Loose Lips

Loose Lips Daily: Back to the ’90s Edition

As much local politics as humanly possible. Send your tips, releases, stories, events, etc. to lips@washingtoncitypaper.com. And get LL Daily sent straight to your inbox every morning!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Good morning, sweet readers! Whoop, Labor Day Weekend! LL is excited and hopes you are too. Screw Earl. News time:

Another, Sigh, Debate: This one was on Fox5 this morning. This one was also a yawner. Summed up in a sentence: Mayor Adrian Fenty mistakenly thinks the Wapo editorial board has cleared him of any wrongdoing and challenger Vincent Gray thinks he's never made a mistake a single day in his life.

Back To The Future?: How did Gray do as head of the Department of Human Services? Well, according to this article from the Examiner's Freeman Klopott, pretty poorly. "D.C. Council Chairman Vince Gray touts on the mayoral campaign trail his closing of the rundown, overcrowded Cedar Knoll youth detention center nearly two decades ago. But as head of the city's Department of Human Services, he cost the District nearly $2 million in fines by reacting too slowly to congressional orders to shut the center down."

Cue booing from Gray supporters for mention of Gray's time at DHS.  "When Gray took his city job, D.C. had already been under a court order for five years to shut down the 225-bed Cedar Knoll facility in Jessup. Gray says complying with that order was one of his top priorities. But in June 1992, with Cedar Knoll's doors still open and young criminals routinely escaping, Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., pushed a bill through Congress that ordered the city to shut down the facility by May 31, 1993. ... Gray told The Examiner on Thursday that the timeline set by Congress was too tight. 'In order to do it responsibly, we needed to have the ability to move the kids into group homes,' he said. 'We were trying to step up the community side ... it was part of a wider philosophical shift.' In June 1993, though, the community programs still weren't in place. When Cedar Knoll closed its doors, many of the youths were shipped to the high security Oak Hills detention center and the smaller D.C. Receiving Home. Both were immediately overcrowded, causing the courts to step in again. In October 1993, the District was fined $1,000 for each day each of the centers had more kids than beds. By the time the 1990s overcrowding issues dissipated, the city had paid nearly $2 million in fines and Gray was out of office. 'We didn't know the time it would take to [close Cedar Knoll down]," Gray said. 'We were really trying to do it."

LL is going to go ahead and guess that some of the nuance of what happened with Cedar Knoll probably isn't included in Klopott's 400 word story. But even so, an interesting article that deserves more follow up. Also, glad to know that the whole young offender overcrowding problem has been resolved.

AFTER THE JUMP: Cheh to Lose WAPO Endorsement; Gettin' Saucy; Gettin' Muddy ...

Well You Can Kiss That Post Endorsement Goodbye, Mary: Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh shocked approximately zero people yesterday when she endorsed Gray over Mayor Adrian Fenty. (See LL's thoughts on it here).  The Post's Tim Craig and Nikita Stewart have more, including a tart response from the Fenty camp and the Washington Hispanic's endorsement of Fenty.

Gettin' Saucy: The anonymous G'Town Saucer in the Georgetown Dish slams the Post's editorial page for not endorsing Phil Mendelson because he's not been a strong enough supporter of Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. "Post editorial writers, including Jo-Ann Armao, a principal voice of the paper, seem so far out of touch with the reality of District affairs and politics — not to mention the paper's own daily reporting –we are forced to wonder if editorial writers read it or anything else to inform their opinions." Damn, those are some sharp elbows, but it's not something LL hasn't heard many many times before.

Also, Harry Thomas Jr. responds to the Post's endorsement of his opponent. The paper, he says, has ignored his "stellar legislative record."  That's funny, because LL seems to recall the editorial slamming Thomas for specific legislative failings including his "racial demagoguery" in derailing a parks director nominee and his status as "the union's main champion in trying to thwart needed reforms in the schools and government." [Post]

Gettin' Muddy: The D.C. Council chairman's race between Kwame Brown and Vincent Orange is getting a little bit nastier, reports Ann Marimow in the Post. "In a direct-mail piece scheduled to land Friday, the SEIU State Council and 32BJ unions paint Orange as a 'threat to our economic security.' Orange, who was until recently a vice president for government affairs at Pepco, is portrayed as being responsible for raising electricity rates and shutting off power. The piece, mailed to 15,000 likely voters, is a parody of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's color-coded threat assessment chart. 'For everyone struggling to pay bills, the threat is ORANGE,' it says, adding, 'We can't afford corporate lobbyists running City Hall.'"

Marimow points out that the SEIU's claims about Orange cutting people's power isn't exactly true. And it turns out that Orange has nasty mailers of his own. Orange is signaling that he will be relentless in going after Brown in the final weeks of the campaign, as he did during a televised debate Wednesday on NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt on TBD TV. Orange's piece pictures a broken piggy bank and lists Brown's 'debt problem.' 'If he can't manage his own finances, why should we let Kwame Brown manage DC's finances?'" Be sure and catch both candidates on with Kojo at noon.

Neibauer Explodes With News: The Washington Business Journal's Michael Neibauer  reports on what people think the mayoral race will mean for D.C.'s jobs environment.  The story's really long headline pretty much sums it up:  "Some say Vincent Gray is D.C.’s best hope for small businesses; others tout Adrian Fenty-led city improvements." Thanks for that, WBJ headline writers! Of note, developer Chris Donatelli stands up for the mayor: “I think he’s very progressive in the way he runs the departments, and that is evidenced in some of the largest things that you see and some of the small things you see." Neibauer also has the sobering news that the city's budget now has a $34 million gap in it, and a streetscape project in City Paper's backyard is going to cause headaches.

Mike DeBonis gets Michael D. Brown's thoughts on bag tax and curfews. Question: With how many other candidates does the paper of record actually transcribe the many times they say "uhhh" in an interview? [Post]

Widespread problems at publicly funded D.C. drug treatment center [TBD]

Text of Michelle Fenty speech [Post]



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  • Brahmin

    I need you to get some answers for me. Gray is up in the polls to the point where for AMF to win the voter pool would have to reduce to just his house. And even then I suspect a split decision.

    Fenty made every mistake Mayor Williams made in grander scheme.

    Williams had trip. Fenty had secret trips.
    Williams fired staff to growing uproar. Fenty fired more staff to bigger uproar and replaced them with less qualified staff--to even more chagrin.

    I could list a whole group of things Fenty did---in a burn the barn like fashion that got him to being behind by 17+ percent and likely to widen. I predicted this lead months ago. What I don't get is how it happened?

    Fenty was Williams'chief critic in all things. He knew what made him unpopular and a wet noodle as a political powerhouse. So why did he do the same--but worse? They are calling Fenty a political idiot but that was never the case before ....how is he here?

    Was it cronies? Was it politically novice cronies and there horrid advice. I don't know but I need to.

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