Congressman Lloyd Doggett, accompanied by County Commissioner
Tommy Adkisson, and State Representative Joaquin Castro were at the meeting
of the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio on
August 15. (Photos courtesy WalkerReport.net.)
and Castro stump for votes at Stonewall Dems meeting
By Dan Graney, QSanAntonio.com, August 18, 2011
Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) and State Representative Joaquin
Castro (D-San Antonio) appeared before members of Stonewall Democrats
of San Antonio on August 15 to pitch their campaigns for the newly created
Congressional District 35, which will run from San Antonio’s Southside
to the south side of Austin.
senator is keynote speaker for Stonewall banquet
QSanAntonio.com, July 23, 2011
The Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio this week announced that Arizona
State Senator Kyrsten Sinema will be the keynote speaker for their annual
awards banquet on September 24. Sinema is openly bisexual and author of
the book "Unite and Conquer: How to Build Coalitions That Win and
At town hall, Berry details federal
employment gains for GLBTs
Photos by Antonia Padilla, QSanAntonio.com, June 22, 2011
John Berry, the Director of U.S. Office of Personnel Management, was in
San Antonio on June 21 on federal business and made time in his schedule
for a town hall appearance sponsored by the Stonewall Democrats of San
Berry, the highest-ranking openly gay official to serve in the executive
branch in any U.S. administration, made a short presentation detailing
the progress the federal government has made toward ending employment
discrimination of GLBT people.
Berry's talk began with his recounting of the case of gay rights pioneer
Frank Kameny who in 1957 was fired as a government astronomer because
he was gay. Though he was denied, Kameny was the first person to petition
the U.S. Supreme Court for a violation of civil rights based on sexual
The progress since Kameny's case occurred is tangible Berry pointed out.
Last year, the Obama administration, through the Office of Personnel Management,
started to list gender identity among the classes protected by federal
Equal Employment Opportunity policies, finally including the full GLBT
Berry said it was all made possible by activists and their organizations
who have persisted in the pursuit of equality. After his presentation,
Berry answered questions from the audience.
Choco Meza elected new chair of Bexar
By Dan Graney, QSanAntonio.com, May 18, 2011
By a vote of 106 ayes and 2 abstentions, a majority quorum of precinct
chairs elected Choco Meza County Chair of the Bexar County Democratic
Party at tonight's meeting of the County Executive Committee.
Meza will serve out the remainder of the two-year term of Dan Ramos who
was removed by the CEC as County Chair on May 3 for misconduct and neglect
of duty. (Click here for related stories.)
Meza is a Texas member of the Democratic National Committee and has a
long history of involvement in Democratic politics and campaigns. She
was a candidate for County Chair in the 2010 Democratic Primary, but lost
the election to Ramos.
Meza was endorsed by the Bexar County Young Democrats, Northeast Bexar
County Democrats and Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio prior to her election
as interim County Chair.
Meza chosen to lead Bexar Democrats
San Antonio Express-News, May 18, 2011
Veteran political activist Choco Meza was elected chairwoman of the Bexar
County Democratic Party on Tuesday, replacing a leader ousted for his
bigoted comments and clashes with party hierarchy. Victory was sweet for
Meza. Last year, she surprisingly lost her heavily favored bid to lead
the party to the now-deposed Dan Ramos, who still maintains his removal
City Council Candidates at Stonewall
Photos by QSanAntonio.com, March 27, 2011
Candidates are shown in order in which they spoke.
Ray Lopez, District 6; Steve Shamblen, District 6; Diego Bernal, District
Chris Forbrich, District 1; Carolyn Kelley, District
1; Ralph Medina, District 1.
Darrell Boyce, District 2; Ivy Taylor, District 2;
Jennifer Ramos, District 3.
Ray Saldana, District 4; Lourdes Galvan, District 5;
Andro Mendoza, District 5.
Pete Galaviz, District 6; Raymond Zavala, District
5; Elena Guajardo, District 7.
Gloria Rodriguez, District 7; Ruben Cortez; District
7; Fred Rangel, District 7.
Cris Media, District 7; Caron West, District 8; Laura
Thompson, District 10.
Stonewall Democrats' endorsements
for City Council Election
QSanAntonio.com, March 27, 2011
Twenty-three candidates for City Council sought the endorsement
of the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio at a forum held on March 27.
Nine candidates were endorsed.
Receiving endorsements were:
Chris Forbrich, District 1
Darrell Boyce, District 2
Ray Saldana, District 4
Lourdes Galvan, District 5
Ray Lopez, District 6
Elena Guajardo, District 7
Caron West, District 8
Laura Thompson, District 10
Mayor Julian Castro was endorsed by the Stonewall membership earlier this
year. The organization made no endorsements in Districts 3 and 9.
Ivy Taylor shirks Stonewall Democrats
San Antonio Current, March 29, 2011
It was no surprise that Bexar County Democratic Party Chair Dan Ramos’
recent bigoted statements became something of a litmus test at Stonewall
Democrats of San Antonio’s candidate forum on Sunday, leading to
the group that respresents the interests of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and
transgender individuals in the city endorsing one incumbent, several newcomers,
and two former councilmembers seeking another shot over the weekend. Most
surprising about the day’s discussion was that a sitting councilmember
like Ivy Taylor of District 2 would expose herself as being so uncomfortable
about LGBT issues.
'gays are termites' during press conference
QSanAntonio.com, March 17, 2011
Bexar County Democratic Chairman Dan Ramos reiterated that he believed
that gays were like "white termites who have infiltrated the party
much like termites infiltrate your house," and were co-conspirators
with direct involvement in the theft of over $200,000 from party coffers.
Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus
-- Austin, Texas
Photography by Antonia Padilla, March 6, 2011
Texas Stonewall Dems plot strategies
for 2012 elections
QSanAntonio.com, March 12, 2011
Members of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus from all across the state
met in Austin on March 5 and 6 to assess the “ass-whipping”
Democrats took at the polls last November and to develop messaging and
other strategies for winning in 2012.
Participants heard two powerful keynote speeches from openly bisexual
Arizona State Senator Kyrsten Sinema and national transgender activist
In her speech, Sinema illuminated how Arizona is the breeding ground for
all the anti-immigrant, anti-choice, anti-worker’s rights and anti-children’s
health care legislation that is being proposed in many state legislatures,
including Texas. She warned that “Arizona is coming to a state near
you” and characterized this as an attempt by the so-called Tea Party
to “mainstream hatred in this country”. She stated that the
Tea Party has been around for 20 years and is just another name for Republicans.
Sinema outlined ways that Democrats can build coalitions to stop these
bad bills from becoming law and encouraged LGBT Democrats to reach out
to allies, even unlikely ones, and support their issues in exchange for
their support of ours. “After all, LGBT people make up only 4 percent
of the electorate and you need 50 percent plus one to win,” she
After her speech, attendees jumped to their feet to give Sinema a rousing
ovation and then formed a line to have her autograph copies of her book,
“Unite And Conquer: Building Coalitions That Win – And Last”.
Houston activist Brad Pritchett,
national transgender activist Mara Keisling, Arizona State Senator Kyrsten
Sinema and State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth). Courtesy photos.
Keisling used a combination of her expertise and humor to urge LGBT Democrats
to move outside their “issue silos” and talk about racism,
immigration and other issues in our conversations with others. She jokingly
spoke of her prior “husbands”, George W. Bush and Rick Perry,
and referred to the Tea Party as a reincarnation of the John Birch Society.
When asked about the prospects of passage of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination
Act, or ENDA, Keisling flatly replied that it was dead for the next two
years, given the Republican majority in the U.S. House. She concluded
her presentation by doing a “tap dance routine” with her mouth
and tongue, which evoked laughter and applause.
Other guest speakers at the conference included Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell,
Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie, Equality Texas Executive
Director Dennis Coleman and State Representative Mike Villarreal (D-San
Villarreal led a plenary session that included an analysis of the November
2010 election and small group sessions to develop messaging for the 2012
election. A second plenary session, led by TSDC Vice President Erin Moore
and Rio Grande Valley chapter President Eli Olivarez, focused on winning
strategies for the 2012 election.
Awards were presented to Houston LGBT activist Brad Pritchett, Stonewall
Democrats of the Rio Grande Valley and State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort
Worth). The conference also included a TSDC Executive Board meeting and
workshops on a variety of topics such as building a bigger club and youth
involvement and use of social media.
The conference was timed to occur on the weekend before Equality Texas
Lobby Day and many who attended the conference joined hundreds of other
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) Texans and their straight allies
on Monday, March 7, at the State Capitol to speak to state legislators
about anti-bullying and other bills important to the LGBT community.
TSDC officers reported that a total of 70 LGBT Democrats and straight
allies from across the state registered for the conference. There was
representation at the conference from all nine active chapters statewide,
including many young people, as well as from Galveston and Tyler.
“Many who attended the conference thanked me for this experience”,
said TSDC President Dan Graney, “and that they were leaving energized
to carry on the important work of Stonewall Democrats back home”.
For more information about the conference go to TexasStonewallDemocrats.org.
Eduardo Juarez and Elena Guajardo. (Photos by Antonia
Stonewall Democrats announce new
board members and co-chairs
QSanAntonio.com, January 22, 2011
Elena Guajardo and Eduardo Juarez were elected co-chairs of Stonewall
Democrats of San Antonio at the club’s Annual Meeting on Monday,
Five others were elected to at-large positions on the SDSA Board of Directors:
Linda Allen (re-elected to second term); Lynne Armstrong; Gilbert Casillas;
Rosie Gonzalez and Minerva Mendoza. Both co-chairs and the five at-large
members will serve a two-year term beginning February 1.
Guajardo is a former San Antonio City Councilwoman and had already been
serving as co-chair with Roberto Flores after she was appointed in September,
2009 to fill the vacancy left by former co-chair Lynne Armstrong, who
resigned for personal reasons.
Guajardo essentially led the organization throughout most of 2010 while
Flores was serving as interim County Chair of the Bexar County Democratic
Party and later became ill and died of cancer on September 2, 2010.
Juarez is an attorney with the San Antonio District Office of the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission. He was born on San Antonio’s
west side and has been active in politics and GLBT causes in the past.
He is presently the chair of the LGBT Section of the State Bar of Texas
and serves on a similar panel with the National Bar Association. He is
also a member of the Mexican-American Bar Association.
Linda Allen is the club’s webmaster and was re-elected to a second
term as at-large Board member. Lynne Armstrong previously served as at-large
board member and co-chair prior to stepping down as co-chair in August
Gilbert Casillas is a Democratic precinct chair and has been involved
in Democratic politics and LGBT causes for years. Rosie Gonzalez is an
attorney in private practice and was a candidate for District Court Judge
in 2010. Minerva Mendoza is a straight ally who has a lesbian daughter
and has been a member of PFLAG and volunteered with the Bexar County Democratic
Party and Bexar County United Democrats in 2010.
Guajardo thanked outgoing Board members Bryan Gerard, Olga Hernandez and
Peg MacPhail for their service to the organization. She also announced
that Eric Alva had resigned as a board member due to his national commitments
and that his vacancy would be filled at a future SDSA Board meeting.
Other members who continue as Board members include Secretary Cris Ramirez,
Treasurer Kevin Voelker and at-large members Chris Forbrich, Ruby Krebs
and David Plylar.
Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio
Photos by Antonia Padilla, September 27, 2010
Stonewall Democrats Co-chair Elena Guajardo. Retired
San Antonio Express-News Journalist Carlos Guerra was Master of Ceremonies.
Linda Chavez, Democratic candidate for Texas Lt. Governor.
Chuck Wolfe, the Ppresident and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund
and Leadership Institute.
Stonewall members Eric Alva and Bryan Gerard.
