Ashley Stanley: Council Gets Carried Away on Kingston Ethical Lapse

District 14 Dallas City Council member was officially reprimanded by the council after using his office to post a video on Facebook about a fundraiser.

By Ashley Stanley
Special Contributor

Dallas City Council members engaged in a lengthy discussion on Wednesday about the so-called “Kingston ethical lapse.” The body was charged with voting on a recommendation from the Ethics Advisory Commission to reprimand Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston for using his city office to film a campaign video — a clear violation of the ethics code recently approved by Kingston and his colleagues.

I was there hoping to come away with a story about economic development and performing arts because I attended a presentation at The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth the day before. I wanted to see how this meeting would go and what outrage might ensue, especially with the bond program vote concluded, which included funding to repair several cultural and arts facilities such as the Wyly Theater.  I missed the arts item, but I did hear enough to appreciate Dallas Observer columnist Jim Schutze’s bathroom-wall article posed early (4 a.m.!) this morning.

Schutze referred to his weekly paper as the dish. If that is true, then I write for the dirt! Councilmember Lee Kleinman called Kingston’s lapse “going too far” and said it was “just wrong,” according to a story in The Dallas Morning News by Tristan Hallman. I missed that part of the conversation, but I sat down in time to hear Councilman Adam Medrano (a personal friend of Kingston’s) say, “Philip made a dumb mistake.” Or did he? Who knows? Who cares? This meeting was all about Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway, and I heard every word from that dude. Council meetings with that guy in office are free, front-row tickets to the funny show.

Caraway got “carried away,” and Mayor Mike Rawlings told him his volume level was getting a bit too loud. “Mayor, don’t stop me today! If it was one of us, we’d receive a hanging or the gas chamber,” Caraway responded. “I want you to UNDERSTAND THAT FACT! He is thumbing his nose up at us. He cut our budget by $250,000, and this is political. HE KNOWS IT IS HIS OFFICE! PLAY THE VIDEO!”

Mayor Rawlings ended the discussion by saying, “I don’t like doing this, but we need zero tolerance on ethics violations in this city. This has gone way beyond a slippery slope and let’s get rid of this, come together today and move on down the road, unified. If he truly did not knowingly violate the rules, he needs training. Now let’s hear the Dallas Street Choir.”

Oh, by the way, the city secretary position is open, and there will be a search and hiring process. I hope it goes as well as the city manager decision. We landed a real winner there. Can’t imagine how we could be so lucky twice in one year.

One last thing about Kleinman. I didn’t understand when Caraway extended what appeared to be grace and asked Kleinman if he would consider a substitute motion, Caraway said, “Would you accept a stronger reprimand rather than censure?” Councilmember Adam McGough seconded the motion and Councilmember Omar Narvaez said he was in full support of Caraway’s suggestion.

Kleinman, on the other hand, said something along the lines of maintaining anonymity? I spent the better part of my lunch break in the city secretary’s office trying to understand the meaning behind that decision and still walked away a bit confused. I was just admitted to Pepperdine Law, so I don’t fancy myself as an easily confusable gal, but hey, hopefully our new city secretary can do a better job of keeping those things straight. Yay, Dallas.

Ashley Stanley is a downtown Dallas resident and entrepreneur. She’s a law student, real estate mediator, licensed Realtor, and the owner of AshleysApartments.com. Her opinions are her own.

5 Comment

  • mm

    Thanks, Ashley. I watched that escapade and truly, Dwaine needs his own Reality Show. He was not on council a couple years ago when Tiffini Young urged the daughter of the South Dallas dog bite victim to sue the city, through a friend. He was also not on when Lee Kleinman started his Twitter Haters List. Nor the Wildebeest papers that Lee placed at every Councilmembers’ seat and blamed on the police union. Surely those events led to the creation of the ethics committee. Wednesday was such overkill and drama, I was just hoping Philip was getting a massage somewhere.

  • This is nothing compared to (1) His strange campaign ad where he posed with Angela Hunt and two little girls presumably to persuade voters that he was a family man, (2) His insupportable statements attempting to link the Lee statue to white supremacists while at the same time lauding himself as a moral leader, (3) His similar complete failure in his oversight role as a member of the police and fire pension board, while at the same time claiming that he somehow instrumental in uncovering the problems, (4) His juvenile tweeting habits, ridiculous enough to have been commented on by a New York newspaper in connection with the statue removal, and (5) His insistence on retaining the rotten real estate and alternative investments in the pension portfolio to avoid an imagined “fire sale”. Kingston represents everything that is wrong with city government and should have resigned his office when the full extent of the pension fiasco became known.

  • Quite sad that this is what our city council members chose to spend there time at meetings discussing.
    Most of these elected peeps just like to her themselves speak
    I suggest a new rule. Council members have a one minute time limit to speak. If they can’t communicate a thought in a minute just shut up
    Oh well only 7 % elected them.