Greater Greater Washington

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To move forward, it's time to move past Fenty vs. Gray

Last year's mayoral race was a contentious one, and created many bad feelings on both sides. Even now, each time an issue comes up that even tangentially relates to Mayor Gray that's negative, a cadre of Fenty supporters gleefully post comments basically saying, "told you so."


He's not mayor. Deal. Photo by Jay Tamboli on Flickr.

In particular, many of the comments pertain to my personal endorsement for Gray. There are clearly some people who want me to repudiate that decision, and declare that I was wrong, that Fenty was perfect, Gray 100% rotten to the core, that Gray has had his mind made up all along to oppose bike infastructure, or transit, or school reform, or better taxi service.

Nothing is that simple. I've definitely been disappointed by some of what's happened, especially the hiring scandals. But Gray's record on our issues has been generally good, though not perfect. Neither was Fenty's.

Don't forget that Fenty was supportive of progressive transportation until a campaign donor asked him to kill a planned sidewalk, and then suddenly he wasn't. Or all the development projects that went to poorly qualified developers, or his outright refusal to implement inclusionary zoning. Or Peter Nickles.

The Gray administration made a significant funding commitment to streetcars, and Gray has announced his desire to make DC a platinum-level bicycle-friendly city. On the other hand, he didn't keep Gabe Klein (but elevated his deputy) and his support for cycle tracks is tenuous.

A few comments aside, though, we still don't know if the decision to put L and M street cycle tracks on hold came from Gray, or Bellamy, or someone else. There are even people in the bicycle program at DDOT who aren't very enthusiastic about cycle tracks and are reluctant to move them ahead absent strong support from above.

Or, perhaps they'll move it with strong support from the public. Tommy Wells' chief of staff Charles Allen said they've gotten 1,054 emails supporting the cycle tracks. He's already supportive, but DDOT and the Mayor's office are getting the same emails.

When we got funding restored for streetcars, it wasn't because a bunch of people reacted to the news by saying that they wished we'd elected Kathy Patterson instead; they flooded Gray's office and got the policy reversed.

Before the election, I wrote,

I'm sure I will disagree with some of his decisions. But I disagree with a lot of what Fenty does. If, and when, Gray does something I think is wrong, I'll say so. I'll push him to be the best possible Mayor, to hire A+ people just like some of Fenty's appointments, but without some of the C- people Fenty also has in the mix.
Gray has unfortunately not brought in as many A+ people as I'd hoped, or as many as Fenty did, though he also has fewer C- people. He perhaps has more in the B range than would be ideal.

Ironically, perhaps I think I've become more reluctant to "say so" when Gray has done something wrong because of the childish commenters. Hmm, perhaps they are really Gray supporters trying to dissuade any criticism of the mayor's actions.

Mary Cheh has also been taking a lot of heat for her support for Gray. That seems to have pushed her to become a sort of cross between Tom Smith and Jack Evans, standing up against residents having to endure the foulness of people between the ages of 18 and 22 living in their community and defending the rights of those people who make over $200,000 to avoid sharing anything with people who are losing access to housing and even basic food.

Meanwhile, we've made progress in policy. In the endorsement post, I also wrote,

[Gray] does want to roll back meter hours, though, but I believe after he learns more about parking he'd agree we should only roll them back in some areas and not others.
In the last budget, we didn't hear a peep about this from the administration. Bellamy doesn't want to do it. Jack Evans and Muriel Bowser (Fenty supporters, by the way) were the main ones carrying water for that particular bad idea.

Many transportation subjects aren't among the few issues the mayor cares most about and has the strongest opinions about. He's open to suggestions and influence from his staff and from various groups of residents. We need to remind him that many people strongly support the cycle tracks, or whatever other policy we're discussing, and that it's also the right policy. We can do that more effectively if it's not overshadowed by whining about Adrian Fenty's loss.

No mayor is perfect. Maybe in the future we can elect someone that's better than both Fenty and Gray. We also could definitely have mayors who are far worse than either. We can keep dwelling on the past, or we can fight for a better DC. I'm going to keep my eye on the ball and hope you will too.

Addendum: If you believe that Gray is irrevocably opposed to what we believe and was just lying about it to get elected, then it's understandable that you might not think there's any point in lobbying him. Instead, all we can do is gripe about how it's too bad he was elected. But I don't believe that. Instead, he's open to a lot of things, but not always surrounded by people who push them. That means he needs to hear it from residents, and hear it often.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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Shouldn't be too many comments on this post...

David: I think you make an unfortunate exaggeration when you say Fenty supporters want you to say "that Fenty was perfect, Gray 100% rotten to the core." True, they want you to say you were wrong about Gray, but they want you to so it based on new evidence and not some radical fanaticism for Fenty.

For positive things Gray has done, I think it's been choosing Kaya Henderson, IZ, and a new AG (though I was never that bothered by Nichols). Everything else positive has been from not doing things (not taking away streetcars, not rolling back parking hours, etc.).

But these are counterbalanced by a slew of mini scandals and a lack of movement on any core GGW issue. And though the mini scandals I think surprised many, I know I heard a lot of people predicting that very little progress would be made in a Gray administration.

by Steven Yates on Jun 30, 2011 2:54 pm • linkreport

There is no comparison. The Mayor violated election code and ethics and seized office illegally. He isn't a legitimate elected official. We will move forward when the truth about WHO Vince Gray is comes to light.

Until then, nothing will change, and the debate will continue to rage on.

by Recall Vince Gray on Jun 30, 2011 3:00 pm • linkreport

People have moved forward from Fenty v. Gray, except Gray apparently, who probably sees bike tracks as a way to get back at white people for supporting the bicycle-happy former mayor. The important issue now is the Gray recall. It's pretty clear that Gray represents nothing more than a return to the cronyism and corruption of the 1980s. Most people who have lived in this city for any period of time, don't want this.

by aaa on Jun 30, 2011 3:04 pm • linkreport

In particular, many of the comments pertain to my personal endorsement for Gray. There are clearly some people who want me to repudiate that decision, declare that I was wrong, that Fenty was perfect, Gray 100% rotten to the core.

I don't think these are the motivations of those who chide you for that endorsement at all. Rather, I think they are motivated to show that an endorsement hung on 'having faith in our ideas' was long on hope and short on realpolitik.

by Alex B. on Jun 30, 2011 3:10 pm • linkreport

Tommy Wells '14!

by Shipsa01 on Jun 30, 2011 3:10 pm • linkreport

Ironically, perhaps I think I've become more reluctant to "say so" when Gray has done something wrong because of the childish commenters.

SOMEONE is acting childish in this scenario, and it isn't the commenters.

No one is saying that Gray should have been perfect and that you were wrong for endorsing him because he isn't perfect. They are making a perfectly legitimate point that Gray isn't better than Fenty, and is pretty much worse than Fenty, which is why your endorsement was mistaken.

However, when it comes to temperament, I can understand why you preferred Gray, because he appeals more to the conciliatory, let's-have-a-dialog temperament that appeals to many earnest goo-goo types.

by JustMe on Jun 30, 2011 3:11 pm • linkreport

I voted for neither Gray nor Fenty, I have no horse in this race.

The caption under the photograph reminds me of 1994. Nice touch.

Can't wait to read this comment thread.

by greent on Jun 30, 2011 3:11 pm • linkreport

A very defensive post. But once you enter the political arena with election endorsements, you have to be prepared to get hit with all sorts of elbows.

The endorsement of Gray, if I remember correctly, was based on the hope that he'd be better than Fenty, he'd keep Gabe Klein and Michelle Rhee, and he'd be responsive to a base that was firmly in Fenty's camp.

None of these hopes had any basis in reality.

Has anyone seen Gray's 100 Day Plan? How about his 1,000 Day Plan? How about any big initiatives that were entirely Gray's creation?

Fenty may have been a jerk, but there was no doubt he was constantly in action and demanded immediate results. With Gray, we have one of his appointees having members of the media arrested at a public forum, and the best he can do is a press release about how he supports openness and transparency.

Gray is a nice man, but he's an awful manager. His astoundingly long-winded economic development speech was an attempt to regain control of the narrative. But even there, he stumbled by giving a 20-plus page long speech where he completely buried the lede of new restaurants coming to Yards Park.

It's going to be a very long 3.5 years.

by Fritz on Jun 30, 2011 3:12 pm • linkreport

To expand on what Steven said, your "Fenty was perfect, Gray 100% rotten to the core" line is detrimental to the rest of the post and a gross over-simplification. Most of what you cite is what he hasn't done, and that's what people feared - is that progress would be placed on pause, or even backslide, which is what has happened. You conveniently left out the distractions that his ethical issues have created, which has been a major drag on whatever agenda he had. The dissatisfaction isn't limited to your readership - the overwhelming buyer's remorse of his base city-wide has been evident in the recent Post polls, and will slide further.

by Awshux on Jun 30, 2011 3:13 pm • linkreport

Let's be real here guys. Gray helped launch and prolonged a council investigation into Parks and Rec contracts
(Trout Report) to blast Fenty and use as campaign fodder to cast Fenty in a negative light (so much for innocent until proven guilty).

The Trout report came out bogus, and the Fenty people are angry because they know the Mayor used corrupt/illegal election practices in conjunction with lies about the Mayor's role in the Parks and Rec investigation to sway voters and develop the very hate and disdain he is now subject to. Except his is not based upon lies and misinformation.

The negativity geared towards Gray is because he is a lie, a cheat, and operates in unison with shady councilmembers and businessmen...

Let's be real and not ignore the gigantic WHITE ELEPHANT in the room.

www.recallvincegray.com

by Recall Vince Gray on Jun 30, 2011 3:17 pm • linkreport

@Steven Yates, I think we all can agree that DAl used a bit of hyperbole in describing what Fenty supporters want. But, considering the response from commenters on this very site, it's not an unreasonable position for David to take. Whenever an issue arises to the ire of non-Gray supporters, DAl has been consistently barraged with the proverbial "I told you so's."

I know I heard a lot of people predicting that very little progress would be made in a Gray administration.

Unfortunately for the city, most of the predicting was not based much on verifiable facts. Instead the predictions, as I mentioned in an earlier post, were based on responses to dog whistles. I say (and believe) that because the predictions were not formed as a result of concrete things he had/n't done - 1991-1993 notwithstanding.

I believe DAl is attempting something that will be met with resistance. I have said many times before that the way the campaigns (mainly Fenty) were run were at a disservice to the city. It was toxic, divisive and we have yet healed. Sure, comparing the reactions of anti-Gray folk to the tea/Republican party's consistent opposition to Obama may be a stretch. But it's not that much of one. Remember when gun shops had record sales based on the idea that Obama was taking away our 2nd amendment rights? Dog whistles replaced reason.

Whether DAl supported Gray or Fenty, what he has written here is right on target and I hope reaches this audience. Only time will tell.

by HogWash on Jun 30, 2011 3:20 pm • linkreport

@David Alpert +1

I'm not surprised though that some of the Fenty supporters see this as a 'should've/could've' situation. There'll always be individuals who deify their heros ... including 'their' elected officials. Fortunately, usually those are the people who have little to add to the conversation to begin with because their minds on the issues haven't been formed by any rational thought or balancing of priorities ... but simply by what theire hero(s) have told them to support.

Like radical religious followers, you'll never convince them you had rational reasons to support Gray, because for these individuals rational reasons aren't why they support one position over another or one candidate over another.

by Lance on Jun 30, 2011 3:20 pm • linkreport

I thought the timing of the endorsement was convenient, right about the time the polling was showing Gray would take the election. I think I even intimated that in a comment I left in the endorsement thread. Going with the front runner can sometimes get you in trouble.

by Lou on Jun 30, 2011 3:21 pm • linkreport

I supported Fenty, but I do think that part of David's point rings true. There are people who appear to be happy when Gray fails because it proves them right - and they quickly jump into the comments to point out how right they were and how wrong David was. That Gray's failures are bad for the city seem trivial compared to the importance of being right. It's this sports-fan mentality to politics that drives me crazy. I doesn't hurt me when the Cowboys lose so it's OK to root against them, but when Gray or Obama or Bush or Boehner fail to do their job well it does hurt me.

And I think there are some who just want to knock David down a peg - perhaps because they see his influence as unearned or something. Who knows?

I don't think most people see it in the all or nothing way David framed it.

But David is right. We could sit around and fight about who was right and who was wrong in the last election, pat ourselves on the back for "knowing" that Gray would be this or that and reveling in each scandal that pops up, even as it works against our interests. But that hardly seems to be productive. The election is over, let's move on.

by David C on Jun 30, 2011 3:23 pm • linkreport

So far, so good. The teams are lining up as expected, my popcorn has been popped.

by greent on Jun 30, 2011 3:25 pm • linkreport

People have moved forward from Fenty v. Gray, except Gray apparently, who probably sees bike tracks as a way to get back at white people for supporting the bicycle-happy former mayor. Dog Whistle

The negativity geared towards Gray is because he is a lie, a cheat, and operates in unison with shady councilmembers and businessmen... Dog Whistle

by HogWash on Jun 30, 2011 3:25 pm • linkreport

David, very good job channeling the disagreement in the GGW readership to sending emails to elected officials to voice their views on the issues. Even the most cynical of politicians will get scared and listen to his/her inbox rather than doing a business-as-usual backroom insider deal.

My frustrations with Mr. Gray is that he is a from the 1970's and '80s DC political machine. Everyone he came up with and owes also shares those old views. They prefer to rule over a dying city than share power in a growing, vibrant one. To the old 70's and '80s DC insiders, getting Mr. Gray elected was a big middle finger to all the newer residents and also the younger generations who aren't a part of the old use-the-DC-government-as-personal-ATM network. I just wish you had looked at the motivations for why certain folks were so enthusiastic for him and why they hated Fenty. They hated that Fenty's cronyism wasn't benefitting them rather than hating the fact that there is any cronyism. That's a huge problem.

Mr. Gray was very good at telling you what he thought you wanted to hear on vague terms and letting you fill in the rest. At the end of the day, he cares more about appeasing his peers and his peers are other old-guard insiders from the 1970's and '80s DC political machine. And I can guarantee you that most of that old guard thinks ill of the policies that we work towards both on this blog and on the ground (in Montgomery in my case).

We're experiencing a similar dynamic in parallel here in Montgomery except it's on the ground issue by issue rather than in the Executive's election. It's a little less dramatic because Montgomery is so grey except in Bethesda and Silver Spring.

I hope for our common future that Mr. Gray's election is the last gasp of the 1970's/80's insider network. It's time has come and gone and we need to recognize it for what it is in the future.

by Cavan on Jun 30, 2011 3:26 pm • linkreport

Fenty was so good at getting the big and exciting things done that his other flaws just got lost in the shadows. Your comment about lack of support from above on the bicycle tracks just serves to illustrate the importance of bold, visionary leadership in that regard. While it is fair to expect citizen activism to play a role in the political process, I'm not sure how much we can rely on it as a driving force. We were fortunate that it reversed an extremely unpopular decision, but that's it. Maybe Gray's leadership is just less visible. In that regard, I would love to hear more about his progress on policy without the complaints about comparisons to Fenty. Though it is just one standard by which a politician is judged, it is completely fair to compare Gray to his predecessor, as Gray's successor will be compared to him.

by Omar on Jun 30, 2011 3:27 pm • linkreport

@Fritz, I must correct you on that. Dena Reed, who caused the two journalists to be arrested, was NOT Gray's appointee. She was Fenty's appointee. In fact, Dena Reed is only interim Chair of the DCTC until Gray finds a permanent one. She was actually appointed by Fenty as the general counsel. Originally the general counsel was Doreen Thompson, who was a very honorable, hardworking, and circumspect attorney who worked overtime to get the regulations up to par for the switch to time and distance meters. She was subsequently fired. Fenty got her out of the way because she knew too much. That way he could continue to dominate, bully, and control the industry. And now we have Dena Reed who took her place.

by Starclimber9 on Jun 30, 2011 3:28 pm • linkreport

And I think there are some who just want to knock David down a peg - perhaps because they see his influence as unearned or something. Who knows?

Hadn't thought about that but would imagine it's true

by HogWash on Jun 30, 2011 3:30 pm • linkreport

Love GGW and think your commentary is great.

I don't think that to move forward we need to move past Fenty vs. Gray. The debate over the two is a proxy for a bunch of smaller debates that get muddled together and make it hard to figure out exactly what's being debated. But the two leaders have/had two differnet styles, agendas, groups of supporters and oponents, successes and failures, weaknesses and strenths. They are part of the city and we can't just sweep the differences under the rug. Debate and discussion eventually lead to better understanding and hopefully better decisions.

There was a lot Fenty did well and a lot he screwed up. We need to compare it to what Gray is doing and figure out what gets the best results.

by mike on Jun 30, 2011 3:30 pm • linkreport

That's one long apology you've written there for Gray. I've got no problem with Fenty supporters wanting people to remember that their concerns with Gray have already and continue to manifest. Though since we are now stuck with him, I agree that we should also spend energy on trying to make things better.

I'm surprised that you're telling people to just stop bringing it up. Seems very head in the sand -- a way of being I've never sensed in anything else you've ever written.

by Jared on Jun 30, 2011 3:31 pm • linkreport

@Lance --there is no "hero" complex here.

The problem is that many Fenty supporters feel the election was fraudulent. That would leave a sour taste in anyone's mouth.

The guy got elected for not being Fenty, while doing everything in his power to demonize Adrian.

If you are mad that there is still a "Gray v Fenty" debate blame Gray. He is the one who ran a campaign that was based upon personal appeal and morals instead of policies.

Now that his dirty laundry is out he wants everyone to focus on the "plan" -problem is he doesn't have a plan.

There is no "I told you so" here. You don't have to be a Fenty supporter to dislike election fraud, lies and manipulation.

by Recall Vince Gray on Jun 30, 2011 3:33 pm • linkreport

@HogWash,

I'd agree that the "I told you so" posts are not helpful, but I kind of consider David to be above responding to it with such hyperbole.

I'm not sure I remember many dog whistles during the mayoral campaign (the only one I remember was that flier with bike lanes that, if I recall correctly, one of Gray's supporters sent out).

But in any case most of the people that were claiming that were basing it off that fact that he was a deliberative consensus builder who also seemed to agree with whatever group he was speaking with at the time.

by Steven Yates on Jun 30, 2011 3:33 pm • linkreport


ThE HiVeS - HaTe To SaY I ToLd YoU So by MiKaEl94

OK. I'm ready to move on.

by tom veil on Jun 30, 2011 3:35 pm • linkreport

As someone who isn't registered in the District and watched last year's campaign from the outside, it seemed like support for Gray came from people who spouted openly bigoted views about the demographic shift in the city. I do get a little boost out of hearing bad news about him, honestly. (Nothing bad ever happens to Ike Leggett in Montgomery County, save for his sex scandal twenty years ago, which makes things a lot less entertaining.) It'd be nice to move on from the election, but I do worry what progress will happen between now and 2014, especially as I'd like to move to the District and I want to know that the whole GGW "platform" won't be relegated to the fringe just so Gray can pander to his base.

by dan reed! on Jun 30, 2011 3:36 pm • linkreport

Dan, as a fellow Montgomery County resident who can't vote in the District, I found the supporters who were spewing drivel about "dog parks" as bigoted code was a huge red flag.

I don't know anything about Mr. Gray but you have to dance with those who brought you. That points to Mr. Gray doing nothing about smart growth other than not stopping the streetcars for the next 4 years. The District residents in the readership need to be active and sending lots of emails while the Gray Administration is in office if they want to see any progress.

by Cavan on Jun 30, 2011 3:41 pm • linkreport

@David C +1 There are people who appear to be happy when Gray fails because it proves them right

I actually had a friend de-friend me from Facebook when I pointed out that the condemnations he was making of Gray at each and every opportunity he could were far out of scale with the issues arising ... and that he hadn't made such condemnations in regards to Fenty and the very real problems he brought upon this city such as running through all our rainy day funds AND starting a bunch of ambitious and costly projects without any planning for how these projects would be paid for. (e.g., The streetcar line on H Street.)

by Lance on Jun 30, 2011 3:42 pm • linkreport

Someone got thin skinned all of a sudden.

A dedicated post like this, makes this blog look childish.

by Glow on Jun 30, 2011 3:43 pm • linkreport

@Dan Reed -2014? I was thinking 2012. www.recallvincegray.com . We don't have to wait or endure 3.5 years of blind leadership.

by Recall Vince Gray on Jun 30, 2011 3:45 pm • linkreport

Fair points, but I always have a problem with people who criticize criticizers because they don't want the criticisms to "stick". I see that a lot on a national level, supporters of one party don't want the label of failure to attach to their guy so they villify anyone who dares criticize their guy. That has been a consistent theme from Gray supporters. "How dare you criticize him for doing things you absolutely expected him to do! He's only just begun!"

If I don't like a politician for reason "A". And the moment he gets into office, he exhibits "A" traits, I'm under no obligation to "cut him some slack".

This attitude is similar to the attitude that so vociferously criticized the write-in campaign. Essentially it boils down to the idea that if you don't like Gray, you need to shut up because you're making him look bad, and that's not "fair".

I don't want Gray to fail because we're stuck with him for 3.5 more years. But I'm not going to pretend I'm happy about his performance just to maintain some mirage of a successful term in office.

by TM on Jun 30, 2011 3:45 pm • linkreport

@salonial@aol.com -Condemnations of a politician who operated an illegal campaign are far from a stretch. In essence, D.C. problems spur from corruption and politicians who do not represent the concerns of the people. Holding politicians accountable IS moving the city forward.

How long has corruption and scandal plagued this city? As long as we keep letting them get away with it our elected officials will never respect US.

by Recall Vince Gray on Jun 30, 2011 3:52 pm • linkreport

Most Fenty supporters have moved on with their lives. I personally hate to see his administration continue to make mistakes. My tax dollars and life will be here for a very long time so it’s no longer about September 14, 2010. If you recall many Fenty supporters did not have a problem with Vince Gray. The major concerns were the people that surrounded him.

Keep in mind that the “Gray camp” has not let things go either. Which is why the “I told you so’s” are mainly coming from people that are still being blackballed from DC govt. When the story hit about leftover money from the 2006 campaign, Gray supporters made it a point to tell every former Fenty supporter they could find. The same goes for any Henderson or Lanier missteps.

Your story only shows one side. Pay attention to the people that stood with you last summer that need to take your advice as well. It’s difficult to “let it go” when the winner hasn’t.

Tim

by @isaiditnowwhat on Jun 30, 2011 3:54 pm • linkreport

@TM +1 - I am not happy that I am, so far right about what a Gray administration would look like, and neither is most of the city.

@HogWash - cut out the dog whistle nonsense - it doesn't make Gray more effective, and polls have shown that he's lost significant support in every ward - every group is growing more and more frustrated. But maybe 30% job approval is a "Dog Whistle" for "Incompetence".

by Awshux on Jun 30, 2011 3:57 pm • linkreport

Only speaking for myself, I can imagine both of the following are true:

(1) In August 2010, Vincent Gray looked like he would be the better mayor.

And,

(2) Looking at things from June 2011, Vincent Gray has turned out to be a disappointment.

I don't thin Gray's policies are terrible in themselves, for the most part.

The ethics investigations into Gray's Administration have tainted him as a credible mayor, perhaps forever.

by WRD on Jun 30, 2011 3:59 pm • linkreport

Alpert endorsed Gray?!? How is that even possible? Fenty basically supported everything this blog advocates for. He was kind of a jerk, but still. The guy rode a bike to work for crying out loud.

Alpert's got some self-loathing issues or something....

by Greg on Jun 30, 2011 4:01 pm • linkreport

Gray went out of his way to remind people of every problem Fenty had -even ones that were not true- to get elected.

Now you are asking Fenty supporters not to do the same thing?

Not that I agree with going tit-for-tat, but this is a little hypocritical.

by Recall Vince Gray on Jun 30, 2011 4:03 pm • linkreport

The guy rode a bike to work for crying out loud.

Fenty rode his bike to work on "Bike to Work Day" but that was it. He rode a bike a lot, but for training purposes, not transportation.

by David C on Jun 30, 2011 4:06 pm • linkreport

@ Starclimber9 - Your correction is wrong.

Reed was appointed by Gray after he fired Leon Swaine as head of the DCTC last April: http://dcist.com/2011/04/leon_swain_fired.php

Reed is Gray's appointee as the interim chairperson of the DC Taxicab Commission.

by Fritz on Jun 30, 2011 4:09 pm • linkreport

@David Alpert - There is one simple way to put things in perspective. David, if the election were to happen again tomorrow, who would you vote for? I think we all know what your answer would be. Even more troubling is the fact that Gray has only been in office a few short months.

by Aaron P on Jun 30, 2011 4:12 pm • linkreport

Claims that Gray is a 1970s redux demonstrates David's point that too much discussion revolves around generalities left over from the last election and too little is focused on Gray's actual policies. At this point, it appears that his major appointments - Irv Nathan, Allen Lew and Kaya Henderson - have been competent, if not improvements over their predecessors. Unemployment remains high in some neighborhoods, however the mayor has carried through on his campaign promises by lining up development for Souteast (the new Yards Park retailers, Skyland shopping center, Walmart). Transportation (Metro/streetcar), Education (student funding), and police were all protected in the mayor's proposed budget. Most criticism I've heard seems to focus on unsubstantiated allegations, or bad hiring decisions made by underlings, which do not have any impact on the day-to-day governance of the city. A lot of the criticism of the mayor seems to get in the way of seeing the good policies the mayor pursues.

by DCster on Jun 30, 2011 4:14 pm • linkreport

"Let's not bicker and argue about 'oo killed 'oo."

What a self-serving post. Gray is who we thought he was and you're gonna get called on it. Deal.

by Neil on Jun 30, 2011 4:16 pm • linkreport

You're right. We've moved past Gray and Fenty. Instead, we're focusing on Recall Gray.

by Joe Flood on Jun 30, 2011 4:22 pm • linkreport

I don't think anyone can deny that the general public believes that Gray's missteps in the first few months have been serious. Just look at the polling.

Of course, you could argue that the general public is wrong (as they often are) and that they are blowing things out of proportion but the loss of love for Gray goes far beyond a few I-told-you-so-ers on this blog.

Also, for the record, the Fenty I-told-you-so-ers are far more innocuous than the Gray gloaters with their thinly masked (if that) racism. Let's just remind everyone of Courtland Milloy (WaPo columnist):

"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 Marshall Brown (political advisor and Kwame Brown's father):

"But the new white voters aren’t involved like that. They want doggie parks and bike lanes. The result is a lot of tension. The new people believe more in their dogs than they do in people. They go into their little cafes, go out and throw their snowballs."

by Falls Church on Jun 30, 2011 4:28 pm • linkreport

I still wonder why GGW even endorsed anyone in the election. Gray and Fenty are like carbon copies of each other and 95% of their policies are going to be the same. There was no need nor reason to endorse anyone (except in my mind, maybe Fenty) so why put your reputation and the blog's reputation in jeopardy. And I think the credibility of this blog and DA took a big hit in a lot of people's minds after that endorsement came out. (Esp. if I'm remembering correctly that it came out right when that damning poll to Fenty was released.)

Maybe this blog should stick to ANC elections and the like.

by Shipsa01 on Jun 30, 2011 4:28 pm • linkreport

David: while I agree that some commenters are too much about the "nah-nah told you so"

1. You undermine your position about being grown up and reasonable by misrepresenting those who comment about you, and attacking other politicians for their positions in a somewhat derogatory way

2. You have made GGW into a very important website, and a bellweather for a certain demographic in the region. Your opinions have weight. When you make an endorsement, people notice, and you get benefits (e.g. perhaps a seat at the table with Gray, to push GGW's position). Thats great, but you can't expect to be left alone and not get criticized.

While I agree with your position David, you are sounding like you want to have the benefits but none of the costs. Suck it up, dude!

by SJE on Jun 30, 2011 4:38 pm • linkreport

@DCster +1 Most criticism I've heard seems to focus on unsubstantiated allegations, or bad hiring decisions made by underlings, which do not have any impact on the day-to-day governance of the city. A lot of the criticism of the mayor seems to get in the way of seeing the good policies the mayor pursues.

by Lance on Jun 30, 2011 4:38 pm • linkreport

additionally, these criticisms were coming in the first, second, third months he'd been in office! I know a lot of folks got used to Fenty making decisions and proclamations off the cuff, but this is a different kind of mayor. This is a mayor who'll study the issue before blindly enunciating 'what people want to hear'. It's harder to be sure you can actually deliver on something before actually promissing it, but it makes for a better plan for actual delivery. Given that Gray is having to deliver not only for the things he's promised, but for the (greater in number) things that Fenty promised (but didn't really plan for), I think Gray is doing a great job ... and doing it in line with the advocacies of GGW (and others').

by Lance on Jun 30, 2011 4:43 pm • linkreport

@isaidwhatKeep in mind that the “Gray camp” has not let things go either. Which is why the “I told you so’s” are mainly coming from people that are still being blackballed from DC govt. People who can't get gov't jobs are leading the "I told you so" charge. The irony. Sheer irony.

@CavanMy frustrations with Mr. Gray is that he is a from the 1970's and '80s DC political machine. Everyone he came up with and owes also shares those old views. They prefer to rule over a dying city than share power in a growing, vibrant one.

Doesn't matter that Gray's first major DC gov't job was actually in 1991, he represents the "old guard" anyway.

@Steven Yates, have you ever heard anyone affirmatively state they hear or respond to dog whistles? I don't recall an instance where Marion Barry sounded the "white folk" alarm and people admitted to being misled. In that sense, I'm not surprised that you don't recall the dog whistles.

