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Fenty’s Spending Priorities Debunked: Loose Lips Daily

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—"Neighborhood Watch: No Voluntary Do-Overs In Georgetown," "Cops Found No Match To Prints In Robert Wone Case," "Plan Now For Even Pricier Metro Rides This Summer," "Rowdy Youths Cause Ruckus At Union Station," "Vincent Gray: Here's How You Defend Sharon Pratt Connection"

Howdy. I'm not sure why this troubles me. Maybe it's because this ended up on a listserv. Maybe it's because the way the resident wrote up the incident just felt creepy. A woman posted this compliant about a Fenty campaign worker on the Shepherd Park listserv:

"We just had a sweep of Fenty campaign workers in the neighborhood.  One of the workers, a male with a heavy stutter, approached me  and my kids in my yard.   When my response to his question of support for Fenty was not what he wanted to hear, he became a little aggressive, following behind us as we walked to the car yelling that test scores were up and crime was down all because of Mayor Fenty.   As we were driving away, he yelled, "Don't believe everything you read in the paper!".   My kids were a little jittery behind this."

This doesn't feel aggressive to me. This feels like a very tenacious campaign worker. Now on to the real news.

FENTY SPREADS THE WEALTH: WaPo's Nikita Stewart reported on Sunday data which shows that Mayor Adrian Fenty does not favor certain wards for development projects:  "In a city where the geographic lines of Rock Creek Park and the Anacostia River have historically defined racial and class divisions, some critics of Fenty (D) have long branded the mayor as favoring white neighborhoods at the expense of black communities. But a Washington Post analysis of city data on school construction, parks and recreation projects, and funding for new libraries and schools over the past three years shows that the reality is more complex. And as the city's population becomes whiter and younger, the old geographic fault lines aren't as telling as they once were. In addition, some of the complaints about the mayor's spending point to the lack of private development — like grocery stores and office-supply chains — that the city can influence but not control. Records show, for example, that predominantly black Ward 5 received more school construction funds — $152 million — than any other ward in fiscal 2008 and 2009. According to the city's most recent data available, Wards 8 and 2 followed with $117 million and $103 million, respectively, crushing the idea that when it comes to school construction, wards were favored by class and race. Ward 2 is mostly white, and it includes Georgetown as well as condo-soaked downtown, while Ward 8 is nearly all African American and has the city's highest unemployment and poverty rates."

It's still about spending priorities i.e. that $400,000 dog park. Key graphs for Gray Campaign Workers: "Ronald Walters, an expert in urban politics and professor emeritus at the University of Maryland at College Park, said that as the city's population has changed, the mayor has pursued policies that place a premium on certain projects — dog parks and recreation centers — that reflect what more-recent residents want but may not be as important to residents of wards with high unemployment or lack of easy access to city services. 'In D.C., you have gentrification, the return of the white population . . . to the point that it has become the effective electorate,' said Walters, who points to the city's plan to invest in a $1.5 billion streetcar system as part of a massive gentrification effort. 'Look at that kind of investment and the fact that Washington, D.C., has one of the highest poverty rates.'"

AFTER THE JUMP—Some advocates praise budget, Barry vs. Catania, Colby has questions, another bicyclist is struck and killed on city street, and much, much more.

PRAISE FOR THE BUDGET: The Examiner's Leah Fabel reports that at least one constituency is pleased with the District's budget: Children's advocates. Fabel writes that the D.C. Council ended up restoring much of the funding for children's services. Still, the funding is far from adequate: "Judith Sandalow, executive director of the Children's Law Center, commended some 'terrific last-minute restorations' to the budget — including $1 million to provide rapid housing for homeless families. In mid-May, Sandalow said, the city's Department of Human Services counted 11 families on the streets, unable to find room in shelters. But she worried the big picture remains bleak and was disappointed the council didn't pass a higher income tax on the city's highest wage earners. 'We clawed back most, but not all, of the cuts the mayor made. But that's in the context of having lost dramatically over the past several years,' she said, citing ongoing issues like a several-years-long decline in dollars available for child-care subsidies. 'We went in with the safety net frayed, and we didn't succeed in mending it,' Sandalow said."

