No surprise here, Fenty's poll numbers are in the toilet. The real question is, does it even matter? The Washington Post ran a piece about their new poll on Sunday, which again shows Fenty is unpopular. Here's a snip:
While Fenty (D) has lost significant support among whites, African Americans have done a complete reversal on the mayor since a Post survey two years ago. Blacks have switched from 68 percent approval after his first year in office to 65 percent disapproval in the poll conducted last week. Overall, 42 percent of residents approve of the job he is doing; 49 percent disapprove. More than four in 10 in the new poll doubt his honesty, empathy and openness.
The numbers stand in stark contrast to how people feel about their city: District residents give higher ratings for their neighborhoods and the quality of key city services than they have at any point in Post polling over the past 20 years.
I'd say this is about right--despite Fenty's problems, things have been improving. Many people, including myself, might argue that the improvements haven't been as quick as we'd like, or always in the best areas, but there has been improvement. Fenty's high disapproval rate would normally be a huge obstacle for an incumbent--but Fenty still has no official challenger. Council chair Vincent Gray (D) is still indifferent to a run (and has his own ethics problems), and Peebles is spouting fury but not yet running. We've got Leo Alexander running, but his press people aren't that great a message management (just make the illegal immigration talking point go away, please, and don't rag on people who bring it up), and he has no money to speak of. So Fenty might have bad poll numbers, but without a fired-up challenger, that won't translate to a loss at the ballot box.
Michael Neibauer looks at Sinclair Skinner's place in the Fenty administration in today's Examiner. As Neibauer tweeted last night, there's no way to sum up his role in 450 words. This round-up, though, gets to the heart of the matter. Skinner has been talked about time and again as another example of Fenty's cronyism, but it's always nice to see it in print again. Some highlights:
In the case of the Sosua [fire truck] donation, e-mails show Skinner ruled out publicity and chose the Peaceoholics as the pass-through nonprofit. Bolden said Skinner was a private citizen who "played a supporting role to help a poor city."
Skinner was directly involved in the $100 million parks and recreation contracting scandal now under council investigation. The administration funneled the deals through the D.C. Housing Authority, evading council review. Skinner's firm was a Banneker Ventures subcontractor. The deal was killed in December.
Skinner is believed to have organized a party last August for Kappa Alpha Psi members, a gala funded with a $37,000 city grant. Nickles ordered the money reimbursed.
In the Post: A nice human interest piece on a drug dealer's son. I can't help but think of "Bart's People" whenever I read profile pieces. This is a long piece, but it's worth taking some time to read. We hear about how the son of a prominent drug dealer (who is now in jail) grew up to help give back to his community, etc, and all of that. Stories like this are, of course, heartwarming in a way, but of course for each amazing feat such as this there are plenty of other stories that are untold.
DC mulling electric car charging stations. Up next, jetpack landing pads and hovercar parking. Let me be clear, I'm all in favor of clean energy and more efficient cars, but I'm not sure where to stand on this one. DDOT is considering building an infrastructure to support an eventual fleet of electric cars. This would be a good idea, if electric cars become viable and could be a cheaper alternative for the city's vehicle fleet. However, it seems a bit early to really be discussing this topic. Had the electric car not been killed by GM a while back, perhaps we'd be in a different place now. Let's revisit this when GM actually produces the Volt and people start buying them. In the mean time, let's work out the damn powering system for the already-purchased streetcars.
Examiner scare headline--two dozen killed on Metro in 2009. Obviously I am not advocate for dangerous practices on Metro, but this headline is a bit misleading. The article itself makes clear that 11 of those deaths were suicides or falls. As you can tell, I've got the "Safety Watch" box going on over where the Catoe Watch used to be, but I will be excluding suicides and people who fall onto the tracks. For the purposes of my count, I am excluding accidental deaths from people falling onto the tracks. Kytja Weir's piece doesn't break any new information about deaths and Metro, so the scary headline seems a bit unwarranted. However, I don't think anyone is surprised by an Examiner scare headline.