Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mendelson Blames Crime Lab Delays on Fenty Dithering

The Fenty administrationclaims that the forensics lab is its "top public safety priority," so why is it taking the city so long to create a functioning crime lab?

City Council Member Phil Mendelson say the delay is a result of Fenty administration dithering, according to this story in the Washington Examiner:

"They're compromising public safety," police union Chairman Kris Baumann said, calling the delays "baffling."

Councilman Phil Mendelson, D-at large, a longtime advocate for a modern crime lab, says the Fenty administration is dithering. Fenty's predecessor, Anthony Williams, had promised to have a crime lab up and running by now, Mendelson said.

"That's not my opinion," he said. "The timelines don't lie."

Efforts to reach Fenty spokeswoman Mafara Hobson were unsuccessful.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Nickles Offers an Apology but Few Answers in Fenty Security Scandal

WTOP Radio reports that:

The Attorney General for D.C. has offered an apology for Mayor Adrian Fenty's use of police officers as a security detail during training exercises with his competitive cycling team.

In a letter to D.C. Councilmembers, Peter Nickles wrote the mayor expresses his sincere regret for any traffic laws he and his detail may have violated.

While it is nice to see Mayor Fenty apologize for violating DC law, an apology is not an alternative to providing actual answers to the questions the DC City Council and DC taxpayers have. Fenty and his crew were caught running red lights and riding on roads where bikes are not permitted while being followed by a Metropolitan Police motorcycle escort. Fenty and his crew are accused of using police cars to transport his bikes both in DC and on out-of-state trips.

What laws were violated? What was the cost of these police cars to DC taxpayers? Why won't Fenty reimburse the DC government for frivilous and unnecessary use of police vehicles?

We deserve answers to these questions. These are the questions city council member Phil Mendelson has asked Fenty, and while Mendelson has backed off his probe for the time being, we can expect a city council hearing, and subpoenas if necessary, if answers are not forthcoming.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Don Peebles to Run for Mayor if Vincent Gray Doesn't Decide to Run in 2009

Loose Lips has the latest. Don Peebles says he will run for mayor if council chair Vincent Gray doesn't declare his intentions to run by the end of the year.

It's all on Vince now: R. Donahue Peebles gave an interview to WUSA-TV's Bruce Johnson yesterday, in which he announced his intention to run for mayor, so long as D.C. Council chairman Vincent C. Gray doesn't announce himself before year's end. (Perhaps that's what their breakfast rendezvous was about.) More than that, Peebles wasn't shy about needling his potential opponent: 'Adrian Fenty has never been a success at anything he's done,' Peebles says on camera. 'He has been an average to below-average city councilmember...and he's been a poor mayor.' The megadeveloper went on to call Fenty 'very petty' and 'not mature' before reiterating his pledge to spend as much as $5 million of his own money on a campaign. 'I don't need anyone to finance my campaign for me,' he tells Johnson. 'I'm gonna eliminate this environment of pay to play'---for everyone but him, anyway

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fenty Bonuses Handed Out After Council Banned Them.

The DC City Council voted, in light of budget cuts and challenging economic times, to ban bonuses to city employees. District employees have received 15 million in bonuses since Fenty took office.

But when the city council outlawed bonuses effective with the new budget starting October 1st, apparently Fenty didn't think the law applied to him.

Washington Post reports that even after they were outlawed, Fenty continued to hand out the big cash to the tune of more than $500,000:

...Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), chairman of the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment that oversees matters pertaining to city employees, said she is sending a letter to the administration and expects a detailed response.

"We voted, beginning Oct. 1, not to give bonuses. I want them to explain," she said. "I want an explanation. It flies in the face of what we voted on."

The law came after the council members' self-imposed ban this year on bonuses to their staffs when the city was struggling to fill a $666 million budget gap that stretched over three years.

"Given the fiscal climate, people losing their jobs, it just wasn't prudent," said Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D). "The larger aspect of this is, we're asking people to bite the bullet. How does it make people feel when they've lost their jobs and their colleagues are getting bonuses?"

Monday, December 14, 2009

DC Hands Out Millions in Bonuses, Even After Budget Crisis Forces Cuts to Key Social Services

When Mayor Adrian Fenty responded to the budget crisis by cutting funding for services to victims of domestic violence, the homelesss, and others in crucial need, we were lead to believe that everyone in the city was sharing the burden of the budget crisis evenly.

