DC MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER: "She-a Look-a Like A Man"
I noticed on December 29th, 2014 -- just four days before her inauguration -- that many of the cabinet members that Ms. Bowser had chosen were women -- several of whom flanked her during an Event at Miriam's Kitchen (which serves the homeless and where Michelle Obama visited in 2009). That was fine with me; as, I'm all for gender equality, so long as we don't lower the bar when a job that has hereto now been done by men is opened to women. Some would argue that I'm not true to form insomuch as I seem to go easier on women like Mayor Bowser than I went on men who held the same position previously (DC having had one other female mayor from 1991 to 1995). It should also be noted that I've famously gotten angry at women who were in pubic office, even if my critiques of them don't seem to be quite as tough as what I offer men.
"She-a look-a like a man" in terms of her approach to me. With Adrian Fenty having been just under 21 months into his only term in September 2008 when we became famously antagonistic toward each other, we are now approaching that point in Muriel Bowser's term. The facts point toward history becoming "her story". A wise person once said, "What we've learned from history is that we don't learn from history". (That person and many others should say that more often.) I'm proud to say that, in at least one respect, Ms. Bowser might just be the exception to the rule. I've thought since my conversation with her on December 29th, 2014 that she was using Mayor Vince Gray's approach "to" me by avoiding me like the plague unless and until I assert myself in an irresistible manner -- as I did that day. Fenty made a considerable number of outdoors speeches at low-security events where he got way-laid by the likes of me. He was (in)famous for speaking to advocates and activists as he walked from the podium to the car. He and I have had some tense moments under those very circumstances. Bowser makes a lot less outdoors speeches. Maybe that's why.
"She-a look-a like a man" in terms of her timeline for upsetting myself and possibly other advocates. Like Adrian Fenty whose protege she is, Bowser's homeless policies are focused largely on the most vulnerable albeit a different subset of that subset of the homeless. Fenty focused on disabled singles in an effort to vacate the Franklin School Shelter. (Franklin School remains vacant almost eight years later as DC Gov seeks a temporary space for the 360 men at the New York Ave Shelter which is slated for renovation and located in a quickly gentrifying neighborhood.) Bowser is supposedly focused on homeless families due to their vulnerable children. However, she does not seem to be as concerned with the
In all fairness, I should add that Ms. Bowser also has employment programs for young adults 18-24 years old -- even if they don't have children. But before we give her too much credit for being motherly toward those who are young enough to have been her children (herself being 44), let's remember that she is subject to federal policies that mandate that 75% of available job-training funds be spent on this age group. This also means that those of us who are 25 and older can't rightly get angry at Mayor Muriel Bowser for neglecting our employment challenges. (If I send this blog post to her administration, maybe they'll hire me to write for them. I'll do just that.) Being as I don't like to let my opinion about a public figure cause me to present faulty arguments that can easily be shot down, I'll go so far as to say that the Bowser administration has disclosed to me that they plan to transition into doing more for the 25-and-up group. Hopefully it will happen long before my transition to Glory.
"She-a look-a like a man" in terms of her oft-repeated vision of making homelessness "rare, brief and non-recurring". That is, no doubt, a noble cause. I'm fully on-board. However, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry (2009-present) said in 2011 that HIS administration would make homelessness "rare, short-lived and non-recurring". It's worth noting that this is the best way in which "she-a look-a like a man". Now if she could just inject a little more testosterone into her plan by making it considerably more aggressive and well thought out, then I wouldn't care if she grew facial hair to accompany her short hair. (I'd still love her.....from afar.)
Now let's revisit the matter of her approach to me. Being constrained by rationale as I am, I often keep silent about my suspicions unless and until I've gathered enough evidence for a strong and irrefutable argument. That said, I've withheld my suspicions about Ms. Bowser having taken note of what her two most recent predecessors felt was the best approach to Eric Jonathan Sheptock. I've quietly harbored my suspicions until now. I did the same concerning a suspicion that she might have had an administrator whom she knows I've been fond of since we met in July 2007 to join me on the Kojo Nnamdi Radio Show (WAMU 88.5 FM) in April 2015 -- quite possibly for the purpose of pitting this friend and her narrative against me and my narrative. I admit that this remains a largely unfounded and weak suspicion hereto now.
