Loose Lips

Don’t Stop Believin’

Who is the dude behind the not-Adrian-Fenty-approved Fenty write-in efforts that include a Facebook page and a new website (which LL commends for having a smooth, pleasing design)?

It's John Hlinko, who calls himself a "Buzz Czar" and has a pretty colorful resume. According to a brief search through old clips:

  • He's organized "GuyPartisan Dinners" for die-hard righties and die-hard lefties to eat steak, drink scotch and make fun of each other.
  • He started a dating website for left-wing political types called www.actforlove.org.
  • He started DraftWesleyClark.com (remember that guy?) in 2003 and "helped steered the retired general's presidential bid."
  • He produced ads for Barack Obama that aired in New Hampshire, was "co-leader" of DraftObama.org website.

Why's he pushing a campaign that Fenty has shown no interest in? LL has a call in to Hlinko, and will update if he calls back. Meanwhile, WUSA9's "community web producer" Simon Landau caught up with Hlinko, who said this:

“For me, it’s not anti-Gray at all,” Hlinko said.  “I just think of it this way: If you’re playing in the World Series, and you’ve got a guy who has three home runs already, why would you pinch-hit for him? Another player might work out well, but why would you go against someone with that track record?”

Say what? Based on that metaphor alone, LL has a hunch that Hlinko doesn't follow local politics very closely. Remember: Fenty = triathlons; Gray = baseball.

Update: LL just got off the phone with a personable Hlinko, who says he’s motivated to see Fenty re-elected because of—what else— school reform. “It’s kind of a big deal,” he says.

Hlinko says he knows the write-in effort is a long shot, and is probably the last thing Fenty wants right now, but Hlinko wants people to know that if they are bummed like he is that Fenty lost, they “still have a chance” to vote for their guy.

  • truthsayeparent

    Will ELI BROAD (the Southern Calif. real estate mogul
    & rhee-form oligarch, otherwise known as
    Sugar Daddy Warbucks) please clean up after your crews' deep dippity-do & stinking pile of hypocrisy! Will ELI BROAD & cronies please arrange (ASAP !) a consulting gig for his political concubine & broom-humping pet --- rabid MICHELLE RHEE --- Also, if she's got too many skeletons rattling in the closet (along with Kevin Johnson, including financial misappropriation scandals, cover-up of sexual misconduct with minor students & teenage staff, and a range of federal /state /city illegalities & violations) --
    and if no other school district will hire
    Chancellor Queen Rhee (because she's not qualified to actually be a school-district superintendent) ---
    it's not the DC voters' problem !!!
    There are excellent, experienced,
    qualified candidates who are ready
    to replace her and ready to implement
    strategic, viable improvements.

    Rhee-move her !


  • What’s Next

    Even Anthony Williams thinks Fenty should remain as Mayor of DC. It isn't about being likeable, it's about being a leader that can make the tough choices to direct the city through some hard times. Fenty makes the tough choices, Gray won't show his hand until elected and it is too late for anyone to know if he can lead.

  • Kathy

    Does this guy live in D.C.? Does he care about democratic concepts like Majority Rule? Does he understand that Adrian Fenty is being a loyal Democrat by accepting his party's decision?

  • Skipper

    A write-in vote for Fenty is essentially a no confidence vote for Gray. If a large enough number of people in Wards 2 and 3 write-in Fenty, Gray will have a big problem.

  • Samantha

    Fenty has never been a leader . He is best described a a front man for billionaire bullies who have empowered this flunky to be their Overseer (as in Slavery) for the purpuse of imposing their will as Elite Tea Party Types on the citizens of DC ,much like De Mint, Coburn and Mc Connell . Wake Up ! It's not just blacks being disenfranchised , the fact is that you Gray Haters whose minds are contaminated by Fenty- Rhee Koolade will not be the first to escape the meanspirited environment you and the WAPO have created by inuendo and lies. Happy Hell to You !

  • http://ABF ABF

    joshua lopez and sinclair skinner are behind this...so that means ron moten isn't far behind.

  • noodlez





  • SEis4ME

    Alan, Does Mr. Hlinko have children currently enrolled in DCPS. I'm sure you asked him that. Since he notes that his only reason for keeping Fenty in is DCPS, I would imagine that he does have a personal stake in this.

    Yep, this sounds eerily like the PUMA idiots. If you listen to those who still haven't accepted the fact that Gray won, think back to what PUMA's were saying after it was clear that Obama had won. They were unrelenting and foolish and these people doing the same now are just as foolish. A clear case of retards.

