Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Today is Election Day in Texas, as well as Texas Independence Day, and it is time to get out to vote. The polls are open today, Tuesday, March 2, from 7:00am - 7:00pm. All you need to take with you to cast your vote is your voter registration card or your drivers license and of course your Houston GLBT Caucus list of endorsed candidates. We suggest that you print out the list of GLBT endorsed candidates to prepare you for the LONG Harris County ballot.

Do not worry about those down ballot races. Our members did all the work in deciding who will be best for the GLBT community. In an intensive screening process, some called it the GLBT Bar Exam, each candidate in contested races was asked to screen with a committee of well qualified panelists. None of the candidates from the Republican Party responded to our requests to screen with our group. Each responding candidate was asked to fill out a lengthy questionnaire and sit through a question and answer session with members of the screening committee. Each candidate was scored and a recommendation was made by the screening committee. The recommendation was then taken to the membership for a vote of the full body at a special membership meeting attended by 80+ members. A vote was held for each race and a candidate selected for our endorsement. The down ballot races are extremely important to our community when it comes to issues that effect our daily lives. Follow our lead in voting for our endorsed candidates all the way down the ballot.

Do not forget that voting locations for the Democratic and Republican primaries may be in different locations in the same precinct.

Below is all you will need to cast your vote today.

Click here to find your voting location.

Click here for a list of our endorsed candidates or text "2010" to 24587 for a mobile version.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

VOTE TODAY - Houston GLBT Caucus Endorsed Candidates for the 2010 Primary

On January 30, the Caucus held a special membership meeting, where our members voted to endorse candidates for judicial races for the 2010 primaries in contested races. We met February 3 to endorse in non-judicial primaries. All the following races are for the Democratic Primary. We are a nonpartisan organization, but only Democratic candidates opted to screen. Click here for a printer-friendly version.

This year's ballot is very long, we recommend that you print a copy of our Endorsement Card to take to the polls with you.

Early Vote runs through February 26th - go to www.harrisvotes.com for times and locations

TEXT "2010" to 24587 for a mobile Endorsement Card.

We urge you to vote for these candidates:

U.S. Representative, District 18: Sheila Jackson Lee

U.S. Representative, District 22: Doug Blatt

Governor: Bill White

Lieutenant Governor: Ronnie Earle

Commissioner of the General Land Office: Hector Uribe

Commissioner of Agriculture: Hank Gilbert

State Representative, District 146: Borris L. Miles

113th Civil District Court: Christina Bryan

157th Civil District Court: Chuck Silverman

180th Criminal District Court: Lori Gooch

189th Civil District Court: Andy Pereira

190th Civil District Court: Jim Wrotenbery

234th Civil District Court: Tanner Garth

245th Family District Court: Janiece Horn

247th Family District Court: Clinton “Chip” Wells

248th Criminal District Court: Trent Gaither

270th Civil District Court: Charles Spain

281st Civil District Court: Donna Roth

295th Civil District Court: Paul Simon

308th Family District Court: Bruce Kessler

310th Family District Court: Judy Dougherty

311th Family District Court: Steve Herskowitz

313th Juvenile District Court: Natalie Oakes

314th Juvenile District Court: David Longoria

315th Juvenile District Court: Bill Thursland

County Judge: Gordon Quan

County Court at Law No. 1: Steve Reilley

County Court at Law No. 2: Damian E. LaCroix

County Court at Law No. 3: Damon Crenshaw

County Criminal Court No. 1: Beverly D. Melontree

County Criminal Court No. 2: Mary Connealy Acosta

County Criminal Court No. 13: Dennis Slate

County Criminal Court No. 3: Judith Snively

County Criminal Court No. 9: Silvia Pubchara-Munoz

County Criminal Court No. 12: Robert “Bob” Cardenas

County Probate Court No. 2: Joellen Snow

County Probate Court No. 3: Mary Galligan

County Clerk: Sue Smith Schechter

Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3, Place 2: Denise Graves

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Help the Houston GLBT Political Caucus Elect Our Pro-GLBT Endorsed Candidates

Help the Houston GLBT Political Caucus Elect Our Pro-GLBT Endorsed Candidates

Sign Up to Volunteer During Early Voting February 16-26

Many people turn to the Houston GLBT Political Caucus for how to cast their vote, with our intensive endorsement and screening process that makes sure we choose the best candidates. Now that the decisions have been made, the Caucus needs your help in getting the word out about our endorsed, pro-equality candidates. Early Voting begins Febraury 16 and runs through February 26. Volunteers will be handing out our endorsement card at polls and making phone calls to get out the vote for our candidates.

We will have shifts throughout Early Voting; just let us know when you're available and we will find a time that works for you. No matter how much or little time you have, you can make a difference.

You can sign up by clicking the link below, e-mailing info@thecaucus.org or calling 713-521-1000. We have also created a Facebook event for volunteering during Early Vote which can be viewed on our Facebook Page.

Click Here To Sign Up To Volunteer

For a list of our endorsed candidates click here.

For a list of Early Voting locations and time click here.

Contact Information
email: info@thecaucus.org


website: www.thecaucus.org

Facebook Page: Facebook Link

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Obama Awards Harvey Milk Presidential Medal of Freedom

President Barack Obama will posthumously honor assassinated San Francisco City Supervisor and pioneering GLBT rights activist Harvey Milk with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony at the White House on August 12, 2009. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor a citizen can receive. Milk became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.
"Milk encouraged lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens to live their
lives openly and believed coming out was the only way they could change society
and achieve social equality," the White House statement said today.
Harvey Milk is a hero to many in the GLBT movement still today, and he was recently immortalized in the film Milk. His recognition by President Obama marks the importance of political leadership in the fight for equality. The GLBT community is still waiting for President Obama to act as a civil rights leader for the GLBT community as he promised in his campaign by ending Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT), pushing for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and expanding same-sex partner benefits to all federal employees. Today our community should celebrate this honor given by the President to one of our greatest elected leaders.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Caucus addresses City Council on harassment

There's been a lot of talk lately about the issue of workplace harassment in the Houston Fire Department. Knots that appeared to be nooses, which are seen as a symbol of racial hatred against the African American community because of their historical reference to the days of lynching, appeared twice in fire stations, and racist and sexist graffiti appeared on the lockers of another. The matters are under an internal investigation, and external investigations are being considered.

On Monday, Council Member Melissa Noriega called a special meeting of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee to discuss an evaluation of the workplace conditions for HFD employees. The Caucus, which abhors all types of discrimination and harassment, took the position that if an evaluation is being done, it should include sexual orientation and gender identity in those factors. Council Member Noriega invited the Caucus, and president Kris Banks made the following remarks to the committee:

“Thank you, Madame Chair, and thank you, Council Members. Thank you for taking
up this important issue. I am president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, an
organization that advocates for the rights of and for equal opportunity for the
gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, or GLBT, community. I come to ask that
the evaluation of the Houston Fire Department being considered today also
include an evaluation of the workplace conditions faced by GLBT fire fighters
and fire department employees.’

