DC Mayor Adrian Fenty's Dirty Politics

A close friend saved the Metro section from February 4th edition of the Washington Post and gave it to me several days later. She had marked a certain article that she knew would be of interest to me. It was an article about DC Mayor Adrian Fenty entitled,"Heavy Hitters Contributing To Fenty's reelection Bid". It explained that Mayor Fenty has developed close friendships with many wealthy people -- developers and lawyers alike. It said what many of DC's poor and underprivileged already knew, having learned it the hard way -- that Fenty doesn't really care for the poor or working class people of DC.

In order to understand the full gravity of the situation, you must know what he did prior to becoming mayor. Just prior to becoming mayor, Adrian Fenty was the Ward 4 councilman. As the Ward 4 councilman, he was also the chairperson for the Committee on Human Services. (Most councilmembers, though they have their respective wards that they oversee, also have a citywide committee that they chair.) As such, he oversaw the homeless shelters, housing programs, employment and foodstamp programs and other agencies that help the poor. He made several trips to the DC Village Family Shelter to meet with the residents and address their complaints. He shook my hand and the hands of my comrades on multiple occasions as he promised to keep Franklin School open as a shelter if he became mayor. He seemed rather gung ho about helping the homeless and we thought that he really cared. With hindsight always being 20/20, we now know that he helped the homeless at that time because it was just his job. Nonetheless, he got many of his votes due to people's perception of him as someone who cared for the little people.

Adrian Fenty took office as mayor on January 2nd, 2007. His choice for director of the Dept. of Human Services, Clarence Carter, began his job on July 23rd, 2007. (That very day, my comrades and I were holding a rally in front of the John A. Wilson bldg -- DC's City Hall -- to protest the lack of A/C in several shelters.) According to Mr. Carter, during his interview the mayor asked him,"Can you close the DC Village Family Shelter within 3 months???" To that Mr. carter answered,"Yes, I can". He got the job and the shelter closure became the qualifying test. He passed. He became the Director of DC's Dept. of Human Services by closing a homeless shelter. Does anyone else see the irony in that???

On April Fool's Day, 2008 (no coincidence), Mayor Fenty announced his housing plan for DC's chronically homeless. The plan included the closure of Franklin School Shelter, which took place on September 26th. It also included the creation of at least 350 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and a 150-bed, low-barrier shelter for men in the downtown area to replace the 300-bed Franklin School Shelter. The latter has yet to materialize and might not during Fenty's administration. Furthermore, the funding for the PSH program was slashed in November, due to the economic downturn. Insomuch as the Franklin closure was predicated, in part, on the success of the Permanent Supportive Housing program, this amounts to a bait and switch.

The 801 East men's Shelter on the grounds of St. Elizabeth's Hospital (where John Hinkley, Reagan's shooter is being held) is also slated for closure. No hard dates have been set that i know of. However, the Dept. of Homeland Security (the other DHS) is devising plans to build offices on the grounds of the sprawling St. Elizabeth's Hospital campus, thus displacing the homeless shelter. The Harriet Tubman Women's Shelter, on the grounds of the defunct DC General Hospital will soon fall victim to the planned Hill East development project. The city might have plans to create additional shelter elsewhere and/or a sufficient amount of supportive housing. Affordable housing for the low-income would be nice too. But the city has not been forthcoming with any such plan. (Hopefully this blog post will help to put them on the defensive and to make them more forthcoming.)

As a quick aside, I will say that I am still awaiting the final word on the CCNV Shelter. CCNV (the Community for Creative Non-Violence) is a 1,500-person homeless shelter near Capitol Hill that has been threatened with closure repeatedly. The latest threat came in the form of a contract dispute. I am not disclosing too many details right now, as i don't want to compromise the outcome of the contracting. There is still hope that the situation will improve.

This only BEGINS to explain the measures that Mayor Fenty has taken against the poor and homeless. It would take a book to write them all. It is important to note that there is a definite dichotomy within DC Government. There ARE those in DC government with a genuine concern for the most vulnerable and needy among us. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be getting their way right now.

That much having been said, one can now begin to see the complete about-face that adrian Fenty has done since taking office. The article which helped to inspire this blog post pointed out that, while most of Fenty's 2006 campaign contributions came from small, private donations, most of the $3.8 mil that he has raised toward his 2010 mayoral run has come from developers, law firms, millionaires and billionaires. That's not to speak of the fact that he has earned a name for being anti-union. (There was a Washington Post article to that effect.) He has also broken promises to the non-profit ONE DC to create affordable housing on Parcel 42 in Northwest DC. As a matter of fact, I can't keep up with all of his broken promises.

All of this makes it extremely ironic that Fenty would befriend the Obamas. He's eaten lunch with the Obamas and Bidens on several occasions. Mayor Fenty is an avid promise breaker. President Obama began his first full day of work making good on his campaign promises. Aside from their skin color and their positions as chief executives, I don't see any other commonalities between Fenty and Obama.

Finally, let's get the word out about Adrian Fenty. Maybe the Obamas and/or Bidens will read it or watch it on the news. Let's put it in the newspaper, on T.V., on the radio and in cyberspace. Let's show his true colors. I wonder what the Obamas would say if they knew the real Fenty.

Please google: DC Mayor Adrian Fenty. Read up on his dirty politics.

Also, I want to draw special attention the post just below this one. Please read it if you haven't already.

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