Saturday, May 29, 2010

DC Dem Profiles: Mayor

This Summer, Sum of Change will be bringing you extensive coverage of D.C. local elections. To kick it off, we've been invited by D.C. for Democracy to film their pre-endorsement candidate meet n' greet on Wednesday, June 2. In preparation, we put together some bios on all the candidates that will be attending. Bios for Republican candidates for these seats will be coming shortly. To find all our current DC candidate bios, please visit our 2010 DC Election Page.

These are the Democratic Candidates for Mayor of the District of Columbia

Mayor Adrian Fenty (incumbent)
From Mayor Fenty's official online bio:
Adrian M. Fenty was elected the fifth Mayor of the District of Columbia in November 2006. He has made quality public education for all and efficient and accountable government hallmarks of his administration....

Going forward, Fenty is committed to meeting the economic challenges facing the District by creating new jobs, spurring neighborhood economic development and investing in local infrastructure in an effort to stimulate the city’s economy. Improving education will also remain a cornerstone of the Mayor’s agenda, with special attention paid to improving graduation rates and reducing truancy. With encouraging progress surrounding the city’s congressional voting rights status, Fenty has committed to work with the Obama Administration to make a voting member of Congress for the District a reality.
Over the last year-and-a-half, local media has reported on numerous corruption issues facing Mayor Fenty. From Wikipedia:
Mayor Fenty and his administration came under increasing scrutiny in 2009 in local media, including the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, and local news radio station WTOP. Of note are two "secret trips" taken by Fenty in early 2009.[45] According to WTOP, one of those trips was to Philadelphia and another was to an undisclosed location in the Middle East. The same article also cites city officials who say that Fenty did not disclose to anyone where he was going.

Fenty also came under scrutiny in November 2009 when WTOP reported numerous cases of use of police motorcades. These events include using them to protect him during bicycle rides on streets in and outside of Washington, some of which were on parkways which ban bicycles.[46]

Fenty came under national criticism during the snow storms of February 2010 for the District of Columbia's inadequate response to the historic snowfall, during which the United States Federal Government was effectively shut down for almost a week.[47]

Fenty has been embroiled in a number of additional controversies reported on by the Washington Post, including withholding skybox tickets to the Washington Nationals, despite not being legally entitled to them. He eventually handed the tickets over to the city council.[48] and allowing personal acquaintances to drive city-owned vehicles.

Council Chairman Vincent Gray
From Chairman Gray's official online bio:
Vince’s dedication to his community and the residents of Ward 7 inspired a successful campaign for elected office in 2004 where he handily defeated the incumbent in the primary. During his first term as City Councilman from Ward 7, he chaired a Special Committee on the Prevention of Youth Violence, and created the Effi Barry HIV/AIDS initiative. Two years after joining the Council, Vince ran for the citywide office of Chairman of the Council. Running on the theme of “One City,” he continued his focus on uniting the disparate racial and economic groups in his hometown. He won the general election with 98% of the vote.

As Chairman, Vince has been a leader in efforts to improve the Council’s operations, transparency and oversight capacity, and has been a true champion for school reform. As Chairman, he spearheaded the Pre-K Expansion and Enhancement Act, which established a voluntary, high-quality pre-school program which will provide 2,000 new classroom slots for three and four year olds over the next six years.
Chairman Gray recently received the endorsement of DC police and firefighters, and endorsement that appears to be as much about their disapproval of Mayor Fenty as it is their approval of Gray.
"Mayor Fenty has done nothing to warrant the endorsement and support of D.C. firefighters," said Ray Sneed, president of the firefighters' Local 36. "From a labor standpoint, he is unreachable, unapproachable and our correspondence goes unanswered."
Chairman Gray took some heat recently when his proposed budget basically eliminated the popular streetcar line. By the end of the day, most of the the funding had been restored after the Chairman's office was inundated with calls from DC residents.

From an interview for the Washington Post, published on May 30th, 2010:
In graduate school, I had a professor who said to me, "What do you know about mental retardation?" I was a clinical psychology major, and I said, "Well, to be honest, not a lot." She said, "I'm on the board of the Association for Retarded Citizens, and I would really like you to think about taking a summer job there and see what you think." So I did. They sent me to a conference at Forest Haven, a really infamous institution. I walked around the grounds, up to this really high chain-link fence. While I was standing there, this staff person literally herded about 20 women out who had absolutely no clothes on and started hosing them down. It was one of the most dehumanizing things I've ever seen. I stood there, I looked at it, and it was one of those defining moments. I said: I think I could do something that makes a difference here.

Leo Alexander
From Leo Alexander's official online bio:
In 1999, Leo Alexander became a Ward 4 resident homeowner and an active member of the Brightwood Civic Association. He exhibited leadership and tenacity in helping the Association wage its successful campaign to block construction of a transfer station in Brightwood, a largely middle‐class African‐American community. This empowering experience launched his commitment to community and political activism in the District. He volunteered in a full range of campaigns; from President Obama’s historical win, to local races for mayor and council chair.

He chaired the public relations committee for the DC Federation of Civic Associations and in these duties; he produced and moderated the last major candidates’ forum for the 2006 local mayoral election. That same year, he was named the Delegate of the Year for the DC Federation of Civic Associations. Since 2005, he has served as an executive board member of the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights (DCCH). The DCCH is responsible for spearheading most of the affordable housing and commercial redevelopment projects along the 14th Street corridor; i.e., The Tivoli theatre, Giant Supermarket and DCUSA shopping mall.
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