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Fenty: His Aide's Keeper?

In politics, the candidate is all. If he fouls up, his staff scrambles to protect him, but in the end, the candidate rises or falls based on the public's perception of him personally.

In that world, staffers are disposable. They serve until they become the issue. Questionable behavior, or even the rumor of a problem, is often enough to send them packing. It may not be fair or even just, but it's a system designed to protect the boss at all costs.

Turn now to the D.C. mayoral race and Adrian Fenty, the golden dynamo who has connected with District residents more powerfullly and effectively than all four of the other candidates combined. Fenty, with his omnipresent Blackberry and his remarkable knack for taking care of constituents' every municipal need, doesn't win endorsements from other politicians or from the big business groups--Linda Cropp gets almost all of those--but Fenty is the champion of the battle of the lawn signs. Every time I watch the other candidates, I see people coming up to them to say they like what the candidate is saying, but Adrian Fenty took care of their brother's water problem or resolved their cousin's dispute with the police or made sure they got their building permit.

But Fenty apparently has such a soft spot for one of his top staffers that no matter what that staffer does, no matter how much that fellow jeopardizes Fenty's reputation, the candidate sticks by the damaged goods. The man in question here is Sinclair Skinner, Fenty's old friend, fraternity brother at Howard University, Georgia Avenue businessman, and director of field operations in Fenty's mayoral campaign.

As activist Taylor Chesnik documents on his web site, dumpskinner.com, Skinner has developed quite the streetside manner, angering business people and residents across the city with intemperate demands and aggressive positions. Take, for example, the word of Joe Englert, one of the city's most active nightlife entrepreneurs, the developer of a string of clubs along H Street NE and Georgia Avenue NW. Skinner apparently didn't like Englert's proposal for a club called Temperance Hall, and, according to Englert, Skinner showed up and accused the owner of relegating black workers to the kitchen. Skinner asked Englert "why a white man wanted to do business on Georgia Ave. Several times I was even asked if I was Jewish."

In his role as president of the Lower Georgia Avenue Business Association, Skinner previously turned his attention to D.C. Council member Jim Graham (Ward 1), accusing him in a newsletter that Skinner published--but didn't write--of trying to "kill our community togetherness, steal our legacy and destroy our beloved Black neighborhoods and families." What drove Skinner to this conclusion about the popular Ward 1 council member? Graham is supposedly an agent of gentrification, forcing out black residents. Never mind that no other member of the council is more engaged in advocacy for tenants whose buildings are threatened by real estate developers seeking to remove existing residents and charge ahead with renovations.

Chesnik became involved in the Skinner controversy after the Fenty aide testifed on behalf of a Georgia Avenue strip club that neighbors were trying to get the city to shut down (there'd been a murder outside the place, as well as several incidents of rowdiness.)

WTOP's Mark Segraves reported a few weeks ago that Skinner owes the District $17,000 after he defaulted on a lease by abandoning retail space he had rented from the D.C. government. Skinner responded that he would pay the city what he owes.

The amazing thing about this story is that Fenty continues to defend his friend and keep him on the campaign staff. Fenty scoots around questions about what role Skinner would play if the council member is elected mayor. "There's no way in the world I'm going to get into who's going to be on my staff" before the Sept. 12 primary, Fenty said on WAMU's D.C. Politics Hour Friday.

Two hours earlier, on Washington Post Radio's Politics Program, Fenty said that "If anybody does anything while they are on my campaign...that would harm anyone else, they will be held immediately accountable." Fenty dismissed any discussion of the various allegations against Skinner because they were "things that happened prior to joining my campaign."

Fenty now hardly appears in any interview or forum without the Skinner problem coming up. Does the candidate have such a great need for this aide that he cannot bring himself to separate from an obvious and nagging problem? Is Fenty, as WTOP's Mark Plotkin suggested in that Friday interview on Post Radio, so stubborn that he cannot admit to a staffing error? Don't D.C. voters at least deserve a more detailed accounting of Skinner's role in the campaign, his possible role in a mayoral administration, and a full explanation of how the candidate differs, if he does, from the views and methods of his aide?

By Marc Fisher |  July 17, 2006; 8:05 AM ET
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Comments

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"why a white man wanted to do business on Georgia Ave. Several times I was even asked if I was Jewish."

Jeesh, if this guy said that he needs to resign. Fenty would probably win the election today, but Cropp is creeping up fast in the rearview mirror. If Fenty does not try to quell the growing fear among business people in the District, he may actually blow his Mayoral hopes.

Posted by: Are you listening Fenty? | July 17, 2006 10:19 AM

Someone please explain to me why the word "gentrification" is often used? DC is changing and it is much better than it is used to be. It is not about "gentrification". It is about change. No one forces the old residents to sell their properties, other than they are cashing out. Why does someone always use the race card for anything?

Posted by: Tim | July 17, 2006 10:40 AM

Thanks, Marc. I'm glad this issue is getting some attention. I had been a Fenty supporter, but his unwillingness to address this issue has really soured my opinion of him. His initial refusal to address it publicly at all -- "if you want to talk about this, call me or e-mail me personally" -- does not bode well. I don't expect a mayor to be perfect and not ever encounter problems, but I do want a mayor who can quickly and reasonably respond to problems. It's a shame, but I think it shows how inexperienced he really is.

Posted by: Phoebe | July 17, 2006 10:40 AM

Just another reason why none of these candidates are worth a damn. They've been campaigning for a year and STILL haven't convinced most of DC who to vote for.

Posted by: Dirrty SW | July 17, 2006 10:59 AM

Tim, a lot of the older retired people simply can't afford the increased property taxes that the coincide with the rising property values. A long time retired neighbor of ours had to move for this very reason - they wanted to stay but just couldn't afford the increased taxes.

The city is changing for the better but I hope that people continue to think about some of the older residents of this city.

Posted by: Washington, DC | July 17, 2006 11:06 AM

This is the primary reason I cannot commit to voting for Fenty. I do *not* want Skinner in the administration. For now my vote is with Marie Johns (I cannot bear the thought of any other in the pool), though I fear that could boost Cropp, who would be my worst nightmare. If Fenty finally DID dump Skinner, he would get my support (and that of many others I know) in a heartbeat.

Plus Temperance Hall is an awesome bar. Thank God Skinner lost that battle.

Posted by: dc voter | July 17, 2006 11:06 AM

We should be judged by the company we keep.

If Fenty staffs his campaign with a Neanderthal like Skinner, who will he hire to run DC government?

A Vote for Fenty is a Vote for Stupidty

Posted by: Watcher | July 17, 2006 11:11 AM

I still will probably vote for Fenty, but this really troubles me. I also want to second the I love love love Temperance Hall!!!

Posted by: Temperance kicks ass | July 17, 2006 11:13 AM

Thanks for the advice. But if older folks have limited income, should they think of an alternative? DC is a metropolitan area. If you are comparing DC with other cities in US and other countries, it is still cheaper. Reality is you got to have money to live in a big city.

Posted by: Tim | July 17, 2006 11:14 AM

I wasn't inclined to be against Fenty because he has a racist on his staff, because there are so many of those in this city that I'm sure there's one on every staff. But his dogged defense of Skinner, especially the cadgy "if he does anything *while on my campaign* I'll dismiss him" is bringing Fenty down in my estimation. I agree with dc voter, Marie Johns is the most palatable substitute.

Posted by: Hillie | July 17, 2006 12:01 PM

Marc,
I am the creator of the Dump Skinner website. Thank you for raising awareness of this issue. Feel free to contact me.

Taylor

Posted by: Taylor | July 17, 2006 12:01 PM

I'm a big Fenty supporter because he is not Barry-style old school and has shown he both cares and can win. But I also feel this column needed to be written. What I don't understand is why, if Sinclair is such a friend of Adrian's, that Sinclair has not chosen to demonstrate that friendship by resigning. At this point, what does he bring to the table?

Posted by: anonymous | July 17, 2006 12:09 PM

Adrian Fenty is an inadequate lawyer who lacks the intellect required to effectively govern Washington DC. If he can not manage an elderly man's estate in a competent fashion, or pick aides who refrain from race baiting (or worse), how can anyone expect him to perform as mayor.

Once again, Marie Johns is the only palatable option in this race.

Posted by: Rake Yohn | July 17, 2006 12:36 PM

Hillie, by not being against racism, you are for it. It's not an issue that allows for middle ground.

Tim, your answer is very short-sighted. Yes, DC is improving. But your answer is if the older folks can afford the city, well too bad? How compassionate of you.

Posted by: Michael | July 17, 2006 12:43 PM

Not defending Skinner. But Joe Englert has been an adversary of Fenty's from the start, especially when it came to the Smoking Ban--which Englert fiercely opposed. The fact is that Englert has one goal: sell as much liqour as possible anywhere you can. This goal does not necessarily mesh with the goals of a residential community. If there are no witnesses to the Jewish remarks and Englert is the only source, I would take it with a grain of salt.

Posted by: by george | July 17, 2006 12:56 PM

Also, didn't Temperance want a Tavern (CT) or Nightclub (CN) license, but settle for a Restaurant (CR) license? It's a significant question, because a CR isn't worth nearly as much as a CT or CN.

I'm not saying this played a part, but people on the blog have been referring to it as a "bar", when it is technically a "restaurant".

The main difference is in the % of gross sales by alcohol, and that gets at business model and, on the neighborhood's side, the types of food service residents can expect, and noise and hours they would expect to endure.

For the owner, it also gets to up-front capital investment for kitchen build-out, and down the road expense for staffing. It very much impacts the profitability.

Graham, Fenty, the ANC, and Skinner eventually found common cause and supported Temperance as a CR, but evidentially it was ugly for a bit.

Posted by: anonymous | July 17, 2006 1:28 PM

I think it says plenty that Skinner opposed Temperance Hall vociferously but staunchly supported the strip club in the same 'hood.

Posted by: blah | July 17, 2006 1:33 PM

In response to "anonymous"

Temperance Hall wanted to get a CT (Tavern) license. The fierce opposition from Skinner and his longtime friend Janisha Richardson ANC1A08 Commishoner forced the owners to switch to a CR license. The only other option was to abandon the project all together which they very nearly did.

The sickening part about all of this is that Skinner wasn't against Temperance Hall because of the liquor license, he was against it because he wanted revenge for Club U and Kili's being closed for what he considered to be an attack on black-owned businesses. He vowed to fight all white-owned businesses as retribution.

For all supporters of Temperance Hall, I am pretty sure that they will need to switch to a CT (Tavern) license in order to operate the same way they have been. I for one will support them, but I'm pretty sure my ANC Commishoner, Ms. Richardson, will not.

Posted by: ParkView | July 17, 2006 1:40 PM

And you know for a fact it was in retribution? How, oh Amazing Kreskin?

By most accounts I've heard, Temperance is a great place run by great people. But no one should be denigrated simply because they oppose a tavern or nightclub opening next door or around the corner from them. A restaurant is much more palatable, and seems to have been the accepted, if as you suggest temporary, compromise.

To me this pushes us toward the much bigger question of what residents might want to see at the other 999 (a rhetorical number) commercial properties along that stretch of Georgia. It's a conversation that we'll need to have. It's a question that I'd imagine wasn't too far from Sinclair's mind. When things start booming between HU and Temperance, it's also one I'll be active in.

Can you point to an existing commercial strip you'd like to emulate? U St? 18th St? Upper 14th St?

Posted by: anonymous (Pleasant Plains) | July 17, 2006 1:56 PM

All of this is more evidence of Fenty's ethics, priorities and frame of mind. I had started out supporting him, but his hyperbole on the stadium fight reeked of racial politics to me.

Having worked more campaigns than I ever care to admit, the people you work with and who staff your campaign define who you are. And in this case Fenty = old school Barry-style racial politics. Looks like he is going to bring back the days of sponging off of Wards 2 and 3 for taxes and not providing one bit of service.

That's why I am supporting Cropp. Steady leadership.

Posted by: Glover Park | July 17, 2006 2:00 PM

Anonymous (Pleasant Plains);

Mr. Skinner was quoted as saying so according to Janet Lugo-Tafur. Take a look http://www.dumpskinner.com/janet.html

If he was so against alcohol he wouldn't have supported The House strip club's liquor license renewal.

As far as emulating another part of the city I would say Georgia Avenue should emulate places like Cleveland Park or Capital Hill. Areas that have vibrant retail including restaurants, bars/taverns, shopping, grocery stores, etc... All with a pedestrian friendly atmosphere where people feel safe to walk around. Temperance Hall fit a huge need in the area, and its sucess is a testimat to that. The area desperatly needed a place that people could go to congregate, have a meal, have a beer, etc...

I support all new businesses looking to move into the area that enhance the quality of living and make it possible to live without having to drive everywhere for any kind of basic service.

Posted by: ParkView | July 17, 2006 2:05 PM

I should have written that a restaurant is more palatable to a broader demographic, not simply that it is more palatable. This is an important distinction. Especially since the area is inhabited by a pretty broad demographic.

Posted by: anonymous (Pleasant Plains) | July 17, 2006 2:05 PM

In response to anonymous from Pleasant Plains: the person you question doesn't need to be Kreskin, he/she just needs to have read the testimony -- from individuals courageous enough to allow their full names to be used, no less -- on the dumpskinner.com web site that Marc has already cited. The web site is truly an amazing read! And I can add that I personally know more than one African-American person who've told me that Skinner explicitly played the race card when trying to convince these people to join him in opposing Temperance Hall...

Posted by: Andrew | July 17, 2006 2:14 PM

Yeah, the strip club thing was a bad move. Didn't it have some violence and other damaging peripheral issues, too?

Again speculating, but it appears to me that Skinner tried to entirely stop the erosion of the black-majority community, rather than picking and choosing responsible players to defend. Given history, that's an understandable sentiment, but it's not at all good governance.

Also, I'm not saying Temperance doesn't fill a huge need, but please be careful about how many "bars" you welcome. They are able to financially outcompete the other amenities you cite due to their generally higher profit markup and margins.

You won't have the trouble the downtown entertainment districts have, but even Cleveland Park wants fewer bars and eateries and more of the shops and things. It's tough.

Posted by: anonymous (Pleasant Plains) | July 17, 2006 2:18 PM

It is not fair to anybody --especially Adrian Fenty --to portray Joe Englert's statement as fact.

Again, I am not defending Skinner.

The fact is that Adrian was at the fore of the smoking ban and Englert was one of his chief opponents and stood to lose a lot of money in the process. The Temperance Hall controversy proved one thing: Englert really can open a good restaurant if he sets his mind to it and sometimes a little neighborhood controversy can lead to good things--i.e. a CR license rather than a CT license. (CR licenses create more jobs eventhough it may not line Joe's pockets the way he wants!)

