Loose Lips

Undecided: Job-Creation Edition

AUGUST 5: It's the Economy, Stupid!

Today's Event: Gray rolls out massive workforce development plan containing about 879 ideas and only partly comprised of gibberish. Gray's plan would apparently establish enough new advisory groups, taskforces, and committees to solve the city's unemployment problem on its own–though the city budget might be wrecked by the amount of extra government real estate these groups would have to rent. My heart actually flutters just a bit over his top agenda item: To actually enforce the District's First Source/living wage law which Fenty seems to have little interest in doing–unlike, say, his interest in getting kids jobs at the expense of the city's social safety net.

Influence:  My twin brother is dedicated to the living-wage  issue in Baltimore. It's a family obligation to care about such things. I've attended enough brawling family holiday dinners to know that my brother would have my head if I didn't support Gray's albeit sudden emphasis on making sure city workers were given decent wages.

Net impact: Lean Gray. Alas, I'd be even more excited if Gray's process-obsessed side weren't on such display. For instance, I still don't know what this means: "Empower CAPGO and NEDCO to provide much-needed capital to local businesses."

But: A Green Team worker knocked on my door Tuesday afternoon to lobby for my support. The worker told me that he had been unemployed, but thanks to Fenty, he had worked his way up from volunteer to paid staffer. Fenty cares! I am moved enough to add my real name to his clipboard and take some pamphlets.

  • John

    Too funny. So "The Undecided" starts with a graph on a "lean Fenty" day, which puts him barely moved that way on it.

    Then "The Undecided" declares the next day to be neutral, and as a result his graph moves to Gray.

    Now "The Undecided" has a "leans Gray" day, and the graph almost overlaps him and Gray.

    Seriously Jason, in the interest of honesty can't you just rename this column "The Gray Supporter Pretending to be Undecided"?

  • Brahmin

    He also giving cash to homeless people to campaign for him while closing more shelter and raiding the homeless support fund.Fenty cares

  • Jason Cherkis

    John: I'm not in charge of the graphic. It's not as exact as I'd like it to be. There's needs to be more spokes. I'm leaning Gray. I'm not in love with him as the graphic currently suggests.

  • candycane1

    Personal opinion: You look better on this side of the graph. :)

  • John

    Well, at least you admit your "lean". Personally, I will lay down $20 right now you end up more than "lean". As I noted in your last LL, your apparent politics puts you there.

    Simple example for here. You are basically drooling over a "program" that even you wonder the "pay for it" question.

    Bonus Points: Take a look at the "I firmly support _studying_ streetcars", vanishing acting on bikes, and the general mush mouthing on livability issues. Combine with the 2am Washington Gaffe on streetcars in the budget.

    I think we can figure out how he's going to pay for it.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    John- you seem very concerned about how things are getting paid. Are you as concerned about how Fenty pays for things as well? No-bid contracts with inflated budgets to his personal friends with no oversigt and huge cost overruns.

    Examples:
    -Skinner's engineering company multi-million contracts to provide middle-man service to actual engineer in PG County

    -Omar Karim's shady invovlement in NorthWest One development, a half a billion dollar project, after the contract had been awarded to two legitimate developers (shakedown).

    -Jannarone, Skinner, and Moten's Dominican Republic scam to donate District property without going through the proper channels

    -Peaceholics been awarded in excess of $4 million to purchase and rehab various properties in the City- an undertaking that requires more than just "street cred".

    -Christmas eve payments of millions of dollars to Karim for work that he will not be required to complete because official oversight is finally kicking in.

    I don't know, these just seem to bother me more than Gray's staffer fumbling the streetcar issue- which was then immediately taken cared of by Gray when finding out the next morning.

  • Indeed

    Livability is great, but it is also now an ideology. Those who want further information or a clear plan of action on say, streetcars, are billed as against streetcars. Streetcars are great, but why should we fund them when there is essentially no plan for implementation? What's going on with the wires? Gray made a mistake in giving into folks who merely like the idea of streetcars but haven't thought about how we resolve serious issues.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Indeed- I agree with you. Streetcars are not practical. The cost to install and operate far exceeds whatever will be made from the use. I think the assumption that many have is that these streetcars will "revitalize" the eastern parts of the City. I'm hopeful, but I think there should have been more thought to the process, ahem.

  • DC Guy

    There has been thought in Streetcars and the process going back to 1997, when Hizzoner was still Mayor. Gray has firmly stated his support for streetcars, and has not wavered from that in the past 6-7 years as the program has ramped up.

    What has changed is that the current DDOT has jumped the gun a bit on some details. Details, which I am confident will be worked on in due course.

    On this, both candidates are "in the right".

  • downtown rez

    I am with DC Guy on this, with the caveat that I believe waiting until all the details are worked out generally equates to sitting on the sidelines.
    Details are often best worked out during the implementation process.

  • Indeed

    Waiting until we figure out whether to have above or below ground wires is not a minor detail, dr. Come on. That cannot be worked out during implementation. It needed to be done before.

  • http://ABF ABF

    GRAY ALL DAY...NOW LEAN!

  • Dr Pangloss

    I am with DC Guy on this, with the caveat that I believe waiting until all the details are worked out generally equates to sitting on the sidelines.

    This appears to be the Gray creed. Who cares if we ever get where we're going--as long as there are plenty of Blue Ribbon Commissions and Study Panels. Party like it's 1990!

  • Dr Pangloss

    Waiting until we figure out whether to have above or below ground wires is not a minor detail, dr. Come on. That cannot be worked out during implementation. It needed to be done before.

    Pardon me, but why on Earth can't you install streetcar tracks on H Street (as they're doing) while the road is already torn to pieces for streetscape improvements? Those rails have to go in anyway for streetcars to run on H Street, and they're not going to go stale if they're not used.

    It's the sort of forward planning that DC has been missing for way too long.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Rez- I know you're not a fan of waiting- you're a Fenty supporter after all. Nothing needs to be discussed, just "git er done".

  • John

    Indeed: I assume you have never been to Europe? As noted a million times, somehow ancient cities dating back half a millenia or more can manage to be more historic than DC and have...*gasp*...wires. They also manage to mix in tall buildings in designated business districts. And the systems work brilliantly as part of transportation network.

    Bent-Me: For a simple reason. Even if you accept all of the accusations and the resulting numbers of the most rabid Gray supporter's fever dream the total is a drop in the bucket against the budget. Meanwhile Gray's apparent Oprah style campaign motto of "everyone gets a new car...a new car!!!" is huge in its budget implications.

  • Indeed

    @John,

    I don't believe I said anything about whether I prefer wires or not. Read what I wrote. The issue isn't settled here. That's the issue!

    If you weren't such an ideologue, perhaps you'd be able to read what I actually wrote without making assumptions about what I believe. Personally, I think it would be nice to have streetcars. I don't think that they will solve the problems that we think they'll solve, but they would be nice nonetheless.

  • DC native

    Many European countries are experimenting with witless lightrail technology. So there are real issues to discuss and the current tracks being laid don't include such wireless options. "just do it" may actually be short sighted and wasteful rather than forward and progressive depending on the final decision reached.

  • downtown rez

    ABM
    Yes. Actions speak louder than words.
    Indeed
    There are those who want light rail, and those who hate overhead lines. And they've little in common. This can (and will be!) be settled, but only through a timeline. Make it clear that things are moving forward and a deal has to be made.
    Otherwise, folks will dig in their heals and not budge from their preferences.
    To lead, you must be able to lead people out of their comfort zones. Otherwise, no one ever moves anywhere.

  • Indeed

    @dr

    Absolutely right. Don't disagree with you. but really not sure how wires have to do with comfort zones.

  • Urbanspin

    Gray had an opportunity to do something to enforce First Source for the last 4 years. It's call OVERSIGHT. He failed miserably. Michael Brown's District Resident Employment and Stimulus Act could have had a real impact on putting District Residents to work on upcoming construction projects, but despite much lobbying, Gray refused to fast track a hearing on the issue. Gray's plan, is more repackaged Barry policies. And we all know how that turned out: the people with government jobs moved to PG and the Financial Control Board moved into City Hall.

  • downtown rez

    @ indeed
    not sure how wires have to do with comfort zones.
    Underground (or battery power) in the Old City, overhead wires in the rest of the city- where there already are overhead wires. This is the obvious deal to all but NCPC and DCFCA.

  • Indeed

    @dr

    Again, how does you writing this get the deal done? Does it get all the funding that's needed? Having an idea and knowing how to implement are two different things. Very few people can do both.

...