Loose Lips

The Undecided: Apology Tour Edition

August 23: Fenty promises to change

Today’s Event: Mayor Adrian Fenty embarks on a contrition tour, calling and visiting with former supporters, asking for their forgiveness for ignoring them in favor of his go-it-alone approach to governing. After a recent poll showed the incumbent losing to Vincent Gray, I guess he decided he had to start apologizing for shit. It feels like a drastic shift for a man who loves telling voters that he won't tell them what they want to hear. Now he wants to hug it out with that ANC commissioner who didn't get a returned phone call?

Influence: Slight. I haven't gotten my Fenty visit. I live in Ward 4 and am very openly undecided. His administration hasn't returned my phone calls, FOIA requests, and e-mails filled with softball questions. I'm also very white. I'm starting to feel dissed all over again. The mayor's new strategy raises all sorts of thorny questions: What happens if you don't get some one-on-one time with the mayor? Should you feel doubly spurned? What if the mayor does come to your door and you don't offer him Muscle Milk? Is he allergic to cats? What if he starts begging for your vote? What if he shows up during Top Chef?

Net impact: Back to neutral.

But: If the shift to promises of inclusion seems a bit put-on, it also can't have been easy for him. Which either makes Fenty look like a stronger person or a bigger jerk, depending on how you look at these things.

  • Skipper

    God this is awful.

  • Downtown rez

    Yeah. I don't even know where to start with this one it's so bad.

  • Indeed

    as much as i disagree with dr on a regular basis, i must say that it's pretty clear that you can't stand fenty. i don't know why you're pretending to waffle on this.

  • downtown rez

    The list of public figures that Jason writes scathingly of is long.
    But, I'm not sure there is any other list.
    In an odd way, it reminds me of a quote from the classic Bill Murray comedy Stripes:
    I'm getting the idea, Winger,
    that you don't like me.

    Maybe I just don't know you
    well enough yet, sarge.

  • Indeed

    @dr: I think Jason does some good work. It's nice to have someone in the media who is perpetually skeptical. But this is not particularly entertaining or informative.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com Jason Cherkis

    Jesus, you all sure hate the Undecided! I wonder what you'd have me write about. I'm going with what I'm thinking about at any given moment, day, etc. This is not a reported feature.

    I do notice that whenever I lean Gray or am neutral Downtown Rez gets all critical. When I lean Fenty, everyone else goes nuts.

    It's clear both Fenty and Gray supporters HATE each other. I wonder what will happen after the primary...? This ain't One City.

  • Precinct Captain

    This former Fenty precinct captain is still waiting for her phone call/hug....

  • Sally

    @Cherkis: I saw you had a feature in the Wash Post Magazine.

    I skipped right over it and emailed the Magazine editors saying that any time they publish anything by you, I'll just ignore it based on your usual biased reporting.

    They emailed me back thanking me for the email. I take it they agree with your general suckitude, given that they didn't disagree.

    Just come out for Gray and spare everyone the trouble of reading any more of these columns.

  • SEis4ME

    On this entry, I had to go back and reread the blurb just to check and see if I missed something.

    This is unlike last weeks commetary in which Jason exclaimed "What the fuck has Gray done!" That statement could lead the uniformed to think that Vincent Gray has not done anything substantive to warrant being Mayor. I'm not sure I understand the criticism of this particulary entry because Jason seems to repeat what even the WPost describes as Fenty's "new image."

    As a voter, (forget the whole decided/undecided thing) he does have a right to comment on each candidate's strategy. I haven't seen a person not connected with Fenty's campaign suggest that they believe Fenty is a changed man - only that he realizes he's got a real problem with voters on his hand.

    If Gray hadn't responded to FOIA requests, e-mails, and phone calls, would you have a problem with that? Of course you would.

    So what's your "real" problem here other than you think it makes Fenty look bad? And please don't conjure up this "journalistic integrity" crap.

    If he had written the same about Gray, this page would be littered with stories about the time Gray didn't respond to a 1992 FOIA request which would have shown that he had [insert criticism]

    Hello Mr. Straw Man, is that you?

  • downtown rez

    The only reason I hate this post- the thing that offends me about it- is your explicitly stated expectation that Fenty needs to knock on your door because you are both white and you live in Ward 4. And therefor, in the worldview you propose, you are especially special.
    Way to play to the stereotypes and divisions in this One City, Jason. Tell me, who do you imagine these stereotypes and divisions might momentarily serve?

  • Jason Cherkis

    I was totally kidding --Downtown Rez. I don't expect him to knock on my door! I swear--just an attempt at sarcasm. Yes the divisions serve Gray. But they also serve Fenty--otherwise he wouldn't have made a big deal about Barry supporting Gray by sending out a presser w/ that picture of Barry in Team Blue.

    When I asked what the fuck has Gray done it was not to imply that he hasn't done anything. But I don't and did not hear him on many of the pressing issues concerning the city -- the over capacity at the shelters which I covered extensively, Pershing Park (a federal judge basically tells the council to do something about the missing evidence and Gray goes silent), and schools. On all the major issues Gray basically has supported Fenty's position. Only he hopes to be more inclusive. I actually think being inclusive is important and argued about this with friends today.

    But I wonder just what has Gray done for the working class, and poor residents of the city?

    Hey! Sally! Thank you for your continued attention and comments.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Cherkis- When you posed the question about Gray's track record. Myself and a few others offered a host of supporting information, all of which seem to be either irrelevant to you or you simply chose to ignore. That's almost as bad as DRez and those other Fenty ass-kissers ignoring every blatant crooked thing Fenty has done. You again offer a bunch of crap here about Gray not doing enough, which might make sense if these two issues were part of a larger aloofness that comprises Gray. However, they are but only a few inactions by a man who works very hard on a variety of issues.
    The difference between Gray and Fenty has never really been about policies, but more about process. Fenty doesn't bother with it. Gray lives by it.
    I just am shocked that you come out so harshly against Gray about fairly minor things, but with Fenty, who exhibits deep character flaws, you only offer light pokes. I'm just confused by this.

  • downtown rez

    After months of Gray supporters claiming Fenty beats his wife, after months of hate, bigotry and vitriol spilled by the likes of "noodlez" et al in these blog comments, after Gray implies to CP that Fenty arranged an attempted break in, after the Gray campaign issues a press release implying Fenty people hijacked his phones, and after Gray gets out in front of his own "independant" investigator and calls Fenty a crook, you have problems with Fenty's people pointing out who is on record and in fact supporting Gray?
    You honestly see an equivalency? Just wow. I'm speachless.
    One City indeed.

  • Jason Cherkis

    D-Rez: I'm not equating the Fenty's Barry smear w/ the list of Gray shenanigans you mention. Not at all. But both sides have played it.

    Adrian: I will have to go back and read your comments again. But I'm just not convinced that Gray has been on the forefront of a lot of issues.

    And yes, it is about process. That's the difference. What's interesting now, Fenty is trying to show that he can be just as nice as Gray, that he's learned his lesson--he'll be inclusive if he gets a second term.

  • downtown rez

    ...But both sides have played it.
    Really? How so? Please cite your examples.
    And isn't saying both sides have played it, oh, I don't know... noting an equivalence?

  • downtown rez

    Damn... I almost forgot to mention the campaign commercial NBC made Gray pull from the ether. Ah, well. So many "shenanigans", who can keep track? Who'd even bother trying?

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    DRez- please don't pretend like your side isn't equally as bad in trying to paint a negative picture about Gray. You yourself rode the Berreano issue to death while conveniently ignoring every single discussion about Karim, Skinner, Lomax, Jannarone, Moten, City funded frat parties, Tzar Nickles, and a host of very disturbing things involving Fenty directly and not anonymous bloggers stumping for Gray.