@Dan Reed, I do get a little boost out of hearing bad news about him, honestly. Devoid of reason.

@Awshucks HogWash - cut out the dog whistle nonsense - it doesn't make Gray more effective

I would sincerely hope that my comments on a message board would neither make Gray more or less effective.

@SJE While I agree with your position David, you are sounding like you want to have the benefits but none of the costs. Suck it up, dude!

In other words, "David, ok we get that some here continue to beat you over the head with your Gray endorsement but suck it up. Let them continue to talk and never address it, defend it, or call for people to move the hell on. We won't!"

by HogWash on Jun 30, 2011 4:46 pm • linkreport

@Lance, additionally, these criticisms were coming in the first, second, third months he'd been in office!

And yes several of my Fenty friends scoffed and rolled their eyes at my suggestion that the ire against before he took office, 1 month after he took office and now, is eerily similar to that ire against Obama w/in his first month in office. Recall, Obama was in office less than a month before the Tea Baggers (as they were known at the time) held their first event protesting that they wanted their country back from a spending liberal. Didn't matter to them that TARP was implemented under Bush.

by HogWash on Jun 30, 2011 4:51 pm • linkreport

Let's not bicker and fight over who killed who! This is supposed to be a *happy* day!

Joking aside, I think the reason folks get so riled is that Gray seems to be almost committed to playing to type. Obviously it's still early, and some of his setbacks were unavoidable, but there's a feeling of lethargy that's starting to take hold that we haven't seen since before Anthony Williams. I think some folks are worried that that's a feature, not a bug.

Doesn't mean we're not going to call and raise holy hell when we can though, and that's arguably the most effective way of moving the agenda forward.

by oboe on Jun 30, 2011 4:51 pm • linkreport

@HogWash:

You say that there were dog whistles used against Gray, and then use examples involving Marion Barry. So what dog whistles were used against Gray?

by Steven Yates on Jun 30, 2011 4:53 pm • linkreport

Some of you are right that the hyperbole in the 2nd paragraph didn't necessarily advance my real point. There indeed are people making the very argument I criticized, like recallvincegray. w wrote on the bike lane thread that "He is a throwback to the Barry era, ... He is basically on the take ..."

But I agree that not everyone doing the "nah nah I told you so" is saying that.

I've struck that out and replaced it with another statement that I've heard from many people — that Gray really has all along been wanting to push policies that are hostile to biking, transit, etc.

I don't believe that either. I think he doesn't believe as strongly as many of us do in these issues, but I think he's amenable to them. But he needs persuasion and pressure.

And that's the real point, which I may have buried a bit in the article. We need to be focusing on pushing Gray to do the right thing, not falling into the trap of believing that he was trying to undermine everything all along, so there's no point in even trying.

by David Alpert on Jun 30, 2011 4:54 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash - Criticisms brought on by the Mayor's role in an election scandal. That's pretty big.

by Recall Vince Gray on Jun 30, 2011 4:54 pm • linkreport

Damn you, @Neil! I've got the monopoly on the "Monty Python and The Holy Grail" quotes around here!

grumble grumble...

by oboe on Jun 30, 2011 4:58 pm • linkreport

@David Alpert - Recallvincegray never said that. You have misquoted me. This is the first time I've been on your blog.

by Recall Vince Gray on Jun 30, 2011 4:58 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash,

Your continual and tireless defense of a man who was embrolied in scandals of his own making not two months into office is kinda cute.

Not only did he do exactly what all his critics said he would do (return the city to the old guard) by hiring all his friends, their spouses and their kids depsite the fact that absolutely none of them were qualified to make me a sandwich, let alone posses these jobs, but then he lied about it.

To be under investigation by both the US Attorneys office and the FBI within 45 days of taking office has to set some kind of land speed record.

He chose his inner circle, his inner circle went "Hog" wild at taxpayer expense. He is to blame.

All of the campaign rhetoric he launched at Fenty, he became guilty of not two months later (Transparency, fairness, qualification).

by freely on Jun 30, 2011 5:01 pm • linkreport

"He wants the people of DC to lead. Let's lead."

Isn't that why we have elected leaders? So what, he doesn't want to do the job he was elected for? Good grief Alpert. He's the mayor, he is the LEADER.

[going back to reading now]

by greent on Jun 30, 2011 5:07 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash - you're right - your trolling on message boards has no effect at all. And yet you continue to do it. Only 30% of the city thinks Gray is doing an acceptable job, and his numbers are lower than any DC mayor at this point in a term in history. But the rest of the city, black and white, must be wrong, according to you. Being an effective communicator and inspiring confidence isn't just politics -it's leadership, and it's hard to see how Gray hasn't failed.

by Awshux on Jun 30, 2011 5:07 pm • linkreport

@Fitz,
Fenty ILLEGALLY refused to restore powers back to the DCTC in defiance the court ruling. After contentious debate about that between Jim Graham and AG Nickles, the AG agreed to restore the powers back to the commission in June of 2009. But on the very day in June that was supposed to occur, Doreen Thompsom was fired. Fenty and Nickles then used that as an excuse that the DCTC could no longer hold meetings because there was no official general counsel. Fenty in essence, hijacked the commission and drove the cab drivers into financial oblivion. Dena Reed was later appointed general counsel in December of 2009. And it was only thereafter that Fenty "allowed" the commission to discuss the topic of a rate increase. And after Fenty stacked the deck in his favor with his appointees on the panel, they still agreed on a substantial rate increase, to which Fenty didn't like, so he shut them up and refused to grant it. Dena Reed is only moving up to Chair in order fill in the void as common practise until the real Chair is found. Once again, no matter what article you read in the past, Dena is NOT Gray's appointee. She is Fenty's.

by Starclimber9 on Jun 30, 2011 5:13 pm • linkreport

@HogWash People that are being block from jobs or contracts strictly because of who they supported in the Primary have a right to be angry. That is illegal. But you missed the overall point of my comment.

by @isaiditnowwhat on Jun 30, 2011 5:16 pm • linkreport

@David Alpert - "But he needs persuasion and pressure. We need to be focusing on pushing Gray to do the right thing."

We shouldn't have to spend 99% of our time persuading and pressuring our mayor. We need a leader who already shares our ideas and vision for this city. And we need that person NOW! Before we know it, three years will have passed without much progress because we spent so much time "pushing Gray to do the right thing." This is a HUGE advantage Fenty had over Gray. Fenty had the vision and, more importantly, the leadership skills to actually get things done.

by Aaron P on Jun 30, 2011 5:17 pm • linkreport

I think the greatest negative effect of Gray's mayoralty is only indirectly his fault: namely the election of Kwame Brown as Council Chair. The whole fully loaded scandal is just a distraction from the real problem with Brown: he has no control over the Council and it's going to flounder without steady leadership, which he has no capability to deliver. Gray was a fantastic Chair. The drop in quality from Gray to Brown is much more severe, in my opinion, than the drop from Fenty to Gray.

by TM on Jun 30, 2011 5:18 pm • linkreport

@Recall Vince Gray
It was a poster by the name of "w" who said that.

On the subject at hand: Elections should be fought during the election season. After that point, all bets are off. I voted Fenty, but he lost and now it's time for me to evaluate Gray on his own merits. So far I'm okay with him. GGW is not a partisan site; it's a technical and advocacy site. Each officeholder should stand on their own merits, not against the merits of another.

by OctaviusIII on Jun 30, 2011 5:22 pm • linkreport

Sorry, recallvincegray, I guess I confused you with w there.

by David Alpert on Jun 30, 2011 5:25 pm • linkreport

@Freely, it's because I prefer facts over the emotional rantings often associated with the anti-gray crowd. In fact, while it's common around the country along ideological lines, DC toxic environment is a special case.

Fact, I was not one of the anti-fenty crowd who ranted and raved about Sinclair Skinner, the firetruck, alleged domestic abuse, having his friend illegally chauffeur him etc. IMO, they weren't substantive issues.

By the same, Gray (or his staff) making hires in the same way every other administration has made hires was/is not a substantive issue for me to complain about. I never thought (and we now see) that Suilamon was a serious issue. Now although I'm sure it's possible that I'm missing the other scandals, those are the two I rememeber.

Peter Knickles is Adrian Fenty's longtime family friend..as in from Fenty's childhood. Yet, I'm supposed to call foul that Gray hired people he knew? Or that some official got a job for their family/friends when doing this is standard political practice? Again, I prefer facts over these emotional rantings.

With that in mind, there's no "tireless" defense necessary. I just usually don't allow emotion to cloud good reason - unlike many anti-gray folk.

by HogWash on Jun 30, 2011 5:29 pm • linkreport

The comment about me is still inaccurate.

by Recall Vince Gray on Jun 30, 2011 5:29 pm • linkreport

@HogWash I think the US Attorney and the FBI think that Sulaimon Brown is a serious issue.

That alone is enough to warrant criticism and anger from Washingtonians regardless of their political affiliations.

by Recall Vince Gray on Jun 30, 2011 5:34 pm • linkreport

ditto OctaviusIII, TM, DCster and David C.'s part about wanting Gray to succeed. I don't see anything wrong with an elected official who's making policy decisions influenced by hearing from constituents. I admire the quality of being able to encorporate new information and adapt accordingly. All elected officials should be held to the highest standard regardless of the record of whoever held the office prior.

by Tina on Jun 30, 2011 5:35 pm • linkreport

Maybe in the future we can elect someone that's better than both Fenty and Gray.

The problem is that you only had a choice of two, and you chose the candidate who was worse than Fenty. Yes, we'd all like a mayor who's better than Gray AND Fenty, but you come across as someone easily duped by someone willing to sweet talk you instead of someone who's going to politically support someone who's going to be a strong advocate for our interests.

The fact that one of the good things you said about Gray was about what he said about bicycle infrastructure rather than what he did makes us question your judgment. The fact that you're holding your tongue about Gray's problems out of spite against your readers who have mocked you for your misjudgment reduces your own credibility.

