Vince Gray


“A New Era of Polarizing Racial Politics in the District”

Flickr: dharmabumx

Adidas shoes, Chocolate City-edition

Now reading: “Will white identity politics come to post-post-racial D.C.?“, by Adam Serwer at the City Paper.

But just as the browning of America has awoken a novel white identity politics nationally, the demographic forces that framed D.C.’s last mayoral election may prove to be the prologue to a new era of polarizing racial politics in the District, one in which explicitly catering to its most affluent white residents is a path to victory rather than a route to an ignominious defeat.

The Census numbers released last week showed that D.C.’s black residents have been fleeing the city in even larger numbers than expected, leaving blacks with a bare 50 percent majority of the population. The raw racial and cultural divide exposed by the contest between Gray and Fenty is also exacerbated by which residents are leaving. In 2009, the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute noted that “while incomes have risen for white households and those with the most advanced educations, incomes have been stagnant or falling for others.” The exodus of the city’s black middle class only exacerbates the trend. Playing to a base of black voters, now more than ever, also means playing to a base of poor voters.

Gray Ethics and Transparency

Flickr: Jason Pier in DC

Vince Gray campaign sticker in Logan Circle.

WaPo’s Petula Clark calls out the Mayor’s hypocrisy:

Surreptitious. Clandestine. Circuitous. Sweetheart deals. Cronyism.

Those are all words that D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) used to attack the incumbent mayor on the campaign trail last year. And that’s why he is a disaster right now, not even 100 days in office.

The very platform of his campaign – sound ethics, fairness, transparency and dignity – are now crumbling in the face of some ugly allegations.

In case you forgot them, here are some of Fenty’s greatest hits:
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DC’s New Construction Signs = Gray’s Old Campaign Signs?

Recognize this image from Vince Gray's mayoral campaign? Prepare to see something like it on improvement projects all over DC.

DCist flags a notable executive order in this week’s DC Register:

According to Executive Order 2011-45, [...] you’ll be seeing a lot more of “One City” around these parts — like everywhere the D.C. government maintains a presence.

The branding has already begun: the city’s annual Summer Youth Employment Program is now officially called the “2011 Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s One City Summer Youth Employment Program.”

The commenters at DCist are already bringing the snark, as they do. “Aside from the race baiting connotations, and campaign use, it’s not a slogan for a city,” posts Stmove. “It’s embarassing, as if the best thing we can say about the District is that it’s one city. It sort of makes Baltimore’s ‘Charm City’ look totally non ironic in comparison.” Best comment: “Yet another example of the “Novus Ordo Secretum” as prophecied in The Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accept Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, the Book of Revelations, the Last Words of Dutch Schultz, and the Fun 4 Kidz placemat at the Expressway 83 Shoney’s near McAllen, TX.”

How about it, DCentrists? Any thoughts on the logo, soon to be on DC business cards, letterheads and signs near you?

Childhood Accident Fuels Gray’s Support of Gun Control

Flickr: Adam Fagen

A Smith & Wesson revolver from the Smithsonian's "National Museum of the American Indian".

Remember that story from our morning roundup about guns, “Since D.C.’s handgun ban ended, well-heeled residents have become well armed”? Well, according to, Mayor Vince Gray is quite concerned about that trend:

When D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray was a boy, his father owned a gun, and one day, Gray’s brother found it in their apartment and was cleaning it. After Gray got up to go to the bathroom, he heard a loud shot. His brother had accidentally fired a shot into the sofa right where Gray had been sitting prior to going to the bathroom.

Gray told this story Tuesday at a news conference when asked about a Washington Post report that the bulk of guns registered in D.C. since 2008 were purchased by residents in D.C.’s wealthier neighborhoods, NBC Washington’s Tom Sherwood reported.

Gray remains a strong supporter of gun control laws and said he is troubled by the report. Gray wishes people wouldn’t buy guns and said he doesn’t think they need them in D.C., Sherwood reported.

By the way, if the name “Tom Sherwood” sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the resident political analyst on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show.

All Atwitter About the Mayor

Twitter Screenshot

The now-shuttered, fake Twitter account for Mayor Gray.

This morning, in my link roundup, I included a story about the Mayor and Twitter, the microblogging service DCentric loves so much, we comb through it every night for a “Tweet of the Day“. Apparently, someone created a fake Twitter account with the very useful handle, “@MayorGray“. While veteran social media cynics expressed skepticism about the new account, Council Members who have known the Mayor for years initially believed it was him sending out the 140-character messages known as “tweets”.

