Loose Lips

Ward 8 Mayoral Forum Turns Into Debate Over Peaceoholics

ronmoten

Ron Moten

Last night's Ward 8 mayoral forum, held in a swanky new theater on the St. Elizabeths' campus, produced no new insights, no genuinely electrifying slams or substantial policy debate. Mayor Adrian Fenty's main cheerleaders in the audience amounted to a bunch of Peaceoholics kids. Faith tooted her bugle (as much we all love her, can she just go away now?). Vincent Gray made a lot of promises, and crunched a lot of numbers. And on and on and on it went. It was all sideshow, no main event. But since most political observers expect Gray to win Ward 8 pretty easily, that didn't come entirely as a surprise.

At any rate, here are a few substance-free highlights:

Moten vs. Seegars

Early in the debate, Sandra "SS" Seegars asked if the mayor or "the next mayor" would continue funding Peaceoholics—or in her words, letting the group treat the government like a "cash cow."

Peaceoholics founder Ron Moten is standing next to me. We are both just a few feet from Seegars. Moten turns to me and asks: "Who said that?"

"You don't know who that is?" I ask.

"No," Moten says. Moten should know: He recently sued Seegars for libel in D.C. Superior Court. And she accused him of rigging a straw poll and blabbed to the feds.

I tell Moten it's Sandra Seegars who's referring to his little gang-prevention empire as a cash cow.

Fenty's Joe Wilson Moment

When the subject turns to education and Ward 8, Fenty stands up and declares that under Michelle Rhee, Ballou Senior High School's test scores have shot up. A man in the audience shouts either "Not true!" or "You're wrong!"

The man continues to rant about having been fired from Ballou. He eventually quiets down. After a while, he heads for the door. I catch up with him as he steps outside for a cigarette (which aren't allowed in front of the theater or generally anywhere on the St. Es campus). The man would only give me his initials as "M.C." We take a seat on a bench. He says that he taught English for decades at Ballou before being fired this past June.

M.C. slurs his words badly. His eyes are glazed. He has trouble getting his thoughts together. Fenty, he says, is "full of shit. "Just like Marion Barry was full of shit."

"Ballou was a good school," M.C. says. "I had some good children."  M.C. leans forward like he wants to rest his head on my shoulder. I think: This is a guy Gray probably doesn't want to recruit.

"Have you been drinking?" I ask.

"I want to," M.C. says. "I wish I had some money to get [a drink]...I don't know who to count on, that's the thing." He asks me for money. I tell him I don't have any cash on me (which is true).

M.C. says he has an apartment in Ward 8, but still no job and no prospects for a job. He says he's not worried.

"You going to give me something for this?" he asks.

I tell him no. "I don't have any money," I explain.

M.C. stares at the ground: "Teachers... We love what we do..."

"You don't have $5? You don't have $10?" M.C. asks. Again, I tell him I don't.

"You don't have $5?" M.C. asks again.

I tell him I have to go. I head back inside. Faith makes an old joke about how Chocolate City is turning into Vanilla Village. The room explodes with laughter. It's just like when she ran in 2002. Or 1998. Or 1994 or 1990. (This year, she's running unopposed for the D.C. Statehood Green Party nomination; nothing goes with bugles like Ralph Nader.)

Thank You Fenty For Plugging Peaceoholics

At the end of the forum, each candidate is allowed to give a closing statement. Fenty uses his time by first giving another plug to Peaceoholics. He declares that they are one of the only nonprofits "actually doing work." Fenty is immediately greeted with a chorus of boos. It is deafening. I'd like to boo him, too, for that comment. His dedication to this one nonprofit is absurd. But before anyone can shout up to Fenty that a) Peaceoholics aren't exactly the most pure nonprofit; b) this is not a great campaign message; c) there are dozens of other nonprofits that do great work without your support and millions in District funds, one burly guy shouts down Fenty. He apparently has a group that also works with gang kids and ex-offenders. And wants everyone to know about it.

Once the forum has ended, the man takes his rant outside and confronts Peaceoholics. The scene instantly dissolves into a war over who has more street cred. (A, uh, peaceful war.) The Peaceoholics reps taunt the guy, yelling at him that they hadn't ever seen him in the ward before. The guy yells back that not only does he work with ex-offenders, but he works with guys still behind bars. And he's been recently released himself. Nobody is really listening.

Finally, Fenty comes out and sticks around to answer reporters' questions and greet attendees. Gray is nowhere in sight; he seems to have bolted after the forum. Eventually, Fenty calls over all his supporters the Peaceoholics kids. He gets them in a circle. And everyone joins hands for a celebratory chant. Fenty is in the middle surrounded by these hands, leading the cheers. It's either summer camp or something more sinister. No one can be sure.

It's my time to leave.

