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The Power of the Black Woman Vote and DC's Adrian Fenty

Fool a black woman once, shame on you. And that's it. No fool me twice. She won't hate you; she just won't vote for you again.

-- Washington Post Metro columnist Courtland Milloy

Washington Post's Courtland Milloy wrote on Wednesday that after several high (and low) profile snubbings of black women in Washington, D.C. -- From Maya Angelou and civil rights icon Dr. Dorothy Height -- Mayor Adrian Fenty managed to tick off the one constituent who can make you or break you in a city where the black vote matters.

More after the jump.

From The Washington Post:

How did D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty lose the love of so many black women -- the most faithful and forgiving constituents a black man in public office can have? The answer: He worked at it, went out of his way to snub and disrespect even the most revered sisters of distinction.

They include Dorothy I. Height, president emeritus of the National Council of Negro Women, who died this year; Maya Angelou, the poet; Susan L. Taylor, editor of Essence magazine; Oracene Price, mother of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams; and former D.C. first lady Cora Masters Barry, founder of the Southeast Washington Tennis and Learning Center.

The list goes on and on.

Black women vote. Period. We show up. We support. We turn out. Especially if we love something. The family? We'll try to keep it together. The church? We'll pack the pews. Name your random injustice? We'll show up and march, boycott, picket, pass out flyers, write letters and organize. Name your hopeful, promising politician? We'll prop you up on your shoulders and do our best to get you across the finish line. But cross us and countless black women will go to their graves, sucking their teeth and tut-tutting how you "Just didn't get it."

Milloy is arguing that Fenty doesn't get it.

From The Washington Post:

They (black women) didn't ask (Fenty) to start closing schools or to embark on a campaign of firing seasoned black teachers. And when he started taking credit for academic improvements that were already underway when he took office, they were too through with him.

"I guess his head got too big, but I really don't know what happened to him," said Ethel Delaney Lee, 84, another disaffected Fenty supporter.

Milloy wrote that in a mayoral race poll Fenty only received 15 percent of the black women's vote when  put up against his opponent D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray. And that's not because Gray is so cutting-edge and charming.

As I've written before, I rarely meet Fenty supporters when I'm out in the district. (Although I have met a couple since I wrote my last story about the D.C. Mayor race. I even got one to write in and comment on my previous post.) But Millory's story does not surprise me. I've written about black women and voting before, mostly in regards to the various candidacies of Democrat Harold Ford Jr.

In those stories I argued that despite how not "post-racial" and how unfair it may seem, many black women would likely feel uncomfortable voting for Ford just based on his white wife alone. There are plenty non-wife related reasons to take issue with Ford the Junior, but for a lot of black women that wife set such a bad taste in their mouths that short of going to Harlem to save struggling black teenagers with nothing but a math book and a copy of "Lean On Me," he wasn't going to get them to take a second look.

But whereas the appearance of a perceived racial "disloyalty" haunted Ford with black women (among other things), Fenty's problem is pretty much the same problem I've seen others have with him -- he's called cold. He critics say he's arrogant. That he's selfish, uncaring and doesn't listen.

Milloy just takes these critiques and applies them to black female voters in D.C.

So, again, I ask (this time to the ladies in the house) ... are you voting for Fenty? Is Milloy right? Post your view in the comments below!

(Hat tip to Savvy Broad for the story!)

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Reader Comments (58)

I don't live in D.C. but hopefully women there will let their voices to heard...and dude who's snubbing those who've worked hard to pave the way--bye, bye...

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPlasticheadblog

It's unfortunate that Mayor Fenty bit the hands that fed him. I look forward to reading how it affects the outcome.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterViv

Fenty is out the door. How do these Black male politicians think they can get away with disrespecting Black women????

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary

i'm a black woman and i'm voting for vincent gray because i have greater faith in his leadership abilities and his priorities with regard to development in the city and constituent services. fenty's a douchebaggery is (kinda) beside the point.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternzinga

He can get the hell on and take Michelle Rhee with him....

