Loose Lips

Gray Facing Another Showdown With Labor Over Board Pick

A few months ago, Mayor Vince Gray nominated his good pal Rod Woodson for the city's water board. Labor groups, unhappy with the Holland & Knight lobbyist's opposition to the city's First Source law, torpedoed that nomination in short order.

Now labor is gearing up to challenge the mayor's selection of another close friend for another board. Gray has tapped Barbara Lang, the CEO of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce whose husband helped raise money for the mayor's 2010 campaign, for the highly dysfunctional Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board. Union officials say Lang's previous opposition to "working-family friendly policies," like project-labor agreements, make her a suspect choice.

In a statement, Gray said Lang's "business acumen and personal skills will serve her and the people of D.C. well on this important board.” (A spokesman for Lang say he'll get back to LL, who will update as needed.)

A slot on the airports board has typically gone to the politically connected. Former Mayor Anthony Williams put alleged Gray shadow-campaign financier Jeff Thompson on the board. He was followed by Leonard Manning, who controlled the city's lottery contract for many years.

It would not look good for the mayor to have another high-profile board pick rejected by the council, which is holding a hearing on Lang's confirmation in a few minutes.

Update: In response to gentle questioning at the hearing from Council Chairman Phil Mendelson about her position on labor issues, Lang said she was a "collaborative person" willing to sit down and discuss any concerns labor officials might have.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Bebop

    Forget labor-vs-management: why the hell would you appoint a lobbyist with no water/sewer background to the board of the water/sewer agency? What the fuck is the point of that unless it's just a handout to the lobbyist?

  • RealDC

    Another dumbazz nomination from this Mayor. He is the worse in choosing folks to hire, appoint or contract with.

    DC Chamber of Commerce is a joke. Lang is exactly what is wrong with the DC business community, all show and no substance!! DC is the worse place in the country to start business. THE WORSE! Why, look at the DC Chamber of Commerce, enough said.

    If Lang spent half as much time working as she spends doing her hair, makeup and matching her jewelry we would have a better business community.

    The bullshittin', uppity, happy hour loving, chicken wing eating, 20 button suit wearing, designer eye wear having, Grey Goose sipping, Benzo driving, elitist attitude having, look-at-me Negroes are done. You have failed DC and have failed your community. Thanks, for all you have done!! Gray, Lang, etc. all are part of this mindset!

  • nowaitadaminit

    Real DC: Just askin', but how would you prefer having the head of DC's Chamber of Commerce present herself? I don't know Ms. Lang, her husband, or Mayor Gray; but I want them to present well and from what I have been able to observe, neither Ms. Lang nor the Mayor come across as elitist.

    I remember reading recently that Ms. Lang was industrious enough to persue higher education degrees well into her adulthood and the mayor worked hard winning scholarships to obtain his higher education.

    Some of what you mention in your post are the trappings, rewards and perqs(?) of hard working successful people.
    There is no reason for Ms. Lang not to take pride in her appearance because people ARE 'lookin-at-her' EVERYDAY. I'd be willing to be she has a 'dresser' who handles all of that for her, so it's probably not fair to assume she doesn't work as hard on her job as she does on her appearance.

    As for Gray's personal ride: I think it's a Toyota or something like that. It's only very recently that he has started wearing tailored suits. He should be very concerned about his personal appearance. We elected him to head the most powerful city in the free world, if not the entire world. But elitiest mindset? I don't think so.

    Don't feel qualified to discuss your other concerns, but in all fairness, the personal attacks make me wonder whether or not those are valid as well.

  • SEis4ME

    @RealDC, that's just sexist talk.

    I love a woman who spends lots of time w/her hair, makeup, matching jewelry etc. "Looking good" says absolutely nothing about whether a woman can or can't do her job.

  • Joe

    SEis4ME, all you have to do is analyze what Barbara Lang has done in her career: a talking shill for barely qualified business men who want to rape the District. Give me a break!!

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  • noodlez





  • Astonished

    I'm so glad I read the LL blog, to keep up with what the real DC whackjobs are saying. I'm not even going to validate "RealDC's" comments by responding to them--as everybody else has already pointed out, that kind of attitude does nothing but perpetuate inaccurate stereotypes and propagate misplaced anger. BUt I am curious where "joe" gets his information--what "raping" of DC has Barbara Lang or the Chamber shilled for? All I've seen in the 15 years I've lived here is development projects that bring up property values and small businesses in revitalized neighborhoods, supported by their SBDC, that make what used to be "drive through with the doors locked and windows up!" neighborhoods into places I'm happy to patronize with my family!

