City Desk

Fenty Booed at Gray’s High School Alma Mater [UPDATED]

An apparent controversy over the top speaking spot at Dunbar High School's commencement services on Monday resulted in boos for Mayor Adrian Fenty.

In a video clip posted by WJLA-TV, you can almost hear his Hizzoner saying, "Thank you so much," amid the chorus of boobirds. Almost. The local ABC affiliate reports:

Both Mayor Fenty and Council Chairman Vincent Gray appeared at the event. Gray said he had initially been invited to deliver the commencement address, but was told a few weeks ago that he would only deliver welcoming remarks.

Gray, a Dunbar graduate who is challenging Fenty in the September Democratic mayoral primary, suspects politics determined who actually spoke.

UPDATE, 6:47 p.m.: Gray's communications director, Doxie McCoy, chimes in via email to "clarify some confusion" among the various reports of today's graduation drama:

Chairman Gray went to the Dunbar high school graduation today knowing that he would be delivering remarks and was happy to oblige his alma mater.  There should not be the impression or inference that he went there and was surprised, nor left because of any belief that he was to do more than give remarks. Gray left before the end of the program because of other commitments on his schedule.

As I told reporters who were on the story, I learned in early May from a very reliable source at Dunbar that the panel designated to choose a commencement speaker, including teachers and students had chosen the Chairman to give the keynote but the choice was rejected by a higher authority, to the displeasure of the panel.  I was told this had not happened before in recent memory.  The powers that be, instead, designated Fenty to give the main address, according to the source.

Independent of the tip I received, the Chairman also had heard of this same turn of events in early May.  But again, today Mr. Gray was happy to attend in the role of giving remarks.

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  • Brahmin (pronounced Brah ming)

    Don't blame Chairman Gray. Fenty has been getting doors slammed in his face and yelled at all over the city. I witnessed someone at Eastern Market giving him the what for.

  • Brahmin (pronounced Brah ming)

    But a quick question to the City paper, How come you guys are letting Fenty get away with misstatements like his Mailer. Dissect them one by one.

    A good number of his claims happened before he arrived in office.

    If anything he was a bit of a hindrance in economic development.

  • Taye

    List the events and the's been happening at many events across the city.

  • Manor

    Fenty certainly deserves to lose, I'm just unconvinced Grey deserves to win. As for the fact that much of what's been accomplished under Fenty was started under Williams, that argument doesn't sway me as almost everything gets started long ago. Its extraordinarily easy and common for mayors to scuttle previously proposed projects, so the fact that they continued and completed successfully is still important to me. Though I confess I haven't read Fenty's mailer and audited each statement... Myself, I am moving out of DC prior to the elections. My heart is broken and 20 years is enough. Life does not have to be this way.

  • Rick Mangus



    This has become a freak show!

  • tired

    And Fenty is the head freak.

  • proballdc

    It is true that the majority of the projects that Fenty claimed in his mailer was projects born, bred and funded by the Williams Administration. And, as I recall it, it didn't come without harsh opposition from one councilmember from Ward 4, Adrian Fenty. A Council member that made it his business to oppose any and everything proposed by Mayor Williams; including Mayor control of DCPS to bring accountability.

    Now that Fenty is Mayor, he gives no acknowledgment to the man who labored and lobbied to have funding set aside for rec centers, library renovations and DCPS modernization. At ribbon cutting ceremonies, if you didn't know any better you would think that he fostered these projects from the start. Fenty has proven to be an expert at spending District tax dollars. However, he was also handed a 1 Billion dollar budget surplus and savings from the Williams Administration.

    Recession or not there is no way the city should be in a deficit situation with no savings. All the while spending hundreds of thousands on dog parks and over a billion on a boutique streetcar.

    A class war has been driven by the Mayor and his administration. The city is as split now as I have ever seen it, not so much along racial lines, than on class and wealth.

    I am not surprised that the Mayor was booed. He attempted to use the kids graduation ceremony to score political points and it backfired.

  • Five To Go

    Fenty continues to be his own nightmare. The students booed him because of what he and Rhee did, and are currently doing to the DCPS system. Fenty and his "New Jack City" thugs should be locked up!

  • candycane1

    proballdc: Your comments are so spot on. He spent his entire terms as councilmember criticizing everything Williams did. Once in office he didn't have an original thought in his head. He just picked up Williams' notebook and carried on. Most notable: Fenty fought against a mayoral takeover of schools when Williams tried to get it, he never campaigned on it and as soon as he took office he wanted to champion a mayoral controlled school system and all other agencies. Even the children see him as a clown. He needs to remember too that those children's parents were in the audience and how many may have been directly affected by the Fenty administration.

  • Truth Hurts

    One city Gray would be a disaster as mayor. He's a player who runs subliminally racist campaigns.

    Wonder how long this CP newbee reporter has been around DC. Seems pretty naive.

  • proballdc

    @truthhurts: You fail to see that Gray could sit back in an easy chair and this campaign would play out exactly as it is. The reality is, Adrian Fenty has divided this city along the lines of race and class as no other Mayor has done before him. Not even Marion Barry. In fact, it was Marion Barry that created the black middle class in the District who, necessarily, carried the weight of the tax burden that ultimately underwrote many of these projects coming out of the District reserves and surplus.

    Vincent Gray was an executive director of a non-profit that served the needs of the homeless prior to entering public office. He ran for office in 2007. Adrian Fenty, after a failed law career culminating with his stealing money from an estate he was assigned to as trustee and being sanctioned by the D.C. Bar Association, ran for and secured a council seat in 2000.

