Vince Gray to D.C.: Have Some Civic Pride
||Washington City Paper (DC)
||Friday, November 12, 2010
Do you think it's "cool" to make fun of D.C.? When your hipster friends come into town and start making fun of Metro, or DCPS, or how low our buildings are, do you join in and make fun, too? Just like you did in middle school when the cool kids mocked less socially gifted students?
As long as they aren't making fun of you, right?
Well the city's new almost-mayor wants that to stop. Speaking to a small crowd gathered in a living room on Capitol Hill last night, Vince Gray said he wants District residents to start taking pride in the District and start taking "umbrage" when others put it down.
"I think we suffer from low self-esteem," Gray said.
He lamented that it's become "fashionable" to talk about bad about his dear city, which he said has plenty to be proud of, including parts of its much-maligned school system.
Gray then went on to talk about his alma mater Dunbar High School, which in its prime was one of the best public high schools for African-Americans in the country. (LL thinks he heard Gray say that Dunbar has six alums who have been featured on postage stamps. If you know the six, please post them in the comments.)
Gray then said the first bill he's going to push as mayor will require District residents to say nice four nice things about the city each day. Okay, okay, LL made that part up.
Other interesting notes from last night (which was organized by Adam Clampitt, a potential candidate in the special election for Almost Chairman Kwame Brown's at-large D.C. Council seat):
- Gray said he's got a long wish list he's going to take with him when he has lunch with President Obama on Dec. 1. Included on the list: Putting D.C. license plates with the "No Taxation Without Representation" slogan on the presidential limo.
- In response to a question about people choosing to live off welfare instead of working, Gray says D.C.'s been pretty "liberal" in its distribution of the public dole and needs to take a "hard" look at how Temporary Assistance for Needy Families money is distributed. "I'm not sure that we haven't become enablers," Gray said. But, he added, when there's kids involved, that's when things get tricky.
- A possible move to help bridge the city's $175 million budget gap could be increasing the taxes on parking garages, which Gray said haven't been raised since the '70s. Plus it's close to a commuters tax, since so many non-residents use garages. (Gray jokingly asked LL not to report he was considering such a move, which only made LL want to report it more.)
- Since winning the general election, Gray says the amount of communications he's receive from "looloos," which LL took for crazy people, has increased significantly. "You should see some of the looloos we get," he said.
To which LL could only respond: Mr. Almost Mayor, if you think you get looloos, you should come hang out here at City Paper—where the looloos are running the asylum.