  • tformation

    It isn’t about being likeable, it’s about being a leader that can make the tough choices to direct the city through some hard times.

    Are you serious? Have you been paying ANY attention to the news that was held until AFTER the election and then released???? You know, the news that the city now has a 175MIL deficit? Or the news that school test scores went down? Or the fact that for the last FOUR YEARS, the school system has gone over its budget EVERY YEAR... along with several other agencies? Tough choices? It isnt so tough to say I dont give a damn how much it cost, buy it anyway (ie. heater for pool, dog park, unstaffed rec centers, unstaffed libraries, liquor for frat party, security for marathons... and on and on). Exactly WHAT tough choices are you refering to? He couldnt even make the tough choice to address his constituents when they TRIED to reach him to tell him they were NOT happy with the way Rhee was handling thing... deficit, no surplus, no deficit, I mean surplus. The word changed almost daily sepending on what she wanted to accomplish. Tough choice or easy way out? I think he took the easy way and went bike riding while a MAJORITY of his constituents were suffering and then when he got off the bike three years later and looked around, he wanted to know what all the fuss was about.

    Well nevermind now, WE TOOK CARE OF IT OURSELVES!

    Now we have elected someone who will REALLY make tough decisions but will do it without sticking his middle finger up at those who may be negatively affected. And if it doesnt work out... then he will be gone too. But we already KNOW it didn't work with Fenty, and that is why he is on his way out.

  • maserfentyaintnogood

    You failed to mention that the write in efforts are being supported in a major way by senior staff members of Gabe Klein, DC DOT huncho who showed his hand by campaigning against Chairman Gray at the Ward 4 Straw Poll. His Customer Service Manager JM, can't accept the fact that Chairman Gray won and he is doing his best to support the write in efforts too.

  • Korrupt

    It didn't work for Carol Schwartz but time will tell.

  • Flernty

    Vince Gray is Barry without the party. Boring Barry. An inept career DC civil servant whose only credential so far is that he can race-bait with the best of them. Everyone knows it. Washington City Rag and the rest of the media has to play nice so they won't get accused of the "r" word themselves (heaven forbid), while Gray was free to run on nothing more than divisiveness and coded language like "taking the city back" while nary a cross word was spoken about his blatant racism. Racism still on display in the Post this AM, BTW.

  • Kathy

    Skipper, I'm not sure who started this lame idea that a write-in vote for Fenty would be tantamount to a "no confidence" vote for Gray. That's utter nonsense!

    Gray hasn't been mayor yet. Would it signal "no confidence" in his ability to be council chairman? I think his victory in the mayoral primary was a sign of great confidence among the electorate in his tenure as council chairman.

    Don't you believe in elections? Don't you believe in the party system? Obviously, Adrian Fenty has great respect for both of them.

    Let Mayor Fenty move forward with his life in dignity. He is showing much more dignity in accepting his defeat and working with his presumptive successor than many of his political supporters apparently can muster. To me, that shows how much Adrian Fenty still cares about his city and has accepted his personal mistakes in his admirable effort to try moving us forward.

    The Democrats chose their candidate, and Fenty has accepted his defeat. Can we stop rehashing the primary already? The past is over. The future awaits. Fenty and Gray have vowed to work together. We all should be trying to follow their example by working together to improve our city, rather than looking for ways to pull us apart.

  • Flernty

    Kathy, WHAT A LAUGH! Gray has done NOTHING but pull this city apart. I had slim hopes that after he beat Fenty that he might stop saying redonculous things about handing out DC government jobs, placing the same cast of incompetents in positions of power, and playing petty race politics. No sign of that. There he was in the Post this AM stoking the "us versus them" crap all over again.

    If Gray wants to heal any wounds it starts with him showing a little respect. SOUND FAMILIAR?

  • tformation

    Kathy.... dont be so sure the behind the scenes Fenty is the same in front of the camera Fenty you have seen as of late. He is ACTING like he has accepted his defeat gracefully because he is what he is, MADE FOR TV... however, behind the camera, Fenty is just as much in supprt of a write in as he was in support of Clark. Remeber the Fenty that convinced so many independants and republicans that they were disinfranchised because they werent able to vote in the DEMOCRATIC primary. This is his last stand. Let them have it and make sure you show up on election day because its clear that they will. I have no doubt that a few days before the election he will make some public comment about how if the people wish to have him back, then he would be honored. Lol

  • Kathy

    tformation, if what you say were true, then these write-in supporters are promoting a candidate they know is not being honest with the voters. I'm hoping Adrian Fenty wouldn't stoop that low.

    But that leads to another question: Exactly what is the REAL agenda of these folks behind a write-in campaign for Fenty?

    Obviously, they think he's a bad leader, since they are not willing to accept his conciliatory lead and move on after the primary.

    Is there someone in the wings who is worried that Vince Gray hasn't been able to be pressured or bought yet to support some hidden agenda?

  • hymesb

    I don't get the write-in stuff. Being a good democrat means supporting the guy that won the nomination.

    Mr Gray will have a difficult job over the next four years.

    He has promised to reduced the unemployment rate in Ward 8. It stands at 30% at the present moment. And, he has promised to bring about racial unity in the district. While maintaining the progress of school reform. Continueing crime reduction. And going to Jail for Statehood.

    He should be judged on his ability to meet these objectives. He has stated that the ecomony is not an excuse for these issues not to be resolved.

    Oh, and he must end gentrification. Create an completely transparent goverment free of cronyism, nepotism, cultural insensitivity. And, keep his vacation schedule public.

    If he fails to do so. Then you rake him over the coals just like they did Fenty. I am sure that the three major newspapers that warned you not to elect this guy will remember it.

    Personally, I will suspend judgement on Gray until after the first back to back blizzard. Or, whenver he re-hires someone like Suzanne Peck (The original DC Diva.). Because you know he is going to do it.

  • ward8forreal

    I'm writing in ADRIAN FENTY ON NOV.2, 2010! Gray is nothing more than a povery pimp, thats right I said it. He offered no plan during the primary and still no plan now. He knew darn well what the financial projections were while he was promising everyone a job on the campaign trail. You don't even have to look at his record at DHS to see how incompetent this man is when placed in a management position. Check the archives on this site for what happened in March in regards to the trolley car funding. Now Gray supports trolley cars right? Gray has no choice but to hold mock town hall meeting where he will "listen" to people. I asked a SE resident when have they ever seen Gray in Ward 8 and they said "I don't even know what the man looks like." Ask Gray or Barry what legislation have they drafted or voted in favor of that produced change for Wards 5, 7, or 8? (insert crickets here)

    @Flernty Thank you for stating the obvious!
    Gray plays the race card by making those coded statements such as "we are taking the city back." Just take a good look at the Gray campaign they are the angry old guard of the 1990's who have re-emerged. Not one of them can give you any solid answer as why Gray would be a good if not better mayor than Fenty-without saying anything that is not anti-Fenty.

    Why are some people so darn angry about the desire to write in Fenty? The reality is that traditionally, DC has held the general election as a matter of formality. This year, that may not happen as not ALL DC RESIDENTS were allowed to vote in the primary. So the Republicans and non-party voters should just accept the Democratic nomination because executing their civic duty to vote is not a reasonable expectation of being an American citizen,let alone a DC resident?

  • Kathy

    I wish some of the people posting comments here would read what they write before hitting "submit comment." It's difficult for reasonable people to take someone seriously when they propose respecting others but can't find it within themselves to do the same when they comment.

    I think both Vincent Gray and Adrian Fenty are honorable men who care about their hometown. I don't think elections require that one candidate or the other (and their supporters) be demonized with a lot of unsubstantiated claims being thrown around loosely. Disagreement does not need to be disrespectful, but it needs some basis in fact when charges are made.

    This disrespectful tone of rhetoric has gotten way out of hand this year. Who is driving this and why?

    And what do some people find helpful about fanning flames?

    My momma used to say: Put up or shut up.

  • http://www.amamimus.com AMamiMus

    I don't live in DC, but I still have family who are stranded there. Yeah, I said it!

    I hope like hell that Gray can do a better job than Fenty...at balancing the budget, paying attention to the needs of EVERY ward in DC, and keeping his nose clean.

  • Peter Rosenstein

    So from what I see Hlinko is out for some fun here. Why not just try to rile things up for no reason and see what happens. Rhee has taken herself out as Chancellor and Hlinko claims he is doing this for education reform. Well who and what about education reform is he doing it for?

    Vince Gray got education reform through the Council. Vince Gray introduced and passed the bill for Universal Early Childhood Education. Vince Gray has promised to aggressively pursue education reform. So exactly what is it that Hlinko wants?

    I assume it is Chancellor Rhee. Well if Hlinko were so involved in the education system he would realize that Chancellor Rhee has gone about as far as she can in DC. She has alienated over 50% of the people and way over that percentage of parents in the school system. She has actually done a good job of shaking up the system and I applaud her for that. But at this time we need someone who will not only move the system forward but institutionalize the changes already made. By having such a tin ear to the political realities of the District she can no longer do that. Also she has proven in recent weeks that she is much more into self aggrandizement than she is into working for the children of DC.

