Loose Lips

Former Allies Alexander and Gray Spar Over Hospital Money, Election Loss

Nothing gets between friends like hundreds of millions of dollars. As lame duck Vince Gray faces a D.C. Council budget vote today, Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander—the mayor's Council successor in his own ward and once his most reliable ally—has become a surprising foe.

Two weeks ago, Alexander's health committee moved $22 million out of $23.5 million that Gray had dedicated to replacing United Medical Center, the aging east-of-the-river hospital that serves wards 7 and 8. Under Gray's plan, the money would have of gone toward developing a new hospital to lure a private hospital operator into taking over the new UMC. Instead, Alexander dedicated the funds to Ward 7 amenities like renovated pools, tennis courts, and the Nannie Helen Burroughs housing development.

In a letter Tuesday to the Council, Gray accused Alexander and other councilmembers of bringing back earmarks, a practice the body ditched after Ward 8's Marion Barry proved how easily they could be manipulated. Alexander's funding shifts lead Gray's letter, with him writing that her uses for the money either don't make sense or amount to pay-to-play payoffs for developers.

Alexander followed up with her own letter today, writing that the funds' recipients "deserve better than the characterizations that your letter displayed." Alexander also asked for more studies about the replacement hospital before returning the money.

“You could do a thousand studies and it wouldn’t matter, because that's not what the Council's after," Gray spokesman Pedro Ribeiro tells LL. "They’re after funding their own pet projects."

But Alexander reserves some harsh personal words for her one-time ally. After recounting their history together, Alexander brings up the obvious: Gray lost the mayoral primary.

"Many of your supporters believe that the April 1 loss has taken a toll on you," Alexander writes. "To this day, I tell people that Mayor Gray will carry out his term with a level of integrity and respect that we can all be proud of. I urge you to make that statement true."

Ribeiro says he doesn't know what Alexander's talking about.

“I haven’t seen any toll on the mayor," Ribeiro says.

Gray's letter:

Alexander's letter:

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • PuhLeaz

    Vette aint loyal to no one or nothing except victuals. Plain and period.

    Vince when you were Standing at the Top (in my Temptations and Rick James voice)everyone was trailing that tail but now that you have sunken into an abyss you gettin dissed.

    They need nothing from you now but when you had So Much to Give (in my Barry White voice)errybody was Gray all day.

    You are Out on a Limb Gray (in my Tina Marie voice)but consider this: it's the Big Payback (in my James Brown voice).

    AND, your so-called friends, havent' you learned, will morph into Cassius and Brutus in a minute. Cahhhh-lassic!!!!!

  • Dan

    I hope Mayor Gray runs against her next time.

  • Cry Me A River

    Gray's plan is to make the lives of the other councilmembers a living hell until he leaves office.

  • yvettee4ever

    Yvette runs this ward no one can beat her!! Gray needs to disappear!

  • DCTaxPayerDC

    I think that Yvette realized that Gray's plan to have her run for the At-Large seat, so that his "fire chief" could run for Ward 7, was a total set up. She would have lost miserably and Ellerbe hopefully has no shot in Ward 7 after his destruction of the fire department.

  • Save Ward Seven

    Yvette thinks she can "patch" the Ward so she can run for re-election. We are searching for anyone or anything with a pulse - or near breathing who would like to run. She only won last time because there were too many people (a number of them we have never heard of)running. Just give us one or two and she will be gone!!!!

  • Goodbye Ward 7

    As soon as gentrification happens in Ward 7, then we can elect a better councilmember.

  • Ward74real

    Yvette is WAY stronger politically then in 2012. Nannie Helen Burroughs redevelopment. More money for local non profits who deal with workforce development and case management services. Better response from her office for constituent services. She or her staff is always at the Local community meetings all over the ward. Seniors love her! The Youth lover her too and feel a personal connection with her when ever they bumb into her at the Hilcrest rec center. Facts are the facts!

  • DCPeopleWhoThink

    We, the citizens in the District of Columbia must salute the MAJOR ally of the fallen Vincent Gray for standing up for what's right.

    If Gray had stood up for Vocational and Workforce employment and training for DC youth and adults, Housing training and placement opportunities for the Homeless and their respective families, Employment outcomes for those seeking that are eligible and certified vs hands-out to the influencial developers his ASS would have won the Democractic Mayoral seat. He chose to support those who wanted Fenty, and forgot the Blacks who choice his RED UGLY behind.

    For the record, Alexander is growing, and once she release that personality of Gray then her Legislative skills will enhance and further impress.

    Also, he wants this money for the new hospital, so he can have a position waiting for him, the one term Mayor like Fenty in DC.

    Keep up the great work, Alexander.

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