“While recent events have brought to the forefront issues of harassment based on race and sex, harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity remains a serious concern. A survey by Lambda Legal showed that 39 percent of GLBT people reported experiencing harassment or discrimination on the job. It is a problem that is exacerbated by the fact that we are often an invisible minority, meaning that cruel jokes can be made and slurs uttered while members of our community are in the same room. Harassment based on sexual orientation, both real and perceived, and gender identity is a serious threat to the workplace conditions of GLBT employees.’

“Federal and state laws do not address sexual orientation or gender identity in
anti-harassment employment matters, so it is incumbent upon our city leaders to
stand up for those public servants who put their lives on the line for our
citizens and happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. While the City
of Houston is examining issues of harassment, it should specifically look into
whether the Houston Fire Department is a safe place for GLBT employees to work,
both in the evaluation being considered today and in all others in the future.
Our public servants deserve it.”

Friday, July 17, 2009

Peter Brown's shameful words

What was Peter Brown thinking?

Mayoral candidate Peter Brown – who is a member of our GLBT Caucus, who asked for our GLBT endorsement, who called himself “gay-friendly” in our questionnaire – took a not-too-subtle swipe at GLBT people in a press release this week.

In comparing the $477,000 he raised in the first half of 2009 to Annise Parker’s $810,000, Brown said that unlike other candidate’s, he’s not “combing San Francisco and New York for donations.”

It’s not hard to figure what Brown was driving at with that code language. Indeed, we are used to hearing the inevitable references to San Francisco when anti-GLBT politicians argue against GLBT equality.

So what was Brown thinking? Is it sour grapes for not receiving the GLBT Caucus endorsement he actively sought? Is it a flip-flop in the quest for right wing votes? Is it plain and simple hypocrisy?

The next time you see Peter Brown, ask him what he was thinking. Better yet, tell Brown he owes it to our community and all of Houston to stop attacking GLBT people – the City of Houston deserves better.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Caucus-endorsed Parker big winner on finance filings

From the campaign:

We're Thrilled!

Houston, TX – The candidates for mayor filed their finance reports today – and the big story here is Annise Parker.

Everybody thought Gene Locke would have three times as much money. But Annise Parker has more.

Because he has a limited base of support, Brown is having to spend his personal wealth to try to buy his way into the mayor's office. Let's remember, in 2003 Bill White started out with little name ID. That's the position Brown is in. It took White – who did have an actual base of support – $6 million to get into a runoff spot.

Bottom line – the big story is Annise Parker:

  • Parker has more cash on hand than Locke.
  • Parker has more than three times as many individual donations as Locke, and almost twice as many as Brown and Locke combined.
  • Locke is spending almost twice as much money per month as Parker – simply trying to catch up to the substantial lead Parker entered the race with and continues to grow.
  • Locke's campaign stated that the evidence of "campaign strength" was raising $383,000 in the last 30 days. But Parker raised more than that during the last 30 days. (If the last 30 days is the mark of campaign strength, it's worth noting that Parker raised 47% of her total contributions in the last 30 days of the period, while Locke raised 33% of his total contributions during that time.)

One thing is clear: Annise Parker is not only the candidate who started out with a strong lead – she's the candidate who continues to grow that lead. Parker's dollars were raised from more individual donors than any other candidate. Parker’s small dollar donors live on a budget, give wisely and will give again and again during this important campaign to steer Houston through tough economic challenges.

Keep up the good work!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Gay couple kicked out of El Paso restaurant for kissing

In a disturbing story out of El Paso, a gay couple and their three friends were asked to leave a popular Mexican restaurant after the couple was seen kissing. A contracted security guard, hired by Chico's Tacos, asked the group to leave after seeing the couple kissing. The group was told by the security guard,

"Si seguian con sus payasadas, los vamos a sacar de aqui, no permitimos que anden haciendo cosas aqui de jotos. (If you keep clowning around, we are going to get you out of here. We don't permit doing gay things here)."

The group then called police to help them once they had been removed from Chico's. El Paso has a non-discrimination ordinance that prohibits businesses from denying service due to sexual orientation.

The situation was then made worse by the fact that the El Paso police officer responding to the scene stated that the group could be forced to leave under the Texas law on homosexual conduct, Section 21.06 of the Texas Penal Code. This is the section was ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas. The El Paso officer's lack of knowledge of the city non-discrimination ordinance and the State Penal Code is inexcusable. Worsening matters, the day after the incident, the El Paso Police Department released this statement,

"While there is a homosexual conduct ordinance in the state's penal
code, We don't enforce that law, there's been court decisions about Texas' law
on that. We don't enforce it and what happened there wouldn't have even have met
the elements of the offense, even if it had been enforceable."

The El Paso Police Department's decision to reference a law that has been ruled unconstitutional as an excuse for their actions shows a lack of understanding of sensitivity to the GLBT community and extreme poor judgement. It also is an example for the need of sensitivity training for law enforcement officals.

El Paso City Council Members were quick to denounce actions of the restaurant and El Paso Police. After investigating the incident, Eastridge Mid-Valley City Rep. Steve Ortega said he was troubled, not only by the incident itself, but the response by the police spokesman that the restaurant had a right to refuse service though El Paso has an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. "That highly incorrect," Ortega said in response to the Police Department's statement.

There are multiple disturbing issues that are of concern to the GLBT community which arose from this incident. First being the lack of knowledge of the responding officer of the El Paso
ordinance banning discrimination of people due to their sexual orientation. The Police Department's response was also in poor taste. Trying to defend their officer's actions by referencing an unconstitutional law is insulting. The department then tried to explain the mishap by later admitting the responding officer had very little experience.

The fact that Section 21.06 is still on the books as a law in Texas even though it is unconstitutional is something that should be taken up by GLBT supportive State Representatives here in Houston, and the law should be removed from the Texas Penal Code.

A bright spot here is it sounds as if the members of El Paso City Council were extremely upset with the response of their police department, acting swiftly to condemn the incident and ask for better training for their police officers.

One of the members of the group tossed from Chico's, Carlos Diaz de Leon, has filed a complaint with the El Paso Police Department's Internal Affairs Division. We hope this complaint will get to the cause of the sloppy police work and ensure a similar situation does not occur again.

The El Paso Times has the story on the events here and on El Paso City Council's action here.

Equality Texas, Texas' statewide GLBT advocacy group, blogged here on the story.

A local GLBT group in El Paso, Puentes LGBT Resource, released this statement after the incident:

Puentes LGBT Resources Press Release

July 7, 2009

Dear Community,
I am writing you today to bring to light a recent
incident of anti-gay discrimination, which occurred last Sunday night (07-05-09)
at a Chico’s Tacos on the eastside. A group of young gay men were ordered
to leave the restaurant by the security guards because a couple within the group
was kissing inside the restaurant. Outraged by the security guard’s
orders, the group called El Paso Police Department for assistance, but the
police officer who responded to the call defended the security guard’s actions
by stating to the group of men that it was against the law for two men or women
to kiss in public. This is simply untrue. The City of El Paso holds
a city ordinance that protects all individuals from discrimination in public
accommodations. Below is an excerpt of this ordinance. You can find
a full copy of the ordinance athttp://www.elpasotexas.gov/muni_clerk/_documents/ord_15410.pdf

It is unlawful for any person, firm, association or corporation, or any
agent, servant or employee thereof within the City [of El Paso], to refuse, deny
or withhold from any person, for any reason directly or indirectly relating to
the race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, color, religion, ethnic
background or national origin of such person, any of the accommodations,
advantages, facilities or services offered to the general public by place of
public accommodation.

