Greater Greater Washington

Government


Thank you, Gabe!

Gabe Klein won't be continuing as head of DDOT, but let's give him a big round of applause for his dedicated service. Here are a few kind words about Gabe from a few of the over 1,000 signers of our petition:


Photo by dbking on Flickr.

I've lived in DC for almost 10 years now. Director Klein has transformed DDOT into one of the few DC departments that actively engages with the citizens, keeping us informed and listening to our ideas. From big projects like streetcars to little things like street lights that are pointed in the right direction, I know that I can trust Mr. Klein's DDOT to get the job done.
Vincent Mareino, Ward 1

Under his appointment I have seen more improvement and positive impact than in all of my previous 15 years in the District.
Megan Nash, Ward 2

He has been very proactive on transportation issues. I even had a "chat" with him on the internet about an issue I was concerned about. We were "chatting" long after what I would consider a normal quitting time.
Stephanie Partridge, Ward 3

I'm not a planning or transportation professional, just a 12-year DC resident. And I've come to realize how important the accomplishments of these individuals have been. The plans I see from the respective departments of Ms. Tregoning and Mr. Klein have been a great fit for the District, they have have been better communicated, and I have seen the results whether I'm driving my kids to school, biking to work, or riding Metro all over the city. They are professionals who do their jobs well, with great ideas and great results.
John King, Ward 4

I love the fact that I can drive, walk, metro, bus or ride my bike almost anyware in the City that I have called home, property tax payer and all, for over 15 years.
Guillermo Saenz, Ward 5

My personal opinion is that since Gabe Klein came on to oversee DDOT, the agency has improved exponentially. The response for calls for service are prompt and complete, the website for DDOT and inputing service requests has been simplified. Overall, under Mr. Klein's leadership, DDOT is an organization that has become the standard for cities nationwide, as well it should be since it represents "Our Nation's Captial".
Chad W. Lewis, Ward 6

Mr. Klein has been an amazing public servant. From issues small to large, he has been receptive to ideas, suggestions and concerns every time I have contacted him. In fact, the first time I contacted him with my transportation concerns I received a personal response from him in just a few hours. This was very unexpected, but also quite welcome. Later, when a problem arose in my neighborhood, Mr. Klein made sure a representative from DDOT was on hand to meet with residents and hear their concerns.
Tracy Russo, Ward 6

I am very happy with the improvements made to DC's transportation infrastructure during the last few years. The diversification of optionsmore bike lanes, upcoming streetcars, etcare only improving my quality of life, and I really enjoy having choices about how I travel around the city.
Joe Vess, Ward 7

Ms. Tregoning and Mr. Klein have opened the District of Columbia up to what its potential can and should be. I am behind their overall ideas, work, and communication with the public 100%. ... Mr. Gray, you could ask for no more than the brilliance these two have provided. And you will be hard-pressed to find replacements to even fill even half of their shoes.
Eric Wrigley, Ward 8

Let's hope Gabe Klein's successor continues these great works so that we can say as many great things about him or her in a few years as so many of you did about Gabe.

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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David et al: thanks for your passion and support over the last 2 years. Reading these comments makes all of the long hours worthwhile. Public activism and involvement are very important, and I hope GGW continues to grow and prosper, and hold our public officials responsible for making sound choices around transportation, development and more. Also, sprinkling in some light hearted and/or positive stuff (like this) has been great too. Keep it up! -gabe

by Gabe on Dec 8, 2010 4:32 pm • linkreport

Thank you Gabe! You are going to be sorely missed. (18 YO ward 3 resident)

by Dan on Dec 8, 2010 5:11 pm • linkreport

This was posted on DCist. With all of the DC cyclists who read this blog, perhaps someone might recognize the cyclist:

Elderly Man Involved In Bicycle Hit-and-Run DiesThis is just incredibly sad: the Post reports that Quan Chu, a 78-year-old D.C. resident who was hit by a bicyclist in an alley off the 600 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW on November 26, has died as a result of his injuries. Police are still searching for the person riding the bike, who allegedly pedaled away after knocking down both Chu and an elderly woman who was walking alongside him that morning. The woman, who has not been identified, was also hospitalized after the incident. According to police, the cyclist, who was riding a "BMX-style bicycle" and wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, left the scene around 10 a.m. and headed south through the alley toward I Street NW -- anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact authorities at 202-727-9099 or 1-888-919-2746, or anonymously via 1-866-411-TIPS.

by Bob on Dec 8, 2010 5:53 pm • linkreport

Peace out (21 YO WARD 7 resident)

by Shadow Inc. on Dec 8, 2010 6:06 pm • linkreport

Thanks Gabe! Sorry David and the gang at GGW got you fired and all!

by oboe on Dec 8, 2010 9:26 pm • linkreport

David, you endorsed Vincent Gray over Adrian Fenty for Mayor during the Democratic primary. Now that you know Gray will not retain Gabe Klein--a leader who seems to reflect everything that GGW stands for-- do you regret your decision?

