Annise Parker now co-chair of “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry,” Austin’s Leffingwell joins

Lee Leffingwell

Austin's Mayor Lee Leffingwell

Houstini reported yesterday that Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker was scheduled to appear at the “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry” press conference in Washington D.C., and that she was the only Texas mayor to participate. This morning we found out that Parker, along with New York’s Michael Bloomberg and L.A.’s Antonio Villaraigosa, is serving as co-chair for the effort. Additionally Austin’s Mayor Lee Leffingwell has joined the effort.

So that makes 2 of Texas’ 1,215 mayors with the bravery to stand up for what’s right, leaving the citizens of 1,213 citizens with the task of persuading their mayors. In Dallas Daniel Cates of GetEqual has started an online petition encouraging Mayor Mike Rawlings to sign on which currently has 216 signatories. The Dallas Voice reports that Rawlings claims to personally support marriage equality, despite his unwillingness to join “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry:”

“This one obviously was very difficult for me, because I personally believe in the rights of the gay community to marry,” Rawlings said Thursday… “I think this [same-sex marriage] is way overdue and we need to get on with it, but that’s my personal belief, and when I start to speak on behalf of the city of Dallas … I’ve got to be thoughtful about how I use that office and what I want to impact, and that’s why I decided to stay away from endorsing and signing letters like that.”

Rawlings’ chief of staff, Paula Blackmon, told the Voice “the mayor does not plan to publicly support any social issues but would rather focus on the policy issues that impact Dallas,” adding “we have not signed onto other similar requests.”

—  admin

Banks Appointed to Citizen Police Oversight Board

Kris Banks

Kris Banks

On Wednesday the Houston City Council confirmed Mayor Annise Parker’s appointment of Former Houston GLBT Political Caucus President Kris Banks to the Independent Police Oversight Board.  The Oversight Board provides a way for Houstonians to have input into allegations against police officers involving use of excessive force, discharge of firearms, serious bodily injury or death or mistreatment of citizens.  The Board also makes recommendations on recruitment, training and evaluation of police officers; and considers community concerns regarding the Department.  Houstini talked with Banks about his new role:

[Houstini] Why have you agreed to serve on the Oversight Board?

[Banks] I believe the Oversight Board performs an important and vital function that benefits all involved. Police officers are granted extraordinary powers over their fellow Houstonians. They can, under legally sufficient circumstances, detain people against their will, walk into other people’s homes without their permission, and even use physical force to make people comply. We grant police officers these powers because they are necessary for the officers to do their jobs. However, with these great powers come great responsibility, and the Oversight Board exists as a check on those powers, thereby protecting the public against the very rare officer who uses her or his powers irresponsibility or excessively. It also benefits the police department. With the assurance that the Board is providing oversight, members of the public can be more confident of the police department, and form a better working relationship with officers.

[Houstini] What do LGBT Houstonians who have concerns about police behavior need to know about the mission of the Oversight Board?

[Banks] Historically, the LGBT community has had concerns about very broad and obvious police harassment, like bar raids. Incidents like these still occur (see Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth), but they tend to not be the focus of issues that exists between the LGBT community and the police department. Concerns between the community and the police department now tend to be over specific incidents that sometimes come to light and sometimes do not. That being said, the IPOB will review internal police investigations for complaints of excessive force, any discharge of a firearm, any time there is a death or serious injury, or any matter the police chief refers to us. We make recommendations, and the chief has ultimate discretion. What I want to highlight here is that a complaint has to be made for the IPOB to have any role. Complaints have to be sworn, either by the complainant, or, if the complaint is anonymous, by the person taking the complaint.

LGBT Houstonians should also know that I take my role as a community representative very seriously. I will not only take my perspective as an LGBT Houstonian to the police department, I will also take the knowledge I gain back of police procedure back to the community. For instance, I mentioned anonymous complaints above. In the training I have received so far, I learned that organizations can be deputized to take anonymous complaints (LULAC and the NAACP are both deputized). Anonymous complaints are, unfortunately, a big concern for our community. Whether because our congress has failed to pass job protections, family concerns, or any other personal reason, there are still many, many people in the closet. But being in the closet does not mean that a person is not protected. I will learn more about the deputizing community groups and take that back to organizations in our community like the Caucus, Community Center and Transgender Foundation so they can begin that process (as a caveat, I do not have a full list of deputized organizations and any of these organizations may already be deputized).

—  admin

UPDATE: Mike Rawlings and David Kunkle appear headed to runoff for Dallas mayor

With 426 of 555 precincts reporting at 9:25 p.m., it sure looks like former Pizza Hut CEO Mike Rawlings and former Police Chief David Kunkle are headed to a June runoff.

Rawlings leads with 42 percent of the vote, and Kunkle is second with 32 percent. City Councilman Ron Natinsky is third with 24 percent, and he now trails Kunkle by more than 4,000 votes.

Rawlings has 25,245 votes to Kunkle’s 19,023 and Natinsky’s 14,683. Edward Okpa has 1,321 votes, or 2 percent.

 

—  John Wright

UPDATE: Rawlings continues to lead Dallas mayor’s race; Kunkle pulling away from Natinsky

With 202 of 555 precincts reporting, former Pizza Hut CEO Mike Rawlings continues to lead in the race for Dallas mayor. And it’s looking more and more like Rawlings will face former Police Chief David Kunkle in a runoff.

Rawlings has 43 percent of the vote, Kunkle has 30 percent, and City Councilman Ron Natinsky has 25 percent. Edward Okpa has 2 percent. Kunkle now leads Natinsky for second place by almost 2,000 votes, but there’s still a ways to go. Remember, the top two vote-getters will advance to a June runoff assuming Rawlings doesn’t eclipse 50 percent.

In other Dallas races, with 20 of 56 precincts reporting, challenger Scott Griggs has expanded his lead over incumbent Dave Neumann in District 3. Griggs now has 59 percent to Neumann’s 41 percent, and appears well on his way to a rare upset of an incumbent. Griggs is endorsed by both Stonewall Democrats and the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance.

In District 14, with 11 of 59 precincts reporting, incumbent Angela Hunt maintains a hefty lead over gay candidate James Nowlin. Hunt has 63 percent to Nowlin’s 20 percent.

—  John Wright

Local Briefs

CCGLA surveys candidates, sets meet-and-greet events

As municipal elections approach, the Collin County Gay & Lesbian Alliance has sent an online survey to city council, school board and mayoral candidates in Allen, Frisco, Plano and McKinney, and “meet-and-greet” sessions for candidates are planned in Frisco, Plano and McKinney in April.

The organization will also create and distribute a voters’ guide.

The Plano “meet-and-greet” will be held on Friday, April 8, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at a private residence. For more information, go online to CCGLA.org.

Results of CCGLA’s candidate surveys will be posted on the CCGLA website prior to each event. The events are informal, non-partisan, and all candidates are invited.

Oak Cliff Earth Day to feature vendors, info booths and more

Oak Cliff Earth Day, which has become the largest all-volunteer-run Earth Day since it started five years ago, will be held on Sunday, April 17, from noon to 5 p.m. at Lake Cliff Park, located at the intersection of Colorado Street and Zang Boulevard in Oak Cliff.

There is no charge to attend the event, which will include art, food, plants and other environmentally-friendly products available for purchase.

There will also be educational booths on topics such as how to save energy and clean up the environment, along with locally-grown honey, animals to adopt and native plants for gardens.

Parking at the park is limited, however, free parking is available at Methodist Hospital, in Lot 10 only, located at 1400 S. Beckley Ave. across from the hospital entrance on Beckley Ave. Methodist Hospital is providing a shuttle bus from the parking lot to the event.

Participants are also encouraged to take DART to the event or walk or ride a bicycle. There are a number of bike racks, funded by Oak Cliff Earth Day, at the park.

Mayoral candidates to speak Sunday on animal issues in Dallas

Dallas’ mayoral candidates will participate in a forum on animal issues in the city of Dallas on Sunday, April 10, at 2 p.m. at the Central Dallas Library, 1515 Young St., in downtown Dallas. The Metroplex Animal Coalition is sponsoring the forum, with is free and open to the public. Journalist Larry Powell with Urban Animal magazine will moderate.

The mayoral candidates are former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle, Councilman Ron Natinsky, real estate consultant Edward Okpa and Mike Rawlings, former Pizza Hut CEO and Dallas homeless czar.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2011.

—  John Wright

Palm Springs Police Chief Resigns Over Remarks Made During Sting Targeting Gay Men

Palm Springs Police Chief David Dominguez resigned today over remarks he made during a sting operation targeting gay men in the city's Warm Sands neighborhood in 2009, the Southwest Riverside News Network reports

Dominguez Dominguez came under fire after a June 2009 operation in the Warm Sands neighborhood. The sting, which netted 19 arrests, was done in response to what police said were complaints about drug use, public sex and prostitution in Warm Sands. However, it drew complaints that police were targeting gay men unfairly.

During a pretrial hearing, one defendant said a police officer could be heard using a gay slur on a video recording in an undercover vehicle. An attorney for some of those arrested said Dominguez was in that particular car.

The lawyer lodged a complaint, alleging Dominguez disparaged the arrestees to his officers.

“What a bunch of filthy mother (expletive),” Dominguez allegedly said. “You guys should get paid extra for this.”

As Steve reported last week, "According to court documents, Dominguez used the phrase 'filthy motherf**kers' while another officer involved in the sting was overheard using the slur 'c**ksuckers.'"

Dominguez also apologized last week, but issued this statement today: "“After careful consideration of the events surrounding the Warm Sands undercover operation, I believe this decision is in the best interest of my family, the city and the Police Department."


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Palm Springs Police Chief: I’m Sorry I Called Gay Men “Filthy Motherfuckers”

Palm Springs Police Chief David Dominquez has apologized for an anti-gay slur made during a sting in which gay men were arrested for public sex. Dominquez reportedly told cops on the scene: “What a bunch of filthy motherfuckers. You guys should get paid extra for this.”

The comment “did not display the utmost professional conduct expected from the Chief of Police and I sincerely apologize to the community at large,” Dominguez said in a statement. It’s the first time Dominguez has admitted to making expletives during the lewd-conduct sting, which has sparked controversy across the valley over how it was carried out, the severe charges those arrested face, and the gay slurs police made during surveillance. The comment “did not display the utmost professional conduct expected from the Chief of Police and I sincerely apologize to the community at large,” Dominguez said in a statement.

It’s the first time Dominguez has admitted to making expletives during the lewd-conduct sting, which has sparked controversy across the valley over how it was carried out, the severe charges those arrested face, and the gay slurs police made during surveillance. Dominguez previously declined to comment on the complaint. His apology came about an hour after City Manager David Ready released a memo to the Palm Springs City Council, outlining Ready’s conclusions – and regrets – about how the controversial sting to curb public gay sex in the area played out. “Portions of the operation were not conducted according to the professional standards that are expected of our Police Department,” Ready stated. “As a result, appropriate disciplinary and correction action has already been taken.”

The 19 men arrested face charges that may require them to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Palm Springs Police Chief Apologizes For Homophobic Remarks

Yesterday, Palm Springs Police Chief David Dominguez publicly apologized for homophobic remarks he made during a sex sting operation that targeted gay men in that city.

David_dominguez Valley News reports on exactly what Dominguez was caught saying: "What a bunch of filthy mother (expletive). You guys should get paid extra for this."

According to court documents, Dominguez used the phrase "filthy motherfuckers” while another officer involved in the sting was overheard using the slur "cocksuckers."

It took Dominguez a few months (and a couple of denials) but he has now apologized: "An inappropriate comment made by me did not display the utmost professional conduct expected from the chief of police and I sincerely apologize to the community at large."

The apology came only after City Manager David Ready released a memo to the Palm Springs City Council that criticizes the way in which the stings were conducted: “Portions of the operation were not conducted according to the professional standards that are expected of our Police Department. As a result, appropriate disciplinary and correction action has already been taken.”

Valley News provides more information about the findings: "In the city's report, Ready said police should have reached out to hoteliers, businesses and residents to warn them about the sting operation. He suggested the sting could have been done with surveillance instead of undercover decoys."

You may recall that the sting operation caused quite an stir among the city's gay community over the summer. The undercover operation targeted gay men involved in public sex and were charged under a harsh and unusual section of the Penal Code that would require them to register as sex offenders for life.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

FIFA Chief Sepp Blatter: If Gays Fear Qatar’s Homophobic Laws, They Should Abstain During World Cup

With Qatar being awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup, there's warranted furor over the Arab nation's on-going criminalization of homosexuality, where same-sex relations can land you in jail for five years. So what does FIFA President Sepp Blatter suggest gay athletes and fans should do during the tournament? Abstain.

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

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Stop the National Organization for Marriage from assaulting our courts – sign our letter to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts

Cross-posted from NOMExposed.org

Today NOMExposed is launching an effort to fight back against what the National Organization for Marriage did in Iowa.

NOM set its political bulls-eye on ousting three of Iowa’s Supreme Court justices who agreed that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. On Election Day, all three lost.

This was not about Iowa. (Marriage equality remains law in the state.) It was about scaring other judges across the country, including U.S. Supreme Court justices. NOM’s message:  either rule they way we want you to, or we’ll come after you.

NOM’s actions were a heavy-handed assault on our nation’s courts.

Sign our letter to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts asking him to condemn NOM and to speak out for an independent judiciary free from bitter partisan political campaigns like the one waged in Iowa.

Being virulently anti-LGBT is one thing. Tearing down our justice system is quite another.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin