Dwaine Caraway Bids Goodbye to the Mayor's Seat. Don't Expect a Return Visit.

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

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This was Dwaine Caraway's last day as temporary unelected mayor of Dallas. He is now the former temporary mayor or FTM. But he thinks he's prime material for full-time elected mayor at some point in the future.

That's not true. The reason why it is not true may not be what everybody thinks.

It's not the stuff like his fight with his wife, when the police were called, or his lawsuit against the city, or giving a key to the city to Michael Vick, the dog-torturing professional athlete. Believe it or not, those are all things that could fade over time.

It's not exactly his attempt to gut the city's ethics rules for council members, but we are getting warmer.

He made up with his wife. Plus, many people admire his wife. He lied about their domestic incident and sued the city to protect her, which can be viewed as gallant. Michael Vick, Michael Shmick. Won't ring a bell six months from now.

But let's do talk about ethics. Caraway slipped his sneak attack on ethics rules into the council's "consent agenda," a routine mechanism the council normally uses only to pass long lists of routine housekeeping issues. Few people even noticed it was in there until we did at Unfair Park, after it had been passed.

That was sleazy, no two ways about it. The city council undid it later. But catching a politician doing something sleazy is maybe on a par with catching a cop snoozing in a patrol car. Shouldn't happen. Does. Let's move on, shall we?

No, the fatal fly in Dwaine Caraway's ointment is not the thing he did but why. In his characteristically and often unintentionally candid manner, Caraway has made it plain on multiple occasions that he carried out the sneak attack as a favor for unnamed "people from the north," whom Caraway has loyally refused to name.

He probably is not lying. It's likely he did carry out the sneak attack primarily to help certain People from the North (PFNs) who needed to scarf up a bunch more campaign money for themselves. He could save some of his own legacy by naming them. But Caraway will never name his PFNs, because he thinks they're the ones who are going to make him a real mayor at some point in his life.

That's sad. There is enormous sadness in the saga of Southern Dallas (SD).

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Photo by Mark Graham
Caraway at today's swearing-in at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center
You may be new to Dallas. You may wonder if, when the FTM talks about "people from the north," he may be referring to Canadian Mounties or something. Please let me explain the local lingo.

In Dallas-speak, "people from the North" means rich white people. I don't want to get too far into this, because it's not what we are here to discuss. But I do want to advise you, if you are new to town, that you should not start referring to African-Americans as "people from the south." It doesn't work that way.

You should call black people black people. In Dallas politics, it's really only the rich white people who require a euphemism. That's because FTM Caraway needs to traipse a little lightly around the truth in this instance.

When Caraway agreed to carry the gray water on the ethics deal, he was working the old Plantation Alley, the same rutty lane that black leadership in this city has walked pretty much since Reconstruction, an alliance with the PFNs in hopes of payoffs later.

The payoffs always have been sadly modest. The late Albert Lipscomb, barely in the ground, took free cab rides and small amounts of cash in exchange for votes on the city council in which he sold out minority taxicab owners. Former city council member Don Hill is spending the rest of his productive adult life in federal prison for selling out black middle-class home-ownership in exchange for bribes so small he was still unable to pay his own utility bills after he took them.

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, whose home and office the FBI searched Monday, helped the Perot interests (Alliance Airport) slow down development of the Inland Port, the biggest best promise of economic hope in SD ever. He deserves his own Rolls Royce taxicab for that one, although there is no evidence he has collected. Or no evidence yet, anyway.

In the meantime, people like Price and Caraway literally fall all over themselves in their rush to vote against anything progressive or even faintly assimilative in local politics, usually because important PFNs have asked them to. Examples would be the 2007 referendum to stop the city from building a dangerous highway in the Trinity River flood zone or the 2009 referendum to bar the city from pledging the city's beleaguered finances to support a new convention hotel downtown.

Just as Caraway could not wait to help the PFNs on those issues, he could not wait to help them with this nasty little assault on the ethics rules. The changes he got through, however briefly, would have allowed council members more leeway to hit up major developers and other companies with business before the council. The complaints I heard were from some of those businesses, who felt they were already paying a stiff enough price for votes.

I believe Caraway bases his dreams of being the real mayor on his record of having done this kind of favor for the PFNs. He doesn't understand -- as leadership in SD has consistently failed to understand over the years -- that the PFNs do not respect them or accept them as equals. That is why the payoffs have always been so measly.

The big payoff will not be the mayor's chair for Caraway, ever. The expression of the PFNs' gratitude will be something more on the order of free cab rides. And even at that, he will need to keep an eye out the window to make sure the cabbie is taking him where he wants to go and not to the pen, which is the usual trick. Ask Don Hill.

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NatWu
NatWu

Schutze, you've been telling people this for as long as I've been reading the DO, but they don't seem to listen. Or is it that it doesn't matter as long as the PFN have the money?

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

"The People of the North"

Sounds like the title of a movie based on a Stephen King novel.

"The Schutze family thought they were on a vacation trip, when they took a canoe trip on the Trinity River it was a trip-a trip to a watery death, . . . "

"From the acclaimed author of "The Childern of the Corn".

Welcome to Dallas, it looks like a world class international city with happy residents, but all is not what it seems. A secret  cult actually controls the city, its government, its very citizens; enslaving them to finance and build temples to their demonic evil gods: a suspension bridge that isn't a suspension bridge: a victory plaza that fails and worst of all the Trinity River Corridor!"

"The Children of the North living in 'The City of the Parks' worship the evil pagan water gods of the Trinity and will sacrifice an entire community to it's twisted desires. See the demonic canoe trip, communities wiped out by 'the Speculators' while billions in local tax dollars and federal funds are sucked into the dark vortex of 'the Contractors'."

Maybe Schutze can write the screen play?

NatWu
NatWu

Actually there's a trilogy of movies called the "Red Riding" trilogy based on a series of books about corruption and murders in the north of England. The guys in power say, "In the North we do what we want." Sounds like that's what we have here.

Ellum08
Ellum08

I'm going to follow Carraway's lead as well and not name the 'People from the North' but it rhymes with 'Son Matinsky'. Just sayin'.

Cliff Dweller
Cliff Dweller

Actually, it rhymes with Mitizen's Mouncil....

Mountain Creek
Mountain Creek

"Rolls Royce" taxicab.  Was that supposed to have a double meaning?

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

It's sad that Don Hill 2.0 doesn't realize that he can never be upgraded to a Leppert 2.0 or that his programers designed him so  he doesn't realize that his hubris, lack of self-awareness and ethics is feature, not a bug.

Since it looks like the JWP 1.0 is facing a factory recall, it wouldn't surprise me if Don Hill 2.0 makes a run for that position after he's term-limited out of the council  (no term limits and sweet salary), by then JWP 1.0 may be in the big house for permanent maintenance.

Yvonnecr
Yvonnecr

Interesting read.. very interesting indeed.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

Wylie H. could you tell me when and where Mayor Caraway took a position to expedite Air Tran from DFW? I must have missed something.DFW had no control on that move did he do this down at City Hall or where.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Ms. Culbreth, the following is a sample of articles in which Caraway is mentioned lobbying for the expedited departure of AirTran from DFW Airport.  The best read of the bunch is probably Mitch Schnurman's column from the Ft. Worth Star Telegram, in which he calls Caraway and Moncrief out for their self-serving behavior and reminds readers of how poorly the general public is served by the revised Wright Amendment (in terms of both reduced air service and missed opportunities for economic development).

Dallas Morning News AirlineBiz Blog - Mayors: AirTran needs to get out of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport soonerhttp://aviationblog.dallasnews...

Ft. Worth Star Telegram - Petty D/FW Airport dispute could become a black eye for everyonehttp://www.star-telegram.com/2...

USA Today - Southwest should hurry DFW exithttp://travel.usatoday.com/fli...

Dallas Morning News - Dallas, Fort Worth Mayors call for AirTran to immediately depart D/FW Airport following Southwest Airlines buyouthttp://www.dallasnews.com/busi...

SkyTalk (Ft. Worth Star Telegram) - Southwest tells D/FW Airport it won't end AirTran service until November 21http://blogs.star-telegram.com...

Jay
Jay

Wow. Nice essay. And to think...I always assumed Caraway would never be elected mayor of Dallas merely because he's goofy.

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

JS, you wouldn't have had a talk with the FBI that you've yet to report, would you?

Mike
Mike

Our former mayor is simply not the sharpest tool in the shed. He managed to do something head shaking stupid almost every 3-4 weeks. He does not understand the power games meaning smarter people use him. He is not a bad person. We just cannot trust him to know who are the bad people.

CRA
CRA

He is using his position to pay homage to the white man in hopes they will return the favor!!! What a pitiful way to live, that he doesnt have the strength or intelligence to do it for himself, or ALL PEOPLE.

He needs to join JWP!!!

The days of the black political leaders selling out minorities are over!!! Wait and see!!!

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

So awful, so sad, so true.

And tens of thousands of bright but poor kids in South Dallas were sold out so a couple of black "leaders" could fool themselves into thinking they were players on the Dallas scene for a handful of years as school board members.

But then the Hispanics came in to sell out their own kids and the blacks have been openly ignored and dismissed on the "new" school board, which now lets a few Hispanics pretend to be movers and shakers at the expense of a new set of children.

I fear that there is nothing that can be done.  The voters vote these people in. What will prevent the sell-out of the Hispanic community? 

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

I would LOVE for someone to ask Caraway why he took the public position of seeking the expedited expulsion of AirTran from DFW Airport, following Southwest's acquisition of AirTran.

The consequences of such an action would have been uniformly negative:1)  DFW Airport would have suffered reduced revenues earned via landing fees, parking fees, retail concession percentage rents, etc.;2)  Southwest Airlines, one of the largest drivers of the Dallas economy, would have suffered reduced profitability; and3)  Already booked passengers would face needless aggravation and increased expense associated with re-booking flights on a narrower choice of possible itineraries.

Moreover, consumers would have faced reduced flight options and less competition during the several month period.  The only party that could conceivably benefit from such an action would have been American Airlines-- which would gain an incremental ability to capture traffic on the routes forfeited by AirTran.

My suspicion is that American Airlines then repaid the favor by funding Caraway's excellent adventure to Nigeria (using the World Affairs Council as a conduit for the flow of funds).

It would be interesting to hear:

1)  Caraway's explanation for the posture he took on AirTran;2)  The World Affairs Council explanation as to why they thought it was prudent use of their organization's funds to send Caraway to Nigeria when he was nearly out of office; and3)  A detailed explanation as to who, exactly, provided the funds to the World Affairs Council for Caraway's trip... and why?

It is my view that the trip to Nigeria may well have been one of "the free cab rides."

It's also probably worth reminding folks at this time that Leppert, Natinsky, and Caraway voted together something like an amazing 93% of the time (at least up until Leppert's last couple of months in office). Caraway seemed to make it a point of pride that he basically acted as Leppert's "rubber stamp" on anything of import.

Admonkey
Admonkey

Don't forget that Kathy Neely has American Airlines as a "client," too.

El Rey
El Rey

The Accommodation -by Jim Schutze, 2011 revision, Clif-Notes edition

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