I'm very interested in your response, as I suspect a lot of your readers may be wondering the same thing.

by Walkable on Dec 8, 2010 9:39 pm • linkreport

oboe, that is some funny stuff.

by David C on Dec 8, 2010 11:22 pm • linkreport

We're calling on everyone who owns a bicycle to ride it tomorrow (thursday) in support of Mr. Klein and all he has done. Let's flood the streets with bicycles!

by BicycleSPACE on Dec 8, 2010 11:25 pm • linkreport

Calling on all with a bicycle or bikeshare membership to take to the streets tomorrow to show support for Mr. Klein and progress!

by BicycleSPACE on Dec 8, 2010 11:31 pm • linkreport

David, you endorsed Vincent Gray over Adrian Fenty for Mayor during the Democratic primary. Now that you know Gray will not retain Gabe Klein--a leader who seems to reflect everything that GGW stands for-- do you regret your decision?

I have no idea how anyone could be so naive as to believe there would be any other outcome: it is pretty much standard for a new administration to replace the previous administration's entire cabinet. If Dave Alpert didn't realize that people like Klein were going to go, then he's guilty of extreme ignorance.

by Tyro on Dec 8, 2010 11:42 pm • linkreport

Gabe, Gabe, Gabe we hardly knew ye! From your days as zipcar office manager (and no, the VW bug really wouldn't start), to dupont circle house flipper, to purveyor of hard boiled eggs (the sad spectacle of the smart kafes and their hip, transgendered sales people hoping and waiting for someone to come and buy said eggs was a precious tableau), to defiler of union station - not to mention the bike lanes to nowhere - what will we do without you? Yours has to be the most classless, immature exit ever. Suggestion: why don't you, Bryan, and Linda race the smartbikes down PA avenue! The winner gets a QR tag tattoo! (and a year's worth of hard boiled eggs).

by zipcar_rebel on Dec 9, 2010 7:17 am • linkreport

@Oboe; Dave Alpert didn't get Gabe fired. Fenty losing got Gabe fired, and in the end that was mostly Fenty's (and Rhee's) fault. Sorry. Alpert's endorsement did very little, and Fenty's budding corruption, arrogance, and inability to communicate probably did a lot more.

My girlfriend got excited about bikes after seeing the separated track on 15th st. Gives new people a chance to explore Washington by bike, which is wonderful.

Thank you, Gabe, for making transportation policy a bit more sexy.

by charlie on Dec 9, 2010 8:40 am • linkreport

You know, holding a press conference to let the world know you were fired is probably very good justification for why you were fired.

So far, Klein and Rhee were the only two Fenty cabinet members to hold press events about their leaving.

Anyone think any other cabinet members' egos will demand a similar press event?

by Fritz on Dec 9, 2010 8:59 am • linkreport

@Fritz, I'm glad someone else has pointed this out. Not only did Klein decide to hold the press conference, he also stated that it probably wasn't a good fit for him after all since in his words, the job would be more administrative.

Yet he should have been retained?

by HogWash on Dec 9, 2010 9:12 am • linkreport

@HogWash

Yet he should have been retained?

People are looking for signs about Gray's priorities. Klein represents one data point. Elimination of things like the unified fund represent another data point.

Klein's entreprenuerial approach was the best thing about his tenure at DDOT. Things got done. Replacing him and eliminating the unified fund (a Dan Tangerlini innovation, by the way) are both a step in a different direction.

Gray has another chance to provide a data point when he appoints a new DDOT Director - and hopefully that will tell us exactly which direction Gray wants to step in.

by Alex B. on Dec 9, 2010 9:27 am • linkreport

Charlie, it was a joke. Hyperbole is an oft-used humor device. When you hear the joke "My wife is so fat, when she sits around the house, she sits AROUND the house.", do you think the woman is actually so large that she fully encircles the house? You must be a lot of fun at parties.

by David C on Dec 9, 2010 9:33 am • linkreport

@HogWash

I personally am glad he publicized his departure and highlighted the likelihood that his successor will have to deal with a more administrative system at DDOT. It puts more pressure on Gray to allow progress to continue apace, else risk alienation of a large group of DC residents.

by Yan on Dec 9, 2010 9:36 am • linkreport

David, don't you have a better picture of Gabe Klein to put up. He looks like a middle-easter terrorist in this pic.

by Lance on Dec 9, 2010 9:59 am • linkreport

typo *eastern

by Lance on Dec 9, 2010 10:00 am • linkreport

What does it say about Lance that he cares enough to correct the spelling on his obliquely racist trolling?

by jcm on Dec 9, 2010 10:35 am • linkreport

@Alex, thanks for your response. I really knew little about this fund but thankfully GGW did a pretty good cover on the story - one of which I didn't read until now.

Based on what I've read here and other places, I can't comfortably say I know what's best in this situation. I do know that I don't agree with the speed of light approach taken over the past several years, not just with DDOT but DC government across the board. There have been major improvements but mishaps as well.

Personally, I was much more indifferent about whether Klein stays or goes than I was with Michelle Rhee, whom I would not have supported under any circumstance. However, I saw Klein's "presser" in the same way I saw Michelle's "devastating" quote. A slap in the face to the incoming administration. Admittedly, I could be totally wrong about Klein, but it is rather untoward that he thought being so vocal about his leaving was a good thing.

It seems as if he plays the same hand as Michelle Rhee and on a good day, that's never a good thing. That is unless plan on making a name for yourself which seems to be her only goal.

by HogWash on Dec 9, 2010 10:48 am • linkreport

@HogWash

I don't know how you can compare this to Rhee.

For one, Klein only talked after he was told he wouldn't be back. Rhee talked right after the election. That's a huge difference.

Two, Klein's point is about how government functions, not about whether DDOT focuses on bike lanes or not. Klein's DDOT is trending towards an active, entrepreneurial agency. If Gray wants to maintain that, then why dump him? We'll see what his eventual appointment says about that. However, things like eliminating the unified fund are a step away from flexibility and entrepreneurship.

by Alex B. on Dec 9, 2010 10:55 am • linkreport

There have been major improvements but mishaps as well.

Whereas before the supposed "speed of light" approach, as you call it, DC was doing just great!

by JustMe on Dec 9, 2010 11:13 am • linkreport

@Alex, did you miss the part where Klein stated it probably wasn't a good fit for him? It doesn't matter whether he made the statement before he was ousted or after. The point is, he didn't think enough to bridle his tongue and keep his comments to himself. Holding a presser is not mandatory. He chose to. So for me, the proper comparison is the fact that both of them chose to publicly express their dissatisfaction with the new administration's choices. In that regard, there is really nothing I can commend Klein on. It was tactless.

Again, I don't know a lot about the guy. In fact, I only learned about him after reading this site. However, based on at least what he stated yesterday, he seems to think that his way of doing things represents the best (and only) way of moving DC progressively forward. I think it is an arrogant position to take.

Certainly, there will be those who disagree but that's what I sensed in his statement. That they (Gray) will do things differently and I don't like it.

by HogWash on Dec 9, 2010 11:47 am • linkreport

@jcm ... It's the way half his head is hidden by his hand ... not a flattering picture at all ... Not Klein's fault ... I may not agree with the way he implemented the policies that were handed down to him, but you won't see me demonizing him as this pic does. I'm surprised David woud have picked this picture for Klein for this particular post.

by Lance on Dec 9, 2010 12:39 pm • linkreport

Lance, is that Klein on the photo or some photoshopped caricature of him? I'm not sure if David had the time nor the desire to search the archives for a "better" pic of Klein. Moreover, what does a middle eastern terrorist look like? Middle Eastern I assume? One can easily read your post as bigoted. He either looks middle eastern or like a terroist. Fortunately, it can't be both.

In sum, you seem to have an unhealthy disposition toward middle easterners. It's akin to taking a similar photo of Fenty and claim that he is being demonized as an african american terrorist.

by HogWash on Dec 9, 2010 1:54 pm • linkreport

Re: the DDOT Unified Fund - it's not about restricting DDOT's "entrepreneurial spirit"; it's about replenishing the General Fund without having to amend the statute each year during the Budget Support Act promulgation.

And, probably to a lesser extent, it's a slap at the use of the money by Klein, Ricks, & Co.

by Fritz on Dec 9, 2010 2:00 pm • linkreport

@HogWash, Not at all. It's simply that this pic reminds me of the pictures of Palestinian and other terrorists that Time Magazine and others would have on their front covers whenever the lead story was about some problem with hijackers or the like. Same kind of pics were around after 9/11 re: Osama Bin Laden. The picture is poorly lit, the subject's eyes don't look 'natural' , etc. Maybe you're not old enough to remember these unflattering pictures chosen to make the guys look 'extra bad'? Nothing racist about my comments. Btw, I don't think David photoshopped it either. But I think he could have picked a more flattering pic ... and still could. Not too late to change it ...

by Lance on Dec 9, 2010 2:20 pm • linkreport

Lance, can you find an example of this proto-typical "Middle Eastern Terrorist" photo for us? Preferably from a Time magazine cover.

by David C on Dec 9, 2010 2:22 pm • linkreport

@Lance, It's the way half his head is hidden by his hand,/i>

He's waving goodbye and smiling.

Demonizing??? I'm speechless at this accusation and also at your interpretation of what he looks like.

by Tina on Dec 9, 2010 2:31 pm • linkreport

@Lance:
Okay, some people might disagree with me on this one, but I don't think Mahmoud Ahmadinejad qualifies as a terrorist.

