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

Meet David Kunkle at Stonewall Young Democrats — and enjoy 2 free UV Vodka cocktails!!!

David Kunkle

Fresh off his endorsement for mayor from Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, former Police Chief David Kunkle is scheduled to appear tonight at the regular meeting of Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats. The Stonewall Democrats endorsement, of course, applies to the Stonewall Young Democrats, who will also hold their 2011 officer elections tonight.

The DSYD folks got on Instant Tea a while back for highlighting their use of free adult beverages to promote their meetings, and this time we received a very official press release about the event with absolutely no mention of alcohol whatsoever. However, over on the Facebook page we found this: “Attendees can enjoy complimentary UV Vodka cocktails (limit two) during the meeting.”

Also attending the meeting, according to the Facebook page, will be U.S. Senate candidate Sean Hubbard and James Nowlin, the openly gay challenger who was endorsed by Stonewall Democrats in his race against incumbent City Councilwoman Angela Hunt in District 14. Members of Stonewall Young Democrats reportedly played a pivotal role in swinging the endorsement to Nowlin.

The meeting is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at DISH Restaurant and Lounge in ilume, 4123 Cedar Springs Rd, Suite 110. For more info, go here.

—  John Wright

More on Ron Natinsky and Stonewall Democrats

Ron Natinsky

Mayoral candidate Ron Natinsky may have been eligible after all for an endorsement from Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, according to the group’s president.

As we reported over the weekend, Natinsky abruptly pulled out of Stonewall’s candidate screening on Saturday over questions about whether he was eligible for the group’s endorsement since he’s a Republican.

According to Stonewall’s bylaws, “Endorsements may be made in Dallas County non-partisan elections if the candidate has a Democratic Party primary election voting history and/or affirms allegiance to the Dallas Democratic Party.”

Stonewall President Omar Narvaez said Monday that it’s possible Natinsky would have been eligible for the endorsement despite the candidate’s Republican primary voting record. The group instead endorsed former police chief David Kunkle.

“Bylaws cannot be waived, but there’s a lot of gray in that bylaw, just depending on how it’s interpreted and how it’s read,” Narvaez said. “I can’t tell you how it would have gone had he [Natinsky] been there. All I can say is that Kunkle had a lot of supporters in the room already.

“It was sad that he [Natinsky] ended up dropping out at the last minute, because it was another opportunity to actually speak to us,” Narvaez added. “When a candidate’s there it really means a lot more to the members. When somebody just decides that they’re not going to come speak at all, it makes the membership feel almost slighted — ‘why wouldn’t you show up?’”

—  John Wright

Dallas mayoral candidate drops out of race

Jim Moore

Jim Moore, an attorney with an Oak Lawn-based practice, announced Monday that he is dropping out of the race to replace Tom Leppert as mayor of Dallas. Moore said the decision was based purely on finances; he said he doesn’t have the money to mount a successful campaign and is “not likely to raise the funds needed within the next 90 days.”

Moore also said he is endorsing former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle for mayor.

Here is the full text of his announcement:

“At this time, I am withdrawing as a candidate for Dallas Mayor. This has been a very difficult decision for me and my campaign team, particularly in light of the support I have received from so many. This was a business decision based on finances — we simply don’t have the money it will take to win this election, and are not likely to raise the funds needed within the next 90 days.

“I thank my friends & supporters, trusted advisors, and my campaign team. I have truly enjoyed meeting Dallasites from all parts of our great city during the past 7 months campaigning. I am deeply grateful and humbled by the support I have received from citizens all across Dallas.

“My utmost hope is that the voters will challenge our City Council and the next mayor to work for the betterment of Dallas and to do right by the citizens. We need to hold our civic leaders accountable for economic development, completion of the Inland Port project, the Trinity River corridor project, improved services, and increased support for Dallas schools. Let us work on existing issues facing us now before we build new hotels at taxpayer expense or toll roads that our levees won’t support.

“At this time, I am announcing my support of former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle in his bid for Dallas Mayor, and am asking my friends to support him as well.

“My passion for the City of Dallas is greater than ever, and I am committed to staying active in civic affairs.  Because Dallas deserves Moore! “

The only candidate to file in the mayoral race since the filing period began Monday, Feb. 14, is current District 12 Councilman Ron Natinsky. However, Kunkle, Dallas Parks Board President Mike Rawlings and E. Edward Okpa, owner of the commercial real estate consulting firm Integrated Valuation, have all said they plan to run.

