City Desk

Fenty Opens Up to Washingtonian


This month's Washingtonian contains a lengthy story on Mayor Adrian M. Fenty penned by longtime city reporter Harry Jaffe. It's titled "His Own Worst Enemy?" and looks at the ways that Fenty is standing in the way of a Fenty re-election.

It's also notable for containing a rare-one-on-one Fenty interview, where Hizzoner, more or less, directly addresses some common criticisms.

Thus far, the mag has only posted a short excerpt of the story on its Web site. But LL, hewing to fair-use doctrine, would like to share some other noteworthy passages in Jaffe's piece:

  • On the polls: "I can't spend time worrying about how I can be more popular...or how people can think better of me or like me better or how I can win a poll. What I think about is how I can make the city run better."
  • On his accomplishments: "The schools are improving. Our bond rating is the highest in decades. We put meters in the taxis. Great economic-development projects across the city. Renovation of countless school facilities. All high schools are slated for renovation. The homicide closure rate and sheer number arc at a 45-year low....Look at snow removal, trash pickup, pothole repair, ease of getting driver's licenses. Nothing is foolproof...but we are handling these basic services with private-sector methods."
  • On schools: "We need a new collective-bargaining agreement....That will do more to improve test scores than probably anything else we've done."
  • On his weak support among blacks: '"Do you sense that at all?" I ask. "I don't know what the polls say, and neither do you," Fenty says. "You don't have any idea what the people of the District of Columbia think. And neither do I." In our interview and in subsequent e-mailed questions, Fenty declined to engage the topic of race. He said he ignores polls.'
  • On alleged cronyism: 'I ask Fenty to describe his relationships with [Omar Karim] and [Sinclair Skinner]. "Good friends," he says. Does he get involved in contracting? "No."...Fenty explains: "The contracts that went their way are 1 percent of the contracts that go to the little guys. And that is about 1 percent of the funds that go to big developers."'
  • On the baseball tickets: '"In hindsight," I ask, "would you have handled that any differently?" "Are you trying to tell me this is the number-one question on people's minds?" he asks. "Maybe not, but it does stick in many minds. And I want to know." "I gotta probe you," he says. "As a writer for The Washingtonian, is this your top question?"'
  • On his philosophy: "You have the thesis that people are paying attention to who gets baseball tickets and how often I meet with special interests....I have a thesis that people judge a mayor on how the government works and what they get in return for their tax dollars."

Until the 'Tonian posts the full story online, go pick up a dead-tree copy, or at least peruse one in the grocery line.

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  • hymesb

    What a raving mad man. He thinks that people care more about performance than baseball tickets for Barry.

    And .001% of the contracting work going to some young black guys that he knows. How reckless!

    And, race relations, that is the number one job of a Mayor. Right ahead of picking up the trash, trimming trees, and maintaining a police force.

    Martin Luther King was the greatest Mayor ever. Or was that Fredrich Douglas, or Harriet Tubman, Dubois, or Malik Shabazz. They were Mayor's right? No..was it Sharp James. Maybe David Dinkens. No, that is Marion Barry the savior of Ward 8. He single handedly created the most Black Millionaires in the history of Maryland.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Even in an article designed to help him out, he comes out as a prick. You can sense the disdain he has for questions that don't stroke his vein-popping ego. What a joke. He had a great platform and instead he's simply sinking deeper and deeper into his own twisted world where no one or nothing matters. I guess people polling their concerns aren't really that important to him because they aren't "real" people.

  • Typical DC BS

    Too bad he's gonna get reelected.

  • What is his job?

    Bent me,

    Ur kidding right? How much more style over substance can you get?

    How was that designed to make him look good? The only thing that made him look good was his answers. It is the truth. He was elected to do a job. And he has to focus on that job. Not popularity contests. He was no non-sense. No fluff. Straight answers.

    He sounds like he has his priorities right. And, it is about time that someone in Politics does.

    And Platform? The newspaper isn't a platform for the Mayor? His Platform is his job. He is elected to execute his platform.

    He is not a community activist. Not head of the ACLU. He is mayor.
    And it seems that his opponents want to frame the debate around things that are not in the job description.

    I don't want a mayor, friend, wife, plumber or anybody else in my life that is more worried about peoples opinions than the job in front of them. That is not leadership.

    And, no, polls are not "real people." Voters are real people. And so, in the end, he is saying "beat me in an election. And we will see what people think." So far, no real takers. Just a lot of one-way name bashing.

  • Q!

    "What is his job?", you made some good point. The problem with them is when you wrote, "I don't want a mayor, friend, wife, plumber or anybody else in my life that is more worried about peoples opinions than the job in front of them. That is not leadership." So, if that is not leadership, why is Fenty on just about every morning news program that would accept him. Why is every press conference a masterful but feigned attempt at PR. Even the emails I get from him about things "he's done" in DC make him out to be more of an ego-maniacal glory seeking attention whore than a leader.

    For every press conference, email, etc. I can find OVERSTATEMENTS, stretching of the truth (especially of his involvement), and DOWNRIGHT LIES. I'm not looking for Fenty to be a freedom fighter either, but as a mayor he just plain SUCKS. He has done NOTHING to galvanize the citizens to support his leadership. He had treated this as if he is an autocratic tyrant. Yes we want results. Yes people who are incompetent in DC government need to be held accountable. But Mr. Fenty is the only above reproach, he and his henchman Nickels.

    If Fenty wins, it is because people didn't come out to VOTE or have lame alternatives.

  • tired

    Good statement Q you did a smack down on what is his job?

  • Stone

    Excellent comment Q....I agree 100%

  • Q!

    Tired and Stone, I have more. LOL! My issue with this recent PR expose' is summed up in this aphorism..."If you find yourself in a hole, QUIT digging." That, in my non-political analyst opinion is what Fenty is doing. If I were him, I'd lay low for a while. His tangle with Eun Yang should've silenced him as EVERYONE blew it out of proportion. I believe the following statement was attributed to President Calvin Coolidge, "If eight people tell you you're drunk, even if you haven't had a drink, you might want to check yourself."

    Jaffe is known for pretty much Fenty worship, so much so that even the questions seem contrived and baited. But from the accomplishments section, citing Economic Development may be true, but not for certain parts of the city. The schools have been slated for renovation for years, so tell me something I haven't heard before. Especially since every August, there's a mad dash to fix them up. I could go on, but I'm getting tired of this over exposure of Fenty. Thanks WCP, as I'm not gonna waste my time buying the Washingtonian for this.

  • http://deleted candycane1

    Everything that Fenty has "completed", taken credit for or put his name on it (a field)was already initiated by the former mayor. School Modernization was already on the books. Fenty only had to pick up the notebook and read it. Online services? They were there before he was elected. The baseball tickets? Well he was "the" councilman who fought the hardest against baseball so to hold tickets actually displayed his immaturity as a person. As a matter of fact he criticized everthing Williams did as mayor but he has popped blood vessels trying to be like him because he couldn't develop an original idea of his own if his life depended on it.

    Q: You are on it!

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Q- you're on it.

    What is his job?- His job is to be the mayor- a political figure. His entire job is grounded in a perpetual popularity contest. If people don't like him, they will not elect him. He's not efficient as Anthony Williams (who put into place all of the groundwork for economic development in this City) nor does he appeal to the District masses as Barry had done (has, is and will continue to do).
    The polls are opinions of people who will turn out to vote. If Fentry doesn't believe in Polls, then he shouldn't run a mayoral campaign- he should sit back and wait for the rewards of all of his numerous accomplishments. People will naturally elect him just because he's done such swell job but hates us all.

  • What is his Job.


    Smack down? Did the truth change while I was away?

    His job is to provide services for citizens. He isn't a community activist. But, whatever. Keep hoping that public officials will be great social leaders. You will never be without a cause. Because it will never happen.

    It isn't their role. They can sell it to you (and do so regularly). But they can't deliver it. Barry is all the proof you need.

    It damn sure ain't his job to make sure that Barry's women have good seats for the game.