Garcia: 'Very destructive': Former opponent warns against Von Dohlen
Gilbert Garcia, Metro Columnist
May 22, 2021Updated: May 22, 2021 11:14 a.m.
Last Monday, Texas Public Radio’s The Source hosted a forum for the runoff candidates in City Council District 9.
At one point, a caller asked District 9 challenger Patrick Von Dohlen about his opposition to LGBTQ individuals being appointed to city boards and commissions.
Von Dohlen ducked the question.
He acknowledged that he is “part of an organization that does speak out to protect, defend and promote the family in the public square of the city of San Antonio.” (In fact, he is the co-founder of that organization, the San Antonio Family Association.)
He didn’t, however, acknowledge that SAFA issued an action alert in December 2018, blasting the selection of local businesswoman Ruby Resendez to the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women.
“Here we go again,” the SAFA alert said. “(The council) will appoint what appears to be a homosexual female (to the commission).”
That same month, Von Dohlen wrote a letter to his SAFA followers.
“It seems to me and other Christians in our city, that every hire and appointment requires being a homosexual activist,” Von Dohlen said.
“Each announcement is strategically bent on promoting the LGBT agenda and attempts to circumvent and squash the beliefs of the majority of residents in our city by promoting and celebrating an agenda that has long been proven to be detrimental for society.”
That’s how Von Dohlen works. He and his organization have spent the past decade crusading against the LGBTQ community, a woman’s right to choose and even the basic use of contraception. But he always frames his position as an effort to fend off oppressive forces that are squashing his religious freedom.
Let us never forget his display in front of City Council on September 5, 2013, when he voiced his opposition to a nondiscrimination ordinance that simply extended civil-rights protections to cover sexual orientation and sexual identity.
Von Dohlen described sex between two men as the penetration of “an exit hole used to rid toxic waste of a body.”
He said a same-sex relationship inevitably “causes disease and infection” and promotes “unhealthiness.”
I apologize to readers for quoting these offensive rantings from Von Dohlen. But I do so because it’s important to understand the game he’s playing in this election.
He thinks that running as a business-friendly fiscal conservative is a winning formula in this North Side district — the only council district that Donald Trump carried last November.
So Von Dohlen is toning down his culture-wars rhetoric and using euphemistic code language, so as not to scare off too many voters.
Consider the answer he provided to the caller’s question on The Source. Rather than acknowledging his opposition to gays and lesbians getting appointed to boards and commissions, Von Dohlen said government has an obligation “to promote good health.”
He added: “If we have a situation where people are opposed to promoting good health and the rights of the individual, I stand against that premise.”
Keep in mind that Von Dohlen’s idea of “promoting good health” is destroying the LGBTQ community.
On June 18, 2019, he went before the Bexar County Commissioners Court to protest the county’s proclamation recognizing Pride San Antonio’s parade and festival.
He described same-sex orientation as “depravity that leads to unhealthiness.” He said it is “quite contrary to the very heritage and truth of natural law, of eternal law.”
So don’t be fooled by Von Dohlen’s current sales pitch.
On The Source, when asked about the COVID-19 pandemic, he talked about “moving forward safely and with prudence.”
Last year, however, Von Dohlen told other tenants at his office building that the pandemic was fake and refused to wear a mask even during Gov. Greg Abbott’s statewide mask mandate, according to a knowledgeable source.
In a text, Von Dohlen said, “The COVID pandemic was/is real. It came from China. It has caused cataclysmic problems in the USA.”
On the question of whether he wore masks during the state mandate, he said, “I know how to maintain a 6-foot physical distancing and exercised that in my own building.”
By presenting himself as a pro-business pragmatist, Von Dohlen is trying to occupy the space held in 2017 by Marco Barros, a business consultant who was then the president/CEO of the San Antonio Tourism Council.
Barros, however, supports District 9 incumbent John Courage over Von Dohlen. He credits Courage with listening to his constituents and respecting their opinions.
Barros saw Von Dohlen up close during the 2017 District 9 campaign and didn’t like what he saw.
“He is bad news,” Barros said. “He attacked city staff, women in city government, and especially (then-City Manager) Sheryl Sculley.
“His behavior will be very destructive to city government. He’s like the big bully in the classroom that wants to get his way, and will use anything to get his way.”
Hopefully, District 9 voters won’t give him that chance.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @gilgamesh470
In San Antonio council runoff, Courage dismisses Beto and Wendy boogeymen
Bruce Selcraig, Staff writer
May 12, 2021Updated: May 12, 2021 5:30 p.m.
The gloves are off in the campaigning for San Antonio City Council’s District 9 runoff election June 5. Repeat challenger Patrick Von Dohlen, who had already labeled Councilman John Courage a Socialist and Marxist, now is circulating reports that Courage is endorsed by prominent Democrats.
City Council races are officially nonpartisan, but Von Dohlen, who lost to Courage in 2017 and 2019, issued an “urgent appeal” to fellow Republicans on Tuesday stating his opponent had solicited the help of “gun-grabbing” Beto O’Rourke and “ultra-leftist” Wendy Davis, former statewide candidates for the U.S. Senate and governor, respectively.
Actually, no such appeals or endorsements have been made, nor would they be accepted, Courage said in a statement released the same day.
“I do not serve as a partisan,” Courage said. “The only endorsements I care about are the ones given by the voters of District 9, whom I have served faithfully and enthusiastically for these past four years.”
His staff said Von Dohlen made a similar claim last week at a meeting of the Heart de San Antonio Republican Women. In response to the mention of O’Rourke and Davis, two women in attendance can be heard saying, “Oh, my gosh” on a recording of the event they provided.
“It’s really too bad that my opponent feels he needs to frighten all those Republican women,” Courage said in an interview. “He’s just making all this up. People judge me by my work.”
Von Dohlen has not returned repeated calls seeking comment.
Courage won a plurality in the May 1 election with 47 percent of the vote to Von Dohlen’s 36 percent in a field of four candidates.
Their national party alignments are no mystery. Von Dohlen, a financial planner, stirs his supporters with charges that Courage supports “federally-funded abortion on demand,” defunding the police and the “radical Marxist” Black Lives Matter movement.
Courage, a retired school teacher and Air Force police officer, has made unsuccessful runs as a Democrat for Congress and the state Senate.
He points to his vote for a current city budget that increased funding for police and says he has been able to win twice in a district that went 60 percent for Donald Trump in November by staying focused on neighborhood priorities like potholes, sidewalks and street lights."
Written by Bruce Selcraig, Staff writer for the San Antonio Express News