Crossroads needs crosswalks

CrossroadsThere’s not much paint left on the crosswalks at what’s been traditionally known as The Crossroads — the intersection not just of gay culture in Dallas, but of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton roads. (A bookstore and gathering place called Crossroads Market stood on one of the corners for 25 years.)

The intersection has some of the heaviest pedestrian traffic in Dallas outside of Downtown — maybe as much as Downtown, especially on weekends.

Danny Sikora, owner of Thairrific, sent us the above photo with the note: “Not much paint left on the crosswalks at The Crossroads. Do you think the City can repaint this?”

Cedar Springs Road divides Districts 2 and 14 (Councilmen Adam Medrano and Phillip Kingston respectively). Their offices have been notified.

How about rainbow stripes, anyone?

—  David Taffet

Four Dallas City Council seats decided

Wilson.Erik

Cuoncilman-elect Erik Wilson

Four final seats on the Dallas City Council were decided in runoffs tonight.

District 3: Casey Thomas won with 53 percent of the vote. Opponent Joe Tave has Stonewall and DGLA support. Thomas is Vonciel Jones Hill’s handpicked successor. Hopefully he won’t be as completely obnoxious on the council as she has been.

District 7: Tiffinni Young beat Kevin Felder with 55 percent of the vote. Young had DGLA’s support,

District 8: Erik Wilson beat Dianne Gibson with 60 percent of the vote. Wilson will be an LGBT ally on the council.

District 10: Adam McGough is the apparent winner by just 45 votes out of 5965 cast. McGough has DGLA’s support.

They join Gail King Arnold in District 4 and Mark Clayton in District 9, who were elected in the May election.

Council members Scott Griggs, Adam Medrano, Lee Kleinman, Sandy Greyson, Jennifer Gates, Monica Alonzo, Rick Callahan and Philip Kingston were reelected and return for another term.

—  David Taffet

District 1-2-14 Day at the Dallas Zoo

The Dallas City Council’s Three Amigos — Scott Griggs, Adam Medrano and Philip Kingston — hosted a free day at the Dallas Zoo on Saturday, June 6. Kingston wasn’t there, so Medrano is threatening to replace him as an amigo with incoming District 9 Councilman Mark Clayton.

I went to see one of Dallas’ newest residents — Kipenzi. Mama Katie was keeping a close eye on him.

 

—  David Taffet

Start building the toll road now

We think building the toll road is a great idea and construction should begin now — as in today, before the flooding in the floodway where the road will go gets any worse.

Here are some pictures taken over the weekend along the proposed toll road route. We agree with Councilman Adam Medrano that the trees that are slowing down the flow of river should be kept in place to slow down the water as it cascades down the toll road.

—  David Taffet

UPDATE: Rawlings re-elected Dallas mayor but runoffs will decide some council races

Rawlings

UPDATE:

In District 4, Carolyn King Arnold won 51 percent of the vote and avoids a runoff.

In District 7, Kevin Felder will face Tiffinni Young in a runoff.

In District 8, Dianne Gibson and Erik Wilson made the runoff.

Three DISD races were decided. Edwin Flores will represent District 1. Dan Micciche won District 3. Bernadette Nutall was reelected in District 9.

ORIGINAL POST:

The election of Dallas’ mayor and city council today (Saturday, May 9) is overshadowed by the charges leveled against District 1 Councilman Scott Griggs, who ran unopposed for a third term. Griggs has been a steadfast ally of the LGBT community.

Mayor Mike Rawlings easily defeated challenger Marcos Ronquillo, who was endorsed by both Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance and Stonewall Democrats.

Council members Adam Medrano, Lee Kleinman, Sandy Greyson, Jennifer Gates and Philip Kingston also ran unopposed and were re-elected. All had DGLA’s backing.

Monica Alonza ran with token opposition and in early voting had more than 80 percent of the vote.

First term District 5 Councilman Rick Callahan was seen as vulnerable and drew two opponents. Earlier this year he voted against equalizing pension benefits for gay and lesbian city retirees. Sherry Cordova received DGLA’s and Stonewall’s endorsements. In early voting, Callahan had more than 70 percent of the vote.

Districts 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 each had between five and eight candidates running and will be decided in runoffs between the top two candidates in each race. The runoff will be held on June 13.

Vying to replace the council’s voice of intolerance toward the LGBT community, Vonceil Jones Hill, will probably be  Stonewall’s pick Joe Tave and Casey Thomas II.

In early voting, Carol King Arnold had more than 48 percent of the vote in District 4 among eight candidates. If her lead increases, she’ll avoid a runoff. Arnold was endorsed by DGLA.

In District 7, Tiffinni Young received about 45 percent of the early vote. She was DGLA’s choice. She’ll be in a runoff but the other seven candidates received 14 percent of the early vote or less. Hasani Burton was Stonewall’s preference and he had about 10 percent of the early vote.

In District 8, it’s too early to tell which of the six candidates will be in a runoff but the leading three are Dianne Gibson, Erik Wilson and DGLA’s pick Gail Terrell.

Five candidates were vying for District 9. Mark Clayton has about 60 percent of the vote. Both Stonewall and DGLA endorsed him.

Paul Reyes and Adam McGough appear headed for a runoff in District 10. McGough was endorsed by DGLA. Stonewall endorsed James White, who’s in third.

Election turnout was estimated to be extremely low. Possibly half the usual number of voters that turn out for a city election voted.

—  David Taffet

Emails show Griggs found design flaws in Dream Team Trinity plan

Pending felony charges against Dallas Councilman Scott Griggs stem from allegations that he threatened a city employee over releasing emails concerning the proposed Trinity toll road project and timely posting of the city council agenda. Attorneys for Griggs said this weekend that the pending charges are politically motivated because of Griggs’ opposition to the toll road.

Dallas Assistant City Manager A.C. Gonzalez released this written statement concerning the situation:

“The Dallas Police Department has conducted an investigation into allegations that Dallas City Councilmember Scott Griggs improperly influenced or attempted to influence Assistant City Secretary Bilirae Johnson in the performance of her official duties.

“After concluding the investigation, Chief David Brown believes that the nature of these allegations warrants further action, and has referred all testimony and other evidence to a Dallas County Grand Jury.

“Any allegations of this nature are taken seriously at the city of Dallas, and I want all city employees to know that their safety and security is my highest priority. I have the utmost confidence in Chief Brown and the Dallas Police Department and the manner in which they have handled this investigation. Because the matter is now in the hands of the Grand Jury, it is inappropriate for me to comment any further at this time.”

Chief Brown released this statement: “Due to the serious nature of the allegation, the testimony provided, and the fact that the alleged victim and witnesses work for the Mayor and City Council, the investigation of Councilmember Scott Griggs was referred to the Dallas County Grand Jury to ensure an independent and impartial review.”

A statement from the police department noted that on Friday, May 1, “Dallas Police Department submitted a grand jury referral regarding the criminal offense of coercion of public servant, felony 3, identifying Councilmember Scott Griggs as the suspect. It is alleged that Councilmember Griggs influenced or attempted to influence Assistant City Secretary Bilirae Johnson in the performance of her official duties.”

Griggs’ attorney supplied Dallas Voice with copies of some of the emails eventually released to Griggs, which they say back up the councilman’s claim that design flaws make the so-called “Dream Team” proposal for the road dangerous.

Here’s one email released to Dallas Voice:

“The SARS team raised the concern of differential settlement in the main lanes of the parkway as a result of the current cross sections, see attached. The parkway geotechnical report specifically identified settlement as an issue for parkway construction. At the time of ultimate construction it is felt that if the Lake Project progresses with the current proposed cross sections, uneven settlement would most likely lead to undesirable longitudinal cracking in the area where the parkway main lanes are over new fill placed over and next to lake fill. NTTA’s consultant concurs with this assessment.”

More than 100 people attended an impromptu rally held to support Griggs on Saturday, May 2 at City Hall Plaza.

—  David Taffet

Dallasites in D.C. for marriage equality

Jesse and Adam

Former Dallasite Jesse Garcia, left, and Dallas City Councilman Adam Medrano were among those outside the U.S. Supreme Court Building today in Washington, D.C., rallying in support of marriage equality as the Court hears oral arguments in the landmark marriage equality case. We found this photo on Jesse’s Facebook page.

—  Tammye Nash

Adam Medrano judges Dallas Salsa Fest

SalsaLast night, I went to the Underpass Tavern in Deep Ellum to watch three folks — food journalist Teresa Gubbins, city councilmember Adam Medrano and occasional Voice contributor Jose Ralat — woof down 28 different salsas in categories from “mild” to “green” to “exotic” (bacon salsa!) to “hot.” I shadow-tasted, picking my own fave among the contenders. Which ones won? Well, you’ll have to go back on Saturday night from 7–10 p.m. to learn, but you can also enjoy the salsas on your own.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Kirven: Benny Longoria death certificate never signed

Benny Longoria

Benny Longoria

Dallas activist C.d. Kirven told Dallas Voice today, via email, that efforts to get Tulsa police to investigate the death of gay man Benny Longoria are moving forward.

A friend found Longoria, 40, dead in his apartment on June 20. But the man’s family said police did not contact them until a month later, that police had Longoria’s body cremated without notifying them and that police have refused to return his possessions, including his cell phone.

A representative of the company that manages the apartment complex where Longoria lived said that the apartment and most of his possessions were covered in blood when his naked body was found. Police have refused to investigate the case as a suspicious death.

Kirven learned of the situation earlier this week when Dallas City Councilman Adam Medrano contacted her and asked if she could help the Longorio family find answers.

Today, Kirven said the case is being investigated as possible HIV/AIDS-related discrimination, and that she has helped the Longoria family filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department alleging a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Kirven also said she is helping the family file a complaint with the Internal Affairs division of the Tulsa Police Department.

Tulsa Police Sgt. Dave Walker reportedly told the family that Benny Longoria’s doctor verified that he died of a combination of ethanol abuse and HIV/AIDS. But Kirven said that when she contacted the office of Longoria’s physician, Dr. Frances Haas, she was told that Dr. Haas had not confirmed any cause of death and had not signed a death certificate.

Kirvin said today that she has obtained a copy of Longoria’s death certificate, which has not been signed by any doctor. She said Dr. Haas is mailing Benny Longoria’s medical records to his family and “wants nothing to do with Benny’s death.”

She also said that Capt. Alexander has said that because the doctor has not signed the death certificate, by law Longoria’s death has to be investigated as a suspicious death.

A memorial in celebration of Benny Longoria will be held Saturday at 5 p.m. at Compadres Mexican Grill, 7104 S. Sheriden Rd., in Tulsa. For information contact C.d. Kirven at 972-533-1593.

Kirven said that several TV stations have said they will be covering the memorial service and vigil, and that she was faxing a copy of the death certificate to KRMG radio in Oklahoma City, which is planning coverage of the case. She has also talked to a reporter with Vice.com.

Tulsa-based reporter Richard Fricker called Dallas Voice today in an effort to contact Kirven, and said that he knows of similar cases that have happened in Tulsa.

Dallas Voice will, of course, continue to follow this story as it unfolds, and will have a representative at the memorial service in Tulsa on Saturday.

memorial-flyer-Benny_Longoria

—  Tammye Nash

Medrano hosting block party Saturday

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Councilman Adam Medrano

Dallas’s District 2 City Councilman Adam Medrano and the Love Field Neighborhood Assocation are hosting a Community Tour Block Party for area residents from 6-8 p.m. Saturday in the 2400 block of Sheridan Street.

There will be free drinks and hot dogs, and entertainment provided by the Northwest Police Station, plus an appearance by McGruff the Crime Dog.

For information call Medrano’s council assistant, Monica Huerta, at 214-670-4048.

—  Tammye Nash