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Ray Seriously Considering Council Run

Though the Democratic primary for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council is more than a year away, former D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation Director Clark Ray is already sounding like a candidate in the political wake of an effort launched by a broad coalition of District residents who are encouraging him to challenge three-term incumbent Phil Mendelson (D-At Large).

"I am honored as a Democrat to have so much encouragement from people across the city," Ray, 45, who plans to give serious consideration to a bid for the D.C. Council seat. "I am going to sit down, talk with my partner, talk with my family and then I will meet with residents from across the city and then I will share my vision for the city that I call home and love and take it from their."

Mendelson said the potential challenge "is all part of the electoral process."
"Every four years one has to apply and reapply for the job. It is all part of the Democratic process, making the case to the voters," he said. "I think that the residents still see me as haven kept my community roots and folks see me as thoughtful legislator and as a supporter of good government."

Ray's name has been tossed into the political ring by a diverse group of residents whose name are listed on a draft committee letter that states that they endorse Ray's candidacy for three reasons: "Vision, Action and Results."

"The time has come to elect a Councilmember with a new VISION for the District of Columbia, one who understands that ACTION is needed to move forward new ideas, and the fortitude and experience to get RESULTS for the people of the District," reads the email that is being distributed by a committee that includes names that includes names ranging from political activist Peter Rosenstein to former D.C. First lady Cora Masters Barry.

"I believe that we need to thank Phil Mendelson for all he is done, but there are no life-time appointments to the council. It is time for new blood to energized the D. C. Council," Rosenstein said.

Though Ray is openly gay and the legalization of same-sex nuptials has become a hot-button issue, Rosenstein said, "This is not a one-issue campaign."

"Clark is a candidate who will be concerned about all issue of the city, education, crime fighting. He is a reserved police officer. This is about as broad a spectrum as you can have," he said.

While the D.C. Council has drawn national attention since it passed legislation recognizing same sex marriages from other states, "being gay is only part of who I am," Ray said. "My partner and I face the same obstacles that other people face that other people face, we all want safe streets and our children educated."

In the draft letter, it states, "Clark Ray is as comfortable East of the river as he is West of the river and knows his way around this city's streets and our government better than anyone else who has ever run for the Council...Join us to draft Clark Ray to run for Council-at-Large. For those of us telling Clark Ray to run this is a labor of love. We will work for and elect a person who will not be just a good Councilmember but a great Councilmember..."

Hamil R. Harris

By Nikita R Stewart  |  May 26, 2009; 5:58 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council  
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This is more about Rosenstein than Ray. Rosenstein was a Williams supporter until there was a falling out; a Fenty supporter until there was a falling out; and, now is a Ray supporter. There is a trend and it's a downward one. Ray fired a subordinate for attempting to uphold District rules applied to the Mayor and authorized $75T of District taxpayers dollars for a heater at a Haines Point outside pool used by the Mayor (and these were not even the reasons for his firing as DPR Director). As a resident East of the Park, I understand the concern with crime and the failure to do more to prevent it however, call me an optimist but, I believe there is more talent in the District than someone with questionable ethics and integrity, and a track record of wasting taxpayer dollars.

Posted by: teamtango | May 27, 2009 2:19 AM | Report abuse

We already have two openly white gay men on the Council of the District of Columbia. I don't think we need another gay white male on the D.C. Council. No I would not vote for this guy who would be pushing a white gay agenda like Councilmen Jim Graham and David Catania.

Posted by: IHateBeingABlackMan | May 27, 2009 5:31 AM | Report abuse

He might be a very nice guy. He might be smart and he might even be responsive to constituents. But...... he got caught up in the mayor's nasty deed of firing and if it's true that he made the decision to place a 75K heater in an outdoor pool with the economy being as it is, then his decision making is quite questionable. Personally, I prefer a person who has demonstrated that he will stand alone and disagree with the mayor and other council members when it's the right thing to do. Mendelson fought hard not to to confirm Nickles, voted against making employees "at will" because it destroys civil service. He may have been there a long time, but I appreciate the fact that he doesn't bow down to Mayor Humpty Dumpty. The fact that the mayor doesn't like him is reason enough for him to stay.

Posted by: candycane1 | May 27, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Im in!!!!

How can I donate the maximum today to get his machine running?!?!

Posted by: gladtoliveindc | May 27, 2009 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Please convince me this is a joke!!! This Mayor will go to any extreme to get a City Council of those who will bow down and kiss his behind.

I must be living in the twilight zone!

So NO to Fenty in 2010 & Clark Ray!

New doesn't always mean better, as we've learned with our current Mayor.

Posted by: boo2 | May 27, 2009 8:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm a little unclear on some commenters' theory that a person fired by Fenty would be a rubberstamp for him on the council.

Posted by: KCinDC1 | May 27, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

There are substantial rumors throughout the DC Community that Fenty's firing of Ray was part of the scheme. Fenty wants Ray to run against Mendelson because Ray has a pretty decent change of winning, and then Ray will bow down to Fenty once again (along with the rest of the council). Mendelson's previous opponents have been black and this is the first time in recent memory he'll have a white opponent who can give him a run for his money. But I hope that Mendelson pulls through as we need someone on the Council who's not afraid to stand up to the mayor and Peter Nickles.

Posted by: concernedcitizenindc | May 27, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

The fake firing conspiracy sounds a little strange, but not as strange as the idea that a white challenger would be more of a threat to Mendelson than a black one. Scott Bolden wasn't trounced by Mendelson because he was black. It was because he was perceived as being too much in the pocket of developers and other moneyed interests. And in earlier elections Mendelson faced multiple opponents, so the opposing votes have been split regardless of race.

Posted by: KCinDC1 | May 27, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I am sure that Mr. Ray is an intelligent human being with a desire to draft and influence public policy in the District of Columbia, but as I have observed his constant reassignment throughout the Fenty Administration—and he came from the campaign camp where he was lauded as an “internet czar”—I am ambivalent about his ability to govern. Therefore, I for one, would like to know more about the man—not just the hyper-hype offered by those who are staging a war because they want to prove a point about sexual preference, GLBT representation in government and gender identity.

Posted by: cadams123 | May 28, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

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