Loose Lips

Gray Lands SEIU Endorsement

Add one more to Vince Gray's stack of labor endorsements. Later this morning, the Maryland and D.C. Council for the Service Employees International Union plans to announce an endorsement for Gray.

In a press release, the union pointed to Gray's signature on a bill granting driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants as one of the reasons behind the endorsement.

"Mayor Gray's track record for strengthening responsible contracting laws and helping immigrants lead more productive lives speaks louder than campaign promises," Council president Jaime Contreras said in a statement.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Typical DC BS

    Great follow-up reporting for the City Desk to do - find out how many illegal immigrants have applied for drivers licenses in DC. They already don't obey our laws by being here - do you really think they will also insure the cars they drive? Please.

  • SEis4ME

    At some point soon the endorsements are gonna be an important part of the discussion.

    Barring some real race-changing news, I wager that the WCP, WPOST and GGW will all endorse Vincent Gray for reelection.

  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    SEis4ME, you are right that at some point endorsements are going to be part of the discussion. I also think you're right in that GGW will endorse Gray - Alpert is too tied to his ridiculous "Have Faith in Our Ideas, Vote Gray" endorsement from last time around.

    However, the Post? I'd bet against a Gray endorsement there.

  • SEis4ME

    I think Alpert will look back on the rationale for "his" endorsement and apply it to the current race. Although I previously thought Wells would be their go-to guy, I don't think he would've distinguished himself enuff and I'll be interested to see how he interpets Gray's time as mayor against his and others expectation.

    As the race heats up, I do not believe the press will be as kind to Bowser as they are now. Once they are forced to analyze her record and concrete policy proposals, ee will see the shift back to the steady hand of Gray.

  • drez

    I don't see media endorsements coming Gray's way from either The Post, The Current, or GGW.

  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    @SEis4ME, Alpert's rationale for his last endorsement of Gray seems to be solely that Gray met with him when other challengers did not. Alpert was/ is extremely sensitive to his last endorsement of Gray - for example, try to leave the words "have faith in our ideas" in a comment on his site and see how long they last, if in fact they are posted in the first place.

  • SEis4ME

    The only way I don't see them endorsing Gray is if their endorsement is based on the 2010 campaign. I can't imagine them analyzing his record as mayor and make the leap that any of the other candidates would be better at his job.

    Bowser is severely short on management experience. So I can't imagine them suggesting leaving DC in what appears 2 b incapable hands.

    Evans is a safer bet but not that impressive

    Orange is Orange.

    Andy is a wildcard choice

    Wells hasn't demonstrated his support extends beyond the obvious.

  • SEis4ME

    Roscoe I recall the endorsement being more than just about Gray's decision to meet w.him.

    My point is that Alpert will look back on his rationale and decide to what extent Gray has performed in the areas he listed in his endorsements. I think he will use the same logic this time around even though the "fight" is being presented in a manner different than the Fenty/Gray one.

  • GoldCoastKid

    but what about the Shadow Campaign and the 650,000 dollars...and what about the Lottery contract and Jeff Thompson?

  • DCShadyBoots

    Media endorsements haven't been the greatest predictor of success in local elections. In fact, they have been the kiss of death.

  • DCShadyBoots

    Unions provide volunteers and boots on the ground. That is very important in spreading the message, distributing paper media and getting people to the polls.

  • Zed

    I remember the City Paper and Washington Post endorsed Fenty last time around. So much for the power of media endorsements!

  • drez

    I don't think CP made endorsements in the 2010 mayoral election. GGW did, The Current did, The Post did.
    For CP, Jason Cherkis ended up "deciding" in favor of Gray in The Undecided series when he was LL. See:
    (and also see my comments back when I posted as downtown rez)

    I wonder what Jason would think of Gray now, given his failure to address the rising numbers of homeless in DC.

  • truth hurts

    I'm puzzled by SEIU basing its endorsement of Gray, in part, on him signing legislation authorizing undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses. The primary purpose of unions is to advocate on behalf of union members for higher pay, better benefits, and safer working conditions. It's illegal for employers to hire undocumented immigrants, it's illegal for undocumented immigrants to work, and most unions argue their members are harmed by employers that illegally hire undocumented immigrants.

