City Desk

Phil Mendelson Moves To Reform DYRS: Loose Lips Daily

As much local politics as humanly possible. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. And get LL Daily sent straight to your inbox every morning!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—"Linda Greene Resigns From Orange Campaign," "Summer Jobs Program Begins With Knives, Thefts"

Good Morning. Finally, someone has stepped up on one of the city's biggest issues. Councilmember Phil Mendelson has taken a big step in attempting to reform the troubled DYRS. He at least has proposed making some juvenile cases a lot more transparent. WaPo's Henri Cauvin reports: "Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), chairman of the public safety committee, is set to propose legislation this week that would make public the identity of any juvenile offender after a second serious crime. It would be a radical shift for a juvenile justice system grounded in rehabilitation, and it comes as Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), Mendelson and others city leaders face election-year criticism over their handling of juvenile crime. Under Mendelson's proposal, after a juvenile is found involved in a second serious offense, the case — and all of the juvenile's previous arrests in the District — would become public. The list of qualifying 'serious' or 'dangerous' offenses is long, including assault, arson, robbery, sexual abuse and murder. The public record would include the charges filed by police and by prosecutors, and the disposition, including whether the juvenile was placed on probation with D.C. Superior Court Social Services or committed to the custody of the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services. 'It's about the community being able to get some information and the responsible government agencies having to answer for their actions,' Mendelson said." LL hopes that Mendo will add a clause which mandates throwing a little sunshine on the agency's own dealings. The public also has a right to know just how DYRS lets kids slip through the cracks. But LL is reserving judgment until he reads Colby King's take on the councilmember's proposal.

NICKLES VS. GRAY: The talk of among the local political nerds yesterday centered on AG Peter Nickles, aka Adrian Fenty's Troll Doll, declaring war on mayoral hopeful Vincent Gray during an interview with NewsTalk's Bruce DePuyt. He not only slammed Gray's tenure as head of DHS, but used the man's theme song to taunt him: "And so, this is a very important election. And I say, 'Let's get it on.' I say, 'Let's look at the record that the Fenty administration has had in the last three years, in these agencies, and what happened in 1991-1995. And keep in mind, as a result of those years, all of these agencies — CFSA, dealing with abused and neglected kids; Department of Mental Health, dealing with St. Elizabeth's and mentally-ill folks; DDS, mentally-retarded individuals, disabled individuals; DYRS, criminal justice — in all of those agencies, as a result of what the court was seeing in that administration, all the personnel, all the procurement powers of DHS were taken away from DHS, and each of those agencies was made a cabinet-level department with independent powers." Not that Nickles has had such a great track record managing the CFSA case, among others [see this must read on Nickles' federal court track record]. But anyway, can Gray please make Nickles a campaign issue?

WaPo's Mike DeBonis has the Gray campaign's response to Nickles turn as Fenty campaign flack: "Gray campaign spokeswoman Traci Hughes raised questions about whether it was appropriate for Nickles to address such a politically fraught issue. 'The last time I checked it was the attorney general's role to serve District residents and not to carry out Mayor Fenty's political attacks,' Hughes said Monday afternoon. She accused Nickles of 'campaigning effectively while he's on the clock' — a potential violation of legal restrictions on the political activities of government employees. Nickles defended his comments in part by saying he was "speaking out as a citizen" who had been involved in DHS cases.

AFTER THE JUMP—Judge to announce verdict in Wone case today, Fenty skips education debate, Fenty's inner circle questions whether the mayor even wants to win, a death on the Red Line, and more.

