October 7, 2013
Jeanne Wilcke, President of Downtown Independent Democrats (DID), actively sought to prevent the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club 11 candidates for Judicial Delegates and 2 candidates for Alternates, a majority of whom are gay and lesbian, from being on the September 10, 2013 primary ballot. Jim Owles LDC is a 9 year old gay and lesbian city-wide democratic club whose mission is to “stand for the basic human rights, dignity and freedom for all people” and stands with progressive candidates who advance those principles. The President, Allen Roskoff is co-author of the nation's first gay rights bill.
Jeanne Wilcke made this effort even though the Jim Owles LDC filed petitions with 1,504 signatures from registered voters – more than 3 times the required number of signatures - Wilcke was greeted with the explicit refusal of the Presidents of Village Independent Democrats and Village Reform Democrats to participate in her effort. Wilcke's objection was based solely on a technical issue which the City Board of Elections allowed us to "cure" within a three day period, which we did. She dropped the effort when an attorney advised her that it would most likely not be successful and the other two clubs refused to participate. Her efforts were made public by e-mails originated and exchanged between Wilcke and members of the three Democaritc clubs. Copies of the e-mails were sent to Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club President Allen Roskoff by outraged and concerned Democratic leaders. Jeasnne Wilcke is virtually unknown in the LGBT community and certainly has never been a participant in our struggles. This seems to be her first foray in the gay rights community and unfortunately it involves efforts to inflict damage. It should be noted that Wilcke's slate of 11 delegates and 11 alternates included zero known members of the LGBT community.
Among the candidates that Ms. Wilcke’s effort would have kept off the ballet were Bridget Marks, perhaps the nation's foremost defender of women abused in custody court, police oversight expert Scott Caplan, veteran gay rights activist Wayne Sunday and attorneys Justin Carroll and Brian Jenks. Knocking prominents gays and a prominent women rights activist off the ballot on a technicality may go over well in Texas but not in a district in which the modern gay rights and feminist movement originated. The same holds true for trying to deprive the voters a choice of whom to vote for. Had Wilcke been successful in her efforts it would have meant she would have run unopposed and therefore guaranteed to have been elected.
The Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club is particularly distressed that DID District Leader Paul Newell, a Jim Owles Governing Board member, played an active role in this effort. “As a person who proclaims democratic and political reform values, Paul should have objected to this effort,” stated Roskoff. Based on Mr. Newell’s expressed desire to remain on the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club Board of Governors, the Governing Board voted to request an apology and a commitment to act more responsibly both as a self proclaimed progressive Democrat and as a current Jim Owles Board of Governor member.