In closing, everyone has varying views on public displays of affection
(kissing). Some do it; others don’t. Yet we should not lose sight of
the real issue. This story surpasses the question of whether or not any
two individuals kissing is inappropriate in a public place. The core issue
is about equal rights to public accommodations for everyone, including lesbians,
gays, bisexuals and transgender persons. For all the details on this story
please visithttp://www.kvia.com/global/story.asp?s=10659225

Cesar M. Campa
Board Chair

The Houston GLBT Caucus stands by Puentes LGBT Resources in their efforts to fight discrimination.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Injured patron and Fort Worth Mayor release statements on gay bar raid

Chad Gibson, the patron who was admitted to the hospital with severe injuries after Fort Worth police and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) agents raided a Fort Worth gay bar, has released a statement about the incident.

In an interview, Gibson states, "You know what, they need to accept responsibility of what they did to me and to everyone," Gibson said. "That's all I want – I want
the truth."

Fort Worth's Mayor, Michael Moncrief, has also asked for a federal investigation into the incident. The Dallas Morning News has the story here, and Mayor Moncrief's statement is included below. The swift action by Council Member Joel Burns, Mayor Moncrief, Senator Wendy Davis, and State Rep. Lon Burnam is commendable. The severity of this situation was not lost on them and is shown by their strong demands for investigations into the raid at the local, state, and federal level.

Mayor Moncrief Statement:

We all join in wishing Mr. Gibson a speedy and full recovery.

Currently, two investigations are underway to review the circumstances and events that took place at the Rainbow Lounge early Sunday morning. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is conducting an investigation and the Fort Worth Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division is conducting its own investigation.

I join Police Chief Jeff Halstead in encouraging any eye-witnesses to the events under review to come forward and share their observations.

Members of the City Council and I have confidence that Chief Halstead is leading a thorough and professional investigation. Once the Fort Worth Police Department’s examination is complete, I have asked the acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, James T. Jacks, to independently review the findings of the Fort Worth Police Department’s investigation to ensure the department has thoroughly and impartially carried out its obligation to all the citizens of Fort Worth. I encourage the TABC to follow the same course.

Fort Worth has a history of inclusiveness, and the Fort Worth Police Department has a history of responsible and professional service to our citizens. The police department’s internal investigation and the outside review is meant to ensure all citizens are professionally and responsibly represented by our police department. I am most appreciative to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for assisting us in this effort.

Mayor Michael Moncrief

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Washington D.C. begins recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages

Washington D.C. begins recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions today. Same-sex couples will not be able to marry in Washington D.C., but the marriages from other states will be recognized in the District. As of now, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), allows states to deny marital rights to same-sex couples who were legally married elsewhere. Here is a quick run-down of how things will work in D.C. from the Washington Post. Gay marriage is legal in four states, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, and Massachusetts, with New Hampshire and Vermont joining them in coming months. Marriages performed in California before Prop. 8 will also be recognized.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Senator Wendy Davis and Representative Lon Burnam release joint statement on Rainbow Lounge raid

Newly elected State Senator Wendy Davis (D-District 10, Tarrant County) and State Representative Lon Burnam (D-District 90, Tarrant County) released a joint statement calling for a detailed investigation into the tactics used by Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC) during the raid of Rainbow Lounge. The statement was released by the two Fort Worth area electeds after a meeting with TABC officials. They also stated that Chad Gibson's family deserved answers. Chad is still recovering from severe injuries suffered during the raid while in police custody. The swift action by these two state officials shows the importance of electing equality supportive candidates. Senator Wendy Davis was elected last November with the support of Fort Worth and Dallas area GLBT groups. She unseated long time Republican incumbent Kim Brimer for the District 10 seat, the only seat to switch parties in the last election. The Houston GLBT Caucus is grateful for their work at the state level to ensure a quick and thorough investigation into the raid on Rainbow Lounge. Their statement is included below.


CONTACT: Bernie Scheffler - 512.463.0110
July 1, 2009

Today State Senator Wendy R. Davis and State Representative Lon Burnam issued the following joint statement.

From: State Senator Wendy Davis and State Representative Lon Burnam

Re: Incident at Rainbow Lounge, 651 Jennings Ave., Fort Worth on June 28, 2009

We want to provide you with an update of our response to concerns raised about the actions taken by City of Fort Worth Police officers and Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission agents on the early morning of June 28, 2009 at the Rainbow Lounge, which is located in the Fort Worth portion of the districts that we represent. We are deeply concerned about eye witness accounts of the events that occurred that morning and intend to activate all possible investigatory methods to learn the truth about those events.

As part of learning as much information as possible about the incident at issue, we requested a meeting with Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission. As a consequence of that request, today we met with TABC representatives Joel Moreno, Chief of Field Operations, and Carolyn Beck, Public Information Officer. In that meeting, we made a very detailed request for information regarding the factual events that occurred at the Rainbow Lounge on both June 25, 2009, when TABC agents first conducted investigation activity at that location, and on June 28, 2009, when TABC agents returned to that location. Additionally, we requested detailed information with regard to the TABC agents' compliance or non-compliance with procedures and policies of TABC as those are expressed in the TABC Enforcement Division Policy, Procedures & Forms manual.
It is our hope that through a thorough investigation and analysis of the events that occurred at the Rainbow Lounge, particularly in the early morning hours of June 28, our community and those outside our community who have raised concerns, will be able to get the answers they need to their valid questions. Most importantly, Chad Gibson and his family, for whom we are deeply concerned, deserve answers.

To that end, we intend to make a written request to TABC for answers to the questions raised in the meeting that we held today. Tomorrow, we will issue a joint letter detailing that request.
Additionally, in order to assure that we and the community at large receive the answers deserved regarding the events of that morning, it is our hope that an objective, outside investigation be made which would examine internal investigation reports of both the Fort Worth Police Department and the TABC, as well as eye witness accounts. Through such an independent review, truth will be best assured. Our community deserves to know whether unacceptable actions were taken at the Rainbow Lounge, and, to the extent they did, that the persons responsible for those actions will be held accountable.

Senator Wendy Davis (D-District 10, Tarrant County)

Representative Lon Burnam (D-District 90, Tarrant County)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Sheila Jackson Lee signs letter asking President Obama to end investigations into DADT

Thank you to Houston Area Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee for signing a letter sent to President Obama asking him to use his stop-loss power to end investigations against soldiers accused of violating "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT). DADT bans service members in the military from serving as openly gay. The Houston GLBT Caucus screened and endorsed President Barack Obama. We hope that President Barack Obama will keep his campaign promise of repealing DADT sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Fort Worth Council Member Joel Burns' statement regarding the raid of Rainbow Lounge

Those of you who follow us on Facebook and Twitter are aware of the Fort Worth and State Police raid of Rainbow Lounge, a gay bar in Fort Worth. The raid occurred 40 years to the day of the raid of the Stonewall Inn. The raids left one patron, Chad Gibson, 26, in the hospital with severe head trauma. The police have since admitted that Chad received his injuries while in police custody. Our thoughts are with him and his family as he recovers in a Fort Worth area hospital. Here are some articles and video about the raid from CNN and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. Openly gay Fort Worth Council Member Joel Burns has been active in demanding a swift and thorough investigation into the raid. His exemplary actions in the aftermath of the incident are a prime example of why elected GLBT representation at every level of government is needed. The Houston GLBT Caucus applauds his actions. Here is his statement.

Update & response to those who emailed me in the last 48 hours.

I wanted to let you know that I have received your email (along with hundreds of others) regarding the events that occurred at the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth's Near Southside Sunday morning.

I want to provide you with an update of some of the actions I and others in the City have taken since the incident.

Monday I met with my predecessor on Council, State Senator Wendy Davis, and spoke with State Representative Lon Burnam by phone. Both represent the area of Fort Worth where the Rainbow Lounge is located (as well as representing most of City Council District 9) and both committed to make official requests Monday for a thorough internal investigation by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission on actions of TABC officers (shown in photos on some blogs & news sites wearing shirts labeled "State Police"). Both also committed to follow-up from Austin as they begin the Governor's called Special Session on Wednesday. I appreciate not only their quick and ready action, but also their support and friendship in recent days. If you would like to contact them, you may do so at wendy.davis@senate.state.tx.us and lon.burnam@house.state.tx.us .

In addition, I met separately with Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead twice Monday and with City Manager Dale Fisseler. I reiterated to both of them that the City's investigation of what happened must be swift, thorough, open and transparent -- even if doing so required an outside law enforcement agency such as Tarrant County to come in and conduct portions of the investigation. It is important for those who live in Fort Worth as well as those watching from around the country to know that the investigation will be complete, accurate, and without anyone being able to claim that internal bias or political pressures played any role in determining the facts. Such an investigation not only serves the patrons who experienced the police action Sunday morning, but also sets the record straight for Fort Worth Police officers involved and honors their commitment to serve the City.

So that you may be fully informed of my actions, provided below this e-mail is the text of two written requests I made on Monday to Chief Halstead and City Manager Fisseler as well as to the Chairman of the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission, Estrus Tucker, and my appointee Lisa Thomas. The content of the statement I issued on Sunday afternoon is provided below as well.

I also want to share with you that on Monday afternoon I visited with Chad Gibson, the 26-year-old patron who sustained head-injuries Sunday morning, in his room at JPS Hospital. We were joined by two of his friends who were also at the Rainbow Lounge with Chad Sunday morning and also detained by police. I heard their accounts of what happened. I also visited with Chad's parents and grandparents in the waiting room and with his sister by phone. I hope you will please keep Mr. Gibson and his family in your thoughts.

If you or anyone you know was a witness to what happened at the Rainbow Lounge and wish to report your account please call 817-392-4270 as this may aid the City's investigation.

Like most of you, I love this great City, and am concerned about the unanswered questions surrounding this event. You can be assured that I will work with my Council colleagues and City staff to determine the facts and to make sure we have the appropriate policies, procedures and training in place to make sure it does not happen again.

Again, thank you for your email. Feel free to contact me anytime. This is my direct City email address and my office number is 817-392-8809.


Joel Burns

Councilmember, District 9, City of Fort Worth


June 29, 2009
Dear City Manager and Police Chief,

I am writing to request that you immediately initiate an internal affairs investigation regarding the City of Fort Worth Police Action in coordination with the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission on the early morning of June 28th at the Rainbow Lounge located at 651 Jennings Street.

I wish to have comprehensive and conclusive information to respond to citizens requests regarding this matter as soon as possible. Please inform my office when this investigation will commence, the step by step procedures that are taken in such an investigation and when an investigation of this nature can be concluded with due diligence to thoroughness and accuracy given great consideration. Further, please provide a copy of written procedures and policies which govern the conduct of such police actions.


Joel Burns


June 29, 2009

Dear Chairman Tucker,

I am writing to request the Human Relations Commission initiate a review of the actions taken by the City of Fort Worth in coordination with the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission on the early morning of June 28th at the Rainbow Lounge located at 651 Jennings Street.

I wish to have comprehensive and conclusive information to respond to citizens requests regarding this matter as soon as possible as it relates the Anti-Discrimination Ordinances of The City of Fort Worth. I greatly appreciate the Commission’s dedication and service to protecting the human rights of all citizens of Fort Worth and your consideration of this important matter.


Joel Burns

Cc: Vanessa Boling


Statement from Councilman Joel Burns

I want all citizens of Texas and Fort Worth to know and be assured that the laws and ordinances of our great State and City will be applied fairly, equally and without malice or selective enforcement. I consider this to be part of "The Fort Worth Way" here. As an elected representative of the city of Fort Worth, I am calling for an immediate and thorough investigation of the actions of the City of Fort Worth Police and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in relation to the incident at the Rainbow Lounge earlier this morning, June 28, 2009.

It is unfortunate that this incident occurred in Fort Worth and even more so to have occurred on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall protests. Unlike 40 years ago, though, the people of this community have elective representation that will make sure our government is accountable and that the rights of all of its citizens are protected. I am working together with our Mayor, Police Chief, the City of Fort Worth Human Relations Commission, and our State Legislative colleagues to get a complete and accurate accounting of what occurred.

Rest assured that neither the people of Fort Worth, nor the city government of Fort Worth, will tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens. And know that the GLBT Community is an integral part of the economic and cultural life of Fort Worth.

Every Fort Worth citizen deserves to have questions around this incident answered and I am working aggressively toward that end.

Thank you,


Joel Burns

Councilmember, District 9, City of Fort Worth

817-392-8809 • District Office

817-209-5555 • Mobile (City)


OPEN RECORDS NOTICE: This email and any responses may be subject to the Texas Open Records laws and may be disclosed to the public upon request. Please respond accordingly.

Friday, June 26, 2009



By Nick Hellyar

This week, we celebrate Pride in Houston. This year’s Pride Parade marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York. The Stonewall riots were the catalyst sparking the modern gay rights movement. On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. It was a scary time to be gay. People feared being arrested for simply being in a certain place or having their pictures printed in the newspapers, knowing they would be fired if they were outed. Today, the GLBT community fights for equality; then, they fought to exist. The gay community had never fought back against the oppression it had faced. They refused to be taken to jail, they refused to give identification. Some were let go by police, but instead of scattering as they usually did, they stayed and gathered in the street. The crowd grew as the few police officers who raided the bar waited for more officers to arrive. As patrons were being led out, some began to resist. The crowd joined the fracas, and rioting broke out. Years of oppression spilled into the streets of Greenwich Village. The riots continued for days. Our community had risen up for the first time. A year later, in cities around the country people marched to commemorate the event. Some were called “Gay Liberation Day” some were called “Gay Freedom Day,” today we call it simply PRIDE. This week, we march to commemorate the beginning of our movement and to celebrate what has been accomplished since.

