City Paper is not for tourists
With no communications whatsoever coming from the mayor’s office on the baseball ticket kerfuffle, several reporters showed up this morning to a Columbia Heights groundbreaking attended by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. And none of them wanted to talk about the new fountain on 14th Street NW.
Of course, Fenty didn’t want to talk about baseball tickets, which led to six minutes of tense questioning, culminating in a snippy exchange with WUSA-TV’s Armando Trull. “I’m gonna tell you how this press conference works,” Fenty told him. “You’re gonna ask a question…”
Read a transcript after the jump, or listen to the whole thing here (the good stuff’s at 3:25):
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LL has paraphrased most of the questions, which appear in italics:
Armando Trull, WUSA-TV: What’s up with the baseball tickets?
“You know, I think it will all be resolved. Yeah, so I guess that’s your question, that’s my answer.”
Trull: Why does it have to be resolved in the first place?
“I don’t know all the specifics, but it’ll get resolved. It got resolved last year. So thanks for asking.”
LL: Why not just accept last year’s resolution?
“I don’t really remember all the details. I don’t know all the details, but would be glad to get back to you.”
LL: Why aren’t you aware of it? I reported this last week.
“I didn’t read it.”
LL: Only a few people were in the council box. Wasn’t that a waste of tickets?
Mark Segraves, WTOP: Why weren’t all the tickets distributed in a timely manner?
“Again, all these ticket things, I don’t know all the details. But if you have specific things we need to answer, we’ll get you the details.”
Segraves: Your communications staff won’t get back to us.
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
Segraves: Will that change?
“I think over, what, 28 months in office…”
Segraves: This is not the first time that this has happened on important issues…
“Well, I’ll look into them. I’ll look into them and get right back with you.”
Segraves: Why did Muriel Bowser get tickets?
“I think it’s great that Councilmember Bowser had tickets.”
Segraves: Why didn’t Vincent Gray get tickets?
“Like I said, I don’t know all the details, but it was a great game. Too bad we didn’t win, but I was glad to see so many people there, and I hope the Nats have a great season.”
Mark Plotkin, WTOP: The stadium lease says the tickets are supposed go to the Sports and Entertainment Commission. Why not just let them handle it?
“I don’t know all the details, but I really would be glad to look into it and get you all the information you need.”
Plotkin: Will it be worked out before the next game?
“I’m sure it will be worked out. I’m sure it will be worked out.”
Plotkin: By Wednesday?
“It will be worked out as soon as humanly possible. It got worked out last year; why wouldn’t it be worked out this year?”
Plotkin: What needs to be worked out? Some have called this childish…
“All I can do is answer the question…To be honest, I think we have a fabulous council. I think they do an amazing job, and I think as a citizen of the District of Columbia, we are extremely fortunate to have not just one or two of them, but all 13 of them. I think they do an amazing job, and having served on the council, I’m glad that the council keeps getting better.”
Trull: Don’t you and the council have better things to do than fight over baseball tickets again?
“We just had a fantastic streetscape announcement; we’re managing a $10 billion budget….”
Trull: “Could you please answer the question about the tickets…”
“I’m gonna tell you how this press conference works. You’re gonna ask a question…”
Trull: “And you’re gonna answer whatever you want.”
“No, no, no. I’m gonna respond, but the one thing we won’t do is interrupt each other, OK? I think that’s only fair, that’s only professional. So I was giving a response and you just interrupted me. So can we not do that again?”
Trull: “You weren’t responding to the question I was asking.”
Trull: “It does matter.”
“All right. Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot.”
LL: What’s the purpose of the boxes?
“You know what, I think that the purpose of the boxes is to use them in the best interests of the city as much as humanly possible.”
LL: What do you think of Kwame Brown‘s idea to auction off the boxes?
“I haven’t even heard it before.”
LL: Any immediate reaction?
Plotkin: Mary Cheh says there should be legislation. Would you veto it?
“Listen, on on this issue, I think it will be worked out. But you know. all these hypotheticals, if they come to some type of fruition, our administration will respond. We’ve been in office 28 months, I think we always give a response to everything that comes across our desk. We’ll do that in this case. Right now, I’ll just deal with the facts as they exist right now.”
Segraves: Is it the best use that the city administrator and his kids go or better to give away the tickets to charity?
“We’ve done that also.”
Segraves: Will you provide a list of who received tickets?
Segraves: For yesterday’s game?
“We have provided lists in the past…I’m sure we will.”
Plotkin: Do you talk to Vincent Gray?
“All the time.”
Plotkin: Why did Gray feel he had to write a letter to Ted Lerner? Would you have taken his call on this issue?
Plotkin: How would you have responded?
“Well, I will deal with the councilmembers in a professional manner.”
Plotkin: Why not call Gray right now to settle this?
“To be perfectly candid, I’m really focused on the budget, on making sure the city works. I’m not as focused on tickets as you all are.”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery