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Defending Fenty on snow plowing

Perhaps the best thing to happen to D.C.’s increasingly beleaguered mayor, Adrian M. Fenty, is that he got picked on by MSNBC host Chris Matthews. Matthews’s broadside about Fenty’s response to this week’s record snowstorms was so ridiculous it actually had the effect of minimizing the impression of the District’s failings in dealing with this week’s record snowstorms. Indeed, even some of the mayor’s harshest critics ended up coming to his defense, although that might also be because Matthews is even more unlikable than the mayor.

Matthews Wednesday night took after Fenty in a temper tantrum about “a city that can’t plow its streets.” While I can empathize with my colleague Jonathan Capehart as he becomes accustomed to a standard of snow removal that is not the norm for the north, I couldn’t help but shake my head at the harangue on "Hardball." It’s one thing for the show to have as a supposedly knowledgeable commentator someone who wasn’t even here for much of the storm -- council member Harry Thomas Jr., who was in Miami for last week’s Super Bowl. But it’s another thing for Matthews to invoke Katrina.

Mike DeBonis, who as the Washington CityPaper’s Loose Lips columnist is a frequent critic of Fenty, labeled as ridiculous the expectations “to clear the streets from the biggest snowstorm in 88 years within 48 hours.” Likewise, other D.C. residents took to the blogs to defend the mayor and their city against the criticism, to use DeBonis’s description, of “a non-commuter–tax-paying Moco resident".

At this point, it's still debatable what grade Fenty will get for his snow response, but he can thank Matthews for helping to show just how hard the task he faces is.

By Jo-Ann Armao  | February 11, 2010; 3:06 PM ET
Categories:  Armao  | Tags:  Jo-Ann Armao  
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don't be mistaken: we think fenty is terrible, we just despise chris matthews, a little more.

Posted by: stellabloom13 | February 11, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Why not just name all your columns "Defending Fenty" and leave it at that.

Posted by: efavorite | February 11, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I give Mayor Fenty an F- for wanting the D.C. Public Schools to open 2 hours late and for keeping the D.C. Government open when all other municipalities were close with no Metro buses running and limited train service.

Gabe Klein had no experience in public transportation before being named Department head. He worked at Smartcar or Zipcar and ran a food cart. I mean, really; not that that differs from some of the Heads of other Fenty agencies, (are you under 40? clueless? YOU ARE IN! ) It should be no wonder that this cleanup is not going well.

Ward 2 D.C. Resident/Voter

Posted by: Dracula1 | February 11, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Armao, there is a difference in defending the District of Columbia from reckless commentaries from the likes of Mr. Chris Matthews and supporting Mayor Adrian Fenty. For the record, your commentaries in defense of Mayor Fenty and DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee are just as reckless and irrational as you claim Mr. Matthews' comments are of Mayor Fenty's snow removal operations.

You are mistaken to think District residents critical of Mr. Matthews are coming to the defense of Mayor Fenty. That failed logic only works with you.

Robert Vinson Brannum

Posted by: robert158 | February 11, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

While you are correct, this article would be more persuasive had you not written it, given that you are essentially a Fenty/Rhee PR department within the Post.

Come to think of it, that's exactly your point about Matthews. The fact that it is him making the criticism makes it easy to rebut. Hmmm...wonder if that makes you think.

Posted by: dyedwab1 | February 11, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

It's just like what Harry Thomas was saying on the show: The City Council was right there the whole time and Fenty was so arrogant that he didn't even consult with them or have the willingness to work cooperatively as a team.

Posted by: starclimber9 | February 11, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Considering both public saftey and education the 2 hour delay was a good decision. I believe it is good exercise for our youth to always be prepared to go to school because most successful people are always ready. The extra time also allows you to determine road conditions.

To me this situation reminds me of the threat of a cold or flu. MOST people with a few symptoms stay in bed. However,I think I may be sick I prepare for work and maybe go in a little later (hence a delay). After I get up and prepare for work, if I really have the flu, I stay home buuuut if I can make to work I go. Staying in bed to see how bad it gets is not an option. Therefore, closing the schools right away sends the wrong message. My father was my example. Many of our youth don't have examples so they need practice.

It is plausible that a slightly longer delay may have been warranted because of the volume of snow. Despite that, I believe the Mayor put some thought into making his decision.

Posted by: Sayno2statusquo | February 11, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Opinion writers have their biases, and Armao's shows hers. That is her First Amendment right. As for D.C. voters, we will exercise our privilege in November when Boss Fenty gets voted matter how much The Washington Post wants a second term.

Posted by: dc925dc | February 12, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Chris Matthews is rapidly earning a well deserved reputation as a stuck-up obnoxious media prig.

Meanwhile, mayors throughout the mid Atlantic region are facing popular anger over snow removal failures.

When you've got budgets tightly written for voters who love nothing so much as a tax cut (unless perhaps its a twinkie *and* a tax cut), and records for "how much snow fell within 10 days", inconvenience is likely.

Incivility is optional.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | February 12, 2010 2:47 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Armao gets a hearty thumbs-up from me. How dumb would it be to pay a huge amount for equipment that would be used only once or twice every 5 or 6 years? And to all the little bureaucrats in the area who think that getting to their job and their 7-11 is the most important thing in the universe, maybe Mother Nature is sending you a message about perspective and priorities.

Posted by: mnibley | February 12, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I hate Fenty. I agree he should not be blamed for any perceived "weakness" in the snow removal process.

Fair is fair. But I (any many other D.C. employees, and friends and families of D.C. employees) are disgusted with his lack of respect for "his" workers.

Posted by: tacard1 | February 12, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

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