Dallas City Council Member Philip Kingston was the primary target of a confrontation Wednesday with Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price over last week’s handling of the Mayor Pro Tem appointment at City Hall.
The position was vacant after the resignation of Councilman Dwaine Caraway who pleaded guilty to accepting bribes.
Kingston nominated Council Member Sandy Greyson for the post last week, with the names of African Americans Casey Thomas and Tennell Atkins already on the floor.
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“I think it is incumbent upon us to pick the one for the remainder of this term who is most above reproach,” Kingston said at the time.
Kingston spoke about the bad image Caraway’s case put on the City Council but he gave no further explanation of why he opposed Atkins and Thomas.
Councilmember Jennifer Gates and Mayor Mike Rawlings both pointed out last week that tradition called for an African American to serve as Mayor Pro Tem under these circumstances. After debate, Casey Thomas received majority support for the appointment last week.
Price quoted Martin Luther King and Malcolm X in his speech about the issue Wednesday.
“You don’t stick a knife in a man’s back 9 inches and pull it out 6 inches and say you’re making progress,” Price said. “Unfortunately we are here today because some on this city have the power, but use it to the disadvantage of the powerless. Apparently, African American rhymes with lack of integrity.”
After the meeting Price said his words were directed at the entire City Council and not just Kingston. But asked about Kingston’s past reputation as a progressive member who speaks about inclusion and transparency, Price said he had not seen evidence of it.
Asked about Price’s remarks, Kingston said that it is valuable to listen to the comments of City Council Public Speakers.
“Because sometimes you get really important information that you wouldn’t otherwise have. And then sometimes you get Commissioner Price,” Kingston said, and then walked away.
Kingston has served on the Dallas City Council since 2013. He has said in the past he is considering a campaign for the Dallas Mayor position which will be open next year with Rawlings facing term limitation.
Price and the group of supporters who went with him to City Hall Wednesday are clearly not likely to be Kingston supporters in the future.