Mayor Gray is clueless.
DC Council Chair Kwame Brown even more so.
Adrian Fenty, please come back.
Now that is out of the way, lets dive in to the discussion at hand. I was a supporter of Mayor Fenty and I thought for all his faults, he did a lot of really good things for DC. I loved Michelle Rhee, while controversial, the city's school system showed results. In essence, they got shit done. After Vincent Gray was elected this past November, I had no real opinion .. until he started hiring people that served under Mayor Barry, worse yet, at a major premium. Strike 1.
Soon after taking over as Mayor, he then began hiring teachers that were let go by Rhee. Strike 2
In the dust up over Councilman Brown (we will get to that in a bit) we find that unlike his predecessor who eschewed a security detail and an official car and instead drove himself around town in a cool SMART car saving the taxpayers much needed cash, Mayor Gray has now gone on to lease a Lincoln Navigator costing the city almost $2000 a month ! Not to mention he brought back a security detail which rides around in a leased Lincoln Town Car. Strike 3
So while Adrian Fenty worked hard to streamline the local government, Mayor Gray has decided to go the opposite route with a city that is facing a $400 million budget shortfall. Will giving up a car solve that ? Absolutely not, rather it is a bad sign that he makes poor decisions, not what you want in a mayor.
On to Council Chairman Brown. He was recently found to not only be leasing one top of the line Lincoln Navigator (costing the city $1769 a month) but another one ($1900 a month) because the first one accepted by the city on behalf of Brown, was rejected by the Chairman because the interior was stone color, not black as he requested .... not to mention the fact that the second one came with a $1500 premium because it had to be driven to DC from a dealer in Kansas City. So what is Chairman Brown's response ... not much. Of course his office released a statement where he apologized and stated that the vehicles would be returned, and that he
look forward to continuing to focus on education reform, getting our people back to work and getting the District's economy back on track.What it does not mention is the fact that even though the cars may be returned, the city will still be on the hook for almost $4000 in monthly lease costs. Worse yet, he says that he will reimburse for "his share" of the time he used the vehicles. Are you kidding me ? The only reason the city has these outrageous expenditures is because of him !! He should be forced to pay for the entire years lease on both vehicles whether he drives them or not, period, end of story.
So as you can see, our local DC government can not be in worse hands. The old adage that the grass is not always greener on the other side is not always true. Fenty might not have been perfect, he definitely had his flaws, but i would much rather see his SMART car parked in front of city hall instead of a fleet of overpriced Navigators.