Yes, you're going to have to face some slings and arrows of mockery for your past missteps and errors in judgment. Get over it. But try to convince us that you've learned. Be a bit more cynical. Be a bit more willing to hold Gray's feet to the fire.

by JustMe on Jun 30, 2011 5:37 pm • linkreport

I think the greatest negative effect of Gray's mayoralty is only indirectly his fault: namely the election of Kwame Brown as Council Chair.

The corruption issues in Gray's administration are not helped by DC Council's own corruption problems. This may be a more systemic problem with DC's elected officials. Maybe with officials in any city, really. Still doesn't excuse Gray's actions. He owns part of these scandals regardless.

If Gray didn't have the legal and ethical issues surrounding him, his polling wouldn't be that bad.

by WRD on Jun 30, 2011 5:37 pm • linkreport

You conveniently left out the distractions that his ethical issues have created, which has been a major drag on whatever agenda he had.

And there lies the rub. If you paid any close scrutiny to the election, you would have seen that Gray's campaign lacked any sort of real agenda. It was hard to make a substantive argument for or against him because his campaign had lots of rhetoric and very little substance.

They hated that Fenty's cronyism wasn't benefitting them rather than hating the fact that there is any cronyism. That's a huge problem.

+1. My next guess is that we'll learn about some sort of skylands-related cronyism. As a mayor who has yet to take a stand on much of anything, he's been promoting that project way too heavily for there not to be some kind of alternate motive.

I wrote in Fenty in the general election, and was disappointed to see Gray elected. However, I also like to look to the future, and hope that the Gray administration can still be salvaged and redeemed. I wholeheartedly agree that the ceaseless Fenty comparisons are damaging. However, the mayor should also be able to be compared to his predecessors as a benchmark of his performance; both good and bad.

The Fenty administration was far from flawless, and I'm starting to agree that the streetcar projects to date have all been horribly botched. Unfortuantely, Gray doesn't seem intent on taking a stand one way or the other, or communicating that he's going to fix the problems that arose.

Somewhat surprisingly, Gray's twitter account responded to my outrage that the streetcar project had been pushed back yet again, and expressed puzzlement as to why I was so upset. The fact that he couldn't understand why I was upset that the chief promise made to my neighborhood had (yet again) been thrown under the bus speaks volumes.

I'll vote for a recall. Not because of the corruption or lies, but because he hasn't gotten a single damn thing done while in office.

by Andrew Schmadel on Jun 30, 2011 5:43 pm • linkreport

I think this boils down to David chose to listen to what Gray said to him directly while discounting what Team Gray was saying to his base and most Fenty supporters were cynical enough to raise alarm bells about this contradiction and are perhaps disappointed that David didn't see this coming and are helping him remember this for the next election.

by NikolasM on Jun 30, 2011 5:57 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash: "In other words, "David, ok we get that some here continue to beat you over the head with your Gray endorsement but suck it up. Let them continue to talk and never address it, defend it, or call for people to move the hell on. We won't!"

Wrong. I agree that there is a lot of senseless and childish sniping at David, and that he can defend his position all he likes. Its just that his tone is overly "defensive" and a bit thin skinned, which undermines his argument. David has earned respect from the community not just for his ideas, but for his style. But that respect will be undermined if there is reputation that he cannot take criticism.

PS: some of my favorite writers and wonks accept comments but do not publish them. They just say, "hey this is my opinion" so as to avoid getting sucked into controversy. Thats perfectly legit, but if you HAVE an open comment section you are going to have to decide whether or not to respond to every comment.

by SJE on Jun 30, 2011 6:07 pm • linkreport

David,

I like this blog. I do. You run a good ship. But, there is a difference between suggesting improvements to the dc metro system and endorsing a political candidate. Once you get involved in politics, you cannot complain that people hold your political views against you. I agree wholeheartedly that the efforts of GGW should be to convince Gray to adopt our positions.

But, in the future, there needs to be more determination about how this site works, in terms of politics. You endorsing someone is GGW endorsing someone. There needs to be a more equitable process for this site's readers and contributors. Perhaps there could be objective metrics, just like Drum Major or NARAL do. A questionnaire. If, taking all things together, Gray really had a better official transit policy, then endorse away.

by thesixteenwords on Jun 30, 2011 6:55 pm • linkreport

@HogWash "I think the US Attorney and the FBI think that Sulaimon Brown is a serious issue.

Yes, Gray was accused of a serious campaign indiscretion. However, the accuser in this case is questionable beyond belief. I have no doubt that had Brown accused Fenty of doing the same, Fenty supporters would have long ago cried foul. Everything about Brown has been questionable. Yet, people latch on to him like a leech. +

I'll vote for a recall. Not because of the corruption or lies, but because he hasn't gotten a single damn thing done while in office. Exhibit A-Z for ideas devoid of reason.

Its just that his tone is overly "defensive" and a bit thin skinned, which undermines his argument. David has earned respect from the community not just for his ideas, but for his style

I disagree. Frankly, I don't think there is any specific "tone" D could strike that didn't upset the regulars here. If you haven't noticed, most of the attacks against him are of the "I told you so" and "now you can apologize" mold. I personally think David responded
because he was tired of hearing it. It doesn't matter that he is religious and unwavering in his support for transit issues. He still has to answer "why" he chose to support Gray over Fenty as if he's not one of "you' when he's your biggest cheerleader. I personally think he has every right to complain.

He's criticized by me and other people here. Rare is the case where he's decided to respond via an article. What that says to me is that he isn't afraid or unwelcoming of criticism.

by HogWash on Jun 30, 2011 7:24 pm • linkreport

@HogWash you must not be paying attention. This is way more serious than you think. Brown may be essentric, but he has some evidence stacked against the Mayor that suggests foul play. How Brown is as a person doesn't take away from the fact that there is evidence. I guess the US Attorney and the FBI are crazy too. Let's not downplay this as a crazy little "thing".

by Recall Vince Gray on Jun 30, 2011 7:58 pm • linkreport

Here's a fun game:

Off the top of your head,

1. name the most dynamic, out-of-the-box thinking member of the Gray administration.

2. name the most impressive policy initiative put forward by the Gray administration.

No using Google for an answer!

by Fritz on Jun 30, 2011 8:01 pm • linkreport

I love GGW endorsements, because that means I don't have to study the candidates. I just vote against whomever GGW is endorsing.

by TGEoA on Jun 30, 2011 8:25 pm • linkreport

I didn't want to comment on this, other than applauding Tom Veil's choice of music but I guess I feel compelled because...

it's not about moving on, it's about learning from what happened, and reacting and responding to better shape our future, given what we know.

I didn't want to support Fenty for his ethical lapses, terrible committee appointments, contract steering, and other reasons.

I wanted to support Gray because he's way smarter than Fenty, but I was leery because of the people who supported him.

Yes, as someone pointed out, the reason "the people" got disappointed in Fenty was because he only helped his cronies, not "the people."

I thought Rhee sucked (and yes, I've written dozens and dozens of posts on education over the years explaining how an urban education reform process should work). Nickles proved why the AG should be elected. Etc. Fenty was lucky that during the Williams Administration a number of good plans were done and projects were getting underway that would come to fruition during the next Fenty administration.

(E.g., like the way that today's press conference with Mayor Gray on H Street had mostly people speaking and in attendance who had nothing to do with what had happened. E.g., Karina Ricks, Joe Fengler--we can call him "father of the streetcar tracks", etc.)

My lesson from the election is that it doesn't matter how smart the politician is, if his "vision" doesn't comport with yours, or with what you think of are enlightened urban-appropriate policies.

Gray's concerns and vision doesn't have much to do with the stuff I care about. Hopefully his Administration won't do too badly on those issues. Fortunately, DC has a pretty robust spatial structure that means that can't screw up the transit system or biking or land use too badly.

However, one of the Walmart's biggest cheerleaders is Mayor Gray.

I was really struck by something he said at the H St. press conference, which communicated to me he really doesn't understand why development happens.

He applauded how the H St. project shows that development isn't just a downtown phenomenon, and is an indicator of spreading the benefits of development to other parts of the city.

But the real lesson is the value of better and/or high quality transit and investment in placemaking qualities in communities.

Development won't just happen anywhere. It's happening in the places in the city with the best transit connections. It's happening where the city is investing in high quality transit extensions.

Gray sort of understands this. He talked about visiting Portland twice, and seeing the impact of the streetcar system there in terms of enhanced connectivity and economic development.

So the lesson should be to invest in transit, and invest in Metrorail expansion. I have never gotten the feeling that Mayor Gray, Council Chair Brown, and much of the Council understands this to the level that is necessary for it to be understood.

I took the opportunity to harangue with Terry Bellamy about the transportation plan lack (which is to be funded in the next fiscal year). Because he worked in Arlington County I am willing to give him some benefit of the doubt. But I am still very much concerned. I am worried about how good a Transpo Plan will be, given the inadequacies in most of our other plans, how they don't strive for greatness.

Terry knows what it should be. ArCo's transpo plan is one of the best in the US, and Terry listed all the cities that ArCo visited in advance of doing their plan...

But I still worry. A lot.

by Richard Layman on Jun 30, 2011 9:43 pm • linkreport

Fritz,
I got another fun game...naming other people in history who had out of the box thinking. I can think of a fe: Adolf Hitler, Sarah Palin, Osama Bin Laden, etc. I think that innovation is a marvelous thing, but not when it is in the hands of a psychopath. In Fenty's case, we have a person with narcissistic personality disorder comorbid with psychopathic traits. What we know from people with NPD is that they are never mundane as that would be the antithesis of the very belief that they are unique, special, and entitled. They go out of their way to prove this. What we also know about people with NPD is that they lack empathy and are exploitative of others in order to serve their own interests. That's what led to Fenty's demise.

by Starclimber9 on Jun 30, 2011 10:41 pm • linkreport

@Starclimber9: Comparing Fenty with Palin is a little over the top. No chance that he would ride around in a bus when he has a perfectly good bike to tour on.

