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Experience says vote Fenty, but don't count out Gray

This is the first of three personal endorsements on Fenty-Gray. See Ken's and David's.

Four years ago I was worried about Adrian Fenty. I feared that he lacked vision and would cave to parochial concerns. I'm glad to say I was wrong.

Photo by DCMatt on Flickr.

With the streetcar project making strong progress and bike lanes all over the city, I've become a Fenty fan. He hasn't been perfect, but his overall record shows clearly that he supports urbanist goals. I am completely comfortable giving him another term to accomplish even more.

Then there's his opponent, Vince Gray. David has put up a spirited defense of Gray, which I'd like very much to believe is accurate. And maybe it is. Maybe Vince Gray has learned his lesson on streetcars, and maybe some of his statements about bike and bus lanes were out of context.

I just don't know. I hope so, but I don't know.

Just like it's hard for me to believe Fenty when he says he'll suddenly become a nicer guy if he's reelected, it's hard for me to believe that Gray will suddenly become an urbanist.

The best I can hope for from Vince Gray is that if he is elected he'll pull an Adrian Fenty and prove my fears misdirected. On the other hand, I already know for a fact that Fenty supports my opinions on urbanist issues.

If Gray wins, and it turns out that he has been honest with his campaign promises and his administration produces a better, more mobile, green, and well-developed city, then four years from now I will endorse Vince Gray for reelection wholeheartedly.

But in the mean time, I know for a fact that Adrian Fenty is with me on most policy issues, and simply can't say with any certainty the same for Vince Gray. Thus, Adrian Fenty will get my vote.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

Dan Malouff is a transportation planner for Arlington and professor of geography at George Washington University, but blogs to express personal views. He has a degree in urban planning from the University of Colorado, and lives in NE DC. He runs BeyondDC and contributes to the Washington Post


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If this race were solely about urbanist issues, I think I would be voting for Fenty, hands down. However, there are larger, systemic problems with the Fenty Administration.

If you really look at the management issues, the churn in leadership (which really inhibits progress) and the burn rate on the school modernization funds and on the DC Budget surplus, you will see a manager who has a minimal handle on how to handle people or money.

Going forward, the budget is going to be a serious challenge. Without community and Council support, it will be increasingly difficult to fill an agenda based on "getting things done".

I am more willing to place my HOPE in the idea that a Gray Administration will better manage the budget and continue many of the policies readers in this forum appreciate, then to continue on the management path of Adrian Fenty, which has a track record of overpayment of monies to under qualified vendors, and the replacement of good people who are unwilling to comply with illegal activities.

by William on Sep 13, 2010 12:09 pm • linkreport

Gray's administrative history isn't that strong--just look at his performance in the Kelly administration. Part of what's needed is for Council to exercise it's watchdog functions better than it has in the past.

by Rich on Sep 13, 2010 12:34 pm • linkreport

The ONLY reason I can't vote for Gray is his support from the local and national Teachers Unions who are out to discredit Michelle Rhee at any cost. They have made this a racial issue.

by keithdc on Sep 13, 2010 12:53 pm • linkreport

Well said in the article, Dan! That is exactly why I early voted for Fenty. DDOT's incredible gains under Gabe Klein are far too valuable to risk under a new administration whose head employs right-hand Committee of 100 anti-urbanists and who thinks that the uber-subsidized parking is still charging an under-market price Gray calls "outrageous" for asking too much of drivers, notwithstanding the penalties suffered by pedestrians and cyclists.

by Jeb on Sep 13, 2010 1:04 pm • linkreport

I think it's a little easier to believe Fenty will be a nicer guy, since his personality looks like it may have cost them the election.

by Steven Yates on Sep 13, 2010 1:27 pm • linkreport

I understand that Fenty is a polarizing figure, but you should not discount all the progress that has occurred since he's been in office.

Many folks say that all this progress should be credited to Williams and not Fenty. I commend Mayor Williams for what he's done, he definitely helped prime the engine as far as progress in the District goes. But we have to acknowledge that Fenty continued that progress and has exceeded expectations.

I 'like' Gray much more than I 'like' Fenty, but Gray is becoming a 'yes' man. He's promised the world to about every special interest group that has approached him. Should Gray be elected, I think he'll end up disappointing quite a few folks. Especially once he realizes that the resources are limited, but the asks are unlimited.

As an African-American, I'm disheartened by the strategy to make everything a race issue. (Side note: Marion Barry is usually at the front of that parade...when in doubt, bring up the race factor.) I'm not blind to the world and the inequalities that exist within it, but we will get progress as a city, country, state, etc if we continue to make race an issue.

I am 100% behind Fenty and I hope that District residents take a step back from their emotions, think about the tangible results in our once frowned upon city and give the man another chance...he deserves at least that much. I am so confident that he will not disappoint us.

Go Fenty!!

by Ward2Constiuent on Sep 13, 2010 2:01 pm • linkreport

Dan, you expressed my feelings exactly.

by David C on Sep 13, 2010 9:35 pm • linkreport

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