Is Mayor Fenty Doing a Good Job?

IMG_2054, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Last week WJLA released a poll saying that Fenty was at a 51% disapproval rating. I’m not sure how much stock to put into these polls but when I unscientifically chat with neighbors and friends, most seem to echo this poll. So I also noticed a bunch of these Draft Kwame Brown For Mayor signs this weekend. So couple of questions – Is Fenty doing a good job? If you think not, is there a good alternative?

80 Comment

  • Well. He’s not been filmed doing crack with any hookers yet, so I’d say the jury’s still out.

  • I say yes. He’s done a great job with schools (even though most natives don’t like him rocking the sinking boat), has appointed a number of extremely talented agency directors (OCTO, DDOT, DPR, and DCPL come to name a few excellent hires- some of whom Obama stole away), and actually gotten a number of park/school projects done that were languishing. I think his best hire was Allen Lew, who is the most underrated figure in DC today. The job that he and his team has done rehabbing the schools, parks and sports fields has been nothing short of amazing. I really hope he sticks around to finish the job. I imagine he is swimming upstream against bureaucracy and NIMBY parents, but I just hope he sticks it out. But back to Fenty- besides hiring talented people, he has been getting a lot done and is pretty accountable to citizens on a grass roots level by attending neighborhood meetings. Something that other mayors, even good ones like Anthony Williams, never really do.

    That being said, he may lose the mayor race due to his lack of PR skills. His last year has been marred by pissing off the media, small but childish tiffs with the council, and a whiff of arrogance about his whereabouts. But all in all- I’ll take the mayor I know over the one I don’t know (ie Kwame Brown, the other randoms who pine for the “old DC”, etc). I think it’s unfortunately going to be a referendum on gentrification- on a grass roots level black people think Fenty represents it or is furthering it. I find this to be a dubious claim, but I can maybe understand why black people think this? He does want DC to be a world class city and many of those aims don’t square with the idea of keeping DC as is and will undoubtedly push lots of people out. I happen to agree with his aim though- and thus support him for reelection. He’s not perfect, but in local politics, he’s far better than any alternative that I see out there.

    Here would be my list:
    Vincent Gray
    Kwame Brown

    No one else. Especially not that fraud Michael Brown. He had to run as an independent just to get elected as a council member, but seems to have enough monied connections that he could just try to run for mayor as an anti-Fenty candidate. I hope Fenty learns from his errors of the last year and mends the fences. Otherwise, we could end up with a mediocre candidate just because people vote for the “anti” candidate.

  • I say yes as well.

  • I am definitely voting for Fenty for a second term.

  • In spite of his concentration on education, there has been no significant improvement in DCPS and now half the teachers and parents hate him. Of course half love him too.

    I’m not sure what he’s really accomplished other than getting his name out there as early and often as possible.

    The problem is though that there is no real alternative. Linda Cropp would have been an effective mayor, but alas that ship sailed without her.

    I find it funny that the black folks in town think Fenty is all about gentrification. As far as I can tell, he’s done more to stall that phenomenon than advance it.

  • Let’s be honest…what can Fenty truly and honestly take credit for that didn’t start under the Williams’ administration? No doubt, schools are starting to shape up (but not without controversy) but at the end of the day Fenty hasn’t really done much original stuff, mostly continued/picked up here Williams left off.

    Aside from that and his completely ridiculous and unwarranted arrogance (he was elected as a “man of the people” and I think we can all agree he is far from that), I won’t be voting for him again.

  • I’ve yet to see anything good come from fenty. Were I to vote tomorrow he would not get my support

  • Wish I was a DC voter b/c I would definitely vote for Fenty!


  • I’ll add a couple more things, that are notable for what *didn’t* happen:

    – Inauguration 2009 planning was perfection. Given the amount of planning on a city level that had to happen, you have to give Fenty’s gov’t a lot of credit for this.

    – Decrease in violent crime even in a terrible economy. Lanier has been one of the best police chiefs the city has ever had because she is responsive and tough on crime, yet scandal-free compared to other big city police forces. Knock on wood.

    – City services haven’t melted down despite having the worst economy in over 25 years. It’s tough to be a popular mayor when you have to cut $500 million from the budget and unemployment is skyrocketing. In this sense, Williams had it easier. But I think Fenty and the council have managed the cuts well to avoid the service meltdown many other cities are experiencing.

    – Planning ahead through the recession by issuing RFPs for plots of land that have remained useless and vacant for decades. By getting the ball moving now, many projects will be poised to break ground when the economy does bounce back. This will bring more residents, businesses and tax dollars that the city desperately needs.

    Lest anyone think I’m cheerleading, I don’t even know anyone at the city govt and still have major issues with certain things (like DCRA, DCHA, and the Tax Office)- but I’ve been happy with the progress made over the past ten years.

  • Fenty rocks!!! New parks, bike lanes, upgrades to pools, the streets have improved. He’s got my vote.

  • Wow – when I thought about the answer to this question, I realized I can’t really answer this question. Pretty incredible when you consider that Fenty has been in office for almost three years. I guess I like him more than the other announced and unannounced candidates, but I can’t say I think he has been either a spectacular success or a spectacular failure. The one thing that comes to mind is that I really do think that he has been acting a little too arrogant and thin-skinned lately. Please quit it with the petty and childish crap (like baseball tickets – what the hell was that all about anyway?) and focus on the important issues. I like the track he is taking on the schools, but he failed miserably on the summer jobs program. He also dragged his feet a little too much on inclusionary zoning, and I believe it is because he is a little too cozy with the development community in the city. However, until I see a viable alternative, I guess I’ll stick with Fenty.

  • Fenty is continuing many of Williams’ policies, so no, he’s doing a very bad job. He’s trying to spend our tax money on galas for his frat, he’s cutting tons of jobs within the government and on the same day he’s smiling and shaking hands at a job fair, he’s withholding tickets from council members – how petty! I mean, i think even the white people are pretty fed up with him, at least I hope so.

    Personally, I’d like to see Harry Thomas Jr run. I’ll vote for anyone but that bamma Fenty. Real talk.

  • Fenty is terrible. His administration is run like a dictatorship. There is no transparency. He acts like he’s not accountable to anyone. And I am amazed at what people are giving him credit for in the comments here.

    “Inauguration 2009 planning was perfection.” Ummm….. what? Perhaps you forgot about the TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE who could not get to their ticketed areas? The only thing that DID NOT happen is that someone pulled a terrorist stunt of some kind — which would have turned a bad situation into a huge disaster. The crowd control was the worst I have ever seen – bottlenecks everywhere for no particular reason, no coordination, one person telling you to go one place, another person telling you to go another.

    Inauguration “worked” ONLY because absolutely nothing bad happened, like a medical emergency, a nut job with a gun, etc. They got really lucky. Being lucky does not mean you planned well, it means you got lucky.

    “Schools” — what??? Schools are worse than ever. Apparently we are not reading the same newspapers.

    “Crime” — there has been no improvement in crime WHEN COMPARED TO OTHER CITIES. DC cannot take credit for the fact that crime’s gotten a little better. It’s a national trend.

    “City services have not melted down” so apparently all that is required of our administration is that things aren’t MORE screwed up than they were? Wow – the status quo rocks.

    All the major development projects that Fenty has taken credit for were planned and orchestrated by the Williams administration. Oh – except Speed Bumps. We now have about 900 of them. That’s quite a legacy for Fenty to rest on.

    Fenty is a joke. There have been improvements in the city during his term, to be sure, but they are all due to massive development projects that were set in motion long before he had an office in the Wilson Building. That didn’t stop him from taking credit for them of course.

  • Fenty sucks, flat out. He’s an arrogant, self-absorbed ass. He cares more about his image than he does about this city. He’s closing schools to sell them to developers? He’s taking the council’s baseball tix and holding them for no reason? He’s heating pools so he can have his swim? He’s bucking the rules about the use of city property (letting his peeps drive city vehicles)? He’s throwing parties for his frat on the city dime? C’mon! all this mayor is good for is calling a press conference. He figures if he gets a little face time with the media, he’ll be their darling. Well they can have him… DC needs better.

    He could be capable, but he needs to mature A LOT. It would’ve been better for everyone if he had gotten this job in about 10 years. I will not vote for him for re-election.

  • I heartily endore Mayor Fenty’s program of disappearing for days and refusing to answer questions about his wherebouts or anything related to his association with oil-soaked Middle Eastern perverts. I understand and accept that he is a man of the people, but he is also a man.

    Seriously, worst mayor since Barry.

  • I got to mostly agree with SG.

    I started elaborating, but it didn’t really elaborate, so I’ll leave it at that.

  • The thought of Michael Brown as mayor (not impossible – look at how far he has gotten) is sobering. When I saw Kwame’s “Kwamimobile” I thought he was starting his mayoral campaign, but he seems content in that good position of councilmember at-large. A relative of his said he is getting pressure to run but is not jumping in (for now…)

  • For me Fenty is meh.

    I didn’t vote for him until the final election and not with any enthusiasm. I give no kudos nor brickbats. He inherited an improving situation but hasn’t necessarily made things appreciable worse. What has gotten worse cannot necessarily be placed at his door. Some things he is working on don’t have a one day/month/year turnaround and so I can’t really ding him for that.

    If a better candidate came along I would likely vote for them (or at least strongly consider) and not because I think he has done such a sucky job. I just have never really liked him all that much. It is totally intangible and not really explainable. Saying that I don’t see any candidate stepping up yet that I would consider voting for.

  • I’m voting for Fenty, mainly to give him a chance to complete the school reform efforts that he’s started. But I’m doing so with major reservations about him personally.

    Under Fenty, the government has been on a massive spending spree on capital improvements, most notably to schools and parks. Fenty is taking all the credit for this now, as we’ve seen him at a constant stream of openings and whatnot, often on this very site.

    While this is a good thing, it’s being paid for by issuing bonds that will come due in the future, meaning we have not gotten the bill for all this work.

    This is coupled with the fact that it’s much easier for the DC government to enter contracts with large construction companies to build things than it is for said DC gov’t to maintain the things that it has built. We’ve all seen and heard the horror stories of the waste that has occurred at the schools, largely because of the poor maintenance of the facilities. Does anyone remember the Post’s stories year or so ago about the school boilers that were constatnly being replaced because the water in them was not treated properly? This will be the real test for Fenty, and the results won’t be known for a long time.

    Given what we’ve seen already about the Fenty administration’s ability to actually manage govenment services and programs (and I’m thinking of the repeated summer jobs debacles), and about Fenty himself (screw ups in his early legal career, little to no track record of substantive legislation while on the Council) I don’t see any reason for improvement in this area.

    It’s like we’ve just bought a Mercedes with no money down financing, and we have no ability to change the oil.

    I hope I am wrong about this.

    I just wanted to mention one more thing about school reform. I applaud Michelle Rhee’s efforts, and it’s a credit to Fenty that he hired her, gave her the authority she needs to implement meaningful reform, and has supported her throughout her tenure. Coupled with the significant investment the District has made in capital improvements, the District has the potential for a major turn-around for its school system.

    But what if the problem isn’t the schools, or the administrators, or the teachers? What if the problem is the kids? Chronic truancy, rampant behavior problems, poor performance — these are not problems that schools can, or should be responsible for solving. and these are some of the biggest challenges the DC schools face.

  • Fenty has done a reasonable job considering the state of local politics. One word: Rhee. she’s done more to shakeup schools than anyone else. Including kicking DC teachers union in the crotch, which is what they needed.

    Jamie: the ticketed area fiasco at the inauguration had nothing to do with the Fenty Admin it was the Inaugural Committee that screwed up the tickets and barricade placement.

    At very least he gets credit for not getting in the way of the stuff Williams left in the pipeline.

    I guess Jamie wants Marion Barry back.

  • I most certainly will NOT vote for him and will hopefully be able to convince all of those around me to not vote for him as well (thought most dont seem to need convincing). It’s amazing that mostly those who aren’t from here seems to think he’s doing a good job. I have not seen one improvement since he’s taken office.

    I would vote daffy duck in first!!!!

  • “Jamie: the ticketed area fiasco at the inauguration had nothing to do with the Fenty Admin it was the Inaugural Committee that screwed up the tickets and barricade placement.”

    So is the idea that Fenty gets credit for the things that worked about the inauguration (e.g., nobody pulled out a gun) and is not responsible for the things that didn’t?

    The crowd at inauguration was the best, most patient, most peaceful crowd anyone could ask for. But people were being crushed and immobilized for long periods of time because the crowd control was poorly thought out and implemented. Had the crowd been anything other than amazing it would have been a huge disaster. There were a couple people vomiting near me while trying desperately to exit after the event — which was made nearly impossible because of all the physical barriers that were not removed after the event. Which you could not see because they were jersey barriers and below visible height. Meaning nobody knew how to get out and was constantly finding themselves cornered.

    Had there been ANY kind of panic whatsoever, these barriers would have had lethal results.

    Satellite photo of the entrance to the mall showing the barriers, complete with huge “EXIT” sign directly above a fence that you couldn’t pass.

  • “I guess Jamie wants Marion Barry back.”

    Actually, funny you should mention it. I think that would be awesome. He was just as corrupt as Fenty, but a hell of a lot more entertaining. If we’re going to have a joke of an administration, there should at least be a punch line.

    MAYOR FOR LIFE 2010!!

  • Let’s be honest, the man is corrupt as the day is long. DC will always be a bureaucratic swamp until the NW wards band together and elect a white guy.

  • Yes, I’ll happily vote for him. Despite some missteps and a perception that he’s cavalier, I think he’s continuing the tradition of Williams and helping to fix the city. Do I think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread? No. However, he’s sharp and he’s competant. That’s the most you can ask from a mayor.

    I’d argue that the mayor’s public perception is largely manufactured by the Post as a punishment for not kowtowing to their reporters. Also you can tell that the post is really pissed about the whole M. Rhee not talking to their reporter which resulted in the reporter needing to be reassigned. I wanted to punch J Krebs in the mouth for him and the examiner not dropping the issue of the mayor’s kids getting put in another school. I think the mayor should get to choose which school his kids go to. Such a non issue… unless you’re the teacher’s union, or the post.

    The more I hear the teacher’s union, the transportation union, the juvenile justice union, the police union and the public services unions complain the more I like him. If left to the unions, this city would be back in receivership with no investigation or jail time for juvenile offenders with some douche from the Midwest telling us how to spend our money. The unions have a strong voice in this town, but all they want is more money, they will never increase services or quality on their own because it’s the right thing to do.

    AHOD is a fantastic program and the police union is fighting it because they don’t get overtime –AHOD weekend is the only time I feel like I can walk around H ST without looking over my shoulder. The teacher’s union is fighting tooth and nail against Rhee because most of them know they are not competitive enough to remain employed –while young men and women fail out of school and are forgotten. Metro is a case study in out of control union overtime rules (really a bus driver makes $150k? that guy should be in management, not on a bus) and Councilman Graham is too weak to say enough. It takes a lot of cojones to take on those unions.

    He’s doing a fine job.

  • No on Fenty. He’s heaped money on a few neighborhoods and left the rest of us twisting in the wind. Complaints to his office simply get you blacklisted, and he’s done nothing but fortify the city as a have for rich and poor, with middle class homeowners screwed. While I enjoyed being a wild renter here in my previous days, I can’t wait to get out now. Its of course possible I cannot find anywhere more suitable, but I look forward to trying.

    In reality, I don’t think any mayor would be up to snuff unless they began a dollar by dollar, line by line, person by person audit of every aspect of DC government. Corruption, incompetence, and apathy is simply pervasive and endemic. That is of course unpalatable to the electorate, a sad commentary on our fellow citizenry, and thus once again I look forward to heading elsewhere.

  • normantown, that is obnoxiously racist.

    Move to Virginia, we don’t like your kind in Northwest.


  • Just to clarify, did the city really have much to do with inaugural stuff? As I understand it, that was an federal inaugural committee, on which DC was one of many at the table. I’m sure it was lots of logistical issues for DC as the federal city, but pretty much all planning was led by the feds, and execution included but was not limited to DC agencies and offices, right? That’s why the ‘purple tunnel of doom’ was blamed on the feds, though of course MPD was faulted for having no clue what the reality on the ground was. Am I wrong, did DC actually plan the inauguration???

  • Yes, white people are non-corrupt due to genetics. Madoff, Rove, Cheney, Skilling, Nixon… I could go on all day.

  • I cannot stand Fenty’s arrogant, petty, vindictive personality, and it will be his downfall. His public speaking skills (and accountability, for that matter) remind me a lot of George W. Bush. Have you ever seen him in an unscripted interview? His verbal stumbling and repetitive refusal to answer any question that is remotely challenging is quite revealing of his lack of intelligence and political street smarts. He really hasn’t accomplished much. It would have been nice to see him accomplish more than building public parks and bike lanes.

    There’s no way in hell I’ll ever support him or vote for him. But on the other hand, the current mayoral challengers are just as bad, if not worse.

  • @Pennywise. If you need help finding somewhere else to live there are some realtors advertising on PoP’s site who can find a nice quiet place in the Midwest for you. I hear there is no corruption in the Midwest and the streets are paved with gold! Really!

    I think Fenty is doing a fine job. I don’t know how much stock to put into the generalizations above (either for or against) but I think he’s chosen some good folks to run the DCPD and DCPS who have handled their jobs, and the unions, well so far. I still probably won’t send my own kids to the public schools (though the charters are more interesting) so I can’t blame Mayor Fenty for doing the same. I don’t like his personality or his public persona, but that won’t change my vote.

    The history of DC politics is too wrought with populist politicians who promote the idea that DC residents are victims simply because of who they are and who incite hate (Mr. Barry et al.) to gain support. Neither is a strong foundation for good policy. Mayor Fenty hasn’t fallen down that hole yet. So he has my vote.

  • I will not vote for Fenty. Jamie has done a good job putting some of the reasons out there. I’ve got others, but the biggest is his complete inability to communicate. Don’t believe me? Watch him on the NBC Washington segment on Thursday mornings at 6:45.

  • I think he’s great at publicity and horrible at actual management. I am constantly hearing from folks that worth with or in DC agencies that cross him/disagree/point out different path/point out problem and his solution is to fire you. Basically you are a yes man or a no job man. I think DC will be paying the price for him for years to come.

  • I side with normantown. White folks may be just as corrupt or more than black people. But at the least their schools are not run down, books are ordered on time, and services are efficient. With many black politicians, contracts end up being given to people unqualified to do the work. That is the bigger issue. We improve the quality of candidates if other races feel like they have a chance to win. In this city, whites are discouraged from running.

    I have an issue with my mayor paying for a party for some silly fraternity. I have an issue with my mayor in bed with unscrupulous groups like the Peaceoholics. If anyone begins to take a closer look at Sinclair Skinner, Fenty is done!

    To give this city credit for the inauguration is like giving a city credit for snow removal. This city should be skilled at handling inauguration considering how many large events this city handles.

  • I agree that Fenty is more style over substance, but at least he’s surrounded himself with good, capable people that are willing to shake things up. He doesn’t seem beholden to the entrenched culture of cronyism that prevades DC government, and that alone is enough to get my vote.

  • I’m definitely voting for Fenty again. If we get some old-school DC politician I will get a divorce if my wife won’t let me sell our house, I’m literally that stressed out about still living here because the old school DC culture sucks and I’m not sitting through it for one day.

    Fenty needs to trim a lot more fat out of DC jobs, just fire the people who aren’t performing and reduce the numbers by a solid 10% if not 25%.

    People talk about what the cities SHOULD be doing, but we know from experience that is wasn’t done.

  • He was just as corrupt as Fenty, but a hell of a lot more entertaining. If we’re going to have a joke of an administration, there should at least be a punch line.

    yeah, the funniest thing about Marion Barry’s era was the rampant street rapes due to the crack wars and corrupt policing. So Jamie, the street rapes are the punchline to you?

  • I’m a DCPS parent and while I voted for Fenty last time and initially was thrilled about Rhee, I have to say, he has managed to make things worse at our school.

    Rhee talks a great story, but as to actual change that benefits children, we aren’t seeing it at our school.

    As a DCPS parent, I’m a one-issue voter. It’s all about education for me and Fenty has lost my vote.

  • The voting public as a whole here are complete f’ing idiots. If Barry ran for mayor again he would be elected. Fashion over function and the ability to hook people up with jobs/money/contracts is what gets you elected here.

  • anon 11:06
    barry didnt win in his last bid for mayor. and never will again.
    at one time, though i’m sure you know better, barry was indeed a good and effective man.
    sure, he was elected a few times after he lost his ability to run, but we havent had good choices.

  • It’s PoP’s second question — whether there’s a better alternative — that strikes me as the relevant one. As a voter in this town, I often feel like my best hope is that the least of the evils presented wins. After 7 years here, I’ve concluded that a good percentage of the residents still wish they had the Mayor for Life or a reasonable facsimile running the show, and that, to me, is the critical political dividing line in local politics. I can live with Fenty if the other viable candidates are likely to veer back into the Barry-mold, but I really do hope that someone better comes along.

  • ragged dog — so you think that the Post is responsible for problems in the Fenty adminstration? Really? In my view, the Post has been Fenty’s biggest cheerleader. In fact one of the criiticisms levelled against Fenty in the early days was the degree in which he did, in your words, kowtow to its reporters:

  • Someone please tell me if DC actually organized the entire inauguration.

  • threeboysindc:

    What is it about Fenty/Rhee that you think has resulted in the worsening of your child’s school? I’m not challenging your comment, I genuinely want to know, and I think others on this site would too.

  • Fenty gets my vote since Jim Graham is out due to “CAB GATE”. I am for the bald head mayor.

  • I voted for Fenty but have become disenchanted. Or maybe the better characterization is that I am unimpressed.
    Fenty made education his issue and I don’t see a big (or even marginal) improvement in that area. Maybe it can be argued that he needs more time. And Rhee has made some significant changes. But what really irks me is his hypocrisy. His two children somehow magically secure spots in one of the few good elementary schools in the city (bypassing the substandard school in their own district) and Fenty refuses to explain – or allow DCPS to explain – how that happened. I would have had more respect for him if he had come out and admitted that he pulled some strings to get his kids into a better school than they were entitled to go to. I’ll bet that’s what Barry would have done. But instead Fenty hides behind some BS about protecting his kids’ privacy. No one cares about his kids’ personal information. What people care about is the process through which they were able to get spots in a school that routinely receives hundreds more requests for transfers than it can accomodate. What message does that send to the parents who don’t have the resources or clout to get their kids into one of the few decent schools in the district? I guess their stuck with the lottery.

  • Rhee has fired about a third of the system’s school administrator’s, often in schools that were performing VERY well with no complaints from the parents. She works with a dictatorial style, firing people at will with no good reason. The DC Teacher’s Union has its own problems but she uses them as a boogeyman and they’re not the main problem with the schools. The real problem here is the parenting culture and too many kids not being raised with any real guidance or support or values.

    Fenty’s unwavering support of Rhee is the main reason why I’m NOT voting for him.

  • yatakarna, people don’t move to the midwest from DC, they move to MD or VA in hopes of a better life than what they can get in DC. That’s my hope. Granted, if I could afford a nice neighborhood in DC I might stay, but I cannot without renting. Note I want a house so condo living is out for me. All politics are personal, as are mine, and I’ve spent two decades having my full time salary taxed by DC. I’ve done my part and been shat on in return.

  • The PP who said a closer look should be taken at Fenty frat brother Sinclair Skinner is dead on. Fenty is starting to look just as bad as Marion Barry when it comes to cronyism.

    But with that said, there hasn’t yet been a credible alternative candidate identified, and I also agree with the PP who said that no other potential candidate has emerged who could credibly take on all the various public employee unions.

    So I feel depressed and stuck.

  • The public employee unions are not the problem. They’re just made up of people trying to keep their jobs. The problem is the people who run the public agencies, who set the goals, set the policies, enforce those goals, enforce those policies. When the appointees are corrupt, when the appointees don’t do their jobs, neither does anyone else. Culture starts from the top. Fenty and co. don’t really care about that, as long as Fenty’s name is associated with anything positive, whether he had a hand in it or not.

  • Culture starts from the top? ha! I was that naive once. Then I saw the teachers nod and smile to the principal and turn around and tell me, a parent, that they were going to wait this out until Michelle Rhee got fired.

    Don’t fall for that “appointee culture” nonsense, it’s entirely false.

  • Fenty does not deserve any of our votes, especially since he is failing in the area of public safety. He hired an inexperienced unprepared person (Cathy Lanier) to run the police department, and his chief of police has constantly under reported what the true crime rate is in this city. He is failing the citizens of this city. Here is an example.

    FBI: D.C.’s violent crime up in 2008
    By: Scott McCabe
    Examiner Staff Writer
    September 15, 2009
    D.C. police work the scene of a homicide near the Anacostia Metro station in June of 2008. (Examiner)
    The number of violent crimes in the District of Columbia increased last year, according to the FBI, contradicting the police department’s claims that violence had fallen substantially in 2008.

    The total number of murders, rapes, robberies and assaults in D.C. rose 2.3 percent last year over 2007, according to an annual FBI crime report released Monday. Property crime in the nation’s capital also increased by 4.5 percent, the FBI said.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the country saw a better trend: Violent crime nationally fell 1.9 percent nationally; property crime dipped 0.8 percent.

    Earlier this year, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, boasted of “huge victories on crime,” testifying before the D.C. Council that police cut violent crime by 5 percent in 2008.

    Lanier on Monday discounted the FBI’s numbers, saying they “do not reflect crime for the District of Columbia.”

    “Violent crime was down in D.C. last year,” Lanier said.

    Council members said they had not realized that the numbers the police department reported to the FBI would show that violent crime was worse than the previous year.

    “This is quite worrisome,” said Councilwoman Mary Cheh. “We think we’re doing a lot to tamp down violent crime. And yet if it’s rising, we’re not doing enough.”

    Cheh said she’d prefer that the District use the FBI’s classification when reporting its statistics because the Uniform Crime Reporting figures has been the benchmark for decades and is used by the rest of the country.

    Lanier said the department has never tried to downplay the FBI’s numbers. But when The Examiner asked for those numbers in June, Lanier vetoed their release. Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the D.C. police union, said the department for years has played with crime numbers to give residents the impression that the city was safer than it really was. “The public has to be able to believe the police department,” Baumann said. “Right now, that’s not happening.” The apparent contradiction is because the District uses two different classifications when figuring it’s crime totals, the D.C. Code and the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting, according to D.C. police. The systems classify certain crimes differently, police said. Under the D.C. Code, a punch is considered a simple assault; under the FBI’s definition, it’s considered an aggravated assault, or a violent crime, D.C. police said. Staff writer Bill Myers contributed to this report.

    [email protected]

    Troubled start

    >> When Cathy Lanier first took over as D.C. police chief two years ago, she was confronted with an internal review that uncovered 11,000 crimes that were misclassified or not counted. Lanier has said she has brought in new technology to fix that issue.

  • No on Fenty. To dictate is easy but to govern is not his calling. I say let’s write in no confidence

  • Is there another option other than Fenty? No one seems to be able to come up with one.

  • 11:56- you do not have a clue what you’re talking about, not even one.

    Spend some time in various DC schools over a period of time- I’m in year 3 now- and then you’ll figure it out.

    There is an incredible amount of bullsh*t foisted on the parents of DCPS students. I had a teacher tell me right to my face that the problem with the behavior issues in her class were due to the parents, “some of whom were cutting cocaine right on the same table where the kids ate dinner.” Only ONE child out of our entire class at that failing school had a single mom, the other 17 kids had middle class parents who were together if not married. 15 out of the 18 kids had white collar parents and one of those blue collar parents was a landlord who owned 5 houses. I would describe 15 families in that class as “Upper Class,” 2 as “middle class” and one as “working class.” Not one single parent in that group was not holding up their end of the parenting/education story. Yet that teacher had the nerve to tell me that kids in our class had parents who were drug dealers???

    Name one! The teachers LIE people, lie like Harriette Walters! I talked to a teacher a few years back who told me stories of out of control kids who were disciplinary problems, who ran rampant in the classroom. It wasn’t until I had kids of my own that I realized anyone saying she couldn’t control a classroom of SECOND GRADERS was just a terrible, lousy teacher and the problem was hers and hers alone and not the parents or students!

    Get real, second grade? puh-leeze.

    Michelle Rhee needs to fire a lot more of the pot smokers, the former Go-Go kids and ex-cons who populate the DCPS staff rolls. They don’t belong here anymore and should teach where they live- in PG County.

  • Pennywise, you’re right that most of the problems that occured on Inauguration day had very little to do with DC. The Mall is governed by the Park Police, tickets were issued by the Capitol (and led to the problems with people not getting in) and the Secret Service controls pretty much everything else during inaugurations.

  • This is true, Anonymous @ 1:06, the Park Police are undoubtedly the most worthless police force in this town.

  • I would like to point out that the guy in charge of Juvie rehabilitation needs to go. How can you build a facility to house hardened teens and only use thorn bushes as a deterrent to flee? Then consider how Fenty and the non DC resident AG (Nickles) absolutely f’d up the gun law registration costing the city MILLIONS. I’m not talking the Supreme Court case (although they were wrong there too) but the gun registration where they adopted CA regulation without crafting it to their own use.

    Then think about the Peaceoholic member convicted and found GUILTY of molesting a little girl. The man had MURDERED someone, sold drugs, and yet was allowed to mentor in a DCPS. There is no chance stuff like this would happen in a FFX county school. This borders on ridiculous even before you consider this group was given MILLIONS in grants.

    Now on the schools. I won’t hold it against the mayor if he can’t improve the schools. Hell that is a people problem. But there is no way that Rhee was qualified to run the school system. No way. Factor in her gross exaggeration regarding her experience turning around schools/classes in B’more and she should have never even been considered. Ok. Fine she’s the chancellor now. But to then spend valuable time working on your boyfriend (Kevin Johnson’s) election across the country instead of focusing on the schools here shows you she is in it more for the power.

    DC has some of the smartest people in the country. If there is no black candidate more qualified than Fenty, Gray, and Brown, then I second normantown and say draft the first qualified white candidate. A rising tide lifts all boats. Black. White. And Hispanic.

    BTW, I went to college with Sinclair Skinner. Personally, he is a nice enough guy. I can say that I would NOT want the mayor of my city to be palling around with him though.

  • For the first time I think, I agree with Nate.

  • “yeah, the funniest thing about Marion Barry’s era was the rampant street rapes due to the crack wars and corrupt policing. So Jamie, the street rapes are the punchline to you?”

    I didn’t say Marion Barry’s era was funny, I said HE was. When has Fenty every given us stuff like “Bitch set me up” and “”If you take out the killings, Washington actually has a very very low crime rate?”

    The guy’s a natural entertainer. Check this out if you don’t believe me.

  • Sorry, until you show me someone who’s not a throwback to the Bad Ole Days, it’s Fenty. I’m bemused by the idea that, as someone upthread asserted, “He’s just continuing what Williams started.” Yes. That’s the whole point.

    Also, I completely agree with:

    Michelle Rhee needs to fire a lot more of the pot smokers, the former Go-Go kids and ex-cons who populate the DCPS staff rolls. They don’t belong here anymore and should teach where they live- in PG County.

    If you’re a teacher or administrator, and your position is “Rhee needs to stop holding teachers and administrators accountable, and fix the *parents*,” you need to put down your chalk, walk out the building, and turn in your DCPS badge. Because you’re useless.

    Back to Fenty: show me an alternative candidate whose not a Barry-throwback, Gentrification-demagogue, or some sort of crypto-race-baiter, and I’ll consider voting for them. Til then you can take your fluffy accusations of “arrogance” and the like and grow up.

  • Anon 12:15 pm “The public employee unions are not the problem.”

    Um, what planet are you on? Sure, unions help sure up important benefits to their members, but all-powerful unions, such as the DC public employee unions, go well beyond this and make it difficult and sometimes impossible to clean out waste (redundant or unnecessary positions) or make firing nonperforming employees extremely challenging. The public bears the cost of a bloated DC government that is full of unmotivated, underemployed personnel who lack proper intensive to serve the public in large part because of the strength of these unions. I think most DC taxpayers are quite happy to 1.) take many underperforming teachers and administrators off the payrolls, 2.) motivate others in the government/schools to actually do their jobs.

    There’s no doubt what line of ‘work’ you are in.

  • “until you show me someone who’s not a throwback to the Bad Ole Days, it’s Fenty”

    I don’t see a lot of difference between Fenty and the bad ole’ days.

    He does whatever the hell he wants, laws be damned. (See: councilmember baseball tickets, fire truck, trips around the world, AG’s “residence” in DC, AG’s relationship to fenty, supreme court handgun brief, for starters)

    He appoints all his friends to high-ranking positions, regardless of conflicts of interest or qualifications (see: — not to mention appointing a close family friend as Attorney General, an oversight position. “Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced his nominations for three new agency directors today, following his pattern of appointing friends, fellow athletes and people in his age range.”

    He won’t talk to the press about anything even when specifically asked. He either makes excuses, e.g. how it is that his kids got into the best private school in DC which everyone would love to (“don’t bring my kids into it” — except it’s not about your kids, it’s about you and how you don’t have to use the same system everyone else does), or just says “I’m not telling,” e.g.

    Maybe its not the same old-boy network as under the Barry days, but it’s still business as usual. The only difference is Fenty’s not a crack smoker.

  • No…..Fenty is doing a poor job!!!!!

  • To the folks who support radical DCPS reform & Rhee: if you support what Rhee’s doing, you need to get behind Fenty. From the Washington Post chat today:

    “Michelle Rhee: Let me be clear in saying that everything we’ve been able to do in the last two years has been because of the unequivocal support of Mayor Fenty. I can’t think of another politician anywhere in this country who has taken such a courageous stand on education. Most politicians would have run for the hills with talks of school closings and terminations. These are not popular things that most elected officials will take on. However, they are necessary changes for this district and Mayor Fenty has been unwavering in his support of the schools. He’s a rare politician and the best boss a Chancellor could ask for, bar none.”

  • @jamie

    “I don’t see a lot of difference between Fenty and the bad ole’ days.”

    Let’s be clear about one thing: Mayor Barry’s mandate was to establish a patronage system that would create a black middle class for the region. He was successful. On net, it was arguably a good thing. But those days are over, and the city has other priorities now. The idea that Fenty is anything like Barry is laughable, your trivial list of concerns, notwithstanding.

    Do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound throwing out a list of missteps consisting of “Councilmember baseball tickets, fire truck, trips around the world, AG’s “residence” in DC, AG’s relationship to fenty, supreme court handgun brief, for starters”.

    Is that seriously your case against Fenty? You sound like one of the anti-Obama “Birthers”, screaming about “birth certificate, ACORN, Rezko, for starters!!1!”

  • Rezko was and is significant. Shows that Obama can be bought and sold just like the rest of ’em (see, e.g., health care reform).

    Jamie’s list is significant and valid. It demonstrates that Fenty cares about Fenty, not about improving the city or serving its residents.

  • I don’t know anyone who is happy with Emperor Fenty. He needs to stop training for triathlons and start spending more hours at work – like the rest of us. He has made no progress on education and the crime in this neighborhood is horrible.

    He also needs to stop using our tax dollars for his own personal slush fund (e.g. paying for a party for his fraternity, installing a heater in the outdoor pool where he trains, slapping his name on the Tubman field, etc.).

  • Plus have you ever watched him on the local NBC news on Thursday mornings? He sounds like a total boob. His answer to every question is…”we will look into that”. That answer is ok in the first 6 months – not after 3 years.

  • Rezko was and is significant. Shows that Obama can be bought and sold just like the rest of ‘em (see, e.g., health care reform).

    More fluff. You can’t even explain what the issue with Rezko/Obama is, other than to cut ‘n’ paste “Rezko is significant! ACORN!”

    Same with this trifling shit being thrown at Fenty: “He’s an arrogant lazy triathelete!!”

    What a bunch of puling babies.

  • Oh, don’t forget, he let that guy drive a city SUV that time. OUTRAGE!

  • voiceofreason, maybe the Voice of Reason Magazine ™ but reasonable your posts certainly are not! VoiceOfGoofy maybe…

  • I dunno – I think Voiceofreason and Jamie are spot on.

  • I dunno – I think Voiceofreason and Jamie are spot on.

    Of course you do, given that you seem to think “Emperor Fenty” is an argument.

    You guys are peas in a pod.

  • I never said anything about ACORN. I happen to like ACORN, I think they do far more solid community work, especially on low income housing, than they get credit for.

    Rezko in and of itself isn’t all that big of a deal, but it did hammer home to me that Obama isn’t above $$ influence, although his ridiculous ties and support of the ethanol gang was enough for me to figure that out quickly.

    As for Fenty, I could care less about his physical fitness, but I do care that his policies, or lack thereof do absolutely nothing to help this city, in in the case of education, do a lot to hurt the children of this city.

  • ibc is correct. Rhee = Fenty. Her perceived success or failure will be his.

    Rhee has done a lot of painful things that were necessary (closing schools, firing admin, firing teachers). And then some stupid stuff too. She’s made a ton of enemies. The big one is the teacher’s union. They shield incompetence, as they have for decades. She can’t clean house until they’re broken. In this fight, she’s manufactured a sizable, angry anti-Fenty/Rhee interest group. Since many are now unemployed, they’ve got time kill campaigning against Fenty. I’m sure a few union minions have already posted here. My guess is he will pay for taking on the system.

    While I’m underwhelmed with Fenty, and Rhee is a wee bit of a nut, I think shaking out the school system is worth the other minor transgressions (and they are minor). So for me, a weak yes to Fenty.

  • if rhee=fenty, just how are the schools doing?

  • I think anyone who supports fenty needs to de-gentrify their a**es back to VA or were ever you came from. Those that aren’t native to DC need to keep their 2 cents to themselves. You have no idea what your talking about when it comes to this city. Secondly, your not the majority so your vote doesn’t mean anything. Take fenty (the sellout), rhee (the clueless one), and all of his pose (Fire, Police, & New Agency Chiefs)with you when you go!

  • 3 cheers for xenophobia!

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