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DeMorning DeBonis: June 11, 2010


Hmm. Where to start, the late campaign finance numbers or last night's Ward 3 mayoral forum? Let's start with the money: Vincent Gray put up a very respectable showing in his first filing, raising more than $561,000 (which includes a $25,000 personal loan). Incumbent Adrian Fenty raised "only" $475,000 in the period -- leaving him with a balance of more than $3.3 million. While Gray has a little more than one-tenth of that in the bank, he's now proven that he can raise enough cash for a credible citywide effort. At St. Columba's Episcopal Church last night, the two candidates sparred mightily, with Fenty repeatedly attempting to attach Gray to the failings of early '90s city government, and Gray angrily defending his record. Call that particular debate a stalemate. But Fenty closed strong, with a minute-long speech that mentioned only one topic: Michelle Rhee, and the "void and absence of leadership" shown in Gray's refusal to say what he'd do with the schools chancellor. "Yes, she is brash. Yes, she is aggressive. Yes, she is a hard charger," Fenty told the crowd. But look at the test scores, graduation rates and teacher salaries. There's an argument Ward 3 likes to hear.

AFTER THE JUMP -- Where Shannon Hader's departure leaves the city -- OPM chief is a Fenty fan -- The gay case against Fenty -- DDOT explains Penn Ave. bike lane snafu -- Top public executive loves to hula hoop


MORE CAMPAIGN FINANCE -- I summarized the early filings yesterday. Early in the day, it looked as though Vincent Orange had outraised Kwame Brown in the chairman's race, but a late amendment by the Brown camp pushed their guy back into the lead. WBJ's Michael Neibauer looks at filings in the chair race and the mayor's race. And Lydia DePillis notes at Housing Complex that the payday lending/pawn industries have been spreading money around. One filing you won't find: That of Kelvin Robinson, who dropped out of the at-large race and decided to challenge Tommy Wells in Ward 6 instead. He'll have to start his fundraising and ballot petitions from scratch. Why the switch? Robinson tells Neibauer that "parts of Ward 6 are 'not getting the attention they deserve' and Wells has been too focused on issues -- cleaning the Anacostia River, adding bike lanes -- that don't get to the heart of challenges faced by his constituents." Robinson also addressed the federal investigation of his fundraising activities in the Williams administration: "I maintain my continued innocence in whatever that allegation was."

MORE FROM WARD 3 -- From Tim Craig and Ann Marimow's late-edition wrap: "The forum, the third joint appearance between Fenty and the City Council chairman this month, grew heated as the mayor continued his assault on Gray's record while head of the Department of Human Services under former mayor Sharon Pratt in the early 1990s. Despite a chorus of boos from the audience, Fenty repeatedly attacked Gray for his service during the Pratt administration, accusing him of being part of a government that nearly bankrupted the city. 'I know Gray supporters don't want to hear the truth,' said Fenty, responding to the boos. 'The Department of Human Services was spending money hand over fist during your leadership.' When Gray got a chance to respond, he leapt to his feet and walked to within a few feet of Fenty. Cheered on by supporters as he shook his finger at the mayor, Gray stated: 'I will put my record up against your record any day. ... You want to talk about my record, let's get it on.' ...At nearly every chance, Fenty sought to shift the focus back to the Pratt administration. Fenty noted that the Department of Human Services was under 16 court orders under Gray's leadership. He also accused Gray of failing to adequately address juvenile justice issues in the early 1990s. 'The truth hurts,' Fenty said. Gray responded: 'How can you be so misinformed?'"

BEHIND THE SCENES -- The Post's Darryl Fears looks at the aftermath of Shannon Hader's departure from the city HIV/AIDS agency, which is left "without a strong leader at a time when federal agencies are pouring millions of dollars into the District to study its epidemic infection rate, the city prepares to host the massive International AIDS Conference and [Fenty] campaigns for reelection. ... Fenty will face voters in the gay community who want to know why he allowed the popular director to walk away from the agency that addressed what he described as his 'Number 1 health priority.' " He adds: "AIDS activists who at first doubted Hader when she took over an administration with a long record of failures in 2007 said she had lived up to her résumé in a way that others had not. And they quietly asked why the mayor allowed her to go. ... Hader left under a cloud of speculation by city officials and AIDS activists, who said she did not get along with Pierre Vigilance, director of the Department of Health. The activists declined to speak on the record because the city controls the grant money that allows them to operate. Some city officials declined to be identified because they serve at the mayor's pleasure, and others said they did not want any comment to potentially derail projects they are negotiating with the mayor."

