Loose Lips Daily: Desperation Edition
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Good morning, sweet readers! Another Thursday already? Man, these things don't stop. In LL's column this week, he looks at the Ward 1 race and finds Jim Graham sitting pretty despite having a bad year. LL's favorite nugget: Graham claiming a Post story about him earlier this month would have been unfair "but for [his] intervention," and Post editor Marc Fisher swatting that claim down—while adding that Graham complained for a solid month about the story before it ran. Sheesh. Don't miss Jonetta Rose Barras' cover story on Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee's efforts to diversify the city's public schools. Also, Mayor Adrian Fenty is scheduled to come by City Paper for a chat this morning. If you have a good question suggestion, go here. News time:
That's Just My Running Style: Is Fenty a desperate man? Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. But there definitely exists the perception, which seems to count for what matters in this town, that Fenty is acting like Harrison Ford trying to find the one-armed man before Tommy Lee Jones closes in. The Examiner's front page this morning screams: "Behind in the Polls, Fenty Runs Scared." Reporter Freeman Klopott says Fenty's latest gambit to expand the number of eligible voters in the Democratic primary to include 72,000 independent voters is "the latest blow to a campaign that some say is starting to look desperate. ... The election board maneuvering, along with Fenty's apologies both in public appearances and in television advertisements for not being a good listener, are signs that the mayor is getting the message that his re-relection isn't a sure thing. 'Fenty didn't try to change election laws because he wanted to include independent voters. He had 10 years, first on the council, then as mayor to do that, 'said political consultant Chuck Thies. 'This is a sign of desperation.' Fenty should have gotten the message that his re-election was uncertain in January, when a Washington Post poll found that D.C. Council Chairman Vince Gray held a 4 percentage point lead, 35 to 31, in a hypothetical matchup. Last week's poll found that despite spending millions, Fenty's campaign hasn't pushed the dial a bit." (Thies, by the way, hasn't been particularly shy about letting people know he supports Gray.)
AFTER THE JUMP: More desperation; Ramsey = Rhee?; Prove you're transparent...
TBD's Bruce DePuyt also looks at the D word, and gets some insight from Fenty's old boss: "'You can't help but be struck by the fact that they must be concerned about the current stock of voters, the current state of the race,' says former Ward 7 D.C. councilmember Kevin Chavous. 'He has a sophisticated team and you know they've drilled down into the numbers, and internally they must view this race as too close for comfort. ... They realized this was a high-risk, high-reward strategy. It speaks to the competitive nature of the race.'"
Mike DeBonis of the Post has this hilarious tweet: "On the phone with Marion Barry. "In politics, you shouldn't do outrageous, stupid stuff," he says, referring to Fenty BOEE petition.
Yesterday after the hearing, Fenty's campaign chairman Bill Lightfoot said the campaign wasn't desperate, but was only trying to allow as many who wanted to vote as possible to vote.
And the Post editorial page says that even if the board was technically correct in their decision, Fenty had his heart in the right place. (Then again, they endorsed the guy.) "We hope that whoever is elected mayor—Mr. Fenty or D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D)—puts the issue of these 72,400 unaffiliated voters among his first orders of business. Enfranchising as many people as possible is the right goal," the editorial board writes under the hed: "D.C.'s unaffiliated voters, left out in the cold." DeBonis has a recap of yesterday's BOEE hearing, where he points out that unaffiliated voters have been left out in the cold since 1974.
Apples to Apples?: When Gray was asked whether he would keep Rhee at the oh-so-long-ago Ward 4 mayoral forum, Gray responded by reading a statement saying that he wouldn't make up his mind on cabinet appointments until after the election. The bland statement got one or two awkward shout-outs from his diehards before Gray explained that he was reading a quote from then Mayor-elect Fenty in 2006. Oh snap! On Monday night, Gray broke out the same line again at the mayoral forum at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, this time referencing a Fenty quote from a City Paper story of yesteryear. The focus of the attention in 2006 was MPD Chief Charles Ramsey, who DeBonis points out in this nice piece plays nowhere near as important a role in this race as Rhee does. "Couple of things to note: Fenty, at the time, had already won in the primary and was days away from his general-election coronation. Also, Ramsey was the closest thing to a Michelle Rhee of his day, the most controversial of Mayor Anthony A. Williams's top cabinet officials. That said, his tenure did not play anywhere near as high-profile a role in the 2006 campaigns as Rhee's does today. The other difference: While Rhee has made it pretty clear she won't be sticking around for a Gray administration, Ramsey didn't say one way or another whether he'd leave the city if Fenty won. ... Fenty wasn't being pressed on his intentions on a hot-button issue on the middle of the campaign; his election was fait accompli as of Nov. 2, 2006. The Ramsey response strikes me as a sop to reporters who wanted to know Fenty's intentions on one of his highest-profile appointments while he was still pondering his options."
Talk to Vince: Ugh, LL's home computer could not handle the stress of opening this audio file, but check out WAMU reporter Patrick Madden's Q&A with Gray here.
You'll Just Have to Take My Word: The Examiner's smooth-talking Scott McCabe calls out MPD chief Cathy Lanier for not being as transparent as she says she is. "Shortly after D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier boasted that her agency was 'the most transparent police department in the country,' her spokeswoman said the report that purportedly supported the chief's claim of transparency was not available.'" Boom! Is Myers back in the newsroom?
Not Going to Win Lawyer of the Year Award: Assistant D.C. attorney general Rachele Reid is facing a one-year probation period after a professional board found that she was kind of a crummy lawyer while in private practice earlier this decade, the Legal Times reports. "In the first case, Reid, who then went by her maiden name, Gaines, was appointed by the D.C. Superior Court to serve as the guardian of Thomas Shannon, a Maryland nursing home resident who suffered from a number of physical and mental-health conditions, including dementia. According to the report, Reid failed to file all of the reports that she was supposed to and did not attend any of the quarterly care-plan reviews between Aug. 2000 and Nov. 2003. The report says there is no evidence that she ever visited Shannon in the nursing home. After she was hired by the D.C. Attorney General’s Office in 2002, she also made no effort to terminate her guardianship of Shannon, the report says. Shannon was decertified for Medicaid benefits in May 2003 and faced eviction from his nursing home. Although Reid had been sent notice of the decertification, which included notice that it had to be appealed in a timely fashion, the report says there is no evidence that she discussed the decertification with Shannon."
See here how the candidates scored with the Gay And Lesbian Activists Alliance.
Ron Moten makes a music video [Post]
How to defeat poverty [GGW]
Can you pay my bills? Yes you can [WBJ]
Getting busted ain't what it used to be [City Desk]