- The Washington Times - Monday, February 13, 2012

A Northwest resident has obtained petitions to kick off his arduous mission of recalling Mayor Vincent C. Gray and council Chairman Kwame R. Brown.

Frederick Butler, a 28-year-old Ward 2 resident, told the Board of Elections and Ethics on Monday that he approves the language in his notice of intent to recall the pair of officials, despite a few “grammatical errors” in his submission.

Mr. Butler had expected to pick up the petitions about two weeks ago but said he did not know he had to attend the board’s prior meeting to obtain the petitions.

No one appeared at Monday’s meeting on behalf of Mr. Gray or Mr. Brown.

Mr. Butler has 180 days to fill the petition pages with about 45,000 signatures from registered city voters to even get a recall question on the ballot. Signatures must reflect 10 percent of the electorate in five of the city’s eight wards to ensure a breadth of support across the city for a recall election.

Although many have tried, no one has come close to successfully recalling a D.C. mayor.

Yet Mr. Butler remains confident, citing a scandal-plagued year at city hall and federal investigations into issues related to the 2008 and 2010 campaigns of Mr. Brown and Mr. Gray, respectively.

He said he has hundreds of volunteers willing to help him fill the pages at Metro stops, grocery stores and, most importantly, during the April 3 primary elections in which registered voters will be out in force.

Mr. Butler, a supporter of former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, said his effort is about a “progressive cause” and not about political alliances after Mr. Gray thwarted Mr. Fenty’s bid for a second term 2010 Democratic primary.

For their part, Mr. Gray and Mr. Brown have said they are focused on the business of the city. Both men filed a response to Mr. Butler’s notice of intent to recall with short letters that outline their goals and accomplishments.

During a press briefing in late January, Mr. Gray noted the recall effort was driven by supporters of the former mayor.

“It’s just him playing politics, which I guess is smart,” Mr. Butler said before Monday’s meeting. “I don’t follow any one man, it’s just not in my nature.”