FENTY SKIPS OUT ON DEBATE: Mayor Fenty skipped out on yesterday's debate on education issues w/ Vincent Gray, what organizers had been calling the "Great Education Forum." WaPo's Nikita Stewart and Bill Turque report: "When Fenty failed to appear, organizers went to a town hall-style format that allowed Gray to engage the 100 or so audience members, who appeared to be mostly educators in their 20s and 30s. 'I'm delighted to be here, not necessarily delighted to be here by myself,' Gray said at the Naval Heritage Center in an apparent reference to Fenty. At the outset, Gray took a dig or two at Fenty, saying that the mayor might be in the lobby so 'he can pick up a few pointers.' Word from the Fenty campaign Monday was that the mayor had never "confirmed" that he would participate but that schedulers were prepping him while trying to come up with an alternative date. Campaign sources said that Fenty was obligated to attend other 'private campaign functions.' The group that organized the debate, the D.C. chapter of Young Education Professionals, told a different story about the event, which was announced June 8. The Fenty campaign did not contact the group to pull out until Sunday evening, said Kate Blosveren, the group's president. Gray was left with the floor to himself. As expected, he faulted Fenty and Rhee for a lack of transparency in their dealings with parents and other community stakeholders. 'I'd use the word opaque to describe how some of the decisions were made,' he said. 'The word 'public' in public education needs to be taken seriously.'" More coverage via DCist.

The Examiner's Bill Myers has people within the Fenty camp wondering if the mayor even wants to win reelection: "Mayor Adrian Fenty begged off a key education reform debate on Monday and some in his inner circle are privately wondering if he's as committed to retaining his office as he was to winning it....Longtime aides to Fenty say privately that the mounting criticism and stress of the campaign have made the mayor even more resistant to advice than usual. He has had to dip into his multimillion-dollar campaign funds to pay street workers, instead of mustering an army of volunteers to help him canvass, like in' 06."

SUMMER JOBS: WUSA's Bruce Johnson chronicles the chaos that was the first day of the mayor's summer jobs program–800 kids had to be turned away from a job site, three other kids are in deep trouble over knives and stolen goods at another site. More coverage via Fox5.

WONE VERDICT TODAY: After four years, one of the most closely covered murder mysteries in recent District history may finally come to some resolution. The Examiner reports: "Tuesday, one piece of the puzzle will get an answer: Did Joseph Price, Dylan Ward and Victor Zaborsky conspire to cover up the slaying? D.C. Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz is set to rule Tuesday in the trial of the three men, accused of cleaning up the crime scene and misdirecting police after Wone's Aug. 2, 2006, death in their Dupont Circle town house. Wone was spending the night in their home at 1509 Swann St. NW when he was stabbed three times in the chest. The defendants maintain that an intruder killed Wone. Leibovitz has heard five weeks of testimony from dozens of witnesses. The defendants waived their right to a jury trial, making Leibovitz the sole arbitrator. All three men face charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Ward, 40, and Zaborsky, 44, were acquitted of tampering with evidence, but that charge still stands against Price, 39. All three could face more than 30 years in prison if convicted." More coverage via Whomurderedrobertwone.com.

DISTRICT REVENUES: The city's CFO reports some not totally bad news on the revenue front, reports WBJ's Michael Neibauer: "The parade of bleak revenue estimates from D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi may have come to an end. The latest, released today, suggests no change from his February projection. This is good news. Not 'windfall' good, but good nevertheless. 'There are signs that both the U.S. and District economies are in recovery, but every indication is that the recovery is likely to be long and slow,' Gandhi wrote in a letter to Mayor Adrian Fenty and D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray. The estimate is a mixed bag of economic news. Individual income and sales taxes came in lower than expected, Gandhi said, but real property tax collections were better than anticipated and withholding collections have picked up. In the quarter ending in March, occupied office space rose 0.8 percent from the prior quarter and 1.8 percent from the prior year."

SUPREME COURT GUN CASE: You wanna know the impact of Heller v. D.C.? WaPo's Mike DeBonis says yesterday's Supreme Court decision is only the beginning: "The Supreme Court ruling Monday in McDonald v. City of Chicago places the District of Columbia at the vanguard of answering a new and crucial question: Just what kinds of gun regulations are constitutional in the United States? The McDonald decision has its roots, of course, in Heller v. District of Columbia, decided two years ago by the same 5-4 margin. That ruling struck down the city's blanket handgun ban after finding a constitutional 'right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.' The court Monday, in holding that the Heller standard applies to state and local law, did not significantly modify it."

PARKING METERS: NC8 reports District residents are unsatisfied with meter replacements.

DEATH AT RED LINE STOP: A man was found dead on the tracks yesterday evening at the Grosvenor-Strathmore station, WTOP reports. More coverage via NBC4 . The Examiner's Kytja Weir reports: "A man was killed Monday evening when he jumped from a Metro station mezzanine onto the rail tracks, causing major delays on the Red Line during the peak of the evening commute and trapping riders on a train in 90-plus degree heat without air conditioning. The death occurred about 6:10 p.m. at the Grosvenor station, Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said. Preliminary reports indicate the man jumped from the upper platform onto the tracks, she said. The unidentified man was not hit by a train, she said, but died at the scene. The transit agency then needed to shut down power to that section of tracks for safety, she said, which in turn eliminated electricity to a train coming through the station. That shut off the air conditioning inside the train, angering the riders on the loaded train, who threatened to self-evacuate, she said. They were eventually taken into a rescue train. Metro had to close the station and turn back other trains, later reopening to allow trains to share a single track. The agency offered free shuttle buses to riders, but commuters faced significant delays because buses hold far fewer riders than trains."

MORE EVIDENCE THAT FENTY LOVES GO-GO: WaPo's Nikita Stewart captures Fenty celebrating his love of our homegrown sound.

MAYOR'S SCHEDULE: No public events.

D.C. COUNCIL'S SCHEDULE: Lots of Wilson Building activities including hearings on public safety and parks and rec.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • proballdc

    Peter Nickles has just violated the Hatch Act. Yet another Federal Investigation that needs to happen? A lawless attorney general. Only in the Fenty Administration.

  • Truth Hurts

    But you're ok with Gray setting up partisan political campaign tables on public school property (ie, the school Fenty's kids attend), right proball/dcdem or whoever you are? I'm sure one city's commissioning a special investigation as I write.

    BTW, proball, how much has Gray's felon frat bro Bereano funneled to him this election cycle? How about last election cycle? Do you know? Care?

  • Jesse Helms

    Truth Hurts it's obvious you are a Fenty supporter. You are so far up Fenty's ass, you can cause his prostate to give him an erection.

    Both these coons aren't worth voting for.

  • Jason Cherkis

    Jesse, please refrain from making racist remarks. It's offensive.

  • bloomingdale20001

    Truth hurts but you’re ok with:

    -83 million handed out to family and friends.
    -His association to Ron and Skinner (Ron is violating the law too)
    - with not knowing how decisions are made in Your gov't (ala no Director is able to testify at hearings)
    -the Summer Youth Program now going into its 3rd Year with program has had major problems and not to mention cost overruns of $50 million dollars in two years.
    -With a AG not representing D.C. residents but a Mayor
    -Using police resources for private use

    Really?

    The list is soo much longer, but the above is enough to make the table matter such small potatoes compared to Fenty's record.

  • Jesse Helms

    Jason, do you not believe in the 1st amendment? Who are you to judge what's offensive? This is typical of liberal Democrats and their political correctness B.S.

    I have a right to say what's on my mind and how I feel. D.C. needs a white conservative Republican. The colored Democratic leadership on the D.C. Council has destroyed our Nations Capital. This is why the crime is out of control in D.C. because of liberal whites like you and Phil Mendelson ideology.

  • Truth Hurts

    BLOOM....: I was responding to proball's hatch act comment. I said nothing about the claims you made in your later comment. But on the topic of Gray's campaign setting up on the grounds of Fenty's kids' school, are you ok with it? A yes or no will do.

  • Jon Bon Jovi

    @Jesse Helms: You have Senator Robert Bryd to play with in hell, therefore leave us alone.

  • DC Guy

    What happens to Fenty's war chest of campaign funds if he loses and doesn't use it up?

  • AdrianBent-Me

    Truth- Why is that off limits? Candidates stump all the time all over the place, including public ones. Why would a table for Gray at a public school be any different than a team of Fenty campaigners flooding a public park?