I've wondered whether another administrator (also a woman) was antagonizing me of her own accord or at the behest of the mayor. That vendetta has since been reduced to an uneasy truce, but still leaves me to wonder if she has failed in her "task" of getting Eric Sheptock out of the way. This latter admin discussed a personal situation of mine with someone who is not in government. That person told me and I left some angry messages for this WOMAN. Since then, I've noticed a heightened level of respect for me when I attend meetings. I wasn't invited to partake in the discussions that others in government had with the offender, though I sense that such conversations DID take place. I suppose that the offender was told not to do anything else that fits the bill of what I'd been accusing her of doing, lest it strengthen my argument. Wise move.
I wonder if they also said things to make the offender feel as though I was dealing with other personal issues and feelings and that she was not worthy of the degree of anger that I expressed toward her -- electronically only. If so, then they were wrong for that. (So much for DC Gov having said in the past, "Nothing about us [the homeless] without us".) The behavior of various administrators since mid-June 2016 gives me the sense that they think that I feel unappreciated after 10 years of advocating for the homeless. I assure you that I'm not in it to be appreciated. I'm in it to get results. That's it. That's all.
Howbeit, I'm using this new-found respect to push more aggressively for real solutions to homelessness. I noticed that, for the past couple of months, various government officials and non-profit personnel are listening more intently to what I say at meetings, as opposed to just "waiting for the noise to stop" and then possibly giving my comments short shrift. This, of course, means that what I say has to be well thought out, lest them listening more intently makes them more keen to my errors or shortcomings. It is indeed a two-way street. Truth be told, you don't owe someone a favor in return when they finally begin to do what they should have been doing all along. This isn't as much of a return favor from me as it is a matter of me not giving them a legitimate complaint about me or a legitimate reason to dismiss me. Even as I have done for years now, I continue to put myself forth as someone who can and will assist DC Gov with any noble effort they undertake that aims to decrease homelessness. That is a standing offer, DC Gov. I'd like to get paid for it though.
"She-a look-a like a man" in at least one more way -- the likelihood that she'll be a one-term mayor. I came to Washington, DC in the summer of 2005 -- less than two years before Mayor Anthony Williams finished his second term. His threat in June 2006 to close the Franklin School Shelter was the reason I began advocating. He ran for a third term and lost. Adrian Fenty who unseated him as well as Vince Gray each had policies that the homeless advocates and homeless people found to be unfavorable. Bearing in mind that we can prove coincidence but we can't prove causation, all of this leaves one to wonder if dismaying the poor and the homeless of the city is an assurance that a DC mayor won't get re-elected. People used to tell me that they thought I was the reason that Fenty didn't get re-elected. I've always thought that assertion was just a little over the top. Who knows??? There might be at least some truth to that, given my many contacts, major on-line presence and my use of (anti-) social media. My guess is that Bowser herself has thought through the contents of this paragraph -- if not the contents of this blog post in its entirety -- without having read it, of course. If either is true, then it stands to reason that these and related matters are weighing heavily on her mind. If she doesn't want to "look like a man", then she should do what no DC mayor in recent history has done -- keep her friends close and her enemies closer -- an idea that even a nasty MSNBC reporter was able to apply. If she perceives me to be an enemy, she ought not avoid me like she tried to do on 12/29/14; but rather, she should hire me to work with her administration to bring an end to homelessness in the city. That's it. That's all. THE END.
Labels: Adrian Fenty, Anthony Williams, Brenda Donald, Courtney Snowden, DC General, DC Gov, employment, Franklin School, Homeless, ICH, Kristy Greenwalt, Laura Zeilinger, Muriel Bowser, PSH, Supportive Housing