Fenty brings new, contrite tone to appearance at Ward 6 school
D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty spent more than an hour at J.O. Wilson Elementary in Northeast Washington on Monday morning, squatting to talk with small children, encouraging teachers and talking like a repentant sinner regarding the persistent charge that he doesn't listen residents from all segments of the city.
"We have sometimes in the last three-and-a-half years been so focused on getting results," he said. "But then they will say 'he has to do a better job listening to people, do a better job making sure people are heard and their thoughts are considered,' and I agree with that."
As went door-to-door, Fenty said he had a change of heart in terms of his approach, as he constantly has heard from those who didn't like his leadership style.
"What I tell them is, 'vote for me for the results that I have been able to accomplish and give me a second chance on approach, with style and including people.' " Fenty said.
"I think the whole city voted for a hard-charging, driven, accountability-oriented, results-oriented Council member and wanted him to do the same as mayor."
They also want to know that his administration is considering everyone's opinion and expect their own concerns to be heard, the mayor said.
Fenty may have ground to make up in Ward 6, where parents who in years past might have previously fled to the suburbs have kept their kids in improved elementary schools, including Wilson. The mayor should perform fairly well in the area -- which includes Capitol Hill, Eastern Market and the gentrifying areas along the waterfront and near National Park -- but Gray won a Democratic Party straw poll there in late July.
A row of houses along 7th Street near the school had Vince Gray signs in their front yards. Neighbor Ernest Pichon said he was supporting Gray because Fenty hadn't done enough for the homeless and the poor in the District and had made statements about the homeless that Pinchon disagreed with.
But when Pichon heard that Fenty had vowed to listen to residents in all parts of the city, he perked up and said "If he realizes the mistakes he has made, I would vote for him."
Christopher Dean Hopkins
August 24, 2010; 1:31 PM ET
Categories: 2010 District Election , Mayor Fenty , Vincent C. Gray
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