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Another way to handle a big-city budget crisis

D.C. isn't the only city with some mayor-council tensions. Check out what's going down right now in Newark, N.J., where Mayor Cory Booker and legislators are at odds over the city budget.

Booker, a co-fundraiser with and near-doppelganger for D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, wants to generate immediate revenue by spinning off Newark's water utility. The Newark City Council said no, meaning the city needs to find some other way to cover a $70 million budget gap.

So here's what Booker did:

Dude hauled the press corps into his office and put council members on notice.

Imagine Fenty doing that?

The financial picture in the District is not quite so bleak. Fenty though has taken a similar approach to budgeting -- looking for nontraditional and potentially unpopular ways of filling gaps, whether by cutting Emancipation Day or eliminating car inspections or dipping into supposedly sacrosanct dedicated funds, in order to avoid drastic across-the-board cuts or any sort of tax hike.

The difference here is in communications savvy. This budget year, D.C. Council members, starting with Chairman Vincent C. Gray, criticized Fenty for fee and fine hikes, dipping into dedicated funds, and most of all spending down savings that had accumulated.

But Fenty never truly made a case for why he did things the way he did them, never explained the tradeoffs he was working to avoid. Instead, he maintained his "quiet cool" approach (at least until the campaign season began in earnest) and took a beating.

Booker the brawler shows another way to go about it.

By Mike DeBonis  |  July 22, 2010; 8:32 PM ET
Categories:  Adrian Fenty , The District  
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They say a robust taxicab industry stimulates the local economy. Strange that the Fenty administration wouldn't consider that.

Posted by: starclimber9 | July 23, 2010 3:25 AM | Report abuse

There is simply no comparison between Booker and Fenty other than both are bald. Booker is light years more intelligent than Fenty.

Posted by: winston61 | July 23, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

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