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Posted at 5:14 PM ET, 01/13/2011

Ex-transportation chief Gabe Klein considers D.C. council run

By Tim Craig

Gabe Klein, the former head of the city Department of Transportation, is seriously considering entering the at-large race for the D.C Council seat currently held by interim member Sekou Biddle, according sources who have talked to him about the matter.

Klein, who built a loyal following during his service in the former mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration, would likely represent one of the most serious threats so far to Biddle's efforts to keep the seat in the April 26 special election.

The sources asked to be anonymous because they were discussing private conversations.

A former executive for ZipCar, Klein became Fenty's transportation director in December 2008. During his tenure, he pushed to expand car and bicycle sharing programs, start construction on the H Street trolley line, and add more Circulator bus service routes.

Klein's efforts helped him win solid base of supporters connected to the new urbanist community that advocates for more mass transit and pedestrian and bicycle-friendly policies. Klein resigned in late December after Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) was elected. Gray accepted his resignation, angering many Klein supporters.

A few weeks ago, Klein appeared hesitant to seek elective office. But sources who have talked to him say he is once again raising the possibility he could become a candidate.

When Washington Post Mike DeBonis asked Klein earlier Thursday whether he is planning a run, Klein said he can "neither confirm nor deny" the rumor.

" A lot of people that I respect have expressed that they would like me to run for the open seat," said Klein told DeBonis. "I am weighing lots of different opportunities and am not sure what my next step will be at this time."

Klein, 39, is a resident of Ward 1. In an interview last week, D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) said he was intrigued by suggestions that Klein could become a candidate.

If he runs, Klein could become the candidate who could most easily tap into the broad base of supporters that Fenty built up in the District over the past four years. Klein would also enter the race with relatively high-name recognition among those voters likely to turn out for a special election.

Under Klein, the Transportation Department expanded its use of Facebook, e-mail and Twitter to update constituents on snow-clearing operations and new projects. Klein would likely put the same focus on new media should he become a candidate, perhaps helping to redefine how local campaigns are run.

And despite his ties to local government, Klein could try to position himself as an outsider compared to Biddle, who has the backing of the D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D).

But Brown's support for Biddle is expected to make it difficult for other candidates to raise money. Klein, however, could try to tap into some of Fenty's former donors as well as solicit support from a younger generation of District residents who have not traditionally opened their wallets for a local political candidate.

By Tim Craig  | January 13, 2011; 5:14 PM ET
 
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Comments

Gabe Klein will not be getting this middle age white man's vote. I doubt if will get the black DC voter either. He's a carbon copy of Adrian Fenty and this isn't a good thing.

Posted by: RockCreekPark | January 13, 2011 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Run Gabe run!

Posted by: johng1 | January 14, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

"Sigh"...

Gabe, you are less qualified to sit on the Council than you were to run a DOT. The ego on this man is astounding.

It's funny his supporters always mention the "executive of Zipcar" part, but always fail to mention he lost that job (and that Zipcar was and is failing, never having actually posted a profit in the 10 years its been in business), and his next job was as a street vendor selling food to the lunchtime crowd, his biggest claim to fame was catering then Mayor Fenty's birthday party. A couple months later he was all of a sudden head of DDOT.

Gabe, you lost your job and all these so called supporters you think you have are either not District residents (1/3rd of the signatures of that Petition the local transportation blog put out so you could keep you last job were non-District residents), or students/freshly minted undergrads who aren't registered to vote in teh District.

Considering the volume of anti-dog park and bike lane rhetoric that was thrown at Fenty last election by the overwhelming majority Gray voters, your chances are about nil.

Oh, and this white guy from Georgetown isn't going to be voting for you either. Go back to slinging hotdogs at lunch from your food truck and leave the business of the city to those who are more qualified to do it.

Posted by: Nosh1 | January 14, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Well, this Ward 1 urbanist and her husband would be pleased to have someone as forward-thinking as Mr. Klein on the council.

Posted by: 20bsy08 | January 14, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what 'qualifies' someone to run for local government, but considering that almost half of our elected officials seem to have trouble paying their DC taxes, I'd say that anyone who can file a return is more than qualified. And anyone who has management skills is a plus given the sprawling DC government. I, too, would love to see Gabe Klein on the council. We need councilmembers who represent a variety of perspectives, not just career politicians. Diversity is a good thing, particularly in politics.

Posted by: merinfrank | January 14, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what 'qualifies' someone to run for local government, but considering that almost half of our elected officials seem to have trouble paying their DC taxes, I'd say that anyone who can file a return is more than qualified. And anyone who has management skills is a plus given the sprawling DC government. I, too, would love to see Gabe Klein on the council. We need councilmembers who represent a variety of perspectives, not just career politicians. Diversity is a good thing, particularly in politics.

Posted by: merinfrank | January 14, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

OMG! I agree with Nosh1. Everything you said was on point. Thanks ;)

Posted by: thelildiva4u | January 14, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Yea, we don't care what a georgetowner has to say about anything!

Posted by: johng1 | January 14, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Excellent! Council, then maybe mayor. Klein is the wisest, most effective leader in the District of Columbia. That's why cretins don't like him.

Posted by: DannyPl | January 14, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"Urbanism" is about as forward thinking in the planning community as Guantanamo is in the human rights community. To the gentleman in G'Town: well said. (And I'm a white gal in Ward 7 whose never seen a soul using the bike lanes in my neighborhood.)

Posted by: Emmjfdc | January 14, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I never voted for Fenty, but would vote for Klein. Please run and win.

Posted by: blankspace | January 14, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein, don't bring your knife to this gun fight. Sanctimonious, underqualified public servants with no constituency outside of Upper NW are so 2010.

Posted by: chgobluesguy | January 14, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Nosh1 as well.

While director of the DOT Klein, during a recession, overspent their budget two years in a row. Creating deficits that resulted in employees being terminated.

Deficit spending on stylish pet projects during a recession is not my idea of a good leader.

Klein's "I know whats best, so sit down and shut up" paternalistic attitude towards constituents has not earned him any points among those of wards 4,5,7 and 8.

I understand Carol Schwartz will be running for the at-large seat. If she does, Klein hasn't a prayer.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | January 14, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

RUNGABERUN...RUNGABERUN...RUNGABERUN!
You are more qualified than most members of the Council! Just get the ball rolling and we will raise you money!

Posted by: RWeiss1150 | January 14, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

RUNGABERUN...RUNGABERUN...RUNGABERUN!!!
Run and we will raise you money and votes!

Posted by: RWeiss1150 | January 14, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Concernedaboutdc: can you link to any evidence of this supposed overspending? I have read that even with massive snowstorm costs Klein was able to flex the budget to cover it and come out to the positive for the year in the DDOT budget.

Posted by: nervous71 | January 14, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Run, Gabe, Run!

You will have an army of volunteers behind you.

Posted by: taamoore | January 14, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Gabe gets my vote. Where can I get yard signs?

Posted by: keith10 | January 14, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

A director of DDOT who actually began to build infrastructure in anticipation of growth later on. How forward-thinking, economical, practical, and probably a huge relief on the wallets of future generations who would have to pay for retrograde infrastructure at even greater costs.

To those against bike lanes for some reason: what the hell could you possibly have against bike lanes?????!!!! If there is one thing in this city that is not worth getting upset over, it is a couple of cheap painted stripes taking up 3 feet of your roadway. It's almost laughable. By the way, even though I don't bike to the city, I've begun to use Capital Bikeshare during work to more quickly travel between construction sites downtown and I would appreciate more bike lanes!!

Posted by: crzytwnman | January 14, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I would be sorry to see Gabe Klein run for Council and I like him.

I don't think he can beat Sekou Biddle. As we see from some of the more harsh responses on this site he will only open some of the wounds from the last Mayor's race that have just begun to heal.

Gabe Klein did some good things for the City it is now time for him to move on a little and do something else and that something else isn't a race for Council.

The issues in this race should be education and job creation and Gabe Klein doesn't have a background in those issues.

He will be seen as someone running only to fight the new Mayor and that makes no sense. It is not a reason to run or to support someone.

Posted by: peterdc | January 14, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Just what we need. Run Gabe run and after the Gabe and Sekou votes are counted, old Vincent Orange will be sworn in!

Posted by: NewEra | January 14, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Klein's only chance at a council seat would be to run for one of the white affluent wards. The fact that Gray dumped him means that he won't poll well in the wards that Gray won on his "no more Fenty" platform.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | January 14, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

This registered DC voter since 1975 will not be voting for Gabe Klein. This man didn't have the experience to manage DDOT, but King Fenty selected him to appease Caucasian gentrifiers. I found Klein to be an arrogant troll like his former boss Adrian Malik Fenty. I wish Gabe Klein and Adrian Fenty would disappear from the public's eye. Klein should go back to his native hometown in Virginia and run for political office or manage a Zip Car business. I would vote for the Bugs Bunny character "Fog Horn Leg Horn", before I cast my vote for Gabe Klein.

Native Washingtonian

Posted by: Ward4DC | January 14, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Ward4DC: yeah but Carlos, no one cares what you think. You are just an ornary, pain and complain character that hates everything and everyone.

Posted by: nervous71 | January 14, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Nervous71--last year's snow storm received emergency funding. There would not have been enough money in the budget to afford a storm of that size.

I think the fact that DC government has had to halt all hiring and cost-of-living increases for employees. And that employees will also be furloughed at least 4 days speaks volumes about the spending habits of FY 2010. Gandhi had issued warnings all last year that DC gov't spending needed to be curbed.

Posted by: nan1 | January 14, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Nervous71--last year's snow storm received emergency funding from the federal government. There would not have been enough money in the budget to afford a storm of that size.

I think the fact that DC government has had to halt all hiring and cost-of-living increases for employees. And that employees will also be furloughed at least 4 days speaks volumes about the spending habits of FY 2010. Gandhi had issued warnings all last year that DC gov't spending needed to be curbed.

Posted by: nan1 | January 14, 2011 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Ward4DC: yeah but Carlos, no one cares what you think. You are just an ornary, pain and complain character that hates everything and everyone.

Posted by: nervous71 | January 14, 2011 4:59 PM

Nervous71, Why are you picking on Carlos Gray. He's a nice kid. If you call people that care about their city and their government complainers, then you are not a civic minded person.

I am a white middle age man and I agree with everything Nosh1. Mr. Gray's son doesn't live in Ward 4. Why would you assume this is Carlos Gray? Stop assuming people's identity on a blog unless they use their real names.

John O'Loughlin
Spring Valley Ward 3 DC

Posted by: RockCreekPark | January 14, 2011 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I am 43 years old born and raised in Washington. I live in Ward 1 near Howard University. Klein catered to mostly young white professional bike riders and his white yuppie friends. Using tax dollars on bike lanes and dog parks is a waste of tax dollars. We have so many homeless people in this city or people that don't have food to eat. In my opinion, Gabe Klein didn't qualify to hold the position as Director of Transportation. Myself and others were puzzled by former Mayor Fenty's decision to select this guy. I will not be voting for Klein if he decides to run for the At-Large Council seat. There are several on the DC Council that need to be voted out of office. Councilmembers Michael Brown and Kwame Brown both have personal financial problems and they both got elected on the DC Council. I hate to say it, but I agree with residents living in Maryland and Virginia, DC voters deserved what they get from our DC legislators because they continue to vote for losers or non qualified individuals. Marion Barry is an embarrassment to the District. This is why the whites in Congress that controls DC will never give us Statehood or a vote in Congress. I just wish all these people associated with Adrian Fenty would disappear. I don't know what Gray will be like as our mayor, but I only voted for him just to get rid of FENTY. I don't have any expectations of Mayor Gray, DC Council Chair Kwame Brown and the rest on the DC Council. This race will turn into a racial issue because DC is and has always been a segregated city divided by race. Many blacks will not vote for Gabe Klein based on his being a white male and whites will vote for Klein just because he's a white male. Gray talks about One City. He has his work cut out for himself. I foresee a Control Board put into place within 2 years by Congress. The Republican Congress will be watching DC very closely and Eleanor Holmes-Norton will be powerless to do anything.

M. Matthews
Ward 1 DC

Posted by: mmatthews1 | January 14, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Nosh1, thank you for your comment. You were on point with your words. Kudos to you!

concernedaboutdc, you too are always on point with your comments. I don't know if I wouold vote for Carol Schwartz again. They woman has retired and she should stay in retirement and enjoy her golden years. LOL; I am over 50 and I hope to enjoy my golden years once I retire.

Ward4DC, I too am a native of DC and I have been a voter since Home Rule was granted by Congress.

nervous71, you appear to be ornary, surly, and bitter yourself. Why would you call out Carlos Gray's name or anyone's name on this blog that you assume without proof?There are close to 90,000 residents living in Ward 4 and many do share WARD4DC views. Are they all complainers and are a pain in your view? Whites complain all the darn time and guess what, they get the attention of their government. The tea partiers are a good example. Stop taking these blogs too personal. nervous71, I hope you are not a member of the Tea Party?

mmatthews, you are right about DC being a segregated city and this At-Large race will divide our city by black and white.

I will not be voting for Gabe Klein. I think Klein and other opportunists like Vincent Orange, Josh Lopez, and others are looking at the $124,000 part-time yearly DC Council salary. We deserve better than these clowns.

Posted by: KappaNupe | January 14, 2011 10:15 PM | Report abuse

nervous71, I suspect, you are Gabe Klein. According to the news media, Klein is 39 years old and this would make he be born in 1971. I am sure Klein is aware of this article concerning him and he's reading the comments on here. Nervous71, if you are really Klein, please come out and use your real name. LOL Don't be scared.

People use fake names all the time on the Internet without using their real names. Man, I have read some of the most vile racist comments on the Washington Post and other major newspapers blogs. Racism is still alive and well in the United States and in DC. All the Tea Party members don't belong to the Republican party. There are some that belong to the Democratic Party.

Posted by: RockCreekPark | January 14, 2011 10:58 PM | Report abuse


nervous71, do you think you know me? Sorry, my name isn't Carlos. Stop assuming you know a stranger on a blog. There are people that come on these blogs and use the same screen name as others. I've seen it done with the name of ConcernedaboutDC. Others have used my screen name on the Post blog too.


nervous71, do you think I should sit by and see my community and the city I was born in go into the toilet? Are you a current or former DC Government employee? Did you have to get up off your lazy behind and do your job, because a resident complained regarding an issue important to them? For the record, my name is Bernard and I live in Takoma DC. I will not give my last name because there are too many nut cases roaming the streets. You see what happen in Arizona last week, thanks to Sarah Palin and other racists buddies on talk radio? Please stop putting other's names out there because you might be putting someone's life in danger. I don't know if you were referring to Mayor Gray's son Carlos?

As I stated, I was born in DC and grew up in this segregated city. I graduated from Calvin Coolidge High School in 1971 and Howard University in 1975. I will continue to voice my opinion as I see fit. In my opinion, Gabe Klein treated white DC residents concerns with a priority. As a black DC voter, I deserve the same customer service as white DC voters living in Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. If you consider me as being "ornery" nervous71, then so be it. I am a human being just like whites living in this city. For too long, blacks have been treated as second class citizens in the District of Columbia and in the United States of America.

MMatthews made an excellent point regarding the mostly white Congress. As long as DC has a majority of black residents, Congress will never give us Statehood or a vote. I saw Mark Plotkin on ABC7 News discussing DC local politics the other day to a reporter at the Maryland State capital. Mark stated the exact same thing to the reporter.

Bernard
Takoma DC

Posted by: Ward4DC | January 14, 2011 11:36 PM | Report abuse

This is so funny to see liberals and Democrats fight amongst themselves. It was former liberal DC Democratic Mayor Adrian Fenty and the liberal DC Council that almost ran DC into bankruptcy. The Tea Party isn't racist. They just don't support tax increases, big government, and socialism. Electing Klein would be another liberal progressive Democrat on the city council. By the way, it was the Democratic Party known for being the racist party. Please check you history folks. Liberals will continue to control blacks and their destiny with their progressive thinking. Blacks need to wake up and realize, the Democratic Party doesn't care about them. The Democratic Party priority is to attract the Hispanic vote and to legalize millions of illegal immigrants in the country. I look forward to Congress taking control of the District government. With DC Council Chair Kwame Brown at the helm, DC will go under a federal Control Board. This is the same man who alleged to be in almost a million dollars debt and the voters in DC elected this guy. What a joke!

Posted by: RushLimbaurg | January 14, 2011 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Who in their write mind would want to run for public office in this crazy society? After what happened last week in Arizona, I wouldn't run for office if they gave it to me. I just finish reading an article in today's Post by Colbert King. Mr. King discusses all the hate male he receives from mentally disturbed people. The Washington Post and other newspapers should get rid of their blogs because the mentally disturb with vile racist hurtful words come on the Internet commenting on their hate. This is scary folks. I do think if people had to use their real names and give a legitimate email address, you wouldn't see all the hateful and hurtful comments. This is the world we are living in today unfortunately. If Mr. Klein and others thinking about running for public office want to maintain their sanity, they shouldn't run for political office.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/14/AR2011011405082.html


Posted by: DaddyGraceFishSandwich | January 15, 2011 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Correction:

Who in their right mind would want to run for political office in this crazy society? I wouldn't.

Posted by: DaddyGraceFishSandwich | January 15, 2011 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Klein wasn't a great Director at DDOT. What make he think, he would be good politician on the DC Council? It sounds like Klein has a personal vendetta against Mayor Gray, because Gray fired him. I can tell you, many white residents west of Rock Creek Park disliked all the speed humps Klein implemented on the streets in our neighborhood without community input.

Nosh1, your comment was to the point regarding Gabe Klein. This voter who happens to be white will not be voting for Gabe Klein. I hope this guy gets a real job.

Posted by: JonBonJovi | January 15, 2011 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Correction: What makes him think, he would be good politician on the DC Council?

I am just waking up and I haven't had my coffee yet.

Posted by: JonBonJovi | January 15, 2011 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Didn't Gabe Klein go over budget for the street car program?

Governments today don't like this type of permanent infrastructure investment because it's hard to scale back and maintain when times get tough (like now). It was accused of being a white elephant in the making. The money would probably be better spent on pedestrian improvements, widening existing expressways, and fixing our bus system.

If Gabe Klein the former DDOT Director decides to run for the DC At-Large Council seat, he will not get my vote. Many DC voters would not come out and vote for this guy. He lacked the experience to run DDOT and he's lacking experience to be a politician.

I think he's unhappy Mayor Fenty didnt win re-election and he dislikes Vincent Gray.

Posted by: CaptainKangaroo | January 16, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

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