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D.C. mayor's race is over, but tensions persist as council returns

It was D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray's first news conference at the Wilson Building since his victory over Mayor Adrian M. Fenty in last week's Democratic primary, but one never would have guessed it from the seemingly routine nature of Monday's proceedings. It was the usual hour-long recitation, previewing the council's legislative agenda when it reconvenes Tuesday.

The only hint that something had changed was the number of reporters, TV cameras and council members in attendance. And then, as soon as the official news conference concluded, Gray was mobbed by reporters who all wanted to talk about one thing: Would Gray consider keeping Michelle Rhee in light of her characterization of the election results as "devastating for the schoolchildren of Washington, D.C."?

"It's contingent on what the discussion is," said Gray, stressing that "it is important for us not to talk through other people."

Gray said that he and Rhee have traded phone messages in the days since the election and plan to talk this week.

Even though the election is officially over, the lingering tensions between the council and the Fenty administration persist. The council Tuesday will try to override two bills the mayor rejected during the recess period in a "pocket veto." The first would make it a crime to pay someone to vote or to register to vote. Allegations of vote-buying dogged the campaigns of Fenty and Gray in the waning days of the election, something both camps denied.

The second bill would allow trustees of the University of the District of Columbia to operate with reduced membership, because of the high number of vacancies on the panel. For months, the mayor and the council have been unable to agree on Fenty's appointments, leaving 10 openings on the 15-member board. Gray said he considers the nominees put forward by the mayor "unqualified," in part because they would not bring "influence or affluence" to the position.

During the three months before Fenty leaves office in January, Gray said that the council would only sign off on mayoral appointments critical to "moving the government forward."

When asked to identify such areas, Gray replied, "I haven't identified anything," adding, "That doesn't mean there won't be something."

Separately, the council will take up legislation intended to block a settlement payment to one of the firms at the center of an ongoing council investigation into parks and recreation renovation contracts. The firm, Banneker Ventures, is owned by Omar Karim, a friend and fraternity brother of Fenty's.

Karim is scheduled to be deposed Tuesday after a judge on Friday compelled his testimony. The attorney conducting the probe, Robert P. Trout, is scheduled to interview other subjects -- including Fenty administration officials Valerie Santos and Neil Albert -- this month and next. Trout anticipates finishing his work before the end of the council session Dec. 31.

"We want the facts, we want the information," said council member Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5), whose committee is overseeing Trout's work.

By Ann Marimow  | September 20, 2010; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Ann E. Marimow, D.C. Council, Mayor Fenty, Vincent C. Gray  
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Next: Fenty write-in campaigns begin

Comments

"2010 DCPS Test Scores DECLINE"

see news article,
DCist website: =>
http://dcist.com/2010/07/2010_dcps_test_scores_decline.php

Look at the data, rather than the
24-7 mega-media hype manipulated,
funded & produced by the Hedge Fund boyz,
Kaplan Testing corporation,
the edu-profiteers/financiers clique
& their incompetent spokesmodel rabid Rhee
(with her ludicrous lack of proven
teaching or administrative experience,
her lack of academic certification to be a superintendent,
her lack of reasonable supervisory procedures,
her lack of basic managerial skills,
her lack of teambuilding to implement goals,
her lack of community development to facilitate progress,
her lack of professional tact, her lack of essential communication insight, and
her abysmal lack
of common sense.

===========

Posted by: honestaction | September 20, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

dcpsparent :
re: Michelle Rhee's "mom friendly" comment, prepared specifically for the Oprah show, about moms not tolerating mediocre teachers being given time to grow and develop professionally. ------- Well,,,,,The unqualified, needing-to-grow-professionally, TFA principal that Rhee PUSHED on our school, despite protests from a panel of engaged, informed, truly progressive, professional educators and parents with advanced degrees in education . . . hired and protected even more inexperienced, unqualified teachers who will take YEARS to develop into true professionals. But the principal and those teachers all know how to say "yes" to their boss. Too bad they don't know the basics of how children learn, or the nuances of curriculum and instruction. It is hard, hard work indeed to have to reprogram my kids every day after school, to get them to embrace and understand learning again. Rhee's influential, BAD decisions and practices, more than ANY OTHER failure of the DC Public School system, has me on the verge of pulling my kids out of school. Rhee embarrassed herself mightily at the DC screening of this film with her comment insulting DC voters. My kids, and the 350 others in their school, will not be devastated at all when she leaves. We assume she will head to the business world for which she may have more appropriate skills."

==========

Posted by: honestaction | September 20, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Mayor Gray, don't get bullied (or suckered) by the Post's "dog park" crowd into retaining the Fenty team that the citizens of D.C., by their vote, resoundingly Rhee-jected last week. Put YOUR people in all the available cabinet slots with a goal of competence and reflecting D.C.'s diverse population. One City. Stay strong.
_______________

"Movin on up!" -- The Jeffersons

"Just cuz it's a theme song don't make it not true." -- black Vietnam veteran Lincoln Osiris

Posted by: broadwayjoe | September 20, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

From the piece:
During the three months before Fenty leaves office in January, Gray said that the council would only sign off on mayoral appointments critical to "moving the government forward."

=======

Schadenfreude, so the definition goes, is taking delight from the misfortune of others. Here, I am one of the 'others,' waiting now for well over a year an appeal decision from the Rental Housing Commission...with no seeming end in sight as the RHC presently has NO MEMBERS, zero, none, the three appointees never having been sworn in. Now why would Mayor Fenty take delight in that & not swear in his three confirmed RHC appointees, hanging out myself [& many others] to dry?

Mr. Gray, kindly consider the reconstituting of the Rental Housing Commission as one of those critical components to "moving the government forward."

Posted by: MrSoftee | September 22, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

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