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Williams supports Fenty and Graham

Nikita R Stewart

Former Mayor Anthony A. Williams joined Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Council member Jim Graham Tuesday morning in Columbia Heights for the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in honor of all three of them and the nonprofit that helped make DCUSA possible.

But the event in the lobby of the building anchored by Target resembled a campaign endorsement of Fenty (D) and Graham (D-Ward 1).

There was no plaque. Just a piece of glossy cardboard with their names.

Williams, who served two terms as Fenty's predecessor, is more popular than ever, receiving acknowledgment for the city's development. He praised Fenty and schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, who was not in attendance.

"It's not about who's on your holiday card list. It's about who's delivering for this city," said Williams, who recently held a fundraiser for Fenty.

He credited Graham with helping to clean the city's waters, investing in transportation and improving neighborhoods. On the applause meter, Graham won overwhelmingly with Williams and Fenty trailing in third and fourth, respectively. Second place went to Robert L. Moore, president and chief executive of the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights.

In an interview, Williams, who endorsed former Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp against Fenty in 2006, used his "holiday card list" line to explain his support of the mayor whose popularity has waned.

Ironically, Williams's official endorsement of Cropp in 2006 was held at the Giant supermarket in Columbia Heights.

Williams's endorsement of Fenty has caused a bit a family rift. His mother, Virginia Williams, is squarely in the camp of Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, Fenty's chief rival in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary. She can be seen frequently working the phones at the Gray offices.

"Obviously, I love and respect my mother. I disagree with her on this. She's probably going to disown me," Williams said, laughing.

Williams also noted that his endorsement hasn't carried much weight in the past, pointing to Cropp and former Council member Harold Brazil who lost to current Council member Kwame R. Brown in 2004. "I don't think my endorsement, one way or the other, makes a difference. People vote for the person," he said.

But what about his new found popularity? "If everybody who says they supported me now supported me then, I would have been coronated king," he said.

By Nikita R Stewart  |  July 20, 2010; 12:14 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election , Columbia Heights , D.C. Council , Jim Graham , Nikita Stewart , Vincent C. Gray  
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Comments

I was--and still am--a big fan of Williams. In fact, I believe the improvements in DC we continue to see are a result of his efforts and reforms, not Fenty.

I'm disappointed Williams is supporting Fenty. I still like and respect him but not enough to change my vote. I'm still voting for Gray.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | July 20, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

As someone who served in the Mayor anthony williams administration, I still respect tony for getting the city out from under the control board and for bring new housing developments to alabama avenue, se, but, I cannot and will not drink the King fenty kool aid.

Posted by: dcgovcorruption | July 20, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Two Words... DAT BAMMA! Williams needs to stay in seclusion with that type of endorsement. To think, people would have rather had HIM back in the office instead of Fenty OR Gray!

Posted by: qrobinso | July 20, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

No secret that the law firm that Williams works for is heavily invested in the District and Fenty.

I respect Williams, he is smart, was deliberate and very transparent. Everything that Fenty is not.

Thanks but no thanks.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | July 20, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Funny!

You guys can't attack Williams because you have had your head up his butt for the last three years comparing him to Fenty.
Bring back Williams! Bring back Williams!

Now he endorses Fenty and he doesn't know what he is talking about.

Funny!

Posted by: politicalrealist | July 20, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I have "FOREVER" lost respect for former Mayor Anthony Williams. I have to call him out on this one. I watched DCTV 16 on May 26 "A Conversation with Former Mayor Anthony Williams" in which he emphatically stated that he would not "endorse" anyone for Mayor and rather he would "stay out" of this race because of the conflict of interest since his firm is a strong business supporter of Mr. Fenty. Watch it for yourself and see Mr. Williams stated and now has taken back. Mr. Williams also stated that he seem thinks that Chairman Gray has a style that he admires in the way that he can bring all parties to the table to work for the benefit of the District of Columbia. Now all of a sudden less than two months before the Primary Mr. Williams has had such a drastic change and is not attending "fake" unveilings in order to put his platform of endorsement in the public eye. How sneaky and underhanded; how do you come to a plaque unveiling when their is not plaque to unveil, if not to have the press present for your own political needs and those of your firm to endorse your candidate. Believe me, people would have no problem with this endorsement except the way that it was done and the dishonest statements made by Mr. Williams that he would not endorse anyone but rather stay out of it.

How much does the former Mayor's endorsement cost, I was always told that Mr. Williams was bought and paid for by the special interest and developers and now he has proven it to me and others who used to respect him. If you are going to stay out of a race, then be man or your word and stay out!
http://www.oct.dc.gov/services/on_demand_video/channel_16.asp

Posted by: lacairaine | July 20, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

I have "FOREVER" lost respect for former Mayor Anthony Williams. I have to call him out on this one. I watched DCTV 16 on May 26 "A Conversation with Former Mayor Anthony Williams" in which he emphatically stated that he would not "endorse" anyone for Mayor; rather he would "stay out" of this race because of the conflict of interest since his firm is a strong business supporter of Mr. Fenty and the District. http://www.oct.dc.gov/services/on_demand_video/channel_16.asp
Watch it for yourself and see what Mr. Williams stated and now has taken back. Mr. Williams also stated that he thought that Chairman Gray had a style that he admired; the way that Mr. Gray brings all parties to the table to work for the benefit of the District of Columbia.
Now all of a sudden less than two months before the Primary Mr. Williams has had such a drastic change. Mr. Williams is now attending "fake" unveilings in order to put his platform of endorsement in the public eye. How sneaky and underhanded; how do you come to a plaque unveiling when there is no plaque to unveil; if not to have the press present for your own political needs and those of your firm to endorse your candidate.
Believe me, people would have no problem with his endorsement of Mr. Fenty, it is his right to endorse or not endorse a candidate, EXCEPT the way that it was done and the dishonest statements made by Mr. Williams that he would not endorse anyone but rather stay out of it.
How much does the former Mayor's endorsement cost? I was always told that Mr. Williams was bought and paid for by the special interest and developers and now he has proven it to me and others who used to respect him.
Mr. Williams, be a man of your word, if you are going to stay out of this race, then be man or your word and stay out!


Posted by: lacairaine | July 20, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I think Williams was burned by the press, especially the Washington Post, so he may be sympathetic to Fenty on this. However, it is not the press, but the people, who are critical of Fenty, and the press has been bringing up the rear.

Posted by: tacard1 | July 20, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

First Evan$, now William$. We're beginning to see what the $4 Million War chest is being used to purchase.

(But, Tony, I'm so disappointed in you. Concernedaboutdc and lacairaine are right on point.)

Posted by: nan_lynn | July 20, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I am also a big fan of former Mayor Williams but am perplexed and saddened by his decision to endorse Fenty. I agree with him that his endorsement will not carry much weight but Fenty and Williams are odd bedfellows-two very different men and administrations. I would not support Fenty if Jesus of Nazareth came down and endorsed him.

Posted by: roscoedc | July 20, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

He was never politically a smart man. This will be his District Swan song.

Posted by: 411Tibby | July 20, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

I remember 4 years ago Mayor Williams believed councilmember Fenty was the stupidest member of the council. And did not withhold that opinion.

But my recollection of something else holds more pertinent. Fenty endorsed several candidates against Mayor Williams slate and each candidate lost. He called his endorsement th kiss of death.

Thank you Mayor Williams for politically giving Mayor Fenty a kiss only Fredo and a Dementor would love.

Posted by: 411Tibby | July 20, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you 411Tibby! Four years ago Williams did state that councilmember Fenty was immature, irresponsible and not ready for prime time.

Now he's endorsing Fenty?

I guess Aesop's words still hold true: "we hang petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.”

Posted by: GoldCoast | July 21, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

roscoedc, your comment is priceless! Of course, Jesus (even setting Christian theology aside) was an intelligent and honorable man. As such, it is highly doubtful that he would ever endorse Fenty. Far more likely that he would publicly denounce the Emperor, as he did so many equally deserving others. :-)

Posted by: nan_lynn | July 21, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

I am so disappointed in Tony Williams. He never went against the say of the people. He held citizen summits to make sure he was on the same page with the citizens.

This is an all time low for Tony Williams.

I guess everyone has a price. If Jim Graham continues to support Fenty, he's in for a big surprise come Sept.

Posted by: gordonbundy | July 21, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Can someone tell me what on what platform is Vince Gray running? The only thing I see in his candidacy is knocking the current regime, with no real plan or agenda of his own. I'm not a huge fan of Fenty but is Gray REALLY a better option? In a down economy, Bill Clinton (or anyone) wouldn't be able to come in and run this city - any Mayor would get knocked. If the economy was up, no one would complain. So, please tell me why Gray is actually a better candidate for the job or are people just angry about the economy and want a change, at any cost?

Posted by: mbm1 | July 21, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Anthony Williams is smart enough to see that Fenty is the one to continue the reform he himself started. Couple that with the lower crime and much better schools (I don't know how much the privileged in DC realize that the rest of the country cringed when talking about DC and education). I think Williams had the perfect line about Fenty and the holiday card list.

Posted by: delray | July 21, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

@mbm1 have you even taken the time to read his website? And when Fenty has plan, please let me know.

Crime is low across the US and those 3est scores still haven't been released in fact the elementry scores went down. Please stop using these general statments has acheuvements. Firing teachers isn't making the system better.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | July 21, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

mbm1,

It's not the economy. It's the corruption.

(For starters.)

Posted by: nan_lynn | July 21, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Actually crime is not "low across the US." Please do not follow a "general statement" with a general statement. A matter of fact crime is up 22 percent in New York City (to give one specific). Firing teachers does not automatically lead to higher achievement, but the new contract will. It's one of the reasons why teachers contracts are changing "across the US," including in liberal states like New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Even Massachusetts is coming around. I've been in the Teachers Union (in New York under Randi Weingarten, whom they paraded in a classroom for a few months) and have seen how they operate, usually without any thought of the child.

These reforms and quick changes are great for the city. I actually have little issue with Gray, I think his heart is in the right place, but he will slow everything down to the point of stagnation. Or, if he is really in bed with the charters, he can give more resources to them so then they can keep the money and autonomy.

Posted by: delray | July 22, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Arrogant. Corrupt. Petty. Stubborn. Incompetent.

Fenty is DC's version of George Bush. Peter Nickles is his Dick Cheney.

Posted by: DCResident3 | July 25, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

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