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Would someone tell Vincent Gray that he's running for mayor?

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) so botched the city's response to February's double-whammy snow storms that he turned me into a single-issue citizen of the District. That's why I was happy when City Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) jumped into the race. I would have a choice to make. But he's got a long way to go to earn my vote. Gray uttered just 211 words -- and said nothing about why he is running.

"The reality is, we can do better in the District of Columbia," Gray said. "We can do better. We can do better. And we will be talking about the ways in which we can do better during the course of this campaign." What, pray tell, can we do better? He didn't say. And Gray still refused to say what he would do on "The Politics Hour" of "The Kojo Nnamdi Show" this morning when he was asked to name three things he'd like to get done in his first 100 days.

As someone who worked on a mayoral campaign (Mike Bloomberg 1.0), let me advise Gray's brain trust to stop playing the Rose Garden strategy and start laying out a vision for the the District. And here's another thing Gray should do: run a campaign that doesn't play on race.

At an education forum on Wednesday before community groups who don't care for Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, Gray slammed Rhee for replacing the principal of the highly successful and majority black Hardy Middle School in Georgetown. "It is sickening and disgusting to see what happened [there]," he said. "Here is a school that is working. We have something that shouldn't be dismantled. We have something that should be replicated all across the District of Columbia!" The Post's Bill Turque notes that this earned Gray "spirited applause." But then he added, "I would say, I don't get it. But you get it, and I get it also."

Yeah, I get what he's talking about. And I don't like it. Gray's campaign slogan is "One City: Leadership We Need." Because of that smack at Rhee and his unwillingness to start talking substance, that mantra falls into the category of empty rhetoric.

By Jonathan Capehart  | April 2, 2010; 1:18 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Oh, Mr. Capehart. You are so silly. Of course if you want to learn about V. Gray's vision for the city, you need only go to his campaign website: vincentgrayformayor.com. . . . .Oh wait. There's NOTHING there! Not his position on schools, or crime or statehood. Not even his bio? Nothing? How could that be? Surely he knew he was going to declare on Tuesday. So, does he not have positions on important city issues, or could his team not get the web site ready in time? Either way, this doesn't look good . . . .

Posted by: erkab202 | April 2, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Gray is being frank and honest. A lot of people (especially those of us with children) are tired of the double standard in education in this city when it comes to students of color, and white students not residing in NW having severely limited access to the same high quality educational programs that permeate schools in NW yet are nonexistent everywhere else in the city.
Patrick Pope, a white principal, has always garnered respect from black, white, latino folks in the city because he is the real deal ---a committed and effective educator for all. Gray makes it clear that Rhee (in messing with Pope and his excellent program at Hardy), has struck a chord, and the public at large is not going put up with it.
Perhaps the Washington Post, (Where Rhee's X husband works and which did a full page infomercial last month for KJ her fiancé) — should acknowledge how deep its own biases are so that its criticism of her critics (like Gray) can be put into proper perspective. But then the author of this piece Capehart a mayor Bloomberg ‘guy’, whose mayor via Klein ensured that public had no say in their children’s education in the New York City schools would have to fess up on a few things. Like Duh- Fenty got Rhee by way of Bloomberg- and duh- Capehart is just getting paid to ‘role-play’ here— pretending to have some interest in Gray while trying to ‘poison the well’ around supposed concerns he has regarding Gray’s comments. Most people in DC Are ‘little smarter that the average bear’ we really can put two and two together and not get played by this nonsense.
And as Gray enters the mayoral race, hopefully he can inspire leadership for the DC School system and the city as a whole to work well for all of its citizens not just people with connections to mayoral campaigns. If you want more back-story on the futility of the Bloombergh/Klein ,Fenty/Rhee style reform then google former Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch’s recent interviews so you understand the lack of real improvement not just for students in DC but for children nationally.
Happy Passover, Easter and Spring everybody.
A Parent of a DC Middle Schooler

Posted by: janetcamillebrown | April 2, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Gray: Point on. All these Anybody But Fenty people can say what they want.

