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Gray’s Best Friend: Don’t Run Self-Awareness Fail
Photos: Waiting For Gray Don’t Leave Us Nickles Mendo at 2:30 a.m. Go-Go Rights Movement
Good morning sweet readers! What happens when you assign LL to spend all of election day with Vincent Gray and stop being polite and start getting real? You get this column, written by a very sleep-deprived LL, who was wearing a shirt that smelled so bad after 32 hours of continuous use that it needed to be thrown out in a special biohazard bag. LL hopes you enjoy it, and the other great features in this week’s edition of the Washington City Paper (or as a commenter called it, the White City Paper). Check out LDP’s report on the hazards of neighborhood branding, and Dave McKenna‘s story of some trouble between Dan Snyder and the Kennedys. News time:
Tell Us How You Really Feel, Courtland and Michelle: Well, if you were having a hard time guessing who Post columnist Courtland Milloy voted for, try reading this screed where he calls Adrian Fenty, Peter Nickles and Michelle Rhee fascists. A small taste of the Fenty hate that many people in this city have been drinking in large quantities: “The Fenty troika eerily mirrored the old antebellum system of control, which featured a chairman for public works, which is what Fenty was, in essence; a chairman with expertise in legal maneuverings, Nickles; and a chairman for education and welfare issues, Rhee. It all makes for a kind of friendly fascism in which D.C. government serves the interest of business leaders and landed gentry. Remarkably, his approach became much ballyhooed: Fenty, his supporters raved, was making the trains run on time. That people were falling off the caboose and being railroaded out of town was just the price of progress.” There’s plenty more, including this attack on Fenty’s supporters: “Watch them at the chic new eateries, Fenty’s hip newly arrived ‘creative class’ firing up their ‘social media’ networks whenever he’s under attack: Why should the mayor have to stop his work just to meet with some old biddies, they tweet. Who cares if the mayor is arrogant as long as he gets the job done? Myopic little twits. And lordy don’t complain about Rhee. She’s creating a ‘world-class school system, they text. As for you blacks: Don’t you, like, even know what’s good for you? So what if Fenty reneged on his promise to strengthen the city from the inside by helping the working poor move into the middle class. Nobody cares that he has opted to import a middle class, mostly young whites who can afford to pay high rent for condos that replaced affordable apartments.”
AFTER THE JUMP: It’s all about Rhee, who says the election was devastating to school children; Union wins big with Gray …
Also not holding back, though no where near the same level as Milloy, was Rhee last night at the screening of the new movie: Michelle Rhee is Superman Waiting for Superman. Per the Post‘s Bill Turque, Rhee said she wasn’t going to “mince words” about what Tuesday’s election. “Yesterday’s election results were devastating, devastating,” Rhee said. “Not for me, because I’ll be fine, and not for Adrian Fenty, because he’ll be fine, but devastating for the schoolchildren of Washington, D.C.” (LL also believes that schoolchildren around the city wept their little eyes out yesterday, because they were so caught up in this election.) If Rhee hadn’t made it clear before, she certainly sounds now like she has no intention at all of sticking around and working under Gray. She wasn’t as direct when she spoke with Turque earlier in the day for this article, but she did send an e-mail to staff that sounded like her bags are already packed. Councilmembers Mary Cheh and Tommy Wells are floating some fantasy idea of locking Rhee into a two-year deal where she stays on through the next couple of school years, but neither Gray nor Rhee have shown much enthusiasm for that plan so far. TBD has a smackdown of some dude who incorrectly reported that Rhee had resigned.
Politico Wins the Morning: Ben Smith over at Politico has this scoop that the American Federation of Teachers union put roughly $1 million into helping Gray unseat Fenty, mostly in the form of “unlimited and unregulated communication with union members.” “The spending suggests that the vote—while not a referendum on Fenty’s attempt to shake up the school system—was deeply shaped by that policy. And while the teachers union has been careful not to claim the scalps of Fenty and his schools chancellor, Michelle Rhee, the election may serve as a political shot across the bows of other urban officials considering similar policies. The union’s president, Randi Weingarten, sought to downplay its role in the election, and denied that the union had targeted Rhee. ‘For our members in Washington, it was what it was for other Washingtonians—about jobs, about the economy, about the city,’ said Weingarten. ‘This was not a proxy vote on Michelle Rhee.’ So, is this cartoon right? (Also see this one). The Washington Times reports that unions are happy with Gray’s victory.
You Really Want More on The Election? Fine: Fenty says he’s probably never going to run for elected office again. (Which isn’t exactly a shock.) Both the Post and the Examiner look at how divided the city is when it comes to voting. Tim Craig and Ann Marimow sum it up nicely: “In the District’s most racially homogenous neighborhoods, Gray won by 4 to 1 margins in black areas and Fenty won by 4 to 1 in white areas.” The Examiner blares this its cover: “Blacks for Gray, whites for Fenty.” Examiner reporter Freeman Klopott says “the 2010 Democratic primary could go down as the last in which the city has a black majority. By 2014, population trends show, the District will likely have a white majority for the first time since the 1950s. In Tuesday’s vote, the rapid demographic change pitted old residents, who are mostly black, against new residents, who are mostly white.”
Craig and Marimow also look at what’s next for Gray, including dealing with a crush of people seeking jobs with his administration, the kabuki dance he’ll have to do with Rhee, and trying to reassure the business community. Jim Dinegar, president and chief executive of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, said his organization endorsed Fenty but is eager to work with Gray. Dinegar said some business leaders remain wary of Gray’s close ties to unions. ‘He’s seemingly all in with the unions,’ Dinegar said. ‘We’re hoping to collaborate. This cannot become a union town.’
The Posties also begin naming names of people who could be big wheels in Gray’s administration. They include his fundraiser Reuben O. Charles II, who told LL yesterday that Gray was raising north of $75,000 a week during the last weeks of the campaign. “Suzanne Peck, a former chief technology officer of the city, was also a major Gray supporter and fundraiser who could play a key role in the administration. Others mentioned for top jobs in a Gray administration are better-known locally. Stanley Jackson, who was deputy mayor for planning and economic development in the Williams administration, has been mentioned as a possible city administrator. Robert C. Bobb, who was city administrator under Williams, is another Gray supporter who could return to a city job.”
Nickles, Leaving on a Jet Plane: The Legal Times catches up with Peter Nickles, who says he’s not going to work for Gray and will announce his resignation or retirement in the next 30 days. This surprises no one.
Atlantic Columnists Discuss Our Little Race: LL thinks The Atlantic‘s Ta-Nehisi Coates is spot on with this thought on Fenty and Rhee’s failure: “I think when you’re in a pitched battle over something you care deeply about, it’s often tough to remember that it isn’t enough to be visionary, perceptive, or prophetic. Leadership, in a democracy, isn’t simply a matter of identifying solutions. You also have to convince a critical mass of people to either trust you, or at least trust your solution.” LL is less convinced that Megan McArdle, who might be married to one of LL’s distant cousins, is on point with this analysis: “Most people agree that this is ultimately a proxy battle over gentrification.”
The Post makes a Fenty/Gray chart.
Will Gray be bad for cyclists? Probably not. [WashCycle]