  • Truth Hurts

    ABM- Good question. I've done a fair amount of election protection voluteer work both in national and local elections. The distinction basically involves setting up/posting partisan political campaign stations on govt owned property, especially during a government sponsored event. So it's legal to put a Gray or Fenty sign in your yard, but not on the publicly owned strip between your yard and the street. As I understand the Gray campaign table on public school property issue (at Fenty's kids' school), it occurred during a school sponsored event (a book fair?). So it would've been ok for Gray's people to set up outside school grounds (which is where they relocated), but not on school grounds during a school event.

    Gray's folks must've known better because every campaign gives basic ground rule training to its workers/volunteers. I've received similar training many times when I volunteered. I'd criticize Fenty's folks if it was reported they were doing the same thing.

  • Marciela

    Neither campaign should have had campaign tables set up at a school. Fenty should not have been giving people stickers in the crowd either, especially after he had Gray's table moved.

    A big problem with this campaign is indeed the fact that the Attorney General functions as more of a personal attorney for Fenty than as an attorney for the City. He has had diarrhea of the mouth lately and has been talking about Council members and other candidates in unethical manners. I agree with Proball DC that Nickles is breaking the Hatch Act and I take it a step further that his ethics and comments should be called into question with the DC Bar Council.

    So much of the campaign has become a visceral hatred of one candidate or the other and it is doing little else than further dividing people. What people need to do is stick to the facts. Everything Bloomingdale 20001 listed is factual and legally questionable.

    Truth Hurts, you've had training with working on campaigns and with elections. Are the plentiful Nickles comments questionable and inappropriate per the Hatch Act?

  • downtown rez

    The legally correct answer is that Nickles is free to speak as a private citizen, so long as he makes it clear that is what he is doing. Which is exactly what he did.
    The fact that a person holds this or that position does not infringe on their personal expression of their personal views.

  • downtown rez

    Oh, and to Bloomingdale-
    The $83 million was used to build parks and recs. Things that actually got built and can be seen and appreciated by citizens.
    Whatever about Moten and Skinner.
    Plenty of Directors have testified at hearings. I imagine they will continue to do so as good and necessary.
    Summer Youth has been a mess forever- it's an issue that predates this administration by at least a generation.
    Nickels is appointed by the executive, and so naturally represents the city according to the dictates of the executive.
    Fenty uses a lot less MPD resources than any previous mayor. He's famously cut his detail, and gotten rid of his driver.
    And whether you like these answers or not has no bearing on the fact that they are the truth.

  • AdrianBent-Me

    Rez- things got built at double what they normally would cost. Given that the entire City is facing a huge deficit, I wouldn't mind a park or rec center taking a few months to go through the right channels.

  • AdrianBent-Me

    Also, because Fenty famously does not use MPD resources, the City could have faced two major lawsuits involving city vehicles that the Mayor was being chaffeured around in by friends of his.

    Also, you forget that the Mayor utilizes a lot of police help whenever he trains for triathalons.

  • Marciela

    Thank you just the same Downtown Rez but you are extremely biased for Fenty and your answers and statements tend to reflect that.

    Truth Hurts, based on your training and expertise, I'm asking YOU. I've posted the relevant information straight from the OSC.

    http://www.osc.gov/haFederalwhoiscovered.htm

    Who is covered?

    All civilian employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the President and the Vice President, are covered by the provisions of the Hatch Act. Employees of the U. S. Postal Service and the District of Columbia, except for the Mayor of the District of Columbia, the District of Columbia’s City Council and the District’s Recorder of Deeds, are also covered by the Act. Part-time employees are covered by the Act. Federal and District of Columbia employees subject to the Hatch Act continue to be covered while on annual leave, sick leave, leave without pay, or furlough. However, employees who work on an occasional or irregular basis, or who are special government employees, as defined in title 18 U. S.C. § 202(a), are subject to the restrictions only when they are engaged in government business.

    By definition, Nickles is a Less Restricted employee. Here are the things he cannot do.

