More on Club Dallas

We’re still trying to get in touch with someone at the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office to explain why prosecutors have chosen to dismiss charges against several of the men who were arrested in the Dallas Police Department’s raid of a gay bathhouse in October. However, it appears we are running into the same roadblock as the Dallas Morning News. The DMN reports that District Attorney Craig Watkins has designated one person to handle all media inquiries, and prosecutors in the DA’s office have been instructed not to talk to the media at all, and some fear getting fired if they do.

Anyhow, we’ve requested an interview with Watkins himself about the decision to dismiss the charges. The DA’s office’s media representative informs us that she’s passing along our request. It seems as though when the Dallas Police Department goes out of its way to raid a gay bathhouse and arrest 11 people — then the DA’s office declines to prosecute — there ought to be some sort of public explanation. The raid was hugely controversial in the gay community and made national news. We could speculate, as others have, that the DA’s Office believes these cases would be difficult to prove and doesn’t view them as a priority. Again, though, that’s speculation and hearsay — something prosecutors don’t typically like.

We also haven’t received any response from DPD as to what the department thinks about this decision by the DA’s office. We’ve spoken with both LGBT liaison officer Laura Martin and Chief David Brown himself, and both have promised to get back to us. Specifically, we’d like to know whether DPD plans to continue conducting these types of raids in the future knowing that the DA’s office isn’t going to prosecute those arrested. Imagine all the resources it took to plan and conduct the raid, then complete all the paperwork and book the 11 men into jail. And all for nothing, apparently. In extremely tight budget times, that shouldn’t sit well with anyone.

—  John Wright

Election 2010 • Novotny loses bid to unseat Kern

Brittney Novotny lost her bid to become a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives in midterm elections Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Out of 8,600 ballots cast, Novotny, who is transgender, received about 35 percent of the vote.

Her opponent, virulently anti-gay Rep. Sally Kern, will return to office for a fourth term.

Kern made national news saying that homosexuality is a worse threat to the country than terrorism.

Oklahoma has term limits, which means Kern can run for the House only two more times.

Novotny would have become the first transgender state legislator in the United States had she been elected.

In addition to running a fairly conservative district, Republicans swept statewide offices. Mary Fallin, the state’s new Republican governor, won her race by 20 points. Four of the state’s five congressmen will also be Republican.

Democratic incumbent Al McAffrey, who is gay and represents part of Oklahoma City in the state House of Representatives, won his race with almost 70 percent of the vote.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 5, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

The Dallas Police Department makes national news for its crackdown on a gay bathhouse

The Dallas Police Department has officially made national news for its raid 10 days ago of The Club Dallas, the gay bathhouse in Deep Ellum, which resulted in 11 arrests on charges including public lewdness and indecent exposure.

Towleroad, Queerty and Joe.My.God., which could easily be called “the big three” of national gay news blogs, have all posted items about the raid. Their posts are for the most part straightforward, but Joe Jervis at Joe.My.God. raises a good question: “Interesting that this took place weeks before an election, eh?”

Instant Tea has long heard that these types of vice operations tend to occur shortly before elections, but we’re still not quite sure why. Presumably the incumbents want to show that they’re tough on crime and extra-tough on sex-related offenses. But city elections aren’t until May. Do you mean to tell us that this raid was designed to help Gov. Rick Perry?

Here’s another good question to ask now that the story has made national news: Does publicity about the raid help or hurt Dallas? Discuss.

UPDATE: Not sure why it didn’t occur to us before, but of course the Dallas County district attorney is up for re-election in November. Is it at all possible that Craig Watkins was behind this raid?

—  John Wright