Readers Voice Awards – Metro

Posted on 19 Mar 2008 at 10:06pm


QUEER ALLY: City Councilwoman Angela Hunt gets the gay nod, and she’s the youngest at the horseshoe.

BEST DALLAS CITY COUNCIL PERSON
Angela Hunt
Dallas Council woman whose main platform was to keep the Trinity River Toll Road built away from the proposed Trinity Park.
Dallas City Hall, 1500 Marilla St.
214-670-5415
Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
AngelaHunt.com

With no openly gay or lesbian representatives remaining on the Dallas City Council, the LGBT community has to turn to its gay-friendly allies sitting in the horseshoe at City Hall. And one of those allies is District 14 Councilwoman Angela Hunt.

Hunt was first elected to the council in 2005, replacing longtime LGBT community ally Veletta Forsythe Lill and becoming, at age 33, the youngest Dallas City Council member ever. Hunt has consistently sought — and received — the endorsements of LGBT political organizations, and regularly attends meetings and events in the LGBT community.

Hunt is perhaps best known for "taking on City Hall" when she led the effort in 2007 to stop a toll road from being constructed in the Trinity River Park planned for downtown. Hunt’s supporters in that endeavor collected more than 90,000 signatures, forcing a referendum on the toll road project, and although her group lost the election, Hunt has said she is proud of the grassroots effort that put the issue on the frontburner in Dallas and educated voters about the downtown park and toll road project.

Hunt has also been recognized for her efforts in cleaning up graffiti in Dallas, helping create a program that mobilized 700 volunteers to clean up graffiti in the city and eventually winning first place in Keep America Beautiful’s 2006 "Graffiti Hurts" competition.

She has long been active in the movement to preserve historic neighborhoods and was instrumental in creating the city’s "Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay," which gives residents of a neighborhood greater say in the size of new homes that can be built in their areas.

Hunt also created the Arts District Strategic Planning Council, which has developed a master plan for Dallas’ burgeoning Arts District near downtown, and she is working with other Council members and downtown stakeholders and with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit to develop a free, rail-based streetcar system for downtown.

— Tammye Nash


AN EXEMPLARY LESBIAN LATINA: For four years, Lupe Valdez has served as Dallas’ sheriff after campaigning on the platform to increase security personnel and stop jail over-crowding. Next month’s runoff will determine whom she’ll face in the November election. – DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

BEST LOCALLY ELECTED OFFICIAL
Lupe Valdez
Campaign office: 302 W. 9th St. 2nd Floor
open Mon.-Thu. 10 a.m.-9 p.m.,
Fri.-Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Campaign hotline: 214-942-2378
E-mail: lupe@lupevaldez.com
LupeValdez.com

BEST LGBT ROLE MODEL (LOCAL)
Sheriff Lupe Valdez
Frank Crowley Courts Building
133 N. Industrial Boulevard, Lb 31. 1st Floor
214-653-3450
DallasSheriffsOffice.com

Just being the first woman and the first Latina and the first lesbian elected as sheriff of Dallas County would probably be enough to make Lupe Valdez a role model for many in the LGBT community. But the life journey that led her to that office more than secures Valdez’s role model status.

Valdez is one of eight children born to migrant farm worker parents in San Antonio and she worked in the field herself. Despite her father’s objections, she not only graduated from high school, she then paid her own way through college, sometimes working two jobs while carrying a full class load to earn her bachelor’s degree in business administration.

She also joined the United States Army, rising to the rank of captain before leaving the military.

Valdez started her career in law enforcement as a jailer in a county jail, then moved on to become a jailer at a federal prison. She went on to serve as an agent with the General Services Administration, then the U.S. Department of Agriculture before taking a job with the U.S. Customs Service where she served as a leader in the federal Counter Smuggling Initiative.

When the Department of Homeland Security was created in 2002, Valdez joined up as a senior agent, a job she held until she retired in 2004 to run for sheriff. Along the way, she also managed to find time to earn her master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Valdez formally announced her plans to run for re-election in December of 2007. In the Democratic Party primary held March 3, the incumbent sheriff claimed about 51 percent of the vote against three challengers, and is now waiting for the April 8 runoff between Republican candidates Lowell Cannaday and former Sheriff Jim Bowles to find out whom she will face in the November general election.

— Tammye Nash






IMAGINE IF HE HAD WON: Ed Oakely is the openly gay mayoral candidate who lost to Tom Leppert in the 2007 campaign by an 8 percent margin. Had he won, he would have been the first openly gay mayor in a top 10 city.

BEST THING TO HAPPEN FOR THE LGBT COMMUNITY
Ed Oakley campaign for mayor of Dallas.
EdOakley.com

You can still contact Oakley through his mayoral campaign Web site. E-mails will be forwarded to his personal address.

Ed Oakley’s campaign for Dallas mayor has done more than anything in recent memory to put the city on the gay map.

Had he defeated Tom Leppert in a runoff, Oakley would have become the first openly gay mayor to represent any big city in the U.S. Currently, the largest city represented by a gay mayor is Providence, R.I.

Oakley’s campaign not only united Dallas’ LGBT community politically, it also brought international attention to the city as a gay-friendly place.

Time Magazine was one of many major media outlets that ran stories on the subject.

The Time article focused on how progressive Dallas has become despite its location in the heart of one of the most conservative states in the country.

An Oakley victory would have been the latest and greatest in a string of local LGBT political successes.

Dallas County already has several openly gay elected officials, including Sheriff Lupe Valdez, County Judge Jim Foster and District Clerk Jim Foster.

Oakley, who spent six years on the City Council representing District 3, stepped down to run for mayor and finished second to Leppert in an 11-candidate field May 12.

Oakley captured 42 percent of the vote in a runoff with Leppert a month later.

Oakley’s departure left the City Council LGBT-free for the first time in 14 years.

But the long-term impact of his run for mayor should far outweigh any temporary loss.

— John Wright






FINE PRINT: HRC member Ann Faye holds the 2007 "coming out" page of the Be Who You Are pullout, which contained more than 800 individual names and 26 organizations and businesses. – DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

BEST LGBT ORGANIZATION (NATIONAL)
Human Rights Campaign
Headquarters: 1640 Rhode Island Ave. N.W., D.C.
800-777-4723
HRC.org
Dallas/Fort Worth Federal Club
PO Box 191153, Dallas, TX, 75219
214-428-3332
dfwfederalclub.org

When you work at a gay newspaper, you sometimes forget that you’re "alternative press." And that gaydars are tuned differently at "mainstream" news outlets — especially in a conservative city like Dallas. But every October, a strong competitor of Dallas Voice’s rears its head — the National Coming Out Project’s annual "Be Who Your Are" advertising supplement that appears in The Dallas Morning News.

The Human Rights Campaign is a huge organization with more than 700,000 members in the U.S. Even in Dallas, the HRC steering committee is like the hub of a wheel with many "spokes," like The Federal Club, the Dallas-Fort Worth Black Tie Dinner and the National Coming Out Project pullout section. And these North Texas spokes are some of HRC’s most financially supportive endeavors.

While the pullout could easily be replicated in other cities, it only happens in Dallas.

It started 15 years ago. And in 1993, HRC board of governors member Gregory Pynes says the Morning News wasn’t very receptive about the concept, which is basically a statement that calls for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The pullout section contains editorial content as well as the signature "coming out" page that features individual names and organizations that support the statement.

During the pullout’s first nine years, the Morning News required significant documentation — including sworn affidavits — to print the names because the newspaper would receive complaints that certain names never gave the Morning News permission.

Controversy, religious indignation, hate and halted subscriptions are part of publishing "Be Who You Are," which HRC understands is all part of the dialogue. But every year, the section also becomes an alliance builder.

"It creates an awareness and makes non-gay North Texans read about the issues that GLBT Texas face every day," Ann Faye says, co-chair of the HRC Foundation Board and a director of the HRC Board.

The pullout also provides an opportunity to educate the community about critical issues facing LGBT Americans, and some readers understand that not all of their fellow citizens get the same constitutional rights and protections as straight folks.

— Daniel A. Kusner




LOCAL GOVERNMENT DUNCE
Mike Dupree
Dallas constable who faced sexual harassment charges filed by deputies in his office and who was accused of arranging to have an alleged ex-lover deported He resigned in the summer of 2007.


BEST GAYBORHOOD
Oak Lawn
Dallas’ gay ground zero is the intersection of Cedar Springs Road and Throckmorton Street, where you can find same-sex entertainment, shopping, bar-hopping, dining, gifts, coffee, sex toys, booze, shoes and sexy panties. And lots of tax-paying gay homeowners.


BEST LGBT FUNDRAISER
Black Tie Dinner
Most successful dinner supporting the Human Rights Campaign, raising $1.27 million.
Black Tie Dinner, Inc., 3878 Oak Lawn Ave.
972-733-9200
2008 dinner: Nov. 22 at 6 p.m.
BlackTie.org


BEST LGBT ROLE MODEL (NATIONAL)
Ellen DeGeneres
After she came out in 1997, her sitcom, "Ellen," was cancelled in 1998.
For three years, she remained a homebody
until 2001, when her Daytime Emmy award-winning talk show came on air, "The Ellen Show."
Ellen-DeGeneres.com

BEST LGBT ORGANIZATION (LOCAL)
Resource Center of Dallas
One of the five largest LGBT community centers in the U.S. Provides support to North Texan individuals and organizations; health, HIV and social services; and education and advocacy.
2701 Reagan St., Dallas.
214-528-0144
Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
RCDallas.org


BEST PLACE OF WORSHIP
Cathedral of Hope
World’s largest, Christian LGBT community church.
5910 Cedar Springs Road.
800-501-4075, 214-351-1909
Services: Sun. 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 6 p.m.,
Wed. 7:17 p.m.
CathedralOfHope.com

WORST THING TO HAPPEN TO THE LGBT COMMUNITY
President George W. Bush
President from 2001-2009. Wanted a constitutional amendment to define marriage as "between a man and a woman."
His presidential library will be built on the Southern Methodist University campus.
Once his presidency is over he plans on relocating to Dallas.
WhiteHouse.gov/President/

MOST HOMOPHOBIC ELECTED OFFICIAL
President George W. Bush
A former Yale University cheerleader who supports "Don’t ask, don’t tell" military policy.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Comments: 202-456-1111
WhiteHouse.gov/President/
E-mail: comments@whitehouse.gov.


These articles appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 21, 2008

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