City Desk

Fenty Responds to Poll Numbers, Sorta: Loose Lips Daily

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—'Ebony Magazine Still Loves Adrian Fenty'; 'Elected AG: Was Peter Nickles For It Before He Was Against It?'; and tweets galore!

IN LL WEEKLY—Fixing Fenty: Five things Hizzoner can do to return to his winsome ways.

Morning all. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has still not examined the Sunday WaPo poll, he tells WRC-TV this morning: 'I haven't got a chance to read it. I will. I've been around politics so long I know that in order to really be able to respond accurately and with some sense of what you're talking about, you've really got to read the poll itself, and I will. This week has been very busy with the snow and everything else. I just haven't gotten to it.' But he takes a stab at a response anyway: 'What I try and do is stay engaged with residents daily. I don't wait for polls to come out. As you know I'm in the midst of a campaign so almost every day I'm out talking to voters, and there are a lot of issues that are driving people and that they want to see more results from the government on. There are a lot of things that people are really excited about, like school reform and public safety initiatives and the population going up and the bond rating going up. So we know we've got a lot of work to do. That's the job of a big-city mayor. We've said that we're excited about doing it for another four years, and we know we've got to get re-elected first.'

AFTER THE JUMP—More polling reax; Lightfoot says younger blacks are 'getting their piece of the pie' with Fenty; snOMG Part II is a-comin'; WaPo ed board wants city to pony up for vouchers; Schiraldi screwed up big-time in 2008 youth escape, IG finds; the first mayoral campaign ad of DCision 2010

WaPo columnist Robert McCartney tries to get to the bottom of black animosity toward Fenty. His findings: 'Fenty has come up short in supplying substantive change in some key areas, especially ones important to the District's African American majority. Blacks fault Fenty for providing little or no progress in handling gentrification, unemployment and AIDS, according to African American politicians, community leaders and average residents whom I interviewed this week....At a time when blacks are nervous about giving up their majority status in the city (54 percent and falling), there's also unhappiness that so few of Fenty's top appointees are African American. Black leaders and residents told me that it's right for the mayor to find the best people available—but that he also needs to show blacks that the city isn't going back to a time when there wasn't opportunity for them at the top....Fenty has failed to reassure residents that he cared as much about low-cost housing as upscale development. He's also criticized for doing too little to protect the interests of the less advantaged while neighborhoods are revitalized.'

QUOTE—From Bill Lightfoot: 'The older generation feels it's losing something....When I talk to younger black professionals, they're not disenchanted with Adrian. They feel they are getting their piece of the pie.' (McCartney notes: 'the Post poll showed no statistically significant difference between the level of disapproval of Fenty among blacks younger than 40 and those 40 and older.')

In Examiner piece, Jonetta Rose Barras also examines black attitudes toward Fenty. 'The black political brand began changing in the 1990s, when African-Americans started choosing more pragmatic leaders who brought a corporate approach to governing. Williams was the first District mayor of that class; Fenty is the second. They achieved measurable results but forgot that personality and communication can be as important as policy....As the Ward 4 city councilman, Fenty touched and talked. As mayor, he has been called remote and aloof. He has hemorrhaged African-American support since 2008. Nasty fights with the council, highly publicized investigations, employee firings and a recession more pronounced among blacks made matters worse.'

After you've read LL's Fenty turnaround tips. check out Barras' in her Examiner column: '[L]eave the athletic mentality at the gym' says Terry Lynch; poet E. Ethelbert Miller wants him to '[s]how up at some art functions, an exhibit, a theater production, or participate in the Big Read'; an anonymouse says he should '[h]ave the press corps over for beer and chips' (a quick path to LL's heart for sure); and Bernard Demczuk says he needs a dose of humility: 'The more human, humble and appreciative you are, the more the black community loves you....If you've made a mistake, apologize in a genuine way, reach out and ask forgiveness.'

Gary Imhoff unspins the poll-spinners in themail: 'They make several false and weak assumptions...[T]hey assume that his conflicts with the city council can be reduced to just trivial disputes, like the distribution of baseball tickets, when in fact Fenty withholds and refuses basic government information to the city council, and even refuses to provide them with city contracts, with government witnesses for their hearings, and with records that they need to perform oversight over the administration.'

TOON TIME—Tom Toles, in yesterday's WaPo, questions whether we really want a warm-and-fuzzy chief exec. (This one's much better for Hizzoner than than the last one).

