Take the Borderstan Reader Poll: Should Mayor Gray resign?
Unless you’ve been traveling somewhere without access to U.S. news, or intentionally tune out DC politics, it would be almost impossible to avoid the scandals surrounding Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2010 campaign — and the ongoing federal investigation.
If you’ve read any DC newspaper or online site over the past several months, you’ve read about the “Shadow Campaign,” the questionable/illegal campaign contributions and reports of the questionable use of a list of voters from DC Public Housing.
Borderstan.com has covered the brouhaha, too. While we normally confine our coverage to the Dupont-Logan-U Street area, some citywide issues are too big to ignore — especially when three City Councilmembers call for the Mayor’s resignation.
Should Mayor Gray resign or would that be premature? Should he resign if he is indicted? Or should Gray wait for a possible indictment and a trial to run its course? Tell us what you think in our Borderstan reader poll.
The Dupont-Logan-U Street area was never a Gray stronghold — as we saw in the September 2010 primary results between Gray and then-incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty, and then again in the November general election when “Write In” (the vast majority for Fenty) got 39% in Ward 2 (which includes Dupont-Logan) and 30% in Ward 1 (which includes most of the U Street corridor and surrounding neighborhood).
What sayeth you, Borderstanis? Should Gray resign from the office of DC mayor?
No one could ever accuse Borderstan resident and iconoclastic journalist Harry Jaffe of holding his tongue. (See Harry Jaffe Unfiltered (Isn’t He Usually?) In his last column for Washingtonian magazine, he essentially calls for a do-over off the 2010 Democratic primary between former Mayor Adrian Fenty and incumbent DC Mayor Vincent Gray.
With rumors swirling about a possible indictment of Gray, and the mayor saying he won’t resign, Jaffe penned a piece, “Mayor Gray’s Elaborate, Illegal Scheme to Steal the Election.” Jaffe details how he believes campaign operations were conducted and money was illegally exchanged with the goal of creating a downward spiral of public opinion against Fenty.
Jaffe admits that Fenty’s all-too-often dismissive attitude toward old-school DC politicians and community organizations played into the hands of those seeking to oust Fenty. But, at the end of the day Jaffe says corruption and old-style DC machine politics were at work.
Jaffe’s column’s illustrates the power of hidden money in the Gray campaign and in his usual blunt style writes, “Gray and his crew stole the election, plain and simple. If not for the $653,000 that paid for a fundamental and effective get-out-the-vote operation, might Fenty have won?”
The article raises some very good questions about how local politics work — but more than anything else leaves you with a feeling of hopeless dissatisfaction just when you thought DC was on its way to become a better place.
The Washington Post reports that Former Mayor Adrian Fenty may be finding a new locale. The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) recently announced that former DC First Lady Michelle Cross Fenty will become the agency’s next representative in Port-of-Spain, the capital of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The first lady has worked with the IADB for two years.
It is unclear whether the former Mayor will join his wife in the Carribbean, but reports have placed the couple on a recent flight to the islands. Neither of the Fentys has responded to requests for comment. Either way, DC’s weather being what it was this weekend, I can’t begrudge the former mayor a little sun and sand.
If the Mr. Fenty is indeed headed south, it would all but confirm that he has no interest — for the immediate future — in re-entering DC politics. This is all especially interesting in light of the recall effort underway against incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray. Fenty was very popular in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area even when he lost the September 2010 primary to Gray.
You may have seen the news stories on local TV as you recovered from your New Year’s Eve festivities: there is an effort underway to recall Mayor Vincent Gray, who was elected in November 2010.
Here’s the full story in the Huffington Post, which includes the group’s recall efforts of Council Chairman Kwame Brown and Councilmembers Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5), Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) and Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) The recall effort begins in earnest this week, as organizer Frederick Butler plans to file with the Board of Elections and Ethics this week.
A recall would require more than 45,000 voter signatures in 180 days, and all those signatures must be verified by the Board. Then, and only then, would a new election move forward. While that is a tall order, keep in mind that Californians recalled their governor in 2003 with over 800,000 signatures to usher in the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Viewed in that context, this recall move doesn’t sound that outlandish to me.
In the September 2010 Democratic Primary (the primary win is tantamount to election in this overwhelmingly Democratic town), Gray lost most all the precincts in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area to incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty. In fact, Fenty got more than 70% of the vote in the Borderstan area.
Then in the November general election — after Josh Lopez organized a write-in campaign for Fenty — “write in” garnered 23% citywide and more than 40% in some area precincts.
By Michelle Lancaster. She wants your news, follow her on Twitter @MichLancaster.
Former Mayor Takes Job in Dupont
The next big crowd you see at Shake Shack may not be the FLOTUS, but could very well be former Mayor Adrian Fenty. NBC Washington reports he’s taken a position at a boutique law firm in Dupont Circle as ‘special counsel.’ Fenty has had no shortage of positions since leaving office, NBC’s count has this newly announced position as job #6.
To Ballston or Not to Ballston…
According to Greater Greater Washington, that is not the question at all with the development of condo buildings at the intersections of 14th Street, U Street and Wallach Street. The heart of the question seems to be over the size (story wise) and the lack of a setback from the sidewalk proposed by the builders. While I’m no defender of the sedate, mass-produced concrete jungle that is Ballston, it does seem hard to believe that a six story building would create such shade issues that would warrant stopping the project.
Labor Rally in Dupont Circle
Several hundred people from labor and allied organizations turned out at noon Saturday in Dupont Circle to support public sector workers in Wisconsin. Check out Luis’ photos.
Another White House A-Lister in the Hood?
The Washington Post reported last week that Jeremy Bernard will be the new White House social secretary– the first openly gay person to serve in that job. The former L.A. resident and fundraiser for the Democratic Party will be returning from a diplomatic post in Paris. But the question we have: Will Bernard return to Logan Circle? The Post article said that Bernard and his former partner, Rufus Gifford (they recently split) had lived in the hood when they moved here from California two years ago: “The couple settled into a trendy “green” building on Logan Circle with their beagle, Lucas.”
From Michelle Lancaster
What Actually Happened at DC9?
The answer seems to be that no one really knows. After the death of a man outside the nightclub, D.C. MPD immediately went on the offensive against ‘vigilante justice’ and referred to the incident as a homicide. But wait just a second – the coroner is still reviewing the cause of death and now all charges have been dropped against all five named defendants. On top of that, the ‘bloody crosswalk’ photos attached to the emerging story were from a different location and a different incident. TBD has the story.
Circulator to… Circulate More
DCist.com has the scoop on the newest Circulator bus routes. Of particular interest to Borderstan readers should be the Adams-Morgan/U St./Florida Avenue/H St. NE route and proposed expansion of the Rosslyn/Georgetown/Dupont route to 14th and U NW. Why’s that? It’s good, green news for local residents. Just keep in mind that your new favorite hot spots on 14th St. may have just gotten a bit more accessible to the B&T crowd, so plan accordingly.
Parting Gift for Fenty Workers?
A recent meeting yielded a packet of information given to Fenty Cabinet heads, advising them of their ‘separation pay’ options. As Washington Business Journal reports, cabinet members may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of severance if they stick it out until Dec. 17. While not quite a golden parachute, or even the bonuses of the Williams years, it is nonetheless an interesting expenditure of funds in a tight budget year.
D.C. is looking for an alibi after Travel and Leisure decided to name us the sixth least attractive city in the United States. WTOP has the whole sad assessment of our unattractive, unfriendly and style-challenged town.
Wednesday morning update: With all 143 precincts reporting, it appears that outgoing Mayor Adrian Fenty received more than 20% of the vote in Tuesday’s general election — as a write-in candidate. The DC Board of Elections and Ethics has yet to release the names of the write-in candidates, and absentee and provisional ballots must be counted.
Result show Democratic nominee Vincent Gray with 74% and “Write-In” with 23%. However, Write-In did even better in a number of Dupont-Logan-U Street area precincts. For example, Write-In received 43% of the vote in Precinct 16 at 15th and R Streets NW.
In the Sept. 14 Democratic mayoral primary, Fenty carried four city wards: 1, 2, 3 and 6. On Tuesday, Write-In got 30% in Ward 1, 39% in Ward 2, 43% in Ward 3 and 32% in Ward 6.
Check out Luis’ photos from Tuesday night of the pre-race parade of costumes on 17th Street.
Be sure to take this week’s Reader Poll on the landing page: “For guys only: Ever dressed in drag?”
It was the 25th running of the annual 17th Street High Heel Race, with volunteers, parade marshals, police and tens of thousands of revelers. JR’s Bar and Grille started the event in 1986 right after it opened at 17th and Church St. NW. What started out 24 years ago as a small neighborhood event has turned into one of the most popular Halloween-week events in the DC Metro area.
