Saying Goodbye to Dwaine Caraway, the Mayor of our Dreams

Here's hoping the next guy is just as bold and bumbling.

Soon the Reign of Dwaine will end. My life will change. But the city will not.

Next month, by law, a new mayor of Dallas must be sworn in, and the curtain must fall on this brief, unlikely and delightful chapter in the history of City Hall. Acting Mayor Dwaine Caraway—he of controversial keys to the city and embarrassing domestic incidents—will return to being a regular city council member, and reporters like me will have to get back to work. The going-back-to-work part makes me sad—sadder, perhaps, than you could know.

But the important thing is this: Mayor Dwaine Caraway has not been fundamentally unlike previous Dallas mayors. He has just been a lot more obvious, which is why I will miss him. I will have to get back to grubbing and groveling for tidbits with my pickax and dust mask, trying to excavate something interesting from the mayor's office.

Dwaine Caraway will be missed by columnists. And probably dog-torturers.
Newscom
Dwaine Caraway will be missed by columnists. And probably dog-torturers.

Since his swearing in on February 26, my life has been a lotus-eater's Nirvana. I loll in bed until early afternoon, eating grapes. Then, in a voice dripping with lazy self-indulgence, I call out, "I suppose it's time for someone to come and tell me what Mayor Dwaine has done this day."

It's always something.

Right before he was to become acting mayor, for instance, Caraway gave an honorary key to the city to Michael Vick, the football player and convicted dog-torturer. Do you have any idea what that's worth to me?

In my normal existence I could wait 20 years for a Dallas mayor to give a key to the city to a convicted dog-torturer. Stuff like that never happens in this town.

In other towns, sure. Buddy Cianci, the mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, wouldn't step down until the feds convicted him of being a racketeer. Anybody could write a column in Providence. Think about me. I wind up doing columns about how the mayor of Dallas may be listening to the wrong people on curb-repair policy. Maybe.

You don't know how I suffer. You've never seen me on my knees with clasped hands at my bedside at night, whispering, "...and if just once, in your great wisdom, you could allow the mayor to give the keys to the city to a convicted dog-torturer..."

Early in his tenure, Caraway launched a series of kerfuffles, brouhahas, imbroglios and contretemps involving two characters whom he named "Archie and Arthur." It was about a police incident at his home, which was the result of a dispute between him and his wife, State Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway. Caraway tried to cover it up by saying the disturbance that night was between two gentlemen attending a football-watching party. He named them Arthur and Archie.

If Tom Leppert, the previous mayor, had tried to cover up a domestic set-to at his house, he would have invented two guys who sounded like a shopping center. "Preston and Forest were speaking to each other in decidedly raised tones over a disputed point in their tennis game, so I dialed 911."

But Arthur and Archie! I would never even think to ask for something that good. Kneeling by my bed at night, I would never say, "...and when the police report does leak, and the mayor tries to blame it on some guys at a party, is there any possible way you could have him give them cartoon names?"

During the reign of Dwaine, these things came to me unbidden, like the gentle rain from heaven. Two years ago, at the urging of Leppert, the city council elected Caraway "mayor pro tem." Normally it's an empty title, but it took on meaning in February, when Leppert announced he was resigning to run for the U.S. Senate, leaving Caraway at the helm.

Since then, Caraway has been warming the chair while the city waits for the new elected mayor to be seated on June 27. Tragically for me, in spite of my prayers, Caraway did not enter that race himself.

You may remember: When it became obvious Leppert was going to bolt and Caraway would succeed him, there was a short-lived movement on the council to strip him of the pro-tem title, to keep him from becoming mayor. But it didn't get far. I like to think that some of the resistance came from council members who thought having Caraway for mayor might be a little fun for a change.

There was plenty of reason to think so, based on his previous career on the council. One of my own favorite episodes from his career as a councilman was the poker house saga. Remember that one?

In May 2010, the city was trying to shut down a gambling house in South Dallas. Neighbors had complained about heavy traffic, day and night, at the house. The cops couldn't get inside undercover, so they started writing tickets on the parked cars that covered the lawn while code enforcement officers went after the homeowner.

Caraway, mayor pro tem at the time, complained about the enforcement activities to city manager Mary Suhm and top police officials. He offered two arguments as to why they should lay off.

First, he said, the cops should be spending their time catching more serious crooks. Always a good thought. If a cop has got a poker player pinched by the ear in one hand and an airplane hijacker pinched by the ear in the other, he should always let the poker player go and concentrate on the hijacker.

That's not the good part.

The good part was his second reason why the cops should lay off: He and his father liked to play poker at the house.

Oh my gosh! How embarrassing for the police! Had they only known this was the Caraway family's favorite poker house, all this might have been avoided.

