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

Martinez will be first out Dallas County Justice of the Peace

Treasurer candidate Pauline Medrano, left, and County Commissioner Elba Garcia

Treasurer candidate Pauline Medrano, left, and County Commissioner Elba Garcia

With more than a 500 vote lead, Sara Martinez won her primary for Justice of the Peace Precinct 5, Place 1. She faces no Republican opposition in the fall and will become the first out JP in Dallas County. Martinez had the support of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

In other Dallas County runoffs, former City Councilwoman Pauline Medrano held a 20 point lead over her opponent Bennie Elnora Brown. Medrano said she was campaigning this evening until the polls closed at 7 p.m. and will continue campaigning hard through the fall election. She did well in many of the suburbs where she’s not as well known by working with precinct chairs and area Democratic clubs.

Felicia Pitre won the District Clerk runoff against Tarsha Hardy with more than 62 percent of the vote. Pitre works for current District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, who endorsed her as his successor.

Another Stonewall Democrats of Dallas-backed candidate who won her runoff was Katy Hubener for a Precinct 4 JP seat. Constable Beth Villareal held a slim lead over challenger Michael Orozco and that race remains too close to call. Villareal has Stonewall’s endorsement.

Statewide, David Alameel gained more than 70 percent of the vote in the race to become the Democratic challenger to U.S. Senator John Cornyn. Alameel beat Kesha Rogers whose platform is to impeach President Obama. Jim Hogan beat Kinky Friedman to run for Agriculture Commissioner.

In statewide Republican races, Sen. Dan Patrick beat incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Patrick faces Leticia Van de Putte in November for Lieutenant Governor.

Sen. Ken Paxton beat Rep. Dan Branch for the Republican nomination for Attorney General. Paxton faces Democrat Sam Houston in November.

 

 

—  David Taffet

Dan Branch claims Facebook yanked campaign ad over anti-gay content

Rep. Dan Branch

Rep. Dan Branch

Texas attorney general candidate Dan Branch’s campaign is claiming Facebook pulled one of his ads because it includes anti-gay hate speech. That might be humorous if it were true, but a Facebook spokesperson says the decision to pull the ad was a mistake.

Branch, a Republican state representative who represents part of Dallas’ Oak Lawn gayborhood, is among those vying to replace AG Greg Abbott, who’s stepping down to run for governor in 2014. In the ad released last week, Branch vows to protect Texas’ right to trample on the rights of women and gays.

“I will fight for our state’s right to protect the unborn, and our right to define a marriage as between one man and woman, and if some in Washington want to deny us our freedom, as they said at the Battle of Gonzalez, we’ve got four words for them here in Texas: ‘Come and take it,’” Branch says in the ad.

Facebook pulled the ad last Thursday for violating “community standards,” according to The Texas Tribune. However, a day later the ad was restored, and the site apologized.

“As our team processes more than 1 million reports each week, we occasionally make a mistake,” Facebook said in a statement. “We worked to rectify the error as soon as we were notified. We apologize for the inconvenience caused due to the removal of this content, and we have already taken steps to prevent this from happening in the future. Additionally, we have removed any blocks on associated accounts.”

—  John Wright

LEGE UPDATE: Anti-gay Rep. Ken Paxton to seek Florence Shapiro’s State Senate seat in Plano

Sen. Florence Shapiro

State Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, announced Monday that she will not seek re-election in 2012. Shapiro, who has served in theSenate since 1993, told the Texas Tribune that she is in  final negotiations for a job with a Texas-based education company.

Shapiro currently serves as chair of the Senate education committee, a crucial bottleneck for legislation dealing with anti-bullying efforts in Texas. Her support of both HB 1942 (the “super” anti-bullying bill) and HB 1386 (teen suicide prevention) during the 82nd regular legislative session this spring was crucial to both bills passing. Shapiro also voted in favor of legislation by Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, that made the Texas HIV Medication Advisory Committee statutorily permanent.

Historically Shapiro’s support of the LGBT community has been limited to bills that don’t explicitly acknowledge the existence of LGBT people (for example, the two anti-bullying bills mentioned above). In 2001, when the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act was debated in the Texas Senate, Shapiro offered an amendment that would have rewritten the legislation to remove an enumerated list that included “sexual preference.”  The amendment failed.  When the Senate finally voted on the bill, with the enumerated list intact, Shapiro was one of 10 senators who opposed it. Shapiro also supported both the 2003 “Texas Defense of Marriage Act” and the 2005 constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage equality in Texas.

—  admin