Politics & Government

Who Is Behind the Mysterious ‘Keep Dallas Safe’ Campaign?

Short answer: only the Shadow knows.

This has been brewing for a bit, and I’ve been doing my best to ignore it. Back in September, a group calling itself Keep Dallas Safe sent emails to everyone on Dallas City Council asking them questions for a survey they were conducting about where council members stood on “defunding” the police and the overtime budget for cops and so on and so forth. The emails were sent from email accounts using concocted names. I spent way too much time verifying that they were bogus. But they were bogus. So, not wanting to give made-up people real publicity, I didn’t write about the deal.

Now I guess I have to write about them, because last week the made-up people sent a real mailer (pictured above) to God knows how many people across Dallas. A number of folks I know in various council districts reported that they’d received the mailer. On the side you can’t see, the mailer lists 11 council members who are on the “wall of shame” because they “voted to defund the police.” Here’s what I can tell you:

The council members listed on the mailer didn’t vote to defund the police. The Council reallocated about $7 million of DPD’s overtime budget. A bunch of that money is going to be used to hire civilians to do administrative work so that cops can do the job of policing. Hopefully this move will cut down on the need for some of that overtime. Overall, the DPD’s budget was actually increased by $7 million for next year. Got that? “Defunding” is a red herring. It’s as made-up as the Keep Dallas Safe people.

Another thing I can tell you is that the Dallas Police Association is not behind this effort. Some folks have guessed it’s the DPA. It’s not the DPA. In a written statement, DPA president Mike Mata told me, “In response to media inquiries about the recent direct mail campaign conducted by Keep Dallas Safe, we want to clearly state that the Dallas Police Association is not involved in these efforts. While we support any group who supports officers, the DPA will never be an ‘anonymous’ advocacy group. We will always proudly put our name to any political efforts we take as we continue to serve all citizens of Dallas both as officers and in arguing for smarter public safety policies in a positive and transparent manner.”

Think Mata is lying? He’s not. Here’s how I know: Brian Mayes does the political work for the DPA. I know Mayes. He isn’t a dummy. If you assume this Keep Dallas Safe thing is all about the Council elections in May, why would you spend a bunch of money right now to send out a mailer so that it can get lost in all the political mailers for tomorrow’s elections? Also, why print the thing right now? Printers currently have all the work they can handle, so you’re not going to get any price breaks.

That’s something else I can tell you: based on the postal permit used for the mailing, I tracked down the mail house responsible for this thing. It’s Ridgway. Remember, that’s “Ridgway” without the “e.” That’s actually Ridgway’s slogan. Catchy, right? Anyway, I talked to a manager there. He wouldn’t tell me who paid for the Keep Dallas Safe mailer. Ridgway doesn’t like “e”s, and it doesn’t like blabbermouths.

That’s also true of the tiny PR firm that designed the mailer. GoodBoy Public Relations is based in Arlington and run by the husband-and-wife team of Amy and Daniel Gibson. I can tell you that. But I can’t tell you who their client is. I got Daniel on the phone this morning. He told me his company is a year old. He wouldn’t tell me who their other clients are. Daniel said his Keep Dallas Safe client wishes to remain anonymous because it/they/him/her want(s) people to focus on the issue, not on it/them/him/her. Daniel said that not disclosing on the mailer who paid for it does not violate any campaign laws because the mailer isn’t for any campaign.

There’s one last thing I can tell you: the Keep Dallas Safe Twitter account has been bested by the Keep Dallas Safer account. Over the weekend, Keep Dallas Safer tweeted: “Liberal organizations like @KeepDallasSafe reject effective crime control measures like arming children, aerial combat patrols, and a border wall with Mesquite. How can we expect our citizens to remain safe with this kind of soft on crime approach?”

Fair question.

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