What’s Brewing: Obama unveils LGBT website

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. The White House has launched a website, called “Winning the Future,” to highlight President Barack Obama’s LGBT accomplishments.”In honor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) History Month, The White House launched our first ever LGBT specific constituency webpage: http://wh.gov/lgbt . This webpage is designed to keep you updated on how the President and the Administration are Winning the Future for LGBT Americans,” White House gay liaison Brian Bond wrote in an email.

2. Four of the five openly gay former Dallas City council members, along with 11 of 14 current council members, have now endorsed Mike Rawlings for mayor. Gay ex-Councilmen John Loza, Craig Holcomb and Chris Luna were among those who appeared alongside Rawlings at a news conference Wednesday, and Ed Oakley previously said he’s backing Rawlings. That leaves Craig McDaniel, Dallas’ first out gay councilman, as the only one who hasn’t publicly endorsed Rawlings in the runoff against David Kunkle.

3. Razzle Dazzle Dallas is in full swing.

—  John Wright

Local Briefs

DBA, others sponsor mayoral debate

Several organizations in North Texas are sponsoring a one-hour debate between Dallas mayoral runoff candidates David Kunkle and Mike Rawlings on Monday, June 6, at the Pavillion at the Belo Mansion, 2101 Ross Ave. in Dallas. The forum will be moderated by Shawn Williams, editor of Dallas South News.

The debate, which will begin promptly at noon, is free and open to the public. An optional $13 lunch buffet will be served beginning at 11:30 a.m.

The debate is sponsored by the Public Forum Committee of the Dallas Bar Association, the Dallas Asian American Bar Association, the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers, the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, J.L. Turner Legal Association and the League of Women Voters of Dallas, the program is intended to educate the Dallas legal community and public of the backgrounds and philosophies of the candidates. The Dallas Bar Association is a non-partisan organization.

Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to sevans@dallasbar.org so adequate seating is available.

C.U.R.E. begins fundraising for Quilt

On Sept. 30–Oct. 2, C.U.R.E. 2011 will bring panels from the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt to the Dallas Convention Center. This display will be the largest seen since the Quilt was exhibited on the National Mall in Washington DC. Dallas will be the venue for a national event focusing on educating our diverse populations about AIDS and how to prevent its spread.

To help fund the weekend, C.U.R.E. has started a fundraising campaign, asking people to donate just $2 and to ask friends and family to do the same. The link to make a donation through PayPal is CureNTx.org.

C.U.R.E was founded by Roseann Rossetti and Rosemary Odom. Tyler Sweatman is the event director for the Quilt display.

United Way disburses funds

United Way of Greater Dallas voted to disburse $25 million to 78 nonprofit organizations in the Dallas area. Because of new criteria that emphasized improving education, income or health, some new agencies received money and others lost their United Way funding.

Among the regular recipients are Resource Center Dallas, which will receive $383,409, and AIDS Arms, which will receive $772,548. Bryan’s House is one of the new agencies receiving United Way funding and they will get $315,106.

Donors who sign up to contribute through United Way can designate an agency, if that organization is among their approved agencies. •

—  John Wright

Mike Rawlings responds to DGLA’s warning during LGBT forum at Cathedral of Hope

Kunkle says warning not accurate portrayal of his runoff opponent; both candidates agree on most LGBT-specific issues

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO OF THE FORUM

TAMMYE NASH | Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

During an LGBT mayoral runoff forum held Tuesday night, candidate Mike Rawlings addressed the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance’s warning, in which the group suggested that the former Pizza Hut CEO’s “passion for commerce and business interests supremely outweighs his appreciation for the civil rights of all people.”

The warning was based, according to DGLA, on Rawlings’ responses to a question during an interview with the group’s PAC about whether he would support requiring major city contractors to have LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policies.

“If you want to believe what they said, believe it. It’s not true. It’s not the way I’ve lived my life. But it’s OK if you want to believe that,” Rawlings said after being asked why the LGBT community should disregard DGLA’s warning.

The city already requires contractors to have LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policies, but DGLA reportedly was unaware of the requirement when the group posed the question to Rawlings, who responded at the time that he would not support adding the requirement. Rawlings has since said that he supports maintaining the requirement given that it’s already in place.