HEARING IMPAIRED? -- Another Harry Jaffe crime column: This one starts with him pondering whether he has to issue a correction for asking why Phil Mendelson "has refused to hold hearings on a crime bill that would permit the city to bring civil injunctions against suspected gang members." Mendo says he had such a hearing April 19, but Jaffe protests, saying there was no discussion on said injunctions. Cue this questionable compliment: "In my view, Mendelson is trying to stiffen some laws and change the council's reputation for coddling criminals. Others are not so sure. Says Attorney General Peter Nickles: 'I don't think the council member has been helpful in fighting crime.' Says police union chief Kris Baumann: 'Phil Mendelson has been and will continue to be a disaster for law enforcement in this city.' " But there's a happy ending: "I discovered common ground. All three support changes to the law that would make public juvenile criminal records that are now protected by privacy laws. ... Mendelson says he's ready to hold hearings and propose changes. Let's hold him to his word -- no questions asked."

SURROGATE CRASHER -- Barack Obama may not have yet delivered a Fenty endorsement, but his personnel chief certainly is a fan, Tim Craig reported at D.C. Wire. Office of Personnel Management Director John M. Berry, the highest-ranking gay federal official, appeared with hizzoner at the naming of a stretch of 17th Street NW for trailblazing activist Frank Kameny. Said Barry, "Mr. Mayor, as someone who has lived here for 51 years, you have done a phenomenal job of leading the renaissance of this city ... We can stand eye-to-eye and shoulder-to-shoulder with any capital in the world today. Thank you. Thank you." Tim notes: "[H]is comments, which come during the heat of the mayoral campaign, raise what many political strategists consider the big unknown in the election. Will Obama be sending a signal about whether he prefers Fenty or [Gray] as his mayor?"

INSIDE ANACOSTIA HIGH -- Ahead of Michelle Obama's graduation speech to Anacostia High School students today, the Post editorial board finds "reasons to cheer" apart from the FLOTUS visit. "The bigger news ... is the work underway to transform this long-troubled D.C. high school. A unique partnership between the D.C. public school system and a charter organization [Friendship Public Charter Schools] is beginning to show signs of progress. ... Today the halls are orderly, a new uniform policy is enforced, attendance is up and suspensions are down. Where once teachers thought nothing of students asleep at their desks, there is now an insistence on paying attention. Real change, though, doesn't happen overnight, or even in one year. Academic performance is still unsatisfactory, and it remains to be seen whether Friendship will meet its targets for attendance and graduation. Still, there is no doubt that Anacostia is finally off to good start."

HURT LOCKER -- Georgetown neighbors are not happy about the city's plans for the Hurt Home on R Street NW, which it wants to sell to a developer for a condo conversion: "Residents were expected to discuss only specific public uses for the building as alternatives to surplusing, and the meeting, David Roberts of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development made clear from the outset, would not affect the fact that a developer had already been selected -- "it is kind of check-the-box," Roberts admit. But Georgetown residents saw things a little differently. Their anger at the city representatives' perfunctory approach to the meeting often reaching a fever pitch, residents at the meeting accused Roberts and his colleagues of keeping them in the dark during the search for a public use for the building and failing to publicize the meeting well," Molly Redden reports for the Georgetown Dish.

GAYS FOR GRAY? -- Political consultant Lane Hudson makes the LGBT case against Fenty ahead of this weekend's Pride festivities. "When he was elected, many believed that he was the breath of fresh air that our city needed. What began with great hope has turned to disappointment and frustration. ... The most cursory assessment of his contribution to our community is summed up by: 'He signed the marriage bill.' On the surface, that may seem to be an indication that he stands with us. But in a town where a citywide candidate is not considered viable without supporting marriage equality, simply signing such an overwhelmingly popular bill is not that courageous. From the day Fenty took office, he was MIA on the work to make marriage equality a reality. ... Once the work was done, Mayor Fenty did stage a triumphant ceremony to sign the marriage bill. Finally, the mayor was no longer silent. He was celebratory. No work, just celebrating after the work is finished. That's a recurring theme of Fenty's tenure." Hudson, needless to say, is a Gray supporter.