One estimate put last night’s crowd on 17th Street between P and Riggs at 60,000 people.
Moreover, the High Heel Race is officially a “First Amendment event,” according to an article in yesterday’s Examiner. Rightly so, but it’s also an awfully lot of fun.
The 2010 event was sponsored by the Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets (HDCMS) program and JR’s Bar and Grill. The High Heel Race is always held the Tuesday before Halloween (unless it falls on the 31st, of course). While the race takes place at 9 pm, the two-or-so hours leading up to the race are the best part of the evening. Police block of 17th Street from S down to P and the parade of costumes — runners and non-runners alike — is the best amusement in town.
Courtland Milloy just screamed, “Get off my lawn!” to tens of thousands of DC’s newest residents in Thursday’s column, “D.C. election didn’t just unseat abrasive Mayor Fenty. It was a populist revolt.”
Unlike Clint Eastwood (as character Walt Kowalski) who uttered “Get off my lawn” with a gun in Gran Torino, Milloy was giving a written scream to the new residents–often young and well educated–who are moving into a number of DC neighborhoods including U Street, Logan Circle, LeDroit Park, Petworth, Columbia Heights and Shaw.
Ironically, Milloy doesn’t even live in DC. He left for the suburbs several years ago. So, whose lawn is it?
Writing about the meaning of Tuesday’s mayoral election results, Milloy wrote in his Thursday column about Fenty supporters:
Watch them at the chic new eateries, Fenty’s hip newly arrived “creative class” firing up their “social media” networks whenever he’s under attack: Why should the mayor have to stop his work just to meet with some old biddies, they tweet. Who cares if the mayor is arrogant as long as he gets the job done?
Myopic little twits.
And lordy don’t complain about Rhee.
Yes, I guess Milloy was referring to this area of the city, to Logan Circle and U Street and the 14th Street corridor. We are, I suppose, the stereotype, of all things suspicious to Milloy. We have dog parks (two of them) and we have bike lanes (lots of them). “Chic eateries” and users of “social networks” abound.
However, Milloy’s obviously sarcastic reference to the “creative class” was a bit puzzling. Studies show that cities with large populations of young creative people are a good thing–for everyone. Cities go out of their way to attract them. (Google a guy named Richard Florida.) Fenty understood this, and that is why many people here in Logan Circle supported him. (Wikipedia has a pretty good definition of creative class.)
On Tuesday, we collectively did as Milloy suspects: Voters in precincts here gave Fenty 70 to 80% of the vote. But, while we supported him here, I don’t think you’d find many locals who would disagree that Fenty was the cause of many of his own problems. Moreover, I don’t think I can recall a nasty comment by anyone I know about Vincent Gray. The general take on him seemed to be, “He’s not a bad Council chairman… I’d love him for a neighbor… but not sure about him as mayor.”
None of this is meant to downplay the serious problems facing Washingtonians in other parts of the city, too many of them in dire economic circumstances. But wishing these newcomers would go away will do nothing to solve the horribly high rates of unemployment in DC.
I would also suggest–strongly–that many of my new neighbors make an effort to understand DC’s history. Only by doing so can you understand Milloy’s column and the frustrations he expressed.
So, I invite Milloy to pay us a visit in Logan Circle. I contend that, overall, we are not a malevolent lot in this neighborhood. Increasingly white? Yes, I guess so, but many of the young hipsters moving here are non-white, too. The area is still diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, origin and sexual orientation. Mixed-race couples, both same sex and opposite sex, don’t turn heads here.
One last point I would make to Milloy: All these young hipsters you see in the neighborhood? The vast majority are liberal–very liberal. They support the social safety net, and they willingly and uncomplainingly pay DC’s high taxes, which fund schools, social services, and youth and senior programs.
Whether you like these kids or not, we need them. I’m middle aged myself and we need young, well educated people who can help support this city.
Come on up to Logan Circle. Check out these newcomers before you dismiss them out of hand. After all, even Eastwood’s Walt Kowalski learned to like his new neighbors.
Mayor Adrian Fenty easily beat challenger Vincent Gray in Wednesday night’s straw poll vote among Ward 2 Democrats. Fenty took 97 of the 163 votes cast (60%) and Gray got 63 votes (39%). Both the Dupont and Logan neighborhoods are located in DC’s Ward 2.
