Vote for competence and integrity, not just party

Natinsky, Hawk, Lee, DeWitt deserve your vote.

 

Rob SchleinFor too many elections, Dallas Voice readers voted based on the question “Are they ‘with me’ or ‘against me’ as it pertains to gay rights. The main criteria have always been the questions of same-sex marriage and non-discrimination in employment. And therefore, readers aligned with the Democrat Party.

Now that the courts are nearly unanimous in deciding the marriage question, and since major cities and corporations have addressed non-discrimination policies protecting gay people, perhaps it is time to move beyond this traditional paradigm.

I believe it’s time to ask: “How qualified, competent and honest is the candidate?”

The answer to this question does not fall neatly within political party lines.

There are a number of candidates on the Republican side that clearly excel, and I will ask you to avoid your tendency to pull the “D” lever at the polls and to vote for them.

They are Ron Natinsky for Dallas County judge, Susan Hawk for Dallas County district attorney, Mike Lee for judge and Lisa DeWitt for judge.

Ron Natinsky won the endorsement of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance when he ran for mayor, and he has a proven record of public and private accomplishments.

I have had far too many Democrats contact me to ask about Ron because they are unimpressed with Clay Jenkins’ Ebola preparedness, the quality of his communication skills during broadcast interviews and his desire to bring thousands of illegal immigrant children to Dallas.

But aside from Ebola, Clay just isn’t working well for Dallas County. The New Parkland Hospital is already a budget mess, and the hiring of a $1 million-a-year salaried director is questionable. If you are concerned with income inequality, that should “rankle your feathers.”

More importantly, Dallas area growth hasn’t come to Dallas County because Clay Jenkins doesn’t know how to attract businesses to our county, and how to avoid the northern county migration.

Susan Hawk has an impeccable reputation and the experience of a prosecuting attorney.  She can restore morale and proficiency in the office of the district attorney.

Craig Watkins, on the other hand, has lost all integrity. Are you really okay with the idea that he uses forfeiture funds for personal purposes?

Forget whether he is “pro-gay” or not,, he has a reputation for being a bully. He fired one well-regarded attorney in his office just for attending a GOP political function. This is the kind of bullying gays should abhor.

Mike Lee is running against Sally Montgomery. It’s one thing to have different views on politics. But it’s quite another to make rulings from the bench that have no basis in law.

The Dallas Observer rated Sally “The Worst Judge in Texas,” and wrote that the 5th Court of Appeals is very busy undoing her decisions. The Dallas Morning News editorial board, once referred to her as “arrogant and capricious.”

And, let’s not forget Lisa DeWitt, who is on the leadership team of the local Log Cabin Republicans chapter.

Are there Democrats worthy of Republican consideration?

Yes. I’m likely voting Democrat in these races:

• Mike Collier for comptroller. As a former employee of a Big 8 accounting firm from my early professional years, I appreciate the competence of a CPA in that position. The Republican candidate has no such background. It takes more skills than espousing one’s religious faith to run a comptroller’s office effectively.

• Leticia Van de Putte for lieutenant governor. I’m not convinced that Republican Dan Patrick is a good choice for lieutenant governor. GOP friends in the Senate have had less than kind words for him during his primary campaign. Dan is not well liked or trusted among his Austin peers, and I worry that he would become the Republican Harry Reid of our state Senate, creating the gridlock most of us hate in Washington.

• Sam Houston for attorney general. Republican Ken Paxton has some legal troubles ahead as was pointed out by his GOP Primary opponent, Dan Branch, that are very serious. Enough said.

So, I ask all the readers this election season: Don’t just vote for a Party. Vote for competence. Vote for integrity. I am,

Rob Schlein is president of Metroplex Republicans, an LGBT Republican organization.

—  Tammye Nash

Election 2014: Lt. Gov. debate tonight

Patrick_LVdP_copy_jpg_800x1000_q100Tonight Texans will have their one and only chance tonight to watch lieutenant governor candidates Leticia Van de Putte and Dan Patrick debate. Sponsored by Austin’s KLRU-TV and the Texas Tribune, the televised duel begins at 7 p.m. and will last one hour.

