tv 9 News Now at Noon CBS September 15, 2010 12:00pm-12:30pm EDT
this is 9 news now. i'm jc hayward. thanks for joining us. council chairman vincent gray won the democratic mayoral primary unseating mayor fenty. gray is holding a news conference right now. so let's get right to it. kristin fisher is standing by at the washington hotel in northwest washington. >> reporter: after a wild night of waiting for all the returns to come in, we are moments away from hearing from vince gray. we're expecting him to discuss the next steps for his campaign. he will be on the ballot in the november general election, but keep in mind there is no
republican challenger, so gray will almost certainly be dc's next mayor, barring something absolutely crazy from happening from now until then. gray beat fenty by seven points. it was 53% to 48%, which is closer than the polls predicted. we are waiting for 10% of the returns to come in, but the voting broke down geographically. here's how fenty took wards one, two, three and six. that's predominantly northwest, central dc, georgetown, dupont, captiol hill, chinatown and gray took four, five, seven, eight and that is the outer portions of the district including anacostia, fort totten, tacoma and brentwood. now, as soon as gray walks out here, which he should be doing any moment now -- you can see all the supporters that
gathered to await this press conference. we're expecting him to talk about what he's going to do next with his campaign. we are also hoping he will at least address the big elephant in the room, and that is, of course, what will he do with the very controversial dc public school's chancellor michelle rhee. keep in mind, you know, she was a pivotal part of fenty's dc public schools reform initiative, and right now walking out is the winner in the democratic primary for dc's mayor vince gray. he's walking out, shaking hands with supporters and campaign volunteers. we have a pretty good crowd here. i'd say there is about 50 people. he's walking to the mic and i will turn it over to the man of the hour, vince gray. >> is it still morning? [ laughter ] well, good afternoon, everybody. >> good afternoon. >> i am delighted to be here. delighted to be here with my
daughter and my son-in-law and my campaign chairperson lorraine green, who's been such a star in this campaign [ applause ] i see one of our candidates also is here. brown, i'd like to thank him. he was very gracious last night and today. thank you for being here. i want you to know how humbled i am with the victory last night. and with the trust that has been vested in me by the voters of the district of columbia. someone who's a native washingtonian and a product of the public schools and a graduate of george washington university and having been here all of my life, it really gets no better than being able to have the confident dnc of the people who i have lived with my entire life to lead the city.
so the first thing i want to do is thank the people of the district of columbia for their confident dnc they have demonstrated in me by yesterday's election. secondly, i want to -- i want to, once again, as we did last night, thank mayor fenty. thank you. i want to thank mayor fenty for his service to the district of columbia. like me, he is a native washingtonian. and i don't have any doubt that the mayor deeply, deeply cares for this city, and i know he has put his heart and soul in running the city for the last four years. i had a chance to talk to the mayor this afternoon and he pledged his 100% support to being able to help us make a smooth transition. i had a wonderful conversation with him and look forward to working with mayor fenty as we move forward in to a transition
which won't formally take place, of course, until after the general election. i realize also that we have a great deal of work ahead of us. there were a lot of people who voted for me and a lot of people who did not vote for me and one thing that is most important to me, at this stage, is to be able to work to earn the support of those people who did not vote for us in yesterday's election. i'm going to spend the next seven weeks, during the period between the primary and the general election reaching out to the voters, especially those people who may not have vote for us. -- voted for us. going across the city. will probably do a series of town hall meetings so we can hear from people and not just democrats. that we can hear from republicans and independents because frankly i believe in my heart in one city and i really fervently believe that whether people voted for me or not they care deeply about the city, and i want to try to engage them in
how we bring the city together to move us forward. i really believe that everybody needs a in the district of columbia. -- needs a voice in the district of columbia and there should be a role for everybody. in a much smaller way, of course, this is exactly how we tried to operate the council. we had every member who chaired a committee on the council. it got them involved in the activities of the ledgetive body, the activities of the city and had everybody feel like they had a role and this is what i want to do with our citizens. let me assure everybody, also, that we're not going to be turning back any clocks on school reform. we are going to move full speed ahead. as a product of the public schools, as somebody who's seen the good and bad days in public education in the city, i am firmly committed to doing what we need to do to move forward
