Gray speaks out on Hardy, GU expansion and parking
September 29, 2010 | by Beth Solomon
Photo by RJSmithPresumptive mayor-elect Vincent Gray told The Georgetown Dish he "can't understand" why popular Hardy Middle School principal Patrick Pope was removed from the school and that as mayor he will consider Pope's assignment as part of his administration's priority-setting in education reform.
Gray met with The Dish following an interview with Georgetown journalist Carol Joynt, host of the Q&A Cafe at the Ritz-Carlton in Georgetown. D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans, CAG Gala chair Nancy Taylor Bubes and Q&A Cafe regular Jim Kimsey attended, along with CAG's Betsy Cooley and others.
The presumptive mayor expressed dismay that DCPS principals are being assigned to multiple schools. Such is the case of respected Hyde-Addison principal Dana Nerenberg, who was assigned to Hardy earlier this year -- in addition to her duties at Hyde-Addison -- after Pope's controversial removal. Hardy had been a model of high achievement and city-wide success leading up to Pope's reassignment by schools chancellor Michelle Rhee to planning projects in the DCPS central office. That move led to universal protest from parents and students, Gray noted.
The presumptive mayor said he has not had a chance to read Evans' new parking bill aimed at reining in what some see as exorbitant and harassing parking meter charges. "We're looking at a $100 million deficit, so we need to look at fiscal implications of any legislation," Gray said.
On the controversy surrounding Georgetown University's expansion plans, Gray agreed to meet with Georgetown residents to discuss the university's proposal and its potential impact on the neighborhood concerning parking, increased traffic, and increased housing pressure from the expected 3000+ additional graduate students proposed.
Gray said he has met President Obama twice recently and has had a good relationship with Attorney General Eric Holder for many years. Media reports have suggested that Holder was involved when Mayor Adrian Fenty publicly asked the President to endorse his re-election campaign. No presidential endorsement was offered.
"Don't forget, I'm not an outsider," said Gray, "I've been involved in education reform a long time."
Near the end of the televised interview with Joynt, Gray asked the host to dance, which she did. As she wrote on her blog: "At the end I asked mayor-to-be Vincent Gray about what intrigued me the most from my research: his passion for 'DC hand dancing.' He lit up and happily talked about it for a few minutes, and then asked me to dance. I wasn't sure. I mean, geez. I'm a serious journalist, after all. Haha."
After the dance, Gray spent at least 45 minutes talking with reporters including NBC4's Tom Sherwood, the Washington Post's Tim Craig, and The Georgetown Dish -- aided by Communications Director Doxie A. McCoy.