Laster becomes first out gay man on Houston City Council

Mike Laster

Mike Laster

With 57% of precincts reporting Mike Laster is the presumptive victor in the Houston District J City Council race. Laster, an out gay candidate endorsed by the Victory Fund and the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, has a commanding lead with 67% of the vote. His nearest opponent Criselda Romero trails with 22%.

Laster is the first out gay man to be elected to the Houston City Council.

From the Victory Fund website:

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin’s Plan II Honors Program, Mike earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Houston Law Center. While at the Law Center, Mike distinguished himself as the National Vice Chair of the American Bar Association Law Student Division.

Today Mike is an attorney specializing in real estate with the firm of Williams, Birnberg & Andersen, L.L.P. in Houston, where he has practiced for the past thirteen years. From 1989 to 1995, Mike served as a Senior Assistant City Attorney in the Real Estate Division of the City Attorney’s Office, where he handled many aspects of a general real estate and development practice for the city.

—  admin

Updated Election Results, HISD III may be headed for recount (updated)

With 31.98% of Harris County precincts reporting, most races look much the same as they did at 7 pm when the Harris County Clerk published early voting totals.  The HISD district III race between Manuel Rodriguez and Ramiro Fonseca is turning into a nail bitter. With 58% of precincts reporting only 36 votes separate the two candidates. This race garnered national attention after Rodriquez mailed an anti-gay flier attacking Fonseca, and the Houston Chronicle subsequently pulled its endorsement of Rodriquez

UPDATED: with 94.74% of precincts reporting Rodriquez is now leading Fonseca by 3 votes.

Only candidates with more than 10% of the vote at current count are reflected.

City of Houston, MAYOR, 29% of precincts reporting
Dave Wilson  10.99%
Fernando Herrera  14.56%
Annise D. Parker  52.09%
Jack O’Connor 13.43%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, AT-LARGE POSITION 1, 29% of precincts reporting
Stephen C. Costello 51.59%
Scott Boates 21.71%
Don Cook 18.31%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, AT-LARGE POSITION 2, 29% of precincts reporting
Kristi Thibaut 16.29%
Elizabeth C. Pérez 12.40%
Andrew C. Burks, Jr. 19.08%
David W. Robinson 11.76%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, AT-LARGE POSITION 3, 29% of precincts reporting
Melissa Noriega 56.88%
Chris Carmona 24.63%
J. Brad Batteau 18.49%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, AT-LARGE POSITION 4, 29% of precincts reporting
Louis Molnar 10.93%
Amy Price 19.47%
C. O. “Brad” Bradford 69.59%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, AT-LARGE POSITION 5, 29% of precincts reporting
Laurie Robinson 19.43%
Jolanda “Jo” Jones 41.03%
Jack Christie 31.31%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT A, 19% of precincts reporting
Brenda Stardig 42.77%
Helena Brown 47.45%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT B, 44% of precincts reporting
Kenneth Perkins 10.09%
Kathy Blueford-Daniels 17.49%
Alvin Byrd  26.86%
Jerry Davis  23.68%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT C, 23% of precincts reporting.
Ellen Cohen  55.56%
Karen Derr 10.50%
Brian Cweren  27.86%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT D, 35% of precincts reporting.
Larry L. McKinzie  16.44%
Wanda Adams  83.56%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT E, 33% of precincts reporting.
Mike Sullivan 100%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT F, 8% of precincts reporting.
Al Hoang  57.33%
Hoc Thai Nguyen (Nguyen Thai Hoc)  19.90%
Peter “Lyn” René  22.76%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT G, 20% of precincts reporting.
Clyde Bryan 21.00%
Oliver Pennington 79.00%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT H, 38% of precincts reporting.
Patricia Rodriguez 30.55%
Edward “Ed” Gonzalez 69.45%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT I, 46% of precincts reporting.
Leticia Gutierrez Ablaza 33.96%
James Rodriguez 66.04%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT J, 7% of precincts reporting.
Mike Laster 70.16%
Criselda Romero 19.86%

City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT K, 19% of precincts reporting.
Pat Frazier 23.15%
Larry Green 68.40%

Houston I.S.D., Trustee, District III, 58% of precincts reporting.
Manuel Rodriguez  50.61%
Ramiro Fonseca 49.39%

Houston I.S.D., Trustee, District IV, 29% of precincts reporting.
Davetta Daniels 33.27%
Paula Harris 66.73%

Houston I.S.D., Trustee, District VIII, 26% of precincts reporting.
Dorothy Olmos 42.12%
Juliet Kathy Stipeche 57.88%

—  admin

ilume for sale — presumably to raise equity for second phase of Cedar Springs development

An artist’s rendering of ilume when it was in the planning stages

The Dallas Morning News reported Thursday that the ilume building on Cedar Springs Road is for sale. A brief story in the newspaper mentioned this fact without much supporting information, merely that another company had it listed for sale.

