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It's the small victories

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From the Houston Chronicle....


First gay Hispanic woman elected as Dallas sheriff

No Democrat has held the post since the 1970s


Associated Press


DALLAS - One-time migrant farm worker Lupe Valdez made history this week when she became the first woman and the first Hispanic elected Dallas County sheriff, not to mention the first Democrat to win the post since the mid-1970s.


She also is openly gay.


The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a political action committee that endorsed Valdez and trained her on answering questions related to her sexual orientation, hailed her as the "first-ever Latina lesbian sheriff."


"I can imagine my mom crying for joy last night as this happened," Valdez said Wednesday, a day after defeating Republican Danny Chandler.


In Valdez's vision, her deceased mother looked down from heaven and watched her girl go from picking beans in a field to leading a 1,900-employee law enforcement agency with a $90 million budget.


The road to the sheriff's office started years ago when Valdez's mother encouraged her to better herself through education. After working two or three jobs at a time to pay for college, Valdez became a federal agent. She worked undercover on drug, organized crime and fraud cases for U.S. Customs.


Now, she'll take over a department tainted by scandal.


Questionable business dealings by 21-year incumbent Sheriff Jim Bowles resulted in a grand-jury investigation and an indictment that was eventually thrown out. Chandler, a 29-year sheriff's department veteran, ousted Bowles in the Republican primary.


Chandler, 53, attacked his former boss during the campaign, hoping to distance himself from Bowles. But that strategy failed.


The election campaign was generally cordial until the end, when Chandler made an issue of Valdez's endorsement by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, based in Washington. Chandler issued a statement Wednesday expressing his confidence in Valdez's ability to restore trust to the office and saying she "will have the privilege of leading the finest crime fighters in the country."


Margo Frasier, who heads the 1,350-employee Travis County Sheriff's Department in Austin, expressed her delight with Valdez's election but said a woman serving as sheriff faces hurdles.


"The reality of it is, when you make mistakes that anybody makes, they decide you made that mistake because you're a woman," Frasier said.


But once the "good ol' boys in Dallas County" realize Valdez is competent, Frasier said, she will earn their respect and her gender, race and sexual orientation won't matter.

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Anoother small victory... Cincinnati repeals anti-gay Amendment from the City Charter.


Voters voted 54% to 46% to repeal Anti-Gay Article XII. Article XII was approved in 1993 and it had forbid the city from passing any protections based on Sexual Orientation. So even in the Republican Bastion of Cincinnati we continue to move forward, one step at a time. It is also interesting to note as they voted to repeal this Anti-Gay Article they, as did the rest of Ohio, voted to amend their state Constitution to Ban Gay Marriage.

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I realized what a bubble I live in here in Columbus, Ohio. The county (Franklin) went for Kerry as it went for Gore in '00. The neigborhoods where I live and work, are probably 90% Democratic, at least according to the political signage. The only places I saw many Bush/Cheney signs were in the cookie-cutter suburbs.


I was SO depressed Election Night as I sat up all night watching the returns. I didn't want to get out of bed at all yesterday. Saw 2 seconds of Kerry's speech and went back to sleep.


Today, I decided to look at the good side. The Zoo levy passed and so did the Smoking Ban. Columbus City Schools levy passed as did funding for streets/sanitation. Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy bumped 2 term Republican Arlene Shoemaker off the Franklin County Commissioners giving Democrats control 2-1. We have a black Democratic mayor and Democrats dominate city council.


Unfortunately, the Marriage Ban passed. Most likely it will be challenged in court as it is so broadly written.


"Only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this state. This state shall not create or recognize a legal status for unmarried individuals that intends to imitate marriage."


Alan Melamed, a Democrat, is the principal spokesman for Ohioans Defending the Constitution, a group opposed to the proposition


Said Melamed: "The second sentence of this amendment is going to take away rights and benefits from hundreds of thousands of Ohioans. It is going to affect young people that want to buy a house together. It's going to affect people coming to this state looking for domestic partner benefits at our state universities. And when we pass something like this, it's saying that if you don't follow our moral standards, you are not welcome in Ohio."

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