    The Hatch Act prohibits Less Restricted employees from:

    using their official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election;

    knowingly soliciting, accepting, or receiving a political contribution from any person (this may be done in certain limited situations by federal labor or other employee organizations);

    knowingly soliciting or discouraging the participation in any political activity of anyone who has business pending before their employing agency;

    being candidates for public office in partisan political elections; or

    engaging in political activity while:

    on duty;

    in a government office;

    wearing an official uniform; or

    using a government vehicle

    Less Restricted Employees – Examples of Prohibited ActivitiesLess Restricted federal employees may not, for example:

    host a political fundraiser

    invite anyone to a political fundraiser

    accept or receive a donation or contribution for a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group

    use an official title or position while engaged in political activity

    supervisory employees may not invite subordinate employees to political events or otherwise suggest to subordinates that they attend the political event or undertake any partisan political activity

  • sedcdude

    JESSE is a QUISLING coward!!

    Was Byrd your point of reference when you mention DC's need for WHITE, conservative politician??

    If so, how bout you mozey on over to West Virginia and see how that bit of stupidity has worked out for em'!

  • MM

    Unless I'm mistaken, the Attorney General is a position while nominated by the Mayor, must be voted upon and confirmed by the Council. So, this is not a mere appointment as someone suggested. And, was he speaking as a resident of Virginia or has he moved to the District as the statutes direct? The fact of the matter is, prior to Nickles assuming the role I couldn't have named prior AG's as they were not mayoral spokepersons. Why people can't see the problem in this is beyond me. The AG should be an inpartial representative of the people not the mayor, council or any other elected officials.

  • Truth Hurts

    Marciella: I'll answer your questions to the best of my ability. First, though, a point of clarification on your post. You imply that both candidates had campaign tables set up on school property. Media reports, however, state that only Gray's folks (not Fenty's) erected a partisan campaign table on school grounds. That's simply not permitted.

    Re my electioneering training, it was mainly in connection with election protection for the Kerry/Edwards and Obama/Biden national elections and the '06 DC council chair primary. The focus was on what campaign volunteers/workers could or could not do. For example, placement of campaign signage, setting up of campaign booths, using govt issued cell phones/office supplies to advocate for a particular candidate.

    I don't claim any special expertise on when/where/how a government employee can express his/her views on a candidate. My sense, though, is that Nickles did nothing illegal by responding to the interviewer's question. As I understand the facts, Nickles was the lead pro bono atty who sued (successfully) the city and an agency Gray headed under Pratt-Kelly. I doubt it's against the law for Nickles to discuss his view of that case simply because he now works for DC.

  • downtown rez

    Marciela
    Look in a mirror. Your posts have hardly been neutral.
    Regardless of who any of us favor, I'm confident my analysis of the legalities is correct. Consider for a moment that, were it not, any elected or appointed official would be forbidden from relating personal opinion and experience- an obviously ridiculous and unconstitutional restriction on freedom of speech.
    You may not like it, but there it is regardless.
    ABM
    Please link to any analysis that shows a pattern of DC recs- or any recent DC projects- costing more than the inflation-adjusted counterparts built years ago. I won't ask you to go back to Barry, just Williams. And good luck. If there was fire here, I'm confident HTJ and Gray would be trumpeting it. After all, HTJ oversees parks and is a Gray ally, right?
    Further, ABM, you may have noticed we're still in the 2007 Global Economic Recession (Google it). It's generally agreed to be the worst since the 1930's, and has put many out of work, greatly reduced tax receipts, and very much slowed private-sector investment everywhere. Tapping into our reserve funds and putting those to work building things is exactly the right thing to do. Jobs are created, and the good works benefit the broader public and help stimulate the local economy. Obama did it with ARRA. What is wrong with DC doing this locally? IMO, you have it exactly wrong, ABM. A great case can be made that Fenty would be reckless and negligent if he wasn't investing in infrastructure during this economic crisis. Certainly, the Obama Administration is doing it. Anyway, we're not broke yet. Last I heard, we still had about $600 million in the bank. Is that about right?
    MM Spagnoletti was the most famous prior AG. He was mostly famous because he was the former US Attorney for the District of Columbia, and because he is openly gay.
    If the others don't rate, it's because they never managed to distinguish themselves in any way. I'm not sure that really qualifies them as models of AG-itude.

