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“According to the Attorney General, I don’t need to tell you that.”
—Mafara Hobson, mayoral spokesperson, March 26
And this is a mayor who campaigned on transparency. Three years later, the only thing that’s transparent is the extent of the clampdown. On innumerable matters, Adrian M. Fenty pleads ignorance to reporters, directing them to his communications staff for a response. This year, that communications apparatus was culled and centralized, with fewer and fewer agency specialists authorized to speak to the press. Reporters are increasingly directed to contact the mayor’s office for routine inquiries—especially politically sensitive ones—and those inquiries, invariably funneled through Attorney General Peter Nickles, are all too often answered in terse, usually e-mailed statements such as the one above. (That was Hobson’s reply to WTOP’s Mark Segraves, who asked about the circumstances behind the mayor’s attendance at a college basketball game.)
Photo by Darrow Montgomery