Loose Lips Daily: Angry Black Straw Voters Edition
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Good morning, sweet readers! LL had a good laugh reading Dave McKenna's column in this week's City Paper about Maryland Del. Michael Vaughn incorrectly boasting on his campaign website that he played 3 years with the Dallas Cowboys. Little known fact about LL, he played 12 seasons as a backup long snapper for the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders. Sigh, those were the days. On with the news:
Lord Help Us, More Ward 4 News: The Post has not one, but two stories about D.C. Council Chairman and mayoral hopeful Vincent Gray's victory over Mayor Adrian Fenty in the Wednesday night straw poll and the Examiner's has it's own report. So, what's new?
1) Fenty's folks basically call the Ward 4 straw poll outcome a win for angry black people: "Bill Lightfoot, Fenty's campaign chairman, called the straw poll voters 'disgruntled,' saying that former mayors Sharon Pratt and Marion Barry attended in support of Gray. In his attacks, Fenty has connected Gray to the city's financial crisis in the 1990s by noting that Gray was then director of the Department of Human Services. 'Those are the people angry with Adrian. They turned up to vote last night,' Lightfoot said. 'It was a return to the '90s. They were disgruntled. They were in control then, and they want to get back in the fire,"' report the Post's Tim Craig and Nikita Stewart.
The Examiner's Freeman Klopott has this: "A high-ranking Fenty campaign member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely, noted that most of Wednesday night's voters were black. 'There are other demographics in Ward 4 that will show up on primary day,' the Fenty campaigner said." Nice code talk. LL did not know that word demographics meant: rich white people who live on the other side of the park. The Post's Mike DeBonis has another anonymous quote: 'Gray has a rabid corps of volunteers that wants to kill us just to watch us die,' says one Fenty campaign staffer."
DeBonis also has a more diplomatic take: "In spinning Wednesday's Waterloo-esque result, the Fenty camp makes some valid points — variations on the not-regular-people theme: Who, after all, would stand in line for nearly an hour on a weekday evening in close to 100-degree heat to cast a vote as an essentially meaningless exercise? Certainly not those with young families. Certainly not the ward's more affluent residents, who might well be on vacation. Those, indeed, are expected to be sizable blocs of Fenty voters." DeBonis goes to point out how seriously Team Fenty took the straw poll, which makes their reactions to his loss sound like sour grapes: "Still, Team Fenty pulled out more stops than seen before. After being outbused in a Ward 6 tilt last week, they sent several buses of seniors. Numerous city officials residing in Ward 4—including City Administrator Neil O. Albert and the heads of the departments of public works, insurance, and parks and recreation—cast ballots. Those in Fenty green outnumbered Gray blue in the audience of the accompanying debate. Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser (D), a stalwart Fenty ally, was deeply involved in the straw poll, making turnout calls beforehand and policing the voter line as polling took place. At least three Fenty staffers stood at the door of the venue, checking names off Fenty's vaunted voter list."
2) Fenty says the loss stings a little. "It was disappointing, not embarrassing...We would have wanted to win, but you can't win every straw poll,' he said after he cut the ribbon on a new Joe Cole Community Center in the Trinidad neighborhood in Northeast. 'I don't usually go in with any expectations. I would have wanted to win, and I can say I was disappointed,'" Craig and Stewart report.
3) Fenty's got some negative ads lined up: "Fenty's ads feature supporters addressing perceptions that he is arrogant and indifferent to some residents' concerns. Although Fenty has attacked Gray in forums and interviews, the ads haven't ventured there. On Thursday, Fenty advisers said his campaign is prepared to release ads that would attack Gray's record, but they would not say when that might happen. Mo Elleithee, Gray's senior campaign strategist, said his campaign is 'bracing for an onslaught.' 'When you look at his performance in these debates, his tone is becoming increasingly negative, increasingly angry, Elleithee said. 'That shows you are worried, and it's a reflection of what we expect to see on the airwaves soon.'"
The Post's editorial page asks everyone to calm down, calls on both Fenty and Gray to step up to get their supporters in line, and says the "truly disturbing" behavior is coming from Gray's camp. "There's no question that many of those who oppose Mr. Fenty are driven by anger, which never brings out the best in people. Still, it's hard to reconcile such uncivil behavior with Mr. Gray's promise of "one city" where everyone gets along. That the divide is increasingly breaking along racial lines is all the more troubling." LL agrees that it's surprising that Gray doesn't at least to pretend to try and quiet the crowd when they are booing Fenty. Aren't all politicians supposed to fake that? But is this race "increasingly" becoming racially polarized, or has it been that way for a while?
AFTER THE JUMP: Michael ? Brown; Struggling Latinos; New Pot Rules...
I'm Michael Brown, No I'm Michael Brown: Shadow Senator Michael D. Brown had a surprisingly strong showing at Wednesday's poll for the At-Large Council race: the reason, some voters thought they were voting for Councilmember Michael A. Brown. Supporters of Councilmember Phil Mendelson, whose running for re-election in the At-Large race, "urged Council member Brown to do a better job informing voters he is not on the ballot this year," Craig reports.
DeBonis discovers that A. Brown has no sense of humor: "Michael A. Brown isn't amused. He said Thursday that he's the victim of 'political identity theft' and that elections officials 'have a duty" to clear up the confusion — perhaps by issuing a letter to Democratic voters including each Michael Brown's picture and bio.' D. Brown shrugs: 'Brown touts his 30 years as a behind-the-scenes guy for national Democratic politics. 'Name recognition is not unimportant. People bring this up to me a lot, and I don't know what to do about it. ... It's not like I got into politics to capitalize on this.' He notes that he knew Michael A.'s dad—former Democratic National Committee chair Ron Brown, and in fact hired the son for a summer some years back."
And NBC4's P.J. Orvetti draws an apt comparison: But like the “Office Space” character who refused to change his name from “Michael Bolton” because he had it first, Shadow Senator Brown – who turned 57 on Thursday and who is a dozen years older than Councilmember Brown – isn’t having it.
LL thinks that someone is going to have to man up here and start going by "Mike."
D.C. is a hard town for Latinos: "The recession has been particularly harsh for many of the District's Latino residents, who are heavily represented in some of the lowest-paying jobs and have clustered in neighborhoods where rents and condominium conversions soared during the decade, according to an Urban Institute study," reports the Post's Carol Morello. "'We don't have a strong Latino middle class,' said George Escobar, deputy director of [The Mayor's Office on Latino Affairs]. "The jobs don't pay at a level that allows them to stay and grow a family. The American dream is in Maryland and Virginia, regionally. That's where they flock when they save enough and invest in long-term housing."
New Pot Laws: WAMU's Patrick Madden reports that a draft of medical marijuana laws is set to be released today. NB: "D.C. and 14 states have legalized medical marijuana, but the District is the only jurisdiction in the nation that will allow its poorest residents to obtain the drug for free. The law reads patients "unable to afford a sufficient supply of medical marijuana" will be able to purchase it 'on a sliding scale.'"
Why are cops in Maryland so eager to shoot dogs? [WTOP] (Also, if you ever shoot LL's dog, you may as well shoot LL too, because otherwise he's coming after you.)
No coordinated attack on NPR [Post]
Whole Foods coming to Foggy Bottom [Housing Complex]
D.C. is irritating, so are 10 ten lists [Examiner]
Big storms, cool crab picture [Post]
NIH workers enjoy porn [MyFoxDC]
Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh is on Kojo.
No public schedule for Hizonner or Council