Jiminez raises $2K for possible fines related to his marriage equality protests

Mark & Beau

Mark Jiminez, left, and Beau Chandler

Friends of Mark “Major” Jiminez raised more than $2,000 at a fundraiser Saturday night for legal expenses that may arise from his arrests for trespassing at the Dallas County Records Building in July and September when he and husband Beau Chandler applied for a marriage license.

Because of the two arrests for civil disobedience, Major is facing possible fines of up to $4,000 and one year in jail.

While Chandler’s case has been settled, Jiminez’s case has not been scheduled for a hearing. Chandler was only charged once and served 40 hours of community service. There is a two-year statute of limitations for the case to be scheduled.

Despite the pending charges, Jiminez was upbeat about his cause.

“This is going to be a great year for marriage equality and the momentum is moving along,” he said.

Jiminez said donations came in from around the country to support the cause of marriage equality. More than 80 people attended. Sponsorships helped fund the dinner, which raised more than $2,000, according to Dawn Knowlton, project manager at 3015 at Trinity Groves and a host of the event.

Should the money not be necessary, it will be donated to the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center.

The dinner was held at 3015 at Trinity Groves, a new event venue in West Dallas at the foot of the Calatrava bridge.

Lillith Grey and Lyric Laveau entertained. GetEQUAL TX activist Cd Kirven spoke. Kirven was at the Records Building each time the couple applied for a license.

—  David Taffet

PHOTOS: Gays help dedicate the Calatrava bridge

Gay flaggers greeted pedestrians on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge on Saturday. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

The new Calatrava bridge was eerily quiet this morning, less than 24 hours after Mayor Mike Rawlings cut the ribbon and tens of thousands of people walked across the span. And commuters anxiously await word on when they’ll be able to cross the world’s narrowest body of water spanned by a cable-stayed bridge.

What’s been apparent to anyone who regularly uses the Continental viaduct, which runs alongside the new bridge, is that without on and off ramps, the new road is useless. And until January, there was no evidence that the bridge that ended at the levee would have a way to connect to Singleton Boulevard down below. The ramp from southbound I-35 to the bridge is also incomplete.

However, even though the city doesn’t know how to complete a bridge, the gays sure know how to throw a party. During Super Bowl week last year, most of the planned events were canceled or scaled back because of weather. The one event that went off without a hitch — because the planners understood that it was taking place in February — was the party on Cedar Springs.

So when it was time to plan the bridge celebration, the city wisely left it to the gays.

—  David Taffet

Texas Flaggers to participate in Bridge-o-Rama

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

This weekend, as we mentioned in Friday’s Voice, Dallas will celebrate the opening of the new Calatrava bridge spanning the mighty Trinity River.

Among the groups that will perform, according to Randall White, president of the West Dallas Chamber of Commerce and chair of the West Dallas group Bridge-o-Rama, is the Texas Flaggers, who will perform on Saturday afternoon. The Flaggers are a gay group. Look for them on the West Dallas side of the bridge.

The flaggers will perform as part of a Texas Flaggers weekend that includes a meet-and-greet at Club One on Friday at 7 p.m., and a tie-dye open studio and flagging class on Sunday.

White’s partner, Jeff Herrington, who is doing publicity for Bridge-o-Rama, said a free concert will take place Saturday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. He said the World Music Stage will be set up about a half block from the bridge along Singleton Boulevard.

One feature of the celebration is the Parade of Giants — 15 giant, hand-carried puppets ­ representing individuals from West Dallas’ past that are being created by community groups in partnership with artists from La Reunion, Texas. Among the figures portrayed will be Bonnie and Clyde, Victor Considerant, Mattie Nash, Fr. Sebastian Valles and Judge Barefoot Sanders. One of those puppets was to be created by an LGBT rights groups based in San Diego called Empowering Spirits Foundation, but that partnership fell through. An Oak Cliff group has stepped in to create a puppet instead.

Herrington said this is the only time people will be allowed on the bridge as pedestrians. For safety, the number of people allowed on the bridge at any one time will be limited to 6,800. He pointed out that railings are designed for vehicle traffic and are lower than if designed for pedestrian traffic.

Although Herrington said he couldn’t speak for the city’s reasons for limiting the number of pedestrians on the bridge at any one time, we’re assuming it would be bad publicity for the city and the bridge if it got too crowded and people fell off.

—  David Taffet

A Work(room) in progress

Gay-owned shop anchors W. Dallas development boom as area awaits opening of Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

IMG_6536

URBAN PIONEERS  | Nick Troilo, left, said the store wouldn’t have been possible without his partner, Jim Wright. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer

When Nick Troilo opened The Workroom on Singleton Boulevard in West Dallas, he did what many gay people have done before him: He became an urban pioneer opening a business in an area most others avoided.

Although a designer by trade, Troilo’s interest in the neighborhood began when he worked a few blocks away at Jack’s Backyard.

Although business had started to flourish along Fort Worth Avenue, Singleton Boulevard was still an example of some of the city’s worst urban blight — lined with junkyards, auto repair shops and nondescript buildings with iron bars on the windows.

“The idea for the store came out of the recession,” Troilo said.

“I was working at home not meeting clients and was waiting tables at Jack’s.”

While working at Jack’s, Troilo met a customer who was buying up property in the area. Speculators have been preparing for the boom that is expected after the March 2 opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, which will replace the Continental Street viaduct and link Singleton Boulevard to Woodall Rodgers Freeway and downtown.

Troilo’s future landlord showed him a variety of properties, and Troilo selected an old warehouse to lease, three blocks from the bridge adjoined by plenty of parking. When he first opened in October, Troilo was definitely a pioneer, but plans for other businesses in the area have since progressed.

Standing outside of his store recently, Troilo pointed to a number of bright, recently painted buildings surrounding his.

Behind Troilo’s store is an abandoned strip that will become a retail center. Across the street, a microbrewery is scheduled to open. Next to that is a planned “restaurant incubator” where companies will test-market new concepts in dining.

Troilo has been talking to developers about working with them on interior designs. He designed the interior of Veracruz in the Bishop Arts District, one of the most successful new urban neighborhoods also largely pioneered by gay entrepreneurs.

One reason Troilo chose this warehouse for his shop, he said, is because it had two garage doors — one in front where he created a patio to serve coffee and pastries, and one in back for deliveries.

“Coffee is free,” he said. He wants The Workroom to be a place people can come and shop but also a place to gather.

North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tony Vedda said, “Traditionally we have had the ability to find those diamonds in the rough and work those visions into a reality.”

And LGBT consumers have a history of seeking out and supporting those businesses.

Troilo describes the mix in his shop as “distinctive fresh florals, arts, crafts, interiors and antiques.”

He’s stocked the store with an eclectic variety of goods at various price points. The walls are currently filled with his own artwork, but exhibits by other artists are planned. In addition to Troilo’s work, the store features everything from carvings by an artist from Poland to custom metal work to a T-shirt commemorating the opening of the bridge.

“I wanted to have something so people could walk out of here for $5, to things in the thousands,” he said.

Troilo rented out a floral design station to Tommy Dodd, a florist who is moving his business from Southlake to the new West Dallas location where he plans to continue working with Saks Fifth Avenue and his private clientele as well as find new customers — possibly right across the street at the test restaurants the area will be incubating.

In addition to subletting the space for floral design, as well as his retail and design businesses, Troilo hopes groups will schedule special events at the shop.

“The space is available for lease for private parties,” he said.

He’s hosted West Dallas Chamber of Commerce meetings, has a wedding rehearsal dinner scheduled and is talking to the local GLAAD chapter and Black Tie Dinner about holding wine-tastings or receptions.

And he credits his partner, Jim Wright, with helping in every aspect of creating the store.

“He sacrificed to pull this together,” Troilo said of Wright.

Although the store has been open since October, Troilo said the official opening was in January. He expects business to take off once the bridge opens and traffic along Singleton Boulevard increases dramatically as the road once again becomes an alternative route to Oak Cliff that’s been cut off through much of the recent construction.

……………………..

Lesbian artist’s work part of bridge opening

Decle.Joleen

As part of the opening celebration for the Calatrava bridge to West Dallas, lesbian artist Jolene Decle will exhibit some of her paintings in a converted warehouse.

