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Fenty and Gray again raise ethical questions

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and chief rival Vincent C. Gray tempered their criticisms of each other Friday in their second one-on-one debate in as many days before about 150 members of the city's hotel industry.

In the hour-long debate moderated by NBC4's Tom Sherwood, the candidates in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary mostly stuck to the issues, drawing distinctions in the area of education.

Fenty criticized Gray for failing to take a stand on schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, who he said "has captured the imagination of the country."

"There is no way in the world that you can run for mayor in the District of Columbia and fail to say what you are going to do with hiring or not hiring Michelle Rhee as my opponent has said," Fenty said.

Consistent with past comments, Gray said the city had institutionalized school reform that would not be dependent on one person and would sit down with Rhee after Sept. 14 if elected. He said the Fenty administration has treated charter schools "shabbily" and said he would look at the system to make sure that students in the nontraditional public schools are funded equally with those in traditional public schools.

The debate was less contentious than Thursday's matchup on WPFW, in which Fenty and Gray were talking over each other to raise points about ethical lapses, but both candidates tried Friday to convince the crowd that the other had poor principles.

Overall, Gray managed to get in a few more zingers than Fenty, boosted by a crowd that appeared to be in Gray's favor in an auditorium of the Renaissance Washington hotel.

In closing remarks, Fenty told the crowd that he would run the government the same way he has since taking office in 2007. "What do you expect in a Fenty administration? You can expect what you've seen over the past four years," he said. "High-level professionals working with the business community. Getting things done."

Seeing an obvious opening, Gray responded by raising the controversy surrounding recreation construction contracts that went to firms with ties to Fenty, though he wrongly said they were awarded "without competitive bidding."

"You talk about you're going to get the same thing for four more years from a Fenty administration. You sure are," Gray said to laughter. "That's exactly why you should vote for me for mayor."

A theme of Gray's campaign has been to restore transparency to the mayor's office, focusing on how the Fenty administration transferred millions of dollars and awarded the construction contracts without council approval. But Fenty again tried to turn the tables on Gray's promise of openness Friday. This time, he pointed Gray's last-minute budget change last month to transfer of the Patricia R. Harris Education Center, which had been used to train social workers and firefighters.

"Most of the city council didn't even know it was in there," Fenty said. "It was only at 1 o'clock in the morning, the same time when the chairman took out all that money for the streetcars that no one knew about either, that he decided that he was going to give P.R. Harris to somebody without a competitive process, without a competitive bid."

But Fenty's dig backfired. Gray told the crowd: "Let me tell you who now controls P.R. Harris. It is this obscure organization. I think the mayor said was turned over to somebody. You probably have never heard of this entity called the University of the District of Columbia."

By Nikita R Stewart  |  July 16, 2010; 1:58 PM ET
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Next: Evans appears in new TV ad for Fenty


I am all for transparency particularly from anyone who will help me advance an agenda based on creating jobs face-to-face with small businesses as the foundation for job creation RATHER than raising taxes, hiking fees, or firing people without consideration of the high acquisition that it costs to find, retain, and keep the most valuable talent (i.e. those with experience).

I DON'T get government grants, giveaways, or sweetheart deals. My small business makes money using old fashioned barometers called quality, profitability, and accountability. If it doesn't make DOLLARS, it doesn't make sense!

But, addressing the RESULTS, I don't like what I see here:

Can someone please explain this to us - the businesses and residents of DC? We'd like some short, specific answers that are 'to the point'. These are NOT the kind of results that I want to see for the next four years, do you?

Posted by: jobforce | July 16, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

“Fenty told the crowd that he would run the government the same way he has since taking office in 2007.”

See this is what scares me about the Gestapo. He doesn’t take any responsibility for the mis-management under his tenure. He hasn’t said “Hey there were some things that were done wrong and here’s how it will be different with XY&Z.”

It’s become clearer with each day that he’s delusiona and so out of touch with the political pulse of this city.

But on the other hand I’m starting to wonder if he knows he going to win b/c the election will be fixed.

"What do you expect in a Fenty administration? You can expect what you've seen over the past four years," he said.

Ok so that means:
-$83million laundered to friends
- Issuing check for $2.5 million to Banneker Associates despite an on-going investigation
-No job plan for those who are un-employed in the District.
-Attorney General who enters into agreements providing financial payments to groups under current investigation by the city council.
- God Daddy Nickels aka Attorney General for City, yet never defends the citizens of D.C
-Peachoholics given funding without written contracts or results.
-D.C. Youth Facility inmates escape and kill D.C. residents
-Shut down the Department of Mental Health (who will mostly likely use the new hospital owned by the city)
-Firing Grace Wiggins types (meaning any D.C. civil servants who side with District residents seeking to keep their places of residents affordable)
- Pretty much denying any Directors to testifying to the council
-Nominating unqualified individuals to influential boards
-having a 75,000 heater installed in his favorite city pool
- having his name scrawled in super sized letters on the new soccer field
-using city money to throw a frat party
-Cut D.C. Fire Cadet Program (few programs that allowed 18-22 yr to become firefighters.
- Summer Youth debacle (years 2007 -2010)
-Peter Nickels refusing to make public the books on NCRC and AWC
-Fire Truck Scandal
-HIV rates climbed to the highest and federal money mismanaged (Bars HIV Director from meeting w/ HUD’s top brass.)
-400k doggy parks
-Maintaining friendships with Moten types who intimidate citizens and elected officials
-using police resources to stop traffic so that his friends can ride bikes