BARRY VS. CATANIA: The Examiner's Alan Suderman says that Councilmember Marion Barry has developed a new role for himself: Fenty Watchdog. Suderman writes: "Barry routinely invokes procedural maneuvers to delay the approval of city contracts for up to 45 days. Barry said he's submitting the disapproval resolutions because Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration isn't being transparent about where the city's money is being spent. 'We all know ... this procurement process is just really not working very, very well,' Barry said at a recent D.C. Council hearing. 'They think they can just send anything over here to us.' But critics said Barry, who was stripped of a committee chairmanship in March when a city investigation found that the former mayor had benefited financially from contracts improperly awarded to his girlfriend, is holding up contracts for no other reason than that he wants attention. At-Large Councilman David Catania said Barry's automatic across-the-board disapprovals are burdensome for city staff, harmful for businesses working with the city, and are 'wearing' against the rest of the council. 'We all have to cater to him and try and kiss his robe when he adds no value, and the process adds no value,' said Catania, who has butted heads with Barry over a number of issues recently. "Since he doesn't have a chairmanship that's pretty much all he does.'"

Meanwhile, WaPo's Mike DeBonis wonders if Barry will get a committee chairmanship after the election of a new Council Chairman. "Question is: Will his banishment from his committee chairmanship stand? Or will he be allowed to once again oversee a portion of the city budget, conduct agency oversight, and get a big boost to his office budget? The decision will lie in the hands of the new chairman. Has Barry permanently forfeited his right to oversee city funds? Or — as his attorney, Fred Cooke, has put it — has he "served enough time in the penalty box"? [Kwame] Brown said Friday afternoon that he'll give Barry a committee. Not because the ex-four-term-mayor might have redeemed himself, but because under a Brown chairmanship, everyone gets a committee. That has been the practice under Vincent C. Gray (save, of course, for Barry, post-censure). 'You shouldn't sit on the council, make that much money part-time and not be accountable for trying to move this city forward,' Brown said. 'It's the responsible thing to do.'"

COLBY KING: The WaPo columnist has questions for the mayoral and councilmember candidates. Some of his questions: "Mr. Fenty: What steps have you taken to reduce costs and what steps will you take to reduce costs? The last time you ran, you pledged not to raise taxes, but you have increased many fees that are also a hardship for many. Are you making the same promise for the next four years? Do you believe that you can continue to cut to meet expenses? Mr. Gray: If more cuts can be made, why didn't you make them when the council reviewed the mayor's budget?"

JONETTA: The Examiner columnist defends Michelle Rhee's contracting with nonprofits.

COLD CASES: The Examiner's Bill Meyers and Emily Babay report that the percentage of unsolved area homicides is growing: "It's getting easier to get away with murder in the Washington area. Nearly half of the homicides in the region since 1980 remain unsolved, an analysis by The Washington Examiner found. The number of reported homicides has declined over the past three decades, but police are solving fewer of them. That means some families never get explanations about why they had to bury a loved one. Daniel Harrington's daughter, Morgan, a Virginia Tech student, was killed after a Metallica concert in Charlottesville last year. Her killer is still at large, and Harrington said his grief is magnified by the continuing mystery. 'It's been pretty ugly, actually,' Harrington said. 'When cases go cold and die, people lose interest and move on to something else. It's not popular to keep bringing that up.'"

GREEK FINANCIAL CRISIS HITS MLK JR. MEMORIAL: WaPo's Michael Ruane reports: "The Greeks' offer was a gracious one: The giant pieces of sculpture for Washington's new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial needed to be transported from China. Perhaps Greece, with its large shipping industry and admiration for the civil rights leader, could arrange for vessels to move the monument for free. Officials planning the $120 million King memorial on the Tidal Basin were delighted. The cost savings would be substantial. And the connection to Greece and its ancient culture would be rich. But now, with the 159 huge stone blocks that make up the sculpture waiting at a Chinese seaport and major work underway on the memorial site in Washington, Greek officials have told officials of the King project that they can't deliver....A spokesman at the Embassy of Greece in Washington confirmed that, saying no Greek shippers could be found to do the job. The 'economic crisis bites everywhere,' he said."

CYCLIST DEATH: NC8 reports that a bicyclist was struck by two cars on Southern Avenue Friday night. The man died from his injuries. "DC Police said David Haywood Williams, 42, was on his bicycle traveling southwest on Southern Ave. at approximately 10:43 p.m., when he was struck first by a 2004 Chevy Suburban and then by a dark blue compact sedan, possibly a Toyota or Nissan. The driver of the Suburban left the scene but came back later. He told police he was unaware he had hit anyone. Police said that when DC Emergency Management Service personnel arrived on the scene, the occupants of the second vehicle fled the scene without having been identified. Williams, a resident of the 3400 block of 22nd St., SE, was transported to Prince George's County Hospital and pronounced dead at 11:38 p.m. The driver of the Suburban was not injured. He was taken to a police station as part of the investigation, police said." More coverage via WUSA9, NBC4.

A retired D.C. Police Lieutenant was carjacked over the weekend. WUSA9 reports: "A DC Police official told 9NEWS NOW that at about 11:40 a.m. at a CITGO station at 1300 Kenilworth Ave., three men carjacked a dark Lexus belonging to the victim. Shots were exchanged and the retired lieutenant was transported to an area hospital. The suspects had been in a black BMW that was reported stolen in Prince George's County. Witnesses tell 9NEWS NOW that the victim was waiting to pump his gasoline at the station when three men jumped into his car and took off. Witnesses say he ran after the suspects and during the chase they fired at him three times." More coverage via NBC4.

VA BURBS: It's a lot easier to speed in Fairfax and not get a ticket. There's a reason for this: Cops hate the new computerized ticketing system.

CATHOLICS RENEW VOWS LIKE MOONIES: Nearly 600 couples renewed their wedding vows at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Must be a slow news day. Even WaPo got into this with a warm-and-fuzzy feature on several of the couples: "For John and Corazon (yes, that's Spanish for "heart") Landicho of the Calverton neighborhood in Beltsville, not holding grudges has been key. In 51 years of marriage, they have had their disputes. John, Corazon said, was a high-ranking government accountant who traveled across the country and around the world, often leaving her to tend to their five children. 'It was hard,' said Corazon, 76. But not hard enough to shake the marriage. 'We have a fight. I cry. I get out of the house. I drive around the block. And that's the end of that,' Corazon said. 'You know, fighting doesn't really solve anything. Go ahead, get it out of your system, but don't stay mad for a long time.'"

HELEN THOMAS: The veteran reporter has canceled her high school commencement speech: "Thomas had been scheduled to speak at the June 14 graduation of Walt Whitman High School, which is located in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Md. The school's principal, Alan Goodwin, wrote in an e-mail Sunday to students and parents that Thomas was being replaced as speaker. Goodwin wrote: 'Graduation celebrations are not the venue for divisiveness.' Thomas, a columnist for Hearst Newspapers, issued an apology on her Web site on Friday comments that were captured on video by an interviewer for the website On the video dated May 27, Thomas says Israelis should 'get the hell out of Palestine,' suggesting they go to Germany, Poland or the U.S." More coverage via NBC4.

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  • Blue Pen

    Dog parks, no.

  • Lola

    A comment in regards to the woman who posted to listserv; stop whining. I doubt her kids were really rattled by a man trying to have conversation with her to give her more information about the candidate. Sounded like a total exaggeration.

  • Peter Rosenstein

    While I have often enjoyed Jason Cherkis's longer pieces in the paper and enjoyed his writing, I wonder if his writing style fits this column? It is much more acerbic than Mike DeBonis's was and it doesn't seem entirely appropriate for Loose Lips. Loose Lips was always fun to read but now borders on just often being nasty without any of the humor that made it fun to read.

    I think in the end it will hurt the column.I think it will encourage even nastier comments in the comment section which do no one any good and are really just counterproductive.

  • Jason Cherkis

    I'll try to tone it down, Peter. I'm just the substitute LL until a real LL is selected.

  • downtown rez

    They are not "dog parks". They are parks for people with dogs.
    For example, Ward 2 has two dog parks- one off 9th near Shaw MS, and the other in Dupont on 17th.
    Ward 2 also has children's parks and ball fields and playgrounds.
    And just as I wouldn't expect to see a dog surrounded by toddlers on a playground, I would expect to see a toddler surrounded by dogs in a dogpark.
    As my grandmother used to say: A place for everything, and everything in its place.

  • Contrarian

    Lola -- You know, being chased out of your house and into your car with your kids by someone who won't take no for an answer is, at least, disrespectful, at worst harrassment. It doesn't matter if it is for an election campaign or not.

    But it is fitting that the campaign workers mimic their boss...

  • Vincent Gray Looks Like Vincent Price

    Whut?!?! Yew meen dat Fintee ain't awl 'bout makin' duh whyte peepus feel mo' betta dan duh black wunz? Yew meen he don't be awl up in 'dem whyte peeus fayce cuz dey gots awl duh money?

    Whut kine a shit iz dat?

  • LOL

    I read the post article. What I wanted to know wasnt what had been put in the pipeline before Fenty took office. It would have been more accurate to draw conclusions about Fenty's spending priority based on how what new amenities have been put in the works since he came into office.

  • downtown rez

    Schools, parks, streets, sidewalks, and alleys.
    Fenty either accelerated or initiated enormous improvements in those areas.
    Despite the naysayers who are, like "all this is Tony Willians", there really is no comparison. Fenty delivered better, more, faster.

  • Wendy Glenn

    @ downtown rez...NOT SO!!! The documents will prove it.

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