Decle, originally from the Caribbean, has lived in Dallas for 18 years. She has participated three times in Art Rage Us, an annual fundraiser for Resource Center Dallas, exhibited at Cathedral of Hope in a show sponsored by Hope 4 Peace and Justice and has donated work to Black Tie Dinner and Toast to Life.

“My paintings for the show will include some flowers, abstracts and watercolors, but the signature piece will be of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge,” she said.

The show will be held in a warehouse just over the bridge in West Dallas. Look for the first blue building on the right, with the Sheppard Fiery’s mural of a woman’s head and the word “OBEY” across it.

Caribbean Art Show, 331 Singleton Blvd. March 2 at 6 p.m.–10 p.m. March 3–4 at 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

— David Taffet

……………………..

BRIDGE-O-RAMA

The opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge will be celebrated March 2-4. For full information, go to MHHBridgeCelebration.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 24, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Pet of the Week • 01.20.12

Jessica (and Jeffrey)

PetJessica, pictured, and Jeffrey are brother and sister and are about 8 months old. Although they look like lambs, they’re probably Shepherd mixes. They came from a neglected litter in a backyard in West Dallas. Apparently, these were the last two that were not stolen by neighbors. The owner was tired of Jeffrey and Jessica and decided to turn them out on the street on Christmas Eve. These adorable two are learning to walk on leash, but incredibly friendly with anyone who want to pet their furry heads. Jeffrey and Jessica can’t wait to run and play with their new family and friends.

Many other great dogs and cats are available for adoption from Operation Kindness, situated at 3201 Earhart Drive, one street south of Keller Springs and two blocks west of Midway Road, in Carrollton. The no-kill shelter is open six days a week: Monday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Tuesday; Wednesday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The cost is $110 for cats, $135 for kittens, $150 for dogs over 1 year, and $175 for puppies. The adoption cost includes the spay/neuter surgery, microchipping, vaccinations, heartworm test for dogs, leukemia and FIV test for cats, and more. Those who adopt two pets at the same time receive a $20 discount. For more information, call 972-418-PAWS,  or visit OperationKindness.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 20, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Gay LULAC chapter names Sanchez, Mancha as People of Year, lauds Univision’s LGBT coverage

Jesse Garcia | President, LULAC 4871

LULAC 4871 – The Dallas Rainbow Council will hold its third annual Holiday Party this Friday, Dec. 17, featuring traditional Mexican holiday dishes, Christmas music and awards to recognize outstanding achievement in the LGBT Latino community.

LULAC 4871 will award its “Man of the Year” to gay rights activist Fernie Sanchez. Sanchez was instrumental in getting the word out about the anti-bullying movement in the Dallas Independent School District to Spanish-speaking households. He shared his own personal story of being harassed for being gay and advocated for acceptance during interviews with the local affiliates of Telemundo and Univision. Sanchez also coordinated interviews with other LGBT Latinos to share their bullying stories on a nationwide Univision program. Sanchez was instrumental in holding immigration forums in the LGBT community, assisted with LULAC 4871’s very first National Latino AIDS Awareness Day event and helped promote the Census in both LGBT and Hispanic communities.

“Woman of the Year” will be awarded to Patricia Mancha, a straight ally who has advocated for the LGBT community. Along with Sanchez, Mancha has done outreach with Spanish-language media during the height of the gay suicide epidemic in the fall and also helped dispel myths about HIV during National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. Mancha volunteered to co-sponsor a LULAC youth council and mentors the group every other week.

The “Se Presta Award,” a community award that lauds a non-member of the council who has partnered with LULAC 4871 during the year and made a difference, will recognize long-time community organizer Rosa Lopez. Lopez helps organize West Dallas neighborhoods. She advocates for better streets, public safety and improved schools. Her mostly Hispanic and African-American neighborhood associations consider her a great leader and have no problem with her being a lesbian. She commands the respect that most of us in the LGBT community ultimately want by mainstream America. She is involved her community’s issues and gives a voice to those who have none.

