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DeMorning DeBonis: Aug. 11, 2010


There were two big questions to be answered by the campaign finance reports filed yesterday: How much has Vincent Gray raised for his mayoral bid? And how much has Mayor Adrian Fenty spent in the two months since the last filing to fend off Gray's challenge? The answers to both questions are interesting. Gray nicely padded his coffers, adding more than $700,000 to his bank account for a total take of $1.2 million. Fenty spent more than $1 million on advertising since June, with the remaining $800,000 in campaign spending going toward staff salaries and canvasser stipends. Helping pay those salaries: $2,000 donations from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and education activist Laurene Jobs, wife of Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. Also revealed in the campaign finance filings: The American Beverage Association spent at least $313,000 to defeat the soda tax proposal earlier this year -- and possibly much more than that, Tim Craig reports at D.C. Wire. Much more on campaign finance forthcoming today at

AFTER THE JUMP -- profiling the Ward 5 council race -- more recaps of the Ward 8 forum Monday -- Nickles challenges Pershing Park investigation -- feds say DNA lost in 200 cases -- the Republican shadow campaign for Adrian Fenty


NOT EVERYONE'S WILD ABOUT HARRY -- The Post's Ann Marimow profiles the primary race for Ward 5 council member: "[I]t would be hard to argue that Ward 5's incumbent representative on the D.C. Council, Harry Thomas Jr., does not have a deep appreciation for the community. He grew up there, playing baseball on Dwight Mosley field in Woodridge, visiting his grandmother on Oak Street Oates Street [UPDATE: changed to reflect a correction to Ann's story] in Trinidad and campaigning for his father, who represented the ward on the council for a dozen years. Despite the family history, Thomas is contending with three challengers for the Democratic nomination. They say the first-term council member has not done enough to bring resources and attention to a part of the city that has the third-highest jobless rate and the third-highest HIV/AIDS rate and is poised for the kind of expansive development that could transform neighborhoods from Brookland to Bloomingdale. His opponents in the Sept. 14 primary -- Delano Hunter, a community organizer; Kenyan McDuffie, a former government lawyer; and Tracey Turner, an information technology consultant -- said that Thomas has been unresponsive to those who are not politically connected and that his clashes with the administration of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) have been primarily about scoring political points."

NOTA BENE -- Ann's kicker: "Thomas isn't coy about his ambitions. If council member Kwame R. Brown (D) is successful in his bid to succeed Vincent C. Gray as council chairman, and a special election is held for Brown's at-large seat, Thomas said, 'I will consider that a very real opportunity.' But for now, he said, 'I'm running to finish what I've started.'"

WARD 8 IN REVIEW -- More coverage of Monday's Ward 8 forum! Martin Austermuhle of DCist writes that "both Gray and Fenty largely steered clear of each other" and that "the whole event was basically structured to be what Ward 4 wasn't -- well-moderated, insightful and of actual use to the undecided voter." Jason Cherkis of City Paper notes "no new insights, no genuinely electrifying slams or substantial policy debate," but does note that Peaceoholics stood at the center of much of the debate. P.J. Orvetti of notes Gray's willingness to get arrested for statehood. Both WRC-TV's Tom Sherwood and myself focus on Sulaimon Brown's personal slight of Fenty. Sarah Larimer and Kevin Robillard write at TBD that not only did Brown not apologize, he doubled down on his Fenty slam. "Maybe he doesn't respect his elders," he said.

NICKLES V. JUDGE -- Attorney General Peter Nickles goes to battle with a federal judge yet again. This time it's Magistrate Judge John Facciola, who is leading the investigation into the disappearance of records related to the Pershing Park mass arrest case. Facciola sent letters to 14 former and current city officials, warning them the criminal charges could result from his probe, ordering them to come to an Aug. 16 hearing and suggesting they lawyer up, Spencer Hsu reports in the Post. But Nickles, in a filing, called the letters "unnecessarily intimidating, prejudicial and public." He adds in an interview: "It was inappropriate to stage this event in the way it's been staged, but to some extent the staging has been obviated by Judge Facciola's excusal of all individuals I know of from having to come." Also Legal Times, which notes that the "officials include figures from the city and the Metropolitan Police Department, some of them high-ranking: [former chief Charles Ramsey]; current police general counsel Terrence Ryan; and a D.C. assistant attorney general, Thomas Koger."

DNA LOST -- A federal review has found that DNA evidence has been lost in 200 backlogged city rape cases, Scott McCabe reports in Examiner, "hampering unsolved sex cases and adding another embarrassment in the District's long quest to build its own crime lab." The Metropolitan Police doubt the claim, made by the Justice Department's inspector general in a review of the FBI crime lab in Quantico. "D.C. law enforcement sources told The Washington Examiner that the department dumped hundreds of backlogged rape cases to the FBI for analysis after receiving a grant for DNA testing last year. In the rush to beat the grant's deadline, D.C.'s forensics workers sent letters to the FBI for approval without confirming whether they had the evidence on hand, sources said. After the FBI generated case numbers, created plans for each submittal and asked for the evidence, D.C. police had to admit they could not locate the evidence for hundreds of cases, the sources said." The opening of the new city crime lab, meanwhile, has been pushed back to 2012.

UNION WANTS INFO -- The police union has filed suit against the city -- again -- this time to force the MPD to cough up documents regarding its dealings with the Peaceoholics. Union chief Kristopher Baumann tells Tim Craig at D.C. Wire that his group "decided to file its information request because police officers are skeptical of Fenty and [Ron Moten]'s claims that Peaceoholics is effective in reducing crime and youth violence. 'All I hear is they did great things, so I just want to see something from the department that they did X and then given what Fenty and Moten are saying, they did X really, really well,' Baumann said. 'We give awards all the time. I have never seen these guys get an award. Stop talking about it, show us.'" Peter Nickles tells Examiner that the suit is "politically motivated." The D.C. Fraternal Order of Police, you'll recall, is backing Gray.

ENERGY CRISIS -- Billing dispute erupts over city-sponsored home energy audits, leading homeowners to get threatening bills from a Fairfax contractor. Sherwood expkains at WRC-TV: "City officials said PEG performed similar audits for two years and did a good job but was not authorized to keep doing them because energy funds had run out. [Contractor PEG] disputes that, saying it had the city's go-ahead." But there's no reason homeowners should have been involved, all parties say. "The tiff is between them and us," says DDOE Director Christophe Tulou. "Sending the letter to homeowners was just bad judgement."

JONETTA TEES OFF -- Jonetta Rose Barras savages the Gray jobs plan in her Examiner column: "Gray has called the 14-page document 'dynamic and far reaching.' But in it he just regurgitates current programs and policies while proposing to expand government, establish task forces, 'better coordinate' existing agencies and groups, and hold summits. ... Each time I read Gray's plan for jobs and economic development the smell of disingenuousness grew stronger and more odious."

GOP FOR FENTY -- The D.C. Republican Committee issued a press release yesterday accusing Vince Gray of minor campaign finance violations, and Tim Craig notices a larger trend in the whole thing: "It's not unusual for local GOP or Democratic committees to needle candidates in contested primaries from opposing parties. The D.C. Republican Committee, however, has been singularly focused on Gray for months. ... While he stopped short of a formal endorsement, [D.C. GOP Executive Director Paul Craney] told the Washington Post before Gray got into the race in March that the party would not be fielding a candidate this year because most city Republicans support Fenty. Craney reiterated Tuesday that many of the city's 19,000 registered Republicans would rather have Fenty than Gray as mayor because they support Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. 'If you ask most D.C. Republican voters, they prefer Mayor Fenty over Vince Gray,' Craney said. 'They support Michelle Rhee and that is the consensus of most D.C. Republicans.'" Too bad for Craney they can't vote for him until November.

ENTOURAGE? -- In his Notebook, Tom Sherwood notes the surfeit of "old timers" lined up at the Ward 4 mayoral forum last week -- Marion Barry, Rock Newman, Sharon Pratt -- "Sources close to the Gray campaign said Gray was not all that happy to have such controversial people seated so prominently in the audience, but there was nothing he could do. Had the Gray campaign asked them to move to a less visible spot, one staffer said, the media would have jumped all over that. The same is true, we suppose, for an event Gray held in Ward 1 the next day. Gray was on Mount Pleasant Street being loudly cheered by the D.C. Latino Caucus, which had presented him with a $2,000 campaign donation. There in the crowd, up front cheering and taking pictures, was Ted Loza. And Loza was wearing a huge Gray campaign button."

WHODUNIT -- Government worker, 35, is murdered in Mount Vernon Square condo. Paul Duggan reports: "Delando King, who worked in Rockville for the U.S. Indian Health Service, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, was found shortly after 6 p.m. in his third-floor apartment at 1117 10th St. NW, police said. The 130-unit building, Quincy Court, is between L and M streets, two blocks west of the convention center. Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham said investigators think that King was killed over the weekend. ... Detectives found no sign of forced entry at the apartment, Newsham said." And it's not the "Flint serial killer," either.


This is what Defeat Poverty DC says has been the substance of the campaign. Shame on us. (YouTube)

Republican effort to keep District statues out of the Capitol "symbolizes the shabby, second-class treatment afforded to citizens of this capital city" (Post editorial)

The latest issue of Ron Moten's OtherSide Magazine is out, featuring Vampire Vince (Loose Lips)

Metro Transit Police pledge to redeploy cops following weekend brawl (Post)

Look at the brawl's bright side, says Courtland Milloy: At least they weren't packing guns! (Post)

Thomas wants the council to convene -- again -- to authorize the parks-contract investigators to get information on Omar Karim's law firm (Loose Lips)

Three ways the Metro board erred ahead of the Red Line tragedy (Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space)

Gray campaign says its phones were "hijacked" (D.C. Wire)

Digging in to D.C. crime stats (DCist)

Gay activist Lane Hudson calls Vincent Orange's reversal on gay marriage a "disingenuous election-year ploy" (Post letter)

Get yer early '90s D.C. political buttons (eBay)

D.C. Central Kitchen to cook meals for DCPS students (Slow Cook)

DDOT testing occupancy sensors for street parking space (WTTG-TV)

Assessors are out and about in "Old City I" (WBJ)

"Why do Washingtonians hate on Metro?" (GGW)

Bethesda's Walker & Dunlop files for IPO; CEO Willie Walker is chair of the D.C. Water Board (WBJ)

That UDC forum was a total Gray-Kwame lovefest (TBD)

Channel 9 covers the Mary Cuthbert racial slur (WUSA-TV)

A look at the new Bruce Monroe Park (DCmud)

Be the city's capital budget director -- for a few months, at least (

*** ON THE MENU ***

Fenty and Gray go head to head on NewsTalk With Bruce DePuyt, 10 a.m. on TBD/NewsChannel 8 -- D.C. Fights Back mayoral forum, 7:30 p.m. at Eastern Market North Hall (Fenty not confirmed)

By Mike DeBonis  |  August 11, 2010; 11:32 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Mike , The District  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Ted Stevens was noted D.C. home rule foe
Next: Fenty pledges to 'change some things' in TV debate


Oh noes! The big bad Republicans! Guess you had to do something to help out the Gray campaign after the Old Guard made their embarrassing display of force at the Ward 4 straw poll. "Too bad", right Debonis?

Posted by: asuka1 | August 11, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

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