July 4 marks another anniversary for the City of Houston, the killing of Paul Broussard. He was beaten to death by ten teenage boys from the Woodlands who wanted to “beat up some queers,” as one defendant put it. Paul was 27, my age. It is hard for me and many of my peers to comprehend someone could be killed for merely being gay, that only forty years ago people could not be openly gay for fear of being arrested, and that only eighteen years ago someone was murdered for being gay right here in Houston. It is also hard for our generation to understand the depth and depravity of the AIDS crisis without experiencing it. People learned daily another friend had died. I have be told stories from one of my mentors, openly gay City Council Member Sue Lovell, of how many gay establishments there used to be in Montrose and the wonderful vibrant gay community of the 70’s and 80’s. I asked her once, “Where are all those people and businesses today?” She simply said, “They all died,” referring to all those who were lost to AIDS. I had heard and read of the horror of the AIDS crisis, but this was the first time I could comprehend the severity of those times.

Today we can freely rent apartments, be openly gay at work without fear of being fired, and for the most part exist free of shame and trepidation. Gay youth feel comfortable coming out at a younger age. The GLBT community has made its way into the mainstream of American culture. Gay characters commonly appear on television, though it was just twelve years ago Ellen DeGeneres’ coming out episode was banned from several stations and was preceded by a parental warning before airing. Opponents of gay rights and gay equality are fighting a losing battle. Being gay is not a divisive issue with my generation. Given that it is easier to be gay these days, it can sometimes be difficult for younger GLBT people to identify with with the struggles of the past generations of their community. Many young people may not have heard of the Stonewall riots, they may not have heard of Paul Broussard’s murder, they do not know what it is like to lose dozens of friends to a horrifying illness, and they do not know what it was like to live in fear of merely being who they are in public. Recently, this is where complacency has taken hold in the gay rights movement especially with GLBT youth. However, acceptance and toleration are not equality. The recent set backs, such as state constitutional bans on gay marriage and the Prop 8 fiasco in California, have proven that there is still a long battle ahead. There is a buzz in the community that many have not felt in a while. Many of us, who have grown up with it being acceptable to be gay, have had their eyes opened to the fact that we are still not equal, and realizing we have laws of our country, our state, and our city affirming that we are not equal. Living a life being tolerated or accepted is not the same as living as an equal member of society. The complacency is now being thrown aside.

So this week we celebrate. We observe who we are and our community’s accomplishments. As you gather for Pride, take time to remember how we got here. Remember those who fought back in the Stonewall riots, remember the thousands that would be standing next to you that were lost to AIDS, remember Paul Broussard and Matthew Shepard, remember the struggle the generations before us went through so that we may live as who we are. Celebrate but remember, we have come a long way and have a long way to go.

Nick Hellyar is the Vice President of the Houston GLBT Caucus

Saturday, March 01, 2008

How To Caucus On Election Evening

The caucus process, as opposed to our organization the Caucus, is rather complicated. I will update this as I get a handle on it myself and find resources to give our readers.

The Houston Chronical has a guide to Texas' electoral two-step.
The caucus — officially dubbed a "precinct convention" — begins at 7:15 p.m. or when the polls close, whichever is later.

Caucus-goers arrive and put their names and presidential preference on the "sign-in sheet." Ideally, they should show proof of having voted in the Democratic primary, but it is not absolutely necessary, according to the Harris County Democratic Party.

The group first elects a chair and secretary. Those two then take a count, noting the total number of people and how many are for Obama or Clinton. Delegates then are distributed proportionally.

For example, say 100 people show up at a given precinct on Tuesday night. If 75 of them support Clinton, and 25 support Obama, then she gets 75 percent of the delegates and he gets 25 percent. If the precinct has 20 delegates to allot, Clinton gets 15, Obama 5.
[Posted by Amy]

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Caucus Endorses Obama

This is an historic time for the Caucus. Harris county and Texas are seeing unprecidented turn-out in early voting. In these frantic days before the March 4 election, both Senators Clinton and Obama have taken the time to seek our endorsement.

Due to the timing of our screening, the board members are the ones to make this decision. It was empowered by the membership at the February 6 meeting to do so. This was not an easy decision as both are wonderful candidates. We considered a "no endorsement", however we felt it necessary to endorse since they gave us the opportunity to screen them and as individuals either would have our backing. After thoughtful deliberations, we have chosen to endorse Senator Barack Obama for president.

The Caucus press release is available here.

Obama campaign's website on GLBT issues.

Coverage: The Burnt Orange Report
Coverage: Off the Kuff

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Note From Robert Schaffer

I want to thank the Houston GLBT Political Caucus PAC for your endorsement of my campaign for Judge of the 152nd Civil District Court. I fully appreciate the value of this endorsement and I intend to list this endorsement on any printed material I produce for the remainder of this election. I also appreciate the desire of all of the members of the caucus and the community to be treated fairly with courtesy, dignity and respect when you are in any of the many courtrooms in any of the Harris County Courthouses. If I am elected to the bench you have my assurance that this will be done whenever you come into the 152nd District Court. Thanks again and I look forward to working with you in the future.

Robert Schaffer
Candidate for Judge, 152nd District Court

- Posted by Amy

Houston GLBT Political Caucus PAC Endorsements

The Houston GLBT Political Caucus PAC is pleased to announce its endorsed candidates for the 2008 March 4 Primary:

U.S. President - Barack Obama
U.S. Senate - Rick Noriega
U.S. Representative - Dist. 10 Dan Grant
Railroad Commissioner - Dale Henry
Texas Supreme Court, Place 7 - Sam Houston
Texas Supreme Court, Place 8 - Susan Criss
State Representative, Dist. 46 - Brian Thompson
State Representative, Dist. 127 - Joe Montemayor
State Representative, Dist. 129 - Sherrie Matula
State Representative, Dist. 133 - Kristi Thibaut
State Representative, Dist. 138 - Ginny McDavid
State Representative, Dist. 140 - Armando Walle
State Representative, Dist. 145 - Carol Alvarado
State Representative, Dist. 146 - Borris Miles
State Representative, Dist. 147 - Garnet Coleman
State Representative, Dist. 148 - Jessica Farrar
First Court of Appeals, Place 5 - Leslie Taylor
Judge, Civil Dist. 61 - Alfred "Al" Bennet
Judge, Civil Dist. 80 - Tanner Garth
Judge, Civil Dist. 125 - Jim Wrotenbery
Judge, Civil Dist. 127 - R. K. Sandill
Judge, Civil Dist. 151 - Michael Engelhart
Judge, Civil Dist. 152 - Robert Schaffer
Judge, Civil Dist. 164 - Alexandra Smoots-Hogan
Judge, Civil Dist. 190 - Andres Pereira
Judge, Civil Dist. 215 - Steve Kirkland
Judge, Criminal Dist. 174 - Ruben Guerrero
Judge, Criminal Dist. 176 - Shawna Reagin
Judge, Criminal Dist. 179 - Randy Roll
Judge, Criminal Dist. 337 - Herb Ritchie
Judge, Criminal Dist. 339 - Maria T. Jackson
Judge, Criminal Dist. 351 - Silvia Pubchara
Judge, Family Dist. 312 - Robert Hinojosa
Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1, Place 1 - Dale Gorczynski
Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2, Place 1 - Raymond Stewart
Justice of the Peace, Pct. 6, Place 1 - Richard Vara
County Judge - David Mincberg
District Attorney - Brad Bradford
County Attorney - Vince Ryan
District Clerk - Loren Jackson
County Sheriff - Adrian Garcia
County Tax Collector/Assessor - Diane Trautman
County School Trustee, Pos. 5 - Debbie Kerner
Commissioner, Pct. 3 - Dexter Handy
Constable, Pct. 1 - Jack Abercia
Constable, Pct 7 - May Walker
Precinct Chair, #1 - C. Patrick McIlvain

