This is an interesting race. The incumbent Ricky Gray has been representing Ward 2 for two terms (eight years) and wants to do it for another four years. After watching him for four years, I have to say I think he does his best to represent his constituents. I disagree with some of his methods, but I think his intent is honorable. One method that drives me crazy is that he raises all constituency issues at the Board meetings. That is an inappropriate use of Board time. He could handle most of those issues by contacting city personnel and trying to work on the problems. It does get him a lot of publicity with the voters he's trying to help, but it's not very effective. Of course, compared to his seat mate Joyce, he looks reasonable in this regard.
Ricky definitely has made some of his voters mad. You can tell by the number of people who filed to run against him. He supposedly represents the concerns of the firefighters on the Board, but I know a number of them don't like him at all. There are also lots of personal rumors about him, but I have not been able to find any proof whatsoever. I also thought it was pretty tacky for him to file a complaint against one of his opponents, Larry Hooper, for not living in the Ward - especially when the same complaint was leveled against him the first time he ran. Fortunately, the Democratic Committee ruled that his opponent could stay on the ballot.
Larry Hooper is also interesting. He was the interim Principal at Robert Lewis Middle School last year. When he was suspended last spring, a large percentage of the students staged a protest on his behalf. A lot of parents were supportive of him as well. What the truth is, I have no idea - especially since the school administration would not comment on personnel issues.
However, it's obvious Larry Hooper, who is now a principal in Centreville, is popular with a large segment of the population and should give Ricky a run for his money. I would not be surprised if he and Ricky ended up in the runoff.
I was very disappointed that Larry Hooper did not show up at the candidate's forum, since I was interested in seeing him. Neither did the other candidate, Johnny Franklin. I hold this against both of them. If they couldn't bother to show up for the only forum for citizens, why should anyone vote for them.
I know next to nothing about Johnny Franklin, except he's a firefighter who's about to retire - and is obviously one of those firefighters who doesn't think Ricky has represented them well.
Here's the article in the Democrat discussing this race.