Robert Dye responds: Farmer’s Branch mayoral candidate apologizes for 2004 slur, ‘would never use that word now’

Robert Dye

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.

—  Tammye Nash

Farmer’s Branch mayoral candidate has a record of DWI arrests, allegedly used anti-gay language

Robert Clair Dye III in mug shots from 2013 and 2014

With less than a week to go before the Farmer’s Branch mayoral runoff election, LGBT North Texans and their allies are encouraging residents of Farmer’s Branch not to vote for candidate Robert Clair Dye III, noting that Dye has been arrested three times for DWI, according to public records, and in at least one case berated the arresting officer with anti-LGBT language.

His first arrest was in Lubbock on March 12, 2004, when he was a student. Officer Chad Demaray wrote in his police report that he stopped Dye after having observed Dye swerve and disregard two stop signs. After he stopped Dye, Demaray said, he noticed “a strong odor of alcoholic beverage.”

After Dye failed a field sobriety test, Demaray determined he was intoxicated and arrested him.

Demaray asked Dye if the passenger could park the vehicle, but Dye wanted to pull it into a parking space himself. When the officer refused to let him drive and told Dye his vehicle would be impounded, “he got very upset, calling Officer Osborn a ‘fucking faggot’ over and over,” Demaray wrote.

Dye was handcuffed and placed in the back of the patrol car, where he began banging his head against the center shield. Dye slipped the cuffs under him so his hands were in front and he unbuckled his seat belt. When Osborn and Demaray tried to remove him from the vehicle, Dye stiffened his body to prevent them from doing so.

After removing Dye from the car and placing him on the ground, the officers recuffed him and transported him to the DWI room at Lubbock police headquarters.

After being advised that he was being taped. Dye refused to give a specimen of his breath and refused to sign a statutory warning form.

Dye’s vehicle was impounded and his driver’s license confiscated. While being booked, officers found someone else’s driver’s license in his shoe and he was charged with this additional offense.

That information comes from the police report given to Dallas Voice, but we have obtained no additional documents yet that indicate disposition of the case.

Dye’s second DUI arrest came on March 28, 2009, when he was arrested in Dallas for driving while intoxicated and assault on a public servant.

Officers John Nash III and Albert Chacon saw Dye’s vehicle driving southbound in the northbound lane of North Henderson Avenue. After stopping him and determining Dye was intoxicated, the officers checked his record and found no prior DWI convictions.

After being told to put his hands behind his back, Dye tried to walk back to his vehicle. Nash grabbed Dye’s left wrist and Dye swung his right fist but missed Nash’s face. He refused to put his hands behind his back “and continued to resist,” the police report says. Dye tripped on the curb and fell.

“A/O (arresting officer) released A/P (arrested person) to put out an assist at which time the A/P rolled and struck A/O Nash in the left jaw with his right fist causing pain and discomfort,” the police report says. “A/O was able to pin the right arm and control A/P and he used a three second burst of pepper spray to get A/P to stop resisting and take the A/P into custody.”

Dye was convicted of DWI on August 18, 2009 in Dallas County.

On July 13, 2013, Dye was arrested in Plano. The police report doesn’t indicate Dye resisted arrest this time, but he did refuse to give a blood sample. A blood draw was taken after he was booked.

“Dye was very confrontational about the blood draw and advised that he was going to resist,” the police report says. “When several other officers entered into the room he decided to cooperate.”

On a background check of Dye, this arrest is listed as his second DWI. The Plano police report indicates it found a record of the Lubbock arrest, “but there was no conviction data available on the return.”

That indicates charges in the 2004 arrest were dropped, however the arrest is still on the record.

On May 15, 2014 and again on Oct. 9, 2014, Dye was taken into custody for violating terms of his bond.

In the May 17 election, four candidates were running for mayor. Dye placed second with 965 votes or 34 percent of the total. Harold Froehlich received 43 percent with 1,208 votes.

They face each other in the runoff on June 10.

—  Tammye Nash

Four Dallas City Council runoffs will be held June 13

Wilson.Erik

Erik Wilson

Tave.Joe

Joe Tave

Saturday, June 13, is the runoff election that will decide the balance of power on the Dallas City Council. Runoffs will be held in four council districts — 3, 7, 8, and 10.

District 3: This race offers the clearest distinction between candidates. Joe Tave is endorsed by Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance. Casey Thomas is Vonciel Jones Hill’s handpicked successor. District 3 includes Kiestwood, the very gay neighborhood in Oak Cliff where Tave lives, and extends through all of the city’s far southwesternmost areas.

District 7: Tiffinni Young faces Kevin Felder vie to replace Councilwoman Carolyn Davis. Both sought Stonewall Democrats’ endorsement. Young received Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance’s endorsement. The district includes the Fair Park area.

District 8: In the race to replace Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins, Dianne Gibson faces Erik Wilson. Wilson applied to Stonewall for its endorsement, but lost it on his support for the underwater toll road. He’s a supporter of LGBT issues and would work well with the LGBT community. The district is in far South Dallas.

District 10: Whoever wins this seat to replace Councilman Jerry Allen, who pushed through the resolution to equalize all rights and benefits for the LGBT community has big shoes to fill. Adam McGough sought Stonewall’s endorsement and got DGLA’s. The district is in northeast Dallas roughly from Walnut Hill Road to Walnut Street, and Central Expressway to Plano Road. LBJ cuts diagonally through the district.

On Election Day, you must vote in your precinct. Hours are 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

—  David Taffet

RUNOFF ELECTION: Early voting puts Veasey, Cruz ahead

State Rep. Marc Veasey had an 8 percent lead on Domingo Garcia with early voting totals in Tuesday’s Democratic runoff.

Veasey earned 54 percent of the vote for the new Congressional District 33 that spans Tarrant and Dallas counties. Garcia earned 46 percent of the vote.

Garcia led in early voting totals in Dallas county with 71 percent to Veasey’s 29 percent. In Tarrant County, Veasey got 58 percent compared to Garcia’s 42 percent.

In the Republican Primary runoff, Ted Cruz was ahead of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst with 52 percent statewide compared to Dewhurst’s 48 percent.

Stay tuned to Instant Tea for more runoff results.

—  Dallasvoice

Incumbants fair poorly in runoff election

We now have results from all precincts:

District A
Helena Brown: 55%
Brenda Stardig: 45%

District B
Alvin Byrd: 49%
Jerry Davis: 51%

Place 2:
Kristi Thibaut 49.9%
Andrew Burks 50.2%

Place 5
Jack Christie  54%
Jo Jones  46%

Both incumbents, Jones and Stardig, seem to have lost their bid for re-election, Thibaut misses a council seat by only 212 votes and Davis becomes the only candidate endorsed by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus to win in the runoff.

—  admin

Early voting in runoff election off to slow start

For those who missed it, there is an election happening in Houston right now. Four City Council races wound up in run-offs after the November 8 municipal elections and Houstonians have until December 10 to decide the fate of these crucial races.  So far fewer than 2,000 people have voted. Without a “big ticket” item like the mayor’s race at the top of the ballot turnout in the runoff is expected to be very low. The upshot of which is that every ballot cast carries more weight than ever.

Two of the races are at-large seats, so every citizen of Houston gets to vote on this races:

  • In At-large position 2 former State Representative Kristi Thibaut faces Andrew C. Burks Jr. Pastor of Bailey Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
  • In At-large position 5 incumbent council member Jolanda Jones faces Jack Christie, former State Board of Education member .

Two of the races are for district seats, so only people who live in those districts get to vote on these races:

  • In District A incumbent council member Brenda Stardig faces republican activist Helena Brown.
  • In District B local restauranteur and education advocate Jerry Davis faces Alvin Byrd, current staffer for council member Jarvis Johnson.

Early voting continues through December 6th, election day is November 8. Voters may cast their ballot at any early voting location. Visit harrisvotes.org to find your election day polling location (it may be different than your November polling place) and to view a sample ballot.

—  admin

Fort Worth LGBT mayoral forum is Wednesday

Fort Worth mayoral runoff candidates Jim Lane and Betsy Price will attend a forum Wednesday evening sponsored by Fairness Fort Worth and the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce

Fairness Fort Worth and the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce will host a forum for Fort Worth mayoral runoff candidates Jim Lane and Betsy Price on Wednesday at Four Day Weekend Theater, 312 Houston St. That’s on Houston at Third Street, next to The Reata in downtown Fort Worth.

Price and Lane both talked to Dallas Voice last week about where they stand on LGBT issues. But this forum gives the community a chance to hear more from the candidates not only on LGBT issues, but on other topics of interest, too. Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy and I will be moderating. Anybody who has a specific question they would like to see asked can email that question to FairnessFtWorth@aol.com.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for 30 minutes of meeting and greeting with the candidates, and the Q&A session starts at 6 p.m.

—  admin

UPDATE: Mike Rawlings and David Kunkle appear headed to runoff for Dallas mayor

With 426 of 555 precincts reporting at 9:25 p.m., it sure looks like former Pizza Hut CEO Mike Rawlings and former Police Chief David Kunkle are headed to a June runoff.

Rawlings leads with 42 percent of the vote, and Kunkle is second with 32 percent. City Councilman Ron Natinsky is third with 24 percent, and he now trails Kunkle by more than 4,000 votes.

Rawlings has 25,245 votes to Kunkle’s 19,023 and Natinsky’s 14,683. Edward Okpa has 1,321 votes, or 2 percent.

 

—  John Wright

Update: Hightower apparently headed for runoff in Arlington

With 80 percent of the vote counted, gay candidate Chris Hightower appears to be headed into a runoff for the District 5 seat on the Arlington City Council with incumbent Lana Wolff.

Although only 112 votes separate the two, Hightower is leading by 7 percentage points.

Their closest competitor is Julie Douglas with 13 percent.

—  admin

Low turnout could amplify gay vote

Dallas mayoral candidates make final pitch to LGBTs

MORE ELECTION COVERAGE:
COMMUNITY SPLIT OVER DISTRICT 14 RACE
FORT WORTH ELECTION ROUNDUP

JOHN WRIGHT | Online Editor
wright@dallasvoice.com

With turnout expected to be dismal for Saturday’s municipal elections, LGBT voters could play a pivotal role in determining which two candidates advance to an all-but-certain runoff for Dallas mayor.

