Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 16, Number 01, Spring, 2004 Page: 14
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vigorous opposition to the mayor's plans for
building Central Boulevard, now North Central
In 1947 Adoue chose not to run for re-election
to the council because of an acute illness
requiring time off. However, his health regained,
Adoue was again a candidate on the CCA slate
for the city council election in 1949.According
to Adoue, in a CCA meeting in the penthouse
of R. L. Thornton's Mercantile Bank, he was
promised that upon a CCA victory he would be
chosen as mayor. At that time, and for the prior
twenty years, the City Charter did not provide
for the direct election of the mayor.Voters elected
only the city council, and the newly-elected
council would then select the mayor from
The CCA slate swept the election as expected,
with Adoue as the largest single vote-getter.
At the first council meeting, where Adoue fully
expected to be chosen mayor, the council
reneged on the pre-arranged agreement and in
an unexpected move selected Wallace H. Savage
as mayor. Adoue and his many supporters were
outraged, feeling betrayed and double-crossed.
Adoue protested vigorously that, besides the fact
he was promised the post of mayor, he was the
largest vote getter and most experienced on the
council and that the voters of Dallas had been
cheated out of their rightful mayor.
Adoue launched an effort to change the City
Charter to allow for the direct election of the
mayor, arguing it was best and more democratic
for the voters of Dallas to choose their mayor
directly at the ballot box rather than via city
council proxy. Surprisingly, Adoue even won the
support of CCA president Laurence R. Melton in
his effort to persuade his fellow city councilmen
to place a city charter amendment on the ballot.
Adoue's fellow councilmen were not convinced,
however, and a majority voted against putting the
issue on the ballot for the voters to decide.
The only remaining option to get the proposed
amendment on the ballot was for Adoue
and his supporters to petition the voters directly
to request a special election on the issue. An
election could be held to determine city charter
amendments if 10 percent of the city's registered
voters signed petitions calling for an election.
Adoue and his supporters went to work inmmediately
circulating petitions and collecting signatures.
Adoue vigorously led the effort, mailing a
letter and petition to every poll tax holder in the
city asking for support and placing large ads in
the newspapers. Response to the petition drive
proved to be robust, with more than twice the
required number of signatures needed to call a
special election being collected. Responding as
required to the successful petition by voters, the
city council dutifully called a special election for
November 1, 1949.
The campaigns both for and against the issue
were intense prior to the election. Opponents of
the measure argued that it would lead Dallas
toward a strong-mayor form of government and
handicap the effectiveness of the current councilmanager
arrangement so cherished by the CCA.
Adoue fired-back that the mayor should be chosen
by the people, and not by a secretive group of
"powerful and influential downtown and
Highland Park tycoons." Public sentiment on
both sides ran high and debate was spirited. Even
the two largest newspapers made opposing
endorsements. The Dallas Morniiti Neii's opposed
the idea as being ruinous to the council-nanager
plan while the Dallas Tiles Herald endorsed its
passage and promoted the idea of Dallas voters
directly electing their mayor.
When the polls closed on November 1,
1949, a majority of Dallas voters had cast their
ballots in agreement with Adoue and the
amendment to the city charter passed, allowing
Dallas citizens from that point forward to directly
elect their mayor. Adoue bided his time on the
city council for the remainder of his term as he
prepared to make his bid for mayor in 1951.
Riding the wave of his victory leading the
successful charter amendment effort, Adoue was
widely popular with voters as he announced his
candidacy for mayor in 1951. Recognizing his
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Dallas Historical Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 16, Number 01, Spring, 2004, periodical, 2004; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth35092/m1/16/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.