Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway loves the city's Youth Commission. It comes up whenever he talks about the reasons he serves on the council. The commission comprises council-appointed high school students from around the city who aspire to public service, and Caraway says it's essential to fostering southern Dallas' political culture.
And beware to those who mess with it.
Fellow City Council member Philip Kingston learned that the hard way yesterday when he attempted to cut $60,000 in funding for the Youth Commission with an amendment to the city's 2017-18 budget. Caraway orally attacked Kingston, repeatedly slamming his fist on the City Council horseshoe while telling everyone within earshot how "pissed" he was at his colleague. During his outburst, Caraway slammed Kingston's presumed future campaign for mayor, questioned his motivations as "selfish" and referenced the recently removed Robert E. Lee statue. (Caraway's reaction starts at 12:38.)
"You just sit around and want to cut the Youth Commission. Now you want to cut back on something that we've already promised these kids — the future of this city — just to try to show and win and play politics around here to run for mayor," Caraway said. "We'll, I'm going to tell you — whoever's running for mayor — you're going to need the southern sector."
Before Caraway's tirade, Kingston argued that the $60,000 would be better spent on improving transportation for Dallas' seniors because the Youth Commission already had an adequate budget.
"You want to smother [the youth commission] under the auspices of the seniors," Caraway responded. "We want to cut it short and cut them short and laugh about it just to have a victory at this horseshoe. A selfish victory, a selfish personal victory, and it pisses me off.
"Keep on voting like that. God got our back."
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Caraway drew a connection between Kingston's proposed amendment and the recent removal of the statue at Lee Park.
"The wrong thing to do is to have these ridiculous agendas of control. That's why things are happening as they happen," Caraway said, shaking a finger. "The very thing that we took down was because of control, because we're tired of being controlled."
Later in the meeting, after cooling off as his fellow council members spoke, Caraway softened his stance. "I would like to offer a public apology to some extent," he said. "But I meant most of what I said."
Kingston's plan was voted down 13-2, with only Omar Narvaez joining Kingston in voting for it.