The Dallas County Democrats are hosting a phone bank and watch party at their headquarters, 4209 Parry Avenue, from 6-8 p.m. More information can be found here. Check out the Van de Putte campaign website for additional information.

The Dan Patrick campaign is hosting a phone bank and watch party at the Dallas County Republican Party Victory Center, 9669 N. Central Expressway Ste. 100. Also check out the Patrick campaign website for additional information.

The debate will also be livestreamed. You may watch it here.

—  James Russell

QueerBomb holding ‘Dirty Shame Pride Promenade,’ encouraging Pride parade boycott

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Activists with QueerBomb Dallas are organizing a last-minute alternative Pride celebration on Sunday in Dallas in response to reports that Barry Andrews, the founder and CEO of Andrews Distributing Co., the largest corporate sponsor of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, is holding a fundraisers for Dan Patrick the anti-gay Republican candidate for Texas lieutenant governor.

QueerBomb activists have also called parade organizers to task for the event’s lack of diversity in terms of racial and economic minorities and transgender people. They are calling on people to boycott the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, the Festival in Lee Park and all Dallas Tavern Guild bars. (DTG puts on the parade each year, organizing the event and getting sponsors, including Andrews Distributing, to cover most of the costs.) QueerBomb is also asking people to sign this online petition calling on the parade organizers to “drop human rights abusers and anti-queer businesses” as sponsors of and participants in the parade.

Among the parade participants QueerBomb wants organizers to drop are groups from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, companies that “create weapons that kill thousands of innocent civilians every year;” JPMorgan Chase, whose “unethical financial practices caused the 2008 U.S. financial collapse;” and Heineken, which “excludes transgender people from its employment protections.”

“Dallas Pride’s organizers refuse to drop sponsorships from anti-queer and human rights abusing companies. Plus the parade itself has continually excluded racial and economic minorities from its ranks,” noted the press release announcing the “Dirty Shame” event, “an alternative pride promenade” set for 5 p.m. Sunday in Main Street Garden, 1902 Main St. in downtown Dallas.

“QueerBomb Dallas is assembling a flash force of LGBTQIA individuals who find Dallas Pride to be non-inclusive, capitalist, hetero-normative, needlessly safe and unchallenging,” according to the press release. “We’ve organized ‘DIRTY SHAME’ with boisterous urgency to create an alternative ‘Pride Promenade’ that carries a strong Queer message through the heart of Downtown Dallas. Let’s reclaim the radical, carnal and transgressive lineage of our ever-changing community, while celebrating every [one of] the unique individuals that make us a vibrant whole.”

The QueerBomb rally begins at 5 p.m. at the Main Street Garden and will feature performers, speakers, fun and “heart-stirring queer-fuckery.” Open mic slots are available and anyone who is interested can email QueerBombDallas@gmail.com for information.

The Queer Pride Promenade starts at 6:30 p.m., with participants encouraged to “strap on your cha-cha heels and get ready to stomp the sidewalks of Main Street in a festive display of undiluted queerness.”

Those attending Dirty Shame are encouraged to bring blankets, picnics, signs and banners, flags, noisemakers, musical instruments and “your friends.” Organizers also stressed that there are no rules regarding what manner of dress is allowed: “QueerBomb is a safe and affirming space. We promote body positivity and self expression. So wear what represents you. Wear anything you have ever wanted to wear or as little as the law will allow. Let is united and celebrate Pride without beer ads or exclusion.”

—  Tammye Nash

Not a good night for incumbents in Dallas County or Texas

John Carona

State Sen. John Carona

Challengers did unusually well against incumbents in both the Democratic and Republican primaries on Tuesday.

Several members of the Texas House and Senate will not be returning.

Sen. John Carona, whose district includes parts of Oak Lawn, lost his bid for re-election to tea party favorite Don Huffhines. Carona, a moderate Republican, has served in the Legislature since 1990.

Staunch LGBT ally Rep. Lon Burnam of Fort Worth lost his bid for re-election to Ramon Romero who has no connection to the Democratic Party and has mostly donated to Republicans, according to the Burnt Orange Report. Burnam has the endorsement of all Democratic groups, including Hispanic groups.

Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, an Irving Republican, lost her bid for re-election to tea party favorite Rodney Anderson. During redistricting, Harper-Brown and Anderson were drawn into the same district. Anderson decided to sit out the last election.

Arlington Republican Diane Patrick lost her bid for re-election to Tony Tinderholt. Patrick was the author of the final anti-bullying bill that passed the Legislature in 2011. Among Tinderholt’s complaints against Patrick is a bill she authored that would have required kindergarten children to have a dental exam before entering first grade. He’s running on a platform of securing the border, gun rights and fighting Obamacare and abortion and an almost cartoonish picture on his homepage shows him with his buxom blond wife, a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, in a tight red sweater.

Matt Rinaldi beat Carrollton Rep. Bennett Ratliff. Rinaldi is endorsed by Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shakelford, Texas Home School Coalition and Texas Values President Joanathan Saenz.

In other races, former Dallas City Councilwoman Linda Koop edged out Rep. Stefani Carter. Koop didn’t receive 50 percent of the vote, so they will face off in a runoff.

State District Judge Lena Levario is one of a number of incumbent Democratic judges who lost their primary races on Tuesday. Levario held District Attorney Craig Watkins in contempt of court last March. He was later acquitted, but his prosecutor, Tammy Kemp, challenged Levario, raised twice as much money and won the primary.

Other local judges were defeated for r-eelection by Watkins prosecutors. The list of defeated incumbents includes Lori Chrisman Hockett, Andy Chatham, Carlos Cortez, Marty Lowy, Larry Mitchell, Bill Mazur, Michael E. Miller and Chris Wilmoth.

In the Republican race for lieutenant governor, incumbent David Dewhurst received only 28 percent of the vote. Sen Dan Patrick polled 43 percent. They face each other in a runoff.

Metroplex Republicans President Rob Schlein lost his bid for re-election as Republican Precinct Chair 2069. Former Stonewall Democrats President Omar Narvaez lost his race for re-election as Democratic Precinct Chair 2062.

—  David Taffet

LGBT candidates, allies win big in Texas primary

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Out JP candidate Sara Martinez and former City Councilwoman Pauline Medrano, surrounded by supporters, both made it into runoffs in Dallas County. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Openly LGBT candidates and the community’s allies swept the Texas Democratic primary Tuesday, winning the party’s nomination while others made it into runoffs.

In Dallas County, out justice of the peace precinct 5, place 1 candidate Sara Martinez led in the crowded race after early voting. She secured a place in the runoff alongside Melissa Bellan. Other out candidate John McCall came in fourth in the race.

Out candidate Susan Lopez-Craig came in third in the precinct 5 constable’s race. Incumbent Beth Villarreal and Michael Orozco will face off in a runoff.

In the race for county treasurer, former Dallas Councilwoman and LGBT ally Pauline Medrano and Bennie Elnora Brown came out on top to make it into the runoff.

Queer state Rep. Mary Gonzalez, D-El Paso, easily won re-election, defeating her only Democratic challenger, Rey Sepulveda. Gonzalez previously told Dallas Voice she expected a challenger based on her outspokenness on women’s and LGBT rights. She’s one of five openly gay state House candidates, but the only one with a contested primary. With no Republican challenger in November, she’ll serve another term.

—  Dallasvoice

Patrick uses Parker’s wedding to score anti-gay points

Parker

Annise Parker (right) and Kathy Hubbard’s wedding photo (courtesy city of Houston)

State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) took the occasion of Mayor Annise Parker’s wedding to long-time partner Kathy Hubbard to lash out at her.

In a statement, Patrick said he wasn’t shocked she decided to elope to California to obtain a marriage that’s illegal in Texas. He also reiterated Republican disapproval of an executive order extending partner benefits to married Houston city employees.

“I am not shocked that Mayor Parker decided to elope to California for a marriage that is unconstitutional in Texas,” Patrick said. “This is obviously part of a larger strategy of hers to turn Texas into California. She waited until after her November election to decree that the City of Houston will recognize same-sex marriages from other states. The Texas State Constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman and Mayor Parker cannot change that. I fully support the lawsuit challenging Parker’s edict and look forward to protecting conservative values as the next Lt. Governor.”

A lawsuit filed by Republicans against the executive order is expected to be thrown out of court because those filing the suit have no standing.