STATION SURCHARGE -- Metro may identify six stations -- two in each jurisdiction -- where riders embarking or disembarking would have to pay a five-cent surcharge, Post WMATA beatster Ann Scott Tyson reports today. The money would be set aside for capital projects. One is likely to be Union Station; the others are up for debate. District transportation officials came up with the idea, but Jim Graham, natch, is against it: "We are approving a fare increase, details to be provided later," he said. ALSO: Board member Peter Benjamin tells WUSA-TV: "At this point, we don't believe we will raise fares for the next two years. That's our policy."

D.LIGHTFUL -- DDOT gets a blog; it's called "d.ish." An early post features Director Gabe Klein responding to the Pennsylvania Avenue bicycle lane controversy: "Unfortunately some things didn't translate, or come to life until they were on pavement. ... What will result now, is a relatively straight alignment for cyclists, less confusion for motorists as a result, slightly smaller lanes, which will be recognized as bike lanes but still have abundant space, protection for cyclists by using the median behind the bollards and the stop lights (an area that cars are not used to driving on), and as an added bonus, some lanes given back to traffic."

COPS BEAT GUNS -- In letter to the editors of the Washington Times, Police Chief Cathy Lanier responds to the contention that widespread ownership of private guns prevents crime: "[C]riminals will not get away with taking a life in the District. If you take a life today, we will find you and gather the evidence to arrest and prosecute you. If you murdered someone in the past, you can never rest easily; you will never be safe, no matter how much time passes. For these cold cases, justice in the District may not be as swift as we want it to be, but it will be certain. With all due respect to legal gun owners in the District of Columbia, this has been the key to driving down homicide, not legally registered handguns in the home."


A self-serving piece of advice for hizzoner: If you're going to appear on a TV morning show to speak about what's in the news, you may want to pick up a copy of the major metropolitan daily newspaper. (D.C. Wire)

Shadow Rep. Mike Panetta's Free and Equal D.C. fund is buying Montana radio ads slamming Sen. Jon Tester, a fellow Democrat, for meddling in local D.C. affairs (Free and Equal D.C. -- MP3)

Council calls on Congress to "provide spouse-related immigration rights to foreign-born same-sex partners of American citizens" and asks the Food and Drug Administration "to end its 28-year-old policy banning blood donations by any man who has had sex with another man." (Blade)

More deets on the Center Leg Freeway deal with Louis Dreyfus Co. The city is offering $5.1 million in tax breaks during construction, but the project could be done -- and generating new tax revenue -- within six years. (WBJ)

Twelve at New Beginnings earn GEDs (AP)

In praise of old teachers (All Opinions Are Local)

By the numbers: Fenty's damning FOIA record (City Desk)

Kwame Brown among three COG reps named to Metro governance task force (Post brief)

National union leaders endorse Gray, pledge support (AFGE news release)

All-education mayoral debate set for June 28 (D.C. Schools Insider)

TV hops on the faulty breath-test story (WTTG-TV, WUSA-TV)

Mid-city arts overlay amendment expected to pass without much opposition (Housing Complex)

More on the Ward 4 affordable housing development opened by Fenty yesterday (DCmud)

WASA General Manager George Hawkins, a hula hoop and a video camera (Facebook)

*** DESSERT ***

Ted Leonsis takes control of the Wizards -- who may soon be rockin' the red: "It's no secret I am partial to red. ... We all saw the change in the Capitals' uniform and how it was galvanizing." (Post

*** ON THE MENU ***

FLOTUS addresses Anacostia High grads, but will she mention voting rights? -- D.C. Democratic State Committee forum and straw poll tomorrow, all day -- Capital Pride parade kicks off tomorrow at 6 p.m.

By Mike DeBonis  |  June 11, 2010; 12:22 PM ET
Categories:  Morning Mike , The District  
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Next: Will Fenty change his tune on parks contracts?


so, does this mean that the "red"skins will actually change the uniform color to red as well—make this a town where all teams have the same colors (like pittsburgh)?

Posted by: IMGoph | June 15, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

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