Key presentation could hurt Caraway's chance at interim mayor

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on February 9, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 9 at 11:07 PM

DALLAS — Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway's presentation of a Key to the City to Michael Vick is unlocking opposition for him to take over the Council should Mayor Tom Leppert resign to run for U.S. Senate.

Vick, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, was convicted of running a vicious dog fighting ring and remains on probation after serving a prison sentence.

The political dogfight started when Richard Hunter of Dallas, who adopted one of Vick's abused dogs, posted the now-infamous video of Caraway giving a Key to the City to Vick on Saturday at a Dallas club. Vick was in town for the Super Bowl.

Hunter addressed the City Council Wednesday with a request for Caraway: "I respectfully ask you to relinquish your title as mayor pro tem."

But Caraway's chair sat empty since he skipped the meeting. He later told News 8 he's "done talking" about Vick and the key.

Caraway's action has politically boxed in Mayor Tom Leppert, who could be criticized for clearing the way for Caraway to take over should Leppert resign to run for Senate.

Leppert wouldn't say if the incident will factor into his thinking.

"I'll make some decisions going forward; the same thing I said before — I'll make those at the appropriate time the decision that I think make sense," the mayor said.

Caraway holds the title of mayor pro tem at the pleasure of the City Council. If Leppert leaves before June when his term expires, Council members who did not support Caraway to be mayor pro tem say there should be debate about someone else becoming interim mayor.

Council member Vonciel Jones Hill did not vote for Caraway. "I will expect the Council will have some discussion about that issue as the Council should," she said.

Angela Hunt, Caraway colleague, also did not vote for him. "I'm deeply troubled by what I think was some very poor judgment."

But even those who supported Caraway for the title aren't sure now that he would provide the necessary leadership.

Council member Dave Neumann nominated Caraway to be mayor pro tem. "I don't know," he said. "Citizens have concerns, Council members have concerns. It's premature to make that judgment today."

"He recognizes it wasn't the right thing to do, so the rest of the Council will be talking about it and looking in to it," added council member Jerry Allen.

More political fur has yet to fly.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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