FEEDBACK: Mexico safe if you use sense; Supporting James Nowlin for City Council

Mexico is safe if you use sense

Allan Turnipseed

Having just returned to Dallas in September 2010, after living almost three years in México City, I read with strong interest David Webb’s column, “A cautionary tale for LGBT travelers” (Dallas Voice, Feb. 4, 2011).

At first I took the commentary as cautionary; one needs to be vigilant whereever we live. Well, I took it that way until I got to the ending: “But hopefully it will be a strong reminder to all Americans that caution is more critical than ever when undertaking travel south of the border.”

With all the negative treatment México is getting in the U.S. press because of the drug wars, my only thought was, “Here is another negative murder story, one that doesn’t relate to the current problem.”

The whole time I lived in the largest city of the Americas, México City, I never felt danger when walking home late at night. I would often stroll along México City’s Paseo de la Refoma Avenue alone without ever any hesitation.

But I was always cautious. One has to be in any large mega city.

When returning to Dallas, I moved to Oak Lawn, three blocks behind where the old Tom Thumb used to be. Even before signing my lease I couldn’t help but remember when a young man was robbed and killed after having used an ATM machine on the corner of Throckmorton and Cedar Springs in 2007.

I also remembered I was moving close to the area where not too long ago a gentleman was shot and almost killed as he walked to his neighborhood bar.

So when I read, “that caution is more critical that ever when undertaking travel south of the border,” I just had to write and say not only “south of the border” but in Dallas, too. We have to be vigilant everywhere.

When I was living in México City, a city with 25 million people, I felt safe. But now that I am in Dallas, living in Oak Lawn, I don’t dare walk the three blocks to Kroger after dark.

I have deep sympathy for Allan Turnipseed, the former Dallas resident killed last month in Lake Chapala, and for his partner.

But from my perspective, Mr. Turnipseed didn’t just get too comfortable living in Lake Chapala, as columnist David Webb described it. Mr. Turnipseed also let his guard down.

He let two homeless teenagers into his surroundings — something I would never do in Dallas or in México.

Homeless and teenage males sound like a dangerous combination anywhere — especially in México, where poverty is so widespread.

But is México safe? Yes, if one uses caution and common sense.

Jesus Chairez, Dallas

Supporting James Nowlin for City Council

James Nowlin

I was so pleased to see your online article saying that James Nowlin is “in it to win it” in the Dallas City Council District 14 race (Instant Tea, Wednesday, Feb. 9).

Having a member of the LGBT community on our City Council who is qualified to serve is critical, and I’m excited that we have a candidate we can all get behind. As a community, the opportunity has come (once again) for us to support someone who knows our particular issues as well as the common concerns that all of the residents of District 14 have, regardless of sexual orientation.

These opportunities do not come frequently, and we don’t always win at the ballot box when they do. That is why it is crucial to make sure we do what we can to have a place at the table.

During her time on the council, Angela Hunt shifted her focus from representing District 14 to running a city-wide campaign. She made a name for herself (and polarized the district and the city) by taking controversial positions on the Trinity River toll road and the convention center hotel. Then, she cast the swing vote to raise property taxes.

Now, due to an obvious lack of preparation, she has decided not to run for mayor and to settle for holding on to the District 14 seat. I think the residents of District 14 deserve better than that.

I may be biased, but I believe Dallas has the most vital, diverse and strong LGBT community in the country, as evidenced by all that I have witnessed and participated in over more than 30 years living here.

It is very exciting news that James is following through on his commitment to service in District 14.

Craig McCartney, Dallas

Thank you so much for your article regarding James Nowlin and his intention to continue his ongoing efforts to win the Dallas City Council District 14 seat in May — despite the recent announcement by Councilwoman Angela Hunt that she will run for re-election to that seat.

I believe that James Nowlin will be an excellent representative for District 14 on the City Council. His commitment to the community has already been demonstrated by his considerable volunteer work with various organizations. James also demonstrated his leadership when he announced his intention to run for the City Council seat while Councilwoman Hunt vacillated between running to retain the District 14 seat, running for mayor or (ostensibly) pursuing some other career choice.

As a resident of District 14, I want my city councilperson to be someone who truly possesses a desire to serve the district — not an individual who looks at the seat as a “consolation prize” when her desire to be mayor was thwarted by individuals better prepared to run for the mayor’s seat than she.

I wholeheartedly support James Nowlin in his bid for this seat, and I encourage every reader of this newspaper to find out more about James and his hopes for District 14 and for the city of Dallas.

Eric D. Johnson, Dallas

—  John Wright

Applause • Rainbow connection

Jose Reyes, chair of the DSO’s gala,makes a musical outreach to the gay community

Jose Reyes
As chair of the DSO’s gala after party, Jose Reyes sees this as the perfect opportunity to reach out to the gay community.

When the Dallas Symphony Orchestra people began planning their season kickoff gala and after-party, longtime volunteer Jose Reyes had an a-ha moment: An ultra-lush soiree of society’s finest that wasn’t being pushed to the LGBT community? It didn’t make sense.

When he chimed in that this should be a direction to consider, the DSO went him one better.

“They asked me if I wanted to chair the event,” Reyes says. “I said absolutely!”

This brought to light a bigger notion to Reyes prompting, him to root out the connection between Dallas’ premium philharmonic and the gay community. As a 20-year DSO supporter and a member of the gay community, the answer was really in front of him the whole time, and obvious to all Dallas gay … whether they realized it or not.

“The Easter concert at Lee Park targets us,” he says. “The DSO is keenly aware that the audience that day isn’t just Mr. and Mrs. Jones, it’s also Mr. and Mr. Jones and that is perfectly fine with them.”

The annual event is right there among gay events with the Pride Parade and the Halloween block party in terms of visibility. With that, Reyes witnesses the DSO’s support of the community upfront and now wants to turn that around. He knows there’s a strong connection that needs to be realized.

“It’s no secret the gay community is a huge supporter of the arts. We’re the tastemakers aren’t we?” he says. “That concert may be free to you and me, but it’s very expensive to put on so I feel it’s important we support them back.”

Reyes figures this gala will do just that, because gays love a good party. This year, they gala — a fundraiser for education and programs by the DSO — will be a huge, saucy affair (see sidebar).

“The gala concert with pianist Jeffrey Kahane and the after party experience is going to be fabulous and the only ticket in town. The Meyerson lobby will be completely transformed into a romantic 18th century European garden in the time of Beethoven.”

He thinks with a direct push to the community, it will respond. Sometimes all that’s needed, according to Reyes, is an invitation. He assures this is the one to get.

“The gays are gonna love it,” he assures. “And the DSO loves its gays.”

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 27, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas