DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A week after the city council named a new Mayor Pro Tem, Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price has accused councilman Philip Kingston of racism.
At first, Councilman Kingston proposed delaying the vote until after a new district four council member is elected in November.
Later, he nominated council member Sandy Greyson to serve as Mayor Pro-Tem, saying she was the most “above reproach” on the council — instead of backing one of three African-American council members. They include Casey Thomas, who was nominated along with Tennell Atkins (who was also nominated for the position) and also Kevin Felder.
“I think it’s incumbent on us for us to pick the one of us for the remainder of this term who is most above reproach and I hope I’m not embarrassing you Ms. Greyson, but I think the consensus for that is Sandy Greyson,” said Kingston.
The council had to replace Dwaine Caraway, who resigned his seat after pleading guilty to federal public corruption related to the Dallas County Schools bus agency. In nominating Kingston last week, Council member Kingston said it was necessary for the council to improve its standing by the public.
Commissioner Price sent a letter to Kingston that read in part, “The inference or outright insinuation you made to impugn the character of your black peers and thusly the black community is unconscionable…” The letter went on to say in part: “To defile a whole race and class of people is totally unacceptable.”
Wednesday morning, Price told the council, “Apparently, African-American rhymes with lack of integrity. Apparently, the problem of one black man rhymes with the issue of all black people. Apparently, getting someone we all respect rhymes with replacing black leadership with white leadership.”
It’s a tradition on council to have the Mayor, Mayor Pro-Tem and Deputy Mayor Pro-Tem to be different races and ethnicities.
Council member Philip Kingston didn’t comment at the council meeting, or respond CBS 11 News’ question seeking comment.
During last week’s council meeting responding to Kingston and others, Mayor Mike Rawlings said, “This is a terrific slap to the African-Americans around this council. We have three good respectable African-Americans that represent this city well.”
Casey Thomas, the new Mayor Pro Tem selected by council last week, said Wednesday. “I was offended.” (by Kingston’s remarks last week) “I’m my own individual and I’ve shown myself as someone who can be respected and that’s exactly who I am. And I commend those who came down today: Commissioner Price and others who made their voice known, and made their voice heard.”
Thomas said he plans to speak with Kingston and some other council members about the situation.
He also said, “I’m looking forward to serving and getting to work.”