Loose Lips

The Undecided: Fenty Face-Time Edition

August 26: Hizzoner Visits!

Today’s Event: Mayor Adrian Fenty meets with Washington City Paper's staff for more than an hour. The big news: I do not freak out, scream, stomp and stammer Tourette's-style after one of the mayor's answers, non-answers, and well-rehearsed talking points. Not even when he claims the city's homeless services are a national model, that Peter Nickles needs to stick around to successfully get our troubled agencies out of federal court oversight, or that we ought to discount some of the criticism he's gotten from District auditor Deborah Nichols because she answers to the D.C. council.

Influence: Slight. Fenty made his case more often than not–especially on the big things. It's hard to argue against a second Fenty term when he can point to improvements in DPW, DMV, DDOT, and the school system.

Net impact: Lean Fenty.

But: Fenty still thinks Peaceoholics is awesome. Yeesh.

  • Anonymous

    This is garbage.

  • *******

    Gone will be the days when he has an allegiance with a friend in the White House. Gone will be the days when he has a mayoral friend in the Big Apple. Gone will be the days when he can bully his way around different agencies and step on people while the cameras are looking the other way. I can't wait until Sept 14th when Fenty is busted down to zero.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Damn Cherkis, you finally did it. You've convinced me. After reading about your much deliberated arguments (even more “thoughtful” than Gray would have even deemed) about the two candidates, I’m finally certain and wanted to thank you. Where else could I have gotten such a thorough analysis of Fenty’s character; his immediate willingness to change and embrace others; his self-less approach to giving credit to others when due; his fiery commitment to stopping government cronyism (that Nichols better watch it); his unflinching need to have accountability, especially of those who are critical of him; his thoughtful responses to though questions; his unwavering loyalty to those most loyal to him; his soulful belief that the City cannot progress without him; and dozens of other, carefully dissected nuances about the man, no no, the myth, has solidified in my head the belief that YOU, Cherkis, are a douche.

    Now I’ll waste my time reading someone else. Thanks much.

  • downtown rez

    Fenty is the right choice for the city, and the right choice on Sept 14th.
    It is what it is.

  • Kris

    There are two things of questionable moral pr truths that every flack knows

    That a lie repeated often enough and frequent enough it will be believe by a small but ever growing segment of the population.

    And if you want 50 start with a 100 and most people will meet you half way as a method of maintaining the relationship.

    DDOT lost federal founds for street cars because the plan was to borrow a phrase from Project Runway a hot mess. We paid lots of money for pilot transit programs that waste money and may kill. Iike a bike lanes or the 4 millions dollar underuse bike shelter at union station.

    As for DPW 727.1000 was the best the thing since slice bread. I challenge you to call it for something DPW related. Under the Williams administration your call would last 3 minutes now your initial hold before someone answers is that long. Once called you may or may not get the right person on the first call.

    I would challenge you Jason to quantify what you claim It hasn't been hard to recruit long time residents of any color to support. Because it simply hasn't been true. We wre canvassing around the Potomac metro and a long time came to talk to us. They (not black) had been complaing about a buckled street around the hospital for months with no resolution. That neighbor convinced another to swap out their Fenty. And with a promise to meet the chairman they both came the next morning.

    Under Bobb Bobb an agency with a high level of unresolved 311 complaints was trouble.

  • tired

    Jason you are no longer a trusted journalist you are a pansie. I agree with adrian bent-me you are a disappointment.

  • SE Resident

    Jason you have a right to your opinion - however wrong it is.

  • tformation

    Is that it? Where is the story? So far I have seen three post about the fact that you interviewed him and between the three post it appears you only got to ask him two questions and he non answered the rest? The only thing you have to say after interviewing him for an hour is he wont run independant (lie) if he loses and Rhee will stay (lie) if he wins?

    Did I miss something here? Maybe I need to look again. Otherwise, can you please tell us what specific questions you asked him and if he answered you or not. If not, did you call him on it or did you move to the next question. Or is all that "he ca talk" stuff what he did to stop you from asking any questions? And if so, did you verify anything that he said (DMV improvements????) or did you just take his word for it. Just like he's taking Ron Motens word for it that the 10 million has been spent in the right manner. GOSH!

    I have to admit I expected more from you... I expected specifics. Shame on me huh?

  • http://bing.com Anothernative

    Yeah Jason, I'm in agreeance with "tired" and "Adrian bent me", you've sold your soul too the devil. If you really did your home work, you would have known that most of the motivations of these agencies were truly in place when the mayor took office, as a matter of fact,the Mayor has deteriorated them in term of moral. There use to be a collaboration of these agencies and a few others called the neighborhood services core team that was community based where you didn't have to totally depend on 311 for everything you needed, it compelled folks to participate in they're communities because you had agencies right there in the neighborhood and envolved.(DDOT), (MPD)and (DPW) were intricate parts of that collaboration. How many pieces of silver did you get for this? FYI.

  • larry

    I must agree with the others. This is a huge disappointment. I wasted my time sending in questions yesterday. This is another example of Fenty's refusal to respond to the people of this city and how the media allows it. Hell, fronts it.

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

    HEY! To all those wondering where's the beef? Well, it's coming--we're gonna put out a series of videos from the interviews which cover the park and rec contracts, Peaceoholics, his relationship with the D.C. Council, unemployment, homeless services, CCNV, D.C. General shelter, go-go, issues surrounding transparency, Vincent Gray's tenure as council chair, and Peter Nickles.

    This feature is supposed to capture a moment, it's not my final say on who I'm voting for. This feature is meant to be a small snapshot into one person's indecision.

    I stand by what I wrote today. For what it's worth, here are the some of the agencies and city functions that I think have suffered greatly under Fenty: 311 call center (it sucks), 911 service, the Fire Department and emergency response, DYRS, CFSA, and homeless services.

    I also believe that Peter Nickles combative style in federal court has cost the city. Here's what a few federal judges had to say about Peter Nickles' Office of Attorney General:

    1) Emmet Sullivan said of the missing evidence or doctored evidence in the Pershing Park case: ' 'This kind of conduct is not acceptable,' Sullivan went on to call the actions of D.C. government lawyers 'abysmal.'

    In a subsequent hearing, Sullivan accused Nickles of playing games.

    2) In the CFSA court monitor case, Judge Hogan held you in contempt and stated that the District showed a "blatant disregard" in failing to work with the court monitor. He writes: "Intransigence may be a nominal improvement from indifference, but it is still unacceptable in this context."

    3) Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle said in her courtroom in December, according to the Washington Post: “I say this to the attorney general: You have responsibilities to the public, to the vulnerable people involved here and to the taxpayers.…If you think court intervention is evil, come up with a way to resolve this case through a remedy.”

    I am very interest, perhaps even more interested to see what Vincent Gray has to say--particularly since he voted and approved of every piece of legislation Fenty proposed. He even voted to confirm Peter Nickles.

    I want to know how Vincent Gray would be a real alternative. I'm not going to vote for Gray just because he's not Fenty.

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

    I meant Gray voted in favor of every MAJOR piece of Fenty-proposed legislation.

  • http://bing.com Anothernative

    I just think, that Vince Grey gave the young Mayor everything opportunity to succeed, from pushing for Mayoral school takeover to his picking of Nickles for AG. The young Mayor has shown that too much power to fast has bought out some character defects that even he may not have known were there.The problem is that he has refused to address them kicking and scratching all the way, til he finds his back against the wall. How can we honestly believe what he says at this point in the game?

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

    Anothernative: I definitely viewed many of Fenty's comments with skepticism. His lack of details is a problem, and well, Nickles.

    But after spending an hour with the mayor, it was hard not to see that the city has improved in measurable ways. And yet, there are legit reasons why Fenty is struggling in this election. Some of those reasons were on display during our interview with him.

  • http://bing.com Anothernative

    We'll see,

  • Brahmin

    I agree you should not vote for Gray just because he isn't Fenty...although a brown rabid rat looks better than Fenty at this point.

    But can you explain to me the progress in the agencies listed.

  • John

    Jason: Unrelated question. You swore you would “keep digging until you had the truth” about Gray’s “hacked phones”, and that you wouldn’t just let them drop that into the news cycle and then let it go.

    But its been radio silence since the CP let them drop that into the news cycle and then let it go. How goes that investigation?

  • larry

    If Fenty still continues to refuse to provide information i.e. FOIA requests and contract documents from Peacoholics - then some improvements in the city don't mean a damn thing. We have a right to this information and it has been and continues to be denied. I feel like I've stepped back in time and am under the rule (yeah, rule is right) of a dictator who does as he pleases because things are better and the trains run on time. I would love to see some kind of article from the city paper that reports if they have made any FOIA requests, what the response was and how long it took and how many times city paper attempted to get answers/information from this mayor over the past four years and was denied.

  • Samantha

    Jason, are you now advocating for DC's brand of Bush-Chenney-Gonzalez? SHAME ON YOU!

  • SEis4ME

    Jason, that makes sense.

    I'll challenge you on one thing though, and that's the role of a Council Chair. If Gray had not supported most of Fenty's legislation, wouldn't he be seen as an impediment, obstructionist, and combative opponent of the sitting Mayor? I hate to bring the federal parallel again but what would happen if Nancy Pelosi decided NOT to support Obama's major policies?

    I'm not saying this to suggest that Gray was right to support them. Not at all. What I am saying is that I'm not sure if fighting your party members works well. If the council were republican, I could definately see that happening. But democrat against democrat? That's rare w/few exceptions.

    I have no problem voting for Gray because he's not Fenty. Didn't most americans vote for Obama because he wasn't Hillary? Despite what they campaigned on, their positions were relatively one in the same. As then, I am comfortable enough with what Gray has done, plans to do, and his disposition to cast my vote for him. I fully recognize that the straw man being set up regarding how a Gray administration will take us back in time is just that, a straw man.

    I strongly feel this way after looking back at history. Although I couldn't find the actuals, I assume that Gray served as Director of DHS no more than 3 years? If so, that means he has 3 years worth of "taking us back" time under his belt. After serving those few years, he entered political office again in 2004 for a total of somewhere around 10 years, which also happens to be the same amount of time Fenty has served - but not as consecutively.

    I'll say what hasn't been said, the idea that Gray will take us back has much more to do with his age than reality.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Alright, so I had to give in and comment, even after swearing off Cherkis.

    So Fenty and camp are arguing that the City will revert back to DC, early 90s edition, if Gray is elected, but Gray has essentially done everything in line with Fenty. What gives here? Either, Fenty's policies are going to lead us into the pits or Fenty's policies are going to move the City forward (which Gray supports). If there in no real policy divide, then Cherkis, are supportive of Fenty the man? Cause honestly, that's really it for me. I can't support Fenty, even if I'm not a die-hard Gray fan (which I've actually grown into these past few weeks), simply because of who Fenty is as a person.

  • Really?

    I keep seeing these declarative statements regarding Fent "he can point to improvements in DPW, DMV, DDOT, and the school system"

    What "improvements"? Can Fenty take credit that the level of service was maintained? Maybe, but improvement is a stretch?

    Did he provide examples of said improvements? Did he say well it used to be this and now it's improved by implementing this?

  • Indeed


    This is about more than a few policies that a lot of people can get behind. This is really about the poor decisions that Fenty has made, including those that Cherkis listed. Fenty has repeatedly stated that he doesn't like to think about things (except for in his interview with CityPaper, during which he says he considers things very carefully, which is obviously not true). He clearly doesn't. Nor does he have an actual decision-making style. He makes decisions solely based on his feelings toward the parties involved. These decisions sometimes favor "the people", but often do not. Fenty resents people who have been working in this city for a long time, the people who have actually done the work to bring the city to where it is.

    The city began to change, at least commercially, before Anthony Williams or Adrian Fenty. And those changes were brought about by strategic planning. That is a fact. There would not be a thriving Gallery Place or Columbia Heights without the people who did that planning work.

  • Brian

    control board

  • tformation

    Ok Jason. I will give you more time. Maybe I did expect too much too soon. (maybe a result of too much of the blackberry crew). I am the first to admit that to come up with anything credible, substantial, to put together all the information and give an accurate report, it takes time. When you dont take the time so see that it is done correctly the first time, you often end up repeating the task over and over to get it right. ie, bike lanes on Penn Ave, construction of the rosedale rec center, new beginnings (camp) ect.... but I digress. I understand that you were giving a taste of what was to come and I will wait.

    No one should vote for Grey simply because he isn't Fenty. If I did not believe that he could heal this city and allow people to have a voice in their communities while at the same time, following and improving on the successes of the Williams administration, I would not support him either. The bottom line here is that ANYONE could have come into office after Williams, and been successful with the exception of the schools because Fenty voted AGAINST Mayoral takeover of the schools. If he were still ward 4 council and someone else had won last election, I wonder if he would have voted against it a second time.

    I also KNOW that under Janeys leadership in DCPS and no Mayoral takeover, we made significant improvements. Don't believe me, just check the SCORES that we are so fond of refering to. Just think of what COULD have been if Janey only had to answer to a Mayor. Along those lines, I believe that anyone who came after him, who left his plans in place, couldn't help but see improvements either. That is exactly what Rhee did with the facilities.

    The PROBLEM came, when the person who came after him, WASN'T QUALIFIED to be a superintendant. We had to first find another name to call them because they couldn't qualify for the seperintendants position... hence Chancelor. Then we had a Mayor who thinks all public servants- DC Govt employees- are HIS servants. And he hired someone whos qualifications weren't necessary as long as they felt the same way about the employees as he did. YOUR HIRED!!! Now, after three years of her disrespect, slander and lowering the moral of her employees, we are seeing the results of HER leadership, which are lowered test scores, high teacher turnover, and no accountability. After three years of making teachers teach nothing but the test, the kids are going BACKWARDS. Isnt that a word we hear often?

    All of the ribbon cuttings so far have been the fruits of the previous administration. Dont believe me? Check out the plans for yourself. The only involvement Fenty OR Rhee had in the Walls renovation was their plan to attend and highjack the ribbon cutting. We are now and in the next few years will see the fruits of the Fenty administration. And I dont mean what was COMPLETED that others started, I mean what HE started.

    Hundreds of Millions in contract money to friends who he doesnt feel he needs to discuss with the citizens.

    Hundreds of FOIA request UNANSWERED and on and on. It's just a cut right now but if we dont tend to it, it will get infected and then we will REALLY be up the creek without a paddle.

    Jsut because Vince listens and takes other opinions into account BEFORE acting doesn't mean he doesn't act. He censured Barry. He called for Nickles termination after giving him enough string to hang himself. He turned down a sure thing (another 4 years as council chair) because the people (and the Post) BEGGED him to.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Indeed- I'm with you on this completely. What I can't understand is why anyone would really support Fenty. All of the progress made wasn't his doing alone (even though he would like you to think it is) and the majority of "policies" that people like are things that Gray support. It essentially boils down to who he is as a person and frankly, I haven't heard any of his supporters claim that they like him as a person or can defend against the reported childish, vindictive, arrogant stories about him. So I really just don't understand why anyone would support him. It really is simply baffling to me.

  • JP

    Lets face it: Gray looks like a monster and can not be trusted in the mayorship.

  • Indeed

    And Fenty can't speak a coherent sentence. He is the male equivalent of Sarah Palin.

  • tired

    @indeed Thank you so much.

  • http://bing.com Anothernative

    @tformation, you're really clicking, great insight and analysis.

  • DCJournalist8

    It's your opinion, and I have my own. To wit:
    -- Fenty fooled you.
    -- Never call yourself a "journalist" again, because your "shoe-leather reporting" would have uncovered a rash of indictments against Fenty.
    -- Go become a flack (notice the spelling, according to AP Style). Oh, wait a minute, you already are one, for the Fenty campaign. How much are you getting paid from that $5m war chest? Hope it's enough to get you a new IPad.

  • http://www.linefreedmv.com Bob Waters

    I can't stand the DMV. Went through line free dmv to make junk easier. http://www.linefreedmv.com take a looksie