    *whew*
    Time to chill with the kids.
    drez out.

  • http://rickmangus@aol.com Rick Mangus

    The good people of this town are walking around living on borrowed time with targets on their back, due to screw up morons in city government, elected and appointed!

  • Cant

    Truth hurts….
    Table at school- I was there, my kids Also attend Lafayette (whole other story)
    Yes the school/neighborhood/COMMUNITY had a book fair. Yes GREY had a table and Fenty did not, at least not that I saw. The side walk along the building where they set the table up is narrow. It was “KIND OF” blocking the sidewalk (my opinion). It made groups of people have to walk pas singe file because there was also a tree patch taking up part of the side walk. If they moved down, they would have blocked the stairs. So they tried to move the table back NO MORE THAN TWO FEET. THAT put them on the school grass and out of the walkway (thus on DCPS Property). They were told to move and they did. They did not go up the school steps or walk around the outdoor school/neighborhood/COMMUNITY event. They stayed outside.

    FENTY had about 30 campaign workers at the event both inside the area and out on the sidewalk. They did not have a table, they did have stickers and voter reg. forms and they DID WALK around at the school/neighborhood/COMMUNITY event. They passed out stickers and even tried to coerce some people who got a Grey sticker to put on both. This seems to be the flavor of his campaign this time around. So what if you have a Grey sign... you’re going to put up both or just mine if I can MAKE you. Anyway, my point is, the table that was "on DCPS" property was there for all of 5 minutes. It should not have been there for 5 minutes. The man at the table was trying to "not be in the way" and moved it back. His lesson learned I'm sure. Grey should still burn in hell for this though huh? Lol

    NICKLES wasn’t speaking as a private citizen because he was not being interviewed as a private citizen he was being interviewed as the AG of DC and he answered his questions as the AG of DC. How many other private citizens get to go on the show and have an hour to discuss their personal beliefs? I sure wish I could. No, they didn’t have him on the show because he was a “private citizen”… THE HAD THE AG OF DC ON THE SHOW.

    As for the MPD DETAIL being cut… every time they do a request to find out how much overtime or money is being spent by his detail, the numbers end up being off the chart so my question is, if they aren’t with him, but still using tons of money… WHAT EXACTLY does he have them doing? Working on his campaign like the rest of “HIS” Govt employees? Oh, but try doing a FOIA request. You MAY get an answer AFTER your request is denied or not responded to and you pay all this money to sue DC Govt so the judge can order them to answer the question… this is what happens with most request.

    Dc guy--- WAR CHEST can either be donated to charity, given to another democratic campaign ORRRRRR he can set up a non profit with it and pay himself a salary of oh say 3.5 mil as a consultant for one month worth of work. What do you think he will do?

  • S.E.

    "Summer Youth has been a mess forever- it's an issue that predates this administration by at least a generation."

    Wasn't a problem when I was in it back in 1973.

  • Marciela

    Thanks, Truth Hurts. I you asked because I wanted an unbiased answer.

    Downtown Rez, please don't address me unless I ask you a question by name. We don't always agree but you're very caustic toward those who disagree with you, borderline catty at times. Even when I disagree with another person, I've started taking great pains to be civil and not to respond with emotion. Why? Quite frankly, the tone of this campaign is so disappointing on multiple levels that it shows me I've been biased at times where I should have been more objective. Let's agree to disagree and leave it there.

    Thanks, Cant for your answer as well.

  • Truth Hurts

    Marciela: Setting aside your comment to Drez (which I'd rather not address here), I agree that people can, and should, debate and disagree with civility and decency. There's been way too much hatred and name-calling on this site. So thanks for calling on folks to rise above petty divisive insults. I join you on that theme.

  • downtown rez

    Marciela
    I'm sorry if I've offended. I do feel strongly about my opinions, and I know that I have a sarcastic streak, but I do try to selectively let that loose.
    Also, I think I've completely avoided participation in the gutter talk here, which I agree is far too common and wholly inappropriate.
    I can't say I won't respond to you again. If feel strongly about any statement or written record, it's my right to add my two cents. But any response will completely depend on context, and please feel free to ignore me or respond as you will. I stay within the bounds of decency, and you won't hurt my feelings.

  • Marciela

    Downtown Rez, I think both of us avoid the gutter talk. However, if everyone exchanged their ideas without the visceral hatred, it would be a better forum. Let me set forth for everyone where I'm coming from.

    I am amazed. We all debate each other viciously at times but we are all victims of poor government in one way or the other. I live in Virginia and it pains me greatly to see my nation's capital in such an unholy disarray. One thing I believe we can all agree on is that the current administration has performed very questionably at times with little transparency and a smoky accountability. When a populace is this strongly divided against an incumbent, it is a clear sign something is not working. For whatever reasons these things are occurring, it is putting our nation's capital in a poor light with constant negative news stories coming out on a daily basis. That is not good for anyone. People can say what they want about former Mayor Anthony Williams. However, he did not have tantrums, give people his behind to kiss regularly, ride his bicycle on government time when he was supposed to be at work and he did not disproportionately offend people so greatly.

    I was a Fenty supporter when he was a councilman, when he appeared to be fair and concerned about all residents. However, since he became mayor, I have noticed a disproportionate number of minority workers have been terminated from various government agencies. I have noticed a disproportionate number of minorities who are against him. I have seen his pals receive contracts without full credentials and experience, midnight payments and other favors. I have noticed public funds used to pay for red velvet cupcakes and liquor for the mayor's fraternity brothers. There is conjecture the money was repaid. I also noticed that Fenty did not show up at an education debate because he "couldn't make it work."

    I know a lot of skilled, intelligent workers who have been summarily dismissed from DC agencies without rhyme or reason. They were told they were "not the right fit." If you were told that as a reason for being dismissed as a white person in a majority-black city, your head would reel too. It so happens that every dismissed worker I know personally is either black or Hispanic. They had good evaluations and tangible results. When people see data like that, they cannot help but wonder if it was racially motivated if they are minorities because of personal experiences white citizens have rarely had.
    The disconnect comes because these disenfranchised workers express themselves emotionally, as would anyone tossed out of a job without rhyme or reason.

    When a disporportionate number of minorities ardently opposed a minority official, there is ususally a substantively significant problem underlying their opposition. What is particularly interesting is that this same mayor enjoyed overwhelming support from these same constituents four years ago. Something, and we don't have to agree on what, but something genuine has caused this rift.

    As to the cupcakes and liquor, I know many members of Kappa Alpha Psi who have said their dues were increased to offset the party expense that was never repaid. Let me be clear and say I don't know if that is true but the disgust with which they expressed themselves hardly seem like flat prevarications.

    What is most dismisally disappointing is the mayor's failure to show up at an education debate. He and his chancellor claim such success, so it is a no brainer that he would want to show up to tout his success. I also think it was highly unprofessional to cancel participation in a debate literally at the eleventh hour.

    What I believe everyone can agree on is that we cannot have this level of bickering and poor publicity emanate from the city. Order has to be restored. All officials must be accountable and transparent. If the Hatch Act specifically states that one cannot campaign on government time and use their titles, then no one on either side should do it. Things just cannot go on like this.

  • Truth Hurts

    Cant: If the incident had been reported as you claim it happened, I wouldn't have criticized an innocent mistake by workers just trying to get out of people's way. But I haven't read or heard your version in the media. And after reading some of you other comments, it's plain you're a Gray supporter. Btw, I didn't write or imply "Gray should burn in hell" Only that it's illegal to set up campaign tables as Gray's workers did at Lafayette. Which happens to be the truth.

...