Texas: A not-so-great state

As Perry eyes the presidency and Dewhurst makes a bid for the Senate, let’s look at the story the numbers really tell

Phyllis Guest | Taking NoteGuest.Phyllis.2

It seems that while David Dewhurst is running for the U.S. Senate, Rick Perry — otherwise known as Gov. Goodhair — is planning to run for president. I wonder what numbers they will use to show how well they have run Texas.

Could they cite $16 million? That’s the sum Perry distributed from our state’s Emerging Technology Fund to his campaign contributors.

Or maybe it is $4.1 billion. That’s the best estimate of the fees and taxes our state collects for dedicated purposes — but diverts to other uses.

Then again, it could be $28 billion. That’s the last published number for the state’s budget deficit, although Perry denied any deficit during his last campaign.

But let’s not get bogged down with dollar amounts. Let’s consider some of the state’s other numbers.

There’s the fact that Texas ranks worst in at least three key measures:

We are the most illiterate, with more than 10 percent of our state’s population unable to read a word. LIFT — Literacy Instruction for Texas — recently reported that half of Dallas residents cannot read a newspaper.

We also have the lowest percentage of persons covered by health insurance and the highest number of teenage repeat pregnancies.

Not to mention that 12,000 children have spent at least three years in the state welfare system, waiting for a foster parent. That’s the number reported in the Texas-loving Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile, the Legislature has agreed to put several amendments to the Texas Constitution before the voters. HJR 63, HJR 109 plus SJR 4, SJR 16, and SJR 50 all appear to either authorize the shifting of discretionary funds or the issuance of bonds to cover expenses.

Duh. As if we did not know that bonds represent debt, and that we will be paying interest on those bonds long after Dewhurst and Perry leave office.

Further, this spring, the Lege decided that all voters — except, I believe, the elderly — must show proof of citizenship to obtain a state ID or to get or renew a driver’s license. As they did not provide any funds for the issuance of those ID cards or for updating computer systems to accommodate the new requirement, it seems those IDs will be far from free.

Also far from free is Perry’s travel. The Lege decided that the governor does not have to report what he and his entourage spend on travel, which is convenient for him because we taxpayers foot the bill for his security — even when he is making obviously political trips. Or taking along his wife and his golf clubs.

And surely neither Rick Perry nor David Dewhurst will mention the fact that a big portion of our state’s money comes from the federal government. One report I saw stated that our state received $17 billion in stimulus money, although the gov and his lieutenant berated the Democratic president for providing the stimulus.

And the gov turned down $6 billion in education funds, then accepted the funds but did not use them to educate Texans.

The whole thing — Dewhurst’s campaign and Perry’s possible campaign, the 2012-2013 budget, the recent biannual session of the Texas Legislature — seems like something Mark Twain might have written at his tongue-in-cheek best.

We have huge problems in public school education, higher education, health care, air pollution and water resources, to mention just a few of our more notable failures.

Yet our elected officials are defunding public education and thus punishing children, parents, and teachers. They are limiting women’s health care so drastically that our own Parkland Hospital will be unable to provide appropriate care to 30,000 women.

They are seeking a Medicaid “pilot program” that will pave the way for privatized medical services, which will erode health care for all but the wealthiest among us. They are fighting tooth and nail to keep the EPA from dealing with our polluted environment. They are doing absolutely nothing to ensure that Texas continues to have plenty of safe drinking water.

They are most certainly not creating good jobs.

So David Dewhurst and his wife Tricia prayed together and apparently learned that he should run for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s Senate seat. Now Rick Perry is planning a huge prayer rally Saturday, Aug. 6, at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

God help us.

Phyllis Guest is a longtime activist on political and LGBT issues and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Griggs knocks off Neumann in District 3

With 52 of 56 precincts reporting, challenger Scott Griggs leads incumbent Dave Neumann in the District 3 Dallas City Council race.

Griggs, endorsed by both Stonewall Democrats and the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, appears well on his way to pulling off a rare upset of an incumbent.

With only four precincts left to be counted, Griggs has 57 percent of the vote to Neumann’s 43 percent. This one’s over.

—  John Wright

UPDATE: Rawlings continues to lead Dallas mayor’s race; Kunkle pulling away from Natinsky

With 202 of 555 precincts reporting, former Pizza Hut CEO Mike Rawlings continues to lead in the race for Dallas mayor. And it’s looking more and more like Rawlings will face former Police Chief David Kunkle in a runoff.

Rawlings has 43 percent of the vote, Kunkle has 30 percent, and City Councilman Ron Natinsky has 25 percent. Edward Okpa has 2 percent. Kunkle now leads Natinsky for second place by almost 2,000 votes, but there’s still a ways to go. Remember, the top two vote-getters will advance to a June runoff assuming Rawlings doesn’t eclipse 50 percent.

In other Dallas races, with 20 of 56 precincts reporting, challenger Scott Griggs has expanded his lead over incumbent Dave Neumann in District 3. Griggs now has 59 percent to Neumann’s 41 percent, and appears well on his way to a rare upset of an incumbent. Griggs is endorsed by both Stonewall Democrats and the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance.

In District 14, with 11 of 59 precincts reporting, incumbent Angela Hunt maintains a hefty lead over gay candidate James Nowlin. Hunt has 63 percent to Nowlin’s 20 percent.

—  John Wright

What’s the best way to get young people involved in the struggle for LGBT equality? Free alcohol

Judge Tonya Parker
Judge Tonya Parker

Everyone knows it’s difficult to get young LGBT people to give more than a shit about gay rights, but if you offer them free alcohol, they just might show up. This appears to be the strategy of Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats, which is offering a free drink to anyone who attends its monthly meeting tonight at Dish Restaurant & Lounge. Actually, you could be eligible for up to four free drinks if you bring a friend, according to a message we received from DSYD:

“That’s right! Everyone attending Tuesday’s DSYD meeting will receive a free drink ticket. As an added incentive, people who bring a friend (a.k.a. a potential new member) will receive two drink tickets for themselves and two for their friend.”

We’re currently seeking clarification as to whether this means you have to be a member bringing a non-member to be eligible for the four free drinks, or whether it can just be two random people. And in case you’re wondering why her photo is alongside this post, the meeting will also feature Dallas County District Judge Tonya Parker, the first openly LGBT person elected judge in Dallas County, and the first out African-American elected official in Texas.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. For more info, see the Facebook event page.

UPDATE: DSYD Vice President Jared A. Pearce stopped by the Instant Tea brewery in response to this post. As Pearce pointed out in the comments below, you have to be 21 to drink, and these types of promotions are not uncommon. Pearce also mentioned that DSYD held a very successful fundraiser over the weekend, featuring House Democratic Leader Jessica Farrar. The event raised $5,500 and drew 100 people, Pearce said. The DSYD chapter is approaching its second anniversary after being launched in March 2009. The chapter has 250 members on its roster and has raised more than $13,000 for the Legacy Counseling Center. Read a story about the chapter’s launch here.

—  John Wright

What’s your take on the film “Stonewall Uprising”?



The documentary Stonewall Uprising opened in theaters in 2010 and will be broadcast on the PBS show American Experience this April.  In advance of the broadcast the station that produces American Experience, WGBH, has announced an open call for video shorts that “Show Us Where Stonewall is Now.”

We invite citizen reporters, journalists, video-bloggers, documentary story tellers, animators or new media-makers: in a 3 minute video, show us where Stonewall’s legacy of courage is today.

The deadline for video submissions is February 14th.  A ,000 prize will be awarded to the top five entries selected by WGBH’s panel of judges.

I haven’t seen Stonewall Uprising yet, but I’ve read some of the criticisms that it “gaywashes” the event.  Until I see the film I can’t have an opinion on that score.  However, it does appear from the open call notice and the “tips” page that the focus of the WGBH video project is gay-centric.

There is no doubt that Stonewall catalyzed the gay rights movement, if you want to think in the narrow terms of a bygone era.  But there is also no doubt that transgender people were key participants in the Stonewall riots and are an integral part of the movement I choose to belong to, the LGBT civil rights movement.

I wish I had the skills answer the invitation to “Show us something about today’s struggle for gay rights that we don’t know” with a video showing that today’s struggle for “gay rights” must be as tightly linked to transgender rights as were the actions of the gay and transgender people who together sparked our civil rights era at Stonewall.  

What’s your take on Stonewall Uprising?  Will you entertain WGBH’s invitation?  The trailer for Stonewall Uprising is below the fold.
The trailer for Stonewall Uprising
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Donations

RIDE TO THE BANK  |  Officials with Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS on Sunday Oct. 24, distributed proceeds from the 10th annual ride, held in September, to AIDS Outreach Center, AIDS Services Dallas and Resource Center Dallas during a party at Salum. The $150,000 check was 50 percent higher than last year’s check. Pictured from left are LSR Event Manager David Minehart, AOC Executive Director Allan Gould, LSR Event Chair Laura Kerr, ASD President and CEO Don Maison, and RCD Executive Director Cece Cox. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)
RIDE TO THE BANK | Officials with Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS on Sunday Oct. 24, distributed proceeds from the 10th annual ride, held in September, to AIDS Outreach Center, AIDS Services Dallas and Resource Center Dallas during a party at Salum. The $150,000 check was 50 percent higher than last year’s check. Pictured from left are LSR Event Manager David Minehart, AOC Executive Director Allan Gould, LSR Event Chair Laura Kerr, ASD President and CEO Don Maison, and RCD Executive Director Cece Cox. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)
SEEING RED (AND GREEN)  |  Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats presented a check for $7,525 to Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage at Dish on Wednesday, Oct. 27. They raised the money at the second annual Red Party. Pictured, from left, are Legacy board chair Steve Weir, Legacy Executive Director Melissa Grove, DSYD Secretary Jared Pearce and DSYD Treasurer J.T. Williams.
SEEING RED (AND GREEN) | Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats presented a check for $7,525 to Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage at Dish on Wednesday, Oct. 27. They raised the money at the second annual Red Party. Pictured, from left, are Legacy board chair Steve Weir, Legacy Executive Director Melissa Grove, DSYD Secretary Jared Pearce and DSYD Treasurer J.T. Williams.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 29, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas

2nd Dallas vigil for gay teen suicide victims planned Wednesday on Cedar Springs

If you missed last week’s vigil on Cedar Springs to honor gay teen suicide victims, there’s some good news. You’ll get another chance to break out your glowsticks and candles on Wednesday night.

A Peace March and Vigil in Memoriam will begin at  6:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the paid Caven parking lot behind Zini’s and Skivvie’s near the Cedar Springs strip, according to co-organizer Steve Weir.

The vigil will be one of many similar events across the country on Spirit Day, Oct. 20, when we’re all supposed to wear purple.

“We’re expecting about 200,” Weir said. “I think after the Joel Burns thing, people started to say, maybe I could take a minute and go do this. Hopefully we’ll have a pretty good turnout and some people who are actually moved.”

Weir said he doesn’t think a lot of people knew about the previous vigil hosted by the DFW Sisters on Sunday, Oct. 8. Besides, who’s to say we shouldn’t have another?

Weir said Beaux Wellborn and a representative from Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats are slated to speak, before a march down Cedar Springs Road to the Legacy of Love Monument.

UPDATE: Here’s more on the vigil from co-organizer Ivan Watson:

Hello to all of you! I am so overwhelmed by the positive response this event has generated! I hope that it can educate, inform, inspire and empower all of the participants, as well as show the community that we care about each other. Can’t wait to see you there, just wanted to give you a run-down of what to expect. I am asking everyone to gather in Caven’s pay lot tomorrow at 6:30, the actual short program will not start until 7. We will have three speakers, who will speak briefly about the purpose of the rally, some ways to get involved and help those who are victims of bullying, or for the younger attendees, how perhaps you can get help in your own life, and also we will talk about some legislation that we need to support to get some things changed. After the short program it should be pretty close to dark, and we can light candles and have a silent march down Cedar Springs to the Legacy of Love monument where we will conclude there with a 10 minute candlelight vigil, a minute to remember each teen who took their life during the month of September due to anti-gay bullying and harrassment. Once again, I can’t say thank you enough to all of the help and assistance that I have received in planning this event, especially Steve Weir, thank you, and I hope it all goes well! If you have any questions, please ask!

Thanks,
Ivan Watson

—  John Wright

More on Thursday’s Red Party to benefit Legacy

Bartenders for the Red Party

In last Friday’s Dallas Voice, we only had room for a brief about Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats’ second annual Red Party. Here’s some additional information:

The Red Party takes place on Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. at ilume on Cedar Springs Road. The evening will raise money for Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage.

DSYD was created three years ago by a group that met while volunteering at Legacy. JT Williams, DSYD treasurer, said because of that, Legacy is special to the group, which plans to continue supporting it.

Three supermodel bartenders from Bar 10 will be serving. Tickets for the Red Party are $10 and available at the door. VIP tickets for a catered party are $30 and include a swag bag and free valet parking. Those tickets are available on the Legacy Counseling and Founders Cottage website.

—  David Taffet

Activist (and hottie) Travis Gasper to return to Dallas as development director for AIDS Interfaith

Travis Gasper

Travis Gasper, founding president of the current chapter of Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats and a Dallas Voice “Future Pioneer,” is returning to Dallas from Colorado to accept a position as director of development for AIDS Interfaith Network, he told Instant Tea in an e-mail Wednesday.

Gasper, a Colorado native, left Dallas last December to run a newly created nonprofit in Denver that engages business leaders as advocates for early childhood programs. Gasper says he’ll be moving back to Dallas in a few weeks.

“I just happened to find out about the position when I was in town last month, and it was great timing since I had gotten to know the organization last year when we were fighting the city’s HIV/AIDS budget cuts,” Gasper writes. “The experience of starting a new organization has been great, and we have great board members and funders, but I miss friends and family and Dallas in general.”


—  John Wright

Local Briefs • 09.10.10

Young Democrats group holding barbecue to honor first responders

Dallas County Young Democrats and Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats are holding a cookout Saturday, Sept. 10, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Kidd Spring Park, 711 W. Canty St. in Dallas, in honor of the country’s first responders.

The second annual event is called “Serving Those Who Serve Us,” and all firefighters, police officers, military personnel and reservists and their

families get free admission. Others are asked to give a $5 donation. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Dallas Fire-Rescue.

For more information, contact Joseph Amyson at communityservice@dallasyoungdemocrats.org.

RCD marking LGBT Center Awareness Day with exhibit

Resource Center Dallas is joining with CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, to mark the second annual LGBT Center Awareness Day on Wednesday, Sept. 15, with a special display of items from the Phil Johnson Historic Archives and Research Library from noon to 6 p.m.

The items on special display will include a sign from the 1993 March on Washington signed by Dallas participants; a yard sign from the Proposition 2 election in 2005; a kissing booth from Queer Liberaction; a megaphone from Cheer Dallas; photographs from pioneering Dallas activist William Waybourn and photographs from Phil Johnson of Dallas’ Pride parade in 1984.

The theme of this year’s LGBT Center Awareness Day is “Building Our Community from the Center,” showcasing the integral role that community centers play in the development, unification, and empowerment of all LGBT communities. Events are also taking place at other local centers in celebration of the day.

Terry Stone, CenterLink’s executive director, said that each week, more than 40,000 people visit community centers in 46 states and the District of Columbia, accessing “programs and services that literally build community from the center.”

Cece Cox, executive director of Resosurce Center Dallas, said this community awareness day “is the perfect opportunity for people who are familiar with the center to learn about  what we are doing here, and for people new to the North Texas area this can be their first opportunity to learn about us.”

Last year, the Resource Center Dallas provided services to more than 50,000 people through activities such as GayBingo Dallas, diversity education, the Phil Johnson Historic Archives and Research library, an information hotline, community health programs, STD testing and other LGBT and HIV/AIDS programs, Cox said.

For more information about LGBT Center Awareness Day, go online to MyCenterLink.org. For more information about Resource Center Dallas, go online to RCDallas.org.

GAIN group for LGBT seniors holds potluck with drawings for prizes

Resource Center Dallas’ GAIN (GLBT+Aging Interest Network) will hold a potluck supper on Thursday, Sept. 16, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan St.

GAIN committee members will furnish the meat dishes, including smoked brisket. They will also supply plates, utensils, wine and other beverages. Others who attend are asked to bring their favorite side dishes.

There will be several prize drawings during the event, including a drawing for a $50 gift card to Dish Restaurant.
Although the group is primarily for those 50 and older, everyone is welcome to attend the potluck.

Rainbow Garden Club offers garden tour in North Dallas

The Rainbow Garden Club North Texas will hold its third annual tour of members’ and friends’ gardens on Sunday Oct. 3, from noon to 6 p.m.
Gardens on this year’s tour are in Richardson and Northeast Dallas, and include a working farm, a secret garden, a tropical paradise, a garden for entertaining, a garden that is a tropical retreat and a garden with an Austin vibe.

Ticket are $10 and are available at Brumley Gardens, 10540 Church Road, North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northhaven Road, Redenta’s Garden, 2001 Skillman St., Shambala Body Gallery, 415 N. Bishop Ave. and Under the Sun Garden Center, 7124 Campbell Road.

Resource Center Dallas hires Neal as new director of development

Officials with Resource Center Dallas announced this week that the center has hired Sharon Neal as its new capital campaign director, effective Sept. 13. She will be responsible for planning, implementing, conceptualizing and evaluating the center’s capital campaign for a new building, and her job will include resource development, grant seeking and individual fundraising.

Cece Cox, RCD’s executive director, said Neal “brings a wealth of personal experience and a considerable background in capital campaign projects. The  center is committed to meeting the increasing demand for services and programs in a new home on Cedar Springs Road, just north of Inwood, and Sharon will help us make that dream come true.”

Neal most recently worked at KIPP TRUTH Academy in Dallas, where she served as the school’s director of development and led a $1.5 million dollar capital campaign. She previously served as managing director for the PaCRS group, where her non-profit and corporate clients included the Center for Nonprofit Management, the Verizon Foundation, Education is Freedom, Texans Care for Children, Cornerstone Assistance Network, Capital One and the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS.

Neal is also the former director of development for the Women’s Museum at Fair Park and held community outreach positions at both 7-Eleven Inc. and TXU Corporation.

She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana University and a certificate of corporate citizenship from Boston University’s Carroll School of Management. She is an alumna of Leadership Texas.

Artists Against AIDS auction set for October at Community Arts Center

AIDS Outreach Center of Tarrant County’s annual Artists Against AIDS Silent Art Auction is set for Oct. 23, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.

Artwork will be on display from Oct. 1 to Oct. 23.

The event will feature food, entertainment, an open bar with wine and beer and a silent auction including a selection of high-quality fine art from local and regional artists. Tickets for the auction and party are $75.

This year’s honorary co-chairs are state Sen. Wendy Davis, and Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns. Event co-chairs are Cynthia Hodgkins and Sarah Garrett.

Featured artists for the evening are Henrietta Milan and Eric Stevens.

ACLU executive director to speakat Oak Cliff Unitarian

Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, will will speak Sept. 15 on recent decisions by the Texas State Board of Education that some people believe were an abuse of authority by board members who forced their own personal ideologies into Texas public schools’ curricula.

The meeting will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff, 3839 W. Kiest Blvd. in Dallas. The event is co-sponsored by the ACLU of Texas and the Unitarian Church of Oak Cliff. Admission is free and open to the public.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 10, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas