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August 30: A Visit from Gray

Today’s Event: Mayoral frontrunner Vincent Gray meets Washington City Paper‘s staff. I walked away from the hour-long meeting wondering: So why should this guy be elected mayor? The guy clearly knows the issues and can speak in depth. But there was little sense of what specific things he’d do differently. Which is why I can’t help but focusing on comparatively minor stuff:  Gray stands by Peaceoholics getting into the group-home business, he believes Charter Schools deserve more power, and he sticks by his love of Sex and the City—-a love that includes the horrible first film.

Influence: Slight. Gray’s proposed tweaks to Child and Family Services Agency (more emphasis on families i.e. kinship care  over group homes), and DOES (more emphasis on adult job training) make sense. And it’s hard to imagine Fenty making those adjustments, let along thinking of them. Indeed, our Gray conversation felt far more substantial than our Fenty meeting. But all the same, the guy comes off as trying to avoid taking a stand on issues that might piss people off.

Net impact: Back to Neutral.

But: When we ask Gray about a checks and balances, he makes some specific promises: He says if elected he’d bring back the weekly press conference and make agency heads testify before the D.C. Council. Those positions won’t anger any constituency, but they will be something we can hold him to. And they’re more than Fenty did.