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

Finally, a reparative therapy program offered by the gays that guarantees no results

Reparative

This certificate is all it takes to go into the reparative therapy business. There’s no certification. No training. No oversight. Why? Because reparative therapy isn’t therapy.

Metroplex Republicans Vice President Rudy Oeftering attended the Texas Republican Convention in Fort Worth last week, testified before the platform committee and was as horrified as anyone when they endorsed reparative therapy.

To show just how qualified you have to be to offer reparative therapy, Oeftering went to the Dallas County Clerk’s office and registered his new business — Nomo Homo Reparative Therapy. It’s official — with County Clerk John Warren’s signature and everything.

Reparative therapy is unregulated. No medical, psychological or social work organization endorses it. In fact, all of them condemn it. The state of Texas doesn’t regulate it. So now Oeftering is happy to offer it.

He promises no results. He expects any gay “patients,” as the Republican platform refers to the community, to finish his program just as gay as they started, maybe more so. And he plans to charge just what other programs charge — $10,000 cash up front.

Oeftering said at least in his program, his promise of no results is guaranteed. He suggests victims of other programs, which don’t deliver the promised results of changing a person’s sexual orientation, should sue for breach of contract.

He said the person registering the business in the County Clerk’s office looked horrified when he turned in the application for the business certificate, until he assured them he was just trying to make the point that this was all you needed to open a reparative therapy business. No training or qualification is required.

—  David Taffet

Texas Republican platform committee removed worst of anti-gay language

Rob Schlein

Rob Schlein

Metroplex Republicans President Rob Schlein reported from the Republican state convention in Fort Worth that wording his organization wanted removed from the platform is gone.

“Good news!” Schlein wrote. “Platform subcommittee votes unanimously to remove the hateful antigay language in the platform.”

The removed language read: Homosexuality ― We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.

The platform has to be approved by the convention, but Schlein said the chair supports the removal of the language.

“We even got an apology from the subcommittee chair about the language,” Schlein said.

—  David Taffet

John Carona sells out the gays, signs letter in support of Boy Scouts ban

John Carona

Sen. John Carona

Republican state Sen. John Carona of Dallas, who drew the ire of social conservatives when he spoke out in support of pro-LGBT legislation last year, has signed a letter calling for the Boy Scouts of America to keep its ban on gay Scouts and leaders.

Carona has joined a group of 51 Republican elected officials in Texas who’ve signed the letter published on the website of Texas Values, one of the groups that criticized him for backing pro-LGBT legislation during an exclusive interview with Dallas Voice in October.

“As state elected officials, we strongly encourage the Boy Scouts of America to stick with their decades of support for family values and moral principles. Capitulating to the liberal social agenda not only undermines the very principles of scouting, but sets the stage for the erosion of an organization that has defined the American experience for generations of young men,” the letter states. “Scouts begin each meeting with an Oath, ‘to do my duty, to God and my country, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.’ By caving in to pressure from the social left, the national leadership would violate each of those principles.”

Four months ago, Carona became one of the first Republican legislators in Texas to back pro-LGBT legislation when he spoke to Dallas Voice at a meeting of Metroplex Republicans, a gay GOP group. Carona expressed support for legislation to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment; offer domestic partner benefits to state university employees; and allow same-sex adoptive parents to have both names on birth certificates.

Carona also told the Voice he was “evolving” on same-sex marriage but added that he was “not there yet.”

Carona’s comments drew backlash from both Texas Values and the Texas Pastor Council, which prompted him to backtrack on the statements, and since then he’s been silent about LGBT issues.

Jamie McCormick, a spokeswoman in Carona’s Austin office, said the senator was in Dallas on Monday afternoon and she was trying to get in touch with him to see if he has anything to say about his decision to sign the letter.

In January, when senators drew lots to determine how long their terms will be, Carona drew a two-year term, meaning he’ll be up for re-election in 2014.

It seems fairly obvious that in signing the Texas Values Boy Scouts letter, Carona is pandering to social conservatives in an effort to stave off a challenge from the right in the Republican Primary.

It’s a cowardly move, and the LGBT community should call him out on it. Contact info for Sen. Carona can be found here.

—  John Wright

Stonewall Democrats kick off week of LGBT holiday events tonight

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas will kick off the holiday party season with their annual holiday bash tonight.

