City of Dallas posts info on filing complaints of anti-gay discrimination on main page of website

Above are screen grabs from the main page of the city of Dallas’ website. Earlier we mentioned that City Councilwoman Angela Hunt had directed city staff to post information about filing discrimination complaints prominently on the site. So we went over to take a look, and sure enough, there it is. Hunt said she thinks some people either aren’t aware of the ordinance or don’t know how to file a complaint.

—  John Wright

Angela Hunt reacts to Stonewall Democrats’ endorsement of gay challenger James Nowlin

Councilwoman Angela Hunt, above right, says former Mayor Tom Leppert, below left, has “no moral compass.” Hunt and Leppert are shown at gay Pride in 2009.

Dallas City Councilwoman Angela Hunt, one of the staunchest LGBT allies on the Dallas City Council, said this week she’s “disappointed” that Stonewall Democrats recently endorsed her challenger in the District 14 race.

However, Hunt vowed to continue advocating for the LGBT community — and to continue working with Stonewall Democrats.

Stonewall Democrats voted last week to endorse openly gay candidate James Nowlin, a member of the group’s board who’s running against Hunt.

“It was a fair process,” Hunt said Thursday of Stonewall’s endorsement screening last weekend. “I am disappointed. I’m very proud of my consistent 100 percent voting record on LGBT issues and I’m unwavering in that, and I’ll continue to fight and advocate on behalf of the LGBT community. … I’m proud to keep working with Stonewall Democrats on important citywide issues.”

When pressed about whether she feels betrayed or was hurt by the endorsement, Hunt said: “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, but look, I’ve had a positive, strong relationship with Stonewall Democrats, as well as the larger LGBT community, since I’ve been in office and since before I’ve been in office, and that won’t change. It hasn’t changed, and it won’t change.”

—  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

Hunt ends speculation over mayoral candidacy

Angela Hunt, left, and James Nowlin

District 14 councilwoman won’t for mayor, but gay candidate James Nowlin pledges to stay in race and challenge three-term incumbent

From Staff Reports
editor@dallasvoice.com

Dallas City Councilwoman Angela Hunt, a staunch LGBT ally who represents the heavily gay District 14, announced this week that she has decided not to run for Dallas mayor in the May municipal elections.

Hunt will, instead, run for re-election to her fourth term representing District 14. Mandated term limits mean that if she is re-elected, it will be her last two-year term on the council.

Although candidates cannot officially file to run in the elections until Monday, Feb. 14, four District 14 candidates have already filed paperwork with the city secretary designating campaign treasurers.

One of the four — Jim Rogers — told Dallas Voice last month that if Hunt decided to run for re-election to the council instead of for mayor, he would bow out of the race. But another, openly gay candidate James Nowlin, said this week he does not plan to withdraw.

The two other declared candidates for District 14 are Erin C. Lasseter and Vernon Franko.

“Angela made every indication that she was running for mayor, and our campaign team moved forward, and as we were moving forward we received tremendous support from voters across the district,” Nowlin said Wednesday. “Her waiting put the district and the potential candidates in a very awkward position. I’m in it to win it and I’m moving forward to the May 14 election.”

Nowlin told Dallas Voice last month he was confident that Hunt would run for mayor and that he had been discussing the possibility of running for the District 14 seat with her for more than a year.

“I’m not running against anybody,” Nowlin said. “I’m running for the district, and this is about putting the district first.”

Hunt said Wednesday that she had decided to not to run for mayor because she believes she can be more effective as a councilmember.

“For me, it’s never been about what office I hold. It’s about where I feel I can be the most effective and do the most good for my district and the city,” Hunt said. “And the issues I feel most strongly about are issues I can address most effectively as a councilmember instead of as mayor.”

Hunt said those issues are ones that focus “providing top quality basic city services” and projects that enhance the quality of life for the city’s residents, including efforts to “re-energize” the Trinity River Corridor Project and making sure the river levees are repaired and the proposed park built.

