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DeMorning DeBonis: July 22, 2010

TODAY IS JULY 22, 2010 -- 54 DAYS UNTIL PRIMARY DAY

Strong lede from Tim Craig and Nikita Stewart on the sudden resignation of Errol Arthur as Board of Elections and Ethics chair. His move, they write, "threatens to weaken oversight of the Sept. 14 Democratic primary and has rekindled a power struggle between the mayor and the D.C. Council over appointments to boards and commissions." Mayor Adrian Fenty is reserving the right to make an "emergency" appointment to the board without council approval. "If that occurs, Fenty will have unilaterally seated a majority of the board charged with overseeing an election in which he is a candidate," Tim and Nikita write, and that does not make Vince Gray happy. But never fear: David Catania and Mary Cheh gave the Fenty folks a list of confirmable names, which consists, according to Catania, of "retired judges, former U.S. attorneys [or] former members of the Federal Election Commission." Longtime BOEE watchdog Dorothy Brizill deems it a "true Charter crisis." Question: Will Fenty play nice or will he play "big-city mayor"? He says at least one "blue chip" name will come today.

AFTER THE JUMP -- Barry speaks on the lottery contract -- limited SYEP payday issues -- why Kwame's debt won't matter -- shakeup for the Orange campaign -- questions persist about sexual assault stats

*** MAIN COURSE ***

CAN'T YOU ALL JUST GET ALONG? -- The Post editorial board also weighs in, saying that Fenty and Gray "need to put aside their political differences and come up with a solution to ensure the credibility of the electoral process. ... It was irresponsible of the council to recess for the summer without taking action on this matter. But we would urge Mr. Fenty, given his self-interest in the coming election, not to use his authority to make an emergency appointment. The need for a functioning board becomes all the more important when viewed against the unprecedented election reforms taking effect this year" -- including early voting, same-day registration, and other innovations.

ALSO -- From Tim and Nikita: "Fenty said Wednesday that he is considering vetoing council legislation that would make it a crime to pay someone to vote or to register to vote. ... Fenty said it is ill-advised for elected officials to change the law so close to an election."

ABOUT LAST NIGHT -- The Georgetown Dish's Molly Redden reports from the Ward 4 candidates forum: "Far and away, the audience squeezed into the auditorium turned forum responded best to responses about jobs and job training. ... Leo Alexander's remarks about illegal immigrants and DCPS students' need for better guidance at home, and Council Chair candidate Vincent Orange's remarks about the rate at which D.C. jobs go to Maryland and Virginia citizens drew a big response." WTTG-TV's Roby Chavez also covered the forums: "It was a big night for the candidates who were trying to keep a tight schedule and score points in Ward 2 and Ward 4. It was not the normal, feisty politics we have seen in past forums. For both neighborhoods, it was less about the personalities and more about the issues. ... Both Fenty and Gray, who have clashed at the forums in the past, stuck to the issues like what to do with the soon to be shuttered Walter Reed." And straight from Bruce DePuyt to the Twitterverse: "Mayor Fenty wins Ward 2 Democratic straw poll handily, beating Vince Gray 59.5%-38.7%."

STAT-JUKING? -- More on those troubling sexual assault stats first highlighted Tuesday by WTOP. Examiner's Freeman Klopott also raises questions about MPD's stat-keeping: "From Jan. 1 to June 8 there were 82 sexual assaults in the city, up from 56 during the same period in 2009, [internal MPD] documents show. But Chief Cathy Lanier told The Examiner that the document is a 'preliminary report to be used in conjunction with and read within the context of all the reports and totality of the data available to us.' The statistics, she said, are subject to change 'for a variety of reasons, including late reporting, reclassification of some offenses, and discovery that some offenses are unfounded.' ... Police union chief Kris Baumann said Lanier's formulation is designed to hide the number of serious violent sexual assaults. 'Sexual assaults are on the rise,' he said. 'If the department had aggressively informed the public of the danger, some people may not have become victims.'"

HOWDY PARTNER -- Marion Barry tells the Washington Times' Jeffrey Anderson why Emmanuel Bailey was added to the lottery contract at the 11th hour: "Mr. Barry told The Washington Times this week that he let Intralot know it needed to take on a local partner if it wanted the council to approve the $38 million lottery pact. 'I sent word that the contract was DOA without a local partner," Mr. Barry said Monday." As for Bailey and his Veterans Services Corp., 'What they are doing is the old American way,' Mr. Barry said of the Baileys. 'Mothers, sons, fathers getting involved in business together. ... I saw an opportunity for a reputable, substantial black businessman to get into the lottery business,' he said. 'I commend Mr. Bailey on his maneuverability to get himself 51 percent of the deal.'" Also, Anderson acknowledges that Bailey wasn't Gray's first pick for the deal: "The council chairman supported another local firm that had among its principals the woman who is managing his campaign for mayor. But that firm was disqualified during the procurement process. Mr. Bailey and VSC, though, were more palatable to him than Intralot's first partner, a company headed by a man with ties to [Fenty]."