Otherwise your comparisons are completely grounded in reality and manage to be both substantive and subtle at the same time. Thanks for being the voice of reason...

by D on Jun 30, 2011 11:41 pm • linkreport

@D, You're right. Fenty wouldn't be caught dead on a bus. And he definitely wouldn't sit down in the middle of the street on Constitution Ave.

by Starclimber9 on Jul 1, 2011 12:54 am • linkreport

I don't think David has anything to answer for. How he voted is his business. While I never liked Gray, somthing about his old school entitlement attitude, everyone deserves a chance to screw up on his/her own. Looks like Gray didn't miss any opportunities, but that's not David's fault. You do a great job (David), keep it up!

by Thayer-D on Jul 1, 2011 6:43 am • linkreport

I've removed a comment by "Awshux" which used namecalling toward another commenter.

by David Alpert on Jul 1, 2011 7:23 am • linkreport

Well DAl, I do hope you have a better understanding of the type of "support" this community offers. Many of us had rightly concluded that they react exactly as they have here and end up being no better than those they criticize.

+2 for your attempt at injecting sanity
-3 for thinking that they care..at all.

by HogWash on Jul 1, 2011 9:50 am • linkreport

Not even 100 comments. Poor show.

Deal.

by greent on Jul 1, 2011 10:41 am • linkreport

New LL from Twitter:

Mayor Gray says online gambling bill had "appropriate" public airing and scrutiny before being passed.

http://twitter.com/AlanSuderman/status/86797985425534976

by oboe on Jul 1, 2011 11:03 am • linkreport

Who gives a rat's ass what David Alpert thinks! So sick of his preachy style and blubbering, and his cult followers who can't afford cars and think no one else should have one. Stop telling others how to live and what choices to make. GreaterGreaterWashington is about making David Alpert greater. Time to stop drinking the KoolAid, get rid of bicycle lanes and a streetcar system that goes nowhere.

by Karl on Jul 1, 2011 11:16 am • linkreport

Ok, Karl, now you've gone too far. No personal attacks.

I got active on the ground in Montgomery County and started writing for GGW because I see that our region will keep growing because our economy and population will continue to grow and we can't keep building bigger roads and more subdivisions. Personality differences between various contributors aside, I can say 100% that every other contributor writes because they see that the way of doing things in the second half of the 20th century is unsustainable. We try to enact change to make our future better.

I will vouch for David that this project is a labor of love and a genuine desire for a better future. None of us makes any money off of this project and I invite you to look back in the archives and see that consistent theme.

by Cavan on Jul 1, 2011 11:28 am • linkreport

Can we still drink the FlavorAid?

by greent on Jul 1, 2011 11:34 am • linkreport

Just to be clear, my comment was removed for the use of the word "c*ward"? There are posts here that compare Fenty to Hitler and Bin Laden, and another user who has used comments out of context to imply racism. Ok, wow.

by Awshux on Jul 1, 2011 11:42 am • linkreport

@Awshux -- Fenty might have been a dictator but that's about as close as he got to Hitler.

@Cavan -- tisk tisk! This whole blog is about personal attacks. It doesn't matter whether it's David criticizing or posters criticizing, the heat's always turned up and someone or some group is always getting roasted.

It's hard when you think you know more than everyone else not to tell people.

by karl on Jul 1, 2011 12:21 pm • linkreport

Well said, David.

I think the Gray vs. Fenty divide is really not so much about Gray and Fenty -- but the agendas and perceptions of the constituencies who supported each candidate.

The whole "Gray vs. Fenty" reference is not apt, but it is the only reference most political journalists can think of to use.

by Dennis Jaffe on Jul 1, 2011 1:02 pm • linkreport

I feel like this post only serves to continue the Fenty v. Gray debate, and further implies that someone would only dislike Gray because of loyalty to Fenty. I only recently started paying attention to DC politics, so I dislike Gray because he seems to be hiring incompetent staff, has at the very least created the appearance of impropriety if not actually acted unethically, and he hasn't been serving as a leader even as residents of DC are frustrated about violence in the District. I don't need to worry about what Fenty would have done - I've got enough problems with Gray's record.

by Frances on Jul 1, 2011 1:14 pm • linkreport

I voted for Gray last year and was glad to do so. Richard Layman at 9:43 does a good job of laying out the reasons why Fenty was a mayor not worth reelecting. Fenty, if you'll recall, had alienated half the city. All the good things he had started or carried forward were tainted by being associated with him and all the other, mostly bad things he was responsible for.

What we advocate for in our city needs to be bigger than one politician. Anyone with a finger on DC's pulse outside of the white wards would have recognized by last summer that Fenty was doomed, and that there was a risk that the revitalization of DC could blow up into a race war of sorts. We urbanists need desperately to win over more supporters in the wards Gray won, and Fenty was a uniquely horrible vehicle for doing that.

Yes, Gray has been a disappointment, and I'm looking forward to seeing who else runs in '14 if he can't turn things around. But I don't for a second regret helping ease Fenty out of office. He was awful and deserved to lose, and we're a better city for having someone else in there.

by Matt W on Jul 1, 2011 1:54 pm • linkreport

his cult followers who can't afford cars and think no one else should have one.

I love how the GGW readership is simultaneously made up of people who are too poor to afford cars while at the same time being well-heeled elitists who've self-righteously given up their cars and don't understand the plight of those who need to drive all the time and are tellin gthem how to live.

by JustMe on Jul 1, 2011 3:10 pm • linkreport

Matt W. Fenty alienated half the city by having the gaul to fire a couple of hundred terrible teachers and to turn off the spigot to illegal Church-State financing.

If that alienates them and upsets them, then good. Welcome to living in the same country everyone else lives in. I know a lot of good people got sold down the river that DC was going to turn into a "Chicago for Black People". But it was never going to happen. You can only use violence to keep middle class people away for so long until you run out of people.

30+ years of "Me First" politicians and the voters of this city are still clinging to the hope that someone's going to swoop in and rescue them from reality.

If it wasn't for the federal takeover, DC would be Detroit. Too bad we couldn't pull our game together and be Atlanta.

by HAB on Jul 1, 2011 3:17 pm • linkreport

"there was a risk that the revitalization of DC could blow up into a race war of sorts"

Talk about walking a racial tight rope! So Fenty lost touch with parts of the city, and therefore he lost. How does that equate to a possible race war? It reminds me of when I lived at 14th and R years ago and some black guy see's me driving my girlfriend's car with Virginia tags, so he yell's at me to get the f$#% out of his city. How's that any different than white's doing the same 50 years ago? I'm aware of the history, and actually sensitive to it, but I also know that as a human, people with that attitude need to check themselves instead of lashing out at innocent people. DC has come so far racially from the 80's. Let's not go back to the hyper-sensitive era where we think there's a race war around every corner. Racism will always be with us, it's just a by product of fear, which doesn't make it ok, it just makes it human. In the mean time, if you want to move to Shaw or Chevy Chase (and can afford too), God bless, this ia America last time I checked.

by Thayer-D on Jul 1, 2011 3:21 pm • linkreport

I don't mind Fenty alienating many parts of the city and having those alienated voters voting against him for that reason. I mind people endorsing and voting for Gray because of the meta reason that Fenty was alienating part of the city... and that was Alpert's big misjudgment-- supporting Gray out of temperamental/rhetorical reasons and over the fact that some people were alienated by Fenty rather than making a judgment based on what is best for DC economic/transit/infrastructure development.

by JustMe on Jul 1, 2011 3:24 pm • linkreport

HAB, the firing of teachers is what arguably turned much of black Washington against Fenty, and is sort of emblematic of how Fenty ran things. There may have been a case for firing some teachers, but the way in which it was handled, and the way in which hundreds of long-time teachers were slandered en masse as child abusers and layabouts, pissed off a lot of people who had been Fenty supporters. And of course DCPS had to hire them back later when an arbitrator ruled the firings improper.

Thayer-D, it seems pretty obvious to me that the wave of gentrification that Fenty surfed on was engendering resentment and resistance among DC's black longtime residents. There are ways of making the revitalization of DC more inclusive of all, and Fenty seemed disinclined to help make that happen. Gray's rhetoric about "One City" has yet to bear fruit, but it's a gesture in the right direction. Tommy Wells gets it and busts for quality-of-life improvements in all parts of his ward.

JustMe, maybe we all *should* mind Fenty alienating many parts of the city. We need broad engagement and broad agreement about the future of the city. If everything comes down to 50/50 racialized turf battles, then that's going to mean someone much worse than Gray might come along and actively seek to scuttle everything we support. Gray may be less than enthusiastic about some specific projects, or may be less visionary than those of us who supported him last year had hoped for. But he can still be a powerful ally in bringing around a whole lot of people who are wary of change and defensive about their place in the city but ultimately also want to live in a vibrant, diverse, welcoming city. Sorry if taking the longer view is too "meta" for you.

by Matt W on Jul 1, 2011 4:12 pm • linkreport

@JustMe -I think you're making a faulty assumption that D.A. did not consider those things (..what is best for DC economic/transit/infrastructure development.). That seemingly large swaths of the population felt alienated by Fenty was in fact a pretty good reason to expect those things (..what is best for DC economic/transit/infrastructure development.) to be negatively impacted by another Fenty term.

I'm not defending Gray's weaknesses and seeming shenanigans nor am I piling on Fenty.

I'm just saying that people who care about what is best for DC economic/transit/infrastructure development had good reasons to think a continued Fenty admin would be detrimental to those things. Just as people who care about those things had good reasons to think those goals would be better served with Fenty continuing.

by Tina on Jul 1, 2011 4:19 pm • linkreport

Maybe, at the end of the day, I see a lot of political issues as a zero-sum game, and I harbor great suspicion of anyone whose entire campaign is based around making everyone happy.

There are people who are going to be unhappy about changes. What you need to do is defeat those people at the polls so that, later on, they will be grateful for any consolation prizes you give them. Instead of seeing the Fenty/Gray election as an opportunity to deliver a blow against the forces of reform/revitalization/development in the hopes that this would finally demoralize that faction, Alpert thought it would be a better idea to see those voices validated.

If Fenty alienated so many people that he lost, that would be fine. But to hear people like Alpert complain that he ahd to vote against Fenty because other people felt alienated is just silly. Frankly, I and many other voters (if the polls are to be believed) are feeling alienated by Gray. That, in and of itself, should be reason to show that Alpert was wrong-headed because he has exchanged a competent mayor who was behind Alpert's agenda but alienated some people for an incompetent mayor who is uninterested in Alpert's agenda and alienates some people.

by JustMe on Jul 1, 2011 4:29 pm • linkreport

Sorry, I mean "seeing the Fenty/Gray election as an opportunity to deliver a blow against the forces of who opposed reform/revitalization/development..."

by JustMe on Jul 1, 2011 4:53 pm • linkreport

@JustMe: It's not about whether you're able too afford one, though that's part of it for people with lower incomes. It's a lifestyle choice. Instead of dumping money into a depreciating asset, you can invest in yourself and a better life. You're free to leave that on the table and sit in traffic, whether or not there are bike lanes or streetcars.

by Omar on Jul 1, 2011 5:28 pm • linkreport

This is one of the most heated threads I've seen on this blog. So we have Gray vs Fenty joining threads on DC Metro expansion ideas and Silver Line phase 2 / Dulles station as the current hot button topics on GGW?

I live well out into the suburbs, so I don't have strong opinions on the matter. But I'm wondering what are the odds of a Fenty vs Gray rematch in 2014? A made more warm and fuzzy by the consultants retooled Fenty versus Gray in '14? Is Fenty done with politics in DC? or could Fenty be looking at the many stumbles Gray has made and thinking he could beat him in a re-match if Gray keeps this up for another 3 years?

by AlanF on Jul 1, 2011 5:38 pm • linkreport

"what are the odds of a Fenty vs Gray rematch in 2014?"

Zero.

I believe that those who despise "King" Fenty will never bend.

And I believe those that distrust Mayor Gray will work to ensure there can be no return of the "king", as he would not be a viable city-wide candidate.

A repeat of the stupidity of 2010 election will not help this city. No proof, just opinion.

by greent on Jul 1, 2011 5:52 pm • linkreport

Fenty won't run for mayor in 3.5 years. Neither will Gray.

Which leaves the door open to.... Wells? Cheh? Kwame Brown? Michael Brown? Patrick Mara? Mr. Control Board?

by Fritz on Jul 1, 2011 7:49 pm • linkreport

It's obvious that Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown wants to be mayor. The question is who runs against him. Personally, I doubt that a white candidate could beat him - DC isn't quite ready for a white mayor yet - but we will see.

by Phil on Jul 1, 2011 8:41 pm • linkreport

All this post shows is how thin-skinned David Alpert is.

You took a pretty big chance with that endorsement, David. Whether it's because you actually believed the non-specific pablum Gray was spouting, didn't want this blog to be seen as 100 percent pro-Fenty after the other two endorsements or simply used your baffling Gray endorsement as some sort of traffic-generating tool for the blog, one fact remains: You went out on a limb, people rightly called you out on it, and now you have to take your lumps.

Also, I recall in your silly little endorsement that you said you'd hold Gray accountable for his missteps. Not sure that's happened yet. Really hurt your credibility there.

by Anon on Jul 1, 2011 10:13 pm • linkreport

Oh, and there's approximately zero chance Gray will run again in 2014. He's either going to be recalled, will resign because of the numerous scandals or simply will realize he has no shot at reelection because the city's seismic demographic shift -- which values actual leadership instead of shameless pandering -- will be even further along than it is now.

by Anon on Jul 1, 2011 10:18 pm • linkreport

"And that's the real point, which I may have buried a bit in the article. We need to be focusing on pushing Gray to do the right thing, not falling into the trap of believing that he was trying to undermine everything all along, so there's no point in even trying."

"Buried a bit in the article?" Its no where to be found; your entire piece was designed to defend your indefensible endorsement of Gray. Honestly, in the end, few (none?) really care enough about your opinion to have made your endorsement mean anything, but you undermine your credibility on ANY issue every time you make silly blog posts like this one.

by Asuka on Jul 1, 2011 11:20 pm • linkreport

I don't think Gray was trying to undermine everything all along so much as that he was advocating a different leadership style that is inherently less conducive to change.

by Omar on Jul 2, 2011 12:42 am • linkreport

This blog sometimes echoes the call of Daniel Burnham to make no little plans. But with Gray, it seems that GGW readers should be happy so long as the mayor doesn't reverse his predecessor's plans.

Hogwash occasionally hits on something when commenting here - politics are all about "me, me, me." Maybe it's easy to forget that politics boil down to basic priorities, but here's hoping all seeking to advance GGW's goals are more cognizant of that next election cycle. Regardless, thank you for providing this resource and forum - I sincerely hope you don't see these comments as ad hominen.

by D on Jul 2, 2011 12:46 am • linkreport

Many people have made great points and some people have made some very nasty and mean-spirited points. I do want to object to one, which is this recent comment by Anon that posting a rebuttal to some of the criticisms is "thin-skinned."

I realize I'm running the risk of more people saying it's thin-skinned to argue back against people saying it's thin-skinned, but I think this is unfair both in substance and in style.

First off, this is a blog. The point is to discuss issues and have a back and forth. You can't say that it's not appropriate to have a post giving my perspective on an issue that came up in no less than 3 comment threads in the last week. Clearly people want to talk about it. I'm giving that opportunity knowing that it'll lead to attacks. If I really didn't want to be attacked, I'd just delete some of the comments and never mention it.

It's particularly ironic that someone going by "Anon" is the one making that charge, but we've made a decision to allow anonymous/pseudonymous commenting, so I won't go there.

Second, as I've said many times, we want to create a place where people can express opinions and discuss them without getting personally attacked. There are people who won't post their great thoughts on the blog because they know that a small contingent of commenters will cross the line and be very nasty if there's even a small chink in the armor of their argument. This seems to happen when we're talking either politics or race, or especially racially-charged politics.

I don't mind if people attack me; I can take it. But the blog is a community and we have a lot of voices who aren't as used to being somewhat public figures. We need to set a standard of civil conversation about issues even when we're not talking about track circuitry or something else fairly dispassionate.

I've been a little lax in restraining the nastiness on some recent threads, nastiness toward others rather than myself, and I think it's time for that to change.

Asuka: To your comment, it appears you didn't actually read down to the bottom of the post. I suggest doing that.

by David Alpert on Jul 2, 2011 10:02 am • linkreport

David, you wrote in your endorsement:

"If he's elected mayor, I intend to hold him to these promises, and push him to make real progress."

AND

"If, and when, Gray does something I think is wrong, I'll say so."

Those are the two lines in your endorsement that have come back to bite you, David, because you've done neither.

by Anon on Jul 2, 2011 11:06 am • linkreport

David, the reason you're taking so many hits for your support of Gray is simple: It's because of the "we're right, you're wrong" attitude that permeates every single post on this blog, no matter who's writing it.

Just take a look at a sampling of opinions here: Cycle tracks on L and M streets MUST be installed with every single parking spot taken away; the service lane on Connecticut Avenue in Cleveland Park MUST be removed, no matter how much it will hurt the businesses; a bike and a car were in a collision, it MUST be the driver's fault because cyclists never do anything wrong; Gray told me he supports what we believe him, so he MUST be the right choice (never mind that he told everyone else the opposite).

The stories on these subjects are almost laughably one-sided: reasoned dissent is never mentioned -- if there are facts that contradict your thesis they almost certainly will be left out -- or rejected with a dismissive wave of the hand.

This attitude of obnoxious certainty -- "we're right, you're wrong" -- is what's limiting this blog from being truly effective. And it's also why people take such glee from calling you out on your Gray endorsement: because you were very, very wrong.

by Capitol Hill on Jul 2, 2011 11:20 am • linkreport

This attitude of obnoxious certainty -- "we're right, you're wrong" -- is what's limiting this blog from being truly effective. And it's also why people take such glee from calling you out on your Gray endorsement: because you were very, very wrong.

In fairness, the reason for endorsing Gray is because Alpert was less confident in his beliefs and was temperamentally drawn to a candidate like Gray who wasn't a string advocate of much of anything at all other than encouraging people to feel validated. Endorsing Fenty would have seemed to stubborn, too strident for Alpert to be comfortable with.

And while I disagree with Alpert, I understand, actually: Gray's advocates and those alienated by Fenty didn't have much of a voice, By contrast, the people who advocate against downtown cycle tracks and screech about how necessary a few extraneous parking spots in Cleveland Park are cannot shut the heck up and have an outsized voice to the point where their beliefs are simply assumed, without evidence to be correct, while those of us advocating for more bicycle infrastructure and more commercial amenities have to struggle to be heard and make our case in the face of those who think that outdoor dining space in Cleveland Park will kidnap our children and turn us into another Adams Morgan at the same time the economy collapses because of the unavailability of 5 parking spots.

by JustMe on Jul 2, 2011 12:26 pm • linkreport

@ Alpert

Oh, I read it. But I was referencing your ORIGINAL post, the one you MEANT to write before you realized how ridiculous it was. No amount of addendums or cross-outs can hide your stubborn wrong-headedness, nor conceal you inability to acknowledge mistakes.

@ JustMe

"In fairness, the reason for endorsing Gray is because Alpert was less confident in his beliefs and was temperamentally drawn to a candidate like Gray who wasn't a string advocate of much of anything at all other than encouraging people to feel validated. Endorsing Fenty would have seemed to stubborn, too strident for Alpert to be comfortable with."

I agree to a certain extent, but I also think guilt played a large role in Alpert's endorsement, as it often does for so many residents of wards 2 and 3.

by asuka on Jul 2, 2011 12:50 pm • linkreport

Anon: I believe that David Alpert has been critical of Gray and held him accountable. Perhaps not piling on as some would like, but not sweeping things under the rug. A lot of the criticism of Gray has the tinge of invective and implications of corruption and, while I agree that things don't smell quite right, its premature to call for Gray's recall.

by SJE on Jul 2, 2011 1:36 pm • linkreport

Mr. Alpert, you say you want civil discourse (which has been sorely lacking in the comments lately).

