Longtime Parkland CEO Ron Anderson dies of cancer

RJAnderson

Ron J. Anderson, M.D.

Ron J. Anderson, M.D., president and CEO of Parkland Health and Hospital System for 29 years, died Thursday, Sept. 11 of cancer. He was 68 years old. As of Friday morning, services were pending.

Anderson took over as head of Parkland in 1982, when he was 35 years old and when the AIDS epidemic was in its early days. Anderson was head of the county hospital when, in the late 80s, the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance  (then called Dallas Gay Alliance) and Ron Woodruff of Dallas Buyers Club fame, filed — and won — the lawsuit that forced Parkland to treat people with HIV.

Anderson was named president and CEO after serving two years as medical director of the hospital’s emergency room and outpatient clinic and head of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Division of Internal Medicine. He retired from Parkland in 2011, after spending his last years with the hospital leading the bond campaign that brought in public financing for the new $1.3 billion facility due to open next year.

In the mid-1980s, Anderson grabbed national attention when he spoke out against the practice — called patient dumping — of transferring medically unstable patients from private hospitals to public hospitals based on the patient’s ability or inability to pay, leading to passage of state laws regarding indigent care in Texas and later federal legislation banning patient dumping.

According to a press release from Parkland announcing his death, Anderson was known as an advocate of universal health care and for leading development of Parkland’s Community Oriented Primary Care health centers. He came to national attention again in the mid-1990s as a spokesperson in the movement for better confidentiality regarding the patient/physician relationship.

Anderson once said, in a speech to a UT Southwestern graduating class, “It is not enough just to try ‘to do good’ and try ‘to avoid evil,’ although these are the ethical keystones of the physician/patient relationship. We cannot be paternalistic toward patients and must accept their cultural, religious, ethnic and social differences. We must respect our patients’ autonomy and desire for wholeness, which should stimulate us to address the social justice issues affecting our patients’ lives.”

—  Tammye Nash

Dallas City Council approves resolution

Photos by Steve Ramos

—  Steve Ramos

DGLA endorses Kingston in runoff

Kingston.PhilipThe Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance has endorsed Philip Kingston in the District 14 Dallas City Council runoff. Kingston faces Bobby Abtahi in the June 15 election. Abtahi has the backing of Stonewall Democrats. DGLA originally endorsed Jim Rogers, who finished third among seven candidates and out of the runoff on May 11.

DGLA PAC chair Damien Duckett said his organization believes Kingston has the same sort of independent spirit as incumbent Angela Hunt, who is stepping down due to term limits.

“It allows her to stand up on the council even when it’s not popular,” he said. “He made the PAC feel he’ll be that same sort of councilman.”

In deciding on the endorsement, PAC member Nell Gaither recused herself from the discussion because she had previously endorsed Kingston.

Duckett called the decision between Abtahi and Kingston difficult because PAC members like both of the candidates but felt Kingston was the stronger of the two.

Duckett said the group was impressed with Kingston’s performance at the DGLA forum held in March at Sue Ellen’s.

“One of the messages I tried to deliver at the forum was you can’t be the District 14 rep without reaching out to the LGBT community,” Kingston said.

Four of the seven candidates in the race skipped the forum.

“I like that group and I’m really excited about the endorsement,” Kingston said.

—  David Taffet

Dallas City Council candidates woo LGBT voters at DGLA forum

Candidates at the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance’s LGBT forum at Sue Ellen’s on April 14. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Candidates at the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance’s LGBT forum at Sue Ellen’s on April 14. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Eight candidates vying for the LGBT community’s vote in the May 11 City Council election spoke about their support and advocacy during the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance’s forum Sunday.

LGBT allies and incumbents Delia Jasso and Scott Griggs, who are facing off in a redrawn District 1, attended, as did DISD Trustee Adam Medrano and openly gay real estate developer Herschel Weisfeld in District 2, Claudia Meyer in District 3, and Bobby Abtahi, Philip Kingston and Jim Rogers in District 14.

Several candidates addressed the need of the city to provide more funding and education on HIV prevention, especially among young minorities. Weisfeld and Abtahi said the city should spend more funds on educational programs.

