Vote! And if you need help, call
I was down on the Springs this weekend and this is what I heard:
“How do I vote?” “Where do I vote?” “Am I even registered to vote?” And many more questions on the topic of voting.
Well, I’m here, offering my help in answering those questions. To show you just how important I think this is and how serious I am, I’m going to include my cell phone number.
So, if you don’t know if you’re registered to vote, call me and I’ll look it up for you.
If you don’t know where to vote, call me and I’ll look it up for you.
If you just don’t want to think about getting out to vote, call me and I’ll come pick you up and take you. All you have to do is get in the car and I’ll take you to vote at whatever time is most convenient.
Remember, if having to vote standing is hard for you, they can bring the ballot to you and you can vote from the car. It’s that easy!
My cell phone number is 817-896-2111. I hope that it doesn’t stop ringing.
“Why should I vote?” you might ask. Vote because government belongs to us.
Imagine if it didn’t. Imagine if we didn’t have the right to vote. Imagine if there was just one person or a group of people that made all of the decisions for us and we never had a say.
Imagine if that person or group decided that being gay was a crime and that we should be punished for being gay or worse. Imagine if that person or group decided that all of our kids should be taken from us. Imagine if there was no safe place to be who we are.
I remember being harassed every single week by the police. I remember that continued harassment would often cause a bar to shut down. As soon as a new one opened up, the harassment started all over again.
I remember being denied housing because I was trying to rent a one-bedroom apartment with another female in Dallas. I’m not old enough to have experienced being arrested for just being in a gay bar, but I have friends that were.
We’ve come such a long way in such a short time, but nothing as important as this should ever be taken for granted.
So where do we stand? At 49, and 49 is the saddest number of them all. Texas stood at 49 out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of in voter turnout in the 2006 election.
It is a sad and incredible fact to know that only 31 percent of eligible voters in 2006 took the time to fill out a ballot and tell the government of the United States of America their thoughts and opinions on how their country is being run, and how it should be run in the future.
After years of hard won battles to earn the right to vote for those who wish to govern us, to simply vote is an incredible honor and privilege. It is a privilege that all those in the world demand, but many are not awarded, and we here in the United States take for granted.
The right to vote has not always been a universal right in the United States. Women did not win the right to vote until the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1926. Even after its passage, two years later its constitutionality was being challenged.
In 1870 non-white men were granted the right to vote, but literacy tests and other tests were often used to disenfranchise race minority voters. It was not until 1965 and the Voting Rights Act did these exclusions finally become eliminated.
Those between the ages of 18 and 21 have only had the right to vote for 36 years (1971 and the passage of the 26th Amendment). Before then,18 years was old enough to be conscripted by our leaders to fight and perhaps die for this country, but it was still not old enough to vote.
As you can tell, for many of us the right to vote is still in its infancy when compared to the long history of voting in this country.
OK, but who should you vote for? Glad you asked.
The Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance and the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas worked many, many hours sending out questionnaires, doing extensive interviews and holding town hall meetings to help you with that. Both groups have endorsed Ed Oakley for mayor of Dallas, and Joseph Hernandez for the District 3 seat on the Dallas City Council.
DGLA has also endorsed Betty Culbreath for Dallas City Council, District 5.
Sexual orientation has nothing to do with the endorsements. DGLA has endorsed a straight candidate over a gay candidate on more than one occasion. Ed Oakley and Joseph Hernandez got the endorsements because they are the most qualified for the job. Race, sex and sexuality are minor when compared to qualifications and character, and forthright.
So when Saturday rolls around and the polls open, please don’t hesitate to call me if you want some help exercising your right and your duty to vote.
Suzanne Hickman, board member,
DGLA and Stonewall Democrats
Column inflames blacks’ mistrust
Just when I thought the Dallas mayor’s race couldn’t get any nastier, with campaign literature and ads centering on accusations of contaminated dirt and involuntary facial tics illuminated by a sinister yellow glow, I pick up my Dallas Voice (as I do weekly) and discovered I was wrong.
Previous columns proclaiming “Mayor candidate comes out as gay-friendly,” “Is Leppert gay friendly? He won’t say,” and a related column which included a litmus test of “how gay friendly are you” were troubling, but the Rare Reporter column written by Dallas Voice reporter David Webb, in the June 8 issue, which cried “South Dallas voters put on auction block” is the one that really got to me.
The anger and disgust I felt hit me so hard on so many levels that I had to wait a few days just to calm down before penning a response. And I’m glad I did. Momma was right: It is good to put some distance between you and your anger.
The following comments are not meant to attack or disrespect David Webb in any manner. I have been the subject of interviews and stories in the Voice written by Webb and Tammye Nash dating back to the mid-90s, and in each instance I was treated with respect and dignity. I appreciate that. And based on the information in Webb’s column, I am certain his intentions weren’t purposely meant to offend anyone and were merely a casualty of this thing we call “media.”
What I don’t appreciate is how the GLBT community has “all of a sudden” taken interest in the actions of an African-American elected official simply because we have a candidate who is gay vying for our city’s highest elected position. Equally unsettling is the assertion that Ed Oakley hails from South Dallas, as opposed to the southern sector where he lives. This clearly is bait intended to make Oakley more palatable to southern sector voters who are overwhelmingly African-American and Hispanic.
Beyond racial tokenism, the Dallas gay community has never taken real interest in the social or economic viability of southern sector residents or that region beyond the Bishop Arts District. This has been a sentiment echoed by myself and other African-American GLBT leaders for years, and it is clear that we are still a microcosm of the overall climate in Dallas, politically and ethnically.
One example during this race was the endorsement of Oakley by the Dallas County Democratic Party in what is a nonpartisan race. This stunt was designed to “woo” predominately African-American voters in the southern sector into supporting one of its own. Hispanic voters were probably not included in their equation because the DCDP realizes that Hispanic voting patterns are not parallel to their raw numbers and could not be considered as a dependable voting bloc. So as always, the DCDP enlisted the backing of prominent black elected officials to secure the nonquestioning, faithful black support at the ballot box.
Another example occurred during the May 12 election, which involved the exclusion of candidates in four open predominately African-American districts during endorsement screenings held by one of our political groups. Only after a “public outing” of this group’s “lack of foresight” did they fast track additional endorsement screenings for candidates in these previously untapped districts, with a written presentation that included a litany of support they gave to minority candidates, which were overwhelmingly non-African-American.
If the GLBT community is indeed serious about engaging all factions of our city, including the black community, it would be nice if this concern was consistent at all times and not just during an election considered pivotal to the gay community. Martin Luther King Day, Juneteenth, Dallas Pride, Kwanzaa and the election of a gay mayor are not the only times when the African-American community should be considered vital to the overall interests of the gay community.
And the auction block metaphor in the headline was not only insensitive to our struggle in this country, it was very damn offensive.
Editor’s note: Any connection between the history of slavery in this country and the use of the term “auction block” in the headline of David Webb’s “Rare Reporter” column in the June 8 issue of Dallas Voice was purely accidental. Dallas Voice regrets this oversight and any offense it caused.
“‘Rare Reporter’ gets it right
Regarding the article, “South Dallas voters put on auction block,” by David Webb and published in the Jun 8 issue of Dallas Voice:
David, You continue to be the intelligent voice of Dallas hands down. You get it.
What you described in your column is the way it has always worked and not just in Dallas. I dealt with this years ago when I was a campaign consultant in California. Endorsements were sold to the highest bidder and throngs of believers were deceived every time. It broke my heart.
I look forward to the day when integrity becomes more important than the mighty dollar a pipe dream, I am sure. I was in California politics over 20 years ago, and while I don’t know if it is still going on in California, it is ripe here in Dallas.
Politics doesn’t have to be dirty and good guys should be able to win. If Ed wins, I will believe there is still hope because he is truly one of the good guys and you are one of the finest political reporters I know. This column is proof again.
I am so darn glad the Voice gave you a column (The Rare Reporter) where you can state your opinions. It has given the Voice a whole new perspective and makes it a real contender for truth in media in Dallas. And I say this with no personal agenda as I have begun my “retirement” from politics/LGBT activism for a while. But I will always be interested and will always say something when I see a positive truth being told!
Oakley no champion of the proletariat
It is certainly no surprise to me that the Dallas Voice chooses to treat Ed Oakley as if he is Solomon. I don’t really care. I understand that you are a gay publication and certainly his perspective on gay issues would match yours.
But your column of last week, (“The Rare Reporter” by David Webb, June 8) where you somehow wanted to characterize him as a champion of the proletariat was patently offensive.
You are allowed to report and you have your voice but his voting record in no way indicates the slightest concern of the struggles with the lower economic class. I submit that he knows nothing of that class.
If I have to deal with someone who is going to do the bidding of the wealthy in Dallas, which both Mr. Leppert and Mr. Oakley will do, I would much prefer to deal with someone who is honest about being a conservative, like Mr. Leppert, rather than someone who masquerades as a liberal.
You have your column and you probably have your fans. You can clink cocktail glasses with the Black Tie crowd, but your latest column was you can do better. I have nothing against the way you write, but that was just disgusting.
(via voice mail)
Leppert hasn’t changed his spots
I attended the Friday, June 8, candidate forum presented by the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce attended by more than 90 GLBT business leaders with high hopes that maybe mayoral candidate Tom Leppert had changed his spots. I was once again proven wrong.
It struck me as odd that Tom never uttered the words “gay” or “lesbian” or “GLBT”. He did not even thank the North Texas GLBT Chamber by name. Leppert answered 90 percent of the questions in broad, general terms. He used the same stump speech that could have been used at any area event. I hope that people in the room will go out and share the forum experience with friends and loved ones.
Leppert speaks of bringing a divided city together. However, you have to wonder why this event is his only outreach to the GLBT community.
I would hate for Dallas to regress with a mayor that is not supportive or friendly of GLBT issues. Ed Oakley is the only candidate with the proven track record of equality and fairness. You do not have to worry about getting vague answers or wonder where he stands on the issues. Oakley’s life is an open book.
On behalf of the Dallas Gay & Lesbian Alliance, I am proud to stand with our endorsed candidate, Ed Oakley, for mayor. GLBT residents need to stand up and vote in record numbers. The choice is in the hand of the electorate. Make your voice heard at the polls.
Pete Webb, president,
Dallas Gay & Lesbian Alliance
Anti-gay religious right “‘at it again’
They’re at it again.
The so called “Christians” of the Heritage Alliance PAC, a political action committee, are calling all voters in the city and telling us to vote for Tom Leppert for mayor because Ed Oakley is gay, crime is high in City Council District 3, and Tom Leppert is a married Christian with two children.
I ask you, what does sexual orientation have to do with knowing how a city should be run? Crime rates are high all over this city, even in the “straight” districts.
This group along with very large congregations that are preaching hate about the LGBT community will not stop until we have no representation in this city, state and country.
The Heritage Alliance Web site also says, “From spiritual leaders of the African-American Pastors Coalition to Hispanic pastoral associations, hundreds of pastors are praying and calling for the election of Tom Leppert as mayor.” It’s solely based on the fact that they think there is a “gay agenda” taking place in Dallas.
Real Christians that belong to churches that don’t discriminate against the LGBT community, and the rest of us of different or no religions, all need to get out and vote and stop this discrimination now.
Just imagine what would happen if we received calls not to vote for someone because they were black, Hispanic, over 50 or a female. Until LGBT is added to civil rights laws, they’ll get away with it unless we fight back.
We will face this type of discrimination until federal laws change to protect us. In the meantime these discriminating, radical haters will operate under the guise of “God” to bash us at every turn.
We must fight back with our voting power and elect those who will fight for us and every other citizen of our city.
Lets take the focus off of who we are and who we love and talk about the real issues. I’m urging you to get over your apathy Saturday and go vote for Ed Oakley and Joseph Hernandez who won’t discriminate, but will fight for all citizens. The LGBT community can be the deciding vote in this important election, but only if you vote!
Mike Lo Vuolo
We welcome letters from readers. Shorter letters are more likely to be printed, as are those that address only a single topic. On some weeks we receive more letters than we can print. In that case, we print a representative sample. Letters are subject to editing for length and clarity, but we attempt to maintain the writer’s substance and tone. Include your home address and a daytime phone number for verification. Send letters to the senior editor, preferably by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). Letters also may be faxed (214-969-7271) or mailed (Dallas Voice, 4145 Travis St., Third Floor, Dallas, TX 72504).
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, June 15, 2007.