‘Let’s Get It On’: Loose Lips Daily
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Good morning. Last night was an important one for local political junkies—it was the filing deadline for campaign finance reports! WBJ's Michael Neibauer noted that both main mayoral candidates raised some serious dough: "The two main players in the race for D.C. mayor waited until just before the midnight Thursday deadline to file their campaign finance reports, perhaps because they had so much money to count." Fenty Cash: "Mayor Adrian Fenty is sitting on a $3.2 million war chest going into the critical summer months, having raised $475,486 since March 11. He also spent $336,436 during the period, on ads buys, printing, and a bevy of consultants. Overall, Fenty has collected $4.38 million since launching his reelection bid last summer." Gray Cash: "Council Chairman Vincent Gray, despite his relatively recent entrance into the race, generated $561,342 and spent $190,134 during the fund raising period, leaving him with $371,208 cash on hand (though he loaned himself $25,000). It's well short of the mayor's bounty, but still a respectable rake given he only joined the race March 30. Gray also appears to have a much larger number of smaller donations than Fenty, in the $50, $100 and $200 range. But if Gray makes headway, the big money donors are certain to come around. They did four years ago when Fenty's grass roots mayoral bid went from underdog to front runner." As WaPo's Tim Craig notes: Gray raised more cash than the mayor in the last three months.
WaPo's Mike DeBonis offers a breakdown of some of the council races with At-Large Councilmember David Catania the big winner with "$204,796 raised this period; $36,501 spent; $302,204 cash on hand." There were also respectable showings from Councilmembers Jim Graham and Mary Cheh.
You can check out the full list at the Office of Campaign Finance [it gave this LL an error when he tried to get past the first page].
FENTY-GRAY FORUM RUMBLE: WaPo's Tim Craig and Ann Marimow report from the third mayoral forum sponsored by the Ward 3 Dems and moderated by beloved former Councilmember Kathy Patterson: "Despite a chorus of boos from the audience, Fenty repeatedly attacked Gray for his service during the Pratt administration, accusing him of being part of a government that nearly bankrupted the city. 'I know Gray supporters don't want to hear the truth,' said Fenty, responding to the boos. 'The Department of Human Services was spending money hand over fist during your leadership.' When Gray got a chance to respond, he leapt to his feet and walked to within a few feet of Fenty. Cheered on by supporters as he shook his finger at the mayor, Gray stated: 'I will put my record up against your record any day. . . . You want to talk about my record, let's get it on.'" Extra Points to Gray for invoking his campaign's theme song.
But wait there's more: "At nearly every chance, Fenty sought to shift the focus back to the Pratt administration. Fenty noted that the Department of Human Services was under 16 court orders under Gray's leadership. He also accused Gray of failing to adequately address juvenile-justice issues in the early 1990s. 'The truth hurts,' Fenty said.
Gray responded: 'How can you be so misinformed?'"
AFTER THE JUMP—Fenty botches interview, what's next for the HIV/AIDS Administration, former supporter becomes headache for mayor, Metro surcharges, and much, much more!
FENTY FUMBLE? Mayor Fenty struggled to answer basic questions during an interview yesterday on FOX5. D.C. Wire's Tim Craig reports: "The Gray campaign is buzzing today about Fenty's appearance this morning on the Fox 5 morning show. It looks like, the Gray campaign says, Fenty's weekly appearance on the show might not be the sort of face time candidates strive to obtain. Appearing on set with the morning anchors, Fenty appeared ill-prepared to answer questions about the triple shooting last night near Howard University, the Washington Post story this morning about questionable DUI arrests in the city, or his views on the Office of Campaign Investigation into whether D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee improperly solicited private money to fund the teachers' contract. When asked for an update on the shooting last night near Eighth and V streets NW, Fenty said he hadn't 'gotten a full briefing.'... The hosts then asked Fenty about D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles's contention that 400 people were recently convicted of driving while intoxicated based on faulty breath tests. Specifically, the anchors wanted to know whether the city was considering restitution for those who were wrongly convicted. 'I actually haven't been briefed on this for several months,' Fenty said." More coverage via The Examiner.
METRO MESS: WTOP reported that Metro workers believe more training would have prevented that 10-car screwup on the Green Line. Unsuck DC Metro has a great YouTube retort. Meanwhile the Examiner's Kytja Weir reports on the staggered fare increases set to begin at the end of this month: "Metro riders saw their fares rise by 10 cents this spring. Now they will see them rise again June 27, then likely change again on Aug. 1....Confused as to how much the commute will cost? Just wait. The confusion will be compounded by complicated fare increases. Metro plans to raise all fares to cover $108 million of an $189 gap in the budget that begins July 1. But the transit agency won't be able to program all the machines and farecards to accept the changes at one time, so it plans at least two phases. Metro board members said Thursday they worry riders may not know what to expect, especially as some of the changes will occur when locals are on vacation just before the July Fourth holiday and during August when Congress has its recess. The agency had pushed the board to make fare decisions early as it said it needed extra time to avoid confusion, noted board member Christopher Zimmerman. But now, he said, 'It seems that nonetheless we are going to have maximum confusion.'" More coverage via WTOP.
But wait there's more...WaPo's Ann Scott Tyson reports surcharges may be hitting riders at six subway stops: "The finance committee of Metro's board of directors approved the option Thursday of imposing yet another five-cent surcharge on entry and exit at two rail stations each in Virginia, Maryland and the District to fund capital improvements to the Metro system at those stations. The full board has yet to agree on the concept or to decide where and when to implement the surcharge. But the catalyst for the idea was a $36 million plan to ease commuter congestion at Union Station, one of Metro's busiest hubs, according to Metro and District officials. No other stations have been proposed for the surcharge, said Catherine M. Hudgins, who represents Virginia and is chairwoman of the finance committee." More coverage via NBC4.
D.C. AIDS PROGRAM: WaPo's Darryl Fears investigates how the city's HIV/AIDS Administration will cope post-Shannon Hader: "The HIV/AIDS Administration is one of the most important agencies in the Department of Health, with an $88 million budget, consisting mostly of federal dollars. The administration is responsible for distributing federal money to D.C. area governments such as Prince George's, Fairfax and Montgomery counties. It is tasked with gathering data and provides federal grants to community organizations for prevention efforts, such as condom distribution, tests for infection and distribution of drugs that lower the level of the virus in those infected....Catania said Hader's departure leaves the city's efforts to fight AIDS in limbo. No one is likely to take the job before the mayoral contest between Fenty and Council Chairman Vincent Gray is decided in September. And it is unlikely that a permanent replacement will be appointed by a mayor before January, Catania said. 'Her loss in catastrophic,' Catania said. But [DOH Director Pierre] Vigilance barely acknowledged Hader while praising Elias at her introduction Tuesday. On Wednesday, activists circulated a blog item on a Web site maintained by Vigilance, under the Watchstone Health Consulting Group, in which he appeared to criticize the city's singular focus on HIV/AIDS. 'There are those who will try to get you to focus on one specific issue because it is politically appropriate to do so,' he wrote. 'It is a failing of public health agencies to allow this to be the case, especially in jurisdictions where multiple health issues challenge the current status and future of some communities.' Dena Iverson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, said Vigilance told her that that comment was referring to H1N1 and not HIV/AIDS."
PARKS AND WRECK: WaPo's Mike DeBonis identifies an individual–a former Fenty supporter–that will surely be a huge headache for the mayor:
"Bill Slover is a successful businessman, a family man and active in his community. And he's a major problem for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) in his fight for reelection. That's because Slover is at the center of questions about Fenty's parks contracting — the $100 million in proposed city spending that's fueled accusations of malfeasance that Fenty's foes are flinging freely on the campaign trail. 'What happened with these contracts is one of the worst examples of cronyism I have ever seen in the District of Columbia,' council chairman and Fenty's chief rival, Vincent C. Gray (D), said, latching onto the fact that the mayor's fraternity brothers, Omar Karim and Sinclair Skinner, profited from the parks work. Gray made that claim last week at a mayoral debate, hosted by several Ward 3 community groups, where Fenty was sharply questioned by moderator Davis Kennedy, publisher of the Current community newspapers.
The mayor answered in the same way that he has since the story broke: by seizing on the fact that the contracts were awarded by a subsidiary of the D.C. Housing Authority, which Fenty does not directly control....But what happened to Slover stands in opposition to that claim.
By the time Slover arrived, the parks contracting process was already connected to the mayor. Of the five panel members who selected Karim's Banneker Ventures, three worked for Fenty — one, Jacquelyn Glover, was a project manager working for the deputy mayor for economic development; two others were Parks and Recreation Department employees.
So when the deal came to his attention — a contract solicited through a process that didn't involve bids, included an unusually high fee arrangement for Banneker and kept most control in the mayor's office — Slover grew uncomfortable. He abstained from voting.
In November, after the arrangement was publicized and Slover learned more details about the parks work, he moved to end the authority's involvement in the contract and send it back to the mayor's office.
Some DCHA board members with ties to Fenty, including Deputy Mayor Valerie Santos, objected, and the proposal was tabled. The following week, Slover says, he spoke to City Administrator Neil O. Albert and said he would continue pursuing the resolution. Four hours later, he received a call from Fenty's boards-and-commissions director telling him he'd been removed as chair."
HAY-ADAMS: The landmark hotel will be closing for the summer to make way for a multi-million dollar renovation.
MICHELLE OBAMA: Speaks to D.C. grads.
SOMMER MATHIS: The great DCist editor writes her farewell blog post.
KOJO: D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi and Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett.
MAYOR'S SCHEDULE: No public events.
D.C. COUNCIL SCHEDULE: No public events.