Friday Question of the Day – Should Mayor Gray Resign?

Mayor Gray with former Council Chairman Kwame Brown during happier times. Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

The Washington Post has reported:

“A secret $653,000 effort funded by one of the District government’s most prominent contractors corrupted the 2010 mayoral race and helped Vincent C. Gray get elected, the city’s top federal prosecutor said Tuesday.”

Many have already called for his resignation, most notably Council Members Mary Cheh, David Catania and Muriel Bowser. One of the few dissents I’ve seen was from an opinion piece in NBC Washington by political analyst Chuck Thies:

There are skilled investigators probing the campaign and related matters. They have already claimed three scalps. Others are sure to follow. No one knows if Gray will be one of them.

In the meantime, the city is doing fine. Gray has been a solid mayor.

So what do you think – should Gray resign immediately or let the investigation run its course?

48 Comment

  • Sadly, the thing that’s worse than Gray is the prospect of Mayor Mendelson. I have some hope Gray will cut through the NIMBY BS in Ward 5 to get the streetcar shed built. With that do-nothing twit Mendelson, there’s no chance in hell.

    • Exactly!! I voted for Fenty, and I’m no fan of Gray, but I would rather have him limp along and complete his term under a cloud than give Mendelson any more power.

      Despite Gray’s Things Are Going to Be Different Under Me campaign message, it seems to me that in practice he’s basically continuing Fenty’s (and Williams’) path, but he gets less pushback on it because the old guard seems him as one of them rather than upstart or outsider.

  • Ok, so he resigns and then what? Michael Brown for mayor? Vincent Orange? Tommy Wells, who couldn’t protect his flank from a fruitfly? Crazy Catania? Jack “the insurance shill” Evans? At least Gray is doing a semi-competent job running the city. And it’s not like we have any guarantees these other people won’t find themselves under federal investigation eventually (except for maybe Wells). How are we better off if he resigns now and throws the city government into turmoil versus waiting two years? Maybe by then Lanier will want to run.

    • Lanier as major? Only if DC has a white majority in two years.

      • Major=mayor. Too sleepy to be properly snarky, good night.

      • Lanier as mayor would be more of the same- like a white, femal Gray. Talk to any beat cop, and they’ll tell you about a lot of sketchy stuff.

        We need honesty, integrity, and leadership- not PR fluff.

        • Yep, I certainly wouldn’t vote for her. She’s skilled at self-promotion and making herself look good.

          • All I care about is that the Police are doing a much better job in my neighborhood, and they have been responding to community concerns quickly and effectively.

          • Q St.- when did the improvement begin? It might be due to a new district head and not related to the person at top (or, yes, it could be connected to Lanier).

    • Or Michelle Rhee!

  • Agree he’s been solid. Even though I supported Fenty, I’ve been impressed with his agenda. Slow moving but steady even under the cloud of investigation. So this is very sad news for this city.

    I’d quickly support a Williams or Tregoning candidacy if one decides to run, as I’m sure many in DC would. Not yet convinced by Wells, but could be.

  • Either way, the person taking a picture/video with his iPad should be exiled to Siberia.

  • I think the better question is:
    Should Gray resign soon and get it over with, or put the city through months of investigations while he denies any involvement in anything inappropriate until the investigation finally concludes he was involved, and then he resigns?

    If Harry Thomas Jr and others are any guide, I’m guessing we’ll see the latter.

  • Why is the poll already closed?

  • Michelle Rhee for Mayor

    • Yes, Rhee for mayor. I’m all for home rule, but I do miss the days when Barry was titular mayor and Congress was really in charge. The liberal in me cringes when I think this, but I think we would benefit from Boehner picking our leadership. There are times in DC when I understand how recently liberated colonies turned into “self-ruling” countries rife with corruption and graf.

  • Poll closed – I haz a sad.

    I’d say yes, he should resign immediately, but I am confident more dirt will be unearthed shortly, so let’s wait and make sure everyone involved gets a nice airing in the media first.

  • I’m not sure that Gray should resign immediately but I do know that Chick Thies’ article is a joke. Saying that the $650,000 didn’t make a difference in the last election because Fenty was a “dead man walking” and the money was not spent on media buys are both piss poor defenses of Gray. Clearly, if this shadow campaign had been uncovered during the election, Fenty would not have been a dead man walking – especially given Gray’s “character, integrity, and leadership” campaign slogan – and it would not have mattered what the money was spent on. You can’t ignore the concealment aspect of this. And sure, there is no proof at this juncture that Gray knew anything about this money (again, no proof at this juncture). But what does it say about his leadership and judgment concerning the people he chose to work on his campaign if he did not know about it.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the shadow campaign paid for many people to be tranported to the Ward 4 straw poll. That straw poll in Mayor Fenty’s home ward may have been a turning point in the election.

  • I don’t believe there was any way that a huge, illegal shadow campaign was run on his behalf and he didn’t know about it. He is either a criminal or an idiot. Either way he should go.

  • Wow, I really thought this topic would have lit up the blog like a deep fried turkey on thanksgiving! Where are all the usual people who comment? Gone to the beach? I was positive this thing would be over 100 comments by 10am.
    Oh, and in answer to the question, yes he should resign, apologize to Fenty and install Fenty as mayor for life.

    • Well the fact that the PoP website went down for 10 minutes when this story was still the latest post on the blog might have a bit to do with that.

    • PDleftMtP

      It is kind of sad that this is attracting a fraction of the response of the latest “my neighbor plays Barry Manilow, can I have him arrested?” thread.

  • Colheightsmom

    It is sad you have such low expectations from your elected officals that you are obviously willing to tolerate the felon activities of people like Gray, HTJ, Kwame and Barry, and no…with the entire city’s elelected leadership locked under the cloud of federal investigations of the Mayor, his friends, the Council Chair and HTJ, Gray is NOT doing a semi-competent job. Not by a long shot.

    The city doesn’t run itself, but the Districts fairly rosy fiscal situation has everything to do with it being the seat of the federal government during the worst recession in 75 years, and the fact that the feds make it the national “jobs mecca” right now. Gray’s 18 months in office gets zero credit.

    Why don’t we start with someone who isn’t under federal investigation for a start. Then we can narrow it down to someone professionally qualified for the job.

    That leaves a few highly educated folks like Catania, Evans, Cheh, none of which are Anthony Williams caliber mayors but atleast they aren’t a shcoking international embarrasment in the paper every single day. Mendo would be a decent Mayor. DC needs someone who is highly methodical, detail oriented, efficient and hasn’t fallen prey to using his office to hire all his friends, or for personal gain. He is just the kind of understanded, “boring” administrator we need, but no…DC will want someone who blows smoke up their arse, spends millions in taxpayer money doing “favors” for each and every unqualified half felon that comes his way.

    • You’re description of a boring, methodical mayor fits what we did have—Anthony Williams. How I miss him! What’s he doing these days??? One problem is that a lot of people in this city need to hear a lot of shouting and see a lot of fist pounding to think that things are getting done. Sadly, the majority of folks in the city don’t understand that quiet and methodical wins the race, so to speak. What we get instead is politicians who yell for votes from pulpits, then often have to go back to those same pulpits and ask for forgiveness and permission to go back to their dirty deeds, which, for some reason, the morons in the pews give.

  • Hey – anyone know hoe much the $650k represented of the total campaign?

  • The fact that he hasn’t had a press conference (even to say “I can’t comment till investigation is concluded but I’m innocent of any wrongdoing”) makes me believe he is innocent. Bring back Fenty and a commission to identify corrupt practices, cronyism and inneficiences – then fix the problems identified.
    Step down Gray and take a bit of that cloud of suspicion hanging over the Wilson building with you.

  • I am shocked, shocked to learn about bundling campaign contributions. This would NEVER happen in the private sector.

  • PDleftMtP

    The site ate my comment earlier, but the BEST case scenario for Gray is that he hired three criminals to run his campaign – and these are people he knows well, not strangers who pulled the wool over his eyes. While that alone is enough, I seriously doubt that’s all that will come out. As for “let’s not throw city government into turmoil,” I’m afraid that’s naive. It’s already there, and it’s going to get worse and not better as this plays out. I’ve spent most of my life in Detroit and DC, and I’ve seen this movie a few times before.

    Who do we get that’s any better? I don’t know. But I do know that it’s not going to happen as long as people keep accepting that this is just the way things are.

  • He was elected illegally therefore he should not remain in office, whether he endorsed the illegal methods or not.

  • I gave him the benefit of the doubt for a long time. I was a fenty voter but thought that he deserved a chance.

    He got his chance. Its time for him to go.

  • I don’t believe trying people in the court of public opinion, so I don’t think he should resign when there is no proof of illegal activity on his part. So far, information arising from the plea deals has suggested he had poor judgment in his campaign staff hires, but that’s certainly not cause for resignation. It’s not like the city is falling apart under his leadership anyway.

    • PDleftMtP

      Actually, the plea deals establish that the long-time close associates to whom he entrusted his campaign were felons. That’s enough for me. Public office is not a right, and the standard is not “entitled to office until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

      • Well legally I doubt the mayor is removable absent any proof beyond a reasonable doubt, though you are certainly free to form your own judgments regarding his legitimacy. Personally, I have faith in our justice system and don’t see any harm in awaiting the facts as to the mayor’s knowledge of the shadow campaign (or lack thereof).

    • Democratic elections are courts of public opinion.

  • Emailed just now:

    Dear Councilmember Graham,

    This is to urge that you publicly call for Mayor Gray’s resignation. Based on what is already known, there is no other route for the mayor except resignation from office. I have noted your demand that he make a full statement about the matter. But nothing he can say now can possibly redeem his fitness to govern.

    While the criminal investigation of the mayor may be complex and incomplete, the facts relevant to his ability to lead our city are simple and known. It is utterly unbelievable that $653,000 could be funneled to a shadow campaign for the mayor’s election without his knowing about it. But even if one assume that the mayor didn’t know about the criminal conspiracy to benefit him, such a massive failure of oversight would render him unfit to govern for a different but equally valid reason. These facts point inexorably to one conclusion — that the mayor must step aside.

    After the recent spate of criminal conduct among city leaders, we need strong ethical leadership now more than ever. “Stability” among the city’s leadership is no doubt a desirable goal, as Chairman Mendelson has lately argued. But Chairman Mendelson is dead wrong in stabilizing a corrupt mayor who is manifestly unfit to govern.

    I have long considered you to be a beacon of ethical governance on the Council. Ethical leadership now requires standing up to demand the resignation of a corrupt and unfit mayor. I urge you to do this as soon as possible.

    Respectfully yours,

    • “I have long considered you to be a beacon of ethical governance on the Council.” Seriously? Are you new to this town?

      • Would his/her letter be more effective without that comment? Oh, I assumed again that blog snarkers could give a sh*t about being effective.

  • Y’all need to chill the funk out!

    Let the investigation play out and stop jumping to conclusion. All a bunch of newbies to the district. Don’t know shiznats from our past… Fenty, Williams, Kelly and Barry used to pull stuff like this all the time.

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