City News Roundup

Updates from midterm elections lead this edition of Dallas city news

Updates from midterm elections lead this edition of Dallas city news

Carolyn Arnold
Carolyn Arnold at a Dallas Green Alliance event in 2015. Photo courtesy of Dallas Green Alliance

Following the midterm election on November 6, there are election tidbits to digest, including a runoff in District 4 and an announcement from a U.S. senator from Texas.

Here's what's happened in Dallas city news this week:

Transgender woman sues Dallas County
A transgender woman who was asked to show her genitals to prove her sex inside Dallas County Jail is now suing the county.

Valerie Jacobs said that several jail guards forced her to expose herself after she was arrested for having a handgun in her purse at Love Field in November 2016. She told reporters she had forgotten to remove the handgun before entering the airport.

Jacobs said she was initially held with other female inmates, but after a medical exam was transferred to the men's holding area. During the examination, a nurse asked when her last menstrual cycle was, and she explained she didn't have a uterus and was transgender. Correction officers asked if she had had any work done "down there" and told her to pull down her pants so they could determine her sex.

She dropped her pants for the officers, and then was moved with the men, where she endured cat-calling and discriminatory slurs.

Attorney Scott Palmer said policies and laws were broken, including the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Legally, Jackson is recognized as a female. She had a sex and name change when she transitioned to female.

Former Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who oversaw jail operations and staff, and two jail officers are named in the suit.

District 4 runoff
The race for the District 4 council seat in Dallas is heading to a runoff after a crowded field of candidates couldn't muster a majority, despite record voter turnout in the race.

Former council member Carolyn King Arnold was the top vote-getter of 13 candidates but only got halfway to the finish line. Arnold received 25.8 percent of the voter tally, while Keyaira D. Saunders, who received the second-most votes, fielded 17.1 percent. The two will face each other in a December runoff for the Fair Park-area council seat.

The District 4 seat was vacated after Dwaine Caraway resigned amid a guilty plea of felony charges. Caraway defeated Arnold in 2017 by just over 200 votes, getting a total of 1,760 votes. Arnold received 3,688 of 14,297 votes Tuesday.

The election takes place on December 11.

The new normal
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn has confirmed he will run for reelection in 2020, saying the midterms were a wake-up call for Republicans.

Acknowledging Beto O’Rourke mobilized young and Independent voters, Cornyn said, "I don't know whether this is a once in a lifetime confluence of events or whether this represents something of the new normal."

He said Republicans must do a better job of listening to the concerns on constituents if they want to be successful in the 2020 election.

Cornyn faced seven opponents when he was elected to Senate in 2014, a midterm election year, with 59 percent of the vote. Next time around will be a presidential election, and many Republican challengers are expected in the primary.

LGBTQ time
Three LGBTQ candidates won elections for seats in the Texas House.

  • Julie Johnson, a lesbian from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, defeated Republican incumbent Matt Rinaldi of Irving to win Texas House District 115.
  • Jessica González ran uncontested for a Dallas-area seat in House District 104, after defeating state Rep. Roberto Alonzo in the Democratic primary.
  • Erin Zwiener, a bisexual House candidate, won a Central Texas seat in Hays County District 45, defeating Republican Ken Strange.

The three women will more than double the number of openly LGBTQ women in the Texas House of Representatives.