File photo by Darrow Montgomery

Comments

  1. #1

    What the fuck, this needs to be posted in the Washington Post, please can you get this in the mainstream media (no offense) but the WaPo folk have got to read this.

  2. #2

    I am wondering how much voter frustration is simple linked to the economy? Perhaps its so obvious that it doesn't need mentioning, but is the basis for all the anti-Fenty rage simply the global economic downturn and local unemployment? Would it be the same for any candidate in office right now?

  3. #3

    I was in that audience on last night and could have fallen out of my chair. Let me REMIND the Mayor that I, Wendy Glenn, co-wrote, trained and monitored the participants of the Calvin Woodland Sr. Foundation for FREE for three years.

    I left my good Federal government job and my nice Ward 6 residence to go to Ward 8 and assist both women and men with class sizes of 100-400+ to help these residents learn soft skill and hard skills training to assist them in finding and retaining viable employment in Washington DC. Again, can I say that I did this for FREE, Mr. Fenty NEVER put funding into this program. He can't even tell you anyone's name on this program except Calvin Woodland, Jr.

    I am insulted and I feel totally and completely disgustted by his statement about the Peaceoholics being the the ONLY group dedicated to Ward 8. Long before there was a Peacoholics organization and into tody, we had/have The Alliance of Concerned Men, The Calvin Woodland Sr. Foundation, who's founder Mr. Calvin Woodland Sr. was doing this type of work again, for FREE until his death in 2000. What an insult to the memory of this beautiful man who would take his meager funds and take youth to the beach to escape the inner city. This man who would enter the areas of Ward 8 to squash beefs and enlighten youth about the peaceful way to disagree instead of using violence, and don't let me forget out the Don't Smoke the Brother's organization, and all of the East of the River Family Strengthening Collaborative, and the list goes ON!!!

    I am beyong offended that this 501(c) group who is NOT supposed to endorese or work on any political campaign is being batted around by Mayor Fenty as a political tool and as the ONLY group doing any gang-prevention and meaningful work in Ward 8.

    Mr. Gray recognizes that it takes a village to assist these children and families and he want's equal treatment and access to grants for all organization who do this work throughout the city NOT JUST the "cash-cow" "love-child" Peaceoholics. Mayor Fenty should be ashamed.

  4. #4

    Nice account, Cherkis. I still can't understand why Fenty thinks that Peaceaholics is the only game in town. Especially in a Ward where there are so many non profits. That's crazy.

    On another note, even as a Rhee hater, if that M.C. really was a teacher, it's a good thing he's gone.

  5. #5

    I agree whole heartly with Windy moreover if Fenty was more in touch rather than catering to the Hustling Peace BS group he would or should have known about these other groups that are actually making a difference. I wasn't there but I will bet the majority of the BS Peace group surrounding Fenty had ther pants hanging off their but may be Ron the Husler Moton should tell his mini thugs to spell saggin backwards(Niggas)Just maybe they will realize the real meaning of having your pants hanging off your ass!! and how many employers want employees walking around their work place showing their ass to the customers.

  6. #6

    Yeah, that was certainly dumb of Fenty to criticize all nonprofs, some DC nonprofs are corrupt but many are the best in the country. Remember though it was the council that shut lots of them down because of Barry's shenanigans.

  7. #7

    It seems clear to anybody with an attentive ear that when you get Fenty, you get Ron Moten.

    As a black man truly concerned about the plethora of problems in Ward 8, this guy, this fool, as a representative of KIDS, is a travesty of biblical proportions. Not only does he sound like a fool, he has the ear and trust of so many kids in this area who see his antics as the appropriate way to enter into political discourse.

    What I can marvel at in surprise is that there are many who will look over Fenty's association with this inarticulate, lackingthecommonsensegodgaveman THUG.

    Hell, THIS is Marion Barry crap and yet Fenty supporters claim that Gray is the reincarnation of Barry.

    Special contracts to unqualified friend
    My frat brother should drive the city car
    The heck with police detail
    Former burglar/drug dealer

    Maybe people turn a blind eye to Moten because "their" kids don't have to deal with him.

  8. #8

    @Ward 8,

    I don't care much for Peaceaholics' representation. But, it's a stretch and also lie to conclude that the kids who participate with the group are a bunch of "pants hanging off their butts" thugs. It's an unfair characterization especially when you were admittedly not in attendance.

    Moreover, unless you see these kids going to job interviews w/their pants sagging, stop assuming that they do or even would.

    I don't like the look either. But, let's not exaggerate just to prove a point - however good it may be.

  9. #9

    I'm not sure if you left before the Peaceoholics crew tried to jump Sulaimon Brown, but that was a sight to see.

    Gray and Brown were being escorted out by some guys to prevent the mob of kids, who were led by Moten trying to "talk" to him. After Gray left, Moten directed the kids to go after Brown and it got heated. The kids were out of control, but what was more out of control was the fact that Moten was sitting there not only instructing them, but encouraging this mob mentality behavior.

    The way Moten is exploiting the kids that he should be mentoring, is not only sad but it is troubling. He should be encouraging them to participate in the political process not encouraging them to try to intimidate candidates running for mayors office.

    Fenty's association with Moten is an issue that will come back to haunt Fenty on election day. He thinks Moten is giving him street credibility, when in actuality, although Moten is known in the streets, he is not known for good things especially uptown where he is from. Ever wonder why Moten sticks to SE schools and matters East of the River? There is a reason he doesn't do his "good work" uptown where he's from, and those from the "streets" know why.

  10. #10

    I agree with the previous commentors.

    The rest of the city needs to see who Fenty is embracing. This is a joke, and it needs to be exposed.

    I hope all of the "Fenty People" in Wards 2, 3 and 4 will open their eyes to this stuff.

  11. #11

    Wow, this is one poorly written article. Completely incoherent. Can't quite figure out what the writer is trying to communicate. Reads like random thoughts from a reporter's notebook.

  12. #12

    @IHeartDC,

    Considering the format, I think this is supposed to be read like random thoughts from a reporter's notebook/blog rather than a formal column.

    Although I could be all wrong about this.

  13. #13

    you know darn well what he was communicating. you didn't like the message.

  14. #14

    It is unbelieveable to me that Ron Moten has any say in anything at all in Washington DC. He and his group are no longer non profits by the way. They recieved 5 million in 2009. Where is that money you ask? No one knows (just look at Motens 500 dollar shoes though).

    Peaceoholics are opening 3 facilities in DC to house all male 'at-risk' 'youth' (16-24). You may remember Sanquan Carter of the drive by mass shooting? He was supposed to be in the Peace Abode facility, but wasn't, and police were not notified, at least not until 2 days later when he showed up and was arrested. My point here is there is no security, no strings attached to all of those millions.

    Did you know that the Peaceoholics pay ex - felons 40k annually to hang out in schools to 'squash beefs'? You might remember the ex-felon (Peaceoholic)that was arrested for molesting a teenage girl in said school?

    So I'm sure there are some qualified non profits that help, but giving millions to a thug that chases down mayoral candidates and uses threats and offensive behaviour to get what he wants is really absurd.

    additionally - the new director for DYRS has just hired a previous board member from the Peaceoholics to determine who gets the DYRS contracts. Her name is Linda K. Harllee Harper
    Acting Chief, Committed Services Administration
    (202) 724-4740

    http://theother35percent.blogspot.com/2010/07/peacoholics-explains.html

  15. #15

    If Ron Moten is doing such a great job in helping the at-risk youth why is it he can't produce records to show how he has spent the millions that Fenty gave him. As a taxpayer, I want to see the figures in black and white after an independent audit of the Peaceoholics.

    Mayor Fenty since you only know one program that's doing s good job helping the at-risk youth in Ward 8, take a look at Project Hope and give them some funding. Project Hope train youth for jobs in the white collar market, especially in the computer field. Support Project Hope -- not Peace-0-thug!

  16. #16

    To:

    The National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI)
    who improves and protects the lives of African American children, The Black Women In Sisterhood For Action (BISA)
    who develop and promote alternative strategies for educational and career development of black women, to Jack and Jill of America who provide cultural, social, civic and recreational activities that stimulate and expand the mind to enhance life, to 100 Black Men of America who works to improve the quality of life within the African American community, to the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)who champions social justice, that has fought long and hard to ensure that the voices of African Americans would be heard, to the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA)the leader in expanding the influence of minority professionals in the fields of accounting and finance.

    From: Adrian Fenty

    Though you labor in the District of Columbia, damn you all, you AREN'T "the Peacaholics".

    ALL NON-PROFITS HELP VOTE FENTY OUT ON SEPT 14!!!!!!!!!!

  17. #17

    I wish you'd gotten the name of the person you describe as a "burly guy" and his organizational connection. As it stands, that description implies that he was just an anonymous loudmouth.

  18. #18

    Kojo: I should have gotten his name. Scene outside was pretty chaotic and I wanted to try and interview Fenty about the crisis with homeless families.

