Farmer’s Branch mayoral candidate Robert Dye contacted Dallas Voice today (Wednesday, June 7) to respond to a blog posted Monday, June 5, recapping his three arrests — in 2004, 2009 and 2013 — for DWI and noting that during the 2004 arrest, in Lubbock, reports indicated that he resisted arrests and called the arresting officer a “fucking faggot.”
Dye, now 33, today acknowledged that he had used the word “faggot” and apologized for having done so, adding that he has matured significantly in the 13 years since the incident.
“That was 2004. I was 20 years old, and in college, and it was 2 a.m.,” he said. “I did say some things then I should never have said, not thinking how insensitive that word was. That word was used a lot at that time [as a general insult], but since realizing how insensitive and insulting it is, I haven’t used that word or even thought to use it.”
Dye said that he had not used the word to insult the officer by implying he was gay or that being gay was a bad thing. Instead, it was “a very unfortunate” choice of words to express his anger that the situation he was in.
“I would never use that word now,” Dye said. “I am a very open-minded person. I am for equality across the board.”
Dye also said that his opponent, Harold Froehlich, and Froehlich’s supporters have “literally dragged me through the mud” over the course of the campaign and in the run-up to the special election on Saturday, June 10. “But I have held myself to a different standard. There are things about my opponent that I could have brought up, but I haven’t. I have refused to go negative.
“I believe that you shouldn’t be defined by who you were and what you did. You should be defined by who you are now and who you will be going forward,” he added.
Dye said he has, instead, chosen to focus on the issues in the race and explaining his own vision for the future of Farmer’s Branch. That includes, he said, expanding commercial development in terms of expanding the entertainment, cultural and community opportunities for the city’s current residents, instead of focusing solely on building more new apartment complexes to serve possible future residents.
Dye said that while he has no children of his own, “I understand the value of education,” and that he hopes to find new ways for the city to support its two school districts. And he wants to find “new ways we can go greener. Farmer’s Branch is known as ‘the city in the park.’ So why aren’t we already greener. “
Dye described himself as clearly the “younger and more open-minded” of the two runoff candidates. He said he has “new ideas” to move the city forward and “bridge the divisiveness” that has characterized Farmer’s Branch’s politics in the past. Referring to an ordinance passed by the city council in 2006 — later overturned in the courts — that would have required landlords to verify a potential renter’s legal residency status, he said he wanted to “speak to our citizens who feel threatened” to let them know they are safe and they are welcome.
“My opponent and his supporters took a nonpartisan race and made it very partisan,” Dye said. “And yes, I am liberal on social issues. But I am also for tighter budgets and more responsible spending and revitalization. I want Farmer’s Branch to be a city that others look to as a leader.”
While Dye himself chose not “go negative” on his opponent, others who contacted Dallas Voice were quick to note that Froehlich has not been a progressive leader in any form or fashion.
While acknowledging that Dye had “made some mistakes in his past” and that the slurs he used in his past were “disappointing,” one Farmer’s Branch resident, who said he and his partner have lived in the city for six years, said that Dye is by far the best candidate in the race. He said that Froehlich “has run one of the nastiest campaigns I’ve ever seen,” and that it has been “heartbreaking to see him and his friends … jump on the backs of the LGBT community and portray themselves as friends and allies. Harold has touted his traditional family values as one of the reasons he is qualified to run as mayor, though good luck finding any material of that now.”
“Family values” has long been acknowledged as code for “anti-gay” among right-wing candidates.
Another gay Farmer’s Branch resident said that he and a friend had seen Dallas Voice’s original post on Dye’s arrests shared on the Facebook page of a group called Friends of Farmer’s Branch, which he said is a PAC formed to oppose Dye’s candidacy. “I and another friend commented thanking them for their support for the LGBT community,” he said. “Immediately after that our comments were removed and the article was taken down from their page. Now they made their page private so that I cannot see it anymore. I think this speaks volumes on their mindset.”
Others responding in support of Dye have called Froehlich a “Tea Party candidate,” noting he supported the anti-immigrant efforts in 2006.
Early voting in the Farmer’s Branch mayoral runoff ended Tuesday. The election is Saturday. In the May 17 election, Froehlich led the field of four candidates with 1,208 — or 43 percent — of the votes cast. Dye was second with 965 votes — 34 percent.