Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 16, Number 01, Spring, 2004 Page: 29
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BY DARWIN PAYNE
ax Goldblatt, the most colorful Dallas city
councilman since J. Waddy Tate spun his
yo-yo up and down in the late 1920s, wasunlike
Tate-a genuinely positive force in
municipal politics. Even in his early defeat for a
council position, the Pleasant Grove hardware
store owner taught Dallasites an important lesson
about the shortcomings of the at-large system of
electing council members. Shortly afterwards
came the beginning of the democratization of
municipal politics and, much later, the eventual
election of Goldblatt to three terms on the city
The lesson resulted from the April 1967 city
council elections. As usual, the Citizens Charter
Association (CCA), dominant in municipal politics
since its founding in 1930, presented to the
voters a strong slate of anointed candidates. As
had been the case since the adoption of the
council-manager plan in 1930 (an event coinciding
with the founding of the CCA), all nine
council seats were chosen at-large by all the
city's voters, not by particular districts. Backed by
donations from the business establishment, the
CCA candidates were well funded and almost
invariably they were carried to office by an
expensive advertising campaign. Independent
candidates, generally lacking enough resources to
mount a citywide campaign, only rarely could
break into this system.
Goldblatt, an inveterate writer of letters to
the editor in which he imaginatively addressed a
number of civic problems, decided that spring to
put on a poor boy's campaign for Place No. 3.
His opponent was another Pleasant Grove resi
dent, Jesse Price, who was less well known and
less popular in the neighborhood but who
enjoyed the advantage of CCA support. When
the votes were tallied it was Price who won. He
had earned the most votes citywide. But when
examined more closely, it was seen that Pleasant
Grove area voters had given the majority of their
votes to Goldblatt. This seemed patently unfair
to Goldblatt.Why shouldn't the residents of his
neighborhood be able to select their own city
councilman? Why should voters throughout the
city, in effect, dictate to Pleasant Grove residents
the selection of a councilman?
Goldblatt filed a lawsuit in the federal courts
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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/m1/31/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.