Michael Mitchell, Executive Director for the National
Stonewall Democrats. Dan Graney, President of the Texas Stonewall Democratic
Stonewall board member Cristina Ramirez (left) looks
on while Niki Sanchez and Deb Myers accept their award for Community Leadership.
John and Zada True Courage (left) receive the Volunteer Appreciation Award
as Stonewall member David Plylar looks on.
Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio
Photos by Ted Switzer, September 27, 2010
Gay activist elected chair of Bexar
County Democratic Party
QSanAntonio.com, December 16, 2009
A little bit of gay political history was made on December 15, when Roberto
J. Flores, Co-chair of the Stonewall Democrats, was elected interim Chair
of the Bexar County Democratic Party by members of that group’s
Flores was elected to fill the vacancy left by the outgoing County Chair
Carla Vela who resigned because she intends to run for County Clerk. Flores
was one of two candidates nominated at the meeting. He was elected by
a vote of 101 to 30.
Flores will serve as interim chair until a new County Chair is elected
by the voters of Bexar County in the March Democratic Primary and possibly
will remain chair until the end of April after the primary runoff election.
He is not a candidate for a full two-year term on the March primary ballot.
His primary responsibility as interim Chair will be to oversee the Democratic
Primary Election that takes place on March 2.
Flores is the first openly gay person ever elected County Chair of the
Bexar County Democratic Party. He has been co-chair of Stonewall Democrats
of San Antonio since 2007, is a former member of the Board of Directors
of Equality Texas and has been the Chair of the San Antonio Peace Officers
Training Committee, which provides GLBT sensitivity training to San Antonio
police cadets. He has served as Democratic precinct chair of Bexar County
Precinct 3122 since 2000 and resigned his precinct chair position after
he was elected interim County Chair.
In his speech after being nominated, Flores recounted his lifelong involvement
in the Democratic Party and his participation in various civil rights
movements, including the GLBT equality movement. He pledged to do whatever
he could to unite the local party to turn Bexar County a deeper shade
of "blue" in 2010.
A troubled organization
Carla Vela made a tearful announcement
of embezzeled funds. Vela said Treasurer Dwayne Adams drained the Bexar
County Democrats bank account of $202, 000. (Photo courtesy of WalkerReport.net.)
Flores inherits an organization that is plagued by an internal scandal.
On the night when Flores was elected, outgoing Chair Carla Vela opened
the meeting with a tearful announcement that the organization’s
Treasurer, Dwayne Adams, had embezzled $202,000 from a bank account that
contained funds left over from the Democratic Primary in 2008 and owed
back to the State.
Adams was to have finished a report that was to accompany the funds being
returned to the State. Vela says she did not learn of the missing money
until a check she had written bounced and she went to the bank to investigate.
Vela said that Adams had added his name a signatory on the account and
over time had been withdrawing cash. Vela was supposed to be the only
person with access to the funds in that account. In an interview with
WOAI-TV Vela said that she had spoken to Adams and that he had told her
he would be returning the money.
However, attempts to reach Adams since then have proven futile so Vela
and Flores decided to meet the District Attorney on December 16 to press
Photos -- Gay activist couple weds
QSanAntonio.com, October 24, 2009
San Antonio activists Dan Graney and Roberto Flores were married on October
15, 2009 in a civil ceremony held at the Lilac Inn, a bed and breakfast
in Brandon, Vermont. Justice of the Peace Joyce Heath officiated at the
Graney is the President of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus and Flores
is Co-chair of the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio. The couple has
been together for 35 years. The wedding was part of a trip to the Northeast
that included a visit to New York City and participation in the GLBT March
on Washington D.C. on October 11.
Roberto Flores (left), Stonewall Co-Chair, and Deputy
Chief Jose Banales of the San Antonio Police Department at the meeting
of the Stonewall Democrats on August 17. (Photo by Antonia Padilla)
Deputy Police Chief fields questions
at Stonewall Democrats’ meeting
QSanAntonio.com, August 18, 2009
Deputy Chief Jose Banales, the San Antonio Police Department’s GLBT
liaison, made a quick appearance at the August 17 meeting of the Stonewall
Democrats and offered a progress report on the department’s efforts
to respond to the community’s concerns.
