No Time for Contemplation for Vincent Gray

Democratic Nominee for Mayor Faces Fast-Moving Decisions

By Tom Sherwood
|  Friday, Sep 17, 2010  |  Updated 8:31 PM EDT
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The <a title=Vincent Gray administration will differ distinctly from Adrian Fenty's regime." />

Tom Sherwood

The Vincent Gray administration will differ distinctly from Adrian Fenty's regime.

Vincent Gray is known as a thoughtful man who takes his time making big decisions. He likes to consult with others, read everything he can that's relevant and then ponder it all.

Well, he can forget that.

Gray won the Democratic nomination for mayor on Tuesday, handily defeating Mayor Adrian Fenty 54-45 percent. By Friday, Gray was on his third day of fielding "what-are-you-going-to-do" questions about schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and other pressing matters. Gray even good naturedly used his post-primary news conference to tell people to hold off on sending the deluge of resumes that he expects.

On the WAMU "Politics Hour" Friday with Kojo Nnamdi, Gray once again tackled the racial divide that had the city split almost in half -- the majority white wards overwhelmingly for Fenty, the majority black wards equally for Gray.

Gray said during the general election campaign -- he faces no serious opposition on Nov. 2 -- he will hold town meetings in all eight wards to hear directly from voters. He's asked the ward council members and the at-large members to participate. And he's asking Fenty to participate. If Fenty does, he could certainly help Gray in Wards 1, 2, 3 and 6, where voters picked Fenty.

When it comes to Rhee, most observers believe that it is only a question of time before Rhee either resigns or is fired. Gray said he plans to sit down with Rhee next week to discuss what she's thinking. He had wanted to hold that meeting this week, but Rhee is in California visiting her fiancé. Gray insists that he won't "roll back" education reforms, but make them in a more thoughtful way.

Early speculation is that Gray may hire Robert C.Bobb as chancellor.  Bobb is the former city administrator for ex-Mayor Tony Williams. Bobb worked well with Gray when Gray was the Ward 7 council member. Bobb is a former D.C. school official and currently is leading the reform effort with Detroit schools.

Gray told WAMU that he hasn't talked to Bobb "in months," but that's kind of a nondenial denial. Gray does say he wants a chancellor who can make tough decisions but make them after consulting those involved. That's not Rhee's style. She consults, but not at the depth and level Gray envisions. By the way, Bobb is African-American, still owns a house in Ward 4 and has suggested he plans to move back to the District early next year. 

Lets see what happens.

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