Gray takes honeymoon to Palisades

Photo by The Georgetown Dish
Mayor Gray, with Councilmembers Sekou Biddle and Mary Cheh at Palisdes
Mayor Gray, with Councilmembers Sekou Biddle and Mary Cheh at Palisdes

Mayor Vincent Gray was clearly in the honeymoon phase Tuesday night at the monthly meeting of the Palisades Citizens Association. At ease and enjoying himself, Gray joked about what’s it’s like to be mayor, the budget, government reorganization, education (especially his passion for early childhood intervention) and his strong support for Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh.  After being introduced by association  President Bill Slover, Gray admitted that “one way to ‘concretized  being mayor” is to carry “not one, not two, but three Blackberrys,” as he pulled out the three devices and tossed them on the table. He added in all seriousness: “Each has its significance -- one for the police department -- which you hope never rings.”

Despite being in a ward that had not supported him for mayor, the audience was attentive, appreciative and obviously on his side. After six years on the City Council, including four as Chairman, Gray has a command of the numbers, the way agencies run and don’t run and where he wants to take the city.  A question about the “archaic DCRA permit process” led Gray to the famous fence around his home that had to come down because it was built without a permit.  “I know a lot about fence permits,” he said with some irony. “And I know a lot about witch hunts.”

Gray also touched on the libraries, particularly the new ones being built across the city, including the just-opened Tenley library.  Gray pointed out that when he first joined the Council, he had rejected a proposal for a new “huge” central library to replace MLK downtown.  The “people who go there, don’t live there [and we ought to] invest in neighborhood libraries.”  

Gray acknowledged the two councilmembers in the audience, including the newest member, Councilmember Sekou Biddle.  Gray has endorsed Biddle in the special election April 26th.  He was most enthusiastic, however, toward Councilmember Cheh.  “I’m a big Mary Cheh fan and would vote for her every time she ran,” he said to a round of applause.

The audience at the Palisades Recreation Center (Photo by: The Georgetown Dish) The audience at the Palisades Recreation Center