Making Sense of
the GPC Bloc Vote
From Neal Tannahill
I would like to offer some observations on
GPC endorsements and the bloc vote. As I
see it, there are two basic reasons for
screening and endorsing candidates.
First, we want to identify which candidates are best qualified and most supportive of the goals of the gay community.
Second, we want to gather political IOU's
from candidates we endorse and help
If we cold trust public officials always to
act on the basis of high principle and lofty
motives, then a dual endorsement would
be appropriate in races between two acceptable candidates, such as Nikki Van
Hightower and Anthony Hall. I am afraid,
however, that the world is not like that.
Poetical-marriages are always marriages
of tonvenience. Public officials support
our rightis only insofar as it is in their
political interest to do so. You might say
that the bloc vote gives them the courage
of their convictions.
Am I being overly cynical? I don't think
so. Kathy Whitmire is a long time supporter of our cause, but she didn't want to
appear with us on election night while an
NBC TV crew was there. Perhaps she
didn't want to soil her national image.
Similarly, in 1979 when George Greanias first ran for city council against
Lance Lalor, he didn't want our endorsement. He thought it would do more harm
than good. When Lalor trounced him, he
changed his mind and won with us in 1981
I admire both Whitmire and Greanias.
They have been good for Houston and
good for the gay community. They are politicians, however, and generally act on the
basis of what they perceive to be the best
for them politically.
And so do we. We endorse candidates
and work for their election, not because we
love them (although we may like some a
great deal), but because we wish to further
our own political cause. Consequently, the
concept of an enforcement and a bloc vote
makes good political sense, even when
there are two acceptable candidates in a
Will Nikki Be Able
to Recoup Her
From Neil Isbin
I write this letter with mixed feeling.
Although I have never met Nikki Van
Hightower, from listening to her I felt that
she was a decent, sincere and capable person who would make an excellent addition
to the City Council. As such, I was deeply
distressed by the desperate negativity of
her run-off campaign. I had felt all along
that she was in the wrong race at the
wrong time, but that she could succeed in
another campaign. Now I am not so optimistic. She made too many foolish mistakes.
Given the overwhelming victory of
Mayor Kathy Whitmire, it was foolish of
Nikki to attack the mayor and allow herself to be used by her strange coalition of
supporters as an anti-Whitmire tool. In
addition, her ad that warned that a Hall
victory would strengthen the Leland
machine wreaked of camouflaged racism,
whether intentional or not.
The Houston electorate has matured
beyond most people's expectations. Smear
campaigns no longer succeed—they disgust voters and backfire. I am proud that
the candidate I supported, Anthony Hall,
ran such a clean and honest campaign.
Personally, I find it difficult to blame
Nikki for her campaign mistakes, and I
prefer to blame her campaign manager
Shari Valentine and others who surrounded her. However, ultimately, it is the
candidate that must bear responsibility
for the quality and tenor of her campaign.
Will Nikki be able to recoup her losses,
learn from her mistakes and be a viable
candidate again? I would like to hope so—
but it will be an uphill fight for her to
regain the credibility her campaign destroyed.
From Steven Cuniberti
The impossible syntax of your cover story
about the mayor at Mary's (Nov. 11) left
me with no clear idea as to who did what to
whom. Considering the apparently confusing circumstances, it would have
seemed to me to be of the utmost importance that the reporting be clear. Doesn't
anyone read copy before it goes to press?
Perhaps—and I do not suggest this as a
joke—we are just reading the results of
someone's idea of creative writing. My thesis cannot be as outlandish as the B-grade
detective pulp style of the following issue's
cover story about a homicide on lower
Westheimer. I pick up a newspaper to be
informed of the news; if I wanted to read
nonsense, I would have picked up a bar
guide or a National Enquirer.
Also in issue No. 160 (Nov. 18) was a
pathetically defensive article about yet
another confrontation between the GPC
and the VOICE. ".. .the VOICE addressed
the caucus.. .and.. .the VOICE established
itself as an unbiased newspaper...." we
read in Robert Hyde's article. Oh, really?
