By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Dallas County Sheriff-elect Lupe Valdez is a lesbian. You probably knew that already, if you've picked up a local newspaper or watched TV news in the past month. Shoot, people in South Africa, London, Boston, New York and Melbourne, Australia, have heard that news, according to a check we did on Lexis-Nexis, an online database.
Valdez does not keep her sexual orientation a secret, so why, we wonder, is Valdez so mad at the Dallas Observer for reporting that she shared that bit of info with deputy sheriffs two months before the election? "She said, 'I'm not like anybody in here. I'm the element of change. I'm a lesbian,'" one longtime deputy says Valdez told department staff at the pre-election meeting (see "New Sheriff in Town," by Glenna Whitley, November 11).
Here's one reason for Valdez's ire: She swears she never said any such thing. "That's unprofessional," she says. Sheriff's Department spokesman Sergeant Don Peritz, who was at the meeting, says so, too. "Everything you wrote was a lie," Peritz told Whitley. "It [the meeting] lasted all of two minutes, if that long. None of those comments were made."
Now, normally, the Observer would run a correction if we were caught dishing bad information--no, seriously, we would. But our original source for the quote, who spoke only if we promised anonymity, has a good track record of giving us solid information, and the source is sticking by the claim. Peritz gave us the names of other department staffers who were at the meeting, and we reached a couple of them, but they said they weren't there. (They have a new chief at the sheriff's office, and, gay or straight, that has the braves a tad nervous. Natch.)
The truth is, how you say, "elusive," and Buzz is the Observer's usual purveyor of, ahem, elusive truth, so to make nice with the new sheriff, and to hedge our bets against making mistakes, we're telling you what Valdez is telling us.
"The bottom line is there are no concerns about her ability," Peritz says. "She's coming into a department that appears to be scandal-ridden, and it's not. It was politics at its worst. And two and a half years into it [her term], it'll start up again. We didn't know about her sexual orientation until the Friday before early voting started."