Another chance for Fenty to prove his service-delivery bona fides: Forecasts indicate that a Friday-Saturday snowstorm could drop even more white fluff than the December snowpocalypse. National Weather Service guy tells WaPo to expect 'at least a foot, with localized depths of more than 20 inches' in what will look 'like a repeat of the big snow in December.' Capitol Weather Gang is calling for 12 to 16 inches. WTOP says it will be a 'near blizzard.' Also WRC-TV.

The WaPo editorial board is back on vouchers. Citing the Obama budget and opposition among congressional Dems, the editorialists claim that they 'have already written the epilogue to this worthy program. Their disregard for how vouchers have helped children is so complete that it seems that the best chance, perhaps the only chance, for the program's survival is for local officials to step in....[A]t one point, [Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)] pretty much dared local officials to take over the program if they thought it was so important. The program is important to low-income families who see it as their children's only path to a good education. If the president and Congress won't see that, then we hope that [Fenty] and the D.C. Council will.' In a fiscal year when they're facing a $550M budget gap?

ALSO—Heritage Foundation says Obama is 'crushing dreams' with budget decision.

Inspector General report lays blame for Memorial Day 2008 youth escape from Vinny Schiraldi's home squarely on Vinny Schiraldi. The now ex-head of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services 'allowed 2 1/2 hours to pass before police were notified that a 17-year-old inmate had escaped from Schiraldi's home in May 2008—one of several rule violations he committed in the incident,' Nikita Stewart reports in WaPo. Furthermore, the report 'found that Schiraldi's less-restrictive approach toward juvenile detention led to the escape,' whatever that means. '[T]he incident began when [Darius Hodge] asked Schiraldi's wife for permission to go to the basement to look for his cellphone. He went "alone and unescorted," which violated requirements that visual contact be maintained at all times, according to the report. Hodge was discovered missing about 6:15 p.m. Instead of immediately reporting the escape and notifying police as required, the staff members at the event searched the area for half an hour. They later called Hodge's home and "searched near his home for approximately two hours."...No one notified a DYRS officer of the escape until 8:45 p.m., when the group returned to Oak Hill without Hodge.'

Another Debbie Cenziper-penned WaPo health-funding expose—this one touches the Department of Mental Health. Marilyn Hill, who ran 'a city-funded AIDS program that recently closed amid reports of alleged fraud and neglect,' also ran 'eight facilities for the mentally ill that were racked for years by similar problems.' The District's long-term care ombudsman 'verified 59 cases of abuse, exploitation, poor care, financial irregularities and other problems at the facilities, dating to 2005.' Patients 'regularly complained about a lack of staff, electricity and food.' As with most of Cenziper's AIDS-funding stories, this article describes a problem that appears, by and large, to have been fixed: In 2008, DMH refused to relicense Hill's outfit; she never received city funding to operate the facilities.

You have no more chances to see Tai Shan. Said one farewell visitor yesterday, 'A piece of me is being ripped away....Tai is one of a kind. There's never going to be another bear like him.' But what now for the National Zoo? Michael Neibauer explores the question in Examiner: 'National Zoo is losing its gravy train with no new draw immediately ready to take his place.' Pandas are out, and elephants are now in, says a zoo official. But the Elephant Trail won't open for two years.

That extremely empty parking garage underneath the DC USA development may soon fill with commuters' cars, Jonathan O'Connell reports in WBJ via DMPED press release. '350 spaces in the garage [are] available for daily and monthly parking contracts, with a daily rate of $6 per day for parkers who arrive before 9 a.m. and leave by 7 p.m. weekdays.' DCist covers the issue, commenters go wild.

Delving into the DCPS 'Race to the Top' application, WaPo's Bill Turque finds that the system 'desperately' needs federal funds to implement the new IMPACT teacher evaluation regime. From the application: 'Despite the significant achievement of the initial implementation of IMPACT, DCPS can barely keep up with ongoing IMPACT demands: it needs human and technological horsepower to analyze these data and determine which interventions are needed. Additionally, DCPS desperately needs to train and support its Master Educators to ensure that they can execute real-time interventions to help teachers who are minimally effective climb a steep learning curve.'

More on yesterday's early-morning fire that left three children seriously injured: 'The father of the children, ages 5 months to 5 years, had left them alone when he went to work, asking a neighbor to look in on them,' WaPo reports. 'The fire, which started in the apartment's kitchen about 6 a.m., filled the unit with thick, black smoke, firefighters said. The smoke detectors in the apartment were not working, but the building's fire alarm sounded, alerting a neighbor, who called 911....The fire was probably sparked when paper towels on a countertop came into contact with a hot burner.' Theola Labbé-DeBose and Hamil R. Harris also chat with the firefighters of Engine 15/Rescue 3, who saved the kids. Also Examiner, WRC-TV, WTTG-TV. NC8 and WUSA-TV have security-cam video of the rescue!

WaPo covers Senate legislation to madate gay-marriage referendum. From a news release by Utah Sen. Robert Bennett: 'The definition of marriage affects every person, and should be debated openly, lawfully, and democratically....The board's decision to deny the people of Washington, D.C. a vote was incorrect and reminiscent of the judicial activism that has imposed gay marriage by fiat and stimulated such discord in other venues. Congress should act to ensure that the question is settled by a democratic ballot initiative process.' CNN, too. Eleanor Holmes Norton issued a release yesterday pledging to keep the bill bottled up in committee.

Another bag tax story! From WaPo's Jura Koncius: 'Local shoppers are assembling a wardrobe of bags that are functional, fashionable or both. They are getting used to bringing their own, even if they have to rush back to their cars to retrieve them. [Muriel Bowser] equipped her car with blue-and-white bags from Ikea last year. [Jim Graham] keeps handy a red cloth bag autographed by go-go musician Chuck Brown for quick shopping trips. Many are buying reusable bags at store registers at Giant, Safeway or Whole Foods. Some have watched in dismay as customers have handed cashiers beat-up, dirty paper bags.' This one also comes with a lovely pic of Bowser posing with her own reusable bag.

National study finds that charters schools 'are less racially diverse than their traditional counterparts,' WaPo reports. As for D.C.: 'Recent data show that 84 percent of the city's charter school students are African American, compared with 78 percent in regular public schools.'

'Metro needs a CEO,' argues David Alpert at GGW. 'Many of the problems Metro faces resemble those of large companies. It's a big organization with many employees and complex operational requirements. It has to drastically reduce administrative staffing while trying to maintain its capacity to get things done. It needs to improve its customer service, again with limited resources. These are the kinds of problems that a top manager who's run a large operations-oriented company can solve.'

Rhode Island Avenue Safeway is closing! NC8 covers: 'Many residents say the supermarket is the center of their community where the elderly and others push their carts to shop. pick up their prescriptions and keep up on what's going on. ANC Commissioner Marshall Phillips is angry...."They're just closing us down and leaving our community and where they going to take the money they've taken from here…"' The closing is set for
March 9; a newer Giant is a few blocks east, across from the Home Depot, but that's a long haul for Edgewood Terrace seniors.

Valerie Santos talks job creation on the Kojo Nnamdi Show. And Jack Evans talks to Federal News Radio about a possible Northrop Grumman deal.

Hatchet covers Duke Ellington School non-move and new parking regulations. Love this quote on the latter from a GWU senior: 'It is so practical to have a car as a student in this great city. But because the parking is so out of control I can't even enjoy the advantages of having a car here.'

Hizzoner and the First Lady attended Tuesday's KenCen opening-night benefit for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Fab Empire has pics!

Former ANC commissioner raises questions about DMPED award for shuttered Cook ES in Bloomingdale.

Girl, 12, struck and injured on 1700 block of Benning Road NE.

WUSA-TV covers forensic issues in Chandra Levy case.

Fuel spill briefly evacuated the 2D police station yesterday.

Rents are down on 'trophy' office space.

More on the Rev. Anthony Evans' gay-marriage rants, from Rick Rosendall in Metro Weekly.

GWU medical school is off probation.

DCFPI's Ed Lazere looks at council's hotel-tax-reform measure.

OCTO will help feds test radio interoperability.

WaPo covers AKA suit dismissal.

WAMU-FM on Circulator expansion.

Holocaust Museum shooting prosecution comes to an end.

It's that time of the year: Your water is about to start smelling like chlorine.

HERE IT IS!—The first attack ad of DCision 2010.

D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—10 a.m.: Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary hearing on B18-63 ('Residential Tranquility Act of 2009'), JAWB 412.

ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—6:45 a.m.: guest, Connecting with the Mayor with Barbara Harrison, WRC-TV; 7:10 a.m.: guest, Fenty on Fox, WTTG-TV; 10:45 a.m.: remarks, contracting and procurement legislation announcement, 441 4th St. NW; 6 p.m.: remarks, Watkins Hornets key to the city award ceremony, Watkins Recreation Center, 420 12th St. SE.

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  1. #1

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