DeMorning DeBonis: Sept. 13, 2010
TODAY IS SEPT. 13, 2010 -- ONE DAY UNTIL PRIMARY DAY
The final weekend is over: Read the Post D.C. team's campaign dailies from Sunday and today to catch up. In short: Adrian Fenty ran a triathlon and opened a dog park; Vincent Gray went to church. "We want to make sure ... that we're just sprinting to the finish line," said Fenty. "We cannot possibly be as good as we could be until we begin to bring this city together," said Gray. Both the Examiner's Freeman Klopott and the Washington Times' Deborah Simmons note the racial disparity in the campaign schedules. The main sideshow of the weekend was a "sting operation" run by Ron Moten and other Fenty supporters that exposed efforts in Ward 8 to lure voters to the polls with $10 supermarket gift cards. Last night, I spoke to Cora Masters Barry, who said that the operation was her doing and was not Gray-affiliated. Take from that what you will.
AFTER THE JUMP -- more national press for mayoral race -- Marc Fisher looks at the candidates on the campaign trail -- Michelle Fenty battles out-of-touch perceptions by taking reporter out for sushi -- Bill Slover fires back at Fenty, Nickles -- Jonetta for Fenty
*** MAIN COURSE ***
MORE -- Gray called for re-establishing an Office of Religious Affairs, which was folded into the Office of Community Affairs under Fenty. Klopott notes that Fenty declined to commit to establishing a standalone religious-affairs office. WJLA-TV and WRC-TV picked up the gift-card story. And City Paper's Lydia DePillis has more from the dog park "leash-cutting." Also more national press: "Michelle Rhee, the public schools chancellor of the District of Columbia who drew attacks from unions for firing more than 200 teachers, mostly over student performance, may move closer to the unemployment line herself," Bloomberg writes. And from NPR's All Things Considered: "On paper, and on the issues, there's not much difference between the two candidates. It seems to be a matter of style. And yet in this majority-black city, where both candidates are men of color, voters seem to be split according to race or class. But nearly everyone agrees that the great fanfare and good will that swept Fenty into office four years ago is mostly gone." Also AP, UPI, Philadelphia Inquirer.
THE MAKING OF THE MAYOR -- You gotta read Marc Fisher's Sunday A1'er on the mayoral candidates. A taste: "The mayor who just four years ago won the most sweeping victory in the District's history, prevailing in every single election precinct, now walks a gantlet of shouts, insults and overt acts of disdain. A retired man refuses the mayor's handshake. The head of the city's Minority Contractors and Business Association, Robert Green, shouts at him: 'How long you going to keep apologizing? Minority contractors can't get no work.' A woman tells Green not to waste his breath: 'Don't you know he won't listen because you're not white?' A very loud white man wearing a Gray T-shirt keeps screaming, 'Sinclair Skinner, Sinclair Skinner,' right in the mayor's face, invoking the name of Fenty's controversial fraternity brother and friend, who has gone from failed businessman to flourishing contractor over the past four years. Fenty started this visit with a big smile, calling out greetings, but now he steps silently through the barrage, the veins in his head bulging, eyes wide, lips tightened."
MICHELLE ANTOINETTE -- Style's fabulous Manuel Roig-Franzia sits down with Michelle Fenty discussing, among other things, her tears: "As with almost everything surrounding the Fentys these days, conspiracy theories abound. Some have even speculated that the tearful wife was faking. But, to hear her tell it, she was caught up in the moment and made a split decision. 'For a quick second, I thought, I have two choices: I can say what I really feel or I can do what I usually do, which is not really answer and give the question back to my husband,' she says softly, looking back to the moments after the debate. 'For the first time in my husband's career, I just said what I felt.' ... Before seeing poll results, she says, they had an inkling of his perception problems, but 'we didn't know the scale of it.' 'We're in this box. We're surrounded by people in the box,' she says, pausing with chopsticks in hand over a salmon roll. 'The perceptions are hard to understand because we don't know the people who have the perceptions.' She's settled on a partial explanation for her husband's predicament, and she's taken that message to meetings with voters and campaign donors over the past few days: 'There's certainly an awkwardness about my husband,' she says in the interview. 'It's something he's always had -- a little quirkiness.' When they were dating, she sometimes wondered: 'Does he not want to speak with me?'" Photo gallery, too!
JONETTA GOES GREEN -- Jonetta Rose Barras makes her case for a Fenty vote in the Examiner: "During his first term, Fenty occasionally has stumbled. There also have been times I was critical of his leadership style and his decisions. But, I remain a Fenty fan. ... Unlike his predecessors, he took on political and union-protected employees who thought they were entitled to government jobs, regardless of their performance. Ultimately, he disabused everyone of the belief that District agencies are where you go to retire. ... Re-creating a notoriously dysfunctional, narcissistic government hasn't been easy. Fenty has made a bunch of enemies. Don't believe everyone is upset because he hasn't been a please-and-thank-you man. ... Gray has knowingly promulgated misrepresentations with stunning speed and deliberateness. Instead of uniting people, he has exacerbated divisions. Some people have suggested to me his behavior is the typical stuff of campaigns. But there can be no excuse for abandoning standards of ethical leadership."
