Mayor Gray Sworn in to lead "One City"
While the new Mayor warned District residents to brace for "some very painful choices in the weeks and months ahead," emcee Bruce Johnson, a longtime anchor at WJLA-TV, set a tone of humor and collegiality. "We're all together in this -- one city," Johnson said, emphasizing a moment of unity shared even by the media and government officials. "At least until just before noon," he said.
Later, supporters of the Mayor hosted a pre-gala dinner at Café Milano in Georgetown and thousands of revelers partied into the night at the gala back at the Convention Center.
It was a far cry from the lonely days in February when smallish bands of residents huddled together in unconnected and unscripted meetings to try to convince the then-Council Chairman to challenge Mayor Adrian Fenty. It seemed crazy: cash on hand was zero. Fenty’s cash was in the millions.
Gray is a man familiar with taking the long route to victory through responsibility and hard work.
“As a child living in a one-bedroom apartment in D.C., I watched my mother go out and sweep the sidewalks and the alley in back. I asked her, ‘Mom, why did you do that? The streets belong to the city.’ She replied, ‘No, son, the streets belong to all of us.’”
Gathered around the Mayor were members of the Council including Kwame R. Brown, who took the oath of office as the city’s youngest-ever Council Chair. Gray, 68, is the oldest mayor to be sworn in the District's history. Beside him were his son Carlos, and daughter, Jonica Gray-Tucker, and other family members.
Especially pleased were the up-for-reelection council members who supported Gray’s campaign, including Cheh, Mendelson, and Brown.
Before heading to the gala Sunday evening, a group of Gray supporters hosted an early “one city” dinner at Café Milano in Georgetown including Wolf Blitzer, CNN anchor. The multi-course Italian style dinner was hosted by restaurant owner Franco Nuschese, Paxton Baker and BET.
Reuben O. Charles, the soft spoken, smartly dressed chief money-raiser for the Gray campaign, civic activist Judith Terra, who four years earlier supported Fenty and notably held Gray's kickoff spring fundraiser at her Colorado Avenue home, recalled how the 100 or so people who attended that event, some of whom actually pledged money, were deemed “courageous” -- if not a mite foolhardy.
Georgetowners in attendance included Georgetown's ANC Commissioners (see photo below) attorney E. David Harrison, Joe Farruggio, owner of il Canale, the restaurant where one of the first Talk-Gray-Into-Running meetings was held, Dr. Karyne Messina and daughter Kiki Messina, who held a campaign fundraiser in Burleith.
Spotted at the inaugural ceremonies were early supporters including: Vernon Hawkins, a longtime Gray advisor; Adam Rubinson, the campaign manager; campaign scheduler Stephanie Reich; Gray’s fraternity brother, Bruce C. Bereano, Chinatown activist Alexander Chi, CEO and president of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce Barbara Lang and her husband, Gerald B. Lang, Howard L. Brooks, lawyers Max Berry and Doug Patton, and Dupont Circle activist Susan Meehan. Virginia E. Hayes Williams, the mother of former Mayor Tony Williams and an ardent Gray backer, was in California with her family celebrating the holidays.