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DeMorning DeBonis: Sept. 8, 2010


Busy night last night, with campaign surrogates Ron Moten (for Adrian Fenty) and Marion Barry (for Vincent Gray) dueling on WTTG-TV shortly before the midnight deadline for the last big campaign finance filings. Tim Craig wraps up the debate thusly: "Barry stumbled over his words while [Moten] stumbled over his facts." Said Moten, "Fenty has made some mistakes, just like Marion Barry has made some mistakes" before touting the Fenty record. Barry retorted that Fenty "manages by press conference as opposed to managing." You should just watch. WBJ's Mike Neibauer has a quick summary of the finance filings, noting that Gray raised about $462,000 in the last 27 days to Fenty's $215,000. And Fenty spent more, $1.3 million for $707,000. But Fenty still has more cash on hand, about $810,000 to Gray's $444,000. Fenty deposited checks from fellow members of the "big-city mayors" club, Michael Bloomberg and Kevin Johnson. TBD has more. Also: DCist noted yesterday that Phil Mendelson is finally emptying his bank account, spending nearly $200,000 in less than a month.

AFTER THE JUMP -- Gray honcho says Fenty has "small lead" after week of early voting -- Michelle Rhee unloads on "sexist" suggestions she's Sacramento-bound -- fate of education reform rests on Fenty's pate, The New Republic says -- Potomac is on the rebound


YESTERDAY'S NEWS -- In a morning conference call, Gray strategist Mo Elleithee took aim at supporter complacency by announcing that Fenty "likely has a small lead among those who have cast ballots in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary" -- though Gray "later distanced himself" from that assessment. Also: Gray wants cops at polling places on Election Day and releases video clip asking volunteers to be "respectful," as Barry said he was "increasingly alarmed" by youth organized by Moten and fellow Peaceoholics founder Jauhar Abraham who are "using tactics of intimidation and bullying of people by screaming and yelling and starting fights with some of our workers." Abraham, in turn, accused a Gray supporter of assaulting him. Gray also launches "Formerly Fenty" Web site, featuring such erstwhile Fenty supporters and staffers as gay activist Peter Rosenstein, ex-Deputy Chief of Staff Neil Richardson and Summer Spencer, the Department of Employment Services director forced out of office after the 2008 summer jobs debacle. The Fenty camp, meanwhile, called on Gray to "provide a full explanation" about his connections to ex-DHS director Vernon Hawkins, developer William C. Smith and businessman Emmanuel Bailey. Campaign stories by WTTG-TV and WUSA-TV.

RHEE, STRAIGHT UP -- Yesterday's talker was Rachael Brown's DCist Q&A with Michelle Rhee. She loves Ray's the Steaks and Saint's Paradise Cafeteria. She tries to "pick and choose" what she reads in the Post. This school year, she wants to focus on honing the Teaching and Learning Framework/IMPACT and improving special education. She explains what would be a "dealbreaker" in a mayor: "[O]ne of the things that the Mayor and I have in common, one of the things that has driven so much of our work together is that fact that when faced with decisions, even if it's going to make a lot of adults unhappy, if it's the right thing for kids and we know it's going to result in better schools for our children, then we're going to make that decision. And when you add in the component of people who have agendas where decisions need to be made on keeping people happy, keeping all the adults happy, well then there's probably a better leader who can fill that role." And she unloads on all those who thinks she's moving to Sacramento to be with her new husband: "It's totally sexist! Let me just tell you this -- not a single person in Sacramento has implied that because Kevin and I are getting married that he's going to be moving to D.C. Not a single person. And it [ticks] me off to no end that people assume that I'm going to be the one to move, or that of course I would have to move. People say, well, her husband is there, so of course she would have to move. And I say 'really?' What century are you living in? ... I will absolutely be here for a second term, and I'm really excited about the prospect of it."

TNR FOR FENTY -- The New Republic argues that the "fate of education reform" in the United States rides on Fenty winning a second term in office: "With the Race to the Top program, [President Obama] has inspired a wave of unprecedented legislation in the states intended to hold teachers accountable for their classroom performance. Unions have understood the new political environment. Since they have assumed the inevitability of reform, they have largely acceded to the change and resigned themselves to merely shaping it at the margins. If Fenty loses, however, it would send the signal that reform is hardly inevitable. Mayors and governors will be staring at an object lesson of a colleague who staked everything on challenging the teachers' union -- and lost. Of course, Fenty has done a ham-fisted job of navigating the city's changing politics. He may even be guilty of arrogance. But that hardly seems justifiable grounds for imperiling education reform, and not just in the District." GOOD magazine also weighs in: "What would be lost along with a Fenty defeat? Perhaps the most ambitious attempt to reform a school district outside of post-Katrina New Orleans." City Paper reacts: "Counter-intuitively, TNR decided not to go the counter-intuitive route, and endorsed exactly the candidate you'd expect for a neo-liberal opinion journal mostly written and read by over-educated white people."