    Between 2000-2006, 6 years, Adrian Fenty did not get a single piece of legislation passed. Not even for the Ward that he served (Ward 4). And, for all of the projects that he coyly claims today, that were born, bred and funded under the Williams Administration (libraries, rec centers, DCPS modernization, affordable housing), it was Council Member Adrian Fenty that sought to obstruct Mayor Williams every step of the way. Today, he claims what he then sought to obstruct from funding. Irony at it's best.

    The District has progressed, IN SPITE OF, Adrian Fenty. It doesn't take a great leader to SPEND money. It takes a great leader to lobby to get the funding and cut the deals to get it done. And, I remind the people, Anthony Williams handed Adrian Fenty, aside from the project commitments, a one billion dollar budget surplus and city savings.

    Recession or not, we should not be in a deficit situation with no savings. While, at the same time, building dog parks and enormous boutique projects like the one billion dollar streetcar to nowhere.

    Gray has made it his work to make the city more transparent. Not so with Fenty. He prefers to operate in the dark. Like a THIEF in the night.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Nice Prob. I love it when the facts outweigh the Fenty supporters. This guy is a disaster and the faster he's out of office, the better it is for the City.

  • Rick Mangus

    All I have to say is, RUN!, CAROL, RUN!

  • downtown rez

    The District has progressed, IN SPITE OF, Adrian Fenty. It doesn't take a great leader to SPEND money. It takes a great leader to lobby to get the funding and cut the deals to get it done. And, I remind the people, Anthony Williams handed Adrian Fenty, aside from the project commitments, a one billion dollar budget surplus and city savings.
    With due respect, proball, a more accurate way of looking at this is that: Williams was in the right place at the right time to ride the wave of the greatest economic boom since who knows when and, when he for whatever reason decided not to run for re-election, he handed Fenty a list of incomplete projects, unrealized plans, and unfunded and underfunded and underfunded initiatives.
    And that, Fenty, the inheritor of those promises, also inherited the greatest economic downturn since the great depression and yet still delivered on commitments to the city, and did so in a way that the Washington Post writes benefited all wards of the city.

  • babs

    No, Carol don't run, even as bad as the city is, no one wants to hear your whining again.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Rez- Interesting theory except that Williams was initially elected years before the housing and economic boom in the City and in actuality was the catalyst for many of the projects and development in the District. Remember Williams has a background in finance and was the most substanative Mayor DC has ever had. He left at the very apex of the boom, years before any real sign of trouble, to pursue lucrative private deals. He's made a fortune since doing his own development deals around the world. So, your theory would make sense had any of it been true.
    Fenty inherited a thriving City with a massive surplus and no signs of letting up. Less than four years later, we're out of money while his frat buddies are all multi-millionaires. Something just does not add up.

  • downtown rez

    My statements are perfectly true. Williams left in 2006 (he mentally checked out in 2006, anyway). Fenty was instated in 2007, at the beginning of the financial crisis of 2007 to the present.
    Williams left a lot of nice plans and ideas that were unfunded, incomplete, or simply not started, and Fenty carried a great many of them through. He certainly improved on some of them. For example, he greatly accelerated school reform and modernization, and conceived, funded and executed many parks and transportation renovations and innovations. Of course some of the Williams era plans that relied on private investment (CityCenter DC, O Street Market, Radio One) are still waiting in the wings for the present global financial crisis to cease and for liquidity to return to the markets.
    But in the mean-time, the government hasn't been sitting on its ass. I think it was brilliant to for the Mayor and the council to tap the rainy day fund so that money was pumped into the economy for said schools and parks and roads and other things. Conceptually, it's pretty much a local version of what Obama did with American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, except we did it first. And, as a plus, a great many- more than Williams ever dared to dream- of our schools, parks, roads, etc are much better for it.
    Given the hard realities of DC, I've got no complaints. Hell, my kids are doing well in school, my neighborhood is way safer, and, on a local level, it's clear people are still investing in and moving to DC.
    It's a beautiful time to be in this city.

  • Truth Hurts

    Proball, you and others who claim Fenty is responsible for race/class divisions in DC are fools. Fenty, to his credit, rarely gets drawn into racial politics. "One City" Gray, on the other hand, talks about race (and related code words) at every opportunity. Why? Because it worked for him in '06.

    Check out the faces of Gray's money. Mainly white, out of state, republican, business entities. Fenty has had his issues, but Gray would be disastrous. What fools he plays to.

  • downtown rez

    You are right, TH.
    He even stoops to manipulating children at their commencement.
    What disgraceful child's play.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Rez- are you kidding me? Fenty inherited a gold mine and robbed it blind while getting blindly supported from people who only cared about the outside appearance of the mine. Go deeper... we're broke. And the projects that have gotten done were done by spending exorbiant amounts on contracts to his frat buddies who aren't capable of doing the work themselves, but rather by farming it out. Anyone with half a brain could have picked up the yellow pages and done what Fenty's friends have done. And then, when questioned about it, they have the audacity to say that well, it's done, so don't worry about how it was completed or how much it cost the City. BULLSHIT.

  • downtownt rez

    I like that more schools, roads, parks, alleys, libraries etc are getting done than ever before. I appreciate that these are the Mayor's priorities. And I don't mind him using his trusted people to accomplish them. I figure we taxpayers pay for this stuff, and it is about time it is delivered.
    To get me to believe that they are ripping the tax payers off, I would need to be shown that the cost of these amenities is significantly out of line with the inflation-adjusted cost of past DC municipal projects.
    No one- and I mean no one has demonstrated that.
    So, while you are welcome to your own opinion, I don't see why you would hold that opinion or any evidence to support it.
    I think the guy runs the cleanest and most service oriented administration we've ever had.