Mayor Gray and Councilmember Alexander: A war of words through open letters

D.C.'s Ward 7 Councilwoman Yvette Alexander (Courtesy Photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJLA) - D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Ward 7 Councilwoman Yvette Alexander appear to be having a war of words by way of open letters they are distributing to the press.

On Wednesday, Alexander issued an open letter to Gray, largely in response to a letter Gray recently wrote to council Chairman Phil Mendelson, published in the Washington Times, expressing his disappointment over modifications made to his budget proposal.

Specifically, Gray took issue with a proposed $22-million slash by the Committee on Health - which is overseen by Alexander - in funding Gray wanted for a new hospital at the St. Elizabeths campus in Southeast.

In the letter, Alexander says, "I must say that I am disappointed in the way that you have chosen to characterize the efforts of the Committee on Health."

Alexander goes on to list of number of issues she had with his budget proposal for the hospital.

"The total presented budget for the new hospital is $335.9 million dollars. Please provide me with the study that says that moving forward a new hospital, to be successful, requires this level of funding," she wrote.

She goes on to say that she is also not positive St. Mary's is the best location for the new hospital, and expresses doubt over potential partners for the project. She compares her concerns to those she has over the proposed new D.C. United soccer stadium the Council is also mulling over, having just received a proposal from Gray regarding it before the Memorial Day weekend.

In the end, she challenges Gray to rise above recent criticism of him in light of his defeat in the mayoral Democratic primary by fellow Councilwoman Muriel Bowser on April 1.

"Many of your supporters believe that the April 1 loss has taken a toll on you. To this day, I tell people that Mayor Gray will carry out his term with a level of integrity and respect that we can all be proud of," she wrote. "I urge you to make that statement true."

Read the full text of Councilwoman Alexander's open letter.

The D.C. Council is set to debate and vote on parts of Gray's proposed budget Wednesday night.