Whoever put this statement on-line should at least let the reader's know that given Englert's financial interest and original dislike for Fenty he may not be telling the truth.

Joe Englert's Statement:

Joe Englert is the owner of Temperance Hall. He partnered with developers Josh Adler and Robb Lakritz of Lakritz/Adler to create Temperance Hall. (See the Temperance Hall section under My Testimonial for more information.) Joe Englert owns a number of retaurants/bars all accross D.C., including Lucky Bar, The Big Hunt, Capitol Lounge, and State of the Union just to name a few. He is currently opening several new establishments on H Street N.E., helping revitalize that area.

Joe Englert was kind enough to provide me a statement that details his interaction with Sinclair Skinner. Keep in mind that when I called Adrian Fenty to talk about Sinclair Skinner he told me that he loved Temperance Hall and that he would talk to Lakritz and Adler about the situation. He said something to the effect that if Skinner did in fact act the way I described he would have a hard time keeping him on his staff. Fenty called me a few days later and said that Lakritz and Adler wanted to let bygons be bygons, Fenty took this to mean that nothing happened. I think any rational person could read between the lines and see that a developer might not want to get on a politicians bad side, especially one who very well could be Mayor in a few months. I think Mr. Englert clears up any confusion below.

Without further adeiu, below is Joe Englert's statement.

______________________________________________________________

"I was in the process of opening Temperance. And it was patently ridiculous when local Petworth activist Sinclair Skinner came to my establishment on Capitol Hill and confronted me with the comment that the only persons of color I had working there happened to be in the kitchen. (Totally untrue, by the way). Throughout the process of securing the license, Skinner made one outrageous comment after another about race and business and questioned why a white man wanted to do business on Georgia Ave. Several times I was even asked if I was Jewish. I had to take it all in stride.

Imagine my shock, when just a few months later, when Mr. Skinner starts popping up everywhere with Adrian Fenty. Rumor has it that Mr. Skinner would even be employed as a member of Fenty's economic development team. As a member of many professional organizations, I had encountered Mr. Fenty when lobbying for the interests of small businesses. No one I had met (with the exception of Phil Mendelson) had been more hostile or dismissive of small businesses. And it gave me great pause (and still does) that Fenty had aligned himself with a person with this way of thinking. I am very afraid that Mr. Fenty in his drive to pave the entire city with a green forest of campaign signs has not stopped to think about what kind of individuals he has working with or for him. I for one, fear what will happen to businesses in general and restaurants in particular if he comes into office. And if you talk to any politically aware businessman, you will find the same reservations."

Posted by: by george | July 17, 2006 2:37 PM

George;

Do you really think the way Temperance Hall is operating now is in accordance with the CR license? In order to maintain the business the way it operates now, they will need to switch to a CT license.

So if you think that the way it is now is great than you should not oppose them when they try to switch to the apporpriate license.

Posted by: ParkView | July 17, 2006 2:42 PM

George: Joe Englert's testimony might be more questionable if it were not so consistent with a broad range of evidence about Sinclair Skinner. Having had ample personal exposure to Mr. Skinner over several years, I can assure you that he is everything that the dumpskinner.com web site portrays him as...

Posted by: Andrew | July 17, 2006 3:14 PM

maybe he should hire a real chef,develop a real menu, follow through on his promise to offer "early bird specials" and "sunday brunch" serve better food and close the bar at reasonable hour. then he'll meet the requirements of a CR license.

just look at the following quote from Englert which is on the anti-skinner website. his motives are so transparent.

"I had encountered Mr. Fenty when lobbying for the interests of small businesses. (READ: smoking establishments!) No one I had met (with the exception of Phil Mendelson) had been more hostile or dismissive of small businesses (READ: in regard to smoking). And it gave me great pause (and still does) (READ: I'm such a victim!)"

FYI, Adrian is a champion of small business!

Posted by: by george | July 17, 2006 3:20 PM

Like it or not Temperance Hall is very sucessful and is a huge asset to the neighborhood. They cater to a very diverse community. Everytime I go in there there is an eclectic mix of people from black to white, gay to straight, old to young, etc...

I think everyone would like it if the menu was broadened and bruch was offered on the weekends (they are in the process of implementing that.) They are no a restaurant, they are a tavern and therefore should have a tavern CT license. Businesses like TGI Friday's also have tavern licenses. To make them adhere to the CR license would dramatically change the establishment. I agree there should be more restaurants, but I think we ought to allow Temperance Hall to operate the way they have been. Don't tamper with something that is not broken. I have not heard a single complaint about Temperance since they opened other than minor complaints such as menu items and slow service.

As for believing Joe Englert, beleive what you want about him. The facts still remain heavily against Sinclair Skinner, and Adrian Fenty for keeping him on staff.

Posted by: ParkView | July 17, 2006 3:32 PM

If Temperance has a CR, then they are a restaurant. Temperance may have wanted, and still want, to be a tavern, but to say they are is not only technically wrong, it implies you believe they would be found in violation by an ABRA audit.

The toughest test a CR must meet is that 45% of gross sales must be non-alcohol items. There is also a much easier test they could choose, it's something like ~$2000 of food/non-liquor items per chair per year. That is likely what they would opt for. Niether is really that hard for any popular place with pretensions of food service to make.
.

Posted by: Pleasant Plains | July 17, 2006 4:04 PM

George,
Don't get me wrong. I am not speaking for Temperance Hall. I don't know what their books look like. I am simply making an observation about how I don't think the percentages add up to meet a CR licence.

If what you are saying about how they could operate the same CR license is true, then why are businesses like a TGI Fridays, Chilis, Ruby Tuesday, etc... switching to the CT Tavern licenses?

Posted by: ParkView | July 17, 2006 4:10 PM

I'm sorry I meant to address the previous post to Pleasant Plains.

Posted by: ParkView | July 17, 2006 4:11 PM

Parkview,

Can you offer any actual anti-semitic or racist quotes from Skinner that are not attributable to Englert? If so I would be interested in knowing about them.

Posted by: by george | July 17, 2006 4:11 PM

Well Andrew above just provided one. Is the Georgia Avenue Defender not enough for you? What kind of 'neighba' are you?

Posted by: ParkView | July 17, 2006 4:13 PM

Interesting question.

Many TGIs etc might not need a CT. Others, particularly near universities or other concentrations of heavy drinking, might find one lucrative, or be reassured by the extra flexibility a CT offers.

In any event, a CT or CN is far more valuable to the owner than a CR. This is because CTs and CNs requires less expense to operate (less kitchen infrastructure,consumables, and staff expenses), and permits a greater percentage of high-margin sales (alcohol).

Lastly, when sold, all ABC licenses convey to the purchaser, who may have a very different business model in mind.

Posted by: Pleasant Plains | July 17, 2006 4:32 PM

Fenty HAD my support until I learned of his close association with Skinner, the creator of The Georgia Ave Defender. He fell completely out of favor with me, lost my support, and I'm quick to point out this relationship to all I know. I find it frightening that a person who keeps the company of someone like Skinner might be mayor. I'm afraid changing the relationship at this point wouldn't even change my vote.

