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Good morning, sweet readers! Mayor Adrian Fenty took his apology tour to Washington City Paperyesterday to meet with the staff, including LL. What did he apologize about? Well, turns out that every Thursday evening, Fenty and his pals collect as many newly printed copies of the paper as possible and use them as fuel for a giant bonfire at Hains Point. He said he won’t do it again. LL promised yesterday that we would put up video of the interview shortly. Well LL lied. Vincent Gray is coming Monday, and we’re going to put up the videos of both Fenty and Gray then.
Is Samantha Your Favorite?: If you and your girlfriends caught Sex and The City 2 a couple of months ago at Gallery Place and were wondering who the old man sitting alone in the front row sobbing with tears of joy was, well it was none other than D.C. Council Chairman and mayoral candidate Vincent Gray. “To underline the value he places on friendship, Gray identifies ‘Sex and the City’ as his favorite TV series. He has seen almost every episode and can recount in great detail the fictional lives of Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha … Two months ago, a week after the movie ‘Sex and the City 2’ was released, Gray sneaked out of his office in the middle of the day to watch it alone at Gallery Place. ‘They always manage to stay together,’ Gray said of the four friends. ‘They rally around each other and support each other when it matters most.'” That juicy tidbit comes courtesy of the Post’s Tim Craig (Well done, Tim, put yourself in for a raise) who writes about Gray’s tight circle of friends and how they’ve shaped him. Over on Arts Desk, we learn of another Gray movie factoid: He loves mafia movies! That’s another form of fellowship, certainly.
AFTER THE JUMP: More on Gray’s friends; Gray an old guarder; Gap problems …
“Interviews with more than a dozen of Gray’s fraternity brothers and oldest friends — some of whom share his enthusiasm for hand-dancing and softball — bespeak their loyalty to him. They say they are drawn to his work with the underprivileged and his sense of humor. ‘The reason they respect him so much, and the reason they did 47 years ago, is he has a lot of integrity,’ said Herb Miller, a local developer and one of Gray’s fraternity brothers. ‘You always get the same sense of warmth.'”
But there’s a dark side to Gray’s friendships, according to the Green Team, one that would send the city off a cliff. “But some of Gray’s real-life friendships have become fodder for the Fenty campaign. The mayor’s advisers say that to understand Gray, voters should look at his strong ties to some of the District’s political veterans, such as, former mayors Marion Barry (D) (now the council member from Ward 8) and Sharon Pratt (D). They warn that such connections would lead Gray, if elected, to repopulate city government with throwbacks who were responsible for policies that drove the city to near-insolvency in the 1990s. ‘Many of the people who now advise Mr. Gray are the same people who gave advice when the city went bankrupt in the 1990s,’ said Bill Lightfoot, Fenty’s campaign chairman, who was a council member at the time. ‘They didn’t perform well in the past and they won’t perform well in the future.’ The Fenty campaign calls Gray part of the ‘old guard,’ but Gray, who has become a more aggressive candidate in recent weeks, counters that such ‘rhetoric’ is insulting. ‘Who is the old guard?’ he asked. ‘Beyond the rhetoric that is embedded in that, I don’t even know what it means. There is no old guard sitting in the wings waiting to be brought back into government.'” Craig also has more details on how Gray met fraternity brother Bruce Bereano, an ex-con who is one of the most powerful lobbyists in Maryland, as well as a who’s who in Grayfriendland.
Who else is in Gray’s local D.C. fellowship? Superlawyer Fred Cooke, former Pratt OPM Director Lorraine Green, lobbyist David Wilmot, former Barry DHS Director Vernon Hawkins, developer H.R. Crawford, and Linda Greene, who served as a chief of staff to Barry on the council.
Hell Yeah It’s the Old Guard: Examiner columnist Harry Jaffe disagrees with Gray when he says he’s not part of the old guard. “It’s safe to say that Washington’s local political establishment is firmly behind the challenger. Add in former Mayor Marion Barry and you have the apparatus that ran the city from the dawn of Home Rule in 1974 to 2006, when Fenty took office. Can you say entrenched old guard?” Jaffe goes on to say that Fenty’s bad manners isn’t a good enough reason to fire him. “If I heard this once, I heard it 50 times: Fenty showed up late for a dinner gathering, offered up a few awkward comments, looked at his watch and left. He would abandon a room full of fat cat donors or gay activists or hoteliers slack jawed at his lack of respect. Fenty believes glad-handing is beneath him. Agreed. He thinks a night spent at an annual dinner is a waste. Agreed. Fenty is a crappy politician. Agreed. Does that mean if we put the usual suspects who make up the establishment back in power that the city government would function better? I am not so sure. If you listen to the gripes of the various interest groups, they boil down to an inclusion, or lack of it. They rarely point to a government function or a law or an agency that failed to perform over the last four years. To the contrary, if you press them they might even give Fenty’s government good marks. So what’s their beef? They could not get the mayor’s attention. That’s a valid point, and Fenty was shortsighted in ignoring the usual suspects. But if they are back at the table next January, they will feel better, but will the government function better? I think not.” If you think you’ve heard that argument before, maybe you have. “How many times is Harry Jaffe going to write this column?” Mike DeBonis tweets.
Gap Stalls: The Post‘s Bill Turque breaks down the gaps between white and black students in DCPS on a year-by-year basis to show that progress made by Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee to close that gap has slowed or even reversed in the last year. “Data that Rhee released this week show that the difference in the percentages of white and black students who score at proficiency levels on the annual D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System tests had narrowed from 2007 to this year. The most significant improvement was in secondary schools, where the spread in math achievement dropped more than more 18 percentage points, from 70 to 51.4 percent. But year-to-year results show that progress has slowed markedly. After narrowing from 2007 to last year, the gap in secondary math proficiency widened by slightly less than 2 percentage points. Secondary reading scores show the same flattening trajectory.” There’s the usual warning not to read too much into a one-year change, but Turque notes “the latest D.C. achievement data add to a body of mixed results for the District this year. Elementary students across all racial and ethnic groups lost ground in reading and math test scores on this year’s DC CAS, after proficiency rates rose about 19 percentage points in math and 11 in reading between 2007 and 2009. Secondary scores continued to grow overall this year, adding to a three-year run of double-digit growth. Growth in fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, administered by the federal government, surpassed that of students in other big cities. But the math achievement gap for black and white fourth-graders widened.” TBD says Gray’s statements on the achievement gap data have been truthful.
Tonight, We’re Going to Party Like’s 2000: Just how messed up could things going to be Sept. 15 if it’s a close race? Florida messed up, writes DeBonis in his Friday column. “There may not be any hanging chads or Brooks Brothers riots here. But there is the possibility that, more than a week after primary day, we still won’t know whether Gray or Fenty won. And the result may very well be in the hands of the two-member election board. … The race doesn’t have to be razor-close for those ballots to matter, just plain-old close. And if that happens, the lawyers will be going to the mattresses. ‘We could have a real situation here,’ said Bill O’Field, a former D.C. election official who now works as a consultant. ‘The campaigns could be poring over those special ballots for days.'”
Deadwood: The Examiner’s Freeman Klopott looks at who is getting credit for the newly built Deanwood recreation center in Ward 7, which both candidates have tried to take credit for on the campaign trail. “[M]any in the Deanwood neighborhood don’t necessarily credit Gray with the project — and when they link Fenty to it they find ways to question the center’s value to the community. ‘Fenty is getting ready for white people moving into the community, by building the center, Ward 7 resident Darlene Williams told The Washington Examiner. Williams is adamantly anti-Fenty. ‘It’s been in the making before Fenty was mayor, anyway,’ she said of the center.” Uhh, Freeman, you might want to get a response from the Green Team if you’re going to print that.
Just Chill Dude: Several pot entrepreneurs are stoked about opening a new medical marijuana dispensary in D.C., reports the Post’s Derek Kravitz. But Councilmember David Catania wants them to relax. “All of the attention might not be a good thing for Washington’s pot capitalists. ‘I don’t think they’re serving themselves well by weighing in this much so early in the process,’ Catania said. ‘I just think, frankly, that they’re creating a lot of nervous energy.'”
Hilarious use of your tax dollars [City Desk]
Clark Ray sometimes wears glasses when attacking Phil Mendelson in a YouTube video, and sometimes does not [Housing Complex]
September G’town ANC meeting to be a slog [Georgetown Dish]
Deborah Simmons tells Tea Party visitors to enjoy all of D.C. [Times]
Good deed by Metro rider [NBC4]
Restaurants hate the lobster truck [WUSA9]
The Blade sits down with Gray [Blade]
Alpert has some doubts about Fenty [GGW]
Hamfisted attack ad in Ward 5 [DeBonis]
Cheesy Fenty video, no not the music video
Fenty schedule: Remarks at Pop Warner football kickoff, 6:30 p.m. 420 12th St., SE
Rhee on Kojo at noon.