better outcomes for our children children. hopefully no one will forget i was part of the effort to reform school education reform through the council. i helped to help shed it through. we got a resounding vote in support of education reform and i think every council member has worked hard in the years and months since to try to move education reform forward. we obviously have a role of accountability of oversight. and -- [ laughter ] -- and look forward to continuing that in the next three months and then i look forward to working with my colleagues to move forward with education reform. let me reiterate my vision for education in the city, and that is birth through 24 vision. that focuses in substantial part on early childhood education, prekindergarten services, other early childhood
services. trying to bring about parity between our charter schools and dc public schools. i have talked to my education paper about appointing a commission that within three months of having taken office they will report back to me on ways in which we can bring about parity and what will be required in order to accomplishment. looking at special education reform, where just on private tuition, transportation, and attorneys fees, we're paying more than a quarter of a billion dollars at this stage. and i can't believe there aren't the opportunities for savings, not only from a financial perspective but also in terms of providing opportunities to our kids to be as included as they possibly can be in the main stream of activity in education in the city. and then, of course, continuing to work with our university system. i'm really proud that we now have a community college in the
city. we dedicated the campus last week and look forward to working with the flagship university and looking forward to working with fire and ems, as well [ laughter ] i talked a lot about openness and transparency in city government. as you can see my voice is about gone, right? we did run a campaign. and i feel very strongly about that. i feel very strongly about the citizens being able to participate effectively in the government, transparency in our decision making and people feeling as empowered as they possibly can be. we are uniquely disenfranchised city here. and we don't want to do
anything within the city that would leave the message we are not fully empowering our people. the hallmark of my administration will be openness, transparency and reaching out to the diverse population that we have in the city to try to ensure they are engaged. the ownous is on me to keep the promise. i look forward to that and i look forward to people to hold me accountable as well for fulfilling that promise. in the process, i will ask of the people of the city, don't sit on the sidelines, step up, work with me. the door will be open. we will need the help of everybody in order to move the city forward. over the next seven weeks, we have a lot of work ahead of us. we don't know what the financial challenges are that face the city. we will probably get information from dr. gandhi before the month is out about the condition of our finances in the city. we know there is a $84 million
-- $34 million hole because of a medicaid protection that now won't materialize. we have to cover that. i'm looking forward to talking with him about the condition of our commercial real estate taxes in the city, our income taxes, and, of course, our sales taxes. those are the big three, and we'll see what faces us cogoing to the next fiscal year. i also look forward to reaching out to qualmy brown. he came on to the council when i did. we were sworn in together in january of 2005. him, as an at-large member an myself as a member representing ward 7 and we have enjoyed a close working relationship ever since. and i want to extend my congratulations to him for running an outstanding campaign throughout the time that this campaign has unfolded. and frankly for being an
absolutely excellent council member and i know he and i will work together well as council chair and as mayor. >> i want to mention one of the go-to people in my campaign has been lorraine green [ applause ] >> she was -- when i ran for council chair she was the chairman of my campaign. she was the chairman of my campaign this time. and has been there, as an incredibly wise and willing adviser as we moved through this campaign, and i will be relying heavily upon her to continue the next seven weeks and then the transition process that will take place thereafter. we, of course, will be running a campaign over the next seven weeks because there is one more election to go. and we take absolutely nothing for granted. we are asking those who worked with us to stay engaged in that way. and it will be an opportunity for us to continue to get our
message out. also, we are going to start retooling the organization for the general election. and looking forward a transition, we have a new website. it is www.buildonecity.org. and i'm sure you can appreciate where we got the title from. it has four buttons on there that can be triggered. one is to learn more about me. if you want to learn more about me, press that button. secondly, if you have an idea that will help our administration be effective, we'd like to hear that. and those who might like to serve on a transition committee, you can click that button. and then there's another one that says, like a job job. and let me forewarn you the answer says we have one more election to go so we are not dealing with jobs at this point. we will deal with that after the election in november. so, i intend also for the