Both candidates spoke to the attendees of the forum, which was cosponsored by the Ward 2 Democrats and the Logan Circle Community Association. The event was open to the public but only registered Demcorats in Ward 2 could vote. It was held at the Washington Plaza Hotel on Thomas Circle NW.
Fenty picked up an important endorsement earlier this week when former DC Mayor Anthony Williams (1999-2007) endorsed Fenty for re-election. Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) is also supporting Fenty.
The Logan Circle Community Association (LCCA) and the Ward 2 Democrats are hosting a Mayoral straw poll Wednesday, July 21, at the Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle NW. All of the candidates who filed papers to run have been invited, including Mayor Adrian Fenty and Council Chair Vincent Gray. Doors open at 7 pm.
According to the organizers, everyone is invited to attend–but only Ward 2 registered Democrats will be able to vote in the straw poll. Registration begins at 7 pm and guests will have the opportunity to talk to any candidates who are present at that time. Candidate presentations begin at 7:30 pm and voting will close by 9:15 pm (times subject to change if needed.)
Each candidate will be asked to speak on several topics. Following the presentation, registered Ward 2 Democrats will have the opportunity to vote.
For more information, contact Ward 2 Democrats President Pat Allen at 202-296-0720 or LCCA President Bob Maffin 202-301-2125.
Also, be sure to take the Borderstan reader poll on the DC mayoral race on Borderstan’s landing page, in the right navigation bar.
UPDATE: Poll closes today, July 30.
We have a new reader poll up this week for DC Democrats: Who’s your choice for mayor in the September 14 Democratic Primary?
Are you for the incumbent, Adrian Fenty… or challenger Vincent Gray? Undecided?
How about bringing back former Mayor Anthony Williams? We thought it would be fun to throw in an unusual option since Borderstan has heard a number of people say, “I don’t like either choice.” While it is too late for Williams to qualify for the September 14 ballot, he could go the write-in route either in the primary or the November 2 general election.
The poll is on the home page in the right navigation bar.
The results of a similar Borderstan reader poll in late April had Fenty at 49%, Gray at 26% and 21% undecided. The Ward 2 Democrats in conjunction with the Logan Circle Community Association are holding a forum and straw poll on Wednesday, July 21 (both candidates have been invited). Doors open at 7 pm at the Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle NW.
After DC Council Chairman Vincent Gray changed his mind, the DC Council reversed itself yesterday and restored fiscal year 2011 funding for work on the H Street-Benning Road NE portion of DC’s new streetcar system.
Earlier in the day, the Council voted 11 to 2 to remove $50 million in streetcar funding as part of efforts to close a $550 million budget gap.
The Washington Post describes the scenario that led to Gray’s change of heart:
But hours later — after a backlash from at least one member of Congress and hundreds of residents who jammed government phone lines, community e-mail groups and Gray’s Web site — the late-night maneuver had been scrapped. By midday Wednesday, Gray was back at the council dais, telling his colleagues that he and city finance officials had found $50 million to keep the streetcar program on track.
Mayor Adrian Fenty strongly supports the planned 37-mile system and the first part of the line is scheduled to open in fall 2012, the H Street-Benning Road NE line. Gray is Fenty’s main challenger in the September 14 Democratic primary for mayor. Gray’s campaign released a statement yesterday afternoon regarding Gray’s support of the new streetcar system.
The next section of Phase 1s the Anacostia line. Phase 2 of the city’s streetcar plans (DDoT map) put tracks in the Logan Circle-U Street area–on 14th Street and U Street NW. The last tracks of DC’s first streetcar system were removed in 1962.
The DC Council is also under great pressure to maintain levels of social services spending as it figures out ways to balance next year’s budget–groups demanding no cuts in social services were at the DC Council Tuesday.
On Monday we ran a poll asking Borderstan readers about their choice for mayor in the September 14 Democratic primary. As this is an overwhelmingly Democratic city, the Democratic mayoral primary has always been the vote that counts.
Incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty took 49% of the vote while his main rival, DC Council Chairman Vincent Gray got 26% and “Other” garnered 4% of reader votes. What might be surprising is the large number of undecided voters, especially with an incumbent in the race: 21% of voters selected “Undecided.”
The recent mayoral race poll at Prince of Petworth was worded differently (Don Pebbles was included), but the results were similar: Fenty at 51% and Gray at 33%.
You can read the background article here with Monday’s poll, “Reader Poll: The Race for DC Mayor.”