“Very difficult decisions had to be made, and I am very proud of the work everyone has done to make this one of our largest endorsement rosters. We look forward to our success in the March Primary,” said Jenifer Pool, President of the Caucus, which held its PAC meeting on Wednesday evening, February 6.

The Caucus meets the first Wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. The monthly meeting is held at the Havens Center, 1827 W. Alabama. Visitors are encouraged to attend the monthly meeting to learn more about the Caucus. For more information about the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, Caucus events, or volunteer opportunities call 713-521-1000, email info@thecaucus.org, or visit our web site at www.theCaucus.org. The Houston GLBT Political Caucus PAC, Rose Wall, Treasurer.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Brian Thompson: Running Proud

Texas has an openly gay man running for the Texas House: Brian Thompson. Pretty cool... and he's running against Dawna Dukes, one of the infamous Craddick Ds. By supporting Craddick, Dukes, a Democrat from Austin, has enabled policies that have severely hurt the GLBT community -- most notably the anti-marriage amendment, prop 2.

It's really great to see a young, competent, gay man running to defeat Dukes. The Caucus has many battles ahead of us right here in Harris county, but we should show our support and interest in Brian Thompson's cause.

Here's how Brian recently introduced himself:

My name is Brian Thompson and I’m running for Texas State Representative in House District 46. With your help, on March 4, I will become the only openly gay member of the Texas Legislature.

I am writing because in order for me to win, I need your help.


My opponent’s largest donor is a man named Bob Perry. He is the largest Republican donor in Texas, funded the infamous “Swift Boat” ads that derailed the John Kerry campaign, and he contributed $150,000 to a right-wing, anti-gay group called “Texans for Marriage.” This group was one of the vehicles used to support (and pass) Proposition 2 in November of 2005, the unnecessary and hateful Constitutional Amendment that banned gay marriage in Texas. Even though my opponent is a Democrat, she is funded by Republicans, and she continues to support, endorse and enable Republican Speaker Tom Craddick.

Since announcing my candidacy just before Christmas, we have already raised more than $10,000 from 90 community activists, grassroot Democrats, and members of the GLBT community online. Like me, these donors want real representation and change for East Austin. You can view our incredible results on ActBlue.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


I was just informed that our Caucus army has reached a historic milestone. The Houston GLBT Political Caucus may now proudly claim 300 active, contributing members. This the largest number of members our organization has ever had. Our database of progressive contacts, who share our drive for equality, also continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, as we modernize our cataloging and voter identification methods. Furthermore, during our most recent get-out-the-vote campaign, the Caucus organized a remarkable number of new volunteers. No one could remember a time when we had so many volunteers.

I imagine that most people don't know the rich history of the Caucus. We've been working elections since 1975. Back then, our efforts were covert. Candidates met us secretly, and we promoted our goals in whisper campaigns. Today, we're heralded in the Houston Chronicle and across the progressive blogosphere. We're the oldest GLBT political activist group in the South, and, though we've had a mixed history of success, last night at our January general meeting, Ray Hill, Houston's legendary activists, spoke passionately about the confidence he has in the current leadership and vision of our organization. We're growing and winning, but, as Rick Noriega, last night's guest speaker and Democratic candidate for the U.S. senate, said, "The best is yet to come."

We have great momentum. Equality is in sight, and, with your help, 2008 will be our most successful year yet.

Join the Caucus.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Chron Credits Caucus

From the Houston Chronicle:

Montrose, on the map an awkward appendage to a district that covers the
south side of the city, provided almost all of the margin of victory for
candidate Wanda Adams in Saturday's runoff election contest against
Lawrence Allen Jr.

Adams, who lives in the Hiram Clarke neighborhood several miles to the
south, had worked in the Montrose area and was backed by the Houston
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Political Caucus.

Allen never sought the endorsement of the caucus, which ran an
aggressive voter turnout program in support of Adams.

The group exploited its database with contact information for more than
30,000 friendly voters throughout Harris County.

In some Montrose precincts, Adams garnered more than 85 percent of the
vote. Allen's showing was not as strong in any single precinct in the

Adams won with 57.2 percent of the 8,183 votes cast.

"I thank the citizens and voters of Montrose," Adams said. "They really
wanted their voice to be heard."

Congratulations to everyone - volunteers, screening committee members, block walkers, phone bankers - that participated in this fall's victory strategy.


The process of vetting and endorsing candidates is arduous and sometimes contentious, but when the GLBT community commits itself, works together, and, most importantly, when we speak out about our needs and our vision for the future of Houston, we win!

The Caucus was victorious in 16 of the 17 races in which we endorsed in the November general election and December runoff election, including the city council race for District D which encompasses the Montrose Area. Unofficial canvass reports from Harris County had Adams winning Montrose by about 800 total votes, receiving 88% of the vote in those precincts. The Caucus orchestrated an unprecedented get out the vote campaign that paid off big time. The GLBT Caucus also endorsed Jolanda Jones, At-Large 5 and James Rodriguez, District I for Houston City Council. With the election of this new generation of progressive, equality focused city leaders, the Caucus looks forward to helping Houston City Council move forward in granting equal rights to GLBT citizens.

Now that all the votes have been counted and things have turned out so well, I think we should acknowledge how important this election was for our organization. We grew this fall. Our screening committee invested a lot of time investigating the HISD bond. We took a big risk, being the first the civic organization to endorse the proposal, but our activism made the difference. Just like in Wanda Adam's race, Montrose and the GLBT block vote provided, in large part, the margin of victory.

I think Caucus President Jennifer Rene Pool said it best: “We are not a special interest group; we are a general interest group. That is why we endorsed in the HISD, county, and state bond elections as well. Our focus is on cleaner air, better public schools, increasing public safety, and electing quality progressive candidates. We want a better Houston for our families, and that starts by electing the best candidates.”

Join the Caucus. Support our efforts.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Letter from Wanda Adams

I am writing to humbly ask for your vote in the Runoff Election for Houston City Council District D this Saturday, December 8th. I received the most votes in District D for the General Election, including an overwhelming majority in the Montrose, Midtown, and Museum District areas. My work is not done though. I am asking that you turn out one more time to vote this Saturday, December 8th. With the low turn out expected in this Runoff Election, EVERY VOTE WILL COUNT!