Posted by: thelildiva4u | July 16, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"There is no way in the world that you can run for mayor in the District of Columbia and fail to say what you are going to do with hiring or not hiring Michelle Rhee as my opponent has said," Fenty said.

Queen Michelle already stated she was leaving if Gray won.

Besides, she a terrible chancellor. Keeping her would be a great disservice to the people of D.C.

Posted by: aby1 | July 16, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

debra21756JCG wrote:

How about Michael DeBonis, Nikita Stewart, Tim Craig, their editor, and the owners of the Washington Post explain to DC residents why Stewart, Craig, and DeBonis wrote nothing at all about WPFW's hour-long interview the same day with DC Mayoral 2010 Candidate Leo Alexander? And, how about W.Post editors and owners of the W. Post tell DC residents why the W.Post intentionally writes nothing at all about Mayoral 2010 Candidate Leo Alexander. Again, Leo Alexander was also interviewed the same day on WPFW for an hour by Jonetta Barras, Mark Plotkin, Michael DeBonis, and Eugene Kinlow an hour prior to the interview with the mudslinging and both unethical Fenty and Gray. The interview with
Leo Alexander broadly covered major issues, was extremely interesting, completely free of two mudslinging peas-the-pod, and shouldn't DeBonis, Stewart, and Craig have as well informed D.C. residents about WPFW's interview with
Leo Alexander and his positions on top issues of importance to DC residents? Why not W.Post? How about telling DC residents why not. Could it be the Washington Post only wants DC residents informed about W.Post boy Fenty and W.Post back-up boy Gray? For sure indeed. Is there something seriously wrong with this action on the part of the W.Post? Most certainly. Also, should Fenty or Gray campaign signs be in the front yards of several DC reporters who write about or cover the 2010 mayoral campaign? Is this fairness, objectivity, and lack of conflict of interest in action? No. It is the owners and rich friends of powerful DC media organizations all with important financial and desired social interests having as a result decided exactly which mayoral candidates DC residents should exclusively know about. Is DC media in the nation's capital of America or in cold-war Soviet Union? Go figure. Peace!

Posted by: debra21756JCG | July 16, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who stopped to consider whether UDC needs more land may have thought about this partial list of UDC-owned property:
1) a crumbling campus in an excellent location;
2) a $1.6 million home for its president;
3) a 143-acre farm, which is mostly forest.

Then again, the best process for these decisions is to let Vince Gray make them in the middle of the night, while the rest of us find out after it's a done deal.

Posted by: hungrypug | July 16, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Now debra21756JCG please! You and Valencia are the only two who think Leo is in this race. And the more Mulatto comments you make, the less votes he gets.

Seriously, no one cares about color. What everyone cares about first and foremost is getting FENTY out of office. There are those that support Vince because they KNOW he will do a wonderful job. There are those who support him because they dont want to split the anti Fenty vote. AND... there are those who support him because... well lets face it, no one could do worse than who we have now. Not even Marion.

I keep telling you that now is not the time for Leo. Not many are against him per se (except the latinos he wants to deport) we just dont know who he is and don't have time to find out.

Over the next 4 years he has the opportunity to get out in the city and get to know everyone so we can form SOME kind of opinion of him... but you are turning him into another "Faith" with all your racist rhetoric. He wont be able to fill a one room shack because no-one will take him seriously. You are hurting Leo the same way Ron is hurting Fenty. You are embarrassing him in public now stop it!


(Faith, I'm not calling you a racist, just saying that most people take you for a joke but we know your as nice as beans :))

Posted by: tformation1 | July 17, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Fenty seems to think we should be upset that Gray is a human being. Oh no, he got a traffic ticket! Oh no, his fence is too high! Oh no, he flip flopped on the street car issue. Next he is going to be claiming that Gray is a jaywalker or something like that.

Gray has human failings, as we all do, and you don't get to be his age and not make some mistakes. But get real, Gray is in his 60's and that is all they can come up with? Fenty has a far worse record and he is much younger. And saying that he will do the same things in a new term is showing that he hasn't learned anything.

Posted by: tacard1 | July 17, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

@thelildiva4u: That is one great and complete list. Just one more: TEST SCORES DROPPED

@tformation: So appropriate!

Posted by: candycane1 | July 17, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

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