  • Typical DC BS

    @noodlez: Martinis and good cigars NEVER go out of fashion, especially at happy hour during the summer outside.

  • capitol hill

    Expensive vodka is for suckers. You couldn't taste the difference between ciroc and gilbeys if the label was hidden. Stop trying to be what you are not.

  • seDCdude

    "Stop trying to be what you are not."

    damn that's a little rich coming from your cheap suit wearing, gay innuendo slangin', pompous, arrogant, trailer park transient ass!!

    A hate the smell of rancid GENTRIFIERS, speak when spoken too GUMP!

  • RealDC

    @nowaitadaminit- LOL. That's what got everybody fooled. Her presentation and look not her accomplishments as the head of the Chamber. What has she or the Chamber accomplished during her time? How is the DC business community better? As a member of the Chamber, I have seen business owners come in for support and assistance from the Chamber and watch them get nothing. No support. But if Verizon or Pepco burps, Lang and the Chamber workers can tell you what they had for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the last 3 days! Meanwhile, DC is dead last in the country to start and grow a business! The worst place in the country to have a business is DC but our Chamber leader "presents" her self well! LMAO! Where are the Results??

    Thats great she went to school as an adult, hats off. Where did you read that, in a press release by the Chamber? Again, "where's the beef"? Enough on this subject, I encourage everyone to look at the Chamber evaluate it for yourself. You will be enlightened.

    For someone to not know Lang and Gray personally, you are offering some personal info.

    @seis4me- True.

    @joe- That is often said.

    @noodlez- Yep, the chix wing comment was a little much but sometimes the extreme is needed. HHs are done. Day parties, now thats hot! At least Goose is vodka, Ciroc flavors, is a cordial. Less alcohol and sweet.

  • maibaby523

    I'm not all that up on liquor, but isn't Gilbey's gin, no vodka? I only know cuz it's been around for a zillion years and I remember my dear deceased grandfather drinking it in the 'way back days!

    As many people have already stated above, I personally wouldn't want to see Ms. Lang look any other way than she does. People "out front" need to LOOK "out front". I appreciate the fact that both she and the Mayor look professional I'd hate to see Ms. Lang with a jacked-up weave, K-Mart dresses and Payless shoes!

  • nowaitadaminit

    Hey # 12: I think my grandpa took a sip or two or three of that Gibley's too. Didn't develop a taste for it myself. Never even had a beer. Drink a little Drambuie every now and then, however. Is that a bit personal for this comment? Maybe so, but this leads into the fact that as I said re RealDC @ #11, I don't know the Mayor or Mrs. Lang. I do remember seeing then Councilman Gray driving a car that was not a luxury car. I can see that he has now begun to wear tailored suits; and I read somewhere that Barbara Lang is now holding a doctorate degree from Trinity College. And Yes!!! Hats off to anyone who improves his/her education at any age. Especially when he/she already has the job he/she wants. It says a lot about Ms. Lang's character which you seem to be attempting to assinate. What is your true agenda? What does your comment say about YOUR character?

    As I also said: I'm not qualified to comment on your diatribe about the Chamber.

    What is true in #11 to seis4me? The fact that you are sexist or equating 'looking good' with 'working good'?

    Jus askin'.

  • nowaitadaminit

    MM: Is it considered censoring when a non offensive opinion is put in moderation and not posted? Just asking.

  • Mike Madden


    First, a general reminder: Nothing that happens in our comments is censorship. This is Washington City Paper's site, and no one else has any inherent right to post on it. If we suddenly deleted every comment on the site, that wouldn't be "censorship," as you'd be more than welcome to say whatever you like on your own corner of the Internet.

    However, as I've explained here frequently, the moderation is automated. And we don't have the staff capacity to review the moderation queue as often as some of our commenters would like. I will go take a look at whatever comments you are referring to, and if they're non-offensive, will have the system release them.

  • nowaitadaminit

    MM: And I guess you told me.
    But thank you for the information.
    It's food for thought.

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