Posted by: Anthony | July 17, 2006 4:46 PM

To those of you who doubt Joe Englert's statements because you think he is biased against Adrian Fenty; you need to know that I had heard these same statements from Joe long before I or Joe knew Skinner was a part of Adrian Fenty's campaign.

I am not saying that Joe is not biased against Fenty, I have no idea. It is a moot point though.

Posted by: Taylor | July 17, 2006 5:52 PM

Taylor,

Would you agree that Englert has a way of exxxagggerating some things?

Posted by: by george | July 17, 2006 6:25 PM

George,

I hardly know the man. I haven't caught him lying before. I certainly trust what he has to say more that Sinclair Skinner or Adrian Fenty.

Posted by: Taylor | July 17, 2006 6:41 PM

Wow George - such venom for Joe! And your agenda is...? Interesting how you are trying to bait and switch the issue to Joe Englert and away from the extremely racist Sinclair Skinner and Fenty's "nod and a wink - Trust Me" approach to the mayor's office.

To set the record straight, I've known Joe for 15 years and he doesn't need to exaggerate. Furthermore, he has been working on ABC related issues for years - well prior to the smoking ban - regardless of what George thinks he "READS" into Joe's comments.

But better yet, read what Skinner said at the ANC hearing regarding the stripbar, The Penthouse:

Skinner:
"I just want to briefly speak on the impact that this business has had on our community, and I would say very clearly we don't have enough businesses that have been as involved with helping the greater community as The Penthouse has.

It really has done a lot to help stabilize our community. We have a lot of abandoned buildings that really is the cause of a lot of these issues of drug trafficking and things of this nature. This being a viable business, it has really reinvested a lot of its monies back into the community to help with some of the problems with young people and provide opportunities for these young people throughout the holiday season as well as a lot of activities.

I personally have gone inside the business on occasion, and it you know, just you reiterate the level of class, as well as decorum, that I've seen in my times in being in there is one that would make me, you know, want to support more establishments like that."

So, let's see George, Skinner wouldn't have had a problem if Joe had wanted to open a CN licensed stripbar? You need to stop trying to change the subject and Fenty really needs to Dump Skinner.

Posted by: NW Wilma | July 17, 2006 8:21 PM

"George" needs to read the dumpskinner.com web site in full. Then he'd see that Englert's testimony is just the icing on the cake. There's certainly plenty of other evidence of Sinclair Skinner's views and tactics.

Posted by: Andrew | July 17, 2006 9:47 PM

A business applies for a CR license in contested situations or situations where they expect neighborhood opposition in order to help mitigate said oppostion and compromise with the community. They hide behind the patina of being a restaurant in an attempt to make heavy oppostion seem unreasonable.

The dirty little secret is that ABRA will simply accept the sales info provided by the owner. Those of us who live in the real world of $5 draft beers and $8-9 martinis know you've got to sell an unlikely number of bad hamburgers and other bar food to meet the non-liquor threshold.

Posted by: WC | July 17, 2006 9:51 PM

WC:
I agree w/ you. That's why the much-maligned term "morphing" is still used. We've all seen businesses start out as neighborhood restaurants and, over a period of a few years, or after a change in ownership, turn into clubs or taverns. I understand ABRA has hired more inspectors and will start doing audits. It's about time.

I've not heard a single thing about Temperance that makes me think they will be a dishonest player, but it's nice to know that the enforcement mechanisms will be in place none the less. I've no problem doing the show cause hearing thing. It's getting to that point that's been too hard.

Posted by: Pleasant Plains | July 17, 2006 10:10 PM

These dump skinner comments are amazing. Skinner as an ANC Commissioner obviously had some issues with Mr. Engler's initial business model. In a city with a long history of discrimination against African Americans, minority hiring would seem fair game to any effective representative. Engler, I would hope, had better responses (as opposed to blanket denials) than we have seen among these comments.

I applauded Mr. Skinner for raising legitimate issues about Councilman Graham's relentless campaign to close down longstanding successful Black businesses based on standards disproportinately applied. It is these types of tangible events which breed mistrust among people in DC. But, I am sure that many of the Dump Skinner crowd along with the most of the of the DC Council were no where to be found during this incident.

Moreover, as someone that has known both Adrian and Sinclair for years, these personal attacks are extremely off base. Please get off of your pedestals and stop being so outrageously patronizing and disrespectful. Playing the race card???? How dare anyone compare racism and its lingering effects to a game!!!

Posted by: SW Bill | July 17, 2006 10:12 PM

SW Bill,

You are entitled to your opinions.

Some things I would like to clarify for you though.

Mr. Skinner was not on the ANC when he opposed Temperance Hall. He was voted out because people in his SMD had grown tired of his antics.

Its is one thing to raise issues with Jim Graham, it is another thing to hand out racially divisive newsletters. It is also another thing to oppose a business because of the color of the owner's skin and as revenge for some preceived injustice towards black businesses while at the same time lying about his motivations.

It is also unaceptable for Mr. Skinner to threaten people who oppose him and call him out on his hypocricy.

How would you feel if Mr. Skinner where white and was handing out newsletters insensitive towards black people? You need to take a step back and look at the situation and facts objectively. Forget any personal relationship you've had with Mr. Skinner.

Posted by: ParkView | July 17, 2006 10:24 PM

Fenty needs to answer questions about Skinner and his role in a Fenty Administration. But if there is truth in the following article written by Duncan Spencer for the May 24, 2006 issue of the Hill newspaper, then we are also owed an answer from Linda Cropp concerning the old line Barry cronies in her campaign and what role they will play in her administration. The article is printed below.

CROPP OF YAWNS
Tony's dull decision

Need more proof that Mayor Tony Williams (D) is bored out of his skull?

Item: His mayoral-race endorsement of the city's tedious, unimaginative, business-as-usual City Council chairwoman, Linda Cropp (D). Sadly, it was inevitable that Cropp, who operates out of sight and behind closed doors, and whose only great attribute is patient ambition, should get Williams' nod.

Mrs. Cropp, a failure on the school board, hack as a City Council member, fumbler and backtracker as chairwoman, taker of all sides of a position, will usher in the new post-Williams era under a cloud of euphemisms, clichés and old Marion Barry cronies.

There seems little chance that voters will revolt against Cropp, even though she is as different from Williams as chalk to cheese. Without a crisis to awaken voters, her closest challenger, Adrian Fenty (D-Ward 4), is seriously damaged and the other candidates will split the anti-Cropp vote.

Cropp has quite naturally surrounded herself with political relics of the dysfunctional Barry era. In fact she's married to one of them, Dwight Cropp, a senior Barry adviser, a man who has defended Barry for turning City Hall into a job bank.

Dwight Cropp left politics to become a professor at George Washington University in 1989, the year before Barry was arrested and charged in the infamous crack cocaine sting. Barry associates' names include Elijah Rogers, Marshall Brown and Max Berry, and, according to veteran reporter Harry Jaffe, even Ivanhoe Donaldson, Barry crony and Barry's top strategist in his first mayoral campaign, a man who went to jail for embezzling city funds, is indirectly involved, working for Cropp pollster Diane Feldman.

These connections don't prove that Cropp is another Barry; it's generational. Barry and Cropp arrived in D.C. the same year (1965) both served on the school board, both came up through the City Council. The institutional memory and the mind-set are parallel. But don't look for Barry's charm or his in-your-face attitude toward Congress.