consumption of the press, i intend to have regular press conferences. i'm looking forward to having weekly press conferences where we talk about the issues. i will be happy to answer questions as best i can. and i think it will facilitate us being able to, once again, being able to demonstrate we are open to an open and transparent administration. because i'm sure the press will work hard to help us get the word out of what is going on in our administration. and so finally, i want to finish where i started and that's i want to thank all the people who came together to make this possible. it was a long night last night. there was a celebrator moment, of course, and we had people here in the hotel until the wee hours, 4:00 or five welcome in the morning celebrating what i think was a great victory for the people of the city. once again, i want to thank the
people and those that came together to make this campaign successful. we started this journey formally on march 30th an then officially had a kickoff on april 24th. not a great deal of time but obviously enough time for us to get our message out. but we have much work ahead of us and that is to work to try to bring the city together. i will work hard to earn the confidence of those who didn't vote for me and i know we both love the city an want to work hard to make it the best city it can possibly be in the world. thank you very much. let me take a few questions. bruce? >> congratulations. >> thank you. >> have you talked to chancellor rhee? >> i have placed a call to her. but he we will talk.
i'm looking forward to talk to her very soon. she has a message for me and i'm certain she always does. she will get back to me. >> we are not going to make any personnel decisions until after the general election, but i think it is important that she and i begin these conversations now, as i prompted that i would do. -- as i promised that i would do. and please remember we have education business to do. she's the chancellor of the schools. i'm she chair of the council and the committee, the whole education is reposed. so we have business on education as well so we will take the opportunity to talk a about those things. tim? [ inaudible ] i want to hear
from her. she's very committed obviously to our kids as welt. the best thing at this stage is to say she and i will sit down asap. those considerations that we will obviously talk about. and see where we go from there. bill? >> quick question. a lot of things were said during the campaign -- [ inaudible ] >> this another question about chancellor rhee. it is regarding the transition of power, would they extend her
time. >> at the end of the day those are things that i will talk to the chancellor about and figure out what works best. not only for us but what works best for the children of the city. >> you heard from president obama? >> i got a call from the white house. >> i have not heard directly from him. >> what was your conversation with mayor fenty? you said it was a wonderful conversation. does he assure he dunn have any plans for any write in campaign? >> i didn't get any sense that the mayor is planning any additional quest for retaining his current seat. what he talked about frankly and i really appreciated that is doing everything he could to help me and those working with me to see there is a smooth transition. >> will he finally -- now? >> i think so, tom. he indicated that there was a
willingness to do everything possible and for me that means sitting down and meeting. i'm going to try to meet with the mayor before the week is out, though [ inaudible ] who have you set aside as the chairman or chairwoman of this transition? >> well, first of all, we have not set up a transition committee that's something that will unfold in the weeks ahead.
as council chair i will be vitally involved in budget and finance any way. remember the budget comes through the committee. and it is something i have worked on from the inception of my role as council chair and will continue to do that. so, even if i weren't the mayor elect i would have an important role in that and intend to fulfill it as council chair and someone who's likely to be the next mayor of the city. >> a lot of it will -- [ inaudible ] >> are you going to raise question taxes, cut spending? >> first of all, the initiatives that we talked about in the various papers
that were part of our campaign were designed to help people understand what, from the perspective of our campaign we consider important. i continue to feel those things are important. and we talked about a couple of ways and again, of course, some of this will be influenced by what kind of news we get from the chief financial officer. but i have talked about the fact that we spend over a quarter of a billion dollars on special education. in terms of private tuition, transportation and attorneys fees. i have to believe there is an opportunity to save there and it is more than financial. it is also being able tonal kate our ways that are anticipated. that is putting them inclusive environments where they benefit from the social value of people around people they are expected to be around the rest of their lives. we will look at those opportunities as well and again, a lot of this will be influenced by what kind of news we get from the chief financial officer.