Rawlings also said Tuesday that he now supports requiring major city contractors to offer domestic partner benefits. Rawlings previously said he was opposed to requiring contractors to offer DP benefits.

During Tuesday’s forum, DGLA President Patti Fink asked Rawlings for clarification about his stances, leading into her question by saying: “I don’t think anyone at DGLA or anyone in this room believes you support or condone discrimination of any kind. We did not mean that by our warning at all.”

Rawlings reminded Fink that he called her after DGLA issued the warning to apologize for “not clearly understanding the facts that were in place. I made a mistake. … This dichotomy that there’s human rights and economic rights is bogus. … Human rights and civil rights, it must start there and the economy is built on it. … I believe we must do what’s right by the economy and by the civil rights of each individual at the same time. I just don’t believe this argument that one must take place over the other.”

Damien Duckett, political director for the DGLA PAC, said Wednesday, May 25, that the reason behind DGLA’s warning against Rawlings “has been consistently mischaracterized,” and that it was based on a lengthy discussion with the candidate, not the single question about Dallas’s policy on requiring contractors to have LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policies.

Duckett said the discussion began with the question of whether Rawlings would support such a policy, to which he answered no, and then continued at some length, with DGLA members presenting the candidate with numerous scenarios. They even went so far, Duckett said, as to propose a situation set in 1957 in which citizens asked Rawlings, as mayor, to support a policy in which the city would not do business with contractors who did not have policies in place to prevent employment discrimination based on gender and race.

“We asked him, would you support that, and he said, flat out, no. He said he would not support anything that would get in the way of commerce,” Duckett said. “We issued the warning because of his unwillingness to come to any sort of balance between human rights and commerce. There was no way we could have not issued a warning after that.”
Kunkle said while he disagrees with Rawlings on some issues, he doesn’t think the DGLA warning is “a fair characterization of Mr. Rawlings … I think Mr. Rawlings is a very honorable and noble man.”

Tuesday’s forum, sponsored by Dallas Voice and 12 partner organizations, was held at Cathedral of Hope and was only the second of the mayoral runoff. More than 100 people attended.

Both candidates reiterated their support for the LGBT community, and both appeared to agree, in general, in their responses to questions on LGBT-specific issues.
Kunkle and Rawlings both stressed that public safety must be a top priority and pledged to dedicate the necessary resources to address the crime rate in Oak Lawn and other neighborhoods.

They also agreed that city government must find a way to equitably balance the needs of the neighborhoods and the needs of commerce in entertainment districts such as Cedar Springs.

Rawlings and Kunkle also both pledged to find a way to reinstate city funding for AIDS services that was cut two years ago, but said that the council has to balance the budget and make up funding shortfalls before that can happen.

They also both said they would lend their authority as mayor, if elected, to efforts to educate the public on HIV/AIDS issues.

But when asked about creating a Dallas human rights commission, the two candidates diverged slightly in their responses.

While Kunkle said he continues to fully back the creation of a human rights commission, Rawlings stepped back a bit from his previously stated support, saying that members of Councilwoman Delia Jasso’s LGBT task force had told him they preferred a task force to a commission, because they would have more flexibility as a task force to address problems.

Rawlings said he had a meeting planned with Jasso for later in the week to specifically discuss that issue, and that he would defer to her expertise.

But Kunkle said he believes the city needs a standing commission to address human rights issues and complaints related to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance because “a task force would just fade away once those issues are perceived to have been settled.”

Both Kunkle and Rawlings agreed that ongoing diversity training for city employees is essential, but both appeared to be caught short when asked where they stand on expanding health benefits for transgender city employees.

Kunkle said the prospect of expanding benefits would be based on cost effectiveness, and both he and Rawlings said they were not familiar enough with the issue to comment further.

The two candidates also seemed to be caught off guard when asked whether they would support efforts to eliminate the need for entertainment venues in Dallas to maintain a dance-hall license.

“I have often wonder why we had our dance hall rules in Dallas, and how a bar could be engaged in all sorts of inappropriate behavior, but what we’re chiding them for is something standing up off their chair and acting like they’re dancing,” Kunkle said. “For somebody my age, I don’t know how anybody can tell if I’m moving or I’m dancing.

“I think that’s something that probably needs to be looked at,” he continued. “It was created to be a tool to help regular bars. But I don’t know if it accomplishes the intended purpose. And it seems a little bit silly in today’s world that we have these dance hall requirements.”