    Be serious here man. You guys are far worst, simply by choosing to ignore real issues, than anything Noodlez has to say.

    Cherkis- Gray is very much a person that's fought hard for a lot of social service and low-income oriented programs. He's deliberative nature is what kept thousands housed amidst massive cuts from Fenty. Please take a look.

  • downtown rez

    Re:Berreano you mistake me for Truth Hurts, who I do not personally know but who is not and has never been so much pro-Fenty as anti-Gray.
    I don't know any more about it than that.
    And, really, there is no equivalency in any event, between noting, as TH did, the contribution of an ex frat brother and felon Berreano to Gray, and Gray implying Fenty arranged watergate-style break ins and phone tampering on Gray.
    One is fact, the other is wild and baseless and deliberately inflammitory slander.

  • SEis4ME

    So now your issue is racial polictics? That's convenient Drez, very, very, convenient.

    Anyone not so hell bent on partisanship could see that those comments were Jason's attempt at humor, good or bad. Why else would any white, male, Ward 4 resident write such? He IS the target audience and it seems as if the saracasm was a result of that. You know that's he's not playing the racial game. This is yet another one of your straw men.

    Jason, I haven't followed DC politics that closely until about 2004/5. So I'll admit to being at a disadvantage here. But, does what you're asking about Gray's perceived inattention to major issues match up well to the role of previous Council chairs? Is he better or worse? Or are you asking these questions about Gray in his role as a Mayoral candidate. I'm still not following your lack of knowledge about his work, especially after I posted quotes from the WashingtonPost article detailing his list of accomplishments. Didn't I post this to your blog and you're still in the dark about his work?

    Now if we're honest across partisan lines, how much different was Hillary's platform that Obama's? Did either of them propose anything starkly different from the other? Weren't their proposals the same by margins upwards of 85-90%? So why are people acting new about all this? Do you remember what Linda Cropp's platform was, how she differed from Fenty on the issues?

    Fact, there is not difference between Gray and Fenty on the issues. The distinction lies in leadership not really policy. Gray will continue much of the efforts of Fenty, who continued the policies of Williams. Lanier cont the policies of Ramsey. Rhee cont the policies of Janey. The next chancellor will cont the policies of Rhee.

    As educated voters, why are these facts somehow treated as if their anamolies. They're not. It happens in businesses all the time.

  • SEis4ME


    You have the audacity to complain about wild and baseless accusations? Can you please post the quote from Gray implying that Fenty was responsible for the "break-in." That quote will demonstrate how you are NOT making wild and baseless accusations with inflammatory slander. It will show the difference between a supporter really wanting to promote a healthy dialogue and those (like you accuse noodlez) who want to engage in negativity.

    Speaking of no equivalency, Bruce Boreano is a former lobbyist, currently loosely tied to Gray, who was convicted of mail fraud back in the 90's.

    ..Ron Moten is a former drug dealer, current campaign strategist for Adrian Fenty, who was convicted of burglary around the same time.

    Now what's your issue again?

  • Bill

    Cherkis, what I hate about Undecided is that it is so fake and melodramatic. I don't believe that someone who follows city politics so closely is "undecided" at this point. I don't need to know or really care for whom you plan to vote. But here's the question any truly undecided voter has to ask himself/herself: "With all good things that have happened during Fenty's first term as mayor, why am I like so many others undecided about the incumbent?" To me, that speaks volumes about the man.

  • http://ABF ABF


  • etta

    Where is Charol Schwartz ? She is a Republican but I respected her ties in this community. I really don't want Fenty or Gray I want some one who has ties here and is about this community black and white I don't care about their party.Gray is the lesser of two evils.

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  • thefrontpage

    Neither Fenty nor Gray should be mayor of D.C.

    That's what most people think.

    I'm a diehard liberal left-wing progressive Democrat, but Carol Schwartz was literally, most of the time but not all of the time, one of the best politicians in Washington, D.C., and she should have been the mayor for at least two terms. People--Democrats and Republicans and Independents and others--respected her, listened to her, and liked her politics, more than just about anyone else. She was "Republican" in semantics only--actually, she was very liberal and left-leaning on many things. She was a "Republican" like Mac Mathias was a "Republican"--liberal, left-leaning, supportive of social issues, progressive, and not stuck in some oddball 1950s netherworld. The people of the District erred when they did not elect her as the mayor.

    What D.C. needs to find is another person just like Carol Schwartz--and to elect that person as the next mayor.

    That's what the city needs.

  • Jojo

    You commenters all need to chill out. Some of these Undecided posts are obviously supposed to be funny, not serious. Cherkis is asking what he should do if Fenty shows up during Top Chef. Come on. It's funny. Get over yourselves an have a laugh once in a while.

    Also, I totally disagree with anyone who claims that cherkis' dislike of fenty puts him in the tank for Gray. It seems from my reading that he doesn't really like either of them, and is trying to choose "the lesser of two evils". Frankly, it's how most of us feel.

  • downtown rez

    The quote from Gray to CP reporters was:
    "I don't know who did this this, but I don't put aside any possibility to tell you the truth." (emphasis added)

    You can pretend it was all innocent, but very few people are so credulous as to believe that. Certainly the reporters found it remarkable enough that they highlighted it as the closing line of the article they wrote.

    Add in "buttdialgate", the pulled campaign ad, the hyping of repeated (wild goose) ethics investigations, etc, etc, and there is a clear pattern of false and reckless statements from the Gray camp, and from Gray personally.

  • Gordon Bundy

    I just can't believe it...

    All the madness going on in this city and people will still vote for Fenty only because of schools and Rhee.

    This guy Fenty is the laughing stock of the country....

    Keep a mayor because of a Chancellor? You know she going to leave right after the election...

    Wards 2, and 3 are being suckered again.

    She is out of here after the election...she is picking out the curtains ..... She is not going to let Kevin roam around Cali by his self for too long.

  • SEis4ME

    Oh ok, so it's fine to add your spin to nuance?

    Fact, the Gray campaign never accused Fenty of doing this. Based on the provided quote, you have concluded that they were. Your drawn conclusions and facts are two separate things. One can easily draw from the Fenty campaigns push to show "Barry the Gray supporter," that they really wanted to highlight the racial dynamics of the race. Did they explicitly say this? No, but let's follow your lead of assumptions and just conclude that they are playing racial politics.

    This is the best you have and it's sad. You use this forum to bash Gray for what you "think" he meant by what he did not say.

    Ron Moten is a former criminal and that's who heads Fenty's campaign.

  • THEForce

    @Jason, On a post on the Undecided Blog last week when you said WTF has Gray done it was mentioned that as a legislator (Council Chair is a legislative position for those of you who didnt know), to "be seen" isnt one of the perks of your job. Your job is to ensure that legislation is passed by getting the council members to come to a consensus. This is achieved by: giving everyone a chance to speak, showing the positives and negatives of an idea and making suggestions based on logical reasoning. I would say by the numerous bills passed during his tenure, i.e., Same sex marriage, Marijuana, etc (which was somethign that couldnt get done in past regimes) I would say that Gray did HIS job well. The mayor however has the perk/curse of being at the forefront of these decisions making it seem like the work was all done by him but the hard work like getting bugets done, and planning was done by the council So I ask you to revisit a description of the roles and responsibilities of a Council Chair and see if he can really be the "face" of whats going on.

    Wow and to those of you who said Jason must really like Fenty I find that hilarious because maybe a week ago, he said something to the tune of " I want to vote for him cause I really like the guy"

    Oh gosh...emotional voters make me laugh!

  • downtown rez

    SEis4ME You are drowning in denile, and it ain't that river in Egypt.
    noodlez. I'm not a Fenty staffer, or even a current volunteer. But I'll put in some hours for him come September.

  • noodlez




  • downtown rez

    You are right and ABF get a shot to clear that cap-lock thing up!!!