remember the council has been incredibly responsive in my opinion and responsible on budget issues. in the summer of 2009, we faced a huge reduction in revenue twice, $150 million as we went to the summer and another $190 million to the next fiscal years. on the heels, by the way, of several hundred millions dollars of revenue that preceded that. the council stepped up. we made $80 million of cuts during the summer and had another $40 million of revenue enhancements. i look forward to working with my colleagues in the role that i have now, which will substantially i think augment the role of moving to the next place. and one of the things that i will do is make sure that we fully involve, we would be involved any way but fully involve brown who will be the next council chair and i think it will help us to launch or continue to build the kind of relationship we have enjoyed as
we work on the financial future of the city. >> let me make sure. >> are you concerned at all that if you don't keep on chancellor rhee you will be seen as beholden to special interest like the union that contributed to your campaign? and my second question is will you change the way the board of elections updates results at all? >> the way they update what? >> their results? >> oh. their results. first of all, i have said an i will say again -- i have said it to everybody, that is the children and outcomes if our children are the most important factor for me. and i want to do what is best for our children in the district of columbia. and i will continue to be guided by that principle. as far as the board of elections and ethics is concerned, it was a disappointment yesterday. i was out and visited many, many precincts yesterday. i saw the problems that existed out there. and we have -- there's a lot of work to be done.
i look forward with working with the board of elections and ethics. we have a new chairman togo west who graciously took on the role. a man of distinction and accomplishment. he had been in place barely two months, if he had been in place two months when the election took place. so i look forward to working with the board of elections and ethics to address the problems that occurred yesterday so they don't happen again in the city. >> i didn't get an answer to the question. the union and chancellor think they are doing what is best for the kids but do you think if you don't give her that will give the impression. >> i have given you the best answer at this stage and that is i want to do the best for the children of the city. >> anyone who hasn't had a chance? we will come back. >> allen go ahead. >> hold up [ inaudible ] no, we haven't gotten to even
consideration of that as of yet. we have to put together a structure first and then i think you are talking about people after that. but until you have a structure in place it is hard to talk about who the people would be. no. we will do this in a very organized and system tick way and it will start with the structure. it is -- transition is a process, right, tom? [ laughter ] patrick? >> mr. gray, during the campaign you called for the dismissal of the attorney general. have you spoke on the mr. nickels yet and when do you plan on making a decision? >> no, i haven't talked to him directly. >> will you make a decision. >> we will make a decision on all personnel but i think i have made my position clear on the attorney general. they have to realize their client is the people of
district of columbia and i don't think that has been evident in the recent past. i think the attorney general took the position that he represented the mayor and i think that is a different view than i have. one more question. let me make sure i haven't missed anyone. tim you get the last word [ inaudible ] >> let me say the following, tim temperature brown since he came on the council has been elected at large. he's represented the entire city since 2005. for the last four years, i have been the council chair. i had to be elected by the entirety of the population of the district of columbia. both of us for the last four
years have represented the entire city and that's exactly what i intended to do, to represent the entire city. thank you all very much [ applause ] >> all right. so there you have it. vince gray fielding questions from reporters for the fist time as a democratic nominee for mayor of the district of columbia. he fielded questions for about a half hour. he said what he is going to be doing over the next few weeks. he said he will reach out to voters, especially the ones that did not support him through a series of town hall meetings and he said he did, indeed speak to his opponent, the current mayor fenty. he said he would work with him closely to ensure a smooth transition. jc? >> all right. thank you very much for being with us for 9 news now at noon. of course we will be back at 5:00. you can check our website 24 hours a day at wusa9.com for