Banales had no prepared comments. He did however offer an update on the
Internal Affairs investigation of a drug raid made on the home of a lesbian
couple (click here for related story)
that found no evidence of wrongdoing but left the women traumatized and
shaken for months afterward.
According to Banales, the investigation is almost complete and that the
findings would be presented to a review board. He said that Police Chief
William McManus would take the lead in making sure the case would be resolved
to the "satisfaction of all parties."
Banales also outlined a service initiative the SAPD has undertaken to
survey citizens of San Antonio asking them to rate the performance of
the department. Over 300 calls have been made and the SAPD eventually
hopes to post the results of the survey on their web site. The SAPD is
hoping to include the survey twice a year in City Public Service invoices.
The surveys are a reaction to widespread belief that policemen are callous
and indifferent toward citizens. Banales said that 90 percent of the 300
surveys rated the police as doing a good job. He added that it was not
good enough and the department wanted to bring up that rating.
During the question and answer session, two questioners, Nancy Russell
and Dr. Lynne Armstrong admonished Banales on the treatment of GLBT citizens
and the reluctance of senior SAPD officers to take and endorse sensitivity
Dr. Armstrong, who is a member of the Peace Officers Liaison Committee
and helps conduct sensitivity training at the Police Academy, told Banales
that when senior officers were offered the training very few signed up
and those who did complained that they felt it was unnecessary.
Banales admitted that there was work to be done and that Chief McManus
was committed to improving the SAPD’s relationship with the community.
Phyllis Guest, Reynaldo Garcia and Raymundo Garcia
(seated) circa 1969. Phyllis and Raymundo at the Stonewall Democrats of
San Antonio meeting on July 20, 2009.
Speakers evoke memories of Stonewall
QSanAntonio.com, July 21, 2009
Two Texans who were living in New York City in June of 1969, at the time
of the Stonewall riots, offered up their personal recollections of those
historic days at the July 20 meeting of the Stonewall Democrats of San
Though their experiences were different Phyllis Guest from Dallas and
Raymundo Garcia of San Antonio both say that the time was right for GLBT
people to fight back against a system that routinely persecuted sexual
"Gay people were tired of being shoved aside," Guest said. "In
49 states gay sex was illegal, there was no law protecting a gay person’s
job, housing or insurance."
The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations
against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June
28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood
of New York City.
Guest, who worked in NYC as a writer and proofreader, explained that late
night raids on gay bars were not unusual in the city. "They would
just come in turn out the lights and send everybody home," she said.
On June 28, the day the riots began, Guest stopped by the Stonewall Inn
early in the evening to have a quick beer with friends. "It was a
hot Friday afternoon and the day of the Judy Garland funeral," she
"The Stonewall was kind of a down and dirty place, mostly younger
street kids, drag queens — a more flamboyant, open crowd,"
said Guest. Yet despite the altercation with police, Guest says that the
disturbance was not as violent as it could have been. "There were
no gun shots or fires started."
Garcia had only been in New York City a short time before the events of
Stonewall. He moved to the city in 1969 at the urging of his twin brother,
Reynaldo, who was studying ballet. The brothers shared an apartment on
the city's Upper West Side.
In the first few days of his time in New York, Garcia took in the original
Broadway production of "Hair," his first opera at the Metropolitan
Opera House, his first ticker tape parade and the Stonewall riots. "It
was phenomenal," he said.
Garcia recalls on June 27, 1969, he spent three-and-a-half hours waiting
in line to see Judy Garland’s casket. He said that the crowd was
colorfully dressed in hippie and mod fashions and that the gays were out
in full force.
While he waited in line, Garcia remembers a man who was sobbing uncontrollably
was helped out of the funeral home by two people. "My friend asked
if he was a good friend of Judy’s. One of the people replied ‘No,
but he has all her albums.’"
When Garcia finally got into the funeral home he recalls that Garland
looked like Snow White laid out in her glass coffin.