The photo caption for this post reads:

He's not mayor. Deal.

Is this an example of the civil discourse you refer to?

by greent on Jul 2, 2011 10:09 pm • linkreport

Perhaps DA should only do dispassionate stories about Gray for a while.

by SJE on Jul 2, 2011 10:20 pm • linkreport

I appreciate David's last comment and would like to make an observation. Fenty was 35 when elected to Mayor of the nations capital. David is also in his early 30's I believe when he started this blog We have a culture in this country that lambastes people for mistakes and seemingly disallows them.

I think that Fenty and Alpert have more in common than David realizes. When you set out to make change, there will be missteps, and some groups feel left out of the process.

We have to allow everyone to make mistakes because it is healthy and leads to dialogue, learning and more substantial change.

The problem that both of these fine gentleman have is admitting mistakes, and that is the most important part of leadership in any forum.

by Bigbananas on Jul 3, 2011 12:43 pm • linkreport

David, I deeply appreciate your nuanced and thoughtful comments on Gray. It is much more sophisticated - and accurate - than the propaganda that the Washington Post has been substituting for news.

Let me put it up front - I am now and have been for years a Gray supporter. Why? Because I know the man well. I worked for him when he headed up DHS, and told him long ago that I hoped someday he would run for mayor. I saw a man ethical and thoughtful in his decision-making, (and when dealing out of the public's eye with his subordinates, he didn't have to display anything other than his true character). God knows he worked hard, but more importantly, he worked well. Those around him thought well of him; I would say that most of us who saw him up close valued him as one of the best persons we ever worked for. We could see he was smart, caring, and entirely decent. He simply treated people well. We saw him as idealistic in what he wanted to accomplish, and effective in bringing his ideas into fruition.

I know DC politics well, and can count the number of Council members who ought to end up in the slammer. A good parlor game these days! Vince did not engage in their sharp practices; trusting those around him to rise to his high level of personal integrity could be his major shortcoming.

I would put much more blame squarely on the Washington Post, which has been thoroughly vindictive towards him. The Post has strayed far, far away from the basic newspaper goal/ideal of fairness and evenhandedness. In its zeal to elect Fenty and its stubborn post-election refusal to accept the public's rejection of its nominee, the Post has completely abandoned impartiality; it is thoroughly slanted and submerged in yellow journalism when it comes to the Gray Administration. It is twisting whatever it can find to put down the Gray Administration regardless of accuracy, and turning its back on its successes. For instance, Gray has made some splendid appointments that the Post has totally ignored. (One grand example is Dr. Mohammad Akhter as Director of Health - a genuine coup). Nor do you read anything of Gray's well-thought-out vision to make DC a more responsive, people-caring and superior city. A Post reader finds none of that at all. It is sad, and I'm glad that you have stepped up to the plate in support of journalistic integrity.

by Susan Meehan on Jul 5, 2011 6:29 am • linkreport

In its zeal to elect Fenty and its stubborn post-election refusal to accept the public's rejection of its nominee, the Post has completely abandoned impartiality; it is thoroughly slanted and submerged in yellow journalism when it comes to the Gray Administration.

Stated much more eloquently but said the same things myself. I just lumped the "media" altogether.

@DAL, There are people who won't post their great thoughts on the blog because they know that a small contingent of commenters will cross the line and be very nasty if there's even a small chink in the armor of their argument.

You've made several statement about this and I will only say that if people are afraid to post on THIS (of all) blogs, then they really only need to write w/in their own church and let the saints say A-men. Why in the hell do they think they need an amen-corner.

by HogWash on Jul 5, 2011 1:33 pm • linkreport

Hogwash, it's not about an amen-corner, it's about personal attacks. It's one thing to be told "your idea is lousy." It is another to be called a racist, or selfish or to be subjected to some other negative personal value judgement.

by David C on Jul 5, 2011 1:43 pm • linkreport

David --

In my view, you made a pragmatic decision to endorse Gray based on (a) the fact that he was probably going to win and (b) the fact that he is at least willing to listen to our ideas, and he even was more willing to do so if you had a seat at the table. It is not the decision I would have made, but I respected it. In contrast, I think the better decision would have been to endorse Fenty -- someone who had a proven track record of being pretty good on our issues -- particularly since seemingly abandoning him could reduce the likelihood that someone in the future would take strong positions on our issues for fear that they might get thrown under the bus. Nonetheless, I agree that this point is open for debate and your decision to endorse Grey had its benefits.

What I don't get is this post, here, today. David, for better or worse, you have emerged as a leader of a substantial number people in the District and the surrounding area who share a certain point of view. The decisions that you make matter. Your decision to endorse Grey was one of consequence not just for you, but for the entire community. The wisdom of that decision should be constantly debated. Any pronouncements that you on Grey will continue to have consequences because of your position in our community, like or not. If some people who comment want you to speak out--to say that you were wrong about the endorsement, or to say that you're having doubts, or whatever--they should continue to ask you to do so. Why? Because you speaking out has more consequence than any of them speaking out.

There will always be hyperbolic commentators on both sides of the aisle. But who you endorse and what you say, David, matters. And if I can have any impact on your decisionmaking in a comment thread, or offer constructive criticism of past decisions such that you might make different ones in the future, I will continue to try and do so for the good of our community.

by Matt on Jul 5, 2011 2:00 pm • linkreport

(forgive my misspelling of Gray, above)

by Matt on Jul 5, 2011 2:02 pm • linkreport

Vince did not engage in their sharp practices; trusting those around him to rise to his high level of personal integrity could be his major shortcoming.

Former president Grant has some history on this subject Mayor Gray might want to look into.

Still dealing with civil discourse. Dealio, Dealio.

by greent on Jul 5, 2011 3:05 pm • linkreport

DavidC, what you are looking for in a blog is a needle in a haystack. Do you think that those who've criticized DAl for supporting Gray (or any other matter) have thrown gingerbread and flowers his way?

If I were a writer, I would ABSOLUTELY not be feeling my words having been twisted by an anonymous online personality? Of course not, but unfortunately that goes with the territory and nowadays, you gotta have tefloncrodile skin..you just day. This is quite different from a publication because it's more interactive. I firmly believe that if the heat is too hot in the blogokitchen, just stay away. Hurt feelings just don't account for much now. You write so that people can respond and in doing so, you gotta take the lumps.

@Matt, that's almost a no-win argument. There is no one other than the previous mayor who could have seemingly been a better advocate for "your issues" since most of the improvement we say happened under his tenure. Gray aside, I don't think anyone other than Gabe Klein himself would have been good for "your issues." So although I understand your point here, I think many people are presenting too many false arguments when discussing who shouldawouldacoulda.

To the rest of your point, had David voted FOR the losing candidate, how exactly does that help the "community" any more than what we have now? David would've supported Fenty, Fenty would have ultimately lost, and Klein's deputy would still be the DDOT head and the cycle tracks would still be put on hold. How does that benefit the larger community?

This is what befuddles me about many of D's detractors here. The endorsement mattered little..one way or the other. the only thing it does is allow people to complain that D didn't support their favorite candidate in a HOW COULD YOU sorta way.

I'm all for joining together and blah blah blah but as a point of pure democracy, chastising people for whom they CHOOSE to vote for is the height of ridiculousness. It's HIS vote. Not yours, mine but HIS. HIS personal decision. That's what we're debating..David Alpert's PERSONAL decision that many of you disagree with.

Although I'm glad that he is gone, I don't think Gabe would've remained in DC even if Fenty would have won. Not when Chicago is calling and his footprint could be much larger.

by HogWash on Jul 5, 2011 4:40 pm • linkreport

OMG, didn't realize that was sooo long. Sorry :(

by HogWash on Jul 5, 2011 4:41 pm • linkreport

There has been no debate here, this was not about debate, this was a David Alpert "why are you all picking on me and who I chose to endorse" blog rant. Then DA tries to turn it into a "we'll have to support the mayor, he's the mayor, and why can't we all be civil" discussion. See DA's comment on Jul 2, 2011 10:02 am about "Anon" and not commenting on the anonymous nature of the post. He wrote about it then said he won't comment on it which is HILARIOUS as he commented on it! Seriously?!?!

When one wades into politics, one gets blasted for it, whichever way one chooses. It's why endorsements from issue based groups are fraught with danger. A blog about smart growth should be about smart growth regardless of the office-holder.

I would still like to hear about the myops on this board, and how David will reconcile his "Deal" comments with "civil discourse" mantra. One Blog?

by greent on Jul 5, 2011 5:20 pm • linkreport

What @hogwash does not understand when he asks what Alpert's emdorsement matters is simple. It's his and the blogs credibility. That's what was lost.

by Zorn on Jul 7, 2011 1:18 am • linkreport

I'm glad you addressed this issue Dave, because you are right when you say that even slightest negative post or piece about Gray, or for that matter anything remotely related to Gray, is followed by many comments from several different people pretty much saying I told you so. The comment section on any blog is for the readers to get involved and express their thoughts and feelings on issues, and this does include expressing their dislike towards Gray and your endorsement of him.

However, it has become very tiresome, and in the end you are correct when you suggest we need to move forward. I too have wanted to say I told you so about Gray, but it doesn't really matter at this point. Fenty is out and gone and Gray is here. Overall, you and GGW put a lot of work and effort into this blog and the smart growth movement, and we are all better for having you around. Finally, I do respect the ballsyness of going out and endorsing Gray - not the safe play at all and also one in which you believed in - even if I think that decision was preposterous.

by Ryan on Jul 7, 2011 9:57 am • linkreport

Just want to say, love GGW, and appreciate and respect DA for putting it--and keeping it--together. Having said that, any time we see a bit of news about Gray that isn't particularly good, you're going to hear about it on GGW. Some of it's going to be good-natured ribbing; some unhinged screeds.

Probably the best strategy at this point is to ignore it. Otherwise, you just show your detractors they're getting under your skin. ;)

by oboe on Jul 7, 2011 10:54 am • linkreport

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