SLOVER FIRES BACK -- On Friday, the Post editorial section posted D.C. Housing Authority board member Bill Slover's response to Fenty's explanation of why he was removed as board chairman after questioning the controversial parks contracts. "Last week, after nearly a year of ignoring the issue, Mr. Fenty finally gave a reason [for my demotion]: He said that D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles recommended that I be removed as chairman for refusing 'on numerous occasions' to submit the Parks and Recreation contracts to the D.C. Council. This statement is patently false. Mr. Nickles did not make numerous requests of me or the Housing Authority to submit this contract for approval, and I did not block this contract from going to the council. Under the governance structure of the Housing Authority, a vote of the full board is required to take such action; therefore, I did not even have the authority to do what the mayor claims I refused to do. ... During my tenure as chairman of the Housing Authority, I upheld my fiduciary responsibility to protect the interest and the mission of the Housing Authority and the 19,000 families it serves. And for that, the mayor fired me." I did my best Friday to share my own reporting and explain why this stuff matters.
COLUMNISTS ON RHEE -- Colby King says it's "[t]ime for Rhee to go," citing her emergence on the campaign trail, which King says was racially divisive: "Last Saturday, she abandoned the role of a politically impartial school administrator. She jumped into the D.C. Democratic primary, campaigning in predominantly white Ward 3 -- considered her base of support -- to bring out that vote for Fenty on Tuesday. I have expressed admiration for Rhee's courage in tackling the school system's bureaucracy. But her decision to demonstrate her political biases by injecting herself into a partisan contest, especially in such a divisive way, was about the last thing this racially strained city needed. Her polarizing action cannot be undone. Worse still, she has irretrievably compromised her position as chancellor. How can black parents now trust her to be fair?" Here's a dissenting view. Meanwhile, Courtland Milloy voices support for Rhee, based on her mention of Warren Buffett's famous solution for school reform: "Make private schools illegal, and assign every child to a public school by random lottery." Also namechecked: Francis Fukuyama, Joseph de Maistre and Jane Jacobs.
*** SMALL PLATES ***
Is Tony Williams "supporting" or "endorsing" Fenty? (Loose Lips)
This $405 million math error has persisted on the Examiner Web site since Friday (Examiner)
Vince busts a move (Loose Lips)
NPR host, no-party D.C. voter Michele Martin would like to be able to cast a vote (Post)
"It's The Turnout, Stupid" (DCist)
Oh, my, this latest National Organization for Marriage flier is a doozy, "featuring a rich, snooty, white guy looking down his nose at voters with claims that 'DC Elites' are disrespecting voters in majority-Black Ward 5 by preventing a referendum on marriage equality." (Right Wing Watch)
National group Democrats for Education Reform backs Fenty (Whitney Tilson)
"New teacher applauds Michelle Rhee's quick response to problem" -- fixing lock and firing principal (Jay Mathews)
Some Mendelson-sponsored reminders as to which Michael Brown is which. Says Tommy Wells: "We're so politically correct. There's nothing oppressive or uncomfortable about saying, look, one of the guys is white. The other one's not." (YouTube)
A message to Oprah: "I hope you will ask Ms. Rhee a few harder questions about her 'accomplishments' before you give her such a huge stage on which to tout herself." (Conducting the Inner Light)
Some last-minute Fenty inspiration (YouTube)
ICYMI: The Mo-Down (TBD)
Vince Gray has not in fact said he would fire Cathy Lanier (TBD Facts Machine)
Urbanists for Kenyan McDuffie (GGW)
Rhee was interviewed; Tommy Wells and Nathan Saunders debated on Friday's Fox 5 news (WTTG-TV)
A chat with Michael A. Brown (DCist)
If you haven't read a navel-gazing-juror piece in a while, here you go (All Opinions Are Local)
Fenty initiative aims to help pay for on-the-job training (WBJ)
If you care about what Fenty and Gray think about parking in Georgetown (G'town Dish)
Hurt Home handed over in "fire sale"? (DCmud)
No nightclub license for Haydee's (Housing Complex)
Could Van Ness Elementary re-open? (JDLand)
Say hello to Georgetown Patch (Patch)
Yards Park opens on Southeast waterfront (WAMU-FM)
Blue Plains to do battle with nitrogen (AP via The Capital)
Pepco's "smart meters" are coming (Capital Business)
Robert Wone civil trial is postponed (Post brief)
Attention Statehood Greens: Cynthia McKinney wants you to vote for Darryl Moch over David Schwartzman (Green Party Watch)
I wasn't invited to Jack Evans' bachelor party (Bisnow)
Rest in peace, Ron Walters -- city hall reporters now in search of a new voice of authority (Post)
*** ON THE MENU ***
Vince Gray, Michael A. Brown and Jack Evans on TBD's NewsTalk, 10 a.m. -- Fenty stumps at One Judiciary Square early poll site -- polls open tomorrow at 7 a.m., close at 8 p.m.
September 13, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories: Morning Mike , The District
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