Somehow, it gets better. Guess what? The cops laid off. I haven't been by that place in a while, but last time I checked the cars were still all over the lawn and the place looked like it was goin' and blowin'.

He says this crazy stuff, but he tends to get his way, and that's the part that keeps me in business. He may be bizarre, but he's news.

If it were only the things like giving the key to the city to Michael Vick or talking about Arthur and Archie and so on, I wouldn't be able to get much real mileage out of him. What makes Caraway worth paying attention to is that in the end, no matter how strange his pathway, he often winds up exactly where he intended to go.

Take his recent ethics reform push. It's been talked to death, but the basic concept is so wonderfully—how to put it?—so wonderfully Caraway.

With no public debate, he introduced a measure that he said would repair a grievous wrong perpetrated on citizens by an earlier ethics law. That law prohibited a citizen from giving council members money right after a council vote on something of importance to that citizen.

Caraway said the law was preventing a lot of people who wanted to give the council members money from doing so. The poor things. Wads of money in their hands and nobody to grease with it.

It's not unrelated to the poker house deal. The underlying principle is the same in both.

Hey, that's my poker house.

Hey, that's my money.

But again—and this is the more important part—it worked. The council voted unanimously to adopt the Mayor Dwaine Caraway Ethics Reform Ordinance.

They got caught, and there's been a good deal of blowback over it, so now the council has been forced to create some kind of commission to re-study the city's ethics policy. On the first day that the new commission convenes, they should have a professor come in and explain what ethics are.

But my point is this: The way Caraway has operated in office is only different from how previous mayors have behaved because the things he wants are different, and because he asked for them so loudly. Dwaine has learned a lot since his childhood in the projects, but he never mastered the country club rule of staying quiet and stealing big.

Leppert insisted that the taxpayers pay for a half-billion dollar hotel development that would enhance the value of a bunch of property owned by the people who own The Dallas Morning News.

Caraway just wants the cops to lay off his and his dad's poker house.

Leppert said the Corps of Engineers had "signed off" on the safety of the Trinity River levee system, and said the North Texas Tollway Authority was going to pay the two billion dollars it will cost to build a toll road along the river.

Caraway just said the cops came to his house because of Arthur and Archie.

Plus, Caraway just made life so easy. I am going to miss him in the mayor's office, terribly. In fact, I don't even remember. What time do people normally start work?

Since his swearing in, my life has been a lotus-eater's Nirvana. I loll in bed until early afternoon, eating grapes.

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54 comments
stop lying
stop lying

Yes, I'm sure you'll have a hard time writing about something now....because if it's not a blackincident you're not interested..never mind all the illegals/drugs/jobs taken by illegals/companies that hire illegals/the thieving banks/bank of america financing illegals with credit cards/houses/vehicles.../your ex pres bush gave them real social security cards after stealing americans identifications...I think you would call that fraud...maybe you could call me and Igive you a few pointers about what to write of maybe you could join forces with chris crock...because dallas is an all black city of course.

Buyerbwear
Buyerbwear

I wish you would name names. I moved from Dallas many years ago, but maintain a mild interest in the City's politics b/c my Mom still lives there.

Buyerbwear
Buyerbwear

Hey, John Wiley Price, is Blacktexas your pen name?

Buyerbwear
Buyerbwear

Laura Miller was 100 times the mayor Ron Kirk was. Kirk was, and still is, a consummate jerk.

Buyerbwear
Buyerbwear

Ron Kirk did a good job as Mayor??? How so??? The man was, and still is, a flim-flam man.

Buyerbwear
Buyerbwear

What the hell is that supposed to mean? You're comparing him to Arnold ... the Governor of Cal-ee-forn-yah? John ... who? Bill ... can-you-help-me-with-this-cigar Clinton? The article is a/b a buffoon filling in as mayor to one of the largest cities in the U.S.A. Which one are you, Arthur or Archie?

Kcjasien
Kcjasien

I sense a wee bit of sarcasm here.

Loydrichey
Loydrichey

I can't believe I'm going to agree with a media writer. Caraway is an embarrasment

Sarahque
Sarahque

Sounds like to me this guy is a true Caraway hater (undercover that is) You keep speaking on Michael Vick also a member of his hater club but you fail to mention how often your people chain their kids to the basement and forget to feed them while paying attention to keep their animals healthy or mooching of the city to party and so on..... Get a life get out of bed and go to work.........Haters make great elevators.....

PBtexas
PBtexas

And this guy calls himself a reporter with this BS story? This guy was not voted in he was placed in this position because the former mayor felt he was better than Dallas now and did not finish his job here to go after other positions. Must be a republican thing S. Palin did the same.

Paula Colby
Paula Colby

Bye DUHwaine, Shows the mentality of his district that he continues to stay on the council election after election. And they wonder why there is no positive change? Look no further than your ballot.

mskat
mskat

Go away d. Carraway & JWP BEGONE

mskat
mskat

GOOD BYE AND GOOD RIDDINS . NOW CAN WE GET OFF THE CITY COUNSEL ASAP. HE IS A HINDERANCE NOT A HELP

Sam
Sam

Good Riddance. He is a piece of crap. The voters of Dallas have lost their minds.

Tdaljohn
Tdaljohn

That guy was a real joke..wonder how much money he stole?

David Manasco
David Manasco

I was disgusted when Leppert resigned knowing that this buffoon would become mayor. I was even more disgusted when the city council didn't have the balls (or vaginas) to remove him from Mayor ProTem. I had contacted my councilman, Ron Natinsky, and left a message with his staff about his lack of backbone in refusing to keep this embarassment from becoming mayor (no response back from him). I also sent a response to Leppert's campaign begging for money for his run for the Senate in which I said I would never give a dime to this individual who snuck out of his term early and left Dallas in the uncapable hands of you know who. It was obvious why Leppert and Natinsky were both in support of Caraway. They each thought his support would bring the black vote and political victory in their respective races. I guess they they both had a lapse of common sense and underestimated the anger of the citizens of Dallas. Natinsky is gone and Leppert is next!

Pkstreets
Pkstreets

I just love Jim Schultz! The Best!

DJ
DJ

after him giving the key of the city of Dallas to Mike sicko Vick I have lost respect for this joke...go away & dont come back, but while your leaving would you please take that other joke price with you...we dont want him either...nuff said

Dpjgen
Dpjgen

This is the same Mayor Caraway who stated that although he felt the young girl deserved to keep the $2,000 found cash, the City of Dallas has a "system" and has to follow procedures. Um, okay, you mean the same procedures as say, awarding a contract valued at over $200,000 to someones friend for less than $25,000 for a walking trail campaign? Yep, that's the same procedure, right, Dwayne? Hahahahahaha!!

Wog
Wog

Perhaps Caraway's next career could be in a revival of the long-gone TV Sitcom Amos & Andy, starring Caraway as Kingfish and Arthur and Archie as Amos and Andy.

Sallie Sue
Sallie Sue

Boy, did you nail it. I was reading this in my office and was absolutely rolling with laughter. I have been following this story on news talk radio. I could barely get through each sentence without busting a gut. My office mates were about to dial 911. When I told them only in the USA could you get away with such behavior. I am passing around my copy to all who will read it. Great piece. And amazing Ethics. hugh?

Sroberts999
Sroberts999

RE: "The council voted unanimously to adopt the Mayor Dwaine Caraway Ethics Reform Ordinance."

Was Angela "The Smart One" Hunt on that council? I don't follow city politics that closely, so I'm just askin'.

Storm_71
Storm_71

That's a good story Jim thanks.

WW
WW

" they should have a professor come in and explain what ethics are.".Thanks for the laugh, Jim..

Yaddie
Yaddie

Well atleast he hasn't gone as far as Arnold or John or even Bill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!You racist can always find news to talk about when it comes to a black man, but let it be told , you need to sweep around your on front door before you try to sweep around ours.

Parky
Parky

If we want the "same" shenanigans we got with Leppert, vote for the carbon copy, Dallas Citizens Council appointed, Mike Rawlings!

If you want a real change from the Dallas Citizens Council padding the pockets of the elitist families in Dallas, vote for Kunkle!!!

Cartoon Mo'
Cartoon Mo'

Nice article Jim.This story is sad, true and pathetic ....... only because it seems to be all fact and truth.

Glad that I don't live in the shiite hole of Dallas ...... lol.

Adribiotech
Adribiotech

Note to Blacktexas: Where, in Schutze's column, was Caraway's race mentioned?? The answer is "not at all". There have been some stupid caucasian mayors in Dallas (Laura Miller comes to mind). She used to be a columnist for the Observer, and she wrote some ugly things about people. She also did some blatantly nincompoop-minded things as mayor. However, No one said anything about her parents being sent to Siberia and condemned to die. That was a petty, childish comment on your part. Ron Kirk was also black, and I think he did a good job as mayor compared to some others we've had over the years. Caraway is certainly not in his league. Get over yourself and your racism.

L Smithplano
L Smithplano

This is your best ever! I am so glad I know live 1/2 mile from Dallas/Plano city limits within Plano. I no longer have to make excuses but the Vicks key really got to me. All my FB friends that are in dog rescue living outside Texas really took that one hard. I was almost afraid that or glad that a few threatened to come down to Dallas and take care of Caraway after going to Philly and taking away Vick's key. Maybe I will consider moving back across the city limits now that the city will be in more respectable hands. Or will it?

Americano
Americano

Funniest thing Schutze has ever written. Not because of Carraway, he doesn't need Schutze to be funny, but because it highlights the grand minutiae that usually make up Schute's writings.

Blacktexas
Blacktexas

Bash on the black man, Jim you are a piece of racist trash, Your parents should both be sent to Siberia for breeding you in this World. I hope they both perish and suffer of cancer.

Dr Alex Patterson
Dr Alex Patterson

What do you mean "YOU PEOPLE"? Are you referring to a race? And blaketing that race with a gross generalization? There is this guy named Martin Luther King Jr who had a dream. You might want to read up on it. Humanity in the 21st century is pushing forward to achieve that dream. Hate minded racists like you belong in the past.

Jeaniedavidson
Jeaniedavidson

There are more stories about blacks and crime than whites doing crime....but oh....rightyou are owed because great great great great great grandmother was enslaved...so thatallows you to a lifetime of crime, petty or otherwise...Michael Vick is worse than an animaland should have been put down.....and this joke of a mayor, is a liar and thief....but smallpotatoes....probably not too bright.

Cory
Cory

Um, actually, Smart Guy, that is what the reporter said. I read it in there. And you call yourself a reader?!?!

stop lying
stop lying

Dwaiyne Carraway has more sense than your Governor...I don't hear you bitching about him

Bosio88
Bosio88

Carraway maybe, but Price is the financial stronghold over the whole commissioner court Real checks and balance(Text-Book)Wishful thinking unless you're ready to live near 30% less than you currently doliving in Dallas County would in under 5yrs become quite expenses place to livecan you picture property taxes, then sales taxes are next.So for as unfair as it seems, I agree with you, "Cheaper To Keep Him".

Bosio88
Bosio88

That funny, but true I can see the similiarities very clearThat's funny

Dr Alex Patterson
Dr Alex Patterson

Playing the race card doesn't work anymore in the 21st century. Sorry. Stick to the facts or try to bury them, which apparently you are trying to do.

tp
tp

Why is it when someone speaks the truth the "race card" has to be thrown out? Facts are facts and it has nothing to do with his race. He is a chump. Plain and simple.

tp
tp

Why is it when someone speaks the truth the "race card" has to be thrown out? Facts are facts and it has nothing to do with his race. He is a chump. Plain and simple.

I agree that Laura Miller was and is an idiot. I loved Ron Kirk. I don't know why people do what they do, but when someone has something to say based on facts that does not make it a race issue it makes it the truth. The idiot did give a key to the city to a convicted dog torturer, he did try and cover up a domestic issue at his house and so on.......

Kcjasien
Kcjasien

Something a n i g g e r would say

Dr Alex Patterson
Dr Alex Patterson

So if this man was white it would be okay to point out his stupidity but since he is black it is racist to talk about it? Sorry, that stupid reasoning served Dallas well in the 1980's and 90's but we are pushing toward a true society of equality and your racist card has no place in that society.

citizen b
citizen b

Oh PLEASE>>>> This story was the best ever. Had nothing to do with race. Just the facts.....

tp
tp

Why is it when someone speaks the truth the "race card" has to be thrown out? Facts are facts and it has nothing to do with his race. He is a chump. Plain and simple.

CRA
CRA

You are talking about the author of "The Accommodation", who has done more for your people (if your black) than you probably ever have. Furthermore, Carraway is nothing more than a sell-out of his own people, just like most of the black political leaders in Dallas. They sell out their own people for money and political gain, while their own people are left to wallow in absolute discrimination and segregation. You are pathetic, not because of your race, but because your flat out ignorant.

Race Card Cancelled
Race Card Cancelled

Way to bring race into there BT as always. Just burns a hole in your pocket doesn't it. Whether this person be brown, yellow, black or white, the shit this guy has pulled goes beyond absurd, and rightfully so deserves the ass beating. And when your done wearing out your race card, hopefully ruining the magnetic strip, you'll discover this turd bucket doesn't represent you, or your race, or any other Dallas resident, just like his fellow cronies. Dare I name names?

PBtexas
PBtexas

There are more stories because there are more racist white reporters TV station owners, and news paper owners that only cover these stories. You do not here about all the crime that goes on in southwest Dallas (Cleburne, Mesquite, The Grove) that is because that where all the lower income whites stay. And they have just as many problems as any other lower income community. Crime is not a race thing only our society makes it a race thing.

 
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