“When you prevent one person from contracting HIV, it pays for the whole program,” Abtahi said.

—  Anna Waugh

Weisfeld calls Medrano ‘no show opponent,’ challenges him to a debate

Herschel Weisfeld and Adam Medrano

Herschel Weisfeld, left, and Adam Medrano

Openly gay real estate developer Herschel Weisfeld is calling out opponent and DISD Trustee Adam Medrano for failing to appear at City Council District 2 candidate forums.

Wesifeld sent out an email today highlighting Medrano’s absence at an arts forum in March where organizers couldn’t reach Medrano’s campaign to confirm his appearance after hearing from volunteers that he’d attend. Medrano told the Dallas Morning News he had a scheduling conflict that night.

Weisfeld also mentions that Medrano didn’t attend a LULAC 102 breakfast to meet the candidates April 6, where only he and Ricky Gonzales were present.

“A conversation of the candidates before the community is a critical part of the democratic process for the voters to see the differences in each of the candidates running in this important election and in making their choice when going to the polls,” Weisfeld said in his email.

Contacted by Instant Tea, Medrano said Weisfeld was “running a negative campaign because his campaign is not going well.”

“Our campaign’s going great,” Medrano said. “I just have to stay positive and focus on my campaign.”

Medrano said he’ll be at the Deep Ellum Community Association’s event at 7 p.m. tonight at Kettle Art Gallery, 2714 Elm St.

Medrano said he also plans to attend the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance’s forum at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Sue Ellen’s.

—  Anna Waugh

Planned protest to become a celebration

Daniel Cates

What was going to be a protest in response to North Carolina’s vote against same-sex marriage has turned into a likely celebration after President Barack Obama came out in support of marriage equality today.

Daniel Cates, North Texas regional coordinator for GetEQUAL and organizer of tonight’s rally on Cedar Springs in Dallas, said the focus of the event has changed but he still wants to call on other elected officials to support equality.

“Obviously we want to celebrate the president joining the conversation,” Cates said. “That is wonderful, so we will celebrate that, but we will continue to call on the Democratic National Committee to follow suit and go ahead and endorse marriage equality and full federal equality. And we will also continue to call on our president to sign that executive order and to push for employment protections.”

On the Facebook page for the rally, GetEQUAL TX wrote, “While we have every reason to protest tonight, we now also have a reason to celebrate! Tonight we will make a clear call for elected leaders from Mayor Mike Rawlings to Members of Congress to the DNC to follow the President’s example and stand up for what they know is right!”

The group added that crews from several local TV stations will be on hand for the rally, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Legacy of Love monument at Oak Lawn Avenue.

 

—  David Taffet

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

DGLA likely to endorse David Kunkle, as PAC chair stands behind warning about Mike Rawlings

Damien Duckett

The Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance’s Political Action Committee is scheduled to meet Friday to consider re-endorsing in the mayor’s race, after DGLA-backed candidate Ron Natinsky finished third and failed to advance to the June 18 runoff.

Damien Duckett, chair of the PAC, indicated that given DGLA’s previous “warning” against top vote-getter Mike Rawlings, the group is likely to get behind second-place finisher David Kunkle, who already has the backing of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

“We’ll talk about it,” Duckett told Instant Tea this morning. “Obviously we issued a very strong warning against Rawlings previously, so I can’t see him being considered, but I don’t make those decisions unilaterally. That’s up to the PAC. We’ll have to re-evaluate everything when we come back together.”

Duckett said it’s possible DGLA will request follow-up interviews with Kunkle and Rawlings, or send them another questionnaire. The warning about Rawlings could be re-issued or even rescinded, although the latter seems unlikely.

DGLA’s warning said Rawlings’ “passion for commerce and business interests supremely overwhelms his appreciation for the civil rights of all people.”

According to DGLA, the warning was based on statements Rawlings made in response to a question about requiring city contractors to have LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policies. In response to DGLA’s warning — which one of his prominent gay supporters called “irresponsible” and “immature” — Rawlings has adamantly denied that he would ever put economic development ahead of civil rights. But Duckett said he stands behind the warning.

“I think it was absolutely the right thing to do,” Duckett said when asked whether he’s concerned that the warning could come back to haunt the LGBT community if Rawlings, widely considered the favorite in the runoff, becomes mayor.

—  John Wright

Rawlings, Kunkle headed to runoff; Griggs knocks off Neumann; Hunt cruises past Nowlin

District 3 Dallas City Councilman-elect Scott Griggs poses with his mother during a watch party at his campaign headquarters in Oak Cliff on Saturday. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Gay candidate Chris Hightower advances to runoff in Arlington

From Staff Reports

Former Pizza Hut CEO Mike Rawlings and former Police Chief David Kunkle are headed to a June 18 runoff for Dallas mayor.

Meanwhile, challenger Scott Griggs knocked off incumbent Dave Neumann for the District 3 Dallas City Council seat, and District 14 incumbent Angela Hunt easily staved off a challenge from openly gay candidate James Nowlin in a race that has sharply divided the LGBT community.

The only other openly gay candidate on the ballot in Dallas, Casie Pierce, lost to incumbent Carolyn Davis in District 7. However, openly gay candidate Chris Hightower advanced to a runoff for the District 5 council seat in Arlington.

Rawlings and Kunkle were the top two vote-getters in the Dallas mayor’s race, beating out City Councilman Ron Natinsky. Rawlings converted his huge fund-raising advantage into a strong showing at the polls, capturing 41 percent of the vote with 551 of 555 precincts reporting. Kunkle, endorsed by Stonewall Democrats, had 32 percent. Natinsky, endorsed by the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, had 25 percent.

In District 3, Griggs captured 57 percent of the vote to Neumann’s 43 percent. Griggs, endorsed by both DGLA and Stonewall, will take over the Oak Cliff seat once held by gay Councilman Ed Oakley.

In District 14, Hunt captured 67 percent of the vote, to Nowlin’s 28 percent. Brian Oley was third with 4 percent, and Vernon Franko was fourth with 2 percent. Hunt was endorsed by DGLA, while Nowlin was endorsed by Stonewall.

In District 7, Pierce was backed by both DGLA and Stonewall as she vied to become the first out lesbian elected to the Dallas City Council. But Davis cruised to re-election with 61 percent, while Helene McKinney finished second with 21 percent and Pierce finished third with 18 percent.

In the Fort Worth mayor’s race, former Tarrant County Tax-Assessor Collector Betsy Price advanced to a runoff against former Councilman Jim Lane. Price received 43 percent of the vote to Lane’s 26 percent. Of the five Fort Worth mayoral candidates, Price was the one whose answers to a recent right-wing religious voters guide were the least LGBT-friendly. Fort Worth attorney and LGBT activist Jon Nelson, however, said he believes Price “has a good heart” but “just isn’t educated on gay issues.”

In the Arlington District 5 race, Hightower was the top-vote getter and advances to a runoff against incumbent Lana Wolff. Hightower captured 39 percent of the vote to Wolff’s 35 percent.

“Our supporters have really rallied behind us and behind our positive message,” Hightower said. “We have a positive message that goes back to the basics, and the voters have gotten behind that message. We feel the voters are saying they are ready for new leadership from a new generation.”

Hightower, who is endorsed by the Washington, D.C.-based Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, said he’s looking forward to the runoff against Wolff.

“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.”

In other Dallas races, District 2 incumbent Pauline Medrano handily defeated challenger Billy MacLeod, 75 percent to 25 percent.

In District 6, Monica Alonzo defeated Luis Sepulveda for the seat being vacated by Councilman Steve Salazar. Alonzo, endorsed by Stonewall Democrats, captured 61 percent to Sepulveda’s 39 percent. Sepulveda was endorsed by DGLA.

In the race to replace Natinsky in District 12, Sandy Greyson and Donna Starnes are headed to the only other Dallas runoff aside from the mayor’s race.

Incumbents Delia Jasso, Dwaine Caraway, Vonciel Jones Hill, Tennell Atkins, Linda Koop, Sheffie Kadane, Jerry Allen and Ann Margolin were all re-elected to the council.

 

—  John Wright