    As for future media endorsements, I'd be stunned if either WaPo or WCP endorsed Gray. Assuming they endorse anyone for mayor this cycle, in my opinion Bowser, Evans, and Wells are all more likely choices than Gray. With respect to GGW, who knows? In 2010, however, one of Alpert's stated reasons for endorsing Gray was: "I care about sunshine and honesty in government." If he still cares about such things, I doubt he still sees those traits in Gray.

  • Ward 4

    Illegal aliens didn't deserve Drivers License. Politicians will sell their souls to the Devil to get elected.

  • Asuka

    LOL - who gives a shit who GGW and its myopic little millionaire transplant endorse? I'm astonished that anyone thinks more than about 200 people read or care what that blog says. That endorsement is meaningless.

  • DCShadyBoots

    So much for media endorsements! Boy Wonder Fenty won every precinct in the city in his first term only to loose disastrously his second. Sounds to me that when you turn your back on the people who elect you those same people couldn't give a damn whose behind the media licks.

  • DCShadyBoots

    A spike in homelessness is inevitable with this beloved gentrification we are seeing. The people can't have it both ways.

  • Ivy

    Who cares what the Current writes!

  • Pingback: It was 50 years ago today

  • SEis4ME

    TH, could it be that despite the "illegal problem" te SEIU felt more comfortable with whom they know as opposed to who they don't?

    If WCP or WPOST endorses anyone, Gray seems to make sense. That is, as I suggested, 2010 influences their decision. If the management of city affairs is their issue, I simply can't imagine them endorsing Bowser who has no notable management experience, Wells who can't demonstrate city-wide support, Evans, Andy or Lewis. I just can't.

    And as I said, Alpert will look back at his endorsement and determine to what extent Gray has or hasn't fulfilled.

    While to a certain extent I agree that endorsements are meaningless, they (unlike straw polls) do involve a deeper analysis of the candidate's record/proposals. The endorsements will lay out the case for the candidate.

    However, like straw polls, they suggest momentum and provide talking points. We've seen that in Boswer's recent wins.

  • SEis4ME

    And I'm sure more than 200 people read his blog. Quite sure...

  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    Lol'z at: If the management of city affairs is their issue, I simply can't imagine them endorsing Bowser who has no notable management experience, Wells who can't demonstrate city-wide support, Evans, Andy or Lewis. I just can't.

    Uhm, Vince is no sterling manager. To wit, witness the continued issues arising from his total mismanagement of housing services/ shelters for homeless families. Of course, in typical Vince fashion he's "frustrated" by the problem and is "not sure how it happened". Of course, he's been mismanaging the fortuntes of our city's homeless since the Pratt Kelly days...

    Also, excellent managers don't preside over an orgy of nepotistic hires and HR mismanagement (e.g. the same nepotistic hires being paid above city guidelines) immediately after reaching office.

    Excellent managers also don't blindly stick with agency heads who are clear failures (Ellerbe) either.

    SEis4ME, I doubt you've got much executive experience, but viewed from almost any angle (public or private sector), Vince has more in common with a career middle manager than a visionary (or heck even a competent) executive.

  • Tight Lips

    Funny how the media is focusing their coverage solely on Muriel Bowser and Vince Gray.

    I figured they would atleast give Tommy Wells & Jack Evans some shine time as well.

    But then again, the Washington Post will endorse Muriel Bowser so I see why the coverage is blocking out all the other candidates.

  • SEis4ME

    I didn't say he was "sterling" that was your suggestion. I don't think DC has ever had a STERLING mayor at all. Although I'm sure city govt does play a role in eliminating the homeless crisis, both Fenty and Gray were in charge during the economic crisis that hit the entire country. I credit both with trying to deal w.it to the extent possible.

    Nepotism in city govt is not a new issue and it only became a Gray one after people conveniently made him the scapegoat for what were decades long practices. It's why Peter Nickles was able to be the AG and was never forced to resign. Moreover, the "hires" you reference were done and terminated w.in Gray's 1st 6mos on the job.

    All said, what you've presented here in no way demonstrates why we should fire the current mayor when the alternatives are so unattractive.

  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    @SEis4ME: remind me, what was Gray's campaign slogan? Character.Integrity.Leadership, or some such thing?
    How does that reconcile with Gray's hires? And, since according to you nepotism in city government is a decades long practice it is ok? Good to know.