It’s arguably the gay-friendliest field in the city’s history, with all three major candidates seeking the endorsement of both Stonewall Democrats and the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance. And all three — David Kunkle, Ron Natinsky and Mike Rawlings — have their share of high-profile supporters in a community that’s still smarting from the betrayal of former Mayor Tom Leppert.

Overall turnout in municipal elections is expected to hover around 10 percent, or just 50,000 of the city’s half-million registered voters. But with hotly contested council races in Districts 3 and 14, as well as a gay candidate in District 7, turnout among LGBT voters could be much higher.

“With a turnout as small as it’s predicted to be, for everyone who goes to the polls, their turnout almost counts multiple times,” Natinsky said this week. “Every vote becomes more important. We’re just trying to get voters out.”

In an interview with Dallas Voice, Natinsky again touted his record of support for the LGBT community during six years on the council, as well as the backing of three openly gay former councilmembers. Natinsky was also endorsed by the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance.

“I have not hesitated from day one, or previous to that, over the years to participate and support the GBLT community,” Natinsky said. “I think I’ve got a lot of strong supporters and friends within the community, who are seriously out there working hard to help me get elected, and they wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t believe in me. And the difference is that I’m a proven quantity.”

Even in a nonpartisan race, Natinsky’s Republican Party affiliation could hurt him among some LGBT voters. But gay former Councilman Ed Oakley, a Democrat who lost a runoff for mayor to Leppert four years ago, said he doesn’t think it should.

“I’m supporting him because he’s the right person at the right time for Dallas, and I don’t care if he’s a Republican,” Oakley said recently. “I wish everybody would just put their partisan issues aside and look at the candidates, and support who you think is the best person.”

Natinsky initially sought the backing of Stonewall Democrats but withdrew from the screening process at the last minute over questions about whether his party affiliation would make him ineligible for the group’s endorsement.

Stonewall Democrats voted to endorse to Kunkle, the former Dallas police chief who this week predicted he will win the overall LGBT vote.

“I believe that I will be the one who will work the hardest to make their [LGBT residents’] lives better and also to help grow the economy in a way [in which] they will personally prosper,” Kunkle said. “I think I will do better [than the other candidates] within the LGBT community. I think the Stonewall Democrats’ support carries a lot of weight. … I’m not going to change who I am and what I believe. My core, basic way of thinking and reacting is not going to change, and that will be supportive of the GLBT community.”

Both Natinsky and Rawlings said recently during a forum that they opposed Texas’ 2005 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions. But Kunkle said only that he didn’t vote on the amendment.

This week Kunkle clarified that if he did vote, he would have voted against the amendment.

“It seems to me that if two people love each other and want to commit to each other … that’s not a bad thing to happen in society,” Kunkle said.

Jesse Garcia, a past president of Stonewall who’s backing Kunkle, pointed to things like the former chief’s support for a full-time LGBT liaison officer at DPD.

“I’ve had the honor of meeting all four candidates for mayor. I respect their decisions to seek office and truly believe they want what’s best for Dallas,” Garcia said. “But when it comes to the LGBT community, Kunkle stands out as someone that was tested on LGBT issues and made the right call.”

Rawlings, who’s raised by far the most money and is perhaps an odds-on favorite to at least make the runoff, said his plan for economic development and philosophy of inclusion makes him the best candidate for the LGBT community.

“When this city is grown in the correct way, we all win, and most of the LGBT community I know are very pro-growth, are great professionals, and want to have a fabulous business environment,” Rawlings said. “We have the ninth-largest city in this country, and the more we include all the diversity throughout the city, I think the stronger we are.”

In endorsing Natinsky, DGLA issued a rare “warning” about Rawlings, saying the former Pizza Hut CEO’s “passion for commerce and business interests supremely overwhelms his appreciation for the civil rights of all people.”

But Rawlings has vehemently denied DGLA’s accusation, saying he demonstrated his willingness to stand up for people’s civil rights as the city’s homeless czar.

“I don’t think any CEO that I know has spent five years dealing and working with the homeless,” Rawlings said. “If I’m able to do that, I would think I could do it for groups that are much more powerful than them, and I think the LGBT community is one of them.”

Lesbian activist Pam Gerber, a member of both DGLA and Stonewall, has called DGLA’s warning about Rawlings “irresponsible” and immature.”

Gerber, also a member of a city task force on LGBT issues, said this week she’s supporting Rawlings because he has “the right combination of skills.”

“Whether it was him running a successful company or running a successful nonprofit endeavor, he’s proven that he can do it all, and I think that’s a valuable pallet of skills,” Gerber said. “I just think Mike has more to offer.”

But Gerber added that she doesn’t think any of the three major candidates would do harm to the LGBT community as mayor.

“I think they all have our best interests in mind,” Gerber said. “I think we’re really lucky to have the candidates we have. The only thing we’re not lucky about is the apathy of our community to get out and vote.”

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. For a full list of locations, go to www.dalcoelections.org.

—  John Wright