Gray, Evans pledge at Ward 2 town hall to close Philly Pizza

Photo by Katie Manning
Georgetowner Anne Wittke questions Gray about Philly Pizza's new operating license
Georgetowner Anne Wittke questions Gray about Philly Pizza's new operating license
A mellow crowd greeted presumptive mayor-elect Vincent Gray at the Ward 2 town hall Thursday -- that was until Georgetowner  Anne Wittke opened the question period  with a challenge for Gray and Ward 2 councilmember Jack Evans to permanently close Philly Pizza

Whittle noted that the Potomac Street takeout had again obtained an operating license and intended to reopen despite the actions of top D.C. officials to shut it down for trash, noise, zoning and other violations.   Gray responded that he will demand transparency from his agencies and that they will work with neighbors or there will be "one more person on the unemployment lines and that person will be the director."

Evans, following the town hall, told The Georgetown Dish that "I'm going to put them [Philly Pizza] out of business. I don't know how I'm going to do it, but it's going to happen."  
Wittle said, “Georgetown neighbors are thrilled with Evans’ commitment to close down nuisance joints like Philly Pizza.  He's been with us 100% and we are with him."

Political analysts had predicted that Gray would find himself in “unfriendly” territory in Ward 2 where 72% of the voters supported Gray’s challenger incumbent Adrian Fenty.  Yet, Gray struck many responsive cords with residents.  He spoke glowingly of the senior village concept and said the additional support for seniors is needed in tight financial times.  Delighting many, he also pledged to reduce the number of boards and commissions and to fill the remaining and most important bodies with qualified members. And again, he challenged the audience to battle for self-determination and to join him in acts of civil disobedience  to achieve statehood. 
Interim school chancellor Kaya Henderson listens at town hall (Photo by: Katie Manning) Interim school chancellor Kaya Henderson listens at town hall

In a week in which D.C education reform has been topic one both in the District and across the Nation, Gray demonstrated his commitment to keep reform on track by welcoming the new interim chancellor of the D.C. Public Schools Kaya Henderson who sat in a prominent seat in the front row. 

Gray again stated that the departure of Chancellor Rhee from DCPS was a “mutual" decision.  “She did not abruptly quit and I did not ask her to leave." 

Gray asks man wearing statehood t-shirt to stand as an example of advocacy needed (Photo by: Katie Manning) Gray asks man wearing statehood t-shirt to stand as an example of advocacy needed

voter asks Gray about funding for homeless programs.  Ward 5 councilmember Thomas listens (Photo by: Katie Manning) voter asks Gray about funding for homeless programs. Ward 5 councilmember Thomas listens

0 Comments For This Article

Ken Archer

Gray didn't pledge to close Philly Pizza.

Honestly, it was a little embarrassing, after Gray gave a moving speech about how he will address 35% unemployment in Ward 8, that the first question came from a Georgetowner complaining about noise from a pizza joint.

Gray says he wants to talk about issues that matter to Ward 2 residents. Yet, we didn't ask a single question about schools, the GU Plan or transportation.


@ Ken Archer

Why is that, "embarrassing"? Are the residents of Ward 2 not allowed to be concerned about matters that directly affect them just because of the existence of totally unrelated difficulties suffered by residents in other parts of the city? There seems to be this sentiment that, because Wards 2 and 3 are wealthy, they don't deserve access to any city services or have a right to responsive government. We are constituents, too, and we have a right to be heard. This issue may not "matter" to you, but it does to those who reside in that part of the neighborhood. Who made you the arbiter of issue substance?

DC John

I attended the Ward 2 gathering at Foundry Methodist. What IS it with the Georgetown people?? Mr Gray came to talk about the issues facing the entire, safety, unemployment, budgets, voting rights etc and the first thing we hear is about a pizza place!!! You are an embarassment to the Ward. Hope you get redistricted into Ward 3 and then all of you can cry in each other's yards!


Folks...all politics is local. So yes, paving your alley, the renovation of your neighborhood library and yes flying nuisance pizza slices are all fair game, etc. It has thus always been this way and politicians ignore it at their peril.


In a free country you're entitled to your own priorities, so if the issue that matters most to her is a food joint that used to sell pizza, that's her decision. Not everyone in 20007 is so shallow and selfish, though, and it's good that some people find her priorities embarassing to the neighborhood.

My guess is that most people in 20007 think that education reform, stopping violence, and economic growth are more important issues than a small business that used to sell pizza; after all, most decent people don't want to live in a neighborhood where's Wittke's attitude reigns supreme. Where is the neighborhood leadership? They should speak up and make it clear that they understand the real concerns in DC and that Wittke's priorities are not representative of the neighborhood.


Perhaps before criticizing the raising of a 'pizza place' as an issue, it's worth understanding why the issue has in fact been raised by ward 2 residents, rather than using it as an opportunity to wildly suggest that all ward 2 residents care about is a pizza place.


What "neighborhood leadership"? Both the ANC commissar and the Ward 2 councilmember have made it clear they think this store is one of THE most important issues facing Georgetown. They would rather have a vacant store than one that very successfully serves nearby consumers.

@ Pierre

....would rather have a vacant store that very successfully serves/disrupts/trashes nearby properties nearby consumers/drunk students at 1a.m.