As quickly as he arrived, @MayorGray is gone. The parody account vanished from Twitter Friday after just 11 tweets, without explanation. Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander briefly believed the tweeter was the real Mayor Vincent Gray, then took it back. This begs the question, why isn’t the real Gray on Twitter?
As DCentric’s Anna John writes, “The Mayor proved that he’s aware of Twitter during his campaign, so he can’t plead ignorance or say he’s unsure of how to use it. Social media IS an effective way to facilitate transparency. … Maybe the person who handled Twitter for the Mayor is no longer with his staff. Maybe the Mayor fully intended to use it, but is consumed with other obligations.”
Elsewhere in the DMV:
* Republican Patrick Mara, one of the frontrunners in the At-Large D.C. Council special election race, responds to criticism from D.C. Watch’s Dorothy Brizill that “if successful, I will be required to vacate the Ward One seat on the State Board of Education, which will then need to be filled in a special election. While this is true, there is a troubling element to Brizill’s critique: a double standard.” Mara says Brizill never criticized either Adrian Fenty nor Gray for seeking higher office and necessitating special elections. “Democracy does not have a price tag,” Mara argues. “Saving relatively small amounts of money at the expense of voters and those who seek office is not the place to begin cutting.”
Brizill says she did criticize Fenty and Gray in those past cases, and says “blind ambition” is motivating Mara, who has served on the Board of Education for less than a month.
* In his first significant act as an At-Large D.C. Council member, Sekou Biddle called for an investigation into Pepco’s response to last week’s storm. The Washington Examiner reports Biddle “said in a statement that he wants the D.C. Public Service Commission to ‘examiner the utility’s adherence to its reliability and restoration plan.’”
* The Washington Post ran another harsh editorial indictment of Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr., saying that Thomas “promised to disclose who contributed” to his Team Thomas nonprofit “and how the money was spent. That was three months ago, and what has emerged -- sparse details begrudgingly produced under subpoena by Mr. Thomas and revelations from the media -- underscore the need of a full accounting of his activities.”
* The Georgetown Dish reports Cary Silverman, who ran a strong challenge to Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans in the 2008 Democratic primary, is moving to Rockville, sparing Evans the threat of a rematch.
* The Post’s Mike DeBonis looks back on the legacy of the D.C. Control Board a decade later. At the time, then-mayor Marion Barry “called it a ‘rape of democracy,’” but now, he “sees things differently.” Asked if it was good for the city, Barry said, “Under the circumstances, yes, it was. It was able to do some things that needed to be done that, politically, I would not do.” DeBonis calls the eight-year Control Board era “the most humiliating episode in the city’s 36 years of home rule.” Now, with the District facing a fresh budget crisis, “the prospect that it could be resurrected is figuring prominently with some city officials.”
* The Examiner’s Harry Jaffe says “pay-to-play politics is alive and well in D.C.,” noting that “some of the region’s fattest cats bellied up to Gray’s bar and plunked down $25,000 to help him celebrate his victory over Adrian Fenty.”
* In her Examiner column, Jonetta Rose Barras says the District needs to get creative about fiscal austerity. “For example, is there really a need for an Office of Risk Management? Can’t one agency issue professional licenses, instead of three or more? If officials are serious about spending cuts, they can start by developing and then implementing a plan for a major reorganization of the government.”
* Former Maryland Republican gubernatorial hopeful Brian Murphy critiques Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget proposal at Red Maryland, calling it “a plethora of one-time transfers and accounting maneuvers to balance our budget.” Meanwhile, the Post reports state lawmakers “will either have to raise property taxes by 56 percent over the next five years, or take away $1.1 billion from classrooms, police, and other core state services to cover record state borrowing.”
In an editorial, the Baltimore Sun says that “for all the legitimately difficult cuts the governor has asked the legislature to approve -- including about $100 million in reductions for schools and libraries, the elimination of about 1,000 filled state jobs, and decreases in funding for programs like utility bill assistance for the poor -- Maryland still has a long way to go before its finances can truly be considered sound.”
* The Gazette reports that several past opponents of gay marriage in the Maryland legislature now back legislation that would permit it. Del. Justin Ross of Hyattsville said, “I coach a little girl on the soccer team with my daughter; she has two moms. It became so abundantly clear just the inequity to her parents and also to her. It became impossible to ignore the fact that my little girl and her parents should have the same rights as the other little girl and her parents.”
* The Gazette reports the Prince George’s County Council voted unanimously last week not to appoint any Republicans to its redistricting commission, “saying that the party has too little influence in the Democratic-dominated county.” The decision “prevents the minority party from having any say in the areas that future council members will represent after the 2012 election.”
* Virginia legislative primaries will take place on Aug. 23 this year. While primaries are usually held in June, that early date would conflict with redistricting deadlines.
* The Examiner reports Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli “has ruled that budget amendments proposed by Gov. Bob McDonnell that would funnel state money to charities are unconstitutional.” McDonnell wants to give $500,000 each to the Federation of Virginia Food Banks and Operation Smile.
* The Loudoun Times reports freshman state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel has been named Republican deputy whip, “one of a handful of leadership positions” in the Virginia Senate.
* A group of folks dedicated to dressing the nation’s statues of Mohandas Gandhi for the cold American winter dressed D.C.’s statue of the Mahatma yesterday.
* The Christmas spirit is officially over in Adams Morgan.
Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC