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DeMorning DeBonis: Sept. 3, 2010

TODAY IS SEPT. 3, 2010 -- 11 DAYS UNTIL PRIMARY DAY

So what does Mary Cheh's public embrace of Vincent Gray mean? In Tim Craig and Nikita Stewart's horse-race story today, they call it a "potentially key endorsement ... [that] could help Gray make inroads in one of the few remaining Fenty strongholds in the city." And Cheh, they write, "will stress to voters that Gray also supports school reform, even though he refuses to say whether he would retain Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee." City Paper's Alan Suderman Mike Madden says that "effectively robs Fenty of the one argument he was hoping to woo wealthy white voters over with." That's a stretch, but the endorsement sure doesn't help Fenty -- nor did his campaign's aggressive response to it, that Cheh "has chosen to align herself against education reform, against public safety and against the improvements of the last three years" and "is more interested in cutting political deals than in listening to her neighbors." Cheh tells WAMU-FM, "I think that [Gray]'s intelligent, he's a leader, he has integrity and the contrast between the two is very stark."

AFTER THE JUMP -- Michelle Fenty addresses supporters -- city faces $34 million budget gap already -- Examiner notes Gray's DHS couldn't close Cedar Knoll fast enough -- Post wants another term for Eleanor -- Michael D. Brown on the issues

*** MAIN COURSE ***

YESTERDAY -- TBD has the video of Cheh disclosing her preference to Bruce DePuyt on NewsTalk. The Examiner writes that the nod "may turn once solid Fenty turf into a muddy playing field. WTTG-TV's Karen Gray Houston raises whether the Che endorsement is a direct response to Michelle Fenty's Wednesday emergence; Gray says it is not. City Paper posts the new Fenty attack ad, which ends with: "Gray's not a bad guy. But he was a bad manager. Do we want to go back to that?" More coverage from WRC-TV, NBCWashington.com, DCist

MORE MICHELLE -- The Fenty campaign provided remarks made by Michelle Fenty at a "Women for Fenty" event last night: I thought it would be good if I were able to give you a small glimpse into the Adrian Fenty -- the person that I know. I get to see the devastation on the Mayor's face when he comes home from visiting a mother in the hospital after her child has just died. ... I get to see him and hear him with his three phones perched on his lap at 3 a.m. in the morning, having been up the entire night with his team, talking, texting, e-mailing his staff to figure out how to clear snow from our streets and get this city moving after a record-breaking snow storm threatened to immobilize us. I assure you ladies and gentlemen -- he is human!"

BUDGET BLUES -- Because expected federal funding was not passed by Congress, the city is facing a $34 million budget shortfall already for fiscal 2011, Michael Neibauer reports in WBJ: "The 2011 budget ... included $78 million in increased Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage, or FMAP, funds coming to the District. Congress was expected to approve a six-month extension to the program, which was created in the federal stimulus bill, to boost the amount of Medicaid money coming to the states. ... The District anticipated $78 million from the FMAP extension. But the Office of the Chief Financial Officer said Thursday that the new estimate is $44 million, leaving D.C. a $34 million hole to fill in a budget year that doesn't start until Oct. 1. ... The problem for D.C. may only get worse with new revenue estimates that Gandhi is scheduled to release at the end of September, said Councilman Jack Evans, D-Ward 2, chair of the finance and revenue committee. Evans predicts declines in property and capital gains tax collections.... 'It's going to be much more difficult to deal with. ... We don't have any savings left. ... You're looking at cutting expenditures.'"

BAD OLD DAYS -- The Examiner looks at an episode from Gray's DHS days, the closing of the Cedar Knoll home for troubled youth. Gray, Freeman Klopott writes, "cost the District nearly $2 million in fines by reacting too slowly to congressional orders to shut the center down. ... When Gray took his city job, D.C. had already been under a court order for five years to shut down the 225-bed Cedar Knoll facility in Jessup. Gray says complying with that order was one of his top priorities. But in June 1992, with Cedar Knoll's doors still open and young criminals routinely escaping, Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., pushed a bill through Congress that ordered the city to shut down the facility by May 31, 1993. ... But a year later on the eve of the closure date, Gray and the youth justice agency he oversaw were still scrambling, The Washington Post reported at the time. ... Gray told The Examiner on Thursday that the timeline set by Congress was too tight. 'In order to do it responsibly, we needed to have the ability to move the kids into group homes,' he said. 'We were trying to step up the community side ... it was part of a wider philosophical shift.'"

MEET THE OTHER MIKE -- I quiz Michael D. Brown on the non-statehood issues. On Michelle Rhee: "It's been a mixed bag. ... I think she's made some bold moves. I think the teachers' contract is brilliant. ... If it were up to me, I would extend her contract, but I wouldn't make it long term. I think if she's going to judge the teachers on their performance, we have every right to judge her on her performance. And if it lags, we use the IMPACT tool on her." On bike lanes: "I'm for bike lanes. I'm a biker. I ride a bicycle and a Harley-Davidson. So I'm for getting cars off the street because, you know, my epitaph someday, I'm sure it's going to be 'she was on a cellphone in her minivan and she really didn't mean to kill him.'" Also: WAMU-FM does a name-confusion story.

'GOODNIGHT, FENTY?' -- Today's Tom Toles:

DOUG AND ELEANOR -- Eleanor Holmes Norton deserves another term, says the Post editorial board: "[Norton] is faulted by her opponent in the Sept. 14 primary for not being able to deliver voting rights to the city. This failure, even with solid Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, is why challenger Douglass Sloan thinks that she should be replaced. That Ms. Norton defines her role more broadly -- and has ably represented the District despite not having a vote -- is the very reason voters should reelect her. ... [Sloan is] an engaging newcomer with the right priorities of full voting representation and education reform, but his argument about the District needing a new representative in Congress falls flat. Indeed, the fact that Mr. Sloan singles out Ms. Norton for the failure of Congress to give the city a vote in the House shows a naivete about political realities and how the Hill operates. No one has fought harder for voting representation than Ms. Norton." Also: CQ covers Sloan's "quixotic" run.

*** SMALL PLATES ***

Neibauer surveys business perspectives on the mayoral race: "I think [Fenty]'s very progressive in the way he runs the departments," says developer Chris Donatelli; "He's his own worst enemy," says flower-shop owner. (WBJ)

Gray supporter files OCF complaint against Fenty, accusing Ron Moten of engaging in reportable campaign activities (Loose Lips, TBD)

Some reactions to Michelle Fenty: "She has generally conducted herself with such poise and grace. It isn't the norm to see her so upset. Perhaps the stress of the political season is a bit much"; "I would attempt a list of some of the people who deserve my tears more than Adrian Fenty, but it is a very long list and I am too tired." (A Washington Woman, GLAA Forum)

Union mailers attack Vincent Orange's Pepco lobbyist days (D.C. Wire)

Is the Chinatown "Mosquito" a civil rights violation? (GGW)

The lawyer hoping to sue over allowing independents to vote in primaries is having trouble finding a plaintiff (TBD)

Anthony Motley failed to collect enough petition signatures, is withdrawing from at-large council race (D.C. Wire)

Deborah Simmons says Fenty and Gray will bring "more of the same. ... So thank goodness for third-place holder Leo Alexander, a Democrat. ... In this liberal-loving city, differing voices are drowned out. So it's refreshing to know Mr. Alexander speaks out against illegal immigration and speaks up about morality and other touchy subjects." (WaTimes)

Another Bryan Weaver web ad -- not completely SFW (Loose Lips)

City-funded recovery home failed federal inspections for inadequate food, shabby facilities, and bedbugs (WJLA-TV)

Blind quote from "senior District government official": "It's no secret that the Mayor's base of support is in the Upper Northwest or Upper 'Caucasia' portion of D.C. ... [I]t's hard for the Chancellor to shake the image that she is catering more to the city's Whites, while setting up a system that is alienating the Black residents who need it most. Finally, when there's a movement to repair the system, we get pushed out." (Politic365.com)

"Gray vs. Fenty: Debate or lover's quarrel?" (TBD)

Delano Hunter takes six minutes out of his day to explain his views on gay marriage (YouTube)

"Todd Place crew" prosecution will test new street gang statute (Post)

Doug Jemal might need a permit for his giant building-wrapping ads (Housing Complex)

"Message of Howard Theater Groundbreaking: Black D.C. Isn't Being Left Behind" (Housing Complex)

Gay supporter Lane Hudson explains "what's so great about Vincent Gray" (Blade)

Jeff Smith and Bryan Weaver campaign together in Adams Morgan (Examiner Local Opinion Zone)

"You know, our dear chancellor, Michelle Rhee, hates veteran teachers. She doesn't say that, but you can feel it in the way she talks. She'd love nothing more than to bring in folks like me every year (the Teach for America type, the DC Teaching Fellows type), teach for awhile, and then move on." (Rheebot No More)

The Facts Machine examines the Orange claim that Kwame Brown would give Marion Barry the economic development committee (TBD)

Data analysis suggests "middle-income students seem to be deserting the regular public schools and flocking to the charter schools. A lot of the very poorest students are remaining behind in the most impoverished public schools." (GFBrandenburg's Blog)

Norton on barracks relocation: "Notions of convenience for your Marines should not supersede important community concerns, including consideration of the convenience for the community and the displacement of important community assets." (JDLand)

Many gay-rights activists have problems with the Post editorial board's endorsements (GLAA Forum)

So does the Georgetown Dish (The Dish)

Mayoral questionnaires address regional issues (Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers)

Harry Thomas Jr. responds to the Post endorsement of Hunter (All Opinions Are Local)

LGBT groups want Fenty to beef up MPD liaison unit (Blade)

An interview with former Superior Court Chief Judge Rufus King (Washington Lawyer)

Former Janney Elementary custodian honored for 30 years of service (Post)

Anacostia, Eastern football teams' seasons have yet to begin (Post)

Robert Brannum paid another visit to 1150 15th St. NW yesterday (YouTube)


*** ON THE MENU ***

Fenty, Gray debated this morning on WTTG-TV -- Brown and Orange face off on WAMU-FM's Politics Hour, 12 p.m. -- early voting at satellite centers starts tomorrow, 8:30 a.m.

By Mike DeBonis  |  September 3, 2010; 10:29 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Mike , The District  
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Next: Gray, Fenty debut new TV ads

Comments

Norton's got to go. She was conspicuously absent on the campaign tour, while Doug Sloan was at every event, no matter how small, engaging anyone who wanted to speak with him about anything. Norton's become complacent, use to a cushy job that requires very little from her and yet affords her all the trappings befitting a typical Capitol Hill politician. What has she done for the city in all the years she's held office? Very little of any significance. Time to give a more motivated and enthusiastic candidate a chance. Vote Doug Sloan.

PS. Those Marines are yours as well, Ms. Norton. Show some respect.

Posted by: asuka1 | September 3, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

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