Mayor Backs Out of Citizens Meeting Tonight. "Unexpected Circumstances." (LGBT Protest.)

MayorMikechangepetition.jpg
Left a message this morning for Paula Blackmon, chief of staff to Mayor Mike Rawlings, to talk about his decision to pull out of a long-scheduled meet-and-greet with the citizens tonight at Kiest Park on Hampton. It's been on our schedule for a month, and just Monday morning he (or someone, Blackmon, whatever) posted to his Facebook page the reminder: "Due to limited space anyone interested in attending the community meeting tomorrow at Kiest Recreation Center please be sure to RSVP by 12 noon today." Except: Last night, Rawlings used his Facebook page to back out of the event, writing:
I would like to thank everyone who is planning to attend tomorrow evening's community meeting for Districts 1 and 3. It is important for residents to have the opportunity to engage in a productive open dialogue with city staff and their elected officials. Due to unexpected circumstances, I will not be present. However, Councilwoman Delia D. Jasso, Councilman Scott Griggs, and city staff will be present to address city services and neighborhood concerns.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. My goal is to maintain open communication with constituents and would like the opportunity to meet with you in a more intimate setting. In order to do this, please feel free to email dates and times to my staff of when your neighborhood association or crime watch group meets.
Those "unexpected circumstances": a protest planned for tonight, led, in part, by Daniel Cates, the Texas regional coordinator for GetEQUAL and a Huffington Post contributor who wrote last night that "Mayor Mike Rawlings has spent the last few days in an unsuccessful effort to appease his city's LGBT population" after refusing last week to sign the Freedom to Marry pledge to which some 80 other big-city mayors attached their names. Blackmon told the Dallas Voice late yesterday that a protest would be a distraction from what people really want to talk about -- potholes and loose dogs -- and that "he just does not want to put them through that, so he plans to meet with them on a more individual basis."

Blackmon tells Unfair Park this morning she and the mayor didn't want folks attending the meeting tonight walking through "a demonstration line," and "in the meantime we're putting together a meeting with people in the [LGBT community] who know the issues."

Blackmon says, "Are there policies we can implement here that can directly impact and help the community? We can't directly impact the and federal legislation. He doesn't feel signing that pledge is the appropriate role of the mayor. They're going to use [the pledge] as a lobbying effort, and the city hasn't signed off on it. We'd be supporting legislation. ... We know they're upset, and I know they want us to sign the petition. And he's not going to sign it, so let's move the conversation forward and work together."

The mayor told us last week why he declined to sign the pledge: "There's no substance behind it, and what I want to do is focus on substantive issues for the citizens of Dallas -- things that would ensure that gays are not discriminated against at the city and get the benefits that are due them." I see more than 1,160 have signed that petition demanding the mayor sign the pledge. Again, in the words of Liz Lemon: "Why did you have to offend the gay community? It is the most organized of all the communities."

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85 comments
nimbusthegreat
nimbusthegreat

it would be such a shame if he lost the endorsement of a homophobic little toad.  not that i disagree with your assessment of his reasoning.  

LaceyB
LaceyB

why is it that we are trying to legally complete a gay divorce, yet in texas, much less dallas, gay marriage just won't ever happen? Rawlins won't sign, and I think it's a bs cop-out, but, I think you'd have a hard time finding a mayor for such a conservative state that would. I'm saying that in the nicest possible way. I'd give up my right to marry for friends of mine that want to but can't. It's ridick, and this whole cancelling--whatapussy.

Guest
Guest

Somebody forgot to tell him that Dallas can't be a world-class city if he doesn't sign the pledge.

MikeyLikesIt
MikeyLikesIt

Heard of "RINO's"?  Republicans in name only?

Rawlings is a "DINO"  

He no more believes in the things most Democrats believe in that the man in the moon.  He just labeled himself thus to get elected.  Voters in Dallas need to be a little more discerning and examine a candidate's record before believing their pizza lies stuffed with lots and lots of extra cheese.

I become prouder with each incident that I supported David Kunkle.

Willie
Willie

Good for him for not caving into political pressure.  Whether your're pro or con, all of the stupid pledges are just that, stupid.  The pledge has nothing to do with City business.  Personally, I don't give a rat's ass who marries who, but stay out of my face, and a protest like that is just that.

yeahIsaidthat
yeahIsaidthat

As desperate as we need more people to move into Dallas and buy homes for tax revenue, this should have been a no brainier. Since we have shitty schools, not having kids for many gay residents is a win for the city on many levels. But only if the mayor would man up and do what the other Texas cities have done to increase their population.

If he refused on politics it was stupid enough, but as a marketing tool for growth, he failed even worse considering his background.

Conthant Reader
Conthant Reader

How is it that we are surprised that by electing the mouthpieces of the right-wing, business elite of Dallas, we are presented with the agenda of the right-wing, business elite of Dallas?

World Class Clown
World Class Clown

d'oh! I mean, you know how difficult it is to get GLITTER out of your hair.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Mayor Rawlings' refusal to sign the pledge is a failure of leadership.  If he really believes that all couples, gay and straight, should be treated equally, he should sign it and step forward.  Marriage discrimination is costly not only to the city's social fabric -- it's economically discriminatory as well.  It creates an unequal playing field. This was an opportunity for him to lead, not hide.  Very disappointing.

asu87
asu87

I find it curious that Mayor Mike has said nothing negative regarding his views of gay dallas...yet gay dallas is willing to protest him. No, he didn't sign the pledge, but does that mean that he is anti-gay, lesbian, trans-gendered, nope. Worthy of disrupting a general meeting to show your displeasure or anger? I guess that's the point about potholes and loose dogs---let's focus on what the meeting's goals were supposed to be instead of forcing a new agenda. 

I would have signed the pledge, but I'm not the mayor.

EastDallasResident
EastDallasResident

The mayor is probably just another wannabe like his predecessors who took the office only as a stepping stone to some other elective office.  It could be the end of that career if he signs the pledge.  Texas is full angry biggoted religious nut cases - look at what's happening in El Paso - http://www.abqjournal.com/main...

Jay
Jay

Put Grover Norquest on the Mayor's ass on this issue......he'll sign.......or else......(of course Grover opposes gay marriage, and gays too for that matter, but he's a lobbyist, so for enough money, he'll lead any parade).

So the politics of special interest group coercion have come to Dallas. Oh happy day. Now for myself, I'm starting a pledge petition asking every Police Chief in the country not to piss on the bodies of dead Taliban terrorists. Chief Brown, will you sign the pledge?

Acceptance for gay marriage has been gaining support in both parties and in virtually every state and every poll taken over the past decade. Someone remind me what value this ridiculous Mayor's Pledge of Support adds to the movement? Marriage is governed by state and federal law. Why not seek pledges from those who can actually effectuate the reform you seek?

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

Rawlings: another chicken-S politician, brought to you by the Citizens Council.  He does realize, of course, that the protesters are now just going to go straight to City Hall?

UnFair Pork
UnFair Pork

Maybe he's just afraid that there'll be an uncomfortable reuinion there, or something...

I think there's something the mayor isn't telling us. Has anyone spotted Mayor Mike in the airport bathroom stalls impatiently foot tapping?

Omar Jimenez
Omar Jimenez

I get the feeling that that group is just like a bunch of other groups in this city. You know who I'm talking about.

baghdadis4lovers
baghdadis4lovers

Dear Mayor Mike, don't forget the power of the pizza! Extra pepperoni and some free bread sticks for just an added touch. Pass these out at all your scheduled meetings with the non-power players of the community(the non-parkies, preston hollowers, and the ilk) and us mere lowly plebs will grovel at the magnificent splendor of your well shined shoes! 

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak

The mayors of Houston and Austin signed the pledge and they are also in the conservative state of Texas.

DSC
DSC

The mayors of Houston, Austin and San Antonio have all signed..

Anon
Anon

Citizens Council candidates win precisely because Dallas voters are uneducated about issues. I don't see our collective fates improving anytime soon either.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak

Personally, I dont care if America gains independence or not, but stay out of my face and a Boston Tea Party like that is just that, eh Willie? Sorry one of America's fundamental liberties is so offensive to you.

Anon
Anon

gay people will make their decision to move or not move to Dallas based on whether our mayor signed this pledge?I support gay rights fully but the backlash over this issue seems overblown to me. people are more outraged about a gesture than they are about the things Rawlings says and does that will actually have a negative impact on the direction of this city?

asu87
asu87

really, this isn't about to mayor's position on gay marriage, it's about expanding the population of dallas and attracting gays to live within the disd? well, why did't they just say so? how did i miss that one? and since gays don't have kids it's a win? ow...just wow.

Guest
Guest

You know how I know that you don't know much about Rawling's politics?

RTGolden
RTGolden

Hate to be the voice of contradiction here, but how exactly would he have been taking a leadership role?  Other than this particular media, I have heard absolutely nothing about the mayor's conference anywhere.  CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, PBS, Networks, none of them carried any stories of any significance about the mayor's conference.  This is a go-nowhere confab of do-nothing electees producing nothing worth knowing.  Had the mayor signed it, there would be 81 thoroughly forgettable signatures on an utterly ineffective pledge instead of 80.  The mayor of this, or any other city, simply has no dog in this hunt.

If the LGBT community wants to protest the people on the correct stage, they should be outside every single GOP primary debate with their pledge for the candidates to sign.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak

WOW! He said 'nothing negative' about gays, so they shouldnt protest him! You really hold him to a high bar, dont you? And I am guessing you are NOT among those who have scores less rights than others because they can't marry, arent you?

We thought so. Shows in your attitude.

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

It's called political pressure.  Yes you cannot directly make it happen by signing the pledge, but it adds to the groundswell of support.  Eventually even here in Dallas we won't be able to ignore what is long overdue.

Downtown_worker
Downtown_worker

So they finally figured out how to get gay people to hang out, spend time and money downtown. Brilliant.

Jay
Jay

How about Waco? We need Waco if this is going to have any impact......

Willie
Willie

You missed my point.  If they want to protest, fine, but don't mess up something else that is important.  It's like the holy rollers that try to keep people from going to Planned Parenthood and John Wiley Price messing up traffic on NW Highway years back.  They shouldn't be allowed to abuse our rights and privileges. 

Texaspainter
Texaspainter

A lot of people do check out those kind of things.

Texaspainter
Texaspainter

Perceptions and gestures are the name of the game. Duh.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak

You know how I know you have never heard the oft-repeated statement outside of Dallas is, "the best conservative I ever met was a Texas Democrat?"

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Well, Mr. Golden, you must have been asleep the past few days.  KERA had a story on Morning Edition about the Mayor's Conference, and Mayor Mike's refusal.  Ditto CBS11 and WFAA.  All Things Considered also had a piece on the conference featuring a Republican Mayor (forget where from) lamenting the failure of Congress to address problems affecting the country's metropolitan areas.  So, put away the Ambien an turn on the radio.  You might learn something.

I also remember the same thing being said during the fight against apartheid in South Africa when the Mayor's Conference passed a resolution to stop investing in South Africa.  Many thought that a waste of time too. 

asu87
asu87

Let me say it again, he said nothing negative about gays. Is he gay? Am I gay? Are you gay? IT DOESN'T MATTER! My attitude toward gay dallas is not in debate....I support and I participate. I have an active relationship with black tie dinner and i have very close, long term friendships in the community. My opinion about gay dallas and gay america is much more favorable than my opinion of ANY political figure. 

I think that the meeting was not about the pledge and should have gone on without a protest....The friday protest is where this should have been directed from the beginning.

Jay
Jay

Well Tim, I hate to point this out, but the time to use demand action on a divisive issue in order to exert political pressure on a politician is BEFORE the election, not just after. Its more effective that way.

RTGolden
RTGolden

To quote Schutze, I think you misunderestimate Dallas.  Particularly our ability, in defiance of reason and logic, to cling to absolutely archaic, moronic or just plain stupid perceptions.

Omar Jimenez
Omar Jimenez

Ohhh no, they figured out how to get Gay People involved in Politics, and they only care about anything thats related to them. Not the basics (Lights, Budgets, Taxes, etc.) They just care about there S4's

baghdadis4lovers
baghdadis4lovers

Occupy Neiman's! We are the 99% off sale itemers! Our voice and FAB-U-LOUS new Seven4AllManKind jeans, shall be heard!

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak

Waco does not allow people to be gay...so it is a non-issue.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak

NO, YOU are missing the bigger point. The right of Americans to protest is more embedded in our constitution that Mr. Willie's and Mr. Omar's supposed right to go about and do whatever he wants to do without being inconvenienced by a protest. Protests in this county are not cordoned off into some corner of the room where you dont have to look at or hear them while you go blissfully shopping at NorthPark.

Sorry dude but that's the way America always has been. Dont like it -- head off to some great dictatorship somewhere that does exactly what you want done here. We Americans dont want to live with that.

Anon
Anon

then spend equal amounts of time protesting people who have actually set back the cause of gay rights.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak

It is meaningless to YOU. It is NOT meaningless to the 150,000 or so homosexuals in Dallas who pay taxes and vote.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Local NPR and local broadcast affiliates are not national coverage.  If anything is to be done on this issue, it has to get done at the national level.  My point is not that the Mayor is right or wrong for not signing the pledge.  My point is, his signature on the pledge is meaningless, because the pledge is meaningless.  A single mayor, or even 80 mayors is not the political clout needed in this fight.  Now if you could get 20 or 25 governors to sign a pledge like this, and survive in their respective states' political environment afterwards, then you might have the kind of political traction that gets noticed in Washington.  Put the shoe on the other foot.  If you passed around a pledge at the mayor's conference asking them to sign something akin to the defense of marriage act, how many signatures do you think you could get?  I'm guessing it would be somewhat above 80.  Would that make it right? wrong? politically relevant?  No it wouldn't matter at all.  Because this is a matter that has interstate ramifications, it must be resolved at the Federal level.  How many state governors need to sign something to get national attention? You need 11.  From the 11 biggest electoral college states:

California 55; Texas 34; New York 31; Florida 27; Pennsylvania 21; Illinois 21; Ohio 20; Michigan 17; New Jersey 15; Georgia 15; North Carolina 15.

Anon
Anon

How many years ago did they outlaw "separate but equal" and we still have local community leaders who want to go back to that? (and I'm not just talking about white people)

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