The primary is now hers to lose. The most voters can hope for is that she will be a faithful trustee of the Williams trust fund -- an inheritor, not a creator. The danger is that the cronies are smiling, ready and waiting to revive the bad old days of Barry, and soon may well have free access to 1 Judiciary Square.


------------------------------------------

Posted by: DC Democrat | July 18, 2006 12:02 PM

Thank you Marc for bringing this to our attention. I feel embarassed for supporting Fenty these past few months. He has a lot of explaining to do. I've fought my whole life against low lifes like Sinclair Skinner. People like him are what holds back signifigant progress in the Black community.

Jamilla in Anacostia

Posted by: Jamilla | July 18, 2006 4:27 PM

Marc,

Good post and useful information. I've seen Fenty around and am impressed by his slick charisma. What a charmer. But after his low-life stadium politics, I can't even be civil to the many Fenty flaks who are ringing my doorbell. I want to wear garlic and carry a cross in his presence.

Who are you endorsing for mayor?

Posted by: Kalorama Kat | July 18, 2006 10:00 PM

I don't do endorsements; that's the role of the editorial page.
And I haven't decided whom I will be voting for in the mayoral race. This is an unusually weak field, as I keep hearing all across the city. All five of the candidates have something to recommend them, but none of them puts it all together. Of course, we haven't had the full package in any mayor in the history of home rule. But this is a particularly thin crowd. I'll spell out some of the problems and some of the bright spots in some columns closer to primary day.

Posted by: Fisher | July 18, 2006 11:37 PM

It is too late for Fenty to dump Skinner in order to get votes. If elected, what will prevent him from putting Skinner and those like him in official capacitie? Fenty's judgment is now drawn greatly into question. He has lost a lot of trust among those who considered him a viable candidate.

Regarding Linda Cropp, if one reads her platforms, policy statements, and proposals, one sees a continuation of many programs that have helped this city financially over the past 8 years. But one also sees a movement away from ideas that have not worked. And one sees new approaches that are very different from the questionable ones of previous administrations. Foremost, one can see an experienced person trying to lead the District forward to an improved situation regarding housing, education, and safety for its citizens. I do not agree with everything she has proposed, but I see very little from Fenty that even suggests that he has vision and experience to be in charge of this city.

Posted by: N | July 19, 2006 12:37 AM

It is funny to read these comments. I too think Fenty should have dumped Skinner. But I would rather have someone who failed to dump Skinner than Linda Cropp who will bring back the entire Barry Administration, her husband included, or a Marie Johns who comes to government with the same level of experience as Sharon Pratt Kelly and we all know where that got us.

When I asked Fenty about Skinner he told me he is not in a policy level position now and he doesn't see him having one in his adminstration. He is simply doing street work.

As to the the post above - It's a joke to talk about Cropp's vision- there isn't one on her website whereas Fenty has a detailed vision statement on a wide range of issues- and to talk about Cropp's issue papers is also a joke. She was President of the School Board- which she conveniently forgets to put on her literature and we know why-just look where that got us- and if you look at her education paper which Mark Plotkin did and asked her about it- the part about taking over failing schools- she said she had no criteria as to what failing was- who would manage the schools she took over- or how she would do it- well nothing new about that Cropp has never had an original idea about what to do about schools -our most pressing issue in the District of Columbia.

Marie Johns is like electing a pig in a poke- we really know nothing about her or who she would hire- or what her policies would be- and with Cropp we know too much that isn't good. Just look at the people standing around her when she annouced- every defeated Council member and every old Barry staffer waiting to get their chance back at the public trough.

So I may agree with those that think Fenty should dump skinner or Skinner should have the grace to resign- but let's not take that and turn it into an attribute for any other candidate. Fenty is still far and away the best choice we have for Mayor and the only one that will make a real positivie difference for all of us in the District.

Posted by: concerned voter | July 19, 2006 2:06 PM

Concerned Voter:

Why has Adrian Fenty not come out and said that Sinclair Skinner would not have a policy role in his administration. Kojo and Jonetta asked him point blank and he refused to answer them.

Frankly, the whole situation stinks. As Mr. Fisher points out, any experienced politician would have distanced himself from this cancer.

I've never been in a fratenity/sorority, but it seems like the Fenty/Skinner relationship is somehow tied to their fraternity. Maybe Skinner has got some nasty dirt on Fenty from a wild frat party. Maybe they took some sort of blood oath. Who knows, but Fenty's response has been illogical and there appears to be something behind the scenes the public is not privy to.

Posted by: Bgidget | July 19, 2006 2:34 PM

Hmm! Now I have it. Fenty and Skinner are all part of the "Plan" and some grand conspiracy we all heard about during the Barry years. Who would have thunk it!!! Why don't we try to figure out where the candidates are on the issues and who can best lead DC for the next four years? That would be a more productive use of our time.

Posted by: DC Democrat | July 19, 2006 5:19 PM

This is an issue of leadership our City. Can Fenty run a huge organization like DC? Will he put issues of personal loyalty, or the fear of being seen as weak, ahead of the job? Can he pick a good management team?

Speaking of Cropp's cronism, doesn't Fenty's actions smell of nepotism?

Posted by: No Vote for Fenty | July 19, 2006 5:26 PM

Let me point out that Mr. Skinner did not protest Temperance Hall the restaurant opening on Georgia Avenue. He protested "The Whiskey" a Bar/Tavern opening on Georgia Avenue. Everything else that is said about Mr. Skinner is a matter of opinion. Only a few people know exactly what happened and unfortunately some of those people are stretching the facts. So, if you want to beat up Mr. Skinner on other issues so be it, but don't beat him up over the Temperance Hall/Whiskey issue.

Posted by: Ward 1 Resident | July 19, 2006 11:46 PM

I have followed this situation via the press etc. The only valid issue raised thus far in my view is the tax situation and Sinclair stated he would be taking care of this. As for the racial comments etc, I think all of this really underscores the real sense of powerlessness the Black community in D.C has. I have known Sinclair for years and what I do know is that he is someone who passionatley loves the Black community, his alma mater and his fraternity. Unlike a number of Howard alum, he purchased a house across the street from his alma mater in Ward I and used his education to open a business in the community and became politically involved in his community. Sinclair's political involvement did not begin in Ward I but stretches back to his days as a young student body president at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in the early 90's.

My point is this. YES, Sinclair like many African Americans and progressive minded citizens have a serious issue with gentrification and the displacement of lower income residents and the strain it puts on Black business. So Sinclair became politically involved to address these issues. Now people want claim Sinclair is a "racist". Anyone making this claim clearly has not studied racism and what it clearly means in terms of definition. Let me break it down (I hold a degree in Political Science from Howard).

The general definition of Racism is hatred/prejudice plus power. On a broader scale it is the super-exploitation of Blacks and other ethnic minorities within America (and the world for that matter) and the ideological justification with the power of the state to support it.

Now based on this history, Black people in America have never been nor could we ever be racist within this current context. Black people have been and continue to be the historical receivers/victims of racism, the eye sore/Black eye of this country, a sick pervasive ideology, one whose history is very potent, an injustice that America has never apologize for, its involvement and continued perpetuation. France just recently apologized for its involvement in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade yet this country did not send representatives to the UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban in 01. No White in this country ever served time or was punshished for the sick legacy of lynchings in this country.