Patrick is running for lieutenant governor.

Other Houston Republicans also criticized Parker’s marriage.

“I think it’s all about her political agenda,” said Jared Woodfill, the chairman of the Harris County Republican Party.

Parker said she waited to issue the executive order until after the city attorney had time to study how the federal government and other jurisdictions were interpreting the Windsor decision which declared Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Houston’s mayor may legally issue executive orders, which Patrick prefers to call edicts and decrees.

Parker said she and Hubbard married to set an example for their teenage daughters. Although Texas doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, the couple gains a number of federal benefits including filing joint income tax returns.

KHOU-TV in Houston reports that Parker and Hubbard are on their honeymoon.

—  David Taffet

Senator who wants to ban DP benefits in Texas was subject of gay rumors

Sen. Dan Patrick

If state Sen. Dan Patrick is a closeted homosexual, he’s doing a pretty horrible job of hiding it.

That’s because if there’s anything we’ve learned over the years, it’s that the most rabidly anti-gay public figures often turn out to be gay themselves. See Roy Cohn et al.

On Friday, Houston’s Patrick made a major anti-gay move by requesting an opinion from the attorney general’s office about whether domestic partner benefits offered by local government entities violate Texas’ constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. According to the Houston Chronicle, Patrick is declining to comment on his own views on DP benefits until the AG’s office issues its opinion. (As if we don’t already know what Patrick’s views are. Why would he seek such an opinion if he isn’t against DP benefits?)

Anyhow, even though it’s true that closeted politicians tend to be anti-gay, being anti-gay probably isn’t sufficient grounds to assume that a politician is a closeted homosexual. But in Patrick’s case, it turns out we have more to go on than just that.

Back in May, one of Patrick’s fellow Republicans in the Texas Senate, John Carona of Dallas, pretty much accused Patrick of being homosexual. After Patrick sent an email to every single member of the Senate saying Carona was spreading rumors about his marriage, Carona responded by writing, “Though I have heard rumors regarding your marital status and sexual preferences for a while now, at no time have I told anyone that you are either separated, divorced, or gay.”

—  John Wright

Anti-gay state senator wants to outlaw domestic partner benefits in Texas

Dan Patrick

Here’s why you need to get out and vote on Tuesday if you haven’t already.

In the same week that Dallas County voted to offer health insurance vouchers to the domestic partners of employees, a tea party-backed state senator from Houston is seeking an opinion from the Texas attorney general about whether such benefits are legal under the state’s 2005 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Republican Sen. Dan Patrick’s office wrote in a press release on Friday:

In 2005, the Texas Constitution was amended to clearly define marriage as between one man and one woman. The “Marriage Amendment” went on to prohibit government entities from creating or recognizing anything identical or similar to marriage. The Marriage Amendment was passed by an overwhelming majority of the Texas legislature and ratified by more than 75 percent of Texas voters.

However, government entities across the state are gradually recognizing and extending benefits to domestic partners including the cities of El Paso, Austin and Fort Worth. Recently, Pflugerville I.S.D. became the first school district to extend benefits.

“I am submitting this request to the Attorney General in order to clarify whether or not these entities are violating the constitution and circumventing the will of the people,” said Senator Patrick.

Other entities in Texas that offer DP benefits include the city of Dallas, which has had them since 2004, and Dallas County, which as I mentioned added them this week.

Ken Upton, a senior staff attorney for the LGBT civil rights group Lambda Legal, told Instant Tea that Patrick’s letter seeking an opinion from the AG’s office doesn’t surprise him.

“I was wondering when someone would do that,” Upton said. “It was just a question of when. Texas is too big of a state, and there are too many people who hate us.”

Upton said there have been similar challenges to domestic partner benefits in other states with constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, including Ohio and Michigan, with mixed results. But he said the issue could be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in an Arizona case that Lambda Legal is handling, Diaz v. Brewer. Both the district court and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have ruled in Lambda Legal’s favor, but Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who wants to strip DP benefits from state employees, appealed.

“Our position is if you decide that a benefit of employment is insuring your spouse, and then you turn around and say as a gay person, you don’t get that benefit because you can’t have a spouse, then you violate equal protection,” Upton said.  “We’ll know in November whether [the Supreme Court is] going to take that case.”