Garcia said that later that evening he went down to the Village to meet
up with his brother but when he arrived at the subway stop at Christopher
Street he was not allowed by police to exit to the street. He had to go
around to another exit a couple of blocks away before he could reach street
He says that when he arrived at Sheridan Square, which is across the street
from the Stonewall Inn, the worst of the riot was over. His brother was
there and had gotten a minor laceration to his head.
"The gay club kids were strutting around like angry peacocks,"
Garcia said. "There were bricks, and broken glass everywhere."
He says the civil disturbances continued on for weeks.
One year later, the Garcia brothers participated in the first Pride March
in New York City. Garcia says that police never released official estimates
of crowd size, but activists estimated that the march attracted over 150,000
participants. "We marched up Fifth Avenue to Central Park where another
100,000 people were waiting to have a rally."
Garcia believes that the years since Stonewall have not brought the change
that GLBT people need. "Forty years later and we’re still fighting
for the same things. There have been some advances but we need more. Change
will come but it will take a long time."
Ciro Rodriguez non-committal when
questioned on "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell"
QSanAntonio.com, October 24
Speaking before the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio’s monthly
meeting on October 20, Democratic Congressman Ciro Rodriguez (TX-23rd
District) was caught speechless when questioned about his failure to sign
on as a co-sponsor for the Military Readiness Enhancement Act that seeks
to repeal the anti-gay policy of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell."
It did not help the Congressman’s dilemma that the question was
posed by retired Marine sergeant and HRC spokesman Eric Alva.
Congressman Rodriguez’ talk was one of many given by Democratic
candidates making one last pitch for votes from Stonewall members before
the November 4th election. The mood in the meeting room was one of pre-election
elation and bonhomie. About a half-dozen politicians spoke before Congressman
Rodriguez, who’s been endorsed by Stonewall, took the floor to make
his case for re-election.
The Congressman spoke passionately and garnered several rounds of boisterous
applause. He talked about education, veteran’s rights, the border
fence, the economy, and Iraq. However, he did not mention any GLBT issues.
‘I’ll look into it"
It was when the floor was opened for questions that Alva stood to ask
Rodriguez about "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell."
In March 2003, Alva became the first soldier injured in the Iraq War when
he stepped on a landmine resulting in the loss of his right leg part of
an index finger. On February 28, 2007, he joined Rep. Marty Meehan, (D-Mass.),
in calling for an end to the government’s "Don’t ask,
Don’t Tell" policy.
At the invitation of Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), chair of the personnel
subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, Alva again testified
before Congress on July 23, 2008.
"Congressman Rodriguez," said Alva, "I think you were in
Iraq longer than I was." "I was there three days," said
Rodriguez, holding up three fingers. "I was there only three hours,"
replied Alva, "I was the first soldier injured in the Iraq War and
The Congressman stood there and stared blankly. He did not recognize Alva
even though the ex-Marine tells QSanAntonio that he has met with Rodriguez
twice to make a pitch for repealing "Don’t Ask."
Alva went on to list four Texas Democratic Congressmen who had co-sponsored
the Military Readiness Enhancement Act: Al Green (9th District), Sheila
Jackson Lee (18th District), Eddie Jackson (30th District) and Lloyd Doggett
(5th District). Alva added that more than 140 in Congress have signed
on as co-sponsors for the bill. He then asked Rodriguez why he was not
After a long, awkward silence Rodriguez replied that he would "look
into it" and added that if the "votes weren’t there,"
he would not support the legislation. He then quickly went on to other
From liberal to moderate
Many in the room were disappointed with Rodriguez’ response. The
Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio and the local chapter of the Human
Rights Campaign both strongly supported Rodriguez with money and manpower
during his previous run for the 23rd District House seat. As Alva put
it, "We don’t want his Republican opponent to win, but the
Congressman could have at least been prepared to answer questions relating
to GLBT issues."
A September 15, 2008 article in the San Antonio Express-News explains
why Congressman Rodriguez may be reticent to address "Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell" and other GLBT concerns:
Once one of the most liberal lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Rep. Ciro
Rodriguez has taken a substantial shift to the political center and
heads into the November election as a moderate in a Democratic district
with strong conservative enclaves.