I would like to know the number of Whites who have been relegated to sub-standard education due to Sinclair's comments, the number of White males profiled by the police, or in the case of Howard alum Prince Jones, shot and killed by the police, how many White males have been incarcerated by Sinclair's comments, has Sinclair's comments redlined any White communities throughout D.C, has Sinclair's comments increased survelliance of police in the White community on youth that use ectasy, has Sinclair's comments threaten the racial make-up of Ward's 2 and 3.......

My point- racism is deeper than someone making supposed statements. Racism is systematic and systemic within America. Sinclair could make all the statements he wants, but none of his statements will have any real bearing on Whites living in D.C or throughout the U.S. Sinclair makes a statement, somone's feelings get hurt and you attempt to make a Black candidate drop a Black staffer in a Black city, yes a city where the majority of the voters are still Black. That's all Sinclair could do under this current set up is hurt someone's feelings. However when White policy makers make statements, it does more than hurt feelings, IT HURTS THE LIVES OF BLACK PEOPLE! The Klan did not just hurt feelings, they hurt lives and were backed up by the state. George Wallace did not just hurt feelings, he hurt lives, Ronald Reagan hurt lives, Bill Clinton, yes Bill Clinton hurt the lives of Black people and other poor dispossed Americans with his racist Welfare reform and mass criminalization of our youth.

So no, Sinclair is not the racist. If you desire to silence the Sinclair's of the world, then speak out and fight against the social conditions that compelled Sinclair to become an advocate. Fight for Black business, fight against gentrification and the displacement of lower income residents, fight against the redlining in the Black community, fight for more Banks and not check cashing places in our community, fight against the Rockefeller drug laws which gives 5 years mandatory to the five dollar high but probabtion to its 500 dollar powder equivalent.

I'm reminded that the more the broader White community attacked Barry in 94, the more endeared Black people became to ensure his re-election which then sparked a racist back-lash from capital hill and Lauch Faircloth (hence systemic racism, more profound than someone's feelings getting hurt, an entire city and people were hurt by this).

Those of you wishing to back Fenty into a corner are playing with fire. Black people stand by those who stand by them, especially those whose fight is honest, is dignified, with integrity and without no compromise at all!

Racism means we have to fight back!

Killer cops mean we have to fight back!

Redlining means we have to fight back!

Fight Back, fight back, fight back!

Onward!

J Hutto, Sr.

Posted by: J Hutto, Sr- Howard Alum | July 20, 2006 3:04 AM

J. Hutto, Sr.

Is Howard an accredited university? Do they teach things like English grammar there or just cliches, slogans, and bigotry?

Posted by: Do what? | July 20, 2006 7:52 AM

Ther is not much left to be said after J. Hutto's comments... Very well put... If a lowly and angry, white computer geek can create a website and get other whites in the city to pile on for the sole purpose of getting a public servant to fire his worker, then where will it stop... Although I am leaning towards Cropp, I urge Fenty to stay strong and loyal to his core workers and supporters... Those will be the ones who are there when the computer geeks shut off their computers...

Posted by: Opio | July 20, 2006 8:38 AM

So let me get this right J Hutto. It is impossible for a black man to be a racist?

The things Sinclair Skinner has done are inexcusable no matter what race, religion, color, or creed. People like Mr. Skinner are a hinderance to the advancement of colored people. Their radical messages fall on deaf ears and the problems (or perceived problems)they are trying to fix remain.

Posted by: Ohhh Man | July 20, 2006 10:29 AM

The naivete reflected in some of these responses is unbelievable. Someone commented that DC is now a better place. One of DC's draws was its diversity. That is leaving fast and that does not make it better. People living crammed on top of each other because there are condos going up on every corner is not better. Taking out the only critial care hospital in an area where low and middle income people live so you can ultimately make that property available for upper income folks is not better. There are gross social inequities in this city and it is the most racially segregated city I have ever encountered (one grocery store in ward 8 compared to how many in ward 3? And don't even get me started on which neighborhoods are always the last to be dug out of a snow storm). Crime is never taken seriously until it occurs west of the park. Neighbors fully support an officer who tells them to call 911 if they see black men in their neighbor and...Skinner is a racist? People scoffed at this city when it was 80% black, now developments are going up and instituting "dress codes" (basically no Hip Hop gear) and Skinner is a racist? Just because race issues make some white people feel uncomfortable doesn't mean black people should stop talking about them. And just because a black person is disgusted by the social inequities they see going on around this city doesn't make them racist. It just makes them disgusted. The term "race card" is demeaning. Racism is not a game, it is real and it's alive and well in D.C. Maybe the real problem is that Fenty's allegiance reminds you that despite the white mother and the fair skin, he is really a black man. Maybe not the kind that scares you when walking in your direction, but a black man nevertheless.

Posted by: Longtime DC Resident | July 20, 2006 11:01 AM

Actually J. Hutto after reading your rant, I believe you are a paid Cropp employee whose purpose is to use race to damage the Fenty campaign. You can cash your check and go back to sleep now.

Posted by: Yawn | July 20, 2006 1:46 PM

Thank you for writing about this.

I had been a Fenty supporter until I heard about Skinner. When I read about him, I wrote a message asking about him on a community e-mail mailing list. I received a message from a campaign staffer who asked me to call to discuss the issue.

When I insisted that I wanted to keep the discussion in writing, the staffer told me that everything I had heard about Skinner was a lie and that he was sorry I was upset. I'm sorry that the Fenty campaign coddles racists. They can count on me to vote against Adrian Fenty at every opportunity I get.

Posted by: JohnBrown | July 21, 2006 12:54 AM

J Hutto, Sr, are you for real?

Did an accredited university actually teach you that "Racism is hatred/prejudice plus power"? Did the university library lack a dictionary?

My teacher, Malcolm X, taught me that racism is a belief that members of a race possess innate characteristics that make one race superior to another. But Brother Malcolm didn't hold a degree in Political Science from Howard, so I guess he was wrong and you're right.

If you truly believe that Black people in America "have never been nor could we ever be racist," your head needs to be extracted from your hindquarters.

You write: "If you desire to silence the Sinclair's of the world, then speak out and fight against the social conditions that compelled Sinclair to become an advocate. Fight for Black business, fight against gentrification and the displacement of lower income residents, fight against the redlining in the Black community, fight for more Banks and not check cashing places in our community, fight against the Rockefeller drug laws which gives 5 years mandatory to the five dollar high but probabtion to its 500 dollar powder equivalent." How do you know what we do or don't do? Is it possible that we are opposed to Skinner because he is a racist *and* we are doing some of these things? Or is that too much to wrap your little mind around?

I honestly feel sorry for you. A mind really is a terrible thing to waste. And you seem to be living proof of that.

Posted by: JohnBrown | July 21, 2006 1:15 AM

The term "race" is a social construct used by the state to categorize and separate people. Given the United States legacy of slavery, post-slavery servitude, separate and unequal ideology, welfare for the rich and white middle class, but not for the blacks; unequal treatment under the law,etc. and the fact that there has yet to be any national apology and restitution for slavery...Race is still very relevant today. Come on, the US Govt. has never adequately addressed its legacy of Racism and Slavery.

"Racism" does require an element of power, which is usually wielded by the state; however, power comes in many forms so any individual of any "race" can engage in "racism". That includes the simple act of targeting a particular person because of their race for a mugging. However, this form of "racism" is an off-shoot of a historic Govt. policy of racism that has yet to be rectified. But Skinner's got to know that it is still racism, but just at the micro level. I hope he does.

The idea of "race" is often manipulated by those in power --including the media-- in order to hinder the ability to people to see the true cause of their oppression. You've always wondered why "poor white people" tend to vote against their own interests. Ronald Reagan's image of a black welfare mom driving a cadillac is still embedded in the minds of these people and makes them furious.

Skinner seems to be a red herring for a larger issue here though. Cropp-Englert versus Fenty? They have different visions of where and how to take this city to a higher plane. Cropp-Englert wants business as usual the Developer/DC Govt partnership that evades the hard questions about displacement, affordable housing, making DC family friendly, and the true reasons behind the slow-track for school improvement. (If Englert had his way all of the time, this city would be a big party zoo that would be impossible to raise kids in. Who wants that?)

Fenty is rightfully questioning those relationships because he is not beholden to the existing "social structure" of "accumulation" which is neglecting thousands of home-town folk, of all races.

Posted by: by george | July 21, 2006 9:35 AM

I am a Ward4 resident, renter and former supporter of Councilmember Adrian Fenty. Years ago, I realized there is less to him than meets the eye.

Until the Skinner topic was raised, from the start of his interview with Mark Plotkin, Fenty's responses confidently asserted what he would do "WHEN elected mayor" and in "MY administration". The Skinner questions lowered that confidence, and those assertions abruptly changed to "we'll have to wait until 800pm Sept 12" and "IF I'm elected". What I took from that shift was that he wants us to believe his position on resolving the Skinner conflict depends on whether or not he wins the election, and nothing else. Just another example of how Fenty bends his answers to suit agenda.

Also, during the same interview, I noted that in response to Mark's question about endorsements, Fenty named the service industry union as an example, citing his concern about affordable housing for service industry employees. Perhaps during a future interview, Mr. Fenty can square his affordable housing platform with his March 2006 vote AGAINST Councilmember Graham's Rent Control Reform legislation.

Posted by: whatwegonnado? | July 21, 2006 10:13 AM

I think too many white folks confuse "racism" with "pissed offism". A racist thinks his race is superior, I don't think we have any evidence that this is Skinner's beliefs. I think too many white people are now playing the "race card" (the dumbest expression ever) and will label blacks as "racist" whenever they speak out against what they see as racist behavior. In the same way that whites labeled blacks who spoke out against social injustice as "militant back in the '60s and '70s." Basically it's a silencing tactic. It's an effort to keep minorities from challenging folks on real issues because God forbid we have a real dialogue about what gentrification is doing to many people in this city. In our effort to put race behind us, all we're doing is sweeping it under the rug and allow it to collect. It's not going to stop being a problem regardless of how many people you try to silence. You're not looking for Fenty to be your future mayor, you're looking for a pawn who will do your bidding. I was never big on Fenty, but I'm glad to see he is smart enough to not fall into the trap. You're outraged at Skinner for asking why blacks are only relegated to lower-wage jobs in certain new businesses in predominantly black neighborhoods and then quake in fear when you read about a Georgetown killing--too short-sighted to see the connection. You don't even realize that the more you villainize Skinner, the more appealing you make Fenty to black voters, who still outnumber white voters in this city. Keep trying to blow this up into an issue and Fenty is sure to win.

Posted by: Nan | July 21, 2006 11:01 AM

To Nan: "Pot, meet kettle."

Posted by: JohnBrown | July 21, 2006 12:26 PM

"I think too many white people are now playing the 'race card' ... and will label blacks as 'racist' whenever they speak out against what they see as racist behavior."

"You're not looking for Fenty to be your future mayor, you're looking for a pawn who will do your bidding."

Now who's "playing the 'race card'"?

Posted by: JohnBrown | July 21, 2006 12:28 PM

This is a big "PR" attack on Fenty. That is all. Even if Skinner is a jerk, why does that mean Fenty agrees with everything he says. You just want him to lose. Period. Good thing for D.C. is that the residents don't get mixed up in fake issues like this. Adrian is not going to give away business like Williams did. The only small businesses scared of fenty are the ones in Williams/Cropp/Johns pockets. They are all more interested in making money for friends than helping the average joe in the community.

Posted by: martin | July 21, 2006 1:25 PM

Martin,

Skinner is not just a jerk, he is a racist with a radical agenda. Adrian Fenty's continued support of this man speaks volumes.

Posted by: Gary | July 21, 2006 1:55 PM

My sentiments aren't about "PR" or about Fenty's association with Skinner. I happen to feel he is not the best option for several reasons, and he's simply not getting my vote. I am not impressed by Cropp's service record either.

Unfortunately, Marie Johns won't pull enough support to surpass either one of them.

Posted by: whatwegonnado? | July 21, 2006 2:23 PM

Saw this on a e-mail group. I think it helps people to understnad the issue:

"I see this Skinner issue as a key early test of Fenty's judgement. Fenty seriously failed that test.

Fenty kept changing his story. Early on, he said if he had evidence that Skinner had previously taken racially motivated actions, Skinner would be gone. Then, when the evidence became undeniable, Fenty switched to telling people that anything Skinner di wrong was before he was on Fenty's campaign staff.

Fenty also won't address people's very real concerns about the role Skinner may have in a Fenty administration. Given Skinner's known interest in economic development issues, perhaps he'll be in charge of DC's up-and-coming corridors?!

My bottom line is that Fenty has handled this like a TYPICAL politician: change your story; pretend things are other than they really are; and weasel and dodge the legitimate, tough questions.

To me, Fenty's big appeal WAS that he seemed NOT to be a typical politician. Clearly, I was wrong. I truly think that, for many of us, Fenty has been an attractive, charming empty vessel into which we've poured our hopes for a mayoral candidate. But he can't be who we WANT him to be -- he can only be who he IS: A typical politician who's showing himself to have bad judgement and be too inexperienced.

One more thing: if Fenty isn't willing to get rid of a Skinner type NOW -- when it could actually make a difference on primary day -- why would we believe that, once in office, he'd get rid of cronies who act or perform unacceptably?"

Posted by: Janice | July 21, 2006 2:54 PM

Why is it that the word "crony" is never used when non-minority politicians put its friends in key positions of power? I mean, it's pretty much the order of the day for everybody else right? Look at the Bush administration. What was the whole "good ol' boy network" about?

This double standard is such a joke. Do you know why very few people are taking these kinds of anti-Skinner protests seriously? Because the same people who are outraged by people like Skinner turn a blind eye to blatant social inequities that play in their favor. You guys act like if Fenty wins (which according to the most recent poll, he may very well), Skinner's going to try to round up all the white people and drive them out of town. Ha! Ha! I mean, come on, what do you think he's going to be able to do? He's entitled to his opinion just like white racists are entitled to theres. Do you know how many people sitting in Congress were segregationists? Do you know how many black people still voted for them because at the end of the day, they were the best candidate? Welcome to the real world. Regardless of the fact that you're in the minority, white folks clearly have a strong advantage in this town so what is the problem here?

Posted by: Nan | July 25, 2006 11:28 AM

Nan,

Are you serious? Many in the Bush administration has been called cronies ever since they came into office. Every month there is a new Bush crony in the spotlight, like the college drop-out who was editing NASA scientists data regarding global warming. Have you forgotten about Michael Brown the ex-FEMA director?

Talking about a double standard. What would the outcry be against Skinner if he were white and vehimently opposed black-businesses and handed out KKK/neo-nazi newsletters? Look at what happened to Commander Solberg for making a mistatement.