    Some simple facts about the system. School scores began a slow improvement in 1996 and have continued upward since then with the exception of this year. The change in standards and curriculum was done by the last Superintendent, Clifford Janey. Michelle Rhee recently has said she wants to hire 10 curriculum specialists in the Central office at $100,000 each when the Fairfax county schools with three times the number of students have only seven. Rhee brought in 91 new principals in the past three years. What isn't always known is that 40% of those new principals she brought in have already left. It says something about her criteria for hiring.

    So I think we will be just fine with a new Mayor who will aggressively move forward on School Reform and hopefully do it with a Chancellor who will involve the community and get them to buy into the reforms.

    The other issue here is that this write-in may make Mr. Hlinko and others feel good but it will only hurt Mr. Fenty. He will end up being a two time loser rather than having just lost once. That can't help his future career in any way.

    And if the idea here is to make life more difficult for Vince Gray when he is elected and to highlight the voting disparities in our City then that is even more sinister and makes no sense for anyone who wants this City and our next Mayor to succeed. I assume that is everyone who lives here and wants the best for the District.

  • Flernty

    Rosenstein, Let me get this straight, people reacting to Gray's continued racial innuendo (his alleged "joke" in the Post this AM is only the latest pathetic act) have "sinister" motives but holding Gray to task for what he's SAID is verboten?

    Give me a break. Vince Gray stirred this pot, now he can drink the bile he created.

    You and all the other Gray apologist can keep rehashing Fenty and Rhee but you might as well be talking about Walter Washington. WHAT IS GRAY GOING TO DO?

    The limited indications he's given include scraping teacher standards, hiring a boatload of city employees when the budget is busted, and bringing in a lot of no-hopers from previous administrations.

    Those of us who haven't drunk the Gray-Aid are judging him on what he's said -- including his continued ugly innuendo about race.

    So bloviate all you want about ancient history, as you point out, the election is over and we're reading current events.

  • SEis4ME

    Ward8, if Gray is a poverty pimp what exactly do you consider Adrian Fenty via Ron Moten?

    I'm not sure how long you have been in the US. But, here in the US, you would be hard pressed to find a challenger to an incumbent doing what you suggest here. In the US, the biggest thing a challenger can do is play up the fact that he is not the incumbent.

    If after excluding his time at DHS, the only thing regarding his mismanagement you can point to is trolley cars, then Old Gray must be doing just fine.

    I asked an 18-yr old SE resident whether he voted for Gray and he said no. I asked why and his response, "cuz he go take all the summer youth jobs away." Now where exactly did he get that from you may ask? Well his friend told him that the Moten crew told them that Gray wasn't going to look out for them.

    And It's funny to read your spill about race-baiting for you to go on in the very next sentence to talk about the "angry old guard." Now who exactly does that refer to? The white old angry guard of DC?

    I could be wrong but DC residents who haven't declared a party by the september deadline have never been able to vote in a primary so what's your point? That it's different this time because....

    Yep, just like a PUMA. Remember, Hillary and Obama agreed to forego campaigning in MI and FL. Their rights were not, as your fellow PUMA's and VMA's (Vince My Ass) suggest, infringed upon. Same with the votes in DC now.

    @Peter---GREAT POST! Although it won't matter. People will see only what they want to see and believe the same.

  • SEis4ME

    Flernty, a lie don't care who tells it as long as it gets told. And yes, you're a liar.

    Please shares with the ignorant amongst us the quote from Gray stating that he is willing to forego federal funds (governed by mandate) in his plan to scrap teacher standards. Also, do the same for the quote from him stating that he was going to bring in a lot of city employees. I assume that you'll find that quote somewhere buried beneath his statement calling for Fenty to freeze all hiring. I guess he was against before he was for it? Oh, and also the quote about hiring former administration officials.

    Now lie all you want. But, what you are talking about aren't current events. They are happenings conjured only in your mind. If you disagree, your links to the quotes from Gray or his staff regarding the above will prove this Gray supporter dumb and wrong.

    Otherwise, you're just a disgruntled liar.

  • Flernty

    SE, Please. The election is over - you can stop huffin' the fumes. Everybody knows what Vince promised his faithful. Check in with me this time next year when the schools are on the way down and Grampa's cabinet looks like Sharon Pratt Kelly's -- and we'll see who told a fib, aiight.