Univision Television and Radio will receive the organization “Se Presta Award” for its in-depth coverage of gay suicide tragedies and the DISD anti-bullying movement.  Univision covered this issue more than their English language counterparts. The local network and radio station have shown that they are community partners with the LGBT community — even asking members of our community to sit on their advisory boards and placing us on their public service announcements. The LGBT community has a friend in Univision.

LULAC 4871’s holiday party caps off a year of success for the five-year-old organization. LULAC 4871’s accomplishments include: renaming a downtown Dallas street after Cesar Chavez, raising $2,600 for AIDS Arms LifeWalk, holding several immigration forums in the LGBT community, partnering with the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association for a legal clinic, partnering with AIDS Arms to test 96 individuals for HIV during National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, registering more than 1,000 people to vote and successfully advocating for a DISD anti-bully code. In July, LULAC 4871 was named “National LULAC Council of the Year” by its national leaders, along with “National LULAC Man of the Year” for LULAC 4871 member and DREAM Act activist Ramiro Luna.

For more information about the Holiday Party, e-mail LULAC4871@aol.com or visit www.lulac4871.org. New members are welcomed.

—  admin

Dallas voters to decide alcohol sales propositions

Hunky’s in Bishop Arts would benefit from Proposition 2

Four propositions appear on Tuesday’s ballot in the city of Dallas.

Proposition 1 would lift restrictions on the sale of beer and wine in convenience and grocery stores throughout the city. Proposition 2 would allow restaurants throughout the city to sell beer and wine without becoming private clubs.

Currently, restaurants in dry areas that want to sell alcohol must become private clubs. The owner of Vera Cruz in Bishop Arts said his board, made up of a group of his neighbors, meets three times a week to vote members in and out. He rents a storage unit just to store all the paperwork.

Kathy Jack, owner of Jack’s Backyard, told Dallas Voice that since alcohol distributors aren’t allowed to deliver to dry areas, her employees regularly have to pick up their alcohol.

Outside an early voting location in Oak Cliff last week, opponents of both propositions were campaigning.

“They do nothing but bring down our community,” said Tyrone Rushing. “I don’t want that in my community.” He was specifically opposing Proposition 1.

“We are for a safer environment,” Rhaneesh Dixon added.

The “No” vote is being coordinated by liquor stores that line the streets on the borders between wet and dry areas. They do not want the competition. If Oak Cliff residents could buy beer and wine at Tom Thumb on Hampton Road or Kroger at Wynnewood Village, they wouldn’t cross the river to shop at the run-down liquor stores on Riverfront Boulevard.

If the propositions pass, opponents of beer and wine sales plan to seek an injunction. They claim the election that made Oak Cliff dry was a Justice of the Peace District 7 election. The current election is countywide. According to Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission code, JP district elections trump county elections and only a JP district election can repeal a JP district vote.

Propositions 3 and 4 are related to the sale of two parks by the city. For more on them, go here.

—  David Taffet

Wet or dry? November vote could impact LGBT neighborhoods

Liquor sales proposals could loosen restrictions, but mishmash of  laws, districts still leave some doubt

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Carolyn Beck
Carolyn Beck

Dallasites may vote to allow the sale of beer and wine throughout the city, including one of the largest LGBT neighborhoods, Oak Cliff, but even if they vote yes, questions could remain on the legality of liquor sales in some areas.

Two separate proposals will be on the November ballot in Dallas. Either would loosen but not eliminate the dry laws in parts of East Dallas, North Dallas including all areas of the city in Denton and Collin counties, West Dallas and everything south of the Trinity River including all of Oak Cliff.

One proposal will allow grocery stores throughout the city to sell beer and wine. The other will let restaurants that have liquor licenses sell drinks without issuing memberships.

Package stores and bars will still be illegal in those areas.

From Oak Cliff’s gay neighborhoods, the closest available stores currently allowed to sell liquor, beer and wine are those that line Industrial Boulevard within blocks of each bridge that crosses the river.

However, Carolyn Beck, Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission’s liaison to the LGBT community, said she has heard from several sources questioning the validity of the citywide election.

“I’ve gotten questions about whether or not the election would apply to Oak Cliff,” she said.

She is referring to section 251.72 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code.

That regulation states, “An authorized voting unit retains the status adopted until status is changed by a subsequent election in same authorized voting unit.”

Section 251.73 says that results from a Justice of the Peace district election prevail against a city election if the JP precinct is wholly contained by the city.

In 1960, JP 7 held an election that failed to make alcohol sales legal. The vote was 22,439 against to 13,768 for. That JP district included Oak Cliff.

A previous election in the 1890s banned alcohol sales in the city of Oak Cliff. In 1903, Oak Cliff was annexed by the city of Dallas. Prohibition intervened, but once repealed, all previously dry areas remained dry.

The current election is a citywide election, but according to the Alcoholic Beverage Code, the only jurisdiction that can change the wet/dry status of an area is the same one that voted previously.

Since 1960, JP precincts have changed. However, Brazoria County had an election in 2008 using JP boundaries from 1958. Montgomery County is holding one using 1937 boundaries.

Complicating things are Oak Cliff’s multiple dry elections. If an election held in JP District 7 using 1960 boundaries voted to go wet, there would still be a question about the 1890s city of Oak Cliff ban.

Beck said that annexation and de-annexation do not change the status of wet/dry areas.

She said that should the proposals pass, the city could certify grocery stores and supermarkets to sell beer and wine. Restaurants could apply for a license to sell drinks directly and membership organizations would relinquish their licenses.

TABC normally would issue liquor licenses to qualified applicants once certified by the city.

Someone opposed to sale of alcohol in Oak Cliff, however, could stop the process by suing the city for certifying a liquor license application, suing the location for selling alcohol in a dry area or suing TABC for issuing a license in a dry area.

Courts would have to decide whether Oak Cliff actually was still dry.

With millions of dollars at stake, Oak Cliff’s status could be up in the air for years.

Restaurants, including the gay-owned eateries in Bishop Arts District, will benefit if the proposal passes. They would no longer be required to keep records on memberships or hold regular meetings to approve those memberships.

Kathy Jack, left, and her partner Susie Buck of Jack’s Backyard.
Kathy Jack, left, and her partner Susie Buck of Jack’s Backyard.

“I don’t think Oak Cliff will boom while we have this private club thing,” said Nathan Castaneda, owner of Vera Cruz in the Bishop Arts District.

He explained the club membership process, noting that after swiping a driver’s license through a reader similar to a credit card machine, a receipt that’s printed has to be kept on file. He said he’s out of storage room in the restaurant for all the boxes of membership slips.

Casteneda said his neighbors are the private club owners who have to meet every three days to approve and drop members. Under his license, membership numbers need to be kept at about 250 people.

The restaurant cannot profit from liquor sales, which he said keeps salaries down.

“Many good employees move on to Duncanville, Cedar Hill or north of the river,” he said.

To thank his neighbors for being his membership committee, Castaneda said they all eat free.

Kathy Jack, owner of Jack’s Backyard, said that passing the proposals would bring a lot more people to the area.

“It will put us on an equal playing field,” she said.

She said that now she pays about $28,000 in higher license fees and taxes. She said beer costs her more and she also spends money to pick up alcohol herself or pays to send someone to get it since distributors do not deliver to dry areas.

Private clubs in dry areas buy much of their liquor from retail stores. For that reason and because free-standing package stores will still not be allowed to open in currently dry areas, liquor retailers oppose the proposals.

Competition is not something bar owners in other parts of the city are worried about.

“Caven Enterprises is not opposed to the ordinance and we hope the results will benefit the residents of our city,” said Rick Espaillat of Caven.

Gary Huddleston is the southwest division spokesperson for Kroger and chaired the PAC that gathered the signatures for the election.

“Many people are leaving the city to buy beer and wine,” he said.

He said the city’s study showed that Dallas could collect $11 million in additional sales tax revenue. Other studies that include the impact of hiring additional people and sales of additional products along with alcohol purchases showed a $31 million increase in tax collection.

Kroger currently has six stores in the city of Dallas. The two in wet areas — on Cedar Springs Road and on Mockingbird Lane — far exceed the others in sales.

He said the PAC chose to hold a citywide election because it seemed cleaner. JP districts have changed. Numerous areas of the city are dry. He believes a win on each proposal would apply throughout Dallas. He doesn’t foresee the election results being challenged.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 30, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas