Mike Rawlings: Can he be mayor at 2 p.m. but not at 3?

I like Mayor Mike Rawlings personally, because he seems to be a guy who talks first and then considers the political implications of what he’s saying. I’m sure that’s probably not precisely true, because he is, after all, a politician to the extent that he’s our mayor, but at least he seems sincere when his mouth is open.

So that brings me to an interesting claim Mayor Rawlings made to the DMN’s Rudy Bush Wednesday: The city’s ethics code “clearly states I’m not prohibited from using my name as long as I don’t use the title of mayor. I just personally feel when I became mayor I didn’t stop being a citizen.”

The City of Dallas code in question — Section 12A-10/Political Activity, subsection (f) — “Elections. A city employee shall not use the prestige of his or her position with the city on behalf of any candidate, political party, or political committee.”

Rawlings is answering ethics complaint questions because he endorsed three candidates for DISD school board. Not surprisingly, one of the spurned candidates believes that regardless of Rawlings’ good intentions, he’s using his “mayor” title to support an opponent.

It’s hard to argue with the gist of that complaint, since it’s not possible for Rawlings to say anything these days without being identified as “Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings”.

After all, who cares what he has to say if he’s not mayor? Then he’s just another well-to-do guy with no particular access to a public podium or TV broadcast, which makes his endorsement (sans any cash donation to a candidate) not worth a whole lot.

True, he said during his campaign he wants to become involved in helping DISD improve — I admire him for trying to become involved, too. But the bottom line is that the guy is the mayor first, and just good old Mike second.

Until he’s no longer mayor, he needs to own the title and quit trying to play both sides of the fence.


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  • Edgar

    If the code means that a city employee is not allowed to express himself as a citizen, the code is not constitutional.  Last I looked, free speech was guaranteed in the Constitution.