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Fenty continues to court the go-go vote

fenty_gogo.jpg

Forget TV ads. Behold the power of the conga drum!

That, more or less, encapsulates the strategy of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's campaign, which has been deeply embracing D.C.'s homegrown musical genre.

On Sunday evening, he held the second "Go-Go 4 Fenty" event, in a parking lot next to RFK Stadium. About 2,800 showed up to be feted with free food, T-shirts, cold water, and an all-star lineup of old-school go-go -- EU, Rare Essence, Backyard, and Junkyard together to pump up Hizzoner.

But the tunes came with a catch. First off, all attendees who couldn't produce a voter ID card had to register to vote. And secondly, the crowd had to "get the facts not fiction" -- in other words, listen to impresario and Fenty ally Ron Moten and others share their thoughts on the mayoral race.

"A lot of people don't get the truth," Moten said, winding up for a 10-plus minute oration that, among other things, compared Fenty's tribulations to that of another well-known figure: "If you understand what they did to Jesus, on Monday, everybody was praising him. Wednesday, he went to court, and all the people who he helped, nobody came to court for him. ... On Friday, they crucified him. ... The reason why we're here today is to get the facts out to you so history don't repeat itself again."

Moten went on to laud Fenty's decision to move taxicabs from zones to meters and he defended the mayor's move to hike fines for driving offenses. But he also attacked opponent Vincent Gray, bringing up his unpermitted fence and unpaid traffic ticket while launching more general broadsides: "He's a flip-flopper, y'all. He's gonna tell everybody what they need to hear," he said.

But when it came to Fenty, the tone was almost apologetic.

"Adrian's not perfect, and you gotta make him do his job," Moten said. "There's some things we got to correct him on, and I'm with you on that. But Vince Gray? We can't go back, y'all. We got to keep moving forward."

"Every decision he make ain't gonna be the right decision," said Miles Rawls, head of the Goodman street-basketball league held every summer in Ward 8's Barry Farm housing project. "Can't please everybody. ... Can't do everything."

Still, there's no beating the personal touch: "Ain't no other mayor ever knock at my door while I was eatin' crab legs looking a good basketball game just to go 'How you doing?'" said comedian Billy the Kid. "That's big to me."

Moten said he put together the blockbuster lineup with Anwan "Big G" Glover, the Columbia Heights native and Junkyard Backyard front man who acted to great acclaim in HBO's "The Wire."

Glover explained that his ties to Fenty were bound after Fenty, as a councilmember, wrote a letter to a Superior Court judge ruling on a 2004 gun charge. If Glover, then nearing the height of his "Wire" fame, had been jailed, it would have been a serious blow to his career. He ended up gettting probation.

And now, he says, it's time to give thanks. "I reached out to [Fenty] and asked him what can I do to help you, because he helped me and my family so much," he said.

But will concertgoers turn into Fenty voters?

They may have an uphill climb.

There's the folks who aren't paying much attention to the race, like Bryant Hill, 53, who lives in a shelter on the St. Elizabeths Hospital grounds. He said if he'd had to vote immediately, he'd vote for Fenty. But he isn't happy with a lack of jobs and opportunities for ex-offenders. And he said he might have a closer look at Gray. "I don't know too much about him," Hill said. "He might do a better job."

There's the folks who just won't vote for Fenty, like Ericka Chappelle, 35, of Deanwood. "He's trying to portray that he's for the people," she said. "I think he's part of making D.C. only for the rich. What about the middle class?"

And then there's the folks who just don't care -- like Kion Jones, 22, of Anacostia. When he votes, he said, "I'm gonna close my eyes and check [the ballot]." Two friends -- Dontay Johnson, 23, and Ciano Forster, 22 -- agreed.

The Fenty campaign said it signed up about 300 volunteers at the event and registered almost 1,300 voters. And Moten says at least two other concerts are on tap before the Sept. 14 primary.

"This is a movement," Glover said. "We need more time to move our city around, and I'm behind him one million percent."

