Dan Ramos Removed as Bexar County Chair

By John Dean Domingue, TCRR Correspondent

May 4, 2011

[Full disclosure—John Dean Domingue is an organizer within the Direct Action Network of San Antonio (DANSA), an organization intimately involved in the Dan Ramos story.]

Tonight, in a 104-5 vote, the Bexar County Democratic Party County Executive Committee (BCDP CEC) removed Dan Ramos as the chair of the party after homophobic and racist slurs uttered by the former chair in March of this year.

In a comment on one of the original news stories about Dan Ramos while the story was still developing, Dan Graney wrote, “Such remarks by a party official are totally unbecoming the office to which he was elected.” Graney, along with CEC precinct chair Dee Villarrubia, led the effort to remove Ramos from his position.

The sustained and difficult effort to remove Ramos included holding a vote to determine if he should go to trial by the party, trying him in absentia and rendering a guilty verdict, summoning a majority quorum (which has not happened since 2009), and voting for his official removal.

“The removal of Dan Ramos as Chair of the Bexar County Democratic Party marks a turning point for the civil rights movement in Texas. No longer will our community allow social diseases like homophobia and racism to infect the diverse people of San Antonio,” said Jay Morris, the founder of DANSA, which has been organizing to remove Ramos since his initial comments.

The next step of the process will be to elect a replacement within 20 days of the ouster vote.

Bexar County Dem Chairman Creates Rift with Comments

By John Dean Domingue, TCRR Correspondent

May 3, 2011

[Full disclosure—John Dean Domingue is an organizer with the Direct Action Network of San Antonio (DANSA), an organization intimately involved in the Dan Ramos story.]

The Bexar County Democratic Party (BCDP) has been in an uproar attempting to remove the party’s chair, Dan Ramos, who has been spewing anti-LGBT, anti-black, and anti-disability rhetoric coupled with continuous refusals to apologize or resign for almost two months.

On March 11th, Ramos gave an interview [1] to the San Antonio Current in which he compared the Stonewall Democratic Party, which represents LGBT rights, to termites, the Tea Party, and Nazis, and said, “[they’re] just like the blacks . . . they’re American, but you can’t get your way just because you’re black.”

The next week, on the morning of March 17th, Ramos held a press conference [2] , during which he reiterated almost word-for-word his statement about black Americans and said about homosexuals, “Look: this is not natural. This is like a kid who was born with a polio leg, you can’t kill him and you can’t sweep him under the rug,” implying that parents of disabled children should want to kill or hide their children and ignoring the fact that polio is not a congenital disease.

The San Antonio community, along with other communities, became outraged over these statements and immediately began to organize against Ramos. On the same day as Ramos’s press conference, the Direct Action Network of San Antonio [3] (DANSA) along with the Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio [4] (SDSA) organized a protest demanding Ramos’s resignation outside of a fundraiser where the chair was thought likely to be that evening. Although Ramos did not attend, the activists seemed to have successfully communicated, through their ca. dozen attendees and inspirational signs, their message that Ramos’s rhetoric could neither be tolerated in San Antonio nor anywhere else.

Ramos’s judgments about blacks and gays ignited the passion—and in some instances, rage—of many San Antonio residents. In a JaySays.com blog entry [5] , DANSA founder Jay Morris writes, “In my household, only 50% of the gays are white, Anglo and blue eyed.  In my closest circle of friends, that drops significantly – to roughly 1 out of 10.” Morris writes in another entry [6], “I find the comment [about blacks] terribly offensive and degrading to the work of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Bayard Rustin, Rosa Parks, and many more heroes of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement.”

Within a couple weeks, literally dozens of organizations (both political and non-political) and elected officials called for the resignation of Ramos [7] , including Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, as well as Boyd Richie, the chair of the Texas Democratic Party.  By the end of March, almost 60 organizations and officials joined in. And then came the April 4th BCDP County Executive Committee (CEC) meeting, and Rally for Resignation.

The BCDP called its usual BCDP CEC meeting for April 4th at Luby’s Cafeteria on Main Street and put a proposal on the agenda to try Ramos for a violation of Robert’s Rules of Order, the set of parliamentary rules that governs the group when the usual rules have no answer.

However, according to DANSA [8] , Ramos called a conflicting meeting at a different Luby’s location, despite the fact that it broke party rules. DANSA reacted by organizing the Rally for Resignation, a sidewalk protest outside of the Luby’s location of the conflicting meeting. About four television stations and two print media sources covered the rally’s 30 or so attendees (some of whom drove from Austin and Houston), which demonstrated to the San Antonio community that the forces against Ramos were building with each successive week over which he refused to resign.

The CEC meeting held at the Main St. location of Luby’s Cafeteria resulted in a vote to bring Ramos to trial by the party for his neglect. That trial took place at the Metropolitan Community Church on April 16th and ended with a unanimous guilty verdict [9] by the trial committee; however, because of the way in which the trial was announced, the verdict could not take official effect and instead acted as a recommendation by the trial committee to the BCDP CEC.

The CEC announced another meeting for May 3rd to take an official vote for the removal of Dan Ramos with a majority quorum. The CEC has not had a majority quorum since 2009, and thus would be a monumental occasion if the vote actually takes place.