Gray has not articulated platform. In fact, he said that he won't have one until after the election. He just wants people to know he will shake their hand and be their "homie"

And he is clearly Race-baiting. He is clearly relying on the Black people associating our problems with Fenty's attitude.

In what world does someone announce with out a plaform. You shouln't even have to ask. It should be written down.

Fenty: Man you are streching on the blizzards. I am from Chicago. If he had been mayor of Chicago and did the same thing. We would be pointing to him as an example for it should be done. We have never had back to back blizzards like that. But we get in consistently. We have enough snow to know when someoone does a good job. But, he should not have talked about keeping schools open. Then again, no crime in trying.

I suggest you compare how Fenty did to how Barry did. You would be a little more appreicative.

The Anybody but Fenty crowd was going to complain as soon as Fenty let a flake hit the ground.

Posted by: politicalrealist | April 3, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Jonathan Capehart does not like what Chairman Vincent C. Gray is talking about regarding DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee because Mr. Capehart is clueless about District public education. Mr. Capehart, just as his editorial board colleagues at The Washington Post, is out of touch with District parents, teachers, and community education advocates.

It is intellectually obscene for Mr. Capehart to claim Chairman Gray is playing the race card, while Mr. Capehart and the editorial board of The Washington Post remain silent as Chancellor Rhee and D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty use the race card as their hidden premise to alter the face of District public education.

Mr. Capehart's column mentions the recent community led education forum, and is critical of Chairman Gray's comments about Chancellor Rhee's resistance to the concerns of parents of Hardy school. However, Mr. Capehart's thoughts highlight his own editorial shortcoming by neglecting to cite the appearance of former DCPS Superintendent Clifford B. Janey and as keynote speaker Dr. Katherine Tobin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education.

Dr. Tobin, representing President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan and presented the Administration's view to improve public education. Dr. Tobin stated something Mr. Capehart and The Washington Post did not want to hear, public education reform cannot succeed without the inclusion of parents, teachers, and the broader community. Obviously, Mr. Capehart feels only the editorial board of The Washington Post should have input in reforming District public education. He is wrong.

The clear refusal of the editorial board, editors, and reporters of The Washington Post to recognize, to respect, and to write accurately about the views and concerns of Chancellor Rhee's critics tarnishes their reputations and diminishes their integrity.

That many residents attended the community education forum and many more residents do not credit Mayor Fenty or Chancellor Rhee for marginal improvements in DCPS demonstrates District voters may be able to withstand the public relations campaign of The Washington Post to mask the destructive management of DCPS by Chancellor Rhee.

Robert Vinson Brannum, President
DC Federation of Civic Associations, Inc.
rbrannum@robertbrannum.com

Posted by: robert158 | April 3, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Capehart - Great article! I agree wholeheartedly with Robert Brannum as well.

Posted by: dbrighthaupt | April 4, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Capeheart is a flake with little knowledge of how dc citizens really feel about the arrogant, self-centered posture of the current mayor. Because Gray did not immediately reveal his platform does not mean he doesn't have one. Accusing Gray of playing on race as an issue really got my attention coming from a member of the WaPo crew. The Post helps to keep that issue alive and well daily. The city is crying out for someone with the ability to drive the city forward while involving all constituencies. Fenty has proven he is not that person. Gray can do it. Reforming the city's schools and government should not be trusted to inexperienced leaders who believe they can make it better if dc citizens would just shut up and sit down.

Posted by: lightkeeper | April 5, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a huge Fenty fan. He has been less than elegant in his approach, sometimes appears out of touch, and steps on people's toes. However, he does get things done.

I'm sure there are better mayors than Fenty, but he certainly isn't the worst mayor DC has ever had. Besides the obvious multiple term mistake Barry, Kelly and 2nd term Williams were bad, do nothing mayors.

Vincent Gray has to do more than tell us that Fenty can be a better mayor. We all know that. Gray has to tell us how Gray will be that better mayor.

DC could do better than Fenty, but it already has done far worse.

Posted by: AxelDC | April 6, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

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