Rawlings drew a laugh from the audience when he responded, “Through this campaign, I learn a lot … I have no clue. I don’t. Are we going to have fun there? If we’re going to have fun, I am all for it. Fun and safety — those are my two things. I have no clue on this.”

In answer to non-LGBT specific questions, Kunkle and Rawlings both said they oppose state laws requiring local police officers to question the citizenship status of those they encounter in their duties, and both said they oppose oil and gas drilling within the city limits without further study.

—  John Wright

WATCH: LGBT mayoral runoff forum

Below is video from the forum in two parts. To read our story, go here.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Suspect arrested in murder of gay E. Dallas couple found in burned apartment

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. A 23-year-old homeless man has been arrested in the murder of a gay Dallas couple found dead inside their burned-out apartment last month, The Dallas Morning News reports. The suspect, Oscar Mirelez Young, told police that one of the victims picked him up for sex and that he and an accomplice planned to rob the couple. Mike Humphrey, 59, and Clayton Capshaw, 61, were found dead in their apartment in the 11200 block of Woodmeadow Parkway on April 27, after the apartment was set on fire to cover up the crime. Humphrey reportedly had a habit of going to the Bridge, Dallas’ homeless shelter, and picking up men for sex. Young was captured in Uvalde, west of San Antonio, after being pulled over while driving a stolen vehicle, and admitting that he killed two people in Dallas. Young faces a charge of capital murder. The second suspect is still being sought.

Ed Oakley

2. We’ll have more on last night’s LGBT mayoral forum at the Cathedral of Hope in a bit, but for now I wanted to point you to this clever headline in the DMN: “Peace, love and understanding mark Dallas mayoral debate at Cathedral of Hope.” The DMN also reports that openly gay former Dallas City Councilman Ed Oakley has endorsed Mike Rawlings for mayor. Oakley previously backed Ron Natinsky, who didn’t make the runoff. Oakley was defeated in a runoff for mayor by Tom Leppert in 2007.

Joel Burns

3. Anti-bullying language is included in standards of care for Fort Worth’s youth programs adopted by the City Council on Tuesdsay night, according to the Star-Telegram. Gay Councilman Joel Burns applauded the ordinance adopting the standards for children ages 5 to 13, which mirrors language in an anti-bullying bill that passed the Texas House on Tuesday night. The House voted 118-26 to concur with changes to the bill, HB 1942, and it now proceeds to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk. The bill, by Rep. Diane Howard, R-Arlington, is Equality Texas’ top priority in this year’s legislative session.

—  John Wright

DV presents Mayoral Runoff LGBT Community Forum tonight

Dallas’ future mayor answers your LGBT questions

With the Dallas mayoral runoff election less than a month away, voters have the opportunity tonight to ask candidates Mike Rawlings and David Kunkle where they stand on issues important to the LGBT community. Dallas Voice online editor John Wright and staff writer David Taffet will moderate the forum, which will include questions submitted by partner organizations, followed by questions for the candidates from audience members. The forum is free and open to the public. This year marks only the second time in history when all candidates for Dallas mayor have actively courted the LGBT vote.

Other partnering organizations involved with the forum include AIDS Arms Inc., Cedar Springs Merchants Association and Dallas Tavern Guild.

For more information, contact Dallas Voice at 214-754-8710. To RSVP for the forum on Facebook, go here.

DEETS: Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. 6 p.m. Free. DallasVoice.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Kunkle, Rawlings to square off in LGBT forum at Cathedral

From Staff Reports
editor@dallasvoice.com

With the Dallas mayoral runoff election less than a month away, voters this week have the opportunity this week to ask candidates Mike Rawlings and David Kunkle where they stand on issues important to the LGBT community.

Dallas Voice and 12 partnering organizations present the 2011 Mayoral Runoff LGBT Forum Tuesday night in the main sanctuary of Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road, from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. Dallas Voice online editor John Wright and staff writer David Taffet will moderate the forum, which will include questions submitted by partner organizations, followed by questions for the candidates from audience members. The forum is free and open to the public.

“The Dallas LGBT community has never been more engaged in the civic life of the city than now. This forum is one more expression of that,” said Dallas Voice Publisher Robert Moore. “The task of getting these major LGBT groups to agree to partner on this project together instead of doing small, independent events was easy. The leaders of these groups recognized the benefit of this immediately and came on board just as fast. I can assure you the candidates are pleased this has been bundled as well.”

Moore noted that this year marks only the second time in history when all candidates for Dallas mayor have actively courted the LGBT vote.

“The runoff will be no different,” Moore said. “There is still a decision to made on who the next mayor will be. I urge LGBT citizens of Dallas to attend this event and be confident they have the information they need to cast an educated vote.”

Representatives of LGBT political organizations said they, too, feel a responsibility to keep the community informed and involved in the election process.

The Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance’s Political Action Committee screened mayoral candidates before the general election, but the PAC’s endorsed candidate, Ron Natinsky, did not make the runoff. So “this forum will be a source of input” as the PAC considers an endorsement in the runoff, said DGLA President Patti Fink.

“We have already screened the candidates, but we welcome another chance to find out what kind of priority LGBT issues are for the candidates in the runoff,” Fink said. “Our votes in the LGBT community count. Our votes can influence this election. The choice of Dallas mayor impacts the city of Dallas and the LGBT community, and we need to know the candidates as well as we can before we vote.”

Although Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas do not endorse candidates, many of the gay Republican group’s members were also backing Natinsky in the general election and are now faced with making a decision whether to support Kunkle or Rawlings in the runoff.

“I want to make sure both the candidates and the audience understand the role of the mayor, what it is and what skill sets are actually required to do the job,” said LCR-Dallas President Rob Schlein. “I also want to know if the candidates plan to devote themselves full time to the job of mayor.

“Log Cabin members want to make certain that the city remains and economically vibrant place to work and live. That means bringing in new corporations for relocation, enticing businesses to start versus in the suburbs, and rolling back the tax rates,” Schlein added.

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas endorsed Kunkle in the general election, and will continue that endorsement in the runoff. But Stonewall President Omar Narvaez said his organization is glad to have another chance to question the runoff candidates on specific issues.

“The fracking issue [an process used in drilling oil wells] is a big issue, as well as the budget. How will they handle another budget shortfall and where will the cuts come from,” Narvaez said.

But, he said, Stonewall is also concerned about whether the candidates will interact with the LGBT community in the future if they decide to run for higher office.

“The past mayor [Tom Leppert] was our friend [when he first ran for the office] but when he decided to run for higher office, suddenly he wasn’t our friend,” Narvaez said.

Jared Pierce with Young Stonewall Democrats said participating in the runoff forum gives his organization “another chance to hold our elected officials accountable. There are lots of issues that matter to us. There are lots of issues where the Dallas mayor can’t really do anything, like gay marriage, but the question is, will they stand by us and will they support us when there is something they can do?”

Like Stonewall, Young Stonewall members want to know what happens in the next budget crunch, and what services the candidates feel are non-negotiable when it comes to budget cuts. And they want to know what the candidates are willing to do to work with them in “making Oak Lawn a safer area to live and play in,” Pierce said.

Pierce also noted that there are many small business owners in the Young Stonewall ranks and in the Dallas LGBT community as a whole, and so the organization is concerned over what the candidates “can do to make it easier or small businesses to thrive and be productive in this city.”

Tony Vedda, president and CEO of the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, also stressed the importance of creating a good business climate in the city.

“Business is the engine that runs the city. We an organization that is keenly aware of that fact, so it’s important to us that the next mayor understand that and understands the integral part the LGBT community plays in the economic and cultural life of the city,” Vedda said.

“Members of the LGBT community need to have the same access to do business with the city as any of the other diverse communities have,” Vedda said. “We want recognition of LGBT certified suppliers. We want to have the LGBT community recognized on contracts just like any other minority community. And we are concerned with how complaints [of violations of the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance] are being handled and with the number of complaints that have been filed.”

Jesse Garcia, president of LULAC 4871 — The Dallas Rainbow Council, noted that 44 percent of the population of Dallas is either foreign born or the children of foreign-born citizens, and that more than 70 languages are spoken within the city.

With that in mind, Garcia said his organization hopes “Rawlings and Kunkle are prepared to work with a new Dallas, an international city that has a lot of potential to increase its standing in the world.”

Garcia added, “Our membership also hopes the future mayor stays clear of any anti-immigrant local ordinances that have been controversial and costly in places like Farmers Branch. LULAC Rainbow Council stands by its immigrant brothers and sisters and hopes the new Dallas City Council concentrates on issues that fall into its authority and not the federal government’s.”

For some of the forum’s partner organizations, how the city will respond to the ongong HIV/AIDS epidemic is a top priority.

“We want to make sure that HIV/AIDS is included when we talk about LGBT issues,” said Travis Gasper with AIDS Interfaith Network. “We want to make sure it’s on their radar. Dallas has one of the highest rates in the state and the country. When we talk about healthy communities, we want to make sure that’s part of the discussion in this city.”

Cece Cox, president and CEO of Resource Center Dallas, said the center chose to partner in presenting the forum “because it directly relates to the center’s goal of providing education and advocacy for the communities we serve.

“Candidates should seek input from the LGBT communities they represent and we applaud these candidates for doing so,” Cox continued. “This forum will allow the Dallas LGBT community to make an informed decision on who is best to be Dallas’ next mayor.

“There are several issues we would like to see addressed by the candidates that directly affect people served by the center, including comprehensive diversity training for city employees, crime reduction in the Oak Lawn area, economic development and monitoring the effectiveness of the city’s nondiscrimination policy.”

Other partnering organizations are AIDS Arms Inc., Cedar Springs Merchants Association and Dallas Tavern Guild.

For more information, contact Dallas Voice at 214-754-8710.

To RSVP for the forum on Facebook, go here.

—  John Wright

Couldn’t Ron Natinsky have waited for our forum on Tuesday to endorse Mike Rawlings?

Ron Natinsky

Here’s the full press release that just came across from Ron Natinsky’s campaign:

DALLAS (May 20, 2011) — After much consideration, Ron Natinsky today announced his endorsement of Mike Rawlings for Dallas mayor in the run-off election being held June 18.

“Mike Rawlings is a visionary leader who has the skills to put the team together to keep our citizens safe, to provide quality city services while protecting our taxpayers,” said Natinsky. “Mike will help move Dallas forward. He understands that economic development and jobs — especially in the Southern Sector — are critical if we want to maintain and improve our quality of life.

Natinsky also supports Rawlings’ commitment to public education. He has pledged to work with and campaign for Rawlings in the coming weeks.

Natinsky opened the news conference by thanking his supporters and expressing appreciation to all those who worked on his campaign.

“Ron Natinsky is a man of incredible integrity who loves Dallas and has been a great leader for our city,” said Rawlings. “He has an extremely strong business background — especially in the international arena – which will be invaluable as we work to achieve our economic development goals for all of Dallas.   I’m very honored to have Ron standing with me and plan to engage him as we move the city forward.”

From an LGBT perspective, it’s interesting that Natinsky, who was endorsed by the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, has endorsed Rawlings, the subject of a warning by DGLA.

Natinsky announced his endorsement of Rawlings prior to the first public forum of the runoff between Rawlings and David Kunkle, at the Adolphus Hotel this morning. Speaking of which, we’re hosting the second one.

—  John Wright

Turnout key in Dallas mayoral runoff

Mike Rawlings, left, and David Kunkle

Kunkle, Rawlings pledge to stay on message; advocates say LGBT vote could have significant impact

TAMMYE NASH | Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

Turnout. That’s the key for Dallas mayoral candidates who wrangled their way into runoffs after the May 14 general elections.

Mike Rawlings and David Kunkle are facing off in the June 18 runoff, and both said this week that turnout and support in the LGBT community will play key roles.

Gay former Dallas City Councilman Ed Oakley knows something about runoff strategies. Four years ago, he lost his bid for mayor in a runoff with Tom Leppert. Oakley said this week that Rawlings and Kunkle “have about five weeks now to get their voters re-energized to go back to the polls” on June 18. It won’t be an easy task.

“They have to raise about the same amount of money they raised for the general election [to pay for] advertising on TV, mailers — all the same things they paid for before,” Oakley said. “On top of that, the candidates will end up having to do all the debates all over again.

“It’s totally different in a runoff. Messages get refined,” he added. “In my race, we ran a great ground campaign and we raised the money, but we got off message. The media started targeting the gay issue” — Oakley was in a position to become the first openly gay mayor of a large U.S. city, which became a focus in the media — “and that became such a big issue that our message got lost.”