"I'm responding to needs," Rodriguez said of his political
metamorphosis. "Part of it is looking at your district and who
Rodriguez once represented the heavily Democratic 28th Congressional
District that includes San Antonio 's South Side and Laredo. But he
lost that seat in 2004 to Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo.
Two years later, Rodriguez returned to Congress by defeating Rep. Henry
Bonilla, R-San Antonio, in a special runoff election after the U.S.
Supreme Court ordered the 23rd Congressional District redrawn to include
more minority voters.
The new district — sweeping from San Antonio to El Paso —
includes areas with conservative voters on San Antonio 's Northwest
Side and in Val Verde County and rural towns in West Texas.
Dan Graney, President of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus and a San
Antonio Stonewall member, put it this way: "Since being elected to
the 23rd District, Ciro Rodriguez has been AWOL in our community."
Graney says he can only conclude that Congressman Rodriguez is hoping
to keep a low profile on issues that alienate conservative voters in his
Congressman Rodriguez’ relationship with GLBT voters in San Antonio
was best summed up when Darrell Parsons, President of the San Antonio
LGBT Chamber of Commerce, stood up at the Stonewall meeting and followed
up on Alva’s question saying, "Congressman, we’ve endorsed
you and helped your campaign. We need you on our issues and we need to
see you at our events."
All the Congressman could do is shrug and nod.
Mayor Hardberger pays a call on the
QSanAntonio, March 20, 2007
Mayor Phil Hardberger made an election season visit to the March 19 meeting
of the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio where he received a standing
ovation and a very warm reception. For his part the Mayor seemed at ease
and projected the confidence of a popular incumbent whose re-election
to office seems almost certain.
The Mayor’s appearance at the Stonewall meeting was made possible
through the efforts of District 7 City Councilwoman Elena Guajardo who
was on hand to introduce him to the group. Hardberger had warm words for
Guajardo. He commended her for helping him convince the rest of the City
Council to get behind a $550 million bond proposal. He called her a "forward
thinker" who was "out in front" of the issues.
The rest of Hardberger’s talk dealt mostly with the progress the
city has seen under his watch and with the bond proposal that's on the
ballot for the May 12 election. The Mayor described how bond money would
be used for street and sidewalk repairs, for improved drainage and for
new parks. He talked about the $200 million San Antonio Riverwalk extension,
the 4.4 percent unemployment rate and the 40,000 new homes that were built
last year. He said the city would soon see a new homeless facility, a
no-kill animal shelter and a new Federal courthouse.
At the end of his talk Hardberger said that he had a vision of San Antonio
as a "humane and non-discriminatory" place -- a "beacon
to other cities." He thanked everyone for their support and reminded
them to vote for him and the bond proposal. The applause was enthusiastic.
Afterwards, Hardberger took questions from the audience.
One of the questions dealt with a 1999 ruling Hardberger made when he
was Chief Justice of the 4th Court of Appeals. In that case, Chistie Lee
Littleton, a San Antonio transsexual woman who had been legally married
to a man in Kentucky, was denied the status of a surviving spouse after
her husband's death. Hardberger agreed with 285th District Court Judge
Frank Montalvo in his ruling that, because of chromosomal evidence, Littleton’s
marriage to Jonathon Littleton was a same-sex marriage and therefore illegal.
In the only tense moment of the evening, Hardberger defended his opinion
in the Littleton case by saying that he had followed the rule of law,
inferring that it was a clear cut legal decision. However, the Mayor did
not offer any clue as to what his personal thoughts on transgender and
transsexual rights might be. (Click
here for more information about the Littleton case.)
The Stonewall Democrats did not endorse Mayor Hardberger in the previous
election and he did not seek their endorsement. According to Dan Graney,
ex-officio member of the group’s board of directors, Hardberger
indicated that he would fill out the necessary forms so that this year
he could be considered for a Stonewall endorsement.
SAN ANTONIO FOCUS: