City Desk

Vince Gray Rallies Supporters With Feisty Attacks on Fenty

Since Vincent C. Gray declared his intention to run for mayor late last month, LL and others have been wondering: What's this campaign going to be about? Gray made it clear at his official kickoff rally this afternoon: Incumbent Adrian Fenty.

In a 25-minute speech delivered inside the Carnegie Library building in Mount Vernon Square, Gray took repeated swipes to Fenty in a speech rife with references to "sweetheart deals" and "cronyism." The crowd of hundreds, which included councilmembers Yvette Alexander, Michael Brown, Phil Mendelson, ate it up.

"There are some who say, 'Who cares if the mayor ruffles some feathers? He’s getting results.' To them, I have a simple message: That ain’t good enough," Gray said in a challenge to Fenty's governing style. "You know what happens when you’re always knocking heads? People walk away with a really big headache. And I don’t know about you, but I never work effectively when I have a headache."

Gray also made it clear that he's willing to go toe-to-toe with Fenty on his signature issue: education. In the speech and in remarks to reporters afterward, the candidate made it clear that wants to be judged on an issue where Fenty can and will claim serious progress as mayor.

"I remain committed to school reform," Gray said, but added that "we need a mayor who understands that the best way to achieve real and lasting change is to involve the community, not just impose his will."

On education, as well as the other issues he addressed, Gray promised to adopt holistic strategies to addressing key problems without offering much in the way of detail. "We can’t just look at government as a bunch of separate initiatives," he said. "We need to connect the dots and look at a comprehensive and robust approach to solving our problems." Detailed policy proposals, he promised, would be issued in the coming weeks.

He did offer some specifics: On education, Gray promised to work to improve the District's special-education programs, in order to reduce the number of D.C. kids sent to private programs—a huge budget drain for both tuition and transportation. He took a page from the Kwame Brown playbook, emphasizing a return to vocational and technical education. He said he'd reduce emphasis on standardized testing. And he pledged to "stop neglecting the University of the District of Columbia" and to make it a "first-class state university."

Gray was less specific on his jobs strategy, if more biting in his critique of Fenty. "We’ll restore fairness, integrity, cost-efficiency, and transparency to the economic development process by putting an end to 'pay to play,'" Gray pledged, adding that "a mayor should create jobs for everyone in D.C., not just friends and cronies."

Same deal on public safety: Gray called nebulously for "effective partnership between law enforcement, the communities they serve, and the mayor's office." And then came the nod to the incumbent: "When violence erupts on our streets, people shouldn’t have to ask where their leaders are"—a clear reference to the fact that Fenty was on vacation when four were killed in last month's drive-by shooting on South Capitol Street.

The hits kept on coming: "It seems like every day there’s another story about mismanaged public dollars and shady deals," Gray said. "We read about a school system that can’t even figure out if it needs to fire teachers because it has a deficit, or give them raises because it has a surplus. We were promised transparency and openness, but read about sweetheart deals and cronyism....People want a mayor who works with the [D.C. Council] and with residents to get results. Sadly what they see is childish bickering over silly things like baseball tickets, and contempt for the will of the people."

And the coup de grace: "As your mayor, my sincerity doesn’t end when I knock on your door, asking for your vote."

In a rare personal note early in the speech, Gray described a hardscrabble upbringing in a one-bedroom apartment near Gallaudet University, having to share a rollaway bed with his brother. He described his time at Dunbar High School and his integration of the George Washington University fraternity system, before describing his advocacy on behalf of the developmentally disabled.

Even those warmhearted stories morphed into Fenty slams: As a member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at Dunbar, he said, "I learned you can work hard and achieve a leadership position, but you have to work hard and be a leader in order to keep it. That's a lesson some of our public leaders could stand to learn."

Even more subtly: "I was an athlete, where I learned the importance of working together as a team," he said—no doubt aware that Fenty, too, is an athlete, albeit in individual-oriented sporting endeavors.

Gray read his remarks for a teleprompter, often inserting "my friends" in the text, John McCain-style. Repeatedly he was interrupted by the hundreds-strong crowd with chants of "Go Vince Gray" and once instance of "Send Fenty home."

He closed his speech with an invocation of his long-running "One City" campaign theme. The PA then blasted the Black Eyed Peas' "Let's Get It Started."

After the speech, in brief comments to reporters, Gray addressed the tone of his speech: "I think a lot of people who voted for this mayor feel like they voted for somebody who turned out to be different than the person they voted for," he said. "There's a lot of anger out there–anger I haven't seen in the past in the District of Columbia, and I've been here my entire life."

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  • F. Douglass

    Vince Gray ROCKED!!!

  • candycane1

    His kick-off was absolutely fantastic! I suggest that anyone who is ready for the Fenty RAT pack to pack up, join the Gray campaign!

  • F. Douglass

    fyi...sinclair skinner pal ronald motten of the peaceoholics was at Chairman Gray's kick-off sniffing around for a backroom deal...

  • proballdc

    Go Gray!!!

  • candycane1

    @F. Douglas: I saw DC's no.1 thug too!

  • DB

    Gray's dancing on losing my vote.

    Sweetheart deal, crony and sincerity criticisms are valid.

    But you don't mayor by committee. If he isn't prepared to knock heads, he's not ready for executive life. Being executive means having valid vision and imposing it--not kicking the dirt and passing the buck.

    Good speech for an AFSCME union rally. Not for a future mayor.

    Let's see those policy proposals. Come on Vincent Gray, don't blow this.

  • Big suprise

    Another attack fest of an election. Gray acts like a slimey politician.

    That will float for about a month.

    Then, people wil realize that he has nothing to offer.

  • WARD4DC

    As I prepare to attend Dr Dorothy Height funeral this week to celebrate her life, I cannot forget Mayor Adrian Fenty refused to meet with her and Dr. Maya Angelou in 2009. Dr. Height is an important part of black and American history and how dare Mayor Fenty to ignore and refusal to meet with her. Now that she's deceased, Mayor Adrian Fenty want to recognize her, but he should have done that before she passed away and gave Dr. Height her flowers in life.

    I was a big supporter of Mayor Adrian Fenty in the beginning during his run against the former Ward 4 Councilmember Charlene Drew-Jarvis. Mayor Fenty has shown little concern for mental health and the mentally ill in the District of Columbia. Mayor Fenty closed and privatized the D.C. Department of Mental Health and he nor any D.C. Councilmembers have visited the 35 K Street, N.E. location to talk with D.C. mental health consumers.

    This D.C. voter will not be casting his vote for Mayor Adrian Malik Fenty nor his puppet Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser in 2010 and 2012.

    Ward 4 Muriel Bowser has been campaigning for Mayor Fenty and knocking on D.C. residents doors with Vincent Gray signs in their yards in Crestwood, Brightwood, Brightwood Park, Petworth, Shepherd Park, Lamond-Riggs, 16th Street Heights, Colonial Village, and North Portal Estates. Ward 4 D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser is asking Vincent Gray supporters with signs in their Ward 4 yards, why are they supporting Vincent Gray and not her Lord and Savior Mayor Adrian M. Fenty? How dare Ward 4 D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser to question the political choices of Ward 4 voters. Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser had better not knock on my door because I might curse her out.

  • D

    If Candycane1 is voting for Gray then you can bet people who are literate are voting for Fenty.

    I have two words for Vincent Gray supporters: Illegal Fence

  • noodlez

    FENTY NEED TO KEEP TRAINING HARD BECAUSE THE ONLY JOB HE IS GOING TO HAVE AFTER SEPTEMBER IS BEING A TRIATHLETE.

    WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE $10K BIKE?

    WE CAN DO BETTER THAN FENTY, GRAHAM, GAYTANIA, BOWSER AND LANIER!

  • candycane1

    @D: If your definition of literacy includes the likes of a Ron Moten, no command of the language Skinner and apparently you, well then you are correct.

  • Brahmin (pronounced Brah ming)

    Is writing on deadline a problem for you, Mike Debonis.

  • Wendy Glenn

    @D, you are trying to compare a fence being put up without a permit (not proven) to Sinclair Skinner and Bannaker Ventures? Now that is grasping at straws to build a house to topple Mr. Gray...it does not EVEN begin to compare. I will forgive an oversight of paying a city agency to put up a fence around property that I own, as apposed to taking city tax dollars an funneling them to my dry cleaner friend who cannot even articulate his Engineering credentials, PLEASE try another form of attack.

    It is a complete shame and disgrace that there have been intimidation, strongarming, and threats of termination from jobs if DC residents put Vince Gray signs in their yards. As an African-American I am beyong appalled. Blacks and women have fought for this very basic right; to cast our vote for whomever we choose and now to have Councilmembers, Agency Directors, and Fenty Administration crony's threaten folk with retaliation if they exercise a basic right is an insult to the civil rights movement and ancestors who lost their lives for African-Americans and women to be able to vote in this country.

    So, for anyone to say that they are voting for an administration that would try to strengthen its support through threats and intimidation is not worthy of being called an American.

    I hope that the citizens that are being harrassed contact the Board of Elections & Ethics (BOEE) and file complaints. If we allow this to happen in the nations capitol then we have not right to complain.

    Our seniors and our youth are the most vulnerable and those who are being strongarmed by bullies like the Mr. Moten and Ms. Bowser. I say shame on each of you, if you are committing there vile acts of voter intimidation.

  • Stephon

    Noodlez,
    The bike is being held at his club called cycle life in Georgetown, where membership is exclusive...
    S

  • Tired of this BS

    I find it funny how folks talk about all of the items that the Mayor has not done and his back room deals. Well lets start with the facts, parks and recreation centers are being built on time and under budget. Crime went down. Test Scores went up. Taxes have not been Raised and the government has been run more efficiently than ever before. Fact, Adrian Fenty may not be a baby kissing, neighborhood ball attending, dancing with seniors person, but things are getting done.

    Now onto the other side of facts. Vincent Gray when leaving the agency he led had budgetary issues. Fact, Vincent Gray broke the law about the fence at his house and knew all along he was doing so and didn't do anything about it.

    Facts, if folks are more concerned with how a politician makes them feel than work getting done then folks are damn dummies.

    Lastly, how dare Vincent Gray or any of his so called supporters talk about the youth and our future. True leadership is not defined by what you do, but what those who you have lead who come after you do. Vincent Gray has not shown at all as the chair of the council the propensity to bring up the next generation of leaders. Letting some young folks come down once a month to testify when the chamber is empty and very few folks are paying attention is not training the next generation of leadership. Having no person in your office under the age of 35 in a leadership position while you are Chair is not leadership. Acting as a micro-manager is not leadership. If we are results and leadership, than we should evaluate the track record. I mean, you may not like the route taken, but the goal was to move forward and that is what this city is doing.

  • Ward 8 Rez

    @ Tired of the BS.. Let's be clear, this administration has NOTHING to do with the drop in crime. That statistic is down across the country and there has yet to be an explanation for it. What parks and rec centers have been built and finished under this administration? Certainly there have been a number of groundbreakings, mind you being managed by FBOF..but no actual results and taxes....If this clown just so happends to get re-elected, you can best believe your taxes are going up and if he continues down this perilous road of overspending, the city will have another control-board!!

    Now what about any of that makes him worthy of being re-elected??

  • noodlez

    @Tired of this BS RE: COMMENT #15-WHY DONT YOU POST THAT SORRY ASS DIATRIBE OVER AT "THE OTHER SIDE MAGAZINE". IT WOULD FIT RIGHT IN OVER THERE!

    THE ONLY THING THAT IS GETTING DONE IS MONEY BEING FUNNELED TO HIS FRIENDS AND COHORTS. THE ONLY THING THAT IS GETTING DONE IS FOLKS GETTING FIRED IF THEY DONT TOW THE LINE FOR THE CLOWN. THE ONLY THING THAT IS GETTING DONE IS THAT FOLKS ARE BEING PUT IN LEADERSHIT POSITIONS THAT HAVE NO EXPERIENCE AND ARE IN WAY OVER THEIR HEAD. THE ONLY THING THAT IS GETTING DONE IS NUMBERS BEING PRESENTED IN AREAS OF IMPORTANCE (CRIME, SO CALLED TEST SCORES AND TAXES) TO MAKE THIS NO-NOTHING ASS MAYOR LOOK GOOD AND HIS BALD HEAD SHINE EVEN BRIGHTER. REAL FOLK OF THIS CITY KNOW BETTER AND WILL DO BETTER WHEN THIS FOOL WILL NO LONGER BE IN OFFICE.

    Tired of this BS THE NARROW GAZE AND IGNORANCE OF YOUR COMMENT DOES NOT LEND ANYTHING TO HAVE FOLKS CHANGE THEIR MIND ABOUT THIS FAILED, CORRUPT AND CIRCUS OF AN ADMINISTRATION. HE HAD HIS SHOT AND HE BLEW IT! “The tendency to follow the path of least resistance guarantees failure in life.” - Brian Tracy

    MAYBE HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN OUT KISSING BABIES, ATTENDING NEIGHBORHOOD BALLS AND DANCING WITH SENIORS INSTEAD OF RIDING HIS BIKE. MAYBE HE SHOULD HAVE MET WITH BLACK ICONIC LEADERS INSTEAD OF BLOWING THEM OFF. MAYBE HE SHOULD HAVE FOCUSED ON THE YOUTH OF THIS CITY AND THEIR PLIGHT INSTEAD OF BEING SO TOXIC, UNAPOLOGETIC AND OBNOXIOUS. THE FOLKS OF THIS CITY VIEW THE CURRENT MAYOR AS IMMATURE AND UNINSPIRING AS A BLACK MAN WHO DONT THE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SHIT AND APPLE BUTTER.

    "Facts, if folks are more concerned with how a politician makes them feel than work getting done then folks are damn dummies" I GUESS WE SOME DUMB MOFO'S!

    FENTY’S TERM=SNOWPOCALPYSE-WE WELCOMED IT AT FIRST, THEN WE TOLERATED IT, THEN WE JUST DOWN RIGHT HATED IT!

    WE CAN DO BETTER YALL!

  • hymesb

    Tired of this BS,

    Amen!

    But, you have to acknowledge what Gray is really saying. And call a spade a spade. He is calling Fenty is an uncle tom. He is saying that "Fenty wants to give the city to white people. And if you elect me, i will be down for the Blackman. I will get OUR city back." This is an age old poverty pimp routine. Classic Marion Barry!

    "I'm a dyed in the wool homie. He a Uncle tom selling out to the white man"

    When all of that crap is boiled down, Gray is race baiting. Gray talks about baseball tickets (an arguement he started , by the way). Gray throws around personal insults. But ask him about an issue and he will give you a quick "I can do better" and then back to calling Fenty a Tom. This is a third grade smear compaign.

    However, there are only so many insults that people will laugh at. The "zingers" get less funny and start to sound mean. Sooner or later, they turn around and look at the person calling names.

  • Indeed

    @hymesmb, why are you making things up? I mean really, come off it. I understand that you and other Fenty people are desperate, but stop trying to create divisions that aren't there.

    If you think that Gray is race baiting then explain all the Gray signs in Ward 3? The only person race baiting is you.

    Imagine what will happen when there's a debate and people hear how stupid Fenty actually is.

  • hymesb

    Ward 8 Res,

    If you don't like him fine. But get real. You can't just brush away the fact that Fenty said he would reduce crime...and it was lowered.

    You can't just blow off accomplishments that were predicted, prepared for, and achieved.

    Fenty said what he was going to do in 2006. Lower crime...Check. Improve student acheivment and overhaul the educational system...Check. Beautify the City...Check. Improve city services....check.

    Where has he failed on his promise? Where has he not done everything in his power to keep his promises? Especially in the face of a three year political campaign by Barry and Gray to obstruct everything he did. He was freaking ourstanding. But hey, those old school cats are savy. And they know how to tear someone down. Those snakes have been doing it for 40 years.

    Ok. now call him an uncle tom, a thief, a liar, an atheist, wife beater, grave robber, egomaniac, kid napper or whatever other name you people have.

    Fact is, he did what he said he was going to do. He has done an execellent job.

    And, anyone that is mature enough, or poltically neutral enough, to ignore personal attacks will see nothing in Vincent Gray. But hey, these are the people that put Barry back in office straight out of rehab. So, who knows.

  • hymesb

    Indeed,

    Dude go swallow something. I ain't stupid and neither is anyone else.

    Who are the "haves?" Who are the "have-nots?" What is "one city' refereing to? There is only one Dictrict that i know about. Is there another one I am missing? NO, it is Black vs. White. Or Black vs. White/Latin. How ever you cut it....it is implying that Blacks are being treated second class ....it is classic race baiting.