I also don't see how Gabe Klein's appearance or your feelings about the association between middle easterners and terrorism are particularly germane to this post.

by Matt Johnson on Dec 9, 2010 2:50 pm • linkreport

lol@Lance, did Umar (underwear bomber) look like a Nigerian terrorist? Or was he a terrorist who happened to be nigerian?

Unless you are looking at the photo hoping to peer into his soul, don't you think the analysis of his "eyes" is over the top and beyond? If not, you should. For no other reason than the fact that you have equated his perceived nationality to terrorism. Either way, it's still a bigoted position.

by HogWash on Dec 9, 2010 2:50 pm • linkreport

That's Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran. I will admit a slight resemblance in the composition of the photos. But Ahmadinejad isn't a terrorist.

by David C on Dec 9, 2010 2:50 pm • linkreport

Lance, Ahmadeni is not a terrorist. He's the president of Iran. I could have easily posted a photo of a middle easterner. I think you've been asked to show a photo of a middle eastern terrorist and in this case, the ones who Klein's photo reminds you of.

by HogWash on Dec 9, 2010 2:54 pm • linkreport

Yet another sad day, in what will likely be many sad days in the next 4 years. Gabe and DDOT did amazing work and will be missed in this city.

by dcguy82 on Dec 9, 2010 2:58 pm • linkreport

Yes, that's Ahmadinejad ... And whether one considers him a terrorist or not, you're not likely to find flattering pictures of him in the International press ... and that was my point. It has nothing to do with ethnicity. It has to do with the picture's composition etc. Now, enough of this conversation!

by Lance on Dec 9, 2010 3:09 pm • linkreport

Oboe, bad example on your part. There'll all 'good' pics of people ... heading leaning down and forward toward you (for the most part), smiles, good light on the face, etc. I don't think you got the gist of what we're talking about.

by Lance on Dec 9, 2010 4:47 pm • linkreport

@Lance

Clearly what freaks you out about this picture is:
1. His face is HUGE and takes up a large portion of the frame.
2. The beard.

Your original comment was in poor taste; you'd do well to take your own advice and drop it.

by MLD on Dec 9, 2010 5:08 pm • linkreport

no ... look at the hand hiding the face and then the 'bad eyes' shot ... not his fault, just a bad picture. I may not have liked the way he planned/implemented things at DDOt, but he deserves to have a better pic on this post of all posts.

by Lance on Dec 9, 2010 5:11 pm • linkreport

in particular the 'close up' showing up under 'Most Active Posts" ... It really is freaky ...

by Lance on Dec 9, 2010 5:12 pm • linkreport

Maybe we can do a call in campaign to David to get a better pic for Gabe Klein here! You know, spam the phones and all ... Like David did when Gray didn't agree with him on how the streetcar system should be implemented.

by Lance on Dec 9, 2010 5:19 pm • linkreport

It's hard to believe how one man can do so much against a system that did not welcome his forethought. Gabe, you have truly 'earned your stripes' and have changed people's thinking. Not alot of people are visionaries ... coming from the private sector and can move a bureaucracy. Best of luck to you and stay local! We need you! RW

by Randy Weiss on Dec 10, 2010 7:17 am • linkreport

Klein's hubris has damaged the rank and file of dot and this will become evident within 2 years as the agency is now utterly incapable of producing the detailed plans for innovative projects. Why? Because Klein fired or forced out key staff that delivered the signature projects for which Klein stole the credit. Chris Ziemann, the planner that conceived and led the15th St contraflow lane - forced out. Callistus Nwadike - the planner responsible for the Marie Reed contraflow lane! Sherman Ave, and Columbia Heights - fired by Klein. Nurul Haque - traffic engineer that approved reducing car lanes in favor of wide sidewalks and bike lanes in Columbia Heights - fired by Klein, Mike Jellan - IPMA engineer that championed Columbia Heights! Sherman Ave, E St road diet, reducing 4th Street from 4 lanes to 2 lanes around McMillan reservoir and creating the McMillan/Park/Warder bike route - forced out by Klein. The ENTIRE Anacostia Waterfront Initiative team was fired or forced out by Klein. Klein's legacy is one of stealing credit for innovative ideas that originated before he was the Ddot Director and then firing or forcing out the many of the creative staff that should have been credited. Klein drove the wedge between planners and engineers that poisons Ddot culture today. Klein hired a core group of technically incompetent "yes-men/women" to executive positions who would allow him to believe the fairy tale that he alone was responsible for the delivery of signature projects that started while he was still a food-cart vendor. Klein was a poor joke forced on the residents of the District - the eviscerated Ddot he has left for Gray, sadly, is no laughing matter.

by SL on Dec 11, 2010 10:20 am • linkreport

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