FEEDBACK: Tavern Guild treasurer responds to criticism over gay Pride festival changes

Clearing up some Festival facts

I’m a bit disappointed by the tone of Hardy Haberman’s article on the Festival in Lee Park (“The end of the free festival,” Dallas Voice, April 15).

The writer admits up front that he never attended the event. I’m not sure where the nostalgia comes from if you have not been a regular in the park following the parade.

We all miss the “good old days” when the world was different. Days when people respected the law, followed rules, respected each other and controlled their drinking and fighting.

Things have changed. Sadly, the festival has degenerated to an embarrassing level. It was evident on the parade route this past year. It was most evident in the park for the last two years.

Uncontrolled drinking of cases and cases of beer brought into the park led to a lot of issues: Gay on gay issues; drunk, loud, vulgar language in front of children; rude behavior and more fights than we have ever experienced.

The actions of a few of our community disgusted several GLBT families with children. Rude, vulgar actions led only to anger on the part of the offending parties that their actions were questioned. And most all of it was due to uncontrolled beer and even liquor consumption.

Public drunkenness is illegal. Bringing liquor into the park is illegal. We run the risk of losing the support and attendance of much of the GLBT community if we do not control the events in the park. That would be a real loss.

TABC and Homeland Security are an issue, even though the writer scoffed at the idea. Homeland Security is the reason police requirements rose from 20 officers to 85 officers (DPD wanted 100 officers). These are all $35 to $45 per hour, per officer. We are approaching $20,000 in security.

Add to that a clean-up cost of $12,000 because in a celebration, no one wants to pick up after themselves. Add to that a festival in the park where the celebration is used by a few as an excuse to get as drunk as they want, with no thought or respect for others in attendance.

Frankly, this damages the GLBT image. It drives away good, responsible GLBT people from attending, and it cheapens the event.

A loss for the community? Yes, but that loss is not about a free event in the park. It’s a loss of reason, a loss of responsibility, a loss of respect and decency.

Americans in general have lost it. Some in the GLBT community have lost it. Fencing in the park was a last resort effort to control the drunkenness and the sanity during our festival.

The decision would have been taken out of our hands next year anyway. The Tavern Guild made the only good choice, and thanks to that decision, the festival will continue, “for now.”

Alan Pierce
Treasurer, Dallas Tavern Guild

More on charging for the Festival

Though I understand the reasoning, I think they will find that far fewer people attend the event, myself included … unless truly there is big name entertainment.

Bummer, via

The entire “Pride” thing is a joke. There is no pride. Its an excuse to be exhibionistic and to get stinking drunk. Sad, sad, sad.

Jim, via

This is what you get when you allow a community event to be sponsored by a group of business people whose main concern is getting a large amount of people into their bars and drinking their overpriced drinks. Lee Park is a PUBLIC PARK and the idea that a business group could fence it and charge admission goes against everything the idea of a public park should be. Of course, if the Tavern Guild is decrying the amount of “drunks” at the parade, they have no one to blame but themselves. Pride Schmide.

Brett, via

It (charging admission) is a great idea. I wish it would have happened sooner. I re-read the article and the negative comments seem extreme and unfounded.

Little Monster, via

Log Cabin Republicans was planning on having a booth as it always does at the festival until we read about the rule changes. The rule changes will impede attendance as much or more than the $5.

Can you imagine Lee Park with a perimeter fence? Nobody will be able to enter without going through a main entrance. Can you imagine renting a booth and not being allowed to bring in a cooler for your workers and guests? We just offer water and soft drinks, but coolers are now prohibited.

I don’t believe these rules will stand for very long as surely nobody will commit to a festival that nobody will attend.

Robert Schlein, via

—  John Wright

Man injured in dispute over $4 hot dog

Hudson says officers threw him to the ground during New Year’s Eve incident on Cedar Springs


LASTING IMPRESSION | Will Hudson suffered abrasions and bruises to his face when an unknown officer threw him to the ground in Oak Lawn on New Year’s Eve. (Photo courtesy Will Hudson)

Will Hudson never expected the simple purchase of a hot dog from a pushcart vendor on Cedar Springs to result in facial injuries and a night in jail.

