BREAKING: Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert to announce resignation today

Mayor Tom Leppert appears in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade in 2007.

Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert is expected to announce his resignation at the close of today’s City Council meeting.

Leppert’s resignation has long been expected as he prepares to seek the Republican nomination for Kay Bailey Hutchison’s U.S. Senate seat in 2012. It’s really just been a question of when, and now we know: Leppert will step down four months short of the end of his term.

For a Republican in Texas, Leppert has been a relatively good mayor for the LGBT community. After defeating openly gay former City Councilman Ed Oakley to become mayor in 2007, Leppert reached out and appeared to understand the LGBT community’s importance in Dallas.

Leppert hired an openly gay chief of staff, former WFAA reporter Chris Heinbaugh, and became only the second mayor to appear at gay Pride, doing so in two of his four years in office. Leppert made a habit of showing up at GLBT Chamber events and also attended two of four Black Tie Dinners.

But in the latter part of his term Leppert clearly veered to the right in an effort to position himself for the Republican Senate primary — including joining the virulently anti-gay First Baptist Church of Dallas.

So, it’ll be interesting to see how Leppert treats LGBT issues in his Senate campaign. Being a moderate Republican won’t win him many votes in a statewide Republican primary, but at the same time it will be difficult to hide from his record in Dallas.

Leppert’s resignation means that Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway will temporarily become mayor until after the May elections. Although Caraway is a Democrat, he hasn’t been much of an advocate for the LGBT community.

—  John Wright

Bad press continues for Chevelle Apartments as tenants claim units are too hot in February

A few weeks ago we told you about a tenant who claimed he was threatened with eviction for complaining to management about a leaky roof at the Chevelle Apartments.

Before that, there was this WFAA report last summer about the A/C being out for several days at Chevelle, which is in the heart of Oak Lawn at 2607 Throckmorton.

Now, tenant Stephanie Cook tells KDAF that her apartment has become “dangerously” hot again. But wait, it’s only February. Yes, but it’s warm outside, and the complex has a chilled-water system, which means tenants can’t control the temperature in their units. And they’re afraid to open the windows due to the threat of burglary.

The owner of the complex, Jack Gian, says he has no plans to turn on the A/C anytime soon and is “in shock” over the complaints: “You can’t just flip a switch,” Gian says. “I mean out here it is probably 65 degrees, 70 degrees. It’s wonderful. Maybe their units are a little stuffier than the outside. They should open windows. They should get in the habit of letting the fresh air in. You don’t control your own thermostat, to get what you want when you want. That’s one of the things they’ve got to give up when they move into a property like this.”

—  John Wright

WATCH: Gay popcorn colonel Jon Langbert of University Park takes on the Boy Scouts

Jon Langbert, the gay University Park father who’s been told he can’t serve in a leadership role in his 9-year-old’s Cub Scout troop, appeared on three local newscasts Monday night (you can watch CBS’ coverage here). Langbert’s message is that it’s 2010, and while a 2000 Supreme Court ruling gave the Scouts the right to discriminate against gays, that doesn’t mean they have to. “They’re out of touch,” Langbert says, adding that he plans to finish out the year as popcorn colonel for his son’s troop. After that, he says he’ll leave it up to his son whether they continue in the Scouts.

WFAA has a poll up on their site asking whether the Boy Scouts should change their policy of excluding gays and atheists from leadership roles. As of this post, 62 percent said the Boy Scouts SHOULD NOT change the policy.

—  John Wright

Gay University Park dad rejected by Boy Scouts says he’ll appear on local newscasts tonight

Jon Langbert, the gay father who’s been told he can’t be a leader in his 9-year-old son’s Cub Scout troop in University Park, reports that his story will be on three local TV news broadcasts tonight.

“Watch Fox (KDFW-4) at 9 and ABC (WFAA-8) and CBS (KTVT/KTXA-21) news at 10. I hope the reporters ask the Boy Scouts what they want me to tell Carter when he asks why they’re saying his father is a bad role model and must stop wearing the scout shirt they gave him,” Langbert said.

—  John Wright

LGBT activists to raise money, awareness for female workers who’ve sued Dallas Fire-Rescue

Get Equal Now is planning a “Ribbons and Roses” rally and candlelight vigil for Sunday, Oct. 17, at 7:30 p.m. in front of Dallas City Hall to show solidarity with female employees of Dallas Fire Rescue who say they have faced harassment and discrimination on the job. And to raise money to pay for the rally, some women will become “kings” when they stage the “King for A Night” drag king fundraising show on Friday, Oct. 15, at 10 p.m. at The Brick.

The show will star C.D. “Jaime Fauxx” Kirven, Elizabeth “Julian” Pax, AB aka Twisher, Laura R. aka Prynce, and more. And if you want to be one of the “more,” just e-mail Kirven at cdkirven@aol.com by Tuesday, Oct. 5.

For more information, check out the “King for A Night” Facebook page. Show up with a copy of the flier below and get into the show free. Fliers will be available at businesses along Cedar Springs Road and at Resource Center Dallas.

—  admin

Public lewdness charge dropped against ex-WFAA anchor Brad Hawkins

A public lewdness charge against former WFAA anchor Brad Hawkins has been rejected by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, according to Hawkins’ attorney, Peter Schulte.

Hawkins, now a spokesman for Southwest Airlines, was arrested in April following an incident at Flag Pole Hill Park near White Rock Lake.

Schulte told Dallas Voice the DA’s office has elected not to prosecute Hawkins.

“He didn’t commit a crime,” Schulte said, calling it a “false arrest.”

“That conduct as alleged by the police department does not constitute a crime,” Schulte added.

—  John Wright

This is what I consider poor journalism

If you haven’t already seen this dramatic video of a Pepsi truck crashing on the Tollway, it’s definitely worth a look-see. But what isn’t worth your time is the poor reporting on the WFAA website.

“We now have dramatic video of an 18-wheeler as it careened out of control on the Dallas North Tollway,” the online report says. “The images, provided by a North Texas Tollway Authority traffic camera, show the Pepsi truck driving in the southbound lanes at Beltline Road Wednesday afternoon when a car apparently cut it off. The truck driver over-corrected and crossed the concrete median barrier, ending up on its side sliding in the northbound lanes.” (Emphasis mine.)

As any boob who actually watches the video can see, the accident was totally the car driver’s fault. Yet the reporting makes it seem as if the trucker was. His truck “careen[s] out of control,” as if the driver lost control. From what I can see, he was forced into the median by a speeding sedan that plowed into him twice and blocked his forward movement. In annoyingly PC fashion, the word “apparently” is used as if this report is a court of law where evidence must be proven, instead of a thinking person who can believe what he sees. The car CUTS HIM OFF. Simple as that. And the trucker “over-corrected?” How is having a car force you to the side “over-correcting?” He did all he could — all anyone could — do. Characterizing this accident as WFAA does seems like total disregard for facts and instead devotion to buzzwords. Not cool.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

FWPD apologizes to WFAA for calling report 'incomprehensible' and 'unethical'

The Fort Worth Police Department issued a press release Friday apologizing to WFAA-TV and producer Chris Guillory for calling their reporting about an April 30 murder near the Rainbow Lounge “incomprehensible and unethical.” WFAA’s original May 1 story has since been removed from the station’s website, but here’s a line from it that I lifted for this blog at the time: “Investigators are not sure of the circumstances that left the unidentified man dead in the parking lot of the business in the 600 block of South Jennings Avenue.”

As it turned out, the man’s body was found in the 500 block of South Cannon Street, a few blocks away, prompting FWPD to slam WFAA in an Editor’s Note for linking the crime to last year’s raid on the gay bar. Now then, here’s Friday’s apology from FWPD:

The FWPD apologizes to WFAA-TV producer, Chris Guillory, and to WFAA-TV for calling their initial coverage of the tragic events of April 30, 2010 “incomprehensible and unethical” as well as “purposefully misleading” and would like to thank WFAA-TV for running a correction to the initial story.

FWPD hereby retracts the above-mentioned statements and suggestions. Although the story posted on WFAA-TV’s web site was attributed to Chris Guillory, FWPD acknowledges that Mr. Guillory was not the reporter at the scene.  Any characterizations about the story attributed to Mr. Guillory are specifically retracted.

FWPD will continue to monitor media characterizations of news events for accuracy and will strive to address inaccuracies in a rapid and professional manner.

As far as I know, we’re the only outlet who published the Editor’s Note, although it presumably was distributed to all media. So for the record, we’re sorry too, WFAA, although I’m pretty sure you can’t sue us.

—  John Wright

Precinct 5 Constable Jaime Cortes resigns

Precinct 5 Constable Jaime Cortes, who succeeded openly gay Constable Mike Dupree and represents Dallas’ most heavily LGBT neighborhoods, stepped down today amid ongoing civil and criminal investigations of his office. According to WFAA, the District Attorney’s Office planned to subpoena Cortes for a removal hearing on Thursday, but he opted instead to resign late Wednesday afternoon. Cortes was defeated in the April Democratic runoff by Beth Villarreal, who would have taken office in January since there is no Republican in the race. Villarreal will now likely be appointed to the position by the Commissioners Court before then. Brett Shipp has the scoop.

—  John Wright

Unidentified man found beaten to death outside Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth, WFAA reports

WFAA is reporting that a man was found beaten to death in the parking lot of Fort Worth’s Rainbow Lounge on Friday night.

Investigators are not sure of the circumstances that left the unidentified man dead in the parking lot of the business in the 600 block of South Jennings Avenue.

The Rainbow Lounge, of course, is the gay bar that was the site of last June’s raid by the Fort Worth Police Department and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

We’ll provide more details here as soon as they become available.

UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.: Fort Worth LGBT liaison officer Sara Straten reports that police are currently putting together a press release. Asked whether the incident is gay-related, Straten said investigators aren’t ruling anything out. Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 817-469-8477.

—  John Wright