City Paper is not for tourists
Today at the D.C. Armory, thousands of city residents are lining up for big holiday gift boxes. This large-scale act of civic goodwill comes thanks to the Feed the Children charity, the NBA Players Association, and the city government.
And, for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, in this nascent campaign season, such an act of generosity could go a long way toward building voter goodwill—-and he certainly means to take advantage of that.
Each of the gift packages consists of multiple boxes. Inside, there are USDA A Grade A turkeys, other food, coats, toys, and other items. One other thing about the boxes: They all sport at least one “Happy Holidays From Mayor Fenty” sticker, done in Hizzoner’s trademark campaign color of kelly green.
That goes for more than the boxes, actually: Just about everyone in attendance sported one of the stickers. A staffer was planted at the front of the line handing them out to all who had come to collect the care packages—-an estimated 10,000 of them.
In color and shape, the holiday stickers bear a terrific resemblance to Fenty’s campaign stickers. LL’s concern: Is the giveaway blurring the line between a helping hand from the government and a Fenty campaign event?
Mayoral spokesperson Mafara Hobson says the stickers themselves were paid for through constituent services funds raised from private donors.
Still, numerous city officials are staffing the event. Other event-related materials—-including press credentials—-carry Fenty’s official government logo. The event, including a press conference this afternoon, was promoted to the press through the taxpayer-funded mayoral communications staff.
Hobson did not respond to questions about who actually affixed the stickers to the boxes—-whether it was city employees, campaign staff, or volunteers—-or how much was spent on the stickers and the rest of the event.
UPDATE, 5:15 P.M.: As to who actually did the sticking of the stickers, Hobson says it was a team effort between the event sponsors; the team did include mayoral staff. She also points out that Hizzoner has printed out similar stickers in his previous years in office and called them a “staple” of holiday giveaway events.