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Loose Lips Daily: Gray Starts Listening Edition

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  • Good morning sweet readers! What's that, you love chicken nuggets? Not anymore you don't. News time:

    The Listening Tour Begins: Almost Mayor Vince Gray got the old band together last night for a reunion concert at Community Academy Public Charter School in friendly Ward 5. Mostly, Gray stuck to his greatest hits: More collaborative school reform (though when pressed by a really bright middle school student, Gray said he's not going to micromanage and reinstate Patrick Pope, the beloved former Hardy Middle School principal); a stronger focus on adult job training and making sure D.C. residents get D.C. government jobs; and more community policing. One of the biggest applause lines of the evening was when Gray said that Peacoholics, the anti-youth violence non-profit co-founded by Mayor Adrian Fenty superfan Ron Moten, has seen its gravy train leaving the station. Gray gave some straight talk about the how the city's divides may never be completely bridged, and the city's budget woes, which he said earlier Tuesday included a $350 million-to-$400 million projected deficit in fiscal 2012, will cause many painful choices ahead. (He also repeated a line that LL is sure to hear a thousand more times in coming months about cutting to the "bone marrow.")  For more, see write-ups in the Post, where Nikita Stewart points out that Gray was on friendly turf in Ward 5 and will face a more critical crowd tomorrow in Ward 3, and the Examiner, where Freeman Klopott mentions that Gray's fy12 projections didn't come from the CFO's office. DCist's Martin Austermuhle is his usual thoughtful Swiss self.

    AFTER THE JUMP: Anthony Williams Slams Post, Snakes Alive!; Memo of Truth ...

    All Aboard the Straight Talk Express: Courtland Milloy has another must-read. This one is an interview with former Mayor Anthony Williams, who unloads on the Post for playing pattycake with Fenty for the last four years: "I think the Washington Post's four years of adoration and devotion did Adrian a disservice. You guys beat the [daylights] out of me, and it kept me humble. I don't know if you all were on vacation or what, but if I had done some of the things Adrian did, I would have been run out of town. Adrian never had to explain himself. I found that being called out in the newspaper and screamed at during community meetings is a powerful antidote to arrogance and keeps you on your toes." (Oooh—Tony said "shit!") In LL's short time on the job, he thinks the hardworking Post Metro desk reporters have been doing a fine job calling Fenty out when he deserves it. But neither LL, nor most of the Wilson Building for that matter, would quibble with what Williams said when it comes to the Post editorial board. LL hopes they are listening. Anyhoo, Williams thinks Gray should try and work it out with School Chancellor Michelle Rhee and then compares mayors and school leaders to sherpas climbing Mount Everest. We don't look forward to the Jon Krakauer version.

    Quote of the Day Award: "It's all related to quality of life ... What you do to the least of these, you do to me." Today's winner is Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, who gets all Jesus-like when explaining why he voted for Councilmember Mary Cheh's wildlife protection bill that would "impose some of the nation's strictest standards for how animal- and pest-control companies can remove raccoons, opossums, foxes, snakes and other nuisance animals from lawns, attics and basements," according to the Post's Tim Craig. (LL had a friend who lived in a remote village in snake-hating Gabon, where he said he once saw a villager bash in a snake's head, chop it up into pieces, set it on fire, then drive over the ashes with a car. Don't tell Cheh.)

    Anyone But JaneyJonetta Rose Barras offers up her opinions on four possible candidates to replace Rhee. Saying Bob Bobb, Deborah Gist and Paul Vallas all have Rhee-like qualities and would be good choices, but Rhee's predecessor Clifford Janey would be a step backward.

    I paid $15k and All I Got Was This Hurtful Memo: Kudos to Mike DeBonis for finding this memo for Democratic operatives, penned by Bill Knapp, a politico and biz partner to Fenty and Rhee's communications helper Anita Dunn. In it, Knapp says it was Fenty's personality problems that caused him to lose, saying he neglected a critical base and had become "flawed and expendable." This ought to be required reading for the next national media nitwit who writes that Fenty lost because he championed school reform.

    Police presence expected at Jamal Coates' funeral.

    HIV tests begin at DMV.

    University of Michigan students don't want us to vote online.

    Today on Newstalk, Bruce talks with Marion Barry about whatever Marion Barry wants to talk about, and FOP head Kris Baumann chats about Cathy Lanier's future.

    Comments

    1. #1

      Gray's excuse for being a failure ("Fenty done spent all the money!") is already being parroted by his propaganda arm at the Washington City Rag.

      Good job quislings.

    2. #2

      and let me guess Flernty.... you dont believe it? You think the money is still there? It may be sitting in an offshore account somewhere but I think its safe to say the citizens of DC no longer have access to it and therefor should consider it SPENT.

    3. #3

      The recession has been ongoing since 2007. DC's tax receipts have decreased every year since 2008. In the past 3 years alone, we've reduced our budget by $600 million. Another $400 million would make a total of $1 billion- 1/3 of our overall local funding.
      The rainy-day fund has been spent half-way down to cushion the worst of the effects of this and to build up our infrastructure so to lay a foundation for a strong recovery. But now that rainy-day fund is at $500 million- a point where spending it down further will increase the cost of debt.
      There are no good choices here.

    4. #4

      Whatever T. Nice to see your hero is making those "tough decisions" you were talking about. His first "tough decision" is to scream like a girl "DON'T BLAME ME!"

      Err... even though he was the friggen City Council Chair and has seen and approved every friggen budget? Yeah I'm young, but I wasn't born YESTERDAY.

      What a leader you got there.

    5. #5

      Re the Milloy/Williams interview: Wow.
      "...
      So going forward, what advice would give the presumptive Mayor-elect Vincent Gray - other than don't expect a free ride like Fenty got?

      As you know, I supported Fenty . . .

      Yeah, but your mother came out for Gray . . .

      Yeah, but you're not talking to my mother, you're talking to me.

      Just giving her a shout-out.

      Here's the challenge for Vince: In education, there is the long haul - improving graduation rates, test scores, reducing dropout rates. But there is also a short term. We are having a serious problem getting adults ready for jobs. We need job training and community-college training. Let's say Vince kept Michelle to work on the long haul.

      Let's not.

      I like Michelle.

      Who else?

      Robert Bobb, my former city administrator now in charge of school reform in Detroit. Robert is really talented. He knows how to work with communities, and he knows how to deliver the goods.

      See, that wasn't hard. Rhee is not the only one, is all I'm saying.

      Actually I think she is good, and although a lot of people disagree, I would try to sit down and work something out. Keeping Rhee gives Vince the opportunity to promote change throughout the city, helps him get support for even the toughest tasks like job training and employment for ex-offenders.

      Yeah, Gray might want to get that in writing.

      Of course it didn't help for Rhee to say, whether she meant it or not, that Vince's election was "devastating" for the children of the city.

      No kidding! So what if Rhee leaves - give me the long view of school reform.

      I was reading a National Geographic story about people who climb Mount Everest. They can't do it all in a day. So these people called sherpas help set up base camps along the way, supplying the camps and guiding the climbers. In many respects, that's what mayors and school leaders are to education reform: a succession of sherpas setting up base camps for our little climbers, each camp a little higher than the last. I was a sherpa. Adrian and Michelle are sherpas. Vince will take us higher - he may even be the sherpa who plants the flag. "

    6. #6

      You said it with your last point.... Gray as council chair approved a budget.... A budget that Fenty DID NOT adhere to for 3 years in a row. Just like everything else, he thought he knew better and chose not to stick to the budget that Gray as council chair approved. Fenty as Mayor over spent in almost every agency the amount of money alloted for each year..... NOT sticking to any budget, spending without regard to consequences thus leaving the city in the state that it finds itself. Gray is not "my hero" but he is the person I voted for to clean up the mess that you want to pretend isn't here. Just because the WAPO and a few of you refuse to see all the trash under the bed and in the closet doesn't make it disappear. Check the amount approved vs the amount spent for every agency in the city for the last 3 years and then tell me it wasnt mismanagement.

    7. #7

      T, I say Gray is full of excuses and you start talking about Fenty. Nice try.

      You can't vote against Fenty again, that horse is BEAT TO DEATH. At some point Vince Gray has to come up with an idea other than "Fenty likes whites too much" or "Fenty spent all the money" or "Fenty fired all the black women teachers."

      Is he a leader or not?

    8. #8

      Rez, Cortland Milloy is to Gray supporters what Glenn Beck is to tea baggers. He's just cashing the WaPo checks -- don't let it get to you.

    9. #9

      Adrian M. Fenty=Sharon Pratt-Kelly

    10. #10

      S.E.
      No, Sharon Pratt-Kelly endorsed Gray.
      AMF= Anthony Williams.
      Both accomplished many things and ended up being hated by broad swaths of the black community.
      The real question is:
      Gray = ???

    11. #11

      flernty
      I actually think it took guts for Milloy to publish this. I mean, he's talking to the wise elder of local DC good government and putting it in print that Williams supported Fenty for re-election and thinks Vince Gray should keep Michelle Rhee.
      In all honesty, my opinion of Milloy went up a notch. Well, a half a notch anyway.

    12. #12

      Mr Gray hasn't gone to the fifth floor of 1350 pennsylvia ave yet. Give him a oppertunity to run are city,just like mr fenty was given a chance.

    13. #13

      Didn't Gray ask Fenty to put enact the hiring freeze?

    14. #14

      Yawn.

    15. #15

      @ Flernty:

      Can you make an intelligently argued point without using sexist language? Do you have to revert to behaving and sounding like a neaderthal just to make a point? "Scream like a girl" really? Because, naturally men or boys don't scream, right?!

      Even if you disagree with someone's point of view, some of us on this sight would prefer that you not use sexist language to make your point. Thanks.

    16. #16

      Correction:

      @ Flernty:

      Can you make an intelligently argued point without using sexist language? Do you have to revert to behaving and sounding like a neanderthal just to make a point? “Scream like a girl” really? Because, naturally men or boys don’t scream, right?!

      Even if you disagree with someone’s point of view, some of us on this sight would prefer that you not use sexist language to make your point. Thanks.

    17. Southeast Resident
      #17

      Hey Flernty, Vince Gray will manage better than Fenty. Everytime he caught up to mismanagment and overspending by Fenty, he took swift action to cut it off. Summer jobs and Peaceaholics are two examples. He will make the tough cuts and he is just getting us ready for it. The town hall tour is to identify the priorities and get fix it suggestions so he doesn't miss out when he resets the priorities and swings the ax. So up in Ward 3, over the next four years, Fido will be running around his owner's yard instead of in a taxpayer paid for dog park.

    18. #18

      d rez:

      AW was elected to two terms and would have been elected to a third. Can't do that in this city if broad swaths of black folk don't like you. Ask AMF.

    19. Southeast Resident
      #19

      Oh, Vince Gray will probably get the ball rolling by either selling or auctioning off that Smart car to get cash for the city. That car is the perfect Fenty symbol, all show and little substance! Vince Gray won't be trying to give our assets away for free or at extra cost like King Fenty.

    20. #20

      "No, Sharon Pratt-Kelly endorsed Gray.
      AMF= Anthony Williams.
      Both accomplished many things and ended up being hated by broad swaths of the black community.
      The real question is:
      Gray = ???"

      After Kelly left in came the control board. She mismanged the budget just a=like Fenty has.......neither had a clue.

    21. #21

      neve
      I disagree. Williams had lost most of the black vote and even much of the white vote by 2006.
      He campaigned hard in white ward 2 for Linda and she still lost every precinct.
      History has a way of changing peoples' perspectives.

    22. #22

      S.E.
      Fenty cut spending, in a major recession. Sharon Pratt did not. Rather, the municipal machine Barry built bent her over from day 1 and didn't stop 'till she left office in disgrace. Speaking of disgrace, Pratt Kelly left the Mayor's post in 2005, and Barry was elected Mayor (again...), and served 'till 2009. During that time, the city went bankrupt in and the Feds took control from us in late 2007. That was under Barry's watch.
      The rest is history. If you didn't live it, you might want to read it and learn it.
      Here's a short version, as I see it: Barry and Pratt Kelly remained marginally popular, but drove the city to bankruptcy. Both Williams and Fenty both ended up hated, but kept the city solvent and made real improvements to government operations and services. On the plus side (as far as I'm concerned) Williams' legacy and repute has grown with time, while Barry and Pratt-Kelly's has diminished. I expect Fenty's reputation will grow and improve with time, too.
      Gray thinks he can straddle these worlds. I hope so, but we will see. His his feet must touch the ground eventually.
      I don't envy him

    23. #23

      Holy crap.
      I'm old.
      Where did that 10 years go?
      Sub the 1990's for the 2000's in what I wrote, and my point still stands.
      Perhaps even stronger given we're now moving forward 10 years.

    24. #24

      "The rest is history. If you didn’t live it, you might want to read it and learn it".

      "Both Williams and Fenty both ended up hated, but kept the city solvent and made real improvements to government operations and services".

      I lived it as I was there. We're heade BACK there due to Adrian M.(MISMANAGEMENT) Fenty.

    25. #25

      “The rest is history. If you didn’t live it, you might want to read it and learn it”.

      “Both Williams and Fenty both ended up hated, but kept the city solvent and made real improvements to government operations and services”.

      I lived it as I was there. We’re headed BACK there due to Adrian M.(MISMANAGEMENT) Fenty.

    26. #26

      DREZ I THINK YOUR DATES AND ANALYSIS ARE A BIT OFF IN YOUR COMMENT #22 OR IS THIS ONE OF YOUR VAIN ATTEMPTS TO BE HUMOROUS?

      BARRY BARELY WARMED THE SEAT WHEN THE FINANCIAL CONTROL BOARD WAS ENACTED IN 95. IT WAS SHARON PRATT'S FAILURE AS MAYOR AND HER SO CALLED CLEAN HOUSE BULLSHIT THAT CAUSED THE SPIRAL OUT OF CONTROL. SHE LEFT DC IN A MUCH BIGGER HOLE FINANCIALLY THAN BARRY EVER DID. JOHN WILSON WHO WAS COUNCIL CHAIR AT THE TIME COMMITTED SUICIDE DURING SHARON PRATTS TENURE AND BECAUSE OF THAT CONGRESS PERCEPTION WAS THAT DC WAS A CITY WITH NO CLEAR CUT LEADER AND SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE.

      BARRY WAS REELECTED CEREMONIOUSLY BECAUSE BLACK FOLK KNEW THAT WAS PURE ENTRAPMENT BY THE WHITE MAN. THE BUZZ WAS THAT BARRY WAS RUNNING THE CITY WHILE HIGH AS A MOFO BUT AT LEAST HE KEPT US WORKING AND DIDNT AND PUT US IN THE HOLE FINANCIALLY. WHAT WAS SHARON PRATT'S EXCUSE?

      THE BARRY AND CLARKE SHOW ALREADY RAN ITS COURSE ONCE BEFORE SO THE FEDS STEPPED IN. CONTRARY TO YOUR BELIEF WILLIAMS WASNT HATED AND IF HE WAS IT WAS NOT ON THE SAME LEVEL AS FAGGIE FENTY. SHARON PRATT'S TENURE WAS A SYSTEMATIC FAILURE AS WAS FENTY'S. EVEN THOUGH SHE ACTUALLY LIVED ON THE EAST SIDE OF 16TH ST SHE STILL LIVED ON 16TH ST NW AND HAD THAT SAME OUT OF TOUCH BOURGEOIS BLACK MENTALITY AS YOUR BOY. SHE WAS A NATIVE AND STILL DROVE US INTO THE DITCH.

      THE SOON TO BE FORMER MAYOR LEGACY WILL NOT GROW BECAUSE FOLK HAD A CERTAIN DISGUST AND DISDAIN FOR THAT JOKER THAT WILL STAND THE TEST OF TIME BECAUSE HE IS NATIVE SON OF W.D.C. AS WELL. HE LIVED THROUGH THE HISTORY LIKE I DID AND SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.

      KUDOS TO MAYOR GRAY FOR REACHING OUT TO ALL WARDS BEFORE HAND SO HE CAN HIT THE FLOOR RUNNING. WHAT THE FUCK IS RHEE DOING? HAS SHE BEEN TO WORK IN THE PAST TWO MONTHS?

      ONE CITY!

    27. Southeast Resident
      #27

      Sharon Kelly was done in by entrenched Barry aligned people that did not want to help her and new out of towners who knew little of nothing about DC and had little experience running a city of this size. She would have succeeded by either hiring from within or hiring competent long serving Federal managers working in the city.

    28. #28

      noodlez
      Yes, as noted above I'd had my dates off by 10 years.
      What can I say, I'm getting old.
      BUT As no doubt you will recall while the control board was enacted in 1995, it didn't really strip powers from our elected officials until 1997- 2 years later and 3 years into Barry's return from "exile".
      See: http://www.democracynow.org/1997/9/4/washington_dc_control_board

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