Recall Effort Against Gray Under Way After Rocky Year

Liz Farmer, Washington Examiner, January 2, 2011

Mayor Vincent Gray’s second year in office is expected to start Tuesday by facing a grass-roots effort to recall him from office after a year marked by a hiring scandal, heightened scrutiny and the start of a grand jury probe into his mayoral campaign.

But critics and supporters alike say any legitimate effort would costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, would have to be run like a high-profile political campaign and even then, the chances of success are slim.

D.C. resident Frederick Butler, founder of www.recallvincegray.com, said he has been gathering email addresses of potential volunteers and donors for such an effort. He told The Washington Examiner that he’s “ready to go” Tuesday—the first day he can file for a recall under D.C. law.

“As soon as the doors open, I’m going to be there and I’m going to file,” he said, referring to the Board of Elections and Ethics.

The investigation into Gray’s 2010 mayoral campaign has been a distraction for nearly the entire first year of his administration.

Six weeks after he moved into the mayor’s office, it was revealed that Gray’s team hired allies and family members of staffers for city jobs, including minor mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown. After being fired in February from his $110,000-a-year job, Brown said members of Gray’s mayoral campaign gave him cash-stuffed envelopes and money orders so he would stay in the race and keep up his verbal assault on then-Mayor Adrian Fenty.

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But the sheer level of support required for a recall election has some doubtful that Butler’s efforts will succeed. D.C. law requires that a recall petition obtain valid signatures from 10 percent of the city’s registered voters—or about 45,000. The petition also must include at least 10 percent of voters from five of the eight wards to demonstrate a citywide sentiment.

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  • DC_Resident

    One thing everyone needs to remember about the last DC Mayor election was that it was a proxy fight over the future of DC schools.  Lots of whites and non-poor minorities have moved into DC over the last decade, and they’re sick of paying for a corrupt and unusable school system.  Adrian Fenty hired Michelle Rhee to reform DC schools on behalf of the new residents.  Vincent Gray’s main campaign promise was that he’d get rid of Ms. Rhee on behalf of the old (black) residents. 

    Michelle Rhee had fired a few hundred black teachers, replaced some incompetent principals and generally sought accountability for spending and results in DC schools.  The black community was furious that a Korean woman was firing blacks and “disrespecting the community” by uncovering corrupt spending and hiring.  DC blacks complain about bad schools, but they really only care that their relatives are employed in overpaid school system jobs.  Many of those blacks fired by Ms. Rhee are far too incompetent to ever find a similar job somewhere else! 

    Unfortunately for DC schools, Gray won the election (almost entirely through black votes) and forced out Michelle Rhee.  It won’t stop the flooding of blacks into PG County  Maryland, and the “gentrification” of DC by whites.  Gray’s election was really the last power play of the fading DC black majority. 

    • One of the bad things Rhee did was to bring in Asian teachers with H-1B visas.  In a feud between “native” born blacks and imported Asians, I have no rooting interests either way.  It does lay some doubt into ODIOUS (Our Diversity Is OUr Strength).

  • Anonymous

    The solution to all of D.C.’s problems is simple. Reinstate Marion Barry as defacto mayor for life. Remember, he once promised to put “a police car on every sidewalk.”

  • madd mike

    We should be doing this to “The One”. The longer he stays in office the harder it’s gonna be to bring us back from the edge!

  • To Everyone:
     A bad politician is a bad politician. Hey , in the state i live in, Wisconsin, we’re recalling a lousy
    white governor by the name of Scott Walker. He’s , definitely, no different nor better than D.C. mayor Vincent Gray. One turn deserves another. Thanks!!

    • “Worst governor ever.”  Sure, a balanced budget, one of the best job growth records among the states in our severe recession, one of the very few states whose public sectors are actually hiring people, all thanks to public employee reforms that meant that even at the end, Wisconsin public employees are still better paid in terms of salary and benefits than typical private sector employees, and still have their union and collective bargaining rights over wages and salaries.  (Sans first responders, for whom the reforms did not apply).

      Oh, and CCW.

      Scott Walker’s Wisconsin — An awful place to live.