Mayor-Elect Gray Prioritizes Lunch over a Funeral

My twitter feed is buzzing about Mayor-Elect Vince Gray missing the funeral of a police officer who died while serving, last week. Gray was having lunch downtown:

It’s going to be a long day for Vince Gray, Mayor-Elect of the District of Columbia.  Instead of attending the funeral of Officer Paul Dittamo, who died last week in the line of duty, Gray was in the dining room at the 4th Estate, the restaurant in the National Press Club, according to the restaurant’s Twitter account.  We called The Fourth Estate, and he arrived at 1pm for a lunch with Council Chair-Elect Kwame Brown, where he still sits at press time.

According to the Post’s Mike Debonis, Fraternal Order of Police chief Kris Baumann was “apoplectic” at the no-show.  You can understand his frustration and anger, given that Baumann and the Police union were leading supporters for Gray on his campaign.

Local blog We Love DC deserves credit for spotting the restaurant’s tweet and figuring out where the Mayor-Elect was. Even outgoing Mayor Adrian Fenty, who was criticized in the past for being a no-show at high-profile funerals, managed to make an appearance and offer remarks, though he was late.

The comments under this We Love DC post highlight why this was a bad move for Gray. “Welcome back to Barryland!“, a reader said, comparing the Mayor-Elect to Mayor-for-Life, Marion Barry. Here’s another:

Is anyone at all surprised by this? Vince’s first two days post election have been a disaster. It’s not going to get any better, people.

It’s been years since I worked on a campaign, but I feel qualified enough to offer this wee bit of advice; don’t give your detractors fuel with which to flame you, if you can help it, especially when you’re trying to eliminate division and lead “one city”.