By Mike DeBonis  |  July 12, 2010; 2:42 PM ET
Categories:  Adrian Fenty , DCision 2010 , The District  
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Comments

We know you're not a native Washingtonian DeBonis, buy you've got to get your Go-Go bands correct! Big G is the front man for Backyard Band, not Junkyard Band...LOL

Posted by: rlmccants | July 12, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Folks didn't march and die for your right to vote and you 3 morons are gonna go in the booth and 'close your eyes'...this ain't pin the tail on the donkey, this is real life where your decisions count. Put down the Xbox and research the candidates and have an informed opinion.

Posted by: kahlua87 | July 12, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Ron

Keep up the good work. You put Fenty's name in the same statement with "JESUS".

Talk about desperate.

So, Fenty helped Glover beat a gun charge. How sweet. Did Glover ever use that gun?

Posted by: bnew100 | July 12, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

It's the "Fenty Limbo".
How low can you go?

Posted by: blankspace | July 12, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Why is the post running all of Fenty's campaign spot and videos?

Posted by: gordonbundy | July 12, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

@rlmccants:

Oh man, that's a bad one. Corrected!

Posted by: Mike DeBonis | July 12, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

to gordonbundy

The WP is part of the Green Machine's campaign staff.

FYI - Fenty is also using DC Cable stations to push his "accomplishments." Check out the plagiarizer from his education staff at Payne Elementary school video now playing.

Posted by: bnew100 | July 12, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Ron Moten is a convicted thug and he still has a ghetto behavior. This should be a turn off to black, white, Latino, and Asian D.C. voters. Fenty has surrounding himself around thugs and criminals like the likes of Ron Moten.

Posted by: mmatthews1 | July 12, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Why is it when Black people gather to make a statement, we come off sounding like bojangles and minstrel clowns. The media, in it's own secret world prints our dialogue and speech like we never attended English class in school.

Posted by: jhaskins75 | July 12, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I see Ron Moten is on that new, improved ish.

Posted by: jcbcmb68 | July 12, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I agree wit this statement 100% Fenty is letting the low life drag his ass in the dirt even more, Moten is supporting Fenty cause he is allowing Morton's group of thugs to build a house in the hood(where drugs and crime is so bad) for homeless thugs and jailbirds

Ron Moten is a convicted thug and he still has a ghetto behavior. This should be a turn off to black, white, Latino, and Asian D.C. voters. Fenty has surrounding himself around thugs and criminals like the likes of Ron Moten.

Posted by: mmatthews1

Posted by: JeroRobson1 | July 12, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Fenty's refusal to meet with Ms. Dorothy Height angered a lot of blacks in D.C. and across the United States. Adrian M. Fenty is immature and he is too inexperience to be in his position. His behavior is that of a spoiled child. One example was the baseball tickets. Now he has surrounded himself by the likes of Ron Moten. This is enough to turn off both black and white D.C. voters.

I have 2 Vincent Gray signs in front of my North Portal home in Ward 4. I would vote for Porky Pig or Mighty Mouse before I cast a vote for Adrian Fenty.

Posted by: KappaNupe | July 12, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Why does'nt Ron Moten tell these people the truth. That he wants Fenty to stay in office so that Ron Moten can continue to get millions of their tax payer dollars in grants and not be held accountable for how he spends the money. This is about Ron Moten's pay day, not these poor sheep he is leading to the slaughter by asking them to vote for Fenty. Fenty builds or renovates a library and then cuts hours and lay off staff. How does that benefit the community? Same thing for the Recreation Centers- build them, pay his cronies, lay off staff and cut hours. This is funneling money to his friends, which does not include the Go-Go people in that crowd.

Posted by: diahhna | July 13, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Moten see's Gray as the end of his free ride on the coattails of the District taxpayers which is why he is so ignorantly yet desperately trying to paint King Fenty as a "people-person". The comparative reference to Jesus is QUITE hilarious; try Judas.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | July 13, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

BlackOmega wrote: Ron Moten compares Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to Jesus. This is blasphemous!


http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/13/fenty-ally-compares-embattled-d-c-mayor-to-jesus/?fbid=Y0uq7cDjTj8


Mike
Ward 5 D.C. Resident
Michigan Park

Posted by: BrendaMartin | July 13, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

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