  • http://bing.com Anothernative

    A write-in vote for Fenty is essentially a no confidence vote for Gray. If a large enough number of people in Wards 2 and 3 write-in Fenty, Gray will have a big problem. Correction, a write-in vote for Fenty is nothing more than a farce and and the attempt at circumventing the Democratic process. The man has already publicly thrown his support behind the winner of the Democratic primary, why would you subject him to further humiliation other than for your own steriotypical petty fears, who the hell do you people think you are and where do you think you are, believe me this (aint)1950 Mississippi or Alabama and it sure (aint)happening , so get over it.

  • Southeast Resident

    Flernty, my friend, you couldn't think of one thing positive about former Mayor Barry. Well it wasn't to inept that he created the DC youth summer jobs program that keeps paying dividends at the polls. It was sad that Fenty never learned to manage it right.

  • ward8forreal

    Please, if you are going to participate in a discussion, its rather important to stick to the issues/questions raised. There is no need to allude to how long I have been living in the U.S. Philosophical fallacies will get you nowhere but still you asked, born and raised here....
    Now the trolley cars are not the only mistake Gray has made recently, let me clarify a few points. 1) You speak about the fact that since voters who had not declared a party or switched 30 days prior to election; there is no point here to be raised. Actually, this is the first time convicted felons could vote, DC had early voting, and you could register to vote on the same day. Do you see where I am going with this? It's okay to change rules a few months before election but clearly any rule that would enfranchise more voters is clearly wrong, (insert smdh)
    Next point, go to the John A. Wilson Building and ask for the transcripts for the hearing conducted May-July 2010, concerning the funding for the Summer Youth Jobs. Vince Gray did in fact call the Council off recess to cut the funding even though a letter from DHS, and from Obama clearly supported using FY 12 money for the SYP as teen unemployment has been at record numbers since 1944. The money that was suggested to be used was not for the homeless as Vince alleged, instead it was under the TANF Program, in which funds can be used for a variety of programs, namely the SYP.
    I excluded Gray's tenure at DHS to save him some face but lets run down the facts shall we:
    5 million in fines for denying services to the homeless
    4 million in fines for not closing down Cedar Knolls, in fact Congress had to step in to close it down.
    2 million in fines for not having nurses in public schools, yet again Congress to the rescue.
    A foster care system, in which Congress declared unconstitutional, was rifled with over payments for children that had left the homes or were never even placed.
    DC lost out on obtaining 56 million in funding because Gray did not fill out the paperwork.
    Now let us come current with errors of Gray's ways.
    Over 300 million in uncompetitive contracts to WC n Smith, who just happened to be the city contractor who constructed the illegal fence and did the renovations on Gray's home. Now how does a Chairman of the Council come on record and say "I did not know there was not a permit on file." Do you want to talk about Emmanuel Bailey, Marion Barry and the secret meetings that were held for two years, in which Bailey, son of Barbara Bailey, former employee of Gray's, was awarded a 38 million dollar lottery contract? Or let us bread break over the 10k, Gray solicited from Comcast on Council Stationary back in 2008u and how the Office of Campaign Finance made him return 5k of those funds. How about those gang intervention funds given to Harry S. Thomas Jr. Don't take my word for it, file a FOIA request.....

    Now last issue I care to address si the poverty pimping, anytime you solicit votes for a 10 gift card to Giant, that is blantant disrespect to the those they sacrificed so that women and minorities could vote. Could go into neighborhoods like Barry Farms, Condon Terrace, Ainger Place and offer "jobs" but put none of the exisitng resources in their hands is disgusting. Did you their are vendors in Ward 8 like OIC and UPO that offer paid job training, paid GED preparation, child care vouchers, etc In fact anyone and I do mean anyone that recieves TANF can go to college for FREE under the TAPIT Program. Ask Barry,no better yet ask DDOT how many times Barry called in to have snow removed last year? When you request these records, may sure to compare that to the number of times Jack, Jim, Tommy, etc called in for their wards?
    Okay, this is really the point I will make, the old guard comment refers to Sharon Pratt Kelly, Cora Masterss, and a slew of others who run the city into the ruins it was in the heydays of the 90's. The comment had nothingh to do with race, but thanks for playing!!

  • ward8forreal

    Southeast Resident
    Yes it is very sad that Fenty could not manage a Summer Jobs Program. It is not like he took a program that under Barry had less than 8,000 participants and grew it 18,000 and than 21,000 right? Cry me river,for Fenty having the gall to create a year round youth employment program. Please tell me one thing Barry has done since 2001 for Ward 8? While you are it, tell me one piece of legislation Barry got passed to benefit Ward 8?

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  • Fuck Obama and Co.

    Hlinko has his lips pressed up inside Obamas ass hole. He is the perfect example of a liberal shit head.