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Mayor Fenty, Chairman Gray slip campaign points into budget debate

Christopher Dean Hopkins

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray faced off Thursday morning for the first time since Gray announced he wants Fenty's job.

Gray, who declared his candidacy for mayor Tuesday, and Fenty sat across the table from each other when the mayor briefed the council on his proposed 2011 budget.

While their interaction was cordial, Gray and Fenty started offering the media -- and through it the public -- a preview of their respective campaigns as the jockeying begins regarding how to close an estimated $555 million budget shortfall.

After Fenty spelled out his proposals, including a $140 million increase in school spending, 385 layoffs and new fees, Gray expressed skepticism that his proposal was really balanced.

"When you read the documents, it sounds like things are great -- and we know things are not great here or other places," said Gray, questioning how Fenty could balance the budget with his proposed increase in school funding.

"The reality is, in order to do this, we are going to have to do less of that, so what is the 'less of that'?" Gray asked.

Fenty responded that he fashioned a budget that spends more on education while consolidating government and avoiding, he claimed, higher taxes. (Though Fenty is proposing a 1 percent tax on hospitals, an increase in the 911 fee and higher parking fees.)

-- Tim Craig

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  April 1, 2010; 2:52 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election , Budget , Mayor Fenty , Vincent C. Gray  
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Comments

I hear that Vincent Gray has 30 more years of experience in politics than Adrian Fenty. Now who would you trust to run your government?

Posted by: starclimber9 | April 1, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Oh, the BS that Fenty spouts. How is he (Fenty) going to put more money in education, when his "head-hunting" chancellor fires teachers mid-year? Please, Mr. Fenty why don't you just cut the BS? The citizens of this city are not going to be fooled twice by you.

Posted by: fivetogo | April 1, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

There has been new and increased fees in each and EVERY D.C. budget since 2006. Yet, the Mayor says he isn't going to increase taxes (As he snickers to himself at how utterly stupid his voters are).

We have, in essence, been getting new taxes all along. When he was questioned on there was a difference, in effect, between fee and tax increases, his retort was, "because I said so"...

This guy is from another planet.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | April 1, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

starclimber,

Wrong! Fenty has been an elected offical longer than Gray. By my count 11 years to 7 years. About 5 years more experienced than his older competitor.

Gray was a one time city councilman. That is four years. He is a one term Chairman of the Council. That is three years to date. That is 7 years as an elected official.

Fenty was a two term Councilman that left in the second year of the second term. That is six years. Prior to that, he was ANC for two years. He has been Mayor for three years. That is 11 years.

Prior to reaching office at 60 years old, Gray was just a Barry Crony that held various appointed positions. He is the last man standing from their early pimp days. His record is realtively clean and he follows orders.

So, he inherited the support of their machine. The machine that now calls itself "Anybody but Fenty"

Posted by: politicalrealist | April 3, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Someone needs to ask the Chair whether he left his (Barry-gotten) post in the DC Dept of Human Services better than he found it. This question will probably have to be popped in a news conference, as he is not likely to voluntarily respond with any substance.

Posted by: axolotl | April 3, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

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