From Our Readers: January 2009

Mark Timmers, Karen Derr for City Council, and faux panhandlers.


 I think it’s unfortunate when a gay media source such as OutSmart becomes so wanton for a story about a positive role model that the past of said individual is never discovered. Ask Mark [Timmers, “Houston’s Animal Cop” by Brandon Wolf, November 2008] about the bootleggedtickets to the Madonna concert from way back when. It’s the reason why he could no longer be a HPD officer and was still fortunate enough to be a constable, which WE ALL KNOW isn’t quite the same thing. It’s like working in a hospital and being downgraded from a nurse to an orderly. You used to take temperatures, now you empty bedpans… I think you get the picture.

 I know it’s way too late, but I thought you should know.

 James Fedowsky

 Editor’s note: Let’s set the record straight. OutSmart was aware of the “concert ticket” incident before publication of our November cover story, and knew that a District Court jury found Mark Timmers not guilty following a three-day trial, February 13–15, 1989.

 Houston attorney Phyllis Frye defended Timmers against allegations that he removed two Whitney Houston (not Madonna) concert tickets from a stolen vehicle. Frye produced testimony revealing that tickets were not offered to Timmers during the stolen vehicle investigation, but at a later date, and that he had no idea the tickets were stolen.

 Frye notes that the District Attorney called two Houston Police Department (HPD) officers who testified that Timmers had made damaging remarks about how he came to have the tickets. The same officers testified that they confiscated the tickets from Timmers on the night of the concert and gave them to a Summit security officer. After this sworn testimony, Frye had Timmers stand before the jury and pull the undestroyed tickets from his pocket, which she then entered into evidence. After a five-hour deliberation, the jury cleared Timmers of the charges.

 Local activist Ray Hill, a longtime friend of Timmers, characterizes the incident as “a witch hunt orchestrated because Mark was openly gay.” Timmers remembers the incident: “After they found out I was gay, it started snowballing. I got notes on lockers, notes on patrol cars.”

After winning the court case, Timmers chose not to return to HPD, but instead went to work for Harris County Constable, Precinct 6, Victor Trevino. Timmers has at no time been a constable—he has worked for a constable. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant because of his performance as an animal cruelty investigator. When the Houston Humane Society (who contracted him through Harris County) recently laid him off for reasons they cite as budgetary, Timmers was re-designated as a deputy because no lieutenant positions were open and Harris County wished to retain him.       

 On the morning of Friday, November 28, 2008, Timmers was shot and injured while working security for the Meridian Night Club near downtown Houston. Timmers ran to the rescue of a patron who had been shot and was himself shot by the assailant. KHOU produced a video tribute to Timmers’ heroism, and it can be viewed online at http://www.khou.com/video/index.html?nvid=308733.           

 OutSmart found no beneficial reason to resurrect the concert-ticket incident in our recent profile of Timmers, and stands behind our belief that he is a hero whom our community can embrace with pride.

 Karen Derr for City Council

 Karen Derr Realty has enjoyed our 15 years of marketing real estate to the gayest and greatest clients in the world through OutSmart . This year, a new opportunity has arisen for me that I have prepared a lifetime for, through my career and service in the community. The Houston District H council seat is being vacated early, so I am running for that position. The special election will be in May of 2009. I’m very excited about this opportunity and will be calling on your support and the support of the GLBT community. I know equality and diversity aren’t just morally right; they are essential to our quality of life in Houston.  

 Karen Derr

 Publisher’s note: OutSmart wholeheartedly endorses Karen Derr for the Houston City Council position. We also encourage our readers to review her stellar qualifications and to vote for her in this upcoming special election. Karen Derr has always been a tremendous ally of the GLBT community; she’s one of OutSmart ‘s earliest founding advertisers, and her continued support helped shape the magazine that it’s become today.   Derr will be an outstanding council member for all communities in Houston.

Thanks for exposing the God Bless–HIV/AIDS Awareness scam [“Not–So-Sweet Charity” by Kelly McCann, August 2008]. Now, where is the City of Houston in stopping their activities and prosecuting the head of the scam organization? We shouldn’t have to rely on word of mouth to stop giving to them—they should be stopped by the authorities!

 Rebecca Novak
Houston, Texas

In OutSmart ‘s December 2008 cover story, “Equality Denied,” we stated that Melissa Etheridge and Tammi Lynn Michaels live in California with Etheridge’s two children. The couple has twins, as well as Etheridge’s two children from her relationship with Julie Cypher.


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