Members will gather at the Round-Up Saloon on Monday for treats and the presentation of awards. Lunches with elected officials will also be auctioned off for a chance to dine with Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia, Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Judge Gena Slaughter and Judge Tonya Parker.

Donations for the group’s Santa’s Helpers Drive benefiting Legacy Founders Cottage will also be collected at the party. Needed items include socks, razors, toilet paper, paper towels, disposable forks and spoons, cleaning supplies, latex gloves, depends, soap and body wash.

• Don’t miss the Cedar Spring Merchants Association’s The Holidays on Cedar Springs Wednesday, Dec. 5, featuring live music on TMC: The Mining Company’s patio and the Christmas tree lighting at 7 p.m.

• The GLBT Chamber of Commerce’s Holly Jolly Ball is 7 p.m. Thursday at Avneu Lounge, 2912 McKinney Ave. Proceeds benefits the chamber’s Leadership Education & Advocacy Program (LEAP).

• Metroplex Republicans will host its Christmas/Hannukah Party Friday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. at President Rob Schlein’s home, 5502 Bent Trail.

• Also on Friday, is HRC’s DFW Federal Club’s Holiday Gala, complete with drinks, jazz and dancing beginning at 8 p.m. at Dallas Contemporary, 161 Glass St.

• Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats will serve up cheer at its holiday party Monday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. The party will be at the home of Julie and Dick Abrams, 4301 Briarhaven Road in Fort Worth. R.S.V.P. to felipetx76@gmail.com.

—  Anna Waugh

Stonewall hosts debate watch party; Carona visits Metroplex Republicans

This evening, Stonewall Democrats of Dallas celebrates its 16th anniversary with a reception and presidential debate watch party at the Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd. in Oak Cliff.

Stonewall President Omar Narvaez said he expects this to be the largest of the watch parties. Tonight is the third and final presidential debate. The topic is foreign policy and the debate takes place in the swing state of Florida.

The event begins at 7:30 p.m. The debate that will be projected on the big screen beginning at 8 p.m. Admission is free. Sponsorships are $16 and will be displayed at the event. To add your name to the sponsorship list email Omar@stonewalldemocratsofdallas.org.

Narvaez said he expects a number of candidates and elected officials to join the group for the party.

Meanwhile, Metroplex Republicans Dallas will host a watch party following its regular monthly meeting at Mattito’s, 3011 Routh St. in Uptown. The guest speaker for the meeting is State Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas.

“Senator Carona will update us on next sessions’ agenda items and afterwards we can watch the debate on Mattito’s television,” Metroplex Republicans said in an email.

—  David Taffet

Richard Grenell, gay former Romney campaign spokesman, visits Dallas

grenell

Richard Grenell

While serving as a spokesman for the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, Richard Grenell attempted to get his partner’s name listed in the U.N.’s “blue book” directory.

Grenell, who’s openly gay, said his request went all the way to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s top attorney, who stalled for years before denying it and citing the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

Under President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the policy was changed in 2010, and same-sex partners can now be listed in the U.N. directory, an official in the office of the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. confirmed this week.

But Grenell, who said he didn’t know whether the policy had been changed, just laughed when asked whether it could convince him to vote for Obama on Nov. 6.

“We have an administration that just lied to us on Libya,” Grenell said. “I fear for every gay person’s safety if we allow this administration to continue their weak national security record.”

The response is hardly surprising from Grenell, a gay Republican who is perhaps best known in the LGBT community for his brief stint earlier this year as a national security spokesman for Mitt Romney’s campaign. Grenell resigned from the position a few weeks after being appointed in a firestorm of controversy over his sexual orientation.

Grenell, who’ll keynote Metroplex Republicans’ Grand Ol’ Party on Saturday, talked about that episode and more in an interview with Dallas Voice this week.

—  John Wright

Metroplex Republicans to join GOProud

Schlein.Rob

Rob Schlein

Metroplex Republicans of Dallas, which split off from Log Cabin Republicans amid controversy last year, has announced plans to affiliate with another national gay conservative group, GOProud. GOProud bills itself as “a national organization of gay and straight Americans who seek to promote freedom by supporting free markets, limited government, and a respect for individual rights.”

Rob Schlein, then president of Dallas’ Log Cabin chapter, invited two GOProud leaders to speak at a fundraiser in October. Schlein’s invitation, along with other factors including an op-ed he wrote saying he would support Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president over Barack Obama, prompted National Log Cabin Republicans to de-charter the Dallas chapter. Since then, the chapter has been rechartered under the leadership of Thomas Purdy, giving Dallas two gay Republican groups.

On Wednesday, Schlein sent over a press release announcing Metroplex Republicans’ plans to affiliate with GOProud. From the press release:

“Metroplex Republicans is one of the strongest and most influential local gay conservative groups in the country,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, GOProud executive director. “We are lucky to add them to the GOProud family.

“For years, Metroplex Republicans have been an incredibly important and influential player on the Texas political scene. They have built an impressive grassroots organization with long-standing and impressive political ties to the state and local Republican leadership,” continued LaSalvia.

“We are pleased to be able to announce our intention to affiliate with GOProud,” said Rob Schlein, President of Metroplex Republicans. “We have been admirers of the great work GOProud has done since their founding in 2009. In just three short years, GOProud has established itself as the leading voice nationally for gay conservatives. They have built bridges in the conservative movement, thought outside the box, and fundamentally transformed how the world thinks about gay conservatives. We are thrilled at the opportunity to join the GOProud family.”

“GOProud has been incredibly selective in addingaffiliates. We want only the absolute best to represent the GOProud brand on the state and local level – without question, Metroplex Republicans fits that bill,” concluded LaSalvia.

In related news, U.S. Senate candidate Lela Pittinger will be Metroplex Republicans’ featured speaker  at its monthly meeting next week. “Please do us proud by showing Lela a Texas-Sized ‘Metroplex’ crowd on Monday,” the group wrote in an email.

In February, Pittinger signaled during a debate that she’d be willing to meet with gay Republican groups, comparing it it to Jesus eating dinner with “sinners.” However, Pittinger also criticized former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert for appearing at gay Pride, saying, “Now while he [Jesus] ate dinner with them [sinners], I don’t believe he marched along with them as they were going down to have an orgy or have any sort of drunken revelries.”

—  John Wright

Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu to visit Dallas for congressional campaign fundraiser in April

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu (Associated Press)

Republican U.S. Congressional hopeful Paul Babeu is set to visit Dallas on April 7. A fundraiser for the recently outed Arizona sheriff is being hosted by Rudy Oeftering, vice president of the gay GOP group Metroplex Republicans, according to an invitation received by Instant Tea.

Oeftering wasn’t immediately available for comment but mentioned his support for Babeu at the group’s February meeting. After contacting Babeu in early February, Oeftering said he was trying to find a good date Babeu could come to Dallas to speak and garner Texas support to “make history to elect the first open gay [conservative] representative for the House.”

“He’s been a strong conservative for many years,” Oeftering said at the time. “Besides the fact that he’s gay, he’s got pretty unassailable conservative credentials. With this new revelation, there’s a lot of people within the evangelical community that have now discounted him and he’s reaching out to new people and new sources to help him with his campaign.”

Oeftering wrote on the fundraiser’s online invitation that Babeu stands for the conservative values Texans want to see represented on Capitol Hill.

“He is making a special trip to Dallas to meet with us and tell us about his plans to take our Conservative principles to Washington,” Oeftering wrote. “Please mark your calenders to attend this important event. Also, please plan on making a financial contribution to help his campaign.”

—  Anna Waugh

Ted Cruz’s local field director speaks to gay Republican group by her ‘own choice’

Ashley Sewell

Metroplex Republicans of Dallas got a lesson on social media and politics at their Monday night meeting courtesy of guest speaker and conservative blogger Ashley Sewell, who also happens to be the North Texas field director for anti-gay GOP Senate hopeful Ted Cruz’s campaign.

“This is my own time and my own choice,” Sewell told Dallas Voice of her appearance after the meeting, where she spoke to the audience about various social media platforms. “This was scheduled many, many months ago before I did anything for Ted.”

Metroplex Republicans was the Dallas chapter of Log Cabin Republicans chapter before it was dechartered by the national organization for various reasons last year.

Sewell said her position with Cruz’s campaign involves helping volunteers “get plugged into events and groups and make sure that they are contributing to the campaign in a way that they are excited about.”

A Jan. 12 posting on Sewell’s website mentioned that she would be working as “an independent contractor in his run for U.S. Senate as his DFW Field Director. Sounds snazzy, huh? Snazzy or not, it’s going to be a big job but I’m excited about it. I’ll help manage the events and meetings in north Texas, as well as the volunteers, all in an effort to get Ted’s message out to the voters.”

—  Anna Waugh