A positive parking experience at State Fair

It’s that time of year again: Big Tex is waving welcome to Texas State Fair visitors and the smell of corny dogs and funnel cakes fills the air. Of course, one of the biggest headaches about going to the fair is navigating traffic to get there, and finding a — safe and legal — parking space. Well, here are some hints and advice from the city of Dallas on the parking side of that equation.

The first things to remember is that just because somebody is standing there with a flag, waving you into a “parking area” for a relatively small fee, that doesn’t mean you should park there. For one thing, not all those folks have permits, and some are even charging fairgoers to park on “their” property, even though it isn’t actually their property.

bigtex2014City officials said that on opening day last Friday, Fair Parking Service representatives visited every location in the area with a permit to host parking “to make them aware of what they are authorized to do, educate the onsite supervisors of the dos and don’ts” and to tell them about the “three-strike enforcement process. Anyone operating illegally will receive citations immediately.”

City Parking Services representatives will be issuing criminal citations to people operating parking lots without a permit “inside and outside the crown area, two streets out” from the fairgrounds. ”The goal is,” city officials said, “to discourage individuals who flag people onto vacant lots or the parking lots of closed establishments without permission to use the property. This situation has resulted in some unknowing fairgoers having their cars towed by the property owner.”

If you go to the fair and decide to parking somewhere outside the fairgrounds, make sure that you park at a lot displaying “the mandatory placard” in the correct colors, which this year means an orange sign with blue writing. I am going to suggest that if the sign is obviously handwritten, it probably isn’t genuine.

“Any location not displaying this placard or not displaying a placard at all is not an authorized location. Parking at any of thee locations could result in a vehicle possibly being towed,” city officials warned.

Here are the general guidelines permitted parking locations are required to follow:

• They can’t charge more than 150 percent of what fairground lots charge.

• They have to have the fee they charge for parking posted in a conspicuous place, written in letters at least 5 inches high.

• They can’t charge you more than their sign says they charge.

• They have to have a Fair Park Parking permit to charge a fee to park cars “inside the crown area” (the two street perimeter).

• The supervising attendant must be present any time cars are parked on the lot. That means when people are getting there to park, and all the way through to the time the last car parked there leaves.

• The supervising attendant must  be “wearing and displaying” their city-issued permit ID.

So there you have — the rules to park at the State Fair. Go. Park safely. And enjoy your corny dog.

—  Tammye Nash

Pic of the day: Downward Dog Day Afternoon

Flash Yoga Mob at Westheimer and Wesleyan, in the parking lot of Wells Fargo.

Flash Yoga Mob

—  admin

Queer Bingo gets new home

The Houston GLBT Community Center’s First Saturday Queer Bingo moves into new digs for this month’s venture. The long running fundraiser starts its residency at Don Julio’s (322 Westheimer) Saturday, January 7, at 4 pm. Tim Brookover, president of the Community Center, says that the new venue provides much needed off-street parking for the event adding that the second story space is easily accessible by elevator. Additionally, bar service will be available from Don Julio’s along with their full menu.

Queer Bingo is hosted by drag performers Tanya Hyde and Lana Blake and features food, fun and a 50/50 auction. All proceeds benefit the center’s John Lawrence & Tyrone Garner Scholarship Fund. “We are very excited to move into the new home of Queer Bingo,” says Brookover. “We hope everyone can join us.”

—  admin

Remembering John Lawrence, the man behind Lawrence v. Texas

Lawrence

John Lawrence and Tyrone Gardner

Metro Weekly reports that one-time Houstonian John Geddes Lawrence, the “Lawrence” in Lawrence v. Texas, passed away last month at the age of 68:

“In the facts underlying the Supreme Court case, Lawrence v. Texas, Lawrence and Tyron Garner were arrested under Texas’s Homosexual Conduct Law after police entered Lawrence’s home on Sept. 17, 1998, and saw them “engaging in a sexual act.” The couple challenged the law as unconstitutional”

I was 22 and living in Dallas in 2003 when the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Lawrence declaring Texas’ law against “homosexual conduct” unconstitutional. A group of over 100 people gathered in the parking lot of the Resource Center of Dallas as Dennis Coleman, then with Lambda Legal, read excerpts of the decision. I remember the exuberant electricity in the air, the crowd bubbling with joy and the relief of centuries of official oppression finally coming to an end. Similar get-togethers took place across the state, as an entire community breathing a collective sigh of relief.

That relief has turn to frustration over the years. Although the Supreme Court decision rendered Penal Code Section 21.06 unconstitutional, the law remains on the books, and efforts to remove it have met with significant resistance. During a hearing this spring on finally removing the unconstitutional law, Rep. Jose Aliseda, R – Pleasanton, lamented that repeal of the law would entail removing portions of the Health Code requiring that HIV education efforts include information that “homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense under Section 21.06, Penal Code.”

Before Lawrence several attempts were made to remove the law against “homosexual conduct.” The Texas legislature voted to remove it from the penal code as part of a complete rewrite of the code in 1971, but the measure was vetoed by Gov. Preston Smith. In 1973 the Legislature again undertook a rewrite of the code, keeping “homosexual conduct” a crime but making it a class C misdemeanor. In 1981 a U.S. District Court ruled in Baker v. Wade that the law was unconstitutional, but as that case was winding its way through an unusually torturous appeals process the Supreme Court ruled in Bowers v. Hardwick that a similar law in Georgia was constitutional, making the questions in Baker moot. Similarly, in the 90′s there was hope that Texas v. Morales might finally prevail in defeating the “homosexual conduct” prohibition, but the Texas Supreme Court decided that since, in their opinion, the law was rarely enforced, there was no reason for them to rule in the matter.

Lawrence’s legacy lives on in a scholarship named after him and Garner administered by the Houston GLBT Community Center. The scholarship “recognizes outstanding leadership shown by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Texas high school seniors and college
students by contributing to the cost of their continuing education. Selection is based upon character and need.” Tim Brookover, president of the community center, expressed sorrow at Lawrence’s passing “John was a hero, the community owes a great debt of gratitude to John and Tyrone for taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court,” said Brookover. “They could have easily allowed it to slip away, but they decided to stay and fight and that makes them heroes and role models.”

The application deadline for the John Lawrence/Tyrone Gardner Scholarship is March 2, 2012.

—  admin

Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Dralion’ closes today in Frisco

Cirque work

Traditional Chinese circus meets the modern circus in Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion. Filled with the usual jaw-dropping feats, Dralion goes beyond circus tricks. The flying acrobats, the haunting (and gay) vocalist and the trio of clowns come together to bring a moving work of art. Two things to be aware of. Even though it’s in the Dr. Pepper Arena where hockey teams practice and play, they could turn the air up a bit. And the parking garage is, well, a challenge. But Dralion makes it all wortwhile.

DEETS: Cirque du Soleil: Dralion at Dr. Pepper Arena, 2601 Avenue of the Stars, Frisco. 5 p.m. $40–$95. Ticketmaster.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Local Briefs

CCGLA surveys candidates, sets meet-and-greet events

As municipal elections approach, the Collin County Gay & Lesbian Alliance has sent an online survey to city council, school board and mayoral candidates in Allen, Frisco, Plano and McKinney, and “meet-and-greet” sessions for candidates are planned in Frisco, Plano and McKinney in April.

The organization will also create and distribute a voters’ guide.

The Plano “meet-and-greet” will be held on Friday, April 8, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at a private residence. For more information, go online to CCGLA.org.

Results of CCGLA’s candidate surveys will be posted on the CCGLA website prior to each event. The events are informal, non-partisan, and all candidates are invited.

Oak Cliff Earth Day to feature vendors, info booths and more

Oak Cliff Earth Day, which has become the largest all-volunteer-run Earth Day since it started five years ago, will be held on Sunday, April 17, from noon to 5 p.m. at Lake Cliff Park, located at the intersection of Colorado Street and Zang Boulevard in Oak Cliff.

There is no charge to attend the event, which will include art, food, plants and other environmentally-friendly products available for purchase.

There will also be educational booths on topics such as how to save energy and clean up the environment, along with locally-grown honey, animals to adopt and native plants for gardens.

Parking at the park is limited, however, free parking is available at Methodist Hospital, in Lot 10 only, located at 1400 S. Beckley Ave. across from the hospital entrance on Beckley Ave. Methodist Hospital is providing a shuttle bus from the parking lot to the event.

Participants are also encouraged to take DART to the event or walk or ride a bicycle. There are a number of bike racks, funded by Oak Cliff Earth Day, at the park.

Mayoral candidates to speak Sunday on animal issues in Dallas

Dallas’ mayoral candidates will participate in a forum on animal issues in the city of Dallas on Sunday, April 10, at 2 p.m. at the Central Dallas Library, 1515 Young St., in downtown Dallas. The Metroplex Animal Coalition is sponsoring the forum, with is free and open to the public. Journalist Larry Powell with Urban Animal magazine will moderate.

The mayoral candidates are former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle, Councilman Ron Natinsky, real estate consultant Edward Okpa and Mike Rawlings, former Pizza Hut CEO and Dallas homeless czar.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2011.

—  John Wright

Watch: Australian ‘Inland Tsunami’ Carries Away Parking Lot of Cars

Floods

The Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley regions in Queensland, Australia have been hit by an unprecedented flooding disaster, triggered by rainstorms that unleashed what many have referred to as an 'inland tsunami' which washed away everything in its path. At least 10 are dead and 78 missing.

"The water was literally leaping, six or 10 feet into the air, through creeks and over bridges and into parks," Kowald, a 53-year-old musician, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "There was nowhere to escape, even if there had been warnings. There was just a sea of water about a kilometer (half a mile) wide."

Portions of Brisbane, Australia's third-largest city, are being evacuated.

Here's a clip that's been going around of an entire parking lot of cars being swept away down a swollen creek.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP

Flood relief here.


Here's a news clip:



Towleroad News #gay

—  admin