My endorsements include the Houston Chronicle, current District D Council Member Ada Edwards, Council Member Sue Lovell, the Houston Fire Fighters, the Houston Police Officers, and the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.

Helping to create good, healthy, quality lives for Houstonians has always been my passion. Over the years, whether as a student at TSU or as an employee of this great city, I have served the citizens of Houston by working directly with the Super Neighborhoods and the civic clubs of District D to address issues of infrastructure, affordable housing, and to increase constituent services. My commitment to the environment has led me to conduct community education workshops, which educate citizens about recycling and solid waste procedures of the City of Houston. As a result of these efforts, the Mayor asked me to coordinate Houston’s “Go Green Initiative.” I believe “Experience is the Difference” in this race and I hope that you cast your vote for me, Wanda Adams, this Saturday, December 8th.

In District D:

  • I have faith in our ability to create significant economic development opportunities;
  • I have faith in our ability to improve the environmental quality of our neighborhoods;
  • I have faith in our ability to increase public safety for all citizens;
  • I have faith in our ability to provide affordable housing options for those who dream of home ownership;
  • I have faith in our ability to improve the quality of the roads and sidewalks that lead them home.

These issues impact District D every day, and are the issues I will spend my time on council addressing.

For your voting locations please go to www.harrisvotes.org or for more information on me please go to www.wandaadamsforhouston.com.


Wanda Adams

Friday, November 30, 2007

Block Walk for Jo and Wanda

Block Walk

The Houston GLBT Political Caucus, Houston Stonewall Young Dems, and the Harris County Young Dems will be block walking for Wanda Adams and Jolanda Jones Saturday at noon.

We are meeting at Lanier Middle School (Westheimer @ Woodhead).

The Houston GLBT Political Caucus is the center of a growing coalition of Houstonians that have positive vision for the future of Houston. Come out and walk. Join our coalition to make Houston a better city for all our families.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Progressive Blog Round-Up

It's Monday, and that means it is time once again for the Texas Progressive Alliance's Texas Blog Round-Up. This week's round-up is brought to you by Vince from Capitol Annex.

TXsharon at Bluedaze sounds an alert about an investigative report exposing The Most Toxic Substance on Earth and the Barnett Shale gas exploration.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is disgusted with UT Southwestern Medical Center's policy of using state funds to give the 'elite' special treatment while the rest of us languish.

McBlogger wants to know why Barney Frank is loving on big banks with his Kill The Mortgage Market bill, HR 3915.

Xanthippas at Three Wise Men says be on the look out for how credit card and home mortgage lenders will screw you by making you pay debts you don't actually owe.

Muse finds herself in the middle of a massive police presence and wonders if she has wandered into a manhunt. Nah, not an escaped convict, just W in town to get slobbered on by his lapdog, John Cornyn, at a fundraiser.

At Half Empty, Hal questions whether Congressmen Lantos' and Smith's excoriation of Yahoo! chiefs for releasing information to the ChiComs, is just the pot calling the kettle black.

Burnt Orange Report is all over the runoff for HD 97. Todd Hill gives an analysis of on the ground action and why Democrat Dan Barrett came in first place to secure a runoff spot in the HD 97 race this past week. Phillip Martin breaks down the numbers and price-per-vote, while also looking at some possibly illegal practices by the Republican in the runoff, Mark Shelton.

John Coby at Bay Area Houston writes about Bay Area Houston State Representative John Davis being slapped by the Ethics Watchdog. Again.

The Texas Cloverleaf's hide is chapped by the abolishment of the hide inspectors and calls for a new Texas Constitutional Convention.

BossKitty at BlueBloggin points out how the Bush administration shows their support for veterans and the troops in US Tax Dollars NOT Spent on Homeless Veterans - Words Are Cheaper.

Texas Toad at North Texas Liberal fills us in on Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson's announcement of the delay in the sale of the Christmas Mountains, as well as the reaction of Environment Texas.

Lightseeker at Texas Kaos tells that gigantic slurping sound from a few acres of scrub in north Texas was just T. Boone Pickens stealing water rights..

Vince at Capitol Annex has some reservations about the fact that the Bill White 2010 bandwagon is already rolling down the tracks.

WhosPlayin takes a look at an aspiring new "non-partisan" political party - the GOOOH party.

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News had one of his (in)famous what I did election day posts.

PDiddie is fed up with Democrats like Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer, and intends to support only members of the Democratic Party such as Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards. He clarifies the distinction in "The Democrat Party vs. the Democratic Party", at Brains and Eggs.

WCNews at Eye on Williamson has video of the TCRP's Scott Medlock Discussing Williamson County, T. Don Hutto, & CCA.

Off the Kuff does a little after action review by examining his Election Day predictions to see how they turned out.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


The Houston GLBT Political Caucus PAC is proud to announce its exceptional successes in this November’s election. This is an extraordinary successful endorsement roster:

State Prop 15 Cancer Research For: Passed

County Prop 6 Port Bond For: Passed

HISD Bond For: Passed

Mayor Bill White: Re-elected

Controller Annise Parker: Re-elected

At-Large Position 1 Peter Brown: Re-elected

At-Large Position 2 Sue Lovell: Re-elected

At-Large Position 3 Melissa Noriega: Re-elected

At-Large Position 4 Ron Green: Re-elected

At-Large Position 5 Jolanda Jones: The highest percentage and in the Run-off

District B Jarvis Johnson: Re-elected

District C Anne Clutterbuck: Re-elected

District D Wanda Adams: The highest percentage and in the Run-off

District H Adrian Garcia: Re-elected

District I James Rodriguez: Elected with a substantial percentage difference

HISD, District 4 Paula Harris: Elected with a substantial percentage difference

HCCS Trustee, District 1 Kevin J. Hoffman: Lost by 250 votes

“We had an outstanding day on Tuesday, November 6,” said Jenifer Pool, president of the Caucus. “This is a very rare moment. The Caucus almost had 100%. Everyone who volunteered worked exceptionally hard and made all the difference. We are now immediately turning our attention to the run-offs. We have two extraordinary people we have to get elected, Jolanda Jones and Wanda Adams.”

“This is truly amazing. The Caucus almost called every race,” said Maria C. Gonzalez, vice president of the Caucus. “Now, however, we have to get-out-the-vote for Jolanda and Wanda.”

Monday, October 22, 2007

Evil Genuis: Not Just Racist... He's Homophobic Too

Dr. James Watson,the famous scientist who discovered the architecture of DNA, talks about the human genome and abortion:
"If you could find the gene which determines sexuality and a woman decides she doesn't want a homosexual child, well, let her."

Dr. Watson, along with his research partner Francis Crick, won the the Nobel Prize for discovering DNA's "double helix" design. He's been in the news lately because he's now claiming that black people are genetically predisposed to stupidity. From the Sunday Times of London:

[Watson] is "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really." He claims to hope that everyone is equal, but he counters that "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true." He says that you should not discriminate on the basis of colour, because "there are many people of colour who are very talented, but don’t promote them when they haven’t succeeded at the lower level."
Yeah... James Watson is a jerk... So I've starting collecting Watson quotes for a soon to be released 2008 desk calender. Here are some highlights:

This Week in the Blogosphere

There's been a bit of a lull here on the blog this week -- I've been extremely busy. If anyone has some interesting news or analysis they'd like to post, e-mail to thecaucusblog@gmail.com.

Anyway, let's review some of the great stuff other bloggers looked into this week:

PDiddie at Brains and Eggs has an advance of the Max Cleland-Karl Rove debate, coming up this Friday, October 26.

Diarist Scott Cobbat Texas Kaos updates us on the growing movement to hold rogue Judge Sharon Keller accountable for her callous disregard for the responsibility of the Appeals court while she displays her intoxication with its power.

State Senator Craig Estes, Senate District 30, was given numerous examples of Texas Railroad Commission malpractice, negligence, incompetence and cronyism at his recent Town Hall Meeting in Wise County. TXsharon at Bluedaze asks: Will Senator Estes Investigate the RRC's Malpractice?

Adam at Three Wise Men looks into the future to give us his expert opinion on the 2010 Texas Gubernatorial race.

McBlogger has been keeping a watchful eye on what's happening in Congress with FISA expansion.

At Half Empty, Hal ponders the question: which Republican candidate can the evangelicals support for President?

Muse vs. State Senator Eltife. A whole lotta safe sex going on or should the the State of Texas get involved in adults getting free condoms on campus?

Todd Hill at Burnt Orange Report interviews Dan Barrett, the only Democrat in the special election race for HD 97 in Fort Worth.

WCNews at Eye on Williamson reports on some unbelievable statements made by County Commissioner Cynthia Long on the children that are being detained at the T. Don Hutto facility in Taylor, Texas.

Vince at Capitol Annex takes a look at a State Representative, Fred Brown (R-Bryan), who has scheduled an oversight hearing of an agency that is investigating his business partner.

Bradley at North Texas Liberal celebrates one of the first and only times Sen. John Cornyn has been on the right side of the issue: securing H-2B visas for seasonal workers and joining with Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland to help save small business... at least for another year.

Are government emails covered by open record laws? Off the Kuff takes a look.

CouldBeTrue at South Texas Chisme wonders if a Dallas minister will lose his church's tax exempt status by slamming Mitt Romney because 'he's not a Christian.'

Nytexan at BlueBloggin wonders why Homeland Security purchases products from China when Americans industry is disappearing and jobs are declining.

The Texas Cloverleaf looks into the pending libel and slander lawsuit against Dallas Republicans, including State Rep. Tony Goolsby.

Gary at Easter Lemming Liberal News updated on political news and gossip in the Pasadena area. Like most gossip one item was wrong.

Think arbitration is fair? Think again. John Coby at Bay Area Houston notes that the bottom line from the data is clear. In the nearly 20,000 cases where NAF [National Arbitration Forum] reached a decision, First USA prevailed in an astonishing 99.6 percent of cases.

Refinish69 at Doing My Part For The Left thinks Texas State Senator Kevin Eltife Needs Some Education.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Harris County Republicans Oppose Cancer Research

The Houston GLBT political Caucus has endorsed Proposition 15, the cancer research bond proposal championed by State Representative Ellen Cohen. Houston, particularly the Montrose-Med. Center district, is known throughout the world for being at the forefront of health research and treatment. It is only right that our city do its part to help find a cure for Cancer. The new institution proposed in the bond will also be for good our economy, so why are the Harris County republicans opposing Prop 15?

Here's a snip form their press release (read the complete statement here):

It may have world cycling champ Lance Armstrong, Republican Gov. Rick Perry and former Democratic Comptroller John Sharp as cheerleaders, but a $3-billion bond proposal for cancer research hasn't won the hearts and minds of Harris County Republicans.

The executive committee of the Harris County Republican Party recently voted unanimously in opposition to Proposition 15, despite the cancer initiative's bipartisan support in Austin.

"By this stance, we in no way are implying or should it be construed that we are against solving cancer,'' said Ron Brunner, precinct chairman for the Greenway Plaza area, who raised the motion.
Ellen Cohen responded:

Today's announcement by the Harris County Republican Party in opposition to Proposition 15 is shocking and upsetting, especially coming during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The bipartisan team that worked on this legislation included prominent Republicans such as Ways and Means Chairman Jim Keffer, Health and Human Services Chair Jane Nelson, and Governor Rick Perry, who I stood with today while visiting M.D. Anderson and urging support of this measure. As a cancer survivor, and the widow of a man who battled valiantly against this disease, and the representative of District 134, I will continue to campaign strongly for this measure. I will proudly stand with Lance Armstrong tomorrow in support of Prop. 15 and will campaign for passage on November 6th. I plan on celebrating with Democrats, Republicans, and independents who realize what this investment means to cancer prevention, treatment, and the hope for a cure. I urge people of all political persuasions to support Prop. 15.

Ever since we provided the pivotal support Rep. Cohen need to defeat Martha Wong last year, the Caucus has forged a loyal partnership with her office. We're proud of her efforts in regard to Prop 15, and we're enthusiastically campaigning for its passage.

State Senator Attacks Campus AIDS Prevention Project

Thanks to Vince at Capitol Annex for sharing this story.

Over the last several decades, our community has achieved significant victories in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Thanks, in large part, to outspoken GLBT advocates, new generations of young people understand the importance of safe sex and the risks of sexually transmitted diseases. State Senator Kevin Eltife wants to push back all this progress. He's speaking out against the U.T. Tyler Health Clinic's practice of providing free condoms to students.

Here's some of what Senator Eltife told KLTV in Tyler (watch the interview with Eltife by clicking on the camera in the upper right side of the screen):
"If it's such a good deal, why don't we talk about it, why don't we debate it," said Senator Eltife. "Let's debate it on campus. Let's get input from the parents, and the students, and the people who are supporting U.T. Health Center in Tyler and the entire system. Let's talk about it in the legislature, let's get it out on the table and discuss it. If it's a great idea and a great concept, let's get it out on the table and discuss it."

"I had no idea and I'd imagine most parents don't know either," said Senator Eltife. "I can assure you there are a lot of parents whose kids are going there who would probably not be happy about what they're doing."

Senator Eltife is concerned that state money is being directed to this program, but it's not just the state that helps pay for condoms at university health clinics. In Tyler, for instance, a local agency, Tyler AIDS services, is proud to provide a large number of condoms to the university clinic. This is the type work our community has engaged in for years. We know, all too well, that this issue is too real and too serious. It's above politics, and it must be dealt with honestly and directly.

Here's the bottom line: In this day and age, regressive, socially conservative politicians should be more concerned with all the truly serious problems facing our state. Texas is facing a tragic crisis when it comes to health care. We have more uninsured children than any other state. Rural access to health care is dwindling, and, due to ridiculously low wages for nurses, elderly Texans often receive inadequate care. All of these deathly consequential issues are staring Senator Eltife directly in the face, and he's worried about college students participating in safe sex. What a jerk!