The deadline to file is March 14.

—  admin

Hunt, Kunkle to visit LGBT groups next week

Former DPD Chief David Kunkle

The Dallas LGBT community will have a chance to get up close and personal with one announced candidate for mayor — and another possible candidate for mayor — next week.

Local activist Jesse Garcia sends along word that former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle, who says he’s running, will visit Stonewall Democrats of Dallas on Tuesday — a day after filing begins for city elections.

And City Councilwoman Angela Hunt, who’s considering a run for mayor but hasn’t announced a decision, will visit LULAC #4871-The Dallas Rainbow Council on Thursday.

Here’s Garcia’s note:

The Stonewall Democrats of Dallas meets Tuesday, Feb. 15, 6:30 p.m., at Ojeda’s Restaurant, 4617 Maple Ave. Dallas, TX 75219. Guest speaker is Dallas Mayoral Candidate David Kunkle, former Dallas Police Chief. For more information, visit www.stonewalldemocratsofdallas.org. Meeting is open to the public. Voter registration will be available at the meeting.

LULAC 4871 Dallas Rainbow Council meets Thursday, Feb. 17, 6:30 p.m., at Havana’s, 4006 Cedar Springs Rd., Dallas, TX 75219. Guest speaker is Dallas City Councilwoman Angela Hunt. For more information, visit www.lulac4871.org. Meeting is open to the public. Voter registration will be available at the meeting.

—  John Wright

DPD says it has not yet made a determination about future enforcement at The Club Dallas

DPD LGBT Liaison Officer Laura Martin

Last week we reported that neither Chief David Brown nor LGBT liaison officer Laura Martin had returned our phone calls seeking comment about the dismissal of charges against several men arrested in DPD’s October raid of The Club Dallas. Over the weekend, Martin did post a comment on our article itself, which we thought we’d pass along for those who haven’t been monitoring the thread:

“We are in the process of gathering accurate information regarding the facts of the dismissal of the charges against some of the men arrested. We are being asked to make a comment regarding future enforcement at Club Dallas. Due to the large number of arrests, and the fact that several cases are still pending prosecution, we are not able to make that determination at this time. I will continue to update the community when we are able to add to this story.”

UPDATE: Martin provided this official statement from DPD on Monday afternoon:

“The Dallas Police Department recently learned that many of the charges involving activities at The Club Dallas in October 2010 were dismissed. The department plans to meet with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office as soon as possible regarding these cases. The purpose of the meeting is to determine the cause of the dismissals, and to determine what, if any, procedural changes may be needed. An update will be provided following the meeting.

—  John Wright

More on Club Dallas

We’re still trying to get in touch with someone at the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office to explain why prosecutors have chosen to dismiss charges against several of the men who were arrested in the Dallas Police Department’s raid of a gay bathhouse in October. However, it appears we are running into the same roadblock as the Dallas Morning News. The DMN reports that District Attorney Craig Watkins has designated one person to handle all media inquiries, and prosecutors in the DA’s office have been instructed not to talk to the media at all, and some fear getting fired if they do.

Anyhow, we’ve requested an interview with Watkins himself about the decision to dismiss the charges. The DA’s office’s media representative informs us that she’s passing along our request. It seems as though when the Dallas Police Department goes out of its way to raid a gay bathhouse and arrest 11 people — then the DA’s office declines to prosecute — there ought to be some sort of public explanation. The raid was hugely controversial in the gay community and made national news. We could speculate, as others have, that the DA’s Office believes these cases would be difficult to prove and doesn’t view them as a priority. Again, though, that’s speculation and hearsay — something prosecutors don’t typically like.

We also haven’t received any response from DPD as to what the department thinks about this decision by the DA’s office. We’ve spoken with both LGBT liaison officer Laura Martin and Chief David Brown himself, and both have promised to get back to us. Specifically, we’d like to know whether DPD plans to continue conducting these types of raids in the future knowing that the DA’s office isn’t going to prosecute those arrested. Imagine all the resources it took to plan and conduct the raid, then complete all the paperwork and book the 11 men into jail. And all for nothing, apparently. In extremely tight budget times, that shouldn’t sit well with anyone.

—  John Wright