New documents revealing $15 million in bonuses to DC government employees prooves that some of us are bearing the brunt of these hard financial times more than others. Specificlly, those victims of domestic violence get fewer services, while DC Government Employees get fat bonus checks:

Among the big winners were Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who was handed $41,250 in August 2007 after barely two months on the job; Department of Health Director Pierre Vigilance, who was given $15,000 in 2008; and city property manager Robin-Eve Jasper, handed $18,000 over two years.

The bonuses were ladled out even as the city was facing nine-figure budget shortfalls and officials -- including Rhee -- were firing employees by the busload, claiming they could no longer afford them.

It paid to be on Rhee's good side. School employees, including Rhee's top staff, accounted for nearly half of the Fenty-era bonuses, records show. Then-special education "czar" Phyllis Harris was paid $17,000 in 2008; special-ed bureaucrat Karen Griffin was given $25,000 the same year; and Rhee's chief of staff, Lisa Ruda, was given $17,000 in 2008, records show.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

There's just one way to hold Fenty accountable

Washington Post Metro Columnist knows that there is just one way to hold Adrian Fenty accountable:

Here's my holiday wish: I'd like one strong candidate -- but only one -- to please run against Adrian M. Fenty for mayor next year.

The District and the rest of the region would benefit if a robust challenger would press Fenty (D) to defend a mixed record that has disappointed many of the hopes that accompanied his 2006 election.

In particular, we need him to feel some heat over apparent cronyism in city contracts, needless bickering with the D.C. Council, the city's East-West economic divide and, of course, the future of Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's school reforms.

It's hard to tell if I'm going to get my wish, because the main prospects are engaged in a nerve-racking dance over who's going to enter the race first. I just hope that nobody goes second, because that would divide the opposition and make it easy for Fenty to win reelection without having to seriously address his administration's shortcomings.

Read the whole article here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

DC Government Employees Use Their Blackberries for Campaign Related Work

Wow, this sight is just getting started, but DC Government Employees are already accessing this website using blackberries and computers owned by the District of Columbia.

Using government computers for campaign-related activities certainly seems inappropriate, to say the least. What bothers me more, however, is that DC Government Employees are following the campaign rather than focusing their time and energy on fixing the problems that impact this city.

If this continues, we will ask the DC Government to work with us and find out specifically, which government-owned blackberries have accessed this site and who they belong to.

Bloggers Needed:Volunteer with Not Fenty

Are you fed up with Mayor Adrian Fenty? Do you want to Fenty kicked out of office on election day? Then we need you to help with the Not Fenty Blog.

The brand new Not Fenty Blog is off to a good start. We've got some traffic to the site and we're starting to pick up a few twitter followers, but we've got a long way to go.

Over the next few weeks you'll see this site continue to grow as we build up our twitter numbers, add a facebook component, and create some great graphics to help promote the site.

But we can't do it without you! Are you interested in becoming a Not Fenty blogger? If you've used blogger before, you know that it's easy. All you need to do is contribute to the site by adding information and news about the 2010 race for mayor and other relevant information. Find an interesting story. Share it with us. It's that simple. If you're ready to become a blogger at Not Fenty simply send an e-mail to and we'll get you set up on the site.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Vincent Gray: Fenty should obey law and stop handing out million dollar contracts to his friends without council approval

Tensions between the city council appear to be escalating yet again according to this recent article in the Washington City Paper.

Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray got in on the act. Late today, he posted to Fenty a demand that he submit all the million-dollar-plus contracts withheld from the council pursuant to a January memo from Nickles.

The request came with a throw-down ultimatum: If the contracts still don't appear, Grays writes, "On December 15, 2009 I plan to move emergency legislation, which upon approval, will order the Chief Financial Officer to stop payment on all retroactive contracts that have not been ratified by the Council by Act at midnight, on January 20, 2010."


What are the contracts they are referring to? Well one exmple is the $86 million dollars that went to Mayor Fenty's fraternity brother without fair competition and (in violation of city law) without approval of the city council. The money went to Omar Karim and his company Banneker Ventures.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fenty Skips Abe Pollin Funeral to Attends Wizards Game

WTOP Radio reports that Adrian Fenty skipped the funeral of Abe Pollin to attend the Wizards game in Miami:

When Washington Wizards Owner Abe Pollin was laid to rest two weeks ago, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty was noticeably absent from the services. WTOP has learned Fenty opted to attend a Wizards basketball game in Miami…

…At a dedication of an affordable housing complex the Pollin family is building in Ward 7, Fenty offered his condolences to Pollin’s family and friends.

“There are not enough words nor actions that we can say or do to ever really commemorate this man’s life the way it deserves.”

After the dedication, WTOP asked the mayor why he did not attend the funeral.

“I was out of town,” Fenty said. “I was with my family.”

When asked if he went to the Wizards game rather than the funeral, he declined comment repeatedly.

read the full story here

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Marion Barry: We're talking About Illegal Acts on the Part of the Fenty Administration

Key Fenty officials refused to show up at an all day city-council hearing. The hearing looked at how $86 million dollars in city funds were given to Adrian Fenty's fraternity brother Omar Karim and his company Banneker Ventures without city council oversight. City Council members contend the non-competitive violated city law.

Marion Barry is quoted in the November 6th Washington Times

"We're talking about illegal acts on the part of the Fenty administration," said former mayor and council member Marion Barry, Ward 8 Democrat, invoking the names of former mayors. "Any mayor that believes in transparency would come down here and answer questions. Sharon Pratt Kelly would've come down here. Anthony Williams would've come down here. I would've come down here. Eighty-six million dollars has been hidden from the public. I wonder what they were thinking. That no one would find out?"

Yvette Alexander: We've Got to Get Rid of Fenty!

Yvette Alexander gave a speech at the Hardy Middle School PTA meeting after parents and teachers expressed opposition to Michelle Rhee's plans remove school principal Patrick Pope.

Yvette included in her speech this choice quote: "We’ve got to get rid of Fenty. And Rhee. And you can quote me on that!”

Georgetown Metropolitan has the full story.

DC Inspector General: $180 Million in Waste, Fraud Found in '09 Fiscal Year

The DC inspector general uncovered more than $50 million in waste and $125M in fraud during the past fiscal year, waste and abuse that account for more than 3% of the District's annual budget. The IG's audit division in FY09 issued 35 reports with hundreds of recommendations that if implemented would return $50.3M to DC coffers. The investigations division of the IG during 2009 presented 37 cases of fraud to the U.S. Attorney's Office and eight to the DC Office of the Attorney General, resulting in 25 arrests, 17 indictments, 16 convictions and restitution orders totaling $127.2M. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit garnered an additional $2.1M from provider settlements. Of the District's $5.4 billion budget, $180M amounts to 3.3% lost through waste, fraud, or abuse. The use of purchase cards by the Office of Unified Communications was the subject of a February audit in which the IG discovered numerous questionable or unjustified purchases -- including $15,000 to clean and maintain chairs and $59,365 for uniforms worn by employees who don't meet with the public. In November, OUC charged $900 for staff massages. read the full story in the Washington Examiner

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Don Peebles Seventy Percent Sure He will Run Against Fenty

Developer Don Peebles told WTOP radio he is 70% sure he will run against Mayor Adrian Fenty according NBC Washington.

NBC states: "The biggest news may be the big bucks that Peebles can bring to any effort. Peebles told NBC4 and WTOP that he would probably need to spend $3 million to $5 million of his own money to challenge Fenty. That kind of private funding would wipe out Fenty's fundraising head start of the past year. Fenty has worked hard to collect almost $3 million. Peebles could simply write a check."

Read the whole story here

Friday, December 4, 2009

Second Poll Shows Adrian Fenty Behind Vincent Gray in Mayoral Race

While City Council Chairman Vincent Gray has not yet declared whether or not he is interest in running for mayor, a second city poll shows that if the election were held today, Gray would defeat Fenty. According to this Washington Post Article a survey conducted by Lester & Associates showed:

"Forty-three percent of likely voters said they would cast their ballots for Gray while 39 percent said they would vote for Fenty. Another 18 percent were undecided. The survey also asked voters if Fenty "deserves re-election." Only 36 percent agreed."

Vincent Gray has said he is considering running against the Mayor, and at the moment, he is the most viable candidate.