And in what way did the VOICE address
the crowd—by rustling its pages? If someone spoke for the VOICE, I would have
liked to have read that attribution in the
story. And to whom did the newspaper
establish itself? Having attended more
than one GPC meeting in my life, I suspect
that it was to none of them, Ray Hill's
sense of political expediency notwithstanding.
What a sad thing it has been for me to
discover that the old childish taunts that
the GPC'ers have hurled at the MONTROSE VOICE for using the HearBt publication's tactics were more premature than
(The story dealing with the mayor at
Mary's, as well as with the following
events of election night, was presented
chronologically and was meant to show
the division and confusion within the community. We would be happy if you would
like to explain everything to the community and tie events up into a nice little package with a bright bow—no one else has
been able to do so.
And let's hope your attitude regarding
the murder on Westheimer as "nonsense"
is not a pervasive one and indicative of
why murders in the area are so frequent—
who really gives a damn?
As for the GPC meeting address, we're
sorry to disappoint you by not making the
article an editorial.)
Attempts to Clarify
From Annise D. Parker
Open letter to the Houston gay
I am sure most of you are aware that GPC
is once again involved in controversy. Our
local gay newspaper has given front page
coverage to certain baseless rumors and
unsubstantiated allegations. I refer, of
course, to last week's (Nov. 11) lead story
in the MONTROSE VOICE.
When I first read the article, I was furious. I ranted that it reeked of yellow journalism, editorializing and sloppy
reporting. GPC has had disagreements
with the VOICE in the past. I was told to
ignore the story.
Well, I agreed not to stand here and vent
my initial reaction. But I don't think this
type of reporting can remain unchallenged. I think VOICE coverage of GPC
improved tremendously under Hollis
Hood. I believe she is fair, and I know she
tries to be accurate. Unfortunately, not all
You've bought the his and hers blimps
from Neiman-Marcus and the iguana coat
from Bergdorf s. Now you can order the
ultimate Christmas gift from Sakowitz:
your own autobiography, reports the
Pacific News Service.
You won't have to actually write it. The
store will send a ghost writer to your door
to do it for you. You'll get 100 hardback
copies of your life story, complete with pictures and gold lettering on the cover.
The price: a mere $63,000.
DEC. 2, 1983/MONTROSE VOICE 11
For the record. In reference to alleged "Mary's would like to apologize to the
incidents at Mary's bar on Friday the 4th: mayor for the rudeness and actions ofcer-
Fact: There were four GPC board tain members of the GPC which occurred
members at Mary's that night. They were at my bar last Friday night.")
myself, two of the other women hoard ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
members and Bob Fisher. There were a* ^B
several members present.
Fact: Bob passed out GPC bloc vot
stickers to people in the bar. (I remind you
that's why they were printed.) We did not
put them on cars.
I am not sure what form of coercion he is
supposed to have used in forcing stickers
on people who didn't want them. If anyone
was too drunk or stupid to be able to refuse
it, I hope they don't vote.
Fact: None of the board members present spoke to the mayor or impeded her
progress in any way. There was no "blockade" by anyone and, consequently, no
forceful removal of it.
We weren't even standing together in
the bar. Granted, we failed to greet or
respond to the mayor as she made *"r
rounds, hardly a radical confrontatbn. I
went outside before she reached me ind
did not return until she had left.
Fact: This supposed incident provided
the lightest moment in our subsequent
meeting with the mayor. We shared a
laugh about the efficiency of the rumor
mill. She pointed out that media coverage
like this has influenced her current attitude.
The mayor told the VOICE that nothing
happened at Mary's. State Rep. Debra
Danburg told the VOICE nothing happened. GPC board members told the
VOICE it didn't happen. I think GPC has
a right to know the source of this attack. If
the VOICE doesn't believe the words of
the mayor, our state Rep. or the board of
GPC, then I don't think that its (sic) GPC
which has a problem.
The VOICE responds:
It is not a question of what the VOICE
believes, as long as we report events as
accurately as possible. Also, no one
coerced Mary's owner, Jim Farmer, into
making the following statement (Nov. 11)
to the VOICE:
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