Questions linger over DART board's vote Tuesday night on transgender protections

DART board member Ray Noah, left, and agency general counsel Hyattye Simmons look on during last night's meeting. Noah is the board member who inserted the one-word amendment that would have gutted the proposal. And Simmons has been accused of engineering the plan.
DART board member Ray Noah, left, and agency general counsel Hyattye Simmons look on Tuesday night. Noah is the board member who proposed a one-word amendment last week that would have gutted the transgender protections. And Simmons may have been a co-conspirator.

We have phone calls and e-mails in to DART spokesman Morgan Lyons seeking clarification and confirmation about what exactly the agency’s Board of Directors approved last night with regard to transgender protections.

There are two conflicting interpretations of what happened during the meeting. We’ll explain after the jump.

—  John Wright

Someone from Mayor Leppert's staff contacts DART board member about LGBT protections

I’m not quite sure what to make of the latest update on the DART situation from The Dallas Morning News.

The point of the story appears to be that a staffer for Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert contacted DART board member William Tsao Friday morning and encouraged Tsao to support an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policy, which Tsao thought he had already done. My guess would be that the person who called Tsao was Chris Heinbaugh, the mayor’s openly gay chief of staff, whom I’ve talked to a couple of times about this issue. (Saturday’s print version of the article confirms that it was Heinbaugh who called Tsao.)

The strange thing is that Tsao was apparently not even aware of the whole controversy involving the amendment that would gut the LGBT protections until Friday morning. Don’t DART board members and staff exchange e-mails? We’ve been reporting on this situation since Wednesday afternoon, when I contacted DART spokesman Morgan Lyons about it. Wouldn’t you expect Lyons to say something about it to someone else at DART, like maybe a board member? And does Tsao not read The Morning News or Dallas Voice or the Dallas Observer?

—  John Wright