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This month’s Washingtonian contains a lengthy story on Mayor Adrian M. Fenty penned by longtime city reporter Harry Jaffe. It’s titled “His Own Worst Enemy?” and looks at the ways that Fenty is standing in the way of a Fenty re-election.
It’s also notable for containing a rare-one-on-one Fenty interview, where Hizzoner, more or less, directly addresses some common criticisms.
- On the polls: “I can’t spend time worrying about how I can be more popular…or how people can think better of me or like me better or how I can win a poll. What I think about is how I can make the city run better.”
- On his accomplishments: “The schools are improving. Our bond rating is the highest in decades. We put meters in the taxis. Great economic-development projects across the city. Renovation of countless school facilities. All high schools are slated for renovation. The homicide closure rate and sheer number arc at a 45-year low….Look at snow removal, trash pickup, pothole repair, ease of getting driver’s licenses. Nothing is foolproof…but we are handling these basic services with private-sector methods.”
- On schools: “We need a new collective-bargaining agreement….That will do more to improve test scores than probably anything else we’ve done.”
- On his weak support among blacks: ‘”Do you sense that at all?” I ask. “I don’t know what the polls say, and neither do you,” Fenty says. “You don’t have any idea what the people of the District of Columbia think. And neither do I.” In our interview and in subsequent e-mailed questions, Fenty declined to engage the topic of race. He said he ignores polls.’
- On alleged cronyism: ‘I ask Fenty to describe his relationships with [Omar Karim] and [Sinclair Skinner]. “Good friends,” he says. Does he get involved in contracting? “No.”…Fenty explains: “The contracts that went their way are 1 percent of the contracts that go to the little guys. And that is about 1 percent of the funds that go to big developers.”‘
- On the baseball tickets: ‘”In hindsight,” I ask, “would you have handled that any differently?” “Are you trying to tell me this is the number-one question on people’s minds?” he asks. “Maybe not, but it does stick in many minds. And I want to know.” “I gotta probe you,” he says. “As a writer for The Washingtonian, is this your top question?”‘
- On his philosophy: “You have the thesis that people are paying attention to who gets baseball tickets and how often I meet with special interests….I have a thesis that people judge a mayor on how the government works and what they get in return for their tax dollars.”
Until the ‘Tonian posts the full story online, go pick up a dead-tree copy, or at least peruse one in the grocery line.