  19. #19

    Are you kidding me? First off Fenty never said they were the only group as actually they are 1 of 3 groupd who have been awarded contracts. Secondly, those young men that were there to support Fenty were right on a few matters: they are going to college, they don't see Mr. Brown and the burly dude anywhere in SE, no Capitol Hill does not count, and yes the Peaceaholics have done a lot of good for the residents. No group or person is without error but don't discount their achievements. The thing I like most about Fenty is that he has actual deliverables on the table whereas Gray had actual failures, like DHS going into federal receivership in the 1990's and the H Streetcar funding fiasco. I was there and saw a lot more Fenty supporters in green and white than peaceaholics so unless your color blind, I'm not sure how you could have missed. just check the video, I saw them in the front row. All Gray's people do is boo and heckle when it Gray's dealings with DHS, Emmanuel Bailey, the fence, cutting the funding for the Summer Youth Program, etc etc is mentioned. Mr. Johnson can't keeps his figures straight, I have to admit Mr. Gray had to check him at last week's Ward 4 straw poll for the same error. Faith provided great comedy relief, she even said she wanted some good weed. Mr. Brown, oh that is just Gray Jr, as he is really campaigning for Gray. He was rude and disrespectful when he said Fenty does not respect his parents and deserve every bit of the shaming Fenty and the crowd served him. He was even over the line rude to the moderator, on TV at that! Last but not least, Mr. Alexander, sorry but that one in the same approach won't work.

  20. #20

    @Ward8forreal,

    How can definitively prove what someone else did or did not see unless you were there at all times? I've never seen Michelle or Barack Obama in Ward 8. But, between the two of them, they've been to Ward 8 at least 4 or 5 times. So I'm not sure why you bring who these kids did or didn't see into this conversation because it proves next to nothing. I've also never seen Fenty in Ward 8, but he sure has been there. See my point?

    Gray was a coucilman before becoming Chairman. According to your logic, he hasn't accomplished anything in those positions. You would rather go back TWO DECADES to focus on the job he did in a position he had when Barack Obama was in his 20's. When Bill Clinton was president. When Michael Jackson still resembled a white person.

    I urge you to check a couple of facts. Unlike the flier that was mailed to my home suggests, the Giant supermarket did not open in 2008 nor did the IHOP open in 2009. Are these the deliverables you give Fenty credit for? In this instance, his campaign put of blatant lies. I have the flier if you ever need a copy of it.

    If we're going to talk about supporters "boo-hooing" something, can we start w/the fact that Fenty and his supporters (as demonstrated by your post) boo-hoo what happened 20 years ago when Fenty was a recent high school grad.

    Your only criticism of Gray is based on that and the most recent streetcar funding. You duly note 20 years worth of "nothing" from Gray and that's all you can come up with. After 20 years. That's it?

    Ward8, please get real.

  21. #21

    I am voting for Control Board.

  22. #22

    Sulimon Brown needs to sue Fenty , the Peaceoholics for the threats they made to him...DC Residents...white, black, yellow, brown, whatever, this current mayor is OK with the behavior and the threats Ron Moten makes to DC Residents...so one day THIS COULD BE YOU....REMEMBER THAT. I have never heard of or read in any news paper of a mayor who is ok with these actions by someone who he names as the only wprking group in DC...LIES, Tyrone Parker you do great work and as far as I know you nor no one with you have ever threaten anyone. What example is he really showing these kids...Be a bully and you get whatever you want....even the mayor and the city's money...JUST BE A BULLY.

  23. #23

    SMH!!! I'm going to have to co-sign Mamie. WTF??? The entire scene sounds like it was extra URBAN. LOLOLOLOL!!!

  24. #24

    Wow. Fenty is still pathetic.

  25. #25

    Ron Moton is an idiot!

  26. Ward 4 Resident/Voter
    #26

    The mayoral campaign in the District of Columbia has turned into a circus with name callling and ugliness. As a registered D.C. voter, I am turned off by the actions of some like Ron Moten.

  27. #27

    I, for one, am so very grateful to those of you expressing concern and serious questions about the fenty, moten, peacoholics dealings and funding. Please keep on this and keep pressing for information. The residents of this city are being wronged in an agregious manner and this will continue until we are treated with respect and given the information that we have a right to! Sanquan Carter - peacoholics - 6.2 million given to groups to monitor the most violent repeat juv. offenders in the community, etc. The FOP has filed suit against Fenty because of his refusal to respond to a FOIA request for information pertaining to peacoholics financing and performance in the community. If all of this is above board then respond to the damn FOIA request - the only reason I can see for these guys allowing themselves to be dragged into court is because there is something really wrong here.

  28. #28

    Great Post Larry. Well said.

  29. Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich
    #29

    How can Adrian M. Fenty associate with street trash like Ron Moten? Ron Moten will be the downfall of King Fenty's kingdom. Have you ever heard Ron Moten speak English? He destroys the English language with his ebonics.

  30. #30

    The Mayor said "One of the Only" not the ONly get your fact correct b fore u go bashing Mayor Fenty......

  31. #31

    @Brian,

    DYRS' hiring of a former Board member of Peaceoholics is not illegal, unethical or inappropriate. DC is a small town and many managers and executives are members of Boards across the city.

    It is really sad that at election time, everyone is vulnerable to be discredited for no reason at all. The implication that a person that sat on a board can never ever be fair and objective is ridiculous and farfetched.

  32. #32

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