City Desk

Chris Matthews Pounds Fenty Snow Response

Chris Matthews had knives out for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on his MSNBC show tonight, calling D.C. "a city that can't plow its streets."

"Why can't a government town do a government job?" he asked. "It looked like Siberia without the Siberian discipline. We had the weather of Buffalo with the snowplowing capability of Miami."

He had as his guests Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. and Jerry Phillips, a community affairs producer for WRC-TV—both of whom happily joined in the lambasting. Thomas repeated his calls to bring in federal authorities; Phillips compared it to 9/11, with "a communication and a mobilization problem."

Thomas went on about how councilmembers hadn't been consulted, "the mayor should have coordinated with us," bla bla bla. He found a willing listener in Matthews, who said, "I keep thinking, snow is predictable. We know it's coming. It came last week. It came this week....You see no planning; I see no planning."

"I've watched big cities where mayor lose their offices," Matthews continued, before reciting the litany of mayors felled by snowflakes—Chicago's Michael Bilandic, New York's John Lindsay, Marion Barry. "We've got a very sophisticated mayor this time, everybody liked him for a while. And I'm telling you, it's time for a competition in the next primary round here. I think somebody's gotta run. This city needs a little better effort right now. I'd like to see some action."

Listen, Chris. You're going to slam our local leadership for failing to clear the streets from the biggest snowstorm in 88 years within 48 hours. Fine. Then LL would like to see you and your Montgomery County neighbors start to pay tax on the income you're earning here in the District. Then you get to bitch all you want. 'Cause that money would buy some serious snowplows.

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  • Wendy Glenn

    Both Virginia and Maryland declared a State of Emergency. A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend certain normal functions of government, alert citizens to alter their normal behaviors, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. D.C. did not declare an emergency. Federal assistance also becomes available to areas that are declared to be in a state of emergency, therefore, snow removal or overtime cost would be covered.

    Although, I could not get out on yesterday because my streets were never plowed, there were many people out and about in Dupont Circle, Capital Hill, Connecticut Ave and other "walkable and liveable" areas in DC. In Ward 7, we only have one sit down restaurant and I don't think we have a Starbucks or Bookstore or Movie Theatre to take a break from our cabin fever.

  • Downtown rez

    But at least you don't need to move your car during declared emergencies, right?

  • CoHi


    Obviously, you never studied local level politics. The candidate who spends the most money doesn't always win, particularly an unpopular incumbent. Furthermore your Bush '04 comparison gave me a chuckle. There's no electoral college system in DC, and Bush only had to carry Ohio or Florida to lock up his reelection. The other Red states were a lock. Whites are roughly 30% of the DC population and Fenty did a lot of work in Ward 3 (Fire Station on Wisconsin) to be deemed acceptable. If they still like him enough, they'll vote for him again. But it probably won't matter. Blacks make up 57% of the DC population, more than enough to offset the White vote. One thing you fail to realize about the Black vote is that Blacks won't come out to vote if they already know the winner. That's why the Black voter turnout has been historically low in DC. Blacks in DC have always known the winner. This year is different b/c of Fenty's treatment of Blacks over the past 3 years. That said, whether Fenty likes it or not, Election '10 DC is about race... and he's the white candidate.

    If you're looking for a prime example of racial politics, look at the former Cleveland Mayor. I don't remember her name, but when they elected her, she installed other whites as agency heads (similar to Fenty) and ignored her Black constituents. Well, four years later, she was gone. Cleveland has a 60% Black population.

    Bottom line is, Mayor Adrian Fenty is in trouble. He could have $5 million dollars in his reelection coffers and it wouldn't matter. Whoever challenges him has until
    March to decide. Announcing in March actually gives the challenger a short time to remind voters about Fenty's shortcomings over the past 3.5 years. His biggest shortcoming being outside your windows.

  • HCM

    The Truth hurts. Especially when one considers how much 50 million could have purchased (City Embezzler Harriet Walters take) and the mass RIF (reduction in force) aka 'firings"; Fenty has instituted in both the Department of Public Works and Dept. of Transportation in addition to DC edicts not to spend anything. The result is BROKE in every sense of the word and as for Statehood, fuggetaboutit!!

  • http://deleted candycane1

    Quite frankly, to hear Fenty getting bashed on national TV was music to my ears. He has it coming and more. He and Rhee waged war on governmewnt employees nationally, so what goes around comes around. Maybe more national bashing is in the way? I hope so.

  • noodlez

    @Adrian Bent-Me HEY GURL!




  • hymesb


    1) go a read a census report.

    As of 2008, Blacks made up 54.1 % of population.

    Whites make up 40.1%
    The gap has gotten smaller since then.

    That is a difference of 14%. Not the 30% that you just stated. That means your estimate was off by over 100%.

    You can thank all the DC employeed Black middle class professionals that take their money to PG and Montg county. Ironically, for better schools ans safer streets. They can only vote for Legit and Johnson.

    2) Are you telling me that people knew that Williams was going to beat Chavious and so blacks just said screw it? No. Black voter turn-out is relatively low (compared to other groups) everywhere.
    That is why Chicago has a white Mayor. That is why New Orleans just elected a white mayor. That is why DC will eventually have a white mayor.

    3) Thanks for the civics lesson. I understand the difference between the presidential election and a Mayoral one. I brought up Bush to point out that opinion polls don't necessarily translate to the voting booth.

    Electoral college aside, Bush got a lot of votes from people that, when polled, said they didn't approve of his performance.

    In Fenty, you have people that say they like what he is doing. But don't like him. What is the opponent going to argue? I would do what he did, but I am not him. He will look a fool in a debate.

    3) I have watched DC elections since the early 90's. Poorly managed, under-funded campaigns lose. I have never seen a major candidate anounce with just 7 months to the primary and win. Even Cropp was in the race by November of the previous year.

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  • Anon

    "You can thank all the DC employeed Black middle class professionals that take their money to PG and Montg county."

    LOLOL... maybe Fenty's chauffeur (and PG resident) Keith Lomax can get a DC contract run classes and teach them all how to come back and vote fradulently like he did!

  • hymesb

    Oh, and Atlanta just barely elected a Black Mayor. Reid won by less than two thousand votes

    Politics are one thing. Elections are another. I just don't see another person with an organization to beat Fenty's.

    I wouldn't be suprised if they had mapped out the specific number of votes needed and an execution plan for getting them. He doesn't seem like someone that takes things for granted.

    If I was a Gray, Brown, or Brown. I would sit this out and continue to benefit from being the leader of the Anti-fenty brigade.

    I can't see a smart politician stepping out taking that chance. Hence, here we are in mid-feb with no one announced. And Chris Matthews, Wash post, Mike Debonis begging someone to run. Even Kwame Brown qualified his "seriously considering" with the words "if" things continue this way.

  • hymesb


    That was funny.
    Met Lomax once. That is a really big guy. Like 6-7" But, he sounded like he was a life-long DC resident.

    Anyway, I didn't think it was illegal for people outside the district to do business here. Who knew.

    Anyway, it isn't like he moved to Florida for a decade and then cames back a runs for Mayor.

    But really, that is where all the Barry money went. He made Maryland rich.

    We sit around and blame white for taking over "our" city. But don't fess up to the fact that the people that benefited from "chocolate city" government. Took their money and kids and went to Maryland.

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  • Ward 1 Resident

    Gabe Klein had no experience in public transportation before being named Department head. He worked at Smartcar or Zipcar and ran a food cart. I mean, really? not that that differs from some of the Heads of other Fenty agencies, (are you under 40? clueless? YOU ARE IN! ) It should be no wonder that this cleanup is not going well.

  • Jesse Helms

    ANY criticism of a black politician is RACISM, according to the D-crat handbook. Ergo, ANYBODY that criticizes the gross incompetence of Fenty is a racist.

  • CoHi


    Chicago has a white majority, and New Orleans and Atlanta, I'm sure some folks appreciated you comparing the District to those deep south line stepping Negroes. They're quite different from the Black people here. Furthermore, that 40.1% white population you quoted includes Hispanics. Nice try though.

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  • Anon

    hymesb, you're logic doesn't cut it. Because Barry's cronies broke the law, doesn't justify the Fenty cronies' equally bad acts.

    "Anyway, I didn't think it was illegal for people outside the district to do business here. Who knew."

    It isn't. But it is illegal for non-DC residents (people who live and pay their taxes elsewhere) to be awarded points, meant specifically for DC residents, to compete and win DC LSDBC contracts.

    It's just as fraudulent as Fort Washington resident Lomax using his business address--which he rents out to an MPD cop--to vote in the 2008 DC primary.

    This doesn't begin to look at exactly what services Mr. Lomax's landscaping business performed to earn it's multi-million dollar, non-compete contracts for DC Schools.