DISH FOR VINCE -- The Georgetown Dish, on the other hand, prefers Gray: "We believe that Vincent Gray has proven that he has the skills, experience and right democratic instincts to heal divisions opened by the Fenty administration. Gray, from integrating a white fraternity in college through his tenure as Ward 7 Councilmember and his impressive term as D.C. Council Chairman, has been a bridge-builder who insists on community and constituent participation in finding solutions. We believe his One Washington theme is sincere, and that he will work to bridge the racial gap that too often divides our city. This skill will be indispensable as we deal with the looming budget deficits and across-the-board program cuts they will require. While we urge voters to vote for Gray for Mayor, we also see a future leadership role in the District for Mr. Fenty and his energy, focus and vision," raising the potential for a Gov. Bill Clinton-style comeback.

GRAY IN 3 -- Mary Cheh endorsement notwithstanding, Vincent Gray's going to be a "hard sell" for Ward 3, Courtland Milloy writes today: "A gentleman, Gray's personal kindness has sometimes been mistaken for weakness, his deliberative legislative style as a sign of indecisiveness. And that's when those who have underestimated him learn about his jujitsu style of politics, practiced compassionately most of the time, that can break through bureaucratic obstacles -- or bring a hard-charging political opponent to his knees. Cheh's effort to reach out to him across the two great geographical divides that separate their wards by race and class -- Rock Creek Park and the Anacostia River -- has a healing quality all its own. 'Fenty made progress because he inherited a surplus of resources, money and goodwill, and he used it up,' Cheh said. 'Now we need someone who can reweave the social fabric that he ripped apart and take us to the next level.' Cheh is under no illusions, however; it's going to be a hard sell, even with her experience as a public interest lawyer and former middle school soccer coach and referee."

VIVA BLUE PLAINS -- Post A1, by David Fahrenthold: "The Potomac River is cleaner now than it has been in decades, thanks largely to upgrades at Washington's sewage plant - and the proof is on the river bottom, where thickets of underwater grass are replacing mud and murk, according to a new scientific study. The study, released Tuesday, paints an evocative picture of the Potomac's rebound from the 1960s, when its bottom was bare mud, its algae-choked water was AstroTurf green, and President Lyndon B. Johnson called the river a national disgrace. Today, the river is clearer and heavily carpeted with grass. ... Its comeback has been closely tied to the Blue Plains treatment plant, which handles waste from the District and parts of Montgomery, Prince George's, Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington counties. ... In the past decade, responding to mandates from federal regulators, the plant has added $1 billion in new efforts that allow bacteria to consume the algae-feeding pollutant nitrogen in sewage. The new study determined that between 1990 and 2007, the average level of nitrogen in the river fell by nearly half. The result, scientists said, was less murk."


Moten was dragged into Office of Campaign Finance for a "show cause" hearing on his go-go politicking (Loose Lips)

Is the Gray coalition like the Tea Party? (TBD)

Sierra Club's Jim Dougherty explains why it endorsed Gray: "Fenty has repeatedly disappointed with his budget, personnel, and regulatory decisions, while Gray has been the greenest Chairman ever." (GGW)

Should the D.C. government support more Superfund sites? (WAMU-FM)

Only 10 percent of expected tax amnesty collections have come in, but that's normal, CFO says; most wait till last minute (WBJ)

How "Waiting for Superman," featuring Rhee, could change the country's education system (New York Magazine)

Why there are only five early-voting sites (

Gray might end parking-meter hours earlier, but how will he make up the lost money? (Examiner)

Deborah Simmons does her best to keep Leo Alexander in the conversation (WaTimes)

A Kelvin Robinson Web ad takes aim at Tommy Wells over crime (YouTube)

D.C. school reform: the industrial drill bit analogy (Rick Hess)

Unpacking Delano Hunter's views on gay marriage: "I have a sense that it is a lack of understanding of my beliefs, and of many folks who share my beliefs, they're trying to label us as homophobes, and we're not that." (Amanda Hess)

The crisis of Clark Ray: "What's a candidate who comes into the world with two first names to do?" (Loose Lips)

Jonetta Rose Barras says Adams Morgan bazaar has "failed miserably," calls on city to shut it down "until the legitimate concerns are resolved and vendors are in full compliance with local laws" (Examiner)

"Adrian Fenty is on the [expletive] list and Vincent Gray is looking at the bucket list..." (WPGC-FM)

"What is so significant about this Cheh issue is how politically naive Fenty showed himself to be by openly and brazenly dismissing and insulting the representative from a ward that is one of his biggest strongholds." (Unofficial Vince Gray for Mayor Blog)

Enviro groups want bag tax money stat (WTTG-TV)