    WRT to homeless - Gray LOOTED the Housing Protection Trust fund. Because of this, families are now being sheltered in hotels in Maryland at a cost of over $20M. Oh, and DC General has been, and continues to be dangerously over-capacity. Does that sound like effective management? I know analysis isn't your thing, but look it up. Gray's own director of Human Resources called the current homeless situation in DC a crisis. Oh, and BTW DC General has been full all year - it doesn't take tireseas to figure out that with winter coming things would get markedly worse - but Vince couldn't figure it out.

    Oh, and BTW, the DC region has fared far, far better than the rest of the country since the economic crisis beginning in 2008. Sorry to have to explain that to you - maybe read up on it? God help us were Vince to have had to deal with Detroit or Cleveland level problems.

  • Anonymous,Too

    "I don't think DC has ever had a STERLING mayor at all."

    Au contraire. And DC voters blew him off for that self-serving rogue, Marion Barry.

    Obituary in brief - Walter Washington - The Economist - Nov 7th 2003

    Walter Edward Washington, the first black mayor of an American city, died on October 26th, aged 88

    WHEN Lyndon Johnson appointed Walter Washington mayor of Washington, D.C. on September 6th 1967, no black person had ever led an American city. Mr Washington, the great-grandson of a slave, had impeccable credentials. He had undergraduate and law degrees from Howard University; he had headed the National Capital Housing Authority, which found homes for Washington, D.C.'s poor; and he was serving as director of public housing for John V. Lindsay, then the mayor of New York. As mayor, he at first wielded little power: Congress controlled the city's budget, appointed its city council members' and could veto its laws, while a triumverate of White House-appointed commissioners oversaw many municipal functions. Nonetheless, Mr Washington accepted the appointment, and went on to be re-appointed twice by Richard Nixon, before winning Washington, D.C.'s first mayoral election in 1974.

    Mr Washington was tested personally and politically almost as soon as he took office. John R. “Johnny Mac” McMillan, a notorious segregationist democrat from South Carolina, chaired the House Committee on the District, which governed a city whose population was about 70% black. A colleague of Mr Washington's told an interviewer that McMillan “would give Walter a watermelon and say, ‘Here's a letter from home.'” Another congressman referred to him as a ribbon-cutter. Mr Washington recalled that it took years before McMillan and his cohorts referred to him by his title instead of his Christian name. Mr Washington never retaliated for the years of slights he received, and while it paid off in funding and increased political power for the city government, it cost his prestige. Mr Washington suffered the moniker “Uncle Walter”. While he won his first election in 1974, easily defeating Clifford L. Alexander, an attorney, he lost his second, in 1978, to a younger politician named Marion Barry, who (ironically, given his predilection for cocaine and his aversion to governance) derided the city's leadership as “stumbling and bumbling”.

    In fact it was anything but. Mr Washington's genial and accommodating manner belied his strength. During the riots that wracked the city after Martin Luther King assassination in April 1968, Mr Washington faced down J. Edgar Hoover, then head of the FBI, who wanted to impose martial law, giving police the authority to shoot rioters. Instead Mr Washington took to the streets himself, refusing even a gas mask and appealing to city residents for calm, one-by-one. Many believe that his leadership during the riots convinced Congress to cede daily control of Washington, D.C. to its elected officials. Mr Washington's solution—basic, brave, and ingenious—is of a piece with the man himself, who summed up his tenure in office thus: “Mine has been a concern for the people, a concern to maintain stability, a concern to get people working together racially, ethnically, rich and poor—all segments of the city.”

  • SEis4ME

    Oh ok I get it now. You hold Gray responsible for hiring people who continued hiring practices most recently seen during Fenty's term. And even though Gray himself was never accused of nepotism...the fact it happened under his watch means he was ineffective. Got it!

    And no, its not according to me. According to facts, Adrian Fenty hired the guy who's described as his godfather. No hire Gray or his officials ever made such a nepotistic hire. So yeah, Gray unfairly became the "face" of nepotism.

    If I've been reading correctly, Gray cut the HPTF in order to pay for the Rent Supplement Program and added 20mil in rhe 2013 budget. If this is true, then you blame him for diverting money to the rent program? Really?

    And because he did people are now suddenly homeless? Well ok.

    If the DC region has fared as well as you suggest, then how do you reconcile that w.the fact homlessness is an even greater crisis than it was before 2008? Is it Fenty's fault? Gray's? Of course not because the govt doesn't encourage people to be homeless...their economic station in life does.

  • SEis4ME

    Anonymous, nothing you've written demonstrates how Washington was a "sterling" mayor and the fact he was bested by a non-native totally disproves your "sterling" endorsement.

  • schoolman

    Mayor Gray is the very definition of NEPOTISM!

    Under the Gray Administration, the D.C. Office of Human Resources, and the 30 plus District agencies, ceased every rating and ranking application for employment within the District Gov. Applicant qualifications examinations procedures, required by the Merit Comprehensive Personnel Act of 1978, are very detailed and listed in the District Personnel Regulations. This administration has demonstrated a flagrant disregard for these laws and regulations.

    When Gary assumed office the District was in the height of the "Great Recession." The District was receiving HUNDREDS of applications for each vacant position posted by the District. The costs associated with evaluating the volumes of applications were great. Gray addressed the problem by ceasing to evaluate each application. As a result, NEPOTISM became, and remains, an epidemic in the District.

    Much of the $321 Million budget surplus generated during Gray's administration was generated as a result of him authorizing human resource personnel to skip the applicant evaluation processes.

    The Office of the Attorney recently argued that aggrieved applicants for employment lack standing to sue the District for these violations in the DC Superior Court. The Court agreed. That said, irrespective of the evidence, an applicant who's application has not been evaluated can't sue the District!

    The budget surplus that Gray so frequently brags about has come at too great a price! It has been generated by the District failure to provide numerous critical government services. The abandoned employment application evaluation procedures is one of many such services.

  • watchdog

    Gray has to go.

  • schoolman

    @ Watchdog:

    You are correct! Gray has to go!

    Gray has repeatedly emphasized the importance of equal opportunity - the District has over 33 Thousand employees.
    His declaration is relevant.

    But applicants for employment with the District who believe that their applications are being evaluated via objective examinations procedures have been fooled! This is simply not the case. This is one reason why I find Gray so frustrating. He is a perpetual liar.

    His entire campaigned is premised on lies - he depends upon the citizens not knowing the truth.

    I expect that there are thousands of applicant's investing limited resources to apply for District jobs. It is unfortunate that they will not be considered without an inside connection.

    It would be challenging for Gray to enforce equal opportunity within private sector organizations. But it is well within his capacity to enforce equal opportunity within the District Government. It is unfortunate that
    he has refused to do so.


  • Roscoe’s Wetsuit

    @SEis4ME, yes, that's right. Following appropriate hiring practices is a basic thing, no matter what was done by predecessors. Vince has to be responsible for his team - that's called setting the "tone at the top". Think about what you say - you acknowledged that inappropriate hires happened under his watch. How's that for effective management? You have a very peculiar definition of leadership and management.

    The rent supplement program is an ineffective program that Vince champions in spite of the broader housing community's opposition. The timelines on the rent supplement program are too short, and the market rent corrections too steep, which results in many families being back on the streets in short order, so yes, this program has had the unintended consequence of increasing the homeless population. Vince knows that the program has been ineffective - yet professes to be "shocked" and "saddened" by it, while doing nothing to modify the program.

    Homelessness is one measure of a city's overall economic health, silly. Stick around and eventually you might learn something - I'm not optimistic though. Homelessness in the city is at a crisis point right now, as opposed to 2008 or 2010 due to mismanagement as much as the economy. Families who are on the brink of homelessness are not being helped by programs designed to help them, and the successful programs have been looted by the mayor in an effort to support pet programs which simply don't work. This mismanagement comes with real costs, such as the $20M we are currently paying in Maryland hotel fees.

    BTW, you've been on here arguing that Vince deserves to keep his job because the economy in DC is doing so well - pointing to the bond rating as an indicator of the city's strength, along with the surplus and other things. SO, now the economy is the problem? Quite amusing.

    I get it, you are unable to admit that Vince is a poor manager, or even that he hasn't been successful in this endeavor - even for a second - which is at least amusing to me as your arguments are more infantile and fractured than usual. Cheers!