela Aaron-Winchester; services set

Posted on 06 Jan 2017 at 1:24pm

Charles Aaron Grimes-Winchester, right, and his alter ego Angela Aaron-Grimes

Dallas Voice extends our condolences to the family and friends of Charles Aaron Grimes-Winchester, aka Angela Aaron-Winchester, former monarch of the Imperial Court de Fort Worth/Arlington, who passed away Tuesday, Jan. 3.

The Rev. Carol West will officiate at a memorial service and celebration of life set for 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, at Celebration Community Church, 908 Pennsylvania Ave. in Fort Worth. The celebration will then continue at The Queen Mothers Review Show, starting at 7 p.m. at Urban Cowboy Saloon, 2620 E. Lancaster Ave., also in Fort Worth.

Court members attending the memorial service are asked to wear their state attire if possible.


Shots fired at Ft. Lauderdale airport; Chorale officials OK

Posted on 06 Jan 2017 at 1:15pm

Sean Baugh

A shooter at Fort Lauderdale Airport in Florida has hit at least nine people. The shots were fired at baggage claim at Terminal 2. The shooter is in custody. Several people may be dead, according to early reports.

Sean Baugh, artistic director of the Turtle Creek Chorale, and Tri Truong, the chorale’s director of marketing, were at the airport today, but report they had left before the shooting began.


Why don’t we just respect Christianity’s right to condemn us?

Posted on 06 Jan 2017 at 10:47am

This week, I spoke to several people at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. about the increase in hate incidents during the month following the November election in preparing this week’s cover story, See You in Church.

Ryan Lenz, spokesperson for the SPLC, said, “Advances in LGBT rights is a trope used for a long time” by the Christian right.

He said those advances by the LGBT community are seen as a direct affront to Christian values. He explained the “War on Christianity” that Gateway Church will be discussing this weekend this way:

Advances in equality “doesn’t respect Christianity’s condemnation of LGBT people,” he said. Although what he said wasn’t anything new, I thought the way he put it was the clearest and most concise explanation of it I had ever heard.

SPLC reports a sharp increase in hate incidents (not necessarily hate crimes) in the month following the election. Of the 1,094 reports they received, 109 were LGBT-related. Of those, 4 occurred in Texas. Add to that the Gateway Church incident. (Preaching a hateful sermon in church isn’t necessarily an incident. Sending a postcard to the entire town announcing the War on Christianity is).

Then, as I was talking back and forth with the SPLC, Cathedral of Hope was hit with graffiti. Anti-LGBT incident No. 2 in North Texas this week. We reported on the incident yesterday morning. Here’s some additional information:

What upset CoH’s Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas more than anything is that a wedding is planned in the chapel this weekend and he hopes to have it removed before the ceremony. As usual, his concern was more for others.

Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. Although the attack might have been random, it was obviously an attack on a church, so it can be classified as anti-Christian. What’s not as apparent is whether the attack is anti-LGBT. There’s a reference to “kitty porn.” Did the tagger mean “kiddie porn” and was he referring to a discussion Cazares-Thomas had on a KHVN talk show the day before explaining the difference between a healthy relationship between two adult men or women and pedophilia?

Or was the church’s attacker referring to a Jonathan Kimbrough? The rest of the graffiti includes Kimbrough’s phone number and, presumably, a description of his car.

The phone number is a northern Louisiana number that belongs to a Charles J. (Jonathan?) Kimbrough who is has been an Acadia Parish Jail inmate since last April. The car is referred to as a “Chivy Suburbin,” presumably as Chevy Suburban. Even the name was written as “Johntion Kimbrou” or “Kimbrow” and he wrote “Louisia” for Louisiana.

Was this simply someone who has something out for Kimbrough or was it an attack on a church or specifically a predominantly LGBT church? Police are still investigating. And thank you Cliff Pearson for some crack investigative research.


Take Back Oak Lawn makes statement regarding bond election

Posted on 05 Jan 2017 at 4:50pm

This week, the Dallas City council voted 5-9 against holding a bond election in May. The money would have been used mostly for streets, sidewalks and lighting and improved safety. Councilmembers Adam Medrano and Philip Kingston, who each represent parts of Oak Lawn, and Scott Griggs who represents North Oak Cliff, voted in favor of the bond election.

Take Back Oak Lawn issued the following statement:


Major and Beau finally get married

Posted on 05 Jan 2017 at 1:34pm

Mark Jiminez, better known as Major, and Beau Chandler were married by Judge Tonya Parker in her courtroom at noon today (Thursday, Jan. 5) exactly four-and-a-half years after they were first arrested for trying to get married in Texas.