On New Years Eve, Hudson and two friends did what they thought was the responsible thing to do. They rented a room at the nearby Holiday Inn on Harry Hines Boulevard and walked to the bars. After partying on the strip, they planned to take a quick cab ride back to their hotel.

The 23-year-old Drury College senior was in town visiting his parents during the winter break.

At about 10 p.m., before going into any of the bars, Hudson and his friend, Robert Fuggity of Houston, ordered a hotdog from Smoky Joe’s, a pushcart vendor that often sets up in front of S4 on Cedar Springs Road. The vendor prepared a hotdog and Hudson handed him a credit card.

Hudson said that the vendor immediately became agitated and said that he did not accept credit cards. So Fuggity said he would go to the ATM to get cash. The closest one is directly across the street outside the Round-Up Saloon.

Instead, Hudson said, the vendor called over nearby police. Hudson, who is 5-foot, 3-inches and weighs 130 pounds, said he was thrown to the ground, resulting in bruising to his face, including his cheek, ear and forehead. He and Fuggity were taken into custody for public drunkenness. They were transported to the City Detention Center downtown, a facility better known as “detox.”

Police may take someone into custody for public drunkenness if that person is suspected of being a danger to himself or others and can then hold that individual for six to 12 hours.

Hudson said that police did not do a sobriety test or take blood, nor did they offer to do either.

Hudson said he and his friend were held for 10 hours and released.

Both Hudson and Fuggity were given citations to appear in magistrate court. If they paid the $394 fine, the public drunkenness charge would remain on their record.

Dallas police LGBT liaison Officer Laura Martin said it was unlikely, but not impossible, that Dallas police would have been on foot on Cedar Springs at that hour. She suggested that instead, security guards employed by the bars answered the street vendor’s call and, after pushing Hudson to the ground, called police. Patrol cars were in the area all evening, Martin said.

According to the city of Dallas office for restaurant inspections, Smoky Joes does have a permit and permission to sell hot dogs on Cedar Springs.

Cedar Springs Merchants Association President Scott Whittall, who owns Buli, said that Smoky Joe’s is not a member of the retail group.

Rick Espaillat at Caven Enterprises, which operates S4 and several other bars in the area, said his company is not affiliated with the hot dog vendor, who operates on city-owned sidewalks, not on Caven property.

No contact information was available for Smoky Joe’s to get a comment for this story.

Adam Seidel, a Dallas attorney who represents Chad Gibson, the man injured in the 2009 Rainbow Lounge Raid in Fort Worth, said, “The events described by Mr. Hudson would make this level of force totally unjustifiable and excessive.”

He said that he looked forward to comparing Hudson’s version with that of the officers.

“How much of a danger am I for a $4 hot dog?” Hudson asked. He wondered why that level of force was used, especially since his friend had offered to run across the street and get the cash.

“Sometimes these cases are dismissed, but usually only after the officer fails to appear to testify at trial,” Seidel said. “Either way, public intoxication is a criminal offense, which, if not handled correctly, can result in a lifetime conviction on a person’s record.”

Hudson tried to get a copy of his arrest record. On Wednesday, Jan. 5, he went to Dallas police headquarters in The Cedars, but no records could be provided. Martin said there isn’t normally written documentation for a simple public intoxication arrest.

On Thursday, Jan. 6, Hudson went to court to answer the citation. He was given a sentence of time served and had to pay no court costs.

The arrest remains on his record, however. His request for deferred adjudication was denied.

Because of the facial abrasions, Martin said her lieutenant was trying to contact Hudson. Assistant Chief Vincent Golbeck referred the case to Internal Affairs. They’re interested in speaking to anyone else who witnessed the incident.

Hudson is considering pursuing legal action as a result of his injuries.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas