Banks Appointed to Citizen Police Oversight Board

Kris Banks

Kris Banks

On Wednesday the Houston City Council confirmed Mayor Annise Parker’s appointment of Former Houston GLBT Political Caucus President Kris Banks to the Independent Police Oversight Board.  The Oversight Board provides a way for Houstonians to have input into allegations against police officers involving use of excessive force, discharge of firearms, serious bodily injury or death or mistreatment of citizens.  The Board also makes recommendations on recruitment, training and evaluation of police officers; and considers community concerns regarding the Department.  Houstini talked with Banks about his new role:

[Houstini] Why have you agreed to serve on the Oversight Board?

[Banks] I believe the Oversight Board performs an important and vital function that benefits all involved. Police officers are granted extraordinary powers over their fellow Houstonians. They can, under legally sufficient circumstances, detain people against their will, walk into other people’s homes without their permission, and even use physical force to make people comply. We grant police officers these powers because they are necessary for the officers to do their jobs. However, with these great powers come great responsibility, and the Oversight Board exists as a check on those powers, thereby protecting the public against the very rare officer who uses her or his powers irresponsibility or excessively. It also benefits the police department. With the assurance that the Board is providing oversight, members of the public can be more confident of the police department, and form a better working relationship with officers.

[Houstini] What do LGBT Houstonians who have concerns about police behavior need to know about the mission of the Oversight Board?

[Banks] Historically, the LGBT community has had concerns about very broad and obvious police harassment, like bar raids. Incidents like these still occur (see Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth), but they tend to not be the focus of issues that exists between the LGBT community and the police department. Concerns between the community and the police department now tend to be over specific incidents that sometimes come to light and sometimes do not. That being said, the IPOB will review internal police investigations for complaints of excessive force, any discharge of a firearm, any time there is a death or serious injury, or any matter the police chief refers to us. We make recommendations, and the chief has ultimate discretion. What I want to highlight here is that a complaint has to be made for the IPOB to have any role. Complaints have to be sworn, either by the complainant, or, if the complaint is anonymous, by the person taking the complaint.

LGBT Houstonians should also know that I take my role as a community representative very seriously. I will not only take my perspective as an LGBT Houstonian to the police department, I will also take the knowledge I gain back of police procedure back to the community. For instance, I mentioned anonymous complaints above. In the training I have received so far, I learned that organizations can be deputized to take anonymous complaints (LULAC and the NAACP are both deputized). Anonymous complaints are, unfortunately, a big concern for our community. Whether because our congress has failed to pass job protections, family concerns, or any other personal reason, there are still many, many people in the closet. But being in the closet does not mean that a person is not protected. I will learn more about the deputizing community groups and take that back to organizations in our community like the Caucus, Community Center and Transgender Foundation so they can begin that process (as a caveat, I do not have a full list of deputized organizations and any of these organizations may already be deputized).

—  admin

LifeWalk steps off Sunday in Lee Park

Nobles says that park will not be fenced this year but is worried about added cost and barrier affecting next year’s event

KICKING UP THEIR HEELS | The LifeWalk organizing committee gets ready for Sunday.

 

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

New requirements by the city of Dallas could affect proceed totals from this year’s AIDS Arms LifeWalk, and at least one more new requirement is expected to be added to the list next year, according to LifeWalk organizers.

The 21st annual LifeWalk steps off from Lee Park on Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. for the 3.2-mile walk. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. Last year’s event raised $401,000 and this year’s goal is $500,000.

Although thousands of people are expected for the event, Lee Park will remain unfenced this year, even though the city has said such gatherings will require fencing in the future.

Officials with the Dallas Tavern Guild, which stages the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade and the Festival in Lee Park each year as part of Dallas’ annual LGBT Pride celebration, decided to get ahead of the new requirement by fencing in Lee Park this year for the festival, although the city requirement had not yet gone into effect.

Tavern Guild officials also chose to charge a $5 admission fee to the festival this year to help offset expenses and raise extra funds that will be distributed to parade beneficiaries.

The admission fee raised the ire of some in the community, and attendance at the festival was down compared to last year. But Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman said the drop was not significant, and noted that the admission fee brought in about $25,000 that will be divided among beneficiaries.

But AIDS Arms Executive Director Raeline Nobles said new city requirements have already had an impact on LifeWalk, and she is worried that the new fencing requirements could affect next year’s walk.

“There were a lot more expenses from the city this year,” she said. “It really hits the bottom line.”

The cost of fencing next year will add an additional, unwelcome expense. But Nobles said she isn’t going to worry about that until after this weekend’s event. Right now, her main concern is getting people out to participate in this year’s fundraiser.

“Anyone can participate in LifeWalk,” Nobles said. “You can walk alone or bring friends or join a team. We even have poop-out vans: In case you can’t walk the entire three-mile route, someone will pick you up and bring you back to the park to have a good time.”

She also invited people to just come to the park and cheer.

“We need cheerleaders at the start and finish and at the water stations,” Nobles said. “We have pompoms for anyone who wants to cheer the walkers on.”

Registration for LifeWalk is $40 for people and $10 for dogs participating in LifeBark. People get a T-shirt and dogs get a bandana to show their support for people with HIV.

AIDS Arms is the primary beneficiary of LifeWalk, but other organizations also receive funds from the event, including AIDS Services of Dallas, Legal Hospice of Texas, Turtle Creek Chorale, The Women’s Chorus, Bryan’s House, Resource Center Dallas and the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund.

Money raised goes toward programming rather than capital costs. The chorale uses funds for their HIV fund, including giving tickets to performances through the year to people with AIDS.

Nobles praised that effort, saying that socializing is an important holistic element in treating HIV.

The Women’s Chorus will present a program at AIDS Arms in March on National HIV Women’s Day. Those expenses, Nobles said, should be covered by the group’s LifeWalk proceeds.

Nobles said it would be tempting for AIDS Arms to use the money to finish paying off the agency’s new Trinity Health and Wellness Center in Oak Cliff. She said that the new facility cost more than $2 million, and AIDS Arms needs to raise just $35,000 more to pay off the facility.

Trinity Health and Wellness Center opened in September and will have its formal grand opening in two weeks.

But despite the temptation, AIDS Arms will instead use proceeds from LifeWalk to support programs for clients at Trinity as well as at AIDS Arms’ older clinic, Peabody Health Center in South Dallas.

AIDS Arms also uses the money to administer HIV tests to more than 3,500 people a year and for case management for more than 3,400 people.

LifeWalk began in 1990 as a fundraiser for Oak Lawn Community Services. When that agency closed, management of the event moved to AIDS Arms.

LifeWalk Co-chair Marvin Green noted that his Green Team will mark its 20th year of participation in LifeWalk. He said he put the team together for the first time in the second year of LifeWalk because he had already lost 20 friends to AIDS.

That first year, three team members raised $75. This year, the 32-member Green Team has collected about $22,000.

Co-chair Fred Harris said that there were quite a few new teams this year.

“We’re reaching out to new communities,” Harris said. “There’s new energy. We’re branching outside Oak Lawn.”

He said teams are using creative new ways to raise money and AIDS Arms has actively brought in new sponsors such as Chipotle.

“Stoli is coming with a first-ever LifeWalk drink,” Nobles said. Returning sponsor Caven Enterprises will serve beer and Ben E. Keith donated iced tea.

Harris said planning has gone well, and that “LifeWalk is a well-oiled machine.”

Harris said he has seen more use of social media this year than ever, reaching out to people outside the Metroplex.

“This year Facebook has become a very powerful tool,” he said, not just for fundraising but also for recruiting walkers.

Last year, about 3,500 people walked, and this year, “Registration is ahead of where we were this time last year,” Harris said.

Waterpalooza, another AIDS Arms event, was moved to Pride weekend this year, just two weeks prior to LifeWalk. Harris said they took advantage of that event to sign up teams and walkers and generate excitement for this weekend’s walk.

Among the new teams, Harris said, are the DFW Sisters.

“Their efforts have been tireless,” he said. “They raise the bar.”

Nobles said that WFAA Channel 8 morning anchor Ron Corning will serve as M.C. in Lee Park. Although he’s appeared at several events since arriving in Dallas, this is the first big public event the openly gay television host has emceed.

LifeWalk received the Human Rights Campaign family-friendly designation, and Nobles said there will be bounce houses, clowns and face-painting for children.

Harris said the event is pet-friendly as well, “because pets are our family.”

There will be games and puppy pools for dogs as well as doggie adoptions, Nobles said.

She said the day would be a lot of fun but asked people to participate because the need is greater than ever.

“With the growth in the number of newly-infected people in Dallas County who need help in this economy, we’re seeing people who never would ask but must,” she said.

Next year, Nobles said, she would like to see LifeWalk return to Oak Lawn, but new city regulations for events may change those plans. Among the events changing plans this year because of the city involved Lone Star Ride.

Last year, Lone Star Riders participated in LifeWalk on bike. This year, city regulations banned bikes from walks so LSR riders who participate will have to walk.

Green was thinking about bigger plans for future LifeWalks. Other cities that raise more money stage longer walks. He said he’d love to use the new Downtown Deck Park that should be completed next year and dreamed of seeing LifeWalkers crossing the new suspension bridge that should be open in March 2012.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 30, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Starvoice • 09.16.11

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Twiggy turns 62 on Monday. Known mostly for her mod, androgynous look of the ’60s, the style icon was one of fashion’s first supermodels. She returned to fashion somewhat as a judge on America’s Next Top Model, but left in 2007. Also a singer, she is working on a new album of ballad covers due in November.

…………………

THIS WEEK

Mars entering Leo inflates energy and egos, and trine to Uranus in Aries, will lead to unexpected results. Stubborn assertion will lead to wacky disasters. Be bold, but adaptive and humble for best results.

…………………

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
Self-consciousness leads you to fashion disasters. Play with a new look where nobody except a trusted friend can to see it, just so you can be satisfied that it is indeed wrong for you.

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
Domestic victories make you cocky.  Better to offer an olive branch and build reconciliation. Don’t dread the cake with all those candles. Focus on accomplishments and goals.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
Count on your friends to help you get ahead. Keep your eyes open to colleagues who might double-cross you. Don’t worry: A rude surprise can prove a blessing in disguise.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
Teamwork gets anything accomplished, so be attentive to those who can make or break your efforts. They’re inclined to support you, but they want credit and generally deserve it.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Focus on your career and getting ahead. You can focus on your goals with little interference. The boss is about to take notice and is likely to be very supportive. Just let your work speak for itself.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
Connect with older, well-educated people. You can learn a lot and get a clearer idea of your direction in life. You can’t help but say the wrong thing to your partner, but you’ll be fine.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Even sweet, affable chatter can get annoying. Staying between the extremes is your biggest challenge. Lean to the quiet side. Letting them wonder will arouse more interest in you.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
You want to have fun, but work demands time and energy. Getting boisterous upsets things and exposes resentments. It doesn’t matter if they’re jealous. Focus your energies productively.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Be as productive as possible while your discipline and drive are especially sharp. Worries about the future are distractions. Just stay the course; keep putting one foot in front of the other.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
The coming social season puts you in greater demand. Fix up your home now to be ready for company then. Friends’ one-upmanship will throw you off your game. Ignore it.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Social opportunities abound. You’re happier at home with your dearest and nearest, and some of your favorite recipes, but get out and develop connections. They’ll serve you well.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
Your state of mind changes more than your finances, but you can relax. Your energy is cranking up and leads you into interesting adventures. Look for new ideas, not arguments!

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Miss Firecracker pageant tonight at the Eagle

Camping out

The 23rd Annual Miss Firecracker pageant returns just in time for July 4. Heavy on the camp and actual singing, the contest is also a benefit for TGRA and its charities. The winner goes on to compete for Miss Charity America. The lovely Victoria Weston will serve as one of the hosts.

DEETS: Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Ave. 7 p.m. DallasEagle.com.

—  Rich Lopez

FEEDBACK: Why I’m supporting Kunkle

Why I’m supporting Kunkle

Thank you for the in-depth expose on the three major mayoral candidates (“Decision in Dallas,” Dallas Voice, April 8).

While there are different opinions regarding the candidates, David Kunkle is my personal choice. I have watched him closely over the last several years and was so impressed with his style of leadership and soft-spoken manner when he was police chief. He went all over this city, listening and getting feedback from not only the GLBT community, but everywhere.

Additionally, he is effective. He may not be the flashiest or most dynamic of the candidates, but he’s a keen thinker and avid reader focused on real world solutions on what works and what doesn’t.

He also appreciates the eclectic aspects of Dallas. That’s an important place to be in my mind, so that we can attract not only Fortune 500 companies but also the small businessman/woman and the budding creative entrepreneurs who want to live in our city.

I don’t know that I necessarily want another CEO as mayor. We hear all the time that government should be run like a business. I think it should not be. Contrary to popular belief today, government is not a business.

Municipal government needs an experienced and competent administrator. In addition to serving as Dallas police chief, David Kunkle also has experience serving as the assistant city manager of Arlington, which will provide him with a skill set from day one that will no doubt serve him well as mayor.

Ron Natinsky and Mike Rawlings both are pleasant gentlemen and they each bring their own “skill set” to the table and there are good people supporting them. But I’m going to be casting my ballot for David Kunkle.

Jay Narey
Dallas

—  John Wright

Gregory Beauchamp Died Over A Mountain Dew Can. His Killer Will Serve 25 Years

beauchomp

Back in 2002 Gregory Beauchamp (pictured) was shot and killed by a man driving by in a car with some pals. That man, Jerry "J-Rock" Jones, who last we heard was already behind bars for another conviction, will now serve a 25-year sentence for being a complete human stain.

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

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Lambda Literary features photos from Joanne Santangelo’s ‘Proud to Serve’

Lambda Literary has featured several of the photos from Joanne Santangelo’s DADT photo exhibit titled, ‘Proud to Serve.’

You’ll recognize some of the faces and names from the battle to end DADT, including our own Tim Beauchamp.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Marriage CoMission Summit: Unlikely to serve KFC, gays’ pro-equality interests

This post will build on our last one, in which we highlighted some level of connection between Chick-Fil-A’s WinShape Foundation and Jennifer Roback Morse’s Ruth Institute (an affiliate of the National Organization For Marriage). So if you haven’t read that earlier post, now if your chance to (a) get caught up or (b) run away now. We won’t be offended ro talk about you while you’re gone. Honestly.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten rid of those lazy slackers and are all on the same “culture war”-obsessed page: We must tell you that we’ve discovered further connections between Chick-Fil-A’s WinShape program and the entire “protect marriage” movement. Not just to the Pennsylvania Family Institute. Not just to the Ruth Institute. But to the organized marriage movement in this country — period.

Oh yea: And this time we have much of it on video, via internal documents, in photos, and through other fun things. Let’s go:

Alright, so it turns out that Chick-Fil-A’s WinShape Foundation, as part of its marriage outreach efforts, has partnered with other “pro-family” groups on something called The Marriage CoMission. Oh, and that’s not a typo — it’s one “m.” As in a mission that they’re all “co”-ing in on. A mission that (spoiler alert) doesn’t want to hear “Here Comes The Bride” either pluralized or masculinized.

On said CoMission, Winshape/Chick-Fil-A are very well represented. There’s Jeff Fray, who, by all accounts, largely steers the CoMission’s ship:

Screen Shot 2011-01-06 At 7.05.55 Pm

But even more than Fray: The CoMission’s most prominent representation comes from Bubba Cathy, the scion of Chick-Fil-A’s pickled bun dynasty:

201101061913

And there are other WinShape/Chick-a-dees involved. Full leadership list here.

Okay, so every year in December, this CoMission gather group of prominent marriage stalwarts to strategize how they can strengthen their movement. But they don’t just get together anywhere. No, no — they all get together at WinShape’s own Georgia Retreat. Here’s the Summit’s purpose statement, initial signatories (from folks like professional “gay-changer” Alan Chambers), and a link to the full charter:

201101061900-1

[Full Charter]

Screen Shot 2011-01-06 At 7.16.32 Pm

735390902 Szxja-M

And like most things in the “protect marriage” movement, this summit seems to grow in conservative prominence by the year. By 2008, the participant list had grown to include folks like David Blankenhorn, Alveda King, and Focus on the Family president Jim Daly:



2008 Bios

Some brief highlights from that year’s banquet: FoTF’s Daly made sure to thank the Cathys (i.e. Chick-Fil-A) for bringing the movement together:

WinShape’s Jeff Fray praised Blankenhorn for his prowess in the same-sex marriage debate:

And there’s much more. We’re making our way through literally hours of ’08 clips; we’ll post more that we deem pertinent to our movement.

Though for our interests of today, it’s really the 2009 and 2010 editions of the Summit that hold our interest. So let’s start, naturally, with 2009. That’s the year that the gay marriage movement players who really have our attention started attending the summit. Players like, for example: Maggie Gallagher and Jennifer Roback Morse:



2009 Bios



Agenda Participant

Morse’s ’09 participation is of course interesting because of our earlier post, where we undeniably connected her Ruth Institute (which again, is a NOM affiliate) directly to the WinShape Foundation’s forthcoming LoveIsHere.com project. Which, incidentally, is the very project that segues us to the 2010 Summit.

For 2010 (which just took place in the first week of December), we don’t yet have handy video or pictures or participant lists or really much of a concrete agenda to follow. However, we do have #something to let us know what went on. Namely: We have tweets. Tweets from Summit participants like Bull Coffin, who tells us that this soon-to-be-launched LoveIsHere.com site was prominently touted at WinShape 2010:

Screen Shot 2011-01-06 At 8.00.34 Pm

@billcoffin

Reminder: The same LoveIsHere.com that is hosting the Ruth Institute’s contest videos. The same Ruth Institute that works daily to stop basic civil fairness for same-sex couples. The same WinShape that is a product of the Chick-Fil-A chain and its more than 1,400 locations in 38 states and D.C. The same Chick-Fil-A that began this week with national questions, due to a (now-scrubbed) sponsorship claim from Pennsylvania’s leading anti-marriage equality group. Same, same, same, same, same.

As with all other developments from this week, we’re simply highlighting the known reality. No boycott calls. No petitions. No personal attacks. If all of these groups are proud of these bonds that they’ve made, then they will have zero problem with us bringing these undeniable connections to light. It will be just ho-hum, the way it would be if they highlighted our alliance with just about any group or corporation fighting for basic equality.

But if the reaction is to resort to the same messenger-shooting we’ve already seen this week? Well, then that will be more telling than anything we could ever write, now won’t it?




Good As You

—  admin

Petraeus Aide Sgt. Maj. Marvin Hill: If You Can’t Serve With Gays, Get The Hell Out Of the U.S. Armed Forces

If there are people who cannot deal with the change, then they're going to have to do what's best for their troops and best for the organization and best for the military service and exit the military service, so that we can move forward — if that's the way that we have to go. … We know that if there is a change, that that change will have to be led, and it's going to have to be led by senior leaders such as myself and — and others across the battlefield. Senior leaders are the ones [that are] going to set the tone in the unit and enable the unit to move forward.

—Command Sergeant Major Marvin Hill, a senior aide to NATO's Afghanistan commander David Petraeus (pictured R-L), in an interview that airs tomorrow on Washington Watch. If Don't Ask Don't Tell was a way to rid the military of openly gay soldiers, its repeal is a way to rid the military of openly bigoted soldiers. [via]


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Queerty

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U.S. judge says lesbians can be ‘converted’ if allowed to serve in the military

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

This bit of repulsive information needs to be known:

Joe Rehyansky, a part-time magistrate and Vietnam veteran, wrote on conservative news site The Daily Caller that lesbians should be allowed to serve in the military because straight male soldiers could “convert” them.

The Daily Caller swiftly removed some of his remarks but not before they were picked up by other websites.

Mr Rehyansky, of Hamilton County, Tennessee, argued that men were naturally more promiscuous than women and “it fell to men to swing through the trees and scour the caves in search of as many women as possible to subdue and impregnate – a tough job but someone had to do it”.

Then, he claimed that the “promiscuity” of gay men, coupled with HIV, would have “the potential for disastrous health consequences” if gay men were allowed to serve openly in the military.

Rehyansky's entire piece is vomit-worthy, spewing the same anti-gay distortions which is now coming back to haunt organizations such as the Family Research Council. But it's the following part that's causing eyes, tempers, and blood pressures to be raised:

His final argument, which has now been removed by The Daily Caller, was as follows: “My solution would get the distaff part of our homosexual population off our collective ‘Broke Back,’ thus giving straight male GIs a fair shot at converting lesbians and bringing them into the mainstream.”

How very interesting that this piece came out the week before Congressional hearings and a vote on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the military policy in regards to gays serving in the military.

Call it a hunch, but I'm betting those who want to retain the policy aren't going to be calling on Rehyansky as a witness.

 

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin