City Council appoints anti-gay activist to advisory and appeals board over objections of gay-friendly mayor who rode in Pride parade
CARROLLTON If you look up “bigot” in the dictionary, you’ll find a pretty good description of Carrollton resident Paul Kramer, according to Mayor Becky Miller.
But that didn’t stop the City Council from voting to appoint
Kramer over the objections of Miller and other members to the Construction Advisory & Appeals Board on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
Kramer, a former council candidate, was behind a petition submitted to the council in April objecting to Miller’s participation in Dallas’ 2006 gay Pride parade. Then, this week, Kramer appeared at a protest of Muslim Family Day at Six Flags Over Texas in a photograph printed by the Dallas Morning News. Carrollton has a large Muslim population.
Miller said Kramer also has made comments over the phone, in e-mails and in letters to the editor that suggest he doesn’t like anyone who’s not white, Christian and heterosexual.
Nevertheless, because the mayor does not vote in Carrollton’s system of government, Kramer was appointed 4-3.
“I didn’t have enough support, so he got put on, but I felt very strongly about it because I think when you have board members, they represent the city,” Miller said. “They represent our views and how we think of the city, and I really try to stress diversity in the city of Carrollton, and I don’t think Paul Kramer represents that.
“From what I read in the dictionary the definition of a bigot that’s what I see in Paul Kramer,” Miller added. “If you read the definition in the dictionary, Paul Kramer fits it to a “‘T.’”
Kramer did not return messages left at both his home and work phone numbers. Councilman Terry Simons, who voted in favor of Kramer’s appointment, defended the decision.
“A person’s personal opinions or religious beliefs should not come into the decision process of serving the city of Carrollton,” Simons said in an e-mail. “We as a council feel that a diverse board or commission gives the council the best overall views on different subjects for Carrollton.
Although I do not agree with all of Mr. Kramer’s personal views, he is qualified to serve in this capacity for the city of Carrollton.”
The petition submitted by Kramer on April 3 was signed by 75 residents. It demanded that city officials refrain from appearing in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade in the future and that the issue be put before voters if necessary.
On April 17, LGBT community members and their supporters turned out in droves to City Hall to express their opposition to the petition, which the council ultimately ignored.
The landmark event was organized by gay real estate agent and political activist Bob McCranie. McCranie started the Carrollton Project, an LGBT equality group, in September 2006 after his sexual orientation became a contentious issue in spring elections.
McCranie said he was kicked off the campaigns of two Republican candidates due to pressure from the conservative wing of the party. When another candidate McCranie supported won, the loser criticized his opponent in an e-mail for accepting help from “gay Bob” and the “big sissy.”
Incidentally, McCranie is also on the Construction Advisory & Appeals Board, and both he and Miller said they believe that was part of the motivation for the council to appoint Kramer. One councilmember reportedly told McCranie that because he supports diversity, there should be somebody on the board who opposes it.
“I just think that was an astounding comment,” said McCranie, who declined to identify the councilmember.
According to the city’s Web site, the Construction Advisory & Appeals Board primarily decides appeals of decisions by the building official and fire marshal related to the application of city code. “As long as we stick to the topic at hand, I think I can work with anyone, but it’s certainly not a choice I would have made,” McCranie said of Kramer’s appointment. “I’m very disappointed. It doesn’t necessarily wipe out everything that [the Carrollton Project has] done.
It’s just a sign to me that there’s more understanding to be had.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 19, 2007