Conventional wisdom holds that NIMBY activists and school reformers stand to gain the most from the tenure of Mayor Adrian Fenty. To that short list, LL would like to add another entry: photo editors.
In recent months, no fewer than five publications have placed flattering images of the first-term mayor on their covers. Fenty’s sporting background, which was parlayed into positive coverage in the Washington Post during the 2006 campaign, continues to yield solid PR. Two of his cover shots grace the pages of biking and running journals. According to Fenty’s Communications Director Carrie Brooks, the mayor’s cover-boy run was not engineered by his image-makers. “We did not solicit any of these stories or photos,” she says. Of course, the Fenty team would never say no to an adoring magazine editor, either.
Here is LL’s review of our mayor’s modeling career so far:

FAMILY MAN FENTY

PUBLICATION: Washington DC Official Visitors Guide

AUDIENCE: Sweaty tourists from Des Moines to Detroit

The Winter/Spring issue of Washington DC Official Visitors Guide focuses on “family finds.” Front and center of the photo is a smiling mayor. In fact, his grinning effort is so intense, a vein seems to be popping out of his head. Fenty gets an image boost compliments of wife Michelle Fenty and his smartly dressed and handsome twin sons, who are pictured sucking down pricey ice-cream treats at Maggie Moos on U Street. Next time the vein appears, request the airbrush!

JOCK ON A MISSION

PUBLICATION:
Spokes (“Serving Cyclists in the Mid-Atlantic States”)

AUDIENCE:
Overdressed cyclists from Virginia Beach to Wilmington

Gear, gear, and more gear. From the array of fancy shirts, shorts, and sunglasses on display in this shot, the mayor seems more like a model—Spokesmodel?— for Fleet Feet, his parents’ sports shoe and clothing business, than the face of the District.

PENSIVE, EARLY MORNING MAYOR

PUBLICATION:
Metro Sports Washington

AUDIENCE:
Styling runners from Chevy Chase to Alexandria

Who would have thought a run in the morning required so many fancy gadgets? We all know Fenty is a technophile, but the chic safety headlamp he’s sporting suggests that spelunking has been added as a new stage in the triathlon.

SCHOLARLY YOUNG MAYOR

PUBLICATION:
Oberlin Alumni Magazine

AUDIENCE:
Liberal artsies around the world

The shot of Fenty on the cover of his alma mater’s publication conveys the image of a thoughtful, determined young man. The mayor is posed in front of some kind of academic or religious structure, his arms crossed, his mind focused on thinking deep thoughts. It is an activity he is seldom accused of closer to home.

MR. FIXIT

PUBLICATION:
OnSite

AUDIENCE:
Greedy developers from across the D.C. region

Fenty shines—literally—in the standard reformer-in-front-of-­crumbling-building shot. Apparently, someone at this supplement to the Washington Business Journal forgot the makeup kit: The mayor looks sweaty and just a bit weary—not exactly the image you want delivered from the guy who promised energy and excitement.

Fenty Selects Sherwood

With the Opening Day for D.C. pools fast approaching, a big decision looms for Fenty. It’s not about whether residents will be charged admission to swim or if the Department of Parks and Recreation will have enough money for summer programs.

The pressing issue involves the mayoral plunge.

One of the biggest media days of the year for Fenty’s predecessor, Mayor Anthony A. Williams, was his annual cannonball dive marking the official opening of the city pool season. The former mayor violated one of the golden rules of politics every time he jumped: Never take off your shirt with the cameras running. In each of his eight years in office, Williams had few qualms about revealing his varying states of physical fitness.

Just before his last dive at the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center in 2006, Williams said he hoped his successor would pick up the plunge. And with a super-fit, sporty Fenty in the executive suite, supporters of the cannonball tradition figured they’d all get to see some kind of a mayoral beefcake photo op.

The mayor, however, hasn’t shied from a desire to dump the tradition. “New and different” has been his catchphrase since the day he mounted a run for the city’s top office. The cannonball, that was a Williams thing, and Fenty has no plan to repeat the former mayor’s stunt.

That doesn’t mean he’s not planning a pool party. The official opening is scheduled for June 25 and, so far, the mayor isn’t entirely ruling out a cannonball for the kick off—so long as the diver is a member of the media. “I was going to [dive],” Fenty told the radio audience of WAMU’s The D.C. Politics Hour with Kojo and Jonetta on May 25. “But Tom Sherwood actually says he’s going to do it.”

Not so fast, the NBC-4 reporter shoots back. “I would do it, but someone would have to offer up some cash,” Sherwood says. “For $5,000, I’ll do it.”

Sherwood isn’t contemplating a lucrative new career in professional athletics. But he does want his dive to produce something more than a good laugh. “I will ask the person to donate the money to a charity of my choosing,” he says. “Everything has a price.”

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