- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 28, 2013


Your move, Mr. Mayor.

There’s an aging elephant in the room where deliberations are held on a tentative agreement to build a new stadium for the D.C. United soccer team.

Its name: RFK Stadium.

Its purpose: Ask the mayor.

Its problem: Lack of vision.

Baseball’s Washington Senators used to play in RFK, until the team found a new home in Texas in 1972. The Washington Redskins played before roaring crowds there, too, before the team found a new home and larger roaring crowds in Maryland in 1997.

If and when United departs for another part of town, RFK will become home to the ghosts of D.C. past and a bleak, silent reminder that big-city mayors who lack vision are bound to be shown the exit signs.

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s time is running out.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing saw the exit signs and made his move.

A native Washingtonian who made a name for himself as a Hall of Fame guard in the NBA and later as a wealthy car-parts middleman in Detroit, Mr. Bing replaced Kenneth Cockrel Jr. in 2009 as mayor of a city that already was falling on hard times and had the criminal corruption clouds of the Kwame Kilpatrick administration still hanging over it.

Mr. Bing, an astute businessman, was considered a change agent, as he promised to bring “efficiency, transparency, honesty and integrity back to the mayor’s office.” What he failed to do, however, was lay out a vision to turn around Detroit.

Facing reality this spring, Mr. Bing announced he would not seek re-election, and this month the city declared bankruptcy — the largest U.S. city to ever do so.

What Mr. Bing lacked was vision — a well-thought-out plan to move the Motor City into the future by the bootstraps.

For sure, Mr. Gray was considered a change agent as well when he became D.C. mayor in January 2011. Promising an administration that would not become reclusive like that of his predecessor, Adrian M. Fenty, Mr. Gray entered office under ominous clouds that continue to this day.

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