The point is that this issue is a look into how Fenty would handle a crisis if he is elected mayor.

Posted by: Are you serious? | July 25, 2006 1:20 PM

From the looks of it, I wouldn't be suprised if this man were chosen to be the next City Administrator in a Fenty Administration. (Imagine that very real possibility)

When you align yourself with that which appears to be surly and unethical, then you can very easily be painted with that same brush, politically.

If Fenty is more concerned with saving face and personal relationships than making smart, sound political decisions he is NOT the man for DC Mayor. We have had ENOUGH of that in the past.

Posted by: Ward 6 Resident | July 31, 2006 10:53 AM

Yes, look what happened to Solberg. He was ordered to watch the movie "Crash" and reinstated to his post. The same officer who 10 years ago threw a black suspect in the trunk of his vehicle, drove him to Virignia and told him to walk back. But his supporters have repeatedly pressed the point that his comment ("If you see a group of three or four Black men standing ona corner at night, call the police."--this is the comment that never makes it to the paper) was not reflective of who he was as a person (I guess we are supposed to overlook the trunk incident too). Most black folk have given up making this an issue, despite the history of police brutality in this country so why doesn't Skinner deserve the same benefit of the doubt when he's far less of a threat? I mean for God's sakes, Solberg carries a gun. The fact that you called Solberg's statement a mistatement suggests that you are completely willing to give him the benefit of the doubt?

In church recently, the minister talked about the value of empathic listening. Usually what we do is react to what someone says, because we don't agree with it. But she talked about the value of understanding why a person is saying what they are saying. Skinner's point of view is expressed often in many black groups. You can shut it down by labeling it or you can go do a deeper level and try to understand what people are really feeling.
I can promise you that if you continue to shut it down, it will eventually come back to bite you in the you know what.

Anyway, you guys deserve your opinion but I'm willing to bet Skinner is not the demon you've made him out to be. Just like Solberg probably has some very redeemable qualities. In the end you have to remember that no candidate is going to be everything you want him to be and he may have some friends you don't like. That's the reality that we all have to face. As a black woman I realize that many of our white leaders have associated with white supremacists, segregations, and other types of racists--and in some cases have been these people. I live in a country where former KKK grand wizard David Duke became a state representative and ran for president and received plenty of support for God's sakes. The same country where I'm told that I shouldn't be offended because a police officer is telling residents that if my brother and his two friends are standing still in a quiet spot in Georgetown that the police should be called on them--the same tactic used on me when I was growing up in Long Island and had the audacity to venture out of my neighborhood. And some of you already have Skinner serving as City Administrator--as though Fenty can't be trusted to be smart enough to hire someone who has the experience to hold that kind of post. No offense, but it sounds to me like Fenty is better off without "supporters" like you.

Posted by: Nan | August 2, 2006 10:25 AM

Nan, I agree with you that Andy Solberg should have been given a kick in the a$$ and fired. And that both the Democratic and Republican parties should be ashamed that they permitted David Duke to run for public office under their banner.

But what does any of that have to do with Adrian Fenty and Sinclair Skinner?

Are you suggesting that Skinner should be allowed to say and do whatever he wants because somewhere in America there's a white supremacist who's said or done worse things?

Is that really the way you think? That Skinner should be allowed to beat and rob people because white supremacists have committed murder?

PS - Anybody who told you that you shouldn't be offended by Solberg's comments ought to be ashamed of her/himself.

Posted by: JohnBrown | August 2, 2006 3:58 PM

Since Skinner has neither beaten nor robbed people let's not go down that path. What I'm clearly trying to say is that minorities are always being asked to forgive and forget (or get over it) and to give people who we find offensive the benefit of the doubt so practise what you preach. A little more empathy and a little less of a sense of entitlement will go a long way toward harmony. Peace.

Posted by: Nan | August 2, 2006 9:04 PM

SINCLAIR FOR MAYOR BABY!

Posted by: TEAM SKINNER | August 11, 2006 1:51 AM

Loyalty is an admirable trait and while we all are associated with the company we keep, it seems young Adrianne has run into the problem of being the Northwest-liberals darling (their own Barack Obama) and in doing so saw his street credibility slip. His answer: find someone who is the antithesis of Northwest-liberal to restore that. Who better than someone with a record of racial, religious and personal intolerance like Skinner? It is pathetic really. Young Adrianne clearly feels insecure about (1) his own record or lack thereof (what legislation can reasonably claim him as it's sponsor?) and(2) his own reputation within the community he uses Skinner to target. He says he is proud of his record but what record is that exactly?

Just the threat of someone like Skinner in an executive office of our government is enough for me not to vote for young Mr. Fenty as this would also be a vote against returning to the bad old days of city governance. I would rather reduce the risk to the city as a whole by voting for someone with a good overall record, no matter if I agree with every last thing contained in it, who has the intellectual capacity to understand city finances (why is the bond rating important again?), the realities of education (if elected, we will consider sending our kids to public school is a cop out. Voters are adults- just be honest and say yes or no), one who has a realistic crime plan (not voting for a tourniquet when your city is bleeding without an alternative is morally despicable and intellectually immature- what you couldn't come up with a plan of your own?), and finally one who wants to fix broken city processes and not just circumvent them. My point dear friends, is that predictability is a good thing in a leader as it reduces risk. At this time, at this critical juncture, Mr. Fenty is just to great a risk for me to vote for him. Cropp seems to be the best alternative.

Posted by: Bloomingdale | August 12, 2006 10:20 AM

The world needs more Men like Skinner on both sides of the arguement!

Posted by: Mayor Fenty! | August 16, 2006 5:14 PM

What I see are a handful of elitists trying to aggressively take down a formidible political opponent. I've known Sinclair Skinner for years. He's not a race-baiter. And he's no barbarian. In fact, he's one of the nicest people I know.

He was part of the HU/petworth community well before it was a "cool" area to move into to. He cares about preserving certain things that most elitists in DC know nothing about -- a sense of community, small business and local culture.

If you don't like Fenty. Don't vote for him. But you all SERIOUSLY need to stop this witchhunt against Skinner.

Posted by: Sonya | August 24, 2006 4:54 PM

Sonya,

Not a race baiter? What do you call this then?

http://www.dumpskinner.com/defender_issue3.jpg

Even Lenwood Johnson was quoted in the City Paper as saying that Skinner opposed Temperance Hall because they were a white owned business.

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/cover/2006/cover0811.html?navCenterTopImg

Posted by: Taylor | August 24, 2006 5:57 PM

I assumed that Skinner opposed the bar/restaurant because he believed that there was a double standard for considering which businesses were welcomed and the ones who were run out of business. Has he opposed/protested all the other white businesses in DC? I don't think so.

According to the article, Councilman Graham has led the effort to oppose a businesses like Club U, Among Friends and Cada Vez, which happened to be black-owned. Yet the councilman supports a relaxed standard for this new restaurant, Temperance (not black owned).

Any person who is passionate about the preservation of his/her culture will take action if they see that they're being shut out of the system or treated unfairly.

I think that the people fighting against Skinner need to fight the TRUE urban injustice such as the lack of affordable housing, need for decent education, need for better jobs and equal access to loans/insurance. Instead, you all are defending someone who already owns four businesses in DC.

Posted by: s | September 5, 2006 6:47 PM

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