All of this was on my mind this when I stumbled upon Aaron Morrissey’s post on DCist, “The Twitter Gap“, an hour ago. Morrissey is the editor-in-chief of the site; in his piece, he cautions people to remember that there are definitely people who aren’t as Twitter-savvy as the typical DCist lurker or commenter, which is a great thing to keep in mind. Morrissey concludes his post by saying:

The confusion, of course, is no one’s fault but Gray’s. The new Mayor, who utilized Twitter somewhat capably during his campaign for office last year, has so far been silent, despite repeated promises that his administration would offer enhanced transparency. There’s but one way that Gray could battle this kind of public confusion — that’s to start up a Twitter account of his own and get tweeting.

I can understand the disappointment behind this suggestion; the Mayor proved that he’s aware of Twitter during his campaign, so he can’t plead ignorance or say he’s unsure of how to use it. Social media IS an effective way to facilitate transparency. And in a city which is still majority “chocolate”, it would be wonderfully savvy to utilize a service like Twitter, which is extra popular with African-Americans (especially young ones).
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Even the Powerful Lack Power

Flickr: theqspeaks

Yesterday's "Thundersnow".

Thundersnow doesn’t care about race, class, political office…

D.C. Mayor Vince Gray was among the 400,000 Washington area residents who were without electricity Thursday morning after a Wednesday night storm dumped heavy, wet snow on the region.

About half of those powerless homes get their electricity from local utility company Pepco, including Gray’s.

“There are about 200,000 homes without power, including mine by the way,” Gray said with a smile during a Thursday afternoon press conference.

Via the Washington Examiner.

Gray Off to Not-So-Inclusive Start

Flickr: thisisbossi

"Gray Pride" at the Gay Pride Parade, this year.

The social web is buzzing about Mayor-elect Gray’s broken campaign promise to the LGBT community; while campaigning, one of Gray’s answers to the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance questionnaire included a promise to include LGBT community members in a search for the new police and fire chiefs. That didn’t happen:

The key point is that Mr. Gray did not invite anyone from the LGBT community in the search process. It isn’t clear that he checked with anyone outside of his transition team’s inner circle. Arguably, Chief Lanier is not “new” but that’s really being Clintonesque.

Chief Lanier essentially disbanded the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) at a time when anti-LGBT hate crimes are on the rise. The true value of the GLLU was community involvement. There was a time when the GLLU would visit community groups, bars, and social events just to introduce themselves and say hello. That was a time when the community started to trust the police. Lanier squandered that good will. I don’t recall the last time that I saw someone from the GLLU at any event. I did see them at a couple of the Pride events where they were not talking to anyone in the community. It was quite a waste of an opportunity. Unlike Chief Ramsey, Chief Lanier does not meet with us regularly, and would only do so if she had no other choice. It would be nice to have a police chief that treated us like a welcome part of the community. Mayor-Elect Gray says that she is an advocate of community policing. My experience is that she opposes that policy.

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Who broke up with whom?


Gabe Klein

I apologize, readers. A few hours ago, I wrote that Gabe Klein “has announced that he will leave his post on January 1, rather than stay on under a Gray administration”…well, it looks like he wasn’t exactly given the option to stay (via WaPo):

Several city officials have already announced they are leaving the Fenty administration, including transportation chief Gabe Klein, who on Wednesday became the first Cabinet official to publicly say he is not being kept in his post by Gray.

With his advocacy of bicycle and pedestrian amenities, promotion for public transit, and unorthodox approach to traffic and parking, Klein developed a devoted following among advocates of “smart growth,” who have emerged as a potent political force. But he was also at the center of a significant political headache for Gray during his campaign: the city’s streetcar program, which was canceled then restored under pressure during council budget negotiations.

Klein, along with several other agency heads, was delivered a termination letter Tuesday. Retaining Klein, along with planning director Harriet Tregoning, had been the goal of broad campaigning among some planning and neighborhood advocates. But other groups called for Klein’s ouster, criticizing him and his department for inadequate planning and community outreach.

An Age Divide? Or a Racial one?

Current District Department of Transportation chief Gabe Klein (whose name is trending right now on Twitter, locally) has announced that he will leave his post on January 1, rather than stay on under a Gray administration (which he characterized as “not a good fit” for him). Aaron Morrissey, Editor-in-Chief of, just tweeted this about Klein:

Klein discussing age divide, as opposed to racial divide, as reason for many of DC debates over new transpo projects.
Aaron Morrissey

I’ve never thought of it that way, but it makes a little bit of sense. Some of my older relatives don’t understand why anyone would want to ride a bike on the crazy streets of D.C. when they could be driving or on the Metro. Having typed that, I would be very wary of downplaying the “racial divide” that exists here; when certain residents of this city see the passion exerted over bike lanes, they wonder where that same energy is, when it comes to the social problems that vex some of our neighbors.