    I am Black. I know the damn code. Sell that shit to someone else. Gray is stroking our communities ever present (and valid) cynisism toward government. Barack Obama got beat by the same line of trash by Bobby Rush. Obama was a gentrificating Uncle Tom not to be trusted.
    Just like Fenty. Gray is saying Fenty is letting too many White Folk into OUR City.

  • Indeed

    @hymesmb, are all the people at Fenty hq as desperate as you are? Hey, paint the mayoral race however you want to paint it, if that's what makes you feel better, but if I were you, I'd be sweating!

    You must think people are stupid if you think they're going to read what you make up and vote for Fenty. I think I'll listen to what Gray AND Fenty actually say rather then wait for your interpretation.

  • hymesb

    Indeed,

    "If you think that Gray is race baiting then explain all the Gray signs in Ward 3? The only person race baiting is you"

    I see Fenty signs in Ward 5. Does that mean Fenty isn't favoring white residents like Gray (race-bait) suggests.

  • hymesb

    Indeed,

    I don't know what they think in Fenty's head quarters. I don't work for him. And, I seriously doubt they would want me. But thanks for the compliment. I think highly of the guy. He is a hard worker and has done alot in a short amount of time.

    But, seeing as he is pretty predicatble....i can guess.

    Fenty is probably thinking

    "I need to get one more vote than the other guy."

    Gray is probablly thinking:

    "Had a good night but I'm still broke'

  • Indeed

    hymesmb,

    Fenty's the incumbent mayor. He's got millions of dollars in the bank. If he didn't have signs in every ward, i'd be surprised. Does having some signs in Ward 5 mean that he's going to win there, though?

    My point is that everyone expects Fenty to crush in Ward 3. I'm not convinced of it yet.

    Again, I understand why you're scared that your boy Fenty might not win. He's really made it hard on himself. Keep up the negativity, though. Maybe it'll work!

  • hymesb

    Indeed.

    Now you are catching on. Now you see why Fenty wouldn't hire me. I am too negative. I want to point out that Gray is a hypocritical obstructionist Barry Bitch. Fenty just wants to raise money and point to a list of his acomplishments.

    Boring!!!

    But, I bet money that I could work for Gray. How many insults did he slip in on Fenty Saturday? About 10-15 (direct and indirect) in only 20 minutes? That was less than one a minute. I could get him up to 1.5 a minute easily.

  • downtown rez

    Hymesb-
    Lol. What would you do? Ask his mother how long she's lived in dc?

  • Wendy Glenn

    @ hymesb: If you are a reflection of the Fenty supporters, then no wonder why this race is as heated as it is for an incumbent. Your language show the level of your intellect. I would advise you to try to use other words to prove your argument. You are sounding like an ignorant, race-baiter yourself.

    Grow up, you sound very juvenile in your responses. We are having a healthy exchange of ideas about two candidates running for office, we are not on a street corner playing the dozens.

  • noodlez

    hymesb=COAL

    YOUR RANTS ARE GETTING A BIT DISTURBING AND BORDERLINE TEA PARTYISH. YOU NEED TO LAY OFF FENTY'S DILSNICK FOR A WHILE AND RECHARGE. SLIM YOU BURNT OUT ON FENTY LIKE POOKIE ON CRACK IN NEW JACK CITY.

    SIX COMMENTS IN TWO HOURS SAYING THE SAME SHIT. LOOK AT YOU. YOU ARE THE ONLY PERSON ON THIS SITE DEFENDING YA BOY AND HIS SHORTCOMINGS. ALL YOUR SPECULATORY STATEMENTS ABOUT RACE BAITING IS SO MARCH 2009. ITS APRIL MS THANG YOU NEED A NEW BAG.

  • tired

    hymesb take a pill, Fenty is an idiot with no substance. And lay off the fence commentary I will take a fence over 85 mil any day of the week. Noodlez, Wendy Glenn, downtown rez thanks for showing hymesb the door.

  • http://CityDesk TONY

    Hymesb, Noodlez, Glenn and Downtown Rez are drivel experts.

  • downtown rez

    Actually, I was agreeing with hymseb.

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