Hunt said she is also concerned with the issues of redistricting and the upcoming 2012 bond elections.

“With all due respect to the other [District 14] candidates — I know them, and they are all good people — these are issues that need someone with experience to deal with them,” Hunt said.

The three candidates that have so far declared themselves candidates for mayor are current District 12 Councilman Ron Natinsky, former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle and criminal defense lawyer Jim Moore.

Hunt said this week she has not decided who — if anyone — she would endorse for mayor. But she did say she believes the city needs someone not currently serving on the council as its next leader.

“I think it will take someone new, someone coming in from outside the current council but who also has experience as a leader” to be the best mayor for Dallas, Hunt said, adding that she is looking for a mayor who will “focus on the issues that are really important to our neighborhoods, instead of on high-dollar, high-profile projects” like the Convention Center hotel, the Trinity River toll road and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge — all projects that current Mayor Tom Leppert championed.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 11, 2011.

—  John Wright

Angela Hunt isn’t running for mayor, and James Nowlin isn’t dropping out of the District 14 race

James Nowlin

Dallas City Councilwoman Angela Hunt, a staunch LGBT ally who represents the heavily gay District 14, tells Unfair Park that she’s opted not to run for mayor in 2011, and will instead seek re-election to her council seat.

But James Nowlin, the openly gay candidate who announced plans to run for Hunt’s District 14 seat when it looked like she’d run for mayor, says he doesn’t plan to withdraw from the race and will challenge her in May.

“Angela made every indication that she was running for mayor, and our campaign team moved forward, and as we were moving forward we received tremendous support from voters across the district,” Nowlin said Wednesday. “Her waiting put the district and the potential candidates in a very awkward position. I’m in to to win it and I’m moving forward to the May 14 election.”

Another potential candidate in District 14, Jim Rogers, has said he won’t run if Hunt seeks re-election. But Nowlin, who was appointed to the Police Review Board by Hunt, said the seat belongs to the voters and he wants to give them a choice.

“I’m not running against anybody,” Nowlin said. “I’m running for the district, and this is about putting the district first.”

The filing period for Dallas city elections begins next week.

—  John Wright

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

Hunt considering run for mayor

Angela Hunt

LGBT political leaders praise her advocacy for the community, say they want to see who else enters race

RELATED STORY: Openly gay candidate considers run for Hunt’s District 14 seat

TAMMYE NASH  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

Dallas City Councilwoman Angela Hunt, who represents one of the gayest districts in the city, announced Wednesday, Jan. 12 that she is considering a run for mayor in municipal elections set for mid-May.

“It’s still something I am considering,” Hunt told Dallas Voice on Thursday. “I have been really honored that some folks I respect have encouraged me to consider running. So now I am talking with folks whose opinions I respect and value, discussing what I can bring to the table and how I might be able to lead our city into the future.”

Hunt said she will make her decision on whether to run for mayor based on where she believes she can do the most good for Dallas.

“To me, it’s not about my title, but about what I can accomplish,” she said. “If I can accomplish the most as a council member, then that’s terrific. But there are things I would like to see us do as a city, things the citizens are asking for, and if I can best accomplish those things as mayor, I will run.”

Hunt said she would like to see the city’s elected officials change their priorities, because she believes that is what the city’s residents want.

“When I talk with folks, they are frustrated with the idea that we are focusing on creating a city for tourists rather than residents,” she said.

She said that high-dollar projects like the Trinity River Park toll road, the new bridge over the Trinity River and the Convention Center hotel “take focus off the acute, more immediate needs of residents, while the residents want to see their parks taken care of and their streets taken care of and the city’s infrastructure taken care of.”

“The citizens want us to focus on making our city a great place to live rather than a great place to visit,” Hunt said.

Hunt added that she expects LGBT issues and HIV/AIDS issues to continue to come before the council from time to time, and that she will continue to be an advocate for the community when that happens.

“I think when we are looking at funding issues that may affect the LGBT community — things like funding for HIV/AIDS programs — that’s when having voices on the council that are strong advocates becomes absolutely critical,” she said. “I don’t think anyone on the council now is anti-LGBT. But there is a difference between folks who are not opposed to certain issues affecting the LGBT community, and those who are staunch advocates who will pick up on those issues and move forward with them.”

Hunt said she has appointed several openly LGBT people to city boards and commissions, and that she hopes “I have shown my door has always been open.” And she said she has many supporters in the LGBT community who have encouraged her to run for mayor.

“I have been very honored by the response I have received, very appreciative of that,” Hunt said.

LGBT political leaders praised Hunt’s advocacy for the community, but said there are still too many variables up in the air to start making endorsements yet.

“It’s not a surprise” that Hunt is considering running for mayor, said Erin Moore, former president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and current vice president of Texas Stonewall Democrats. “There have been rumors since the Pride parade [in September] that she was going to run.

“She has been fairly progressive on our [LGBT] issues anytime something has come up. There have been some mixed reviews on her; she has her supporters and her detractors in our community,” Moore said. “But I would say her heart is definitely in the right place, which is a good thing, for sure.”

Still, Moore added: “Right now we’re not sure who is actually running. It’s a very competitive game.”

Current Stonewall Democrats of Dallas President Omar Narvaez also praised Hunt’s record on LGBT issues.

“She has a pretty positive record, especially from two years ago when the council was deciding whether to cut the HIV/AIDS funding out of the city budget,” Narvaez said. “She stepped up and worked with us to try and keep that from happening, and when it became obvious the cuts would happen anyway, she worked with us to try and save as much of the funding as she could.”

Patti Fink, president of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance and Moore’s spouse, said she believes Hunt would be “a very viable candidate in a citywide race,” having raised her visibility with strong stances on high-profile issues, including plans to build a toll road through part of the Trinity River Park and building a city-owned hotel near the Convention Center downtown.

Hunt opposed both proposals, although both eventually passed.

“She has certainly been a strong advocate for our community in the time she has been on the council,” Fink continued. “There haven’t been that many LGBT issues that have hit the horseshoe since she was elected. She wasn’t there when the city passed the non-discrimination ordinance [protecting LGBTs]. But she has been a leader in stepping up on issues when we have asked her to.

“I think she is an advocate for the community, rather than just a supporter who follows others,” Fink said.

Both Fink and Narvaez stopped short of saying they would endorse Hunt for mayor, noting that their respective organizations would be screening candidates and making endorsements in municipal elections soon.

“We will be starting our PAC meetings in a week or two, then we will start sending out endorsement packets and setting up screenings with candidates,” Fink said. “We anticipate a wide range of candidates coming our way, asking for endorsements.”

Fink also noted that DGLA’s PAC has in the past endorsed a number of past and current City Council members that might run for mayor this year. That means the DGLA endorsement will not be automatic for any one candidate.

Narvaez said Stonewall Democrats will also be making endorsements in city elections this year for only the second time.

Originally, because Stonewall is a partisan organization that will endorse only Democrats and city races are non-partisan, the organization did not endorse city candidates.

Screenings for city candidates seeking Stonewall’s endorsement will be held March 19.

“I personally hope that she [Hunt] will decide to run and that she will ask for our endorsement,” Narvaez said. “We will have to wait and see what happens. Also, it will be interesting to see who might try to win her [District 14] seat if she runs for mayor. There very well might be some LGBT people running for that seat.”

Fink agreed. “I think we have some incredibly qualified people in our community, and I would love to see some of those people step up and run for that seat,” she said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 14, 2011.

—  John Wright

More than a month later, owner still seeking approval from city for new gay bar on Maple

Owner Keith Lackie stands inside Klub Wet in October holding a plaque he received to commemorate the bar’s opening — an opening that never happened.

Keith Lackie is frustrated and angry. Pretty soon, he says, he might also be bankrupt.

Lackie was set to open Klub Wet, a new gay bar on Maple Avenue, at the end of October. But then the city of Dallas refused to issue him a certificate of occupancy, saying he didn’t have sufficient parking. Lackie has two separate remote parking agreements for property across the street owned by Crow Holdings. But he says Crow Holdings is attempting to get out of the agreements because they want to use the property for their own redevelopment.

Lackie says he’s invested $150,000 to remodel the building that once housed Illusions, at 4100 Maple Ave. Klub Wet would fulfill a dream that Lackie had with his partner, Andy Primm, who died last year. Much of the money for the bar came from his partner’s life insurance policy.

For the last five weeks, Lackie and city building officials have gone round and round over the parking situation. Finally, last week, Lackie claims they agreed to a resolution whereby Lackie would wall off a section of the club to reduce the square-footage so he doesn’t need as much parking. But now he says the city is refusing to give him a final OK, and he’s convinced it’s due to opposition from Crow Holdings.

“We came up with a resolution and they’re still sitting on it,” Lackie told Instant Tea on Thursday. “It’s ridiculous, and in the meantime I’m on the brink of bankruptcy. I think the reason they’re putting it off is they’re waiting for Trammel Crow to come back with a different plan. They’re waiting for Trammell Crow [Crow Holdings] to tell them what to do next to prevent me from opening.”

Representatives from Crow Holdings failed to returned numerous phone calls from Instant Tea seeking comment about the matter over the last month. City Councilwoman Pauline Medrano, who represents the area, also hasn’t returned our phone calls. Medrano’s assistant referred questions to city building officials.

Phil Sikes, an assistant building official for the city, said Thursday that his department is still researching the history of the Klub Wet property and the parking agreements. Sikes said he hopes to have an answer on Lackie’s latest proposal by next week.

Sikes said it appears as though one of the two parking agreements with Crow Holdings is valid, while the other is not. The city is now trying to determine how many “delta credits” — grandfathered parking from before the city required it — Klub Wet should receive.

The investigation, Sikes said, is complicated by changing uses of the building over the years, an illegal expansion in the 1990s and other factors.

“It really is just a mess,” Sikes said. “We understand his situation is that he’s ready to open his business. He’s sank a tremendous amount of money into it, and every day he’s not open, he’s losing money. We get that.”

But Sikes denied that opposition from Crow Holdings has anything to do with the delay.

“They don’t talk to us about this stuff,” Sikes said. “We don’t go talk to them. Whoever the neighbor is doesn’t matter to us. We’re trying to make a determination based off the records.”

Lackie says if he doesn’t hear something soon he plans to take his story to the mainstream media and demand an investigation.

“I can tell you from the conversations that I’ve had with people at different events and the clubs around town, everybody thinks the city and Trammell Crow are colluding, and probably that the city has their hands in Trammell Crow’s pockets,” Lackie said. “Trammell Crow doesn’t want a gay bar in their front yard. The city is grasping at straws, at any little thing they can come up with to keep me from opening, so that Trammell Crow gets what they want. I guarantee it.”

—  John Wright

Local briefs • 12.03.10

National Stonewall leader to attend Dallas group’s holiday party

Michael Mitchell, the new executive director of National Stonewall Democrats, will be the special guest at the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas’ annual holiday party Monday, Dec. 6, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at The Round-Up Saloon, 3912 Cedar Springs Road. The program begins at 7 p.m., and the event is free and open to everyone.

The event will include a holiday basket auction, and proceeds will be divided between Stonewall Democrats and Youth First Texas’ anti-bullying and suicide prevention efforts.

There will also be an auction where participants can bid on a lunch with their favorite elected official from among the list of elected officials who have signed up to participate. And Stonewall Democrats will be collecting donations of toiletry items for clients at Legacy Founders Cottage, a hospice for people with HIV/AIDS. Legacy clients need paper towels, laundry detergent, latex and nitrile gloves, men’s socks, new men’s underwear, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, disposable razors and shaving cream, tissues, body lotion and baby powder.

