|The following was submitted as a letter to the editor. Go here to join the discussion.
Re: “Activists hail Gray’s stunning win over Fenty” (Sept. 15)
What in the world happened to this energetic Ward 4 Council member who lost his bid for a second term? It was only four years ago that this defeated one-term mayor won not only all eight city wards but an unheard of rout of winning every precinct. He even beat his prime competitor Linda Cropp then Chair of the City Council in her own precinct. Today we can easily invoke the words in the Second Book of Samuel talking about Jonathan, “How the mighty have fallen.”
Tear away his successes, failures and promises forgotten or made anew. He defeated himself by actually believing that our capital city of Washington, D.C. can be managed like he was a big city mayor. After his victory four years ago, he became best friends with the mayor of New York City. Residents of New York are used to being bullied by their mayors and secretly love it. They count on their local City Council Mandarins to voice their displeasure yet expect them also to yield to his political power. Adrian Fenty set up a mini-Bloomberg Wilson Building after his trip to New York where he was told to rule and reign by sheer will power.
Second, Fenty more than likely thought that the President of the United States from Chicago would enjoy living in a city like one in which Mayor Daley ruled by a superbly well oiled political machine for years combined with that of his father’s methods. Adrian Fenty forgot that the District of Columbia has no similar political machine, although Council members Marion Barry of Ward 8 and Harry Thomas of Ward 5 believe they do — at least on their home turfs.
No, Adrian Fenty forgot that this is not a city with millions of people. He forgot that this is a city where a racial divide unfortunately still exists. This is a city of 600,000 people, many of whom either deal with local politics as a parlor game or simply do not give a damn so long as the trash is picked up, the police show up within 10 seconds when called and the snow gets removed before the last flake falls. He forgot that southern manners still matter in this city. You need to respect your elders whatever your own age. Fenty’s disrespecting the late Dorothy Height was a fatal error and woke people up among the most feared voting block in the District of Columbia — African-American women.
Fenty should never forget that he was elected and then rejected by the same people he swore to serve and not reign over. Despite satisfaction with the city’s direction, like Jonathan, once thought of as mighty, Adrian Fenty was brought down by his own pride. —John Klenert, Washington