Characters liven up Dallas mayor’s race

Posted on 01 Mar 2007 at 6:47pm
By David Webb – The Rare Reporter

Sheridan out to rid city of evil gays, debauchery



David Webb, The Rare Reporter

With all of the attention paid to the frontrunners and midrunners in the Dallas mayor’s race, those struggling in last place usually go unnoticed.

But sometimes that’s where you find the most interesting personalities. That was the case when perennial mayoral candidate Billy Jack Ludwig used to be a fixture on the ballot. He never had a chance of winning, but he sure added a lot of entertainment to the process.

I don’t know what’s happened to Billy Jack. The last I heard of him was in 2001 when he failed to meet the filing deadline for the mayor’s race but campaigned vigorously anyway.

He’s somewhat unforgettable to me because after I wrote a profile of him in the late 1980s when I worked at the Dallas Observer, he threatened in a phone call to punch me in the nose. I won’t go into the details of what annoyed him so much about that story, just in case he’s still out there reading. There’s no sense in opening an old wound or being reckless.

The fact is, we’ve got a couple of pretty interesting characters who have filed for the mayor’s race this year who deserve notice. They came to my attention this week in an e-mail that one of the candidates, Richard P. Sheridan (“Richie for Mayor”), sent to just about every member of the media in town. That included myself and everyone else who works at the Dallas Voice.

What makes it strange that Sheridan had included the staff of the Dallas Voice on the e-mail broadcast is that he was railing about the immorality of other mayoral candidates, in particular gay candidates Councilman Ed Oakley and lawyer Roger Herrera.

The e-mail consisted of copies of two messages he had written. One was a letter of complaint to Miss Jennifer Gale, a transgender woman who is also running for mayor, and the other was to the city secretary’s office to document his complaint against Miss Gale.

Sheridan wrote to Miss Gale that he was offended she had attempted to visit him at his home. “In the devious and evil days in which we live, I can only assume that you have ill intentions toward me because of my outspokenness towards the gay/debauched heterosexual/sex problem we have today.”

He continued, “It wouldn’t surprise me if Mayor (Laura) Miller and the Dallas Voice was behind your action, since they are the primary promoters of the GLBT evil that is amongst us. Does GLBT stand for Guacamole Bacon Lettuce “‘n Tomato sandwich? It certainly is a mouthful.”

He ended the message to Miss Gale with the warning, “if you and your associates show up at my house again you will immediately be reported to the police.”

Sheridan told the city secretary’s office that he believed Miss Gale, whom he had met at a Farmers Branch immigration issue meeting, was attempting to harass him. He expressed concern that his criticism of Miller had possibly put him at risk.

“I know that she has some strong allies in the gay community who know of my position,” he wrote.

I contacted Miss Gale by e-mail this week to ask why she went to visit Sheridan. She seemed puzzled by his reaction and claimed she was under the impression he had wanted to talk to her about the regulations governing the collection of voter signatures for a place on the ballot. She vowed not to bother him again.

All of this piqued my interest, and I couldn’t help but wonder how Sheridan would respond if I asked him if he would like to be interviewed by the Dallas Voice. His response was quick, to the point and exactly what I expected. Yes, he said. In fact, he expressed an eagerness to be interviewed by Dallas’ GLBT newspaper, probably because he knew it was the only media opportunity he was going to get.

And I was going to interview Sheridan, who noted at the bottom of an e-mail “I’m not Kinky, but some call me crazy,” because I love listening to people’s stories the more bizarre the better. It’s the same thing that drew me to interview the daughter of anti-gay zealot the Rev. Fred Phelps and the grand dragon of a Ku Klux Klan chapter in Florida.

It’s a good trade-off. I’m intrigued and they’re crazy about publicity in any form they can get it.

But then I got a copy of another e-mail from Sheridan to a prominent Democratic Party leader that shared a lot about his personal history. In the e-mail, Sheridan shared, “My sister and my mother-in-law were gay. My oldest son almost went that way. My mother committed suicide. My 66-year-old sister is now held in New York City’s mental health institution. Maybe you can see why I’m motivated, and there’s much, much, much more.”

That pretty much took care of any questions I had. Sorry, Richie. You just had your moment of fame.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 2, 2007

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