This would be surprising, though there may be an explanation. On Wednesday night, I spoke with Luke Crosland, owner of the property. Crosland has long promised Phase II of the ilume development, slotted to go up on the lot catty corner from the current building (across Wycliff from the Kroger).

Crosland told me that they would be breaking ground “soon” on the new development. I had previously heard as early as May. Crosland said he was in the process of arranging the equity financing — in the more than $100 million range — for a series of ilume developments across the country. Perhaps sale of the building is part of the package raising that equity?

We have left messages with Crosland seeking more info and will update this post as soon as we have more information.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Naval IG: Ensign was ‘improperly punished’ after reporting anti-gay harassment

The Naval Inspector General has issued a finding in support of claims by Ensign Steve Crowston that he was improperly punished in reprisal for his reporting harassment based on his perceived sexual orientation. Via Navy Times:

A junior officer who accused his command of giving him anti-gay call signs was improperly punished with a bad fitness report when he complained about the environment in his squadron, Pentagon and Navy inspectors general have found.

The naval inspector general’s finding, cited in a Feb. 2 letter to the officer, Ensign Steve Crowston, substantiates Crowston’s claim of reprisal by Cmdr. Liam Bruen, former commander of Strike Fighter Squadron 136, based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va. Two weeks earlier, the Defense Department’s inspector general determined that the naval IG had come to the proper conclusion.

This case is another example of why we need to continue to push for inclusion in Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) protections. More from Navy Times:

However, Bruen, who transferred last summer to the Bremerton, Wash.-based carrier John C. Stennis as its the operations officer, has been temporarily reassigned to the staff of Naval Air Force Pacific “pending the outcome of the investigation,” Navy spokesman Lt. Myers Vasquez told Navy Times. A copy of the reprisal investigation has been forwarded to his chain of command aboard Stennis “for corrective action as they deem appropriate,” Vasquez said.

Crowston told the IG that Bruen and the unit’s then-executive officer, Cmdr. Damien Christopher, were in the unit’s ready room during an August 2009 all-officer review of squadron call signs, when Crowston was presented with suggestions such as “Fagmeister,” “Gay Boy” and the group’s final choice, “Romo’s Bitch” — a reference to the quarterback of Crowston’s favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys. Crowston was the squadron’s administration/legal officer.

We need a standard process afforded other minorities in order to ensure we are treated equally in the armed forces.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

Has There Been An Increase In Gay Teen Suicide Or An Increase In Reporting The Issue?

Media attention on gay teen suicide has not subsided. Earlier this week, Larry King focused his entire show on the important subject while Rutgers University President Richard McCormick defended the way his school handled Tyler Clementi's case.

Yesterday, the LA Times published a piece on Seth Walsh, the 13-year-old from Tehachapi, California who hung himself last month after being harrassed by several bullies, and his mother Wendy. The heart-breaking article details the events that led up to Seth's suicide as he walked home from a local K-mart.

Seth Accounts vary as to what happened next. There was a confrontation, according to the police. Four or five teens started to follow Seth, and he called his mother asking her to pick him up. She later told Jim and Judy that he sounded scared. But Wendy was studying at the time. She had been taking classes in Bakersfield, hoping one day to be a paralegal. She had grown accustomed to hearing fear in his voice and told him to walk home. It was less than a mile.

Not long after, he called again, and she agreed to meet him. When she arrived, she saw a group of teens, some of whom started to walk away. According to his grandparents, he was especially hurt that one of his friends who was there did nothing to help him. Once home, Wendy went back to her studies. Seth took a shower and later asked his mother for a pen. His younger brother, Shawn, was playing on the computer.

At some point, Seth had gone to the backyard. When Wendy took a break for a cigarette, she saw that he had hanged himself from a tree.

Has there been a sudden outbreak in suicide among gay teenagers or is the media finally paying attention to the massive problem? I spoke to Dave Reynolds, a Sr. Public Policy and Research Manager at The Trevor Project, who had this to say: "From what we know and can tell, there has not been an increase in suicide completions among lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth over the past few weeks.  Sadly, there are likely this many deaths every week, but the media and the general populace are just starting to realize the depth of this public health and social justice issue." 

Reynolds also revealed that 2/3 of all callers that come into the Trevor Project's suicide prevention line are from non-urban areas in the United States, a vast majority from southern and midwest states. He also confirmed that one of the most common issues from callers to the line is the bullying they regularly encounter. "The research available clearly shows a link between being the victim of anti-LGBTQ bullying and making a suicide attempt—our stories from the Lifeline and other services sadly reinforce this tragic link.  Also, youth who are transgender, gender non-conforming or gender variant face a particularly tough time at school," he told me.

Last night, hundreds of people gathered in the Castro to call attention to the problem. Watch a news clip of the "Stand Up To Youth Suicide" event, AFTER THE JUMP.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright