TX Dems, GOP agree to April 3 primary

The Texas Democratic and Republican parties have reached an agreement under which all 2012 primary elections would be held April 3, the Houston Chronicle reports. The agreement has been submitted to a panel of federal judges in San Antonio for approval. Below is the parties’ joint statement issued this morning:

—  John Wright

More on Ron Natinsky and Stonewall Democrats

Ron Natinsky

Mayoral candidate Ron Natinsky may have been eligible after all for an endorsement from Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, according to the group’s president.

As we reported over the weekend, Natinsky abruptly pulled out of Stonewall’s candidate screening on Saturday over questions about whether he was eligible for the group’s endorsement since he’s a Republican.

According to Stonewall’s bylaws, “Endorsements may be made in Dallas County non-partisan elections if the candidate has a Democratic Party primary election voting history and/or affirms allegiance to the Dallas Democratic Party.”

Stonewall President Omar Narvaez said Monday that it’s possible Natinsky would have been eligible for the endorsement despite the candidate’s Republican primary voting record. The group instead endorsed former police chief David Kunkle.

“Bylaws cannot be waived, but there’s a lot of gray in that bylaw, just depending on how it’s interpreted and how it’s read,” Narvaez said. “I can’t tell you how it would have gone had he [Natinsky] been there. All I can say is that Kunkle had a lot of supporters in the room already.

“It was sad that he [Natinsky] ended up dropping out at the last minute, because it was another opportunity to actually speak to us,” Narvaez added. “When a candidate’s there it really means a lot more to the members. When somebody just decides that they’re not going to come speak at all, it makes the membership feel almost slighted — ‘why wouldn’t you show up?’”

—  John Wright

Ron Natinsky isn’t eligible for Stonewall’s endorsement, but he’s screening for it anyway

Ron Natinsky

Twenty-four candidates in local municipal elections are seeking the endorsement of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. The LGBT group will screen candidates on Saturday at Resource Center Dallas before voting on which horse to endorse in each race.

Those scheduled to appear Saturday to seek Stonewall’s endorsement include all four candidates for Dallas mayor. However, according to Stonewall’s bylaws, Ron Natinsky isn’t eligible for the group’s endorsement because he’s a Republican. The group’s bylaws read: “No member of the Republican Party, candidates in the Republican Primary, nor Republican candidates in a General or Non-Partisan Election are eligible for endorsement by this Organization. Endorsements may be made in Dallas County non-partisan elections if the candidate has a Democratic Party primary election voting history and/or affirms allegiance to the Dallas Democratic Party.”

Natinsky has been endorsed by some prominent gay Democrats, including Ed Oakley and Chris Luna, but it looks like Stonewall will be choosing between David Kunkle and Mike Rawlings.

In District 14, Stonewall members will have to decide between openly gay challenger James Nowlin and incumbent Angela Hunt, who’s been a strong LGBT ally on the council. It’s great to see gay candidates like Nowlin running for office, but I’d be shocked if Stonewall’s endorsement doesn’t go to Hunt.

In District 2, both challenger Billy MacLeod and incumbent Pauline Medrano are seeking Stonewall’s endorsement, which will undoubtedly to Medrano, who’s also a strong LGBT ally.

In District 3, only challenger Scott Griggs is seeking Stonewall’s endorsement. Griggs is running against incumbent Dave Neumann, who’s been endorsed by the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance in the past but is not currently scheduled to appear on Saturday. We suspect Neumann is in the same boat as Natinsky when it comes to being eligible for the endorsement.

In District 4, Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway is seeking Stonewall’s endorsement for re-election to his council seat. Caraway, of course, is finishing out Tom Leppert’s term after Leppert stepped down to run for Senate. Caraway is a shoe-in for re-election, but it’s good to see that he’s scheduled to appear on Saturday.

In District 7, openly gay challenger Cassie Pierce is the only candidate scheduled to seek Stonewall’s endorsement on Saturday. Pierce is running against incumbent Carolyn Davis.

Stonewall will screen candidates from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Resource Center Dallas. Only those with their membership dues as of Feb. 17 may vote.

A full press release, including a list of all candidates who are scheduled to appear, is after the jump.

—  John Wright

Bexar County Dem party chair insults LGBTs

Omar Narvaez

Ramos resists calls to resign after calling Stonewall Democrats  ‘Nazis’ and ‘termites’

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Democratic Party officials across Texas are calling for the resignation of Bexar County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Ramos after he called Stonewall Democrats “Nazis” and “termites.”

On Thursday, March 17, Ramos held a press conference where he was expected to resign. Instead, according to Sam Sanchez of QSanAntonio.com who attended the press conference, Ramos hurled new epithets.

Ramos said gays are like “white termites who have infiltrated the party much like termites infiltrate your house.”

He called Texas Democratic Party Chair Boyd Richie a “racist bastard” and an idiot who is advised by gay people.

Currently there are no rules in place for removing someone from a party position for incompetence, according to Dallas County Democratic Party Executive Director Steve Tillery.

“If he had publicly supported a Republican, he could be thrown out of office,” Tillery said. “But not for just being a dumbass.”

“He’s just ignoring calls for resignation,” said Dan Graney, president of Stonewall Democrats of Texas. Graney is from San Antonio.

The Bexar County Democratic Party has been in turmoil for several years according to Graney. The former treasurer was indicted recently for siphoning more than $200,000 in party funds.

That money came from the state to run the 2008 primary election.

The county chair stepped down in Dec. 2009, Graney said, but not because of the missing money. He said she left to run for higher office and was not implicated in the scandal despite her signature appearing on checks.

Graney’s husband Roberto Flores replaced her and served as interim county chair from Dec. 2009 through the May 2010 election that Ramos won.

Flores did not run for a full term against Ramos. He died in September 2010.

Graney said that Stonewall endorsed Ramos’ opponent in the election for county chair last year, but that Ramos sought the group’s endorsement.

Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio is among the largest Democratic clubs in that city and the second-largest Stonewall group in Texas after Dallas.

“He [Ramos] came to our meeting and answered our questions,” Graney said. “He made statements that he doesn’t condone discrimination.”

But Graney said that Ramos has a long history of divisiveness.

“He [Ramos] was an ACLU board member and was divisive there,” he said.

Graney said that the good that’s coming out of this is all the support Stonewall is getting from around the state.

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas president Omar Narvaez said response to the incident shows how far the LGBT community has come in Texas.

“We didn’t have to ask for anything,” he said. “It was already done.”

Narvaez said that before Stonewall even asked for the party’s support, Richie had already called for Ramos’ resignation.

Narvaez said the state party was just following its platform of inclusion.

The 2010 platform states, “We believe in and support repeal of discriminatory laws and policies against members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.”

“It’s part of who we are,” Narvaez said.

At their monthly meeting, members of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas added their official voice to the chorus of organizations condemning Ramos and unanimously passed a resolution calling for him to step down.

Ramos made his original comments in reaction to legislation filed by San Antonio Democrat Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer that would enable a state party executive committee to remove a county chair for misconduct or incompetence.

Stonewall of San Antonio had criticized Ramos’ fundraising efforts and his attempts to change precinct level leadership, ignoring party rules and committees. Among other things, Ramos called Stonewall “90 percent white, blue-eyed and Anglo.” Narvaez, who is Hispanic, took offense. He said leadership in six Stonewall groups in Texas, including San Antonio Stonewall co-chair Eduardo Juarez, are also Hispanic.

The Dallas County Democratic Party called on Ramos to resign. In a statement they said, “His hateful, bigoted comments have no place in the Democratic Party. We are a party of inclusiveness that supports and promotes equality, diversity, and tolerance.” Dallas County chair Darlene Ewing and members of the State Democratic Executive Committee signed the letter.

In building his case against Ramos, Richie accused him of a series of violations in addition to his “bigoted attitudes.” He said that Ramos “consistently refused to follow the Bexar County Democratic Party Rules and the Texas Democratic Party Rules” keeping the county party “in a state of turmoil.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright

N.Y. ousts 2 anti-equality Democrats

Hiram Monserrate

David Taffet  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

While Tea Party upsets in New York’s Republican primaries topped that state’s primary election news on Tuesday, the LGBT community scored two victories as well.

Two Democrats that blocked the passage of marriage equality in the New York Senate were turned away by their party.

Most notorious was Hiram Monserrate. After voting in Albany to protect traditional marriage as it’s been known since Biblical times, he had to rush back to Queens for sentencing on a domestic violence charge. He had already been found guilty of assaulting his live-in girlfriend.

Monserrate was thrown out of the Senate after his sentencing but he was trying to make a comeback in this election. New York’s LGBT community had targeted his race as well as that of Pedro Espada.

Espada is a Bronx Democrat who also voted against marriage equality. He lost his race by a 2-to-1 margin.

With these two out of the Senate, marriage equality could come to New York in the next session of their legislature. Currently, New York recognizes marriages performed elsewhere.

—  David Taffet