Upton said any opinion Sen. Patrick receives from Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office would be advisory in nature. However, Upton said he suspects that the AG’s office — which has intervened in recent years to block gay divorces — could find a way of bringing a legal challenge to DP benefits in Texas. Upton said he doesn’t like the LGBT community’s chances in front of the conservative Texas Supreme Court, which could ultimately be charged with interpreting whether the marriage amendment bans DP benefits. But Upton said that from a legal standpoint, he’s less worried about the issue than he once was.

“I think the [U.S.] Supreme Court in Diaz could decide it once and for all,” he said. “The bottom line is this whole thing is so much farther long than it was three or four or five years ago. Time is on our side.”

Read Patrick’s press release and his letter seeking an opinion from the AG’s office below.

—  John Wright

Houston senator calls gay attack by Dallas Sen. John Carona ‘vicious,’ defends his marriage

Dan Patrick

State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, clarified Thursday that he and his wife are not having marital problems after rumors spread that he is gay.

Emails leaked earlier this week revealed that Patrick had emailed state Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, about rumors he believed Carona was spreading.

In a response sent to multiple senators, Carona denied the rumors, writing that though he “heard rumors regarding [Patrick’s] marital status and sexual preferences for a while now,” he did not share rumors that Patrick was “separated, divorced, or gay.

Patrick’s response demanded an apology.

He told the Texas Tribune that his marriage of 37 years is not breaking up and confirmed notions that he and Carona were at odds over replacing Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst if he is elected to the U.S. Senate.

John Carona

“I love my wife and she loves me,” Patrick said, adding later that is mistake was thinking the emails would be kept private. “If I made a mistake in this, it was believing that emails between senators, which are almost always private, would have stayed private.”

He said he did not call Carona after the gay allegation because he didn’t want a confrontation, saying “his response was an admission of guilt” because he was not shy about sharing his comments.

“Suddenly he repeats them and he adds another vile comment. Vicious,” Patrick said of the gay reference.

Admitting that he and Carona have “competing visions,” Patrick said he wants conservative Republicans senators to have more of a say in Dewhurst’s replacement, denying that he wants the position. Carona has been called a possible favorite for the position.

Watch the video below.

—  Dallasvoice

State Sen. John Carona suggests colleague, likely opponent in lieutenant governor’s race is gay

John Carona

State Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, has allegedly spread word throughout the Texas Senate that fellow Republican Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston is having marital problems.

Leaked emails published by political news website the Quorum Report reveal that Patrick was upset that Carona had allegedly told fellow senators that he and his wife Jan were separated and possibly divorcing, along with “a few other negative comments about me in an obvious attempt by him to discredit me,” the Houston Chronicle reports.

Carona’s emailed response to state senators mentions that while he “heard rumors regarding [Patrick’s] marital status and sexual preferences for a while now,” he did not share rumors that Patrick was “separated, divorced, or gay.

Dan Patrick

Patrick then responded to the gay remark by writing that Carona needed to apologize to his family for his initial comments and “owes me an apology for his latest smear, another fabrication by Senator Carona.”

The motive behind the emails could be the ambitions of both men to serve as lieutenant governor following the possible election of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to the U.S. Senate. Both Carona and Patrick are likely candidates for the election in 2014, with Carona the leading contender to be Dewhurst’s interim replacement.

Carona could not immediately be reached for comment.

From the Houston Chronicle:

The accusation from Patrick, in part, in an e-mail to fellow senators:

I was in Dallas last week and learned that Senator Carona has told people outside the Senate that Jan and I are separated and may get divorced. He added in a few other negative comments about me in an obvious attempt by him to discredit me for some reason. … There is no excuse or justification for his actions. He could have easily checked the story out to see if it was true. He didn’t care if it was true.

The response from Carona, in part, also in an e-mail to fellow senators:

The email which you blasted to our colleagues and then provided to the media is false and you would have known that had you called or emailed before sending it. …Though I have heard rumors regarding your marital status and sexual preferences for a while now, at no time have I told anyone that you are either separated, divorced, or gay.

 

—  Dallasvoice