Armed with a stack of signature-covered petitions and dressed in his usual dapper suit, Dwaine Caraway announced at Dallas City Hall on Wednesday afternoon that, after a two-year hiatus, he is coming back for the District 4 city council seat he held from 2007-2015.
"We had a lot of momentum going, we had a lot of growth going. We had a lot of things happening in the southern part of Dallas," Caraway said. "That has stalled."
Caraway, who's also been a member of the Dallas Park Board and, briefly, Dallas mayor after Tom Leppert stepped down to run for U.S. Senate in 2011, couldn't run for re-election in 2015 due to the city's term limits. When he left the council, Caraway said, he had no intention of coming back. He ran against incumbent John Wiley Price in the Democratic Primary for Dallas County Commissioner, and threw his support behind Carolyn Arnold, who easily won the race to replace Caraway.
While praising Arnold personally on Wednesday, Caraway outlined the many things he wants to do for South Dallas that he feels aren't getting done by his successor. He wants the proposed deck park — the one Arnold has repeatedly called a "wreck park" — that would span I-35 near the Dallas Zoo to get built. Arnold says the city should worry about things like its failing streets before it builds a park.
"What is most disturbing to me is the misleading information that is being put out to our people about the deck park. TxDOT put up $40 million that is earmarked for the deck park. It's misleading to say we can take the $40 million and go fix potholes," Caraway said.
Arnold did not return a request for comment. Arnold responded to Caraway's announcement by releasing a brief statement announcing her run for re-election without addressing Caraway, saying that she plans to "build upon the strength of her grassroots campaign" of 2015.
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Caraway blamed "stray dogs, trash and drug house" for his district's stagnation, claiming it was "88 percent" stalled under Arnold's leadership. Amenities like the deck park are needed, he said, to attract people and businesses — especially Caraway's favorite, restaurants — to District 4.
Today Dwaine Caraway announces his desire to RETURN to Dallas City Council District Four! Check out the official announcement video! pic.twitter.com/ha1FCfehte— Dwaine Caraway (@DwaineForDallas) February 1, 2017
He lamented the lack of options in East Oak Cliff. "Who would not want quality restaurants where we can sit down and have a shrimp cocktail and a steak with a tablecloth in our own community?" Caraway said.
During his time away from city hall, Caraway found tough sledding. Against Price, Caraway followed the indignity of a radio station fight with the commissioner over long-standing accusations that Price slept with Caraway's first wife with a 53-point loss to Price in the March 1 primary.