Oakley also predicted that Kunkle, who got 32 percent of the general election vote, faces an uphill battle against Rawlings, who ended the general election with 41 percent. Rawlings outspent all three of his general election opponents, while Kunkle relied on a strong grassroots effort.

“You have to hand it to [Kunkle] and his staff. They ran a great grassroots campaign to get into the runoff. But while the grassroots campaign is great, in a runoff he has to be able to spend the money to reach out to different voters, and I think he is going to be a little handicapped,” Oakley said.

Kunkle himself said this week that “in the most simple terms, I have to get my voters out a second time and try to get as many of [third-place finisher] Ron Natinsky’s supporters over to my side as possible.”

Kunkle said he will focus on his vision for the city, and will work to differentiate himself from Rawlings and his approach to governing Dallas.

“We are two different people with different backgrounds, different values and different decision-making processes,” Kunkle said. “I know this city, its neighborhoods and its people, and my priority is creating strong, livable neighborhoods, and building a good future for the city by driving sustainable economic development.”

Rawlings said his efforts leading up to the runoff will be to “do what I always do, which is look at what has worked and keep doing that.”

Rawlings said he will focus on “improving in areas where I did well [in getting votes], but also looking at those areas where I didn’t knock it over the fence and try to improve there, like in Angela Hunt’s district, District 14.”

Rawlings said he believes his message in the general election “resonated well with the voters,” considering that he garnered 41 percent of the vote, and he believes that those who supported Natinsky before will be drawn to his campaign now.

“I think my message as far as economic development and focusing on growth as a city matches up very nicely with what Natinsky’s supporters are looking for.”

Both Rawlings and Kunkle said they believe support in the LGBT community is essential for a runoff victory.

“I have always appreciated so much the friendships I have had for a long time in the LGBT community and the new friendships I have made during this campaign,” Rawlings said. “I think the LGBT community is a great example of what makes Dallas strong, and that is inclusion, rather than exclusion.

“More than that, I think it comes down to how we treat each other and the degree of civility involved. That should go beyond group to group; it’s about individual to individual. Government should do a better job in that area, and I have decided I will make a difference in that” if elected.

Kunkle pointed to his long-standing relationship with the LGBT community dating back to his days as Dallas police chief.

“I have the support of Stonewall Democrats, and I won all the precincts that are identified as strong GLBT precincts,” Kunkle said. “One of the things that makes Dallas successful as a city is that it is a cool place to live, and it has a growing economy, and I think people in the GLBT community can feel comfortable coming to Dallas, given the equal opportunity here in employment and the strong community that exists here.

“And the reason [LGBT people] come to Dallas is not because it has this giant downtown where you can go work in some corporate headquarters, but because it has strong neighborhoods and a strong community. That’s what I want to help to grow and improve.”

LGBT support

Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance President Patti Fink and DGLA PAC Chair Damien Duckett this week agreed that the LGBT community could have a significant impact on the outcome of the mayoral runoff.

DGLA endorsed Natinsky in the general election, and Duckett said the PAC is meeting Friday, May 20, to “determine whether we want to recommend a new slate of candidates for the runoff, and that include the mayor’s race, since our endorsed candidate didn’t make it through.”

But, Duckett said, DGLA isn’t considering new endorsements just because the organization’s original candidate didn’t make the runoff.

“It’s our responsibility to make a recommendation to our community, based on the candidates who are available,” he said. “We have a responsibility to make sure our community hears from us.”

In issuing endorsements for the general election DGLA not only backed Natinsky, the organization also issued a “warning” against Rawlings, saying his strong focus on business and economic development might override his commitment on civil rights issues.

Duckett said one issue that concerns him in the runoff is “whether the candidates are keeping honest. This is the runoff; this is sudden death. And this is where candidates can get desperate and start slinging mud, where they start making promises they don’t intend to keep and showing false sincerity in paying attention to issues presented to them.

“I hope our mayoral candidates are being honest instead of just saying something that is politically expedient,” he added. “I hope the voters and the media will really pay attention to what is said in the coming weeks and how that measures up to what was said in the general election.”

Fink pointed out that especially in elections where turnout is low — as was the case with the May 14 general election in Dallas and is likely to be the case in the June 18 runoff — the LGBT community, if it turns out in force, “has a real opportunity to have our votes become more inflated in terms of influence.”

She pointed to the District 6 council race where Monica Alonza, endorsed by Stonewall Democrats, defeated Luis Sepulveda, endorsed by DGLA. Only 1,035 people voted in that race, with Alonzo getting 634 votes to Sepulveda’s 401.

“If we [DGLA] had just mobilized 200 people in our community in District 6 to get out in vote on Election Day, that would have been huge in that race. That would have been one-fifth of the total electorate in that race,” Fink said.

“Turnout is, historically, much lower in runoffs, and the smaller the number of total votes in an election, the more impact each vote has,” she added.
“Our community, if we will turn out and vote, could have tremendous impact on who is the next mayor of Dallas.”

Watch the May 27 issue of Dallas Voice for coverage of the mayoral runoff in Fort Worth’ and in Chris Hightower’s runoff effort to become the first openly gay member of the Arlington City Council.

—  John Wright

N. Texas candidates prep for runoffs

Angela Hunt and James Nowlin

Dallas, Fort Worth mayors’ races head to runoff; Hunt sails to re-election; Griggs upsets incumbent; Hightower also in runoff

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Mike Rawlings will face David Kunkle in a runoff for Dallas mayor on June 18. The two will meet in a debate sponsored by Dallas Voice on May 24 at Cathedral of Hope at 6 p.m.

Rawlings, who outspent all three of his opponents combined, drew 41 percent of the vote. Kunkle, who was endorsed by Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, received 32 percent of the vote.

DGLA endorsed Ron Natinsky, who got 25 percent of the vote.

Both Kunkle and Rawlings have supports from the LGBT community, but in heavily gay Oak Lawn and Oak Cliff precincts, Kunkle drew more votes.

Dallas City Council

In City Council races, Angela Hunt sailed to a re-election victory with 65 percent of the vote against three challengers. Gay candidate James Nowlin received 30 percent and Vernon Franko and Brian Oley split the remaining 5 percent.

“I was humbled by the support, especially in the Oak Lawn precincts,” Hunt said. “It meant a great deal to me.”

Because of term limits, this will be Hunt’s last two years on the council. But she said she hasn’t thought about future plans.

“We have some serious challenges we need to address over the next two years,” Hunt said.

In a rare upset, challenger Scott Griggs defeated two-term incumbent Dave Neumann in District 3.

“It’s a new day for District 3,” Griggs said. “Our message resonated with voters.”

His message included wise use of tax dollars for small economic development projects in his district and stopping gas drilling within the city limits.

Pauline Medrano who represents parts of Oak Lawn was re-elected with 75 percent of the vote.

Delia Jasso, who represents a large section of North Oak Cliff, ran unopposed.

Casie Pierce, a lesbian who was challenging Carolyn Davis for District 7 in South Dallas and Pleasant Grove, lost her race.

In District 6, Stonewall-backed Monica Alonzo defeated DGLA-backed Luis Sepulveda in the race with the lowest voter turnout.

Tarrant County

In Fort Worth, former Tarrant County Tax Assessor-Collector Betsy Price will face former Mayor Pro Tem Jim Lane.

Of the five mayoral candidates, Price’s answers to a right-wing religious voter guide were the least LGBT-friendly, but Price said this week her answers were inaccurately represented (see story, Page 4).

In the non-partisan race, Price is running with the most Republican support, including that of U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, who is a former Fort Worth mayor.

The candidates will meet in a debate on June 1 at Four-Day Weekend Theater, 312 Houston St., Fort Worth at 5:30 p.m. Fairness Fort Worth and the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the event that will be moderated by Dallas Voice Senior Editor Tammye Nash and Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter Bud Kennedy.

Chris Hightower, District 5 City Council candidate in Arlington, also made it into a runoff. He will face incumbent Lana Wolff and if elected would become that city’s first openly gay elected official.

Hightower was the top vote-getter with 39 percent in a five-way race.

“We feel good about where we are,” he said. “We have a broad base of support in the district, and we are going to just keep at it, keep delivering that positive message to the voters. We are ready to go. We came into this prepared for a runoff. We will still be doing some fundraising, but we are in good shape. We just have to put our heads down and keep going.”

—  John Wright