November 06, 2010

'New Washington' Strikes Back

For those of you unfamiliar with this year's mayoral race in Washington, here is a synopsis:

Vincent Gray, the chair of the city council, decided to run against Adrian Fenty, the incumbent mayor, for the Democratic nomination for mayor. Because of the dominance of the Democratic party in Washington city politics, garnering the Democratic nomination for an office is truly the same as winning the general election. Gray, in my opinion, led a revolt against Fenty by taking advantage of and sometimes flaming the resentments of some older, middle-class and poorer African-American residents, henceforth termed 'Old Washington,' against Fenty because of his purported neglect of and disrespect for this constituency. Fenty was accused of being concerned only with the needs of other citizens of Washington who tended to be younger, better educated, more racially diverse, gayer, more concerned with progressive causes such as livability, henceforth termed 'New Washington.' Vincent Gray defeated Adrian Fenty for the Democratic nomination for mayor and Fenty subsequently endorsed him for the general election. (Ironically, Adrian Fenty actually won the Republican primary for mayor as a write-in candidate, which he did not accept.) However, a movement arose to write in Fenty's name for mayor in the general election (which I myself did), which proved highly effective in sending a message. Write-in candidates (presumably nearly all for Fenty) won several precincts and came close to winning three of the city's eight wards. In total, Fenty (going with the earlier presumption) garnered 23% of the vote compared to 70% for Gray. While this seems like a trouncing of Fenty by Gray, in Washington politics, this was a shocking rebuke to Gray.

Now for pure opinion...

I was waiting to hear the opinion of one Colbert King, a clear proponent of the values and priorities of Old Washington, and today he provided such in his weekly op-ed. While never mentioning Fenty by name, he acknowledged without resentment that Gray had been sent the message that New Washington would be keeping close tabs on him. I, clearly a 'member' of New Washington, will indeed be watching Mr. Gray to make sure that he does not inflate the city's workforce, reverse the improvement in the city's schools, and reverse the city's trend towards livability.