On July 5, 2012, Jimenez and Chandler got in line at the Dallas County Clerk’s on the second floor of the Dallas County Records Building to request a marriage license. The clerk brought them into an adjoining room and, through tears, explained she was unable to issue that license under Texas law.

Chandler and Jiminez handcuffed themselves to the stanchion at the front of the line and sat in protest for the rest of the day.

Dallas LGBT police liaison Laura Martin, who had no jurisdiction because it was a county office building, and Shelley Knight, LGBT sheriff’s liaison, sat with the couple along with TV and Dallas Voice reporters.

When the building closed at 4:30 p.m., sheriff’s deputies told the couple to leave or face arrest for criminal trespass. Jiminez unlocked the handcuffs, but the couple refused to leave. Deputies escorted them downstairs and privately offered to let the couple go, if they would leave. They refused and were escorted to jail.

“They’re the nicest couple,” Martin said of Chandler and Jiminez at the time. “They’re the first guys after any protest to come up and thank the officers.”

Overnight they made bail, and during their time in Lew Sterrett, Jiminez said Sheriff Lupe Valdez looked in on them.

The couple made several court appearances. Each time, a group of supporters protested outside the Crowley Courts building.

In a plea deal, they agreed to serve 40 hours of community service, Chandler raised money for Youth First and Jiminez for the North Texas Food Bank.

Jiminez was arrested a second time on Aug. 2, 2012 when he and Chandler again tried to get a marriage license. They repeated their protest throughout the day and at 4:30 p.m., they uncuffed themselves. Jiminez was arrested. Chandler agreed to leave the building and he left to get bail money. A group of protesters stood vigil outside Lew Sterrett until Jiminez was released.

After the marriage equality ruling on June 26, 2015, Jiminez and Chandler planned to get married and even got a marriage license, but illness intervened.

On Marriage Equality Day, they drove to Arkansas to share the news with Chandler’s mother, who was in the hospital. She asked them to wait until she could be there with them for their big day. Their attention shifted focus to caring for her. His mom passed away in October. Then Jiminez’s mother became ill and passed away in May 2016.

As they worked their way through the grieving process, they decided to set a new date and picked April 20, 2017, their five-year anniversary. Then the November election happened and they decided to push the date up. They said they fear court appointments and legislation that could reverse much of the progress the LGBT community has made over the last few years.

“We hope to see gay and lesbian couples resisting the backlash we feel we are about to see and one of the ways we can do this is by continuing to get married,” Jiminez said.

Before the marriage equality ruling, Parker was not performing weddings, something a judge in Texas may do but is not required to do. Parker said she would marry couples when all couples could get married.

On Marriage Equality Day, other judges allowed Parker to symbolically perform the “first” same-sex wedding in Dallas County. (Judge Dennise Garcia performed the actual first same-sex marriage in Dallas County, between George Harris and Jack Evans). Today, Parker happily married the couple that went to jail fighting for their right to marry.


Interfaith Peace Chapel defaced with graffiti

Posted on 05 Jan 2017 at 10:56am

Dallas police were at Cathedral of Hope this morning (Thursday, Jan. 5) investigating graffiti painted onto the church’s Interfaith Peace Chapel. The building was vandalized at about 11 p.m. on Wednesday night, according to the Rev. Neil Cazares-Thomas, CoH’s lead pastor.

Thomas said that he appeared on a talk show on KHVN, a gospel station, yesterday, but he doesn’t think the graffiti was done by any of the callers, in particular. But it may have been someone who listened to the show that vandalized the chapel.

The spray-painted message included a Louisiana phone number and referred to a car as a “Brown Chivy Suburbin.” The name “Johntion Kimbrou” — possibly “Kimbrow” — was also painted on the church, along with a reference to “kitty porn.”

Cazares-Thomas said he is concerned about removing the paint from the porous surface and hopes to have the building clean by this weekend when a wedding is scheduled to be performed in the building.

Channel 33 interview with Neil Cazares-Thomas:


Ellen and Pharrell discuss Kim Burrell’s bigotry

Posted on 05 Jan 2017 at 10:02am

Ellen DeGeneres and Pharrell Williams discussed gospel singer Kim Burrell’s bigoted statements about gays and lesbians. Burrell was scheduled to sing on the Ellen show with Williams to publicize the new film, Hidden Figures, for which Williams wrote the soundtrack.

“I don’t want anyone to feel hurt because they’re different,” DeGeneres said.

“Whenever you hear some sort of hate speech and you don’t think it has anything to do with you, all you have to do is put the word black in that sentence,” Williams said, “Or put gay in that sentence … and all of a sudden it begins to make sense to you.”