Hours Before He Becomes Mayor, Caraway Has Message for "Believers, Doubters and Critics"

Categories: City Hall
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At midnight, Dwaine Caraway will erase the "pro tem" from his title and become, simply, Dallas Mayor. And though he will replace U.S. Senate candidate Tom Leppert for just a few months, Caraway tells Unfair Park this evening: "It's very humbling to be able to be in this position." He then goes on to say "crazy things" will not happen under his watch. Which would greatly displease Schutze, among others. But, of course, only time will tell.

Caraway, who will be out of town over the weekend, will not begin his term with a press conference on Monday. "I'm too busy for that," he says. "I've got a city to worry about." He also has to prepare himself for the handful of out-of-town trips that quickly appear on his agenda -- including, on Monday night, a sojourn down to Austin, where on Tuesday a council delegation will outline the city's to-do list to state legislators. Caraway will also attend a National League of Cities conference in D.C. next month and the Texas Municipal League meeting in Houston at the end of March.

Caraway has already given up his position as chair of the council's Public Safety Committee; Delia Jasso will replace him. And he says his current assistant, Stephanie Pegues, will become his chief of staff. But Chris Heinbaugh, Leppert's chief of staff, will remain on board, Caraway says: "He will still handle those responsibilities he handled for the mayor. Chris Heinbaugh did a tremendous job and is a tremendous asset for me and my administration."

Caraway and I spoke for a little while this evening, as he prepares for two days off in advance of the coming months. Our short Q&A follows, and it begins before I can even get out a whole Q.

So, you're just hours away from becoming Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway ...

This is a responsibility that has doubled on my lap, and I'm fortunate to have staff that's assisting me with making good decisions. It's very humbling to be able to be in this position. It's not about ego. It's about service and service to the people in the entire city. The council has been a council that has collectively worked together and will continue to do so. I am proud my colleagues feel and felt comfortable enough to move forward under my leadership. We will be making decisions together. There is an agenda that has been set out a year and a half ago at our retreat, and we're still on target to accomplish that.

People should not worry within the four months of my service that things are going to change drastically and crazy things will begin to take place. The chairmanships will remain the same, with one exception: I have elevated Delia Jasso to chair of Public Safety. I will still attend those meetings and still be very active with Public Safety, but I need to have the flexibility to be able to broaden my responsibilities beyond one area and spread it throughout the entire city.

It's important we have someone with a hands-on focus on that committee, which I feel is one of the most important in the city. My No. 1 priority is to crack down on crack houses, get guns out of people's hands, keep folks safe and secure in the community and throughout the city.

There will not be radical changes as people would think. It's not my intention to begin to lead the charge to rehash decisions that this council and administration have already voted on and approved. I would have to adhere to the council should it be something the council would want to do, but certainly I have no intention of leading charges as it relates to changing things around. I would like for the believers, the doubters and the critics to know this: We're in it now, so I challenge folks to live and work together instead of criticizing. Criticism will not help us, but I respect that right. I will not focus on that, though. I will focus on where we're going. I will focus on how we're going to deal with the how we're going to encourage businesses to come to the city, on economic development, on keeping people safe. The negatives I will not be participating in. But when it comes to the positives and the how-we-can-do-it's, I will roll up my sleeves. If we do it, together we'll have the great city folks expect and talk about having. If we play tug-of-war, we'll waste too much time.

This is no ceremonial position. Especially in coming weeks, as you make the city's case to the state Legislature and attend the various conferences on your agenda. There's a lot to get done, including dealing with a budget shortfall yet again. Are you prepared for what lies ahead?


We have one of the best and most experienced councils around. When it comes to transportation, who else is better than Linda Koop? When it comes to economic development, who's better than Ron Natinsky? When it comes to budget and finance, I can't lose with Ann Margolin and Jerry Allen. That being said, when we deal with these legislative issues, we have a team. It's not just what I'm going to do. But the way I've been known to operate is as a team, and you put your best players on the field at all times. And who better to articulate our transportation needs, our economic development needs, our financial needs than the folks who are hands-on with it every day? It's my expectation that I will get it teed up and be there, but we will address these issues from a team perspective and will articulate these things collectively. I will be referring to and relying on those people and those perspectives in those respective positions to assist and make sure our needs are articulated and addressed so we will bring the bacon home to Dallas.

You were elected to represent District 4. But now you're the mayor of the entire city. And nobody's more passionate, if nothing else, about their district than you. I've seen the slide shows. How will you reconcile being a council member with being mayor?

People have never given me the opportunity to find that out. But we're here now. OK? My district will not suffer because we've done extensive work in our district and will be able to carry on. I picked up additional staff members -- Chris Heinbaugh, for example, and others -- and will have to broaden out. I will be committed to serving the entire city. I will always make sure that my district is represented. And with that being said, I have basically an opportunity with additional employees to make sure the district is well-served, and I will do that as their city council representative-slash-mayor and also extend myself throughout the whole city to make sure our city concerns are met, that citizens' concerns in the north, in the south, in the east and in the west are articulated and addressed on a daily basis. That can and will happen.

We're the Dallas Cowboys. It's like, one quarterback gets hurt, the other quarterback gets hurt, and there's nobody left to play quarterback. So Drew Pearson now has to come back under center, and we have to play 10 men instead of 11. Do we get of the field or line up to play? We line up to play. This city council has a reputation as a we-will-get-it-done city council. We work well together. it's not 100 percent of everybody being on the same page, but at the end of the day, positive things have happened for tihs city. We haven't had many split votes, but we've had a few. We're supposed to. We want to have as few as possible, but we'll make sure each council member has the obligation to make sure they bring the best representation to their district and the city. We've gotta keep going. If the ball's on the ground, if somebody fumbles it, we gotta pick it up and score.

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33 comments
Rooster
Rooster

Hopefully, next time a "Mayor Pro Tem" is selected, said selector will take that decision a bit more serious?

Gary
Gary

Tom is a dirty dog by leaving when knows Mary is fixing to raise taxes. That is needed to, just to sustain the city services on a minuscule scale. But good ol’ Tommy boy will be able to claim out on the Senate campaign trail, not to have had to raise taxes. But he will forget to tell everyone that he drove Dallas into a ditch. Just like his friend Bush did to the whole U.S.A.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Its a year and a half to the elections........He QUITS ?

What is about to happen in/to our Fair City that Former Mayor Tom wants no part of ?

ChristyW
ChristyW

"My No. 1 priority is to crack down on crack houses, get guns out of people's hands, keep folks safe and secure in the community and throughout the city."

This guy is a walking cliche. Before it was fake pot and alcohol that topped the list of Caraway's "scourges of Dallas", now we are being overrun by crack dealers. Yes, shake that federal money tree and get more cash for his brother Chief Brown since everything else is on the budgetary chopping block. Who needs teachers, the school system sucks, and according to John Wiley Price, jobs are for "slaves."

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Oh, fie "side" should be "sad".

Enjoying a nice Spanish red this afternoon.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Two thoughts:

-One, maybe Dallas' "weak mayor" government is not such a bad idea after all.

-Two, the new Mayor Don Hill v 2.0 makes me glad I live in Richardson, and side Dallas is our next door neighbor.

Now everyone will be holding their breath till the next election.

Who Ray
Who Ray

The voters were right AGAIN...........where would Dallas be if it had a "strong mayor" form of government? I am still at a loss as to whether Leppert's resignation is legal under the City Charter? Doesn't this mean that a mayor could be elected by the people, stick around long enough to get someone on City Council appointed as Mayor Pro Tem, and then suddenly resign, giving the voters a mayor whom they had not elected? This seems very strange to me.

dfwrez
dfwrez

this man is going to need group prayer until a new mayor takes office.

Marc
Marc

Well, Dwaine Caraway needs to change SOME of the things started by the current city council. For one, he needs to motion for a moratorium on gas well drilling until after the EPA study is released late next year, and after the city has studied the report and formulated an adequate gas drilling policy that reflects the true science about gas drilling that is known today. A corporate business plan is NOT an effective energy policy!

He needs to also begin the process of re-evaluating the "logic" of spending $202 Million taxpayer dollars to build recreational facilities in the Trinity River bottomland where every flood will just destroy them at great cost to our citizens. He needs to de-fund the "whitewater" play park near the Corinth Street bridge because that segment of the river is rated "unsafe for human contact" by the US EPA and TCEQ.

He needs to begin the process of selling off the city hotel to private developers at no less than the cost we already paid for it, and possibly at a decent profit to help sustain us as we face a $41-96 Million budget shortfall for the next two years.

He needs to lead the charge on replacing the incompetent and irresponsible City Manager, Mary Suhm, with somebody who thinks first and then acts rather than signing contracts with corporations that pollute our air, water and soil for their own profits.

Most of all, Dwaine needs to not embarrass our city anymore than he has already done, and that includes leaving his friends Arthur and Archie at home when he comes to city council meetings and other city business.

Lastly, I am not sure what he means by "get guns out of people's hands". I am a bleeding heart liberal and a VERY strong supporter of the Second Amendment. For now, the right of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms is a legal right guaranteed by the US Constitution, and no friend of Arthur and Archie has the right to deny any citizen his or her Constitutional rights.

Cairo is not all that far from Washington, DC, Austin or Dallas! It might serve our elected leaders well to remember who is the employer and who is the janitor. Elected officials are sent to do the work for us based upon what is best for us and what is Constitutional. They have no right to harm us by their actions in office.

Perhaps the first order of business would be to study the US Constitution and read the thoughts of the Founding Fathers before going forward with city business so that they can manage our city in a way that is sustainable and futuristic rather than making nice to corporations and wealthy individuals who could care less about our health and safety if it means cutting into their bottom line.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

I had a vision-remember the old TV show by Art Linkletter where they had three people claming to be a noted “celebrity” “Hi my name is Archie and I know Dwain” the first guy would say. “Hello my name is Archie and I was at Dwain’s house when he called chief Brown” and “My name is Archie and I was in a fight with Arthur at Dwain’s house” (second and third contestant) Was the show To Tell the Truth?? Can hardly wait for the fun to begin.

Clancey
Clancey

We ought to wish him the best.

Back before the media started printing what was really going on, there was the Dallas Mayor who had had quite a few too many, passed out face-down in a bowl of soup at a National League of Cities banquet. Then City Manager helped drag him backwards down the hall and into an elevator, got him to his room and put in the bed. Nothing said about it the next day.

Then, the sainted Erik Johnson, (sp) at opening of DFW Airport, had more than a few, can't remember the name of the Mayor of Ft. Worth (Sharkey Stovall), "Mayor Sharkey, uh, Mayor Sharkey, uh ..... Mayor from Ft Worth ..."

Cut 'him a little slack. He's got big shoes to fill ...... and at least one soup bowl.

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

I am amazed that Caraway knows so many words and can put them together. Are you sure my ex lovers Arthur and Archie weren't feeding him the answers?

Montemalone
Montemalone

It's 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning, and still no sign of Arthur and Archie.

Archie's Wife
Archie's Wife

Does Delia Jasso also get Chief Brown's cell phone number in case she gets into it with her husband and/or Archie and Arthur show up at her house?

Steve
Steve

Mr. Caraway, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

ignaciot
ignaciot

Isn't this the asshole that gave that monster Michael Vick the keys to the city of Dallas??

Montemalone
Montemalone

Arthur and Archie's problems. And football.

Montemalone
Montemalone

I expect dogs and cats to be living together by April.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

I have my popcorn and a seat on the curb. I can't wait to watch this parade go by!

MattL1
MattL1

Maybe he should pick an organization OTHER than the 6-10 Cowboys as an example of how the city will be run.

Rico
Rico

So is this like the 80 year old attendant in the Platinum Club Suites restroom stepping under center for the Dallas Cowboys? (No disrespect to 80 year old bathroom attendants intended).

G_David
G_David

I believe a more accurate headline for this post would be "Believer, Doubters and Critics".

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

The FIRST thing he should do is urge the city council to use a little better judgment in the future when selecting a Mayor Pro Tem.

Montemalone
Montemalone

I'll take 2 jeans, 3 t-shirts, and a pair of Gucci sunglasses.

Rico
Rico

Big gloves. I think you meant "he's got big gloves to fill". Huge, ginormous gloves.

Lbartos
Lbartos

One wonders if it is necessary to use name calling in your reply. Doesn't add to the discussion or to the level of civility we need in our society.

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

Yes but come on, it was for a good cause. I mean, Carraway got to buddy up with a famous football player, for Christ's sake!

Everyone is blowing this thing way out of proportion. Its not about the disgraceful abuse of animals, its about the opportunity to get close to somebody famous!

Are you telling me you wouldn't do the same thing if it meant you got to tell your granchildren you once shmoozed with Rafael Septien?

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

Arthur and Archie did not stop progress,get over it. Gas is going up to $4.00.

Rico
Rico

Agreed. Vick, technically, isn't really a monster.

G_David
G_David

Just as long as my grandchildren didn't "schmooze" with Rafael Septien.

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

Nah, Vick's just your commom everyday convicted felon. With a key to the city.

Anyone want to guess what Vick's middle name is? A coincidence, I'm sure...

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