DO PEOPLE CARE? -- In his second Loose Lips column, Alan Suderman wonders if voters will give a rip about Kwame Brown's massive personal debt: "Conventional wisdom had Brown on the easy road to victory over former Ward 5 Councilmember Vincent Orange. Have Brown's chances come down a peg or two after news of his personal financial problems surfaced? ... Probably the closest parallel to Brown's situation is Eleanor Holmes Norton's run for Congress in 1990, in which a late disclosure that her now ex-husband failed to pay the couple's taxes for nearly a decade cost her the support of many voters west of Rock Creek Park. Philip Pannell, president of the Congress Heights Community Association in Ward 8, was a campaign aide to Norton during that race and remembers white, affluent voters in Ward 3 being furious at Norton over her financial problems. 'They raked her over the coals,' he said. But Pannell said black voters -- especially women -- were much more sympathetic, and voted for her by large margins to help her win the election. ... Pannell thinks there will be a similar divide in Brown's situation, a viewed shared by several other political observers privately." Also: Did you know Fenty's ads were done by Paul Wellstone's guy? Bill Hillsman says: "They both know what they want to get done, they both have very little patience for government bureaucracy ... and they are both bald."

ORANGE SQUEEZE -- In other council chair race news: Vincent Orange's finance chair, George Lowe, has resigned citing the "negative tenor" of the campaign, Ann Marimow reports at D.C. Wire. "In an e-mail to Orange and other top advisers last week, Lowe wrote that he has 'given this a significant amount of thought ... and continue to arrive at the same conclusion and that is that I no longer feel comfortable with the negative tenor of this campaign and will not be a part of such.' Lowe's message came two days after the Orange campaign sent a message to supporters questioning Brown's credibility to represent the council on Wall Street in light of his personal financial troubles." Meanwhile, Orange campaign chair Kevin Chavous asked both the D.C. Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Washington Board of Trade to reconsider their endorsements of Brown in light of the debt revelations, Michael Neibauer reports at WBJ. "The debt is not explicitly mentioned in the letters, but clearly, that's what Chavous is talking about when he writes of 'recent revelations and disclosures ... regarding Councilmember Kwame R. Brown.'" Says the Chamber: "The endorsement holds." The Board of Trade says the same "[b]ut if something else comes up before the election, we may take other steps."

HAPPY PAYDAY -- Huzzah for the summer jobs program: "The first full payday of the District's historically rocky Summer Youth Employment Program went smoothly overall, although not without some glitches," the Post's Stephanie Lee writes today. "In contrast with previous years, the majority of the more than 18,000 youths working in businesses, nonprofit organizations and city agencies across the District were paid in full and on time, said John A. Stokes, a spokesman for the Department of Parks and Recreation. ... Stokes said city officials are investigating the complaints of 74 employees, of more than 18,400 total participants, who said they were not paid correctly. 'Whatever the situations are that we have to resolve, this has been the lowest amount of payroll situations in the history of the program,' Stokes said, citing onsite managers and a streamlined payroll system as the main reasons for the improvements."

FLOOR FOLLIES -- More on Norton's House floor tete-a-tete with Rep. Jason Chaffetz. The tiff began as a debate over the merits of honorary resolutions for sporting teams and events, Ben Pershing writes at D.C. Wire. "And then Norton invoked a bill Chaffetz himself had sponsored. ... 'Just let me say to the gentleman,' Norton said, reading from her BlackBerry, 'it's been pointed out to me that the gentleman cosponsored a resolution, H. Res. 942, commending the Real Salt Lake Soccer Club for winning the 2009 Major League Soccer Cup. I just don't think it lies in the gentleman's mouth to come to the floor and put down this member.' That's when Chaffetz moved to have Norton's words 'taken down,' a relatively rare occurrence where one lawmaker accuses the other of violating the House's rules of decorum. After a lengthy pause during which chamber officials conferred with each other, Norton got back up and apologized. ... Chaffetz then withdrew his objection, and explained that 'yes, I've voted for sports resolutions, I've even cosponsored resolutions, but I came to realize what a waste of time that is.'"

POCKET VETO -- City Paper's Rend Smith gets deets on the Fenty go-go collection: In an effort to get the complete picture of Fenty's personal relationship with D.C.'s homegrown music, yesterday City Desk asked mayoral spokeswoman Mafara Hobson to find out what sort of go-go Fenty has on his iPod. Hobson got on it--only to report back today with the shocking news that the multiple-BlackBerry-wielding politician doesn't own the ubiquitous device. 'He doesn't have an iPod,' e-mails Hobson, 'but he does have Little Benny's latest CD in the car.' Which CD would that be, exactly? 'His latest.'"


*** SMALL PLATES ***

A summary of petition challenges (Election Education Incorporated)

Fenty-Jim Graham lovefest continues apace; Fenty deploys his Spanglish (City Desk, D.C. Wire, WRC-TV)

State Board of Education adopts "common core" standards for English and math, joining dozens of other states (Post)

Gray uses Wall Street reform bill signing to call for statehood: "When will financial reform come to the residents of the District of Columbia in the form of ending taxation without representation?" (Examiner)

Alert the Special Counsel: Graham ID'd ANC members as ANC members on a campaign mailer; Jeff Smith meanwhile deploys an imperfect metaphor (Examiner blog)

Joe Lieberman introduces Senate bill to give Capitol statues to D.C. (The Hill)

Peter Rosenstein defends the D.C. Council (Examiner letter)

Why DDOT put the bikes where they did (GGW)

So just what did Graham do about that Haydee's tree? (Upset the Setup)

"Paul P. Cooke, 93, a Washington educator and civil rights activist who was credited with reinvigorating the D.C. Teachers College during his tenure as president in the 1960s and 1970s, died July 4 of kidney failure" (Post obit)

Breaking down the cost of the West End Library (WBJ)

Could D.C. get the Gay Games after all? (Blade)


*** ON THE MENU ***

Fenty breaks ground on Justice Park project

By Mike DeBonis  |  July 22, 2010; 9:27 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Mike , The District  
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Next: Another way to handle a big-city budget crisis

Comments

The tide has turned; many DC residents and outsiders felt that Mr. Fenty would sweep the Ward 2 Straw Poll because that is his base, however a victory of 97 votes to Mr. Grays 63 votes is NOT a sweep in Ward that has in the past been nearly 93-100% pro Fenty.

Even those citizens can see that change is needed in this city and are voting for that change.

The Gray momentum is growing by leaps and bounds and the strength of an informed and knowledgeable candidate outweighs rhetoric, strong-arm bullying by Mr. Ronald Moten (who was conspicuously absent last night) and race-baiting cannot mute a message of true educational reform (birth -24 yrs); economi development (bringing business development to underserved communities and focuding on hiring DC residents) and public safety (truly supporting our first responders, MPD, Fire/EMS and Homeland Security). Mr. Gray's message on Healthcare in the Distirct is also a saliant point that Mr. Fenty has no concrete answers on. I think Mr. Fenty's blackberry must be broke, he has not been informed or crisp on any of the above mentioned issues when face to face debating.

Mr. Gray, keep your message strong and knowledge of the issues as indepth as they have been at each of the Forums and the citizens will listen and reward your knowledge with a Victory at the polls on September 14. Knowlege, Skill and Ability will always trump, reading from a blackberry, riding your predecessors coat-tails, and pandering to a racial divide in this city.

Posted by: lacairaine | July 22, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"Fenty said Wednesday that he is considering vetoing council legislation that would make it a crime to pay someone to vote or to register to vote. ... Fenty said it is ill-advised for elected officials to change the law so close to an election." - no surprise there - He'd never go against Ron for some odd reason.

Posted by: missboo | July 22, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"Fenty said Wednesday that he is considering vetoing council legislation that would make it a crime to pay someone to vote or to register to vote. ... Fenty said it is ill-advised for elected officials to change the law so close to an election." - no surprise there - He'd never go against Ron for some odd reason.

Posted by: missboo | July 22, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

It pains me to say this... but I find it very suspicious that, for the past 2 days, when there have been a number of especially volatile news developments that cast bad light on Fenty, the Post's website has been malfunctioning so as to prevent subscribers from contributing comments and viewing the comments of others. I believe that the expected huge groundswell of comments critical of Fenty has been deliberately obstructed by the Post.

Posted by: nan_lynn | July 22, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Enjoyed the column. First I've seen Mr. DeBonis' writing. I was wondering if he could be related to one of my former bosses at EPA, around 1975 in New York, a very nice fella of the same name.

Posted by: rtestani | July 23, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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