Stonewall Democrats will also present its annual awards to members, allies and elected officials. Nominees for the “Distinguished Democrat” award are Judge-Elect Tonya Parker, Dallas County District Attorney Gary Fitzsimmons, Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia and Judge Carl Ginsberg.

Nominees for the Buck Massey Member of the Year Award are Pamela Curry, Michael Wetter, Laurie McClurg and Tony McMullen. Nominees for Ally Organization of the Year are the Dallas County Democratic Party, Equality Texas, Preston Hollow Democrats and the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance. And nominees for the Pink Pump Award are Dallas City Councilwoman Delia Jassa, Judge Elizabeth Crowder, Judge-elect Tina Yoo and George Freeman.

Bill Fry and Darryl Sanchez will be presented with the P.L. Moore Philanthropist Award, and Stonewall Democrats President Erin Moore will present the Board Member of the Year Award.

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas elected new officers at the organization’s Nov. 16 meeting. They are Omar Narvaez, president; Michael Wetter, vice president; Phyllis Guest, secretary and Mike McCue, treasurer. Outgoing officers are President Erin Moore, Vice President Jay Narey and Secretary Kenneth Denson.
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Round-Up holding benefit for Resource Center food pantry

Demand is up and donations are down at Resource Center Dallas’ food pantry for people with HIV/AIDS. So to help bring donations up to the level of demand, the Round-Up Saloon will host a raffle during Retro Sunday, beginning at 7 p.m. Anyone who brings at least three non-perishable food items to donate to the pantry will get a free raffle ticket for a drawing for a new DVD player. Movie tickets and other prizes will also be raffled off during the evening.
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Tarrant Area Food Bank offers to send holiday cards for donors

Sending holiday greeting cards can be such a chore. But now there’s a way to let somebody else do the tedious part, while at the same time donating to a worthy cause.

Just send a donation and a list of up to 20 recipients to the Tarrant Area Food Bank, and the food bank will mail out special cards — hand-addressed and stamped — to those on the list.

The 5-inch-by-7-inch cards say “Season’s Greetings” on the front and have a special holiday recipe from Chef Blaine Staniford with Grace Restaurant in Fort Worth inside the front cover. The message inside reads: “Thanks for making eating a part of everyone’s holiday season. A gift has been made in your honor to Tarrant Area Food Bank by ___________.”

Deadline to participate is Friday, Dec. 10. There is no minimum donation required.

TAFB officials said all information and mailing lists remain strictly confidential. Capital One has helped underwrite the cost of the project so that all donations go directly to helping feed North Texans in need.

Tarrant Area Food Bank has 300 partner agencies, including the food pantry at AIDS Outreach Center of Tarrant County, which provides food for people with HIV/AIDS.

TAFB officials said those agencies have seen the need for food assistance grow by 40 percent over the previous two years.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 3, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Sen. Wendy Davis, who brought us Joel Burns, now brings us a fully inclusive anti-bullying bill

State Sen. Wendy Davis

Sounds like State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, has introduced a fully inclusive anti-bullying bill. If you’ll recall, State Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin, filed an anti-bullying bill in the House that includes sexual orientation but NOT gender identity/expression. In response to Strama’s as-yet-still-unexplained omission, Equality Texas told us they were working to get a fully inclusive anti-bullying bill introduced on the Senate side. The text of Davis’ SB 245, filed earlier today, wasn’t immediately available on the Legislature’s website, but here’s what Equality Texas said on Twitter just now:

“SB245 filed today by Sen.Wendy Davis relating to bullying & cyberbullying is the #1 priority in @EqualityTexas 2011 Legislative Agenda.”

It’s safe to say that if Equality Texas is calling the bill its No. 1 priority, it includes both sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

Davis, of course, is a former Fort Worth city councilwoman who handpicked the openly gay Joel Burns as her successor when she stepped down to run for Senate. Yes, that’s Joel Burns of “It Gets Better” fame.

More to come.

—  John Wright