Cory Booker tweet-stumps for Fenty (Twitter via TBD)

Fenty vs. Gray on the budget (WBJ)

Vote for mayor, via doggy treats (

NPR profiles D.C.'s high-tech parking meters (Morning Edition)

Channel 9 covers the Erich Martel transfer (WUSA-TV)

Reader reacts to Colby King's column: "Obviously I was mistaken when I thought that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words, about judging people by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin, were no longer just a dream." (Post letter)

Fenty kicks off the Redskins season at Powell Elementary School with linebackers Brian Orakpo and H.B. Blades (Official Washington Redskins Blog)

Why one Van Ness resident likes Fenty (All Life Is Local)

*** ON THE MENU ***

New DCUSA business announcement (probably IHOP) -- Gray releases "public trust" plan, attends clinic groundbreaking -- Fenty breaks ground on Petworth playground

By Mike DeBonis  |  September 8, 2010; 9:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Mike , The District  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: DeMorning DeBonis: Sept. 7, 2010
Next: Fenty to run triathlon two days before primary


I think the assumption that Rhee would leave to be with her husband in Sacramento is actually a post feminist conclusion, based on the type of job each spouse has.

Which is more portable? mayor of the city, or superintendent of a school district?

Simple - Superintendent -- there are many such positions around the country and they are often filled based on a national search.

In contrast, being a mayor requires strong local connections and a history of achievement in the city.

The same would go for a marriage between, let's say, a successful lawyer in private practice and a pharmacist on staff at a hospital. The pharmacist's job is much more portable, not requiring the local connections and built-up reputation that the private practice lawyer's job requires.

There's nothing sexist about it.

Now, there may be other personal factors to weigh that would vary from couple to couple, but from a strictly occupational point it's pretty clear that being a superintendent is a more portable job than being a Mayor.

Posted by: efavorite | September 8, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

As per, Michelle Rhee is self delusional. She is in denial about the fact that she is being dumped, by the voters of DC and by clown shoes mayor whats his name.

She certainly doesn't see herself stuck in some backwater like Sacramento, at least not yet. In two weeks it will look pretty good. Unfortunately, now that the photo ops at the state fair are over "Kevin" will likely opt not to buy the cow. Its not a pretty cow and the milk isn't really any good. Of course, what kind of cow would take up with a pig in the first place?

Posted by: SoCali | September 8, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

As one who thinks she SHOULD leave to have a successful marriage, i don't think of it as a sexist thought. Is she alluding that he is going to move to DC? I would hope a happy and productive marriage more than anything. I moved to be with my wife. She moved to be with me. we did these things for our relationship, our marriage and our family. Our jobs ultimately did not matter.

Posted by: oknow1 | September 8, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Do not study how mountain goat lies with mate, lest you want to get bite.

Posted by: confucius_say | September 8, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

The nice folks from Cleveland Park & Van Ness over at the All Life is Local blog have a shoestring operation and probably don't know their javascript for posting comments is buggy or deactivated. Somebody should tell em:

Meanwhile, the cult of personality surrounding Rhee & Fenty has disabled the neoliberal press (WaPo, TNR, Bill Coe over at All Life is Local) from recognizing that Rhee & Fenty offer nothing more than a faith-based education program: "Have Faith in Us, and We Will Save You." None of Rhee's testing systems conform to even the bare essentials of statistical integrity; none of her IMPACT or CAS programs have even been peer-reviewed; the user manual issued to teachers for measuring "value-added" is either grossly misleading or the "value-added" tests don't even pass 4th grade arithmetic; there is no evidence that the results of school testing and teacher tests are independent of the income-level of the neighborhood or Ward where the schools are located. In other words, there is no credible evidence that the "value" added in wealthy Wards is NOT added by family income & parental education levels, rather than teacher impact. Or that the FAILURE to add "value" is NOT due to inadequate family income & lack of parental education.

It's all junk science, parading as salvation. Snake Oil.

Posted by: Rambler3 | September 8, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you efavorite. It is not at all sexist to expect that someone who is marrying the mayor of a city on the opposite coast would not go and join her spouse and be the first lady of that city.

I am not surprised that Rhee's knee jerk reaction is to play the sexist card! She does it every time she is asked about her plans once she gets married.

Common sense tells me that she will be moving to Sacramento. Why marry Mayor Kevin Johnson now if you are not going to move there and serve her role as the first lady. People don't think so abstractly. Use your common sense. When people get married, it is usually to be together. Why would Rhee stay and put up with all of the issues that surround DC politics?

Posted by: tameraab | September 8, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Milloy is one of the people who's been suggesting that Rhee would be leaving, and since he's already a racist, is it any surprise that he's a sexist, too? You've keep great company there at the post, DeBonis.

Posted by: asuka1 | September 9, 2010 4:57 AM | Report abuse

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