(and I don't even live in DC :-))

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

I am a black woman who will be voting for Fenty. I think people should separate feelings about an individual's personality from his or her ability to do a job. No, I don't care for Fenty's personality. I do think he comes across as cold and arrogant, but I also think he has championed some great efforts in DC. I don't have to like him to acknowledge the work that he has done. I would vote for him just for hiring Chancellor Rhee and Chief of Police Cathy Lanier alone. Furthermore, really guys.... Vince Gray?!?!?!? At this point, people are not voting for Vince Gray because they think he would a good job or because they honestly believe that he will incite the tangible change neccessary for this region. They're just not voting Fenty... and that seems short-sighted. Gray is just the status quo politician who will keep the district running.... No more, no less. And DC needs more than that.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSimone

wait, i'm confused. what did do or not do?

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterswiv

What is Vincent Gray offering Black Women that Fenty is not?

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMo

read that article yesterday @ WaPo site....comments over there beyond ignorant on a piece so true to many black women's sentiments toward the soon to be ex-mayor. This fake humility campaign is 3 days late and five dollars short!!!!!

( BTW Its seems like this country is as racist as ever again the comments posted @ WaPo. Black folk IMO can't be racist because of a lil thing called power.)

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOrange Star Happy Hunting

@ Simone and Mo....... one word for ya'll ..................INCLUSION.

Fenty is NOT about that!!!!

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOrange Star Happy Hunting

I'm with you Mo if black women feel that way then do that with ALL male politicians not just black ones.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandy Beach

@Orange Star Happy Hunting - You are going to have to give me a few more words....How is Fenty not about "Inclusion"?

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSimone

This black woman is tired of the overspending, enrich-my-friends mayor. This black woman has yet to see how those who have the least have fared well under this administration. This black woman does not like the game playing with the education budget (robbing from the charters to prop up the low performing DCPS system).

I won't die if the man is re-elected, but he will not be because of me. I have had plenty of Fenty and am looking for a different way with Gray.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterColHghts

What are the facts? Who is an eye witness to these offenses? Details, please.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJim

Don't live in D.C. and don't live in Jersey; but man most of you guys that are yelling about what Fenty doesn't do ; Have you ever put yourself out to him and joined into any of the things that he is behind? Sometimes if you really get involved instead of just sitting back watching you'd be really surprised what is really going on. As I said, I can't speak from experience because I have never lived in D.C.
Whatever he's doing that you don't like I would gladly trade places with you and let you come to Virginia and live with the likes of McDonnel and Cucchineli. these are the two dumbest and most intolerant men that I have seen since the 60s. We can't get anything done around here because they are too busy turning back the damn clock. I hoping that we in Richmond don't go all the way back to the 'SEAT OF THE CONFEDERACY" before their term is up. I am a voter and I think that I would take Fenty anyday over these hayseeds. It's like our state government is being run by sarah palin and the rest of the teabaggers..

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkhrish

Fenty won't win also because the DC Ministers Conference has also denounced him and when the preachers are willing to tell their congregations not to vote for him, then that's another huge group of black women who won't vote for Fenty.

Michelle Rhee is not even a certified teacher! She has never been certified. In fact, they gave her the title of Chancellor to get around the legal certification requirements to be a superintendant. There are standardized tests now for Principal and Superintendant and she has taken none of them. As a teacher with a Masters in Education and certified to be an 'Administrator and having passed the Principal test and having parents that were administrators and teachers, I can tell you that her gains may look like substance but they disregard the dedication of teachers who ARE certified and really care about kids. 'She will be gone right after Fenty.

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbdsista

Given that she doesn't have all the papers that you mentioned, it seems that many are happy with the progress she has made in the educational system or am I wrong. We have schools filled with teachers who have all those things but are doing nothing to enhance the educational system there. You know all of those who are tired and don't go above and beyond to make a difference.

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkhrish

Were it not for the time constraints of being a mother preparing for day ahead, I would source my dissapointment in the current mayor who more than once cut funding to charter schools only to have the council restore the some of the funding. I would also source how at least one of his broke down frat brothers is currently enriching himself at the tax payers trough by over charging for services his firm is not qualified to perform. The same frat brother was also able to arrange a gift of city fire equipment to a foreign government without having any official role in the DC government. I could go on. I didn't make this stuff up either. It has been written in more than one publication if you choose to Google.

I personally warned the mayor to keep the friend mentioned above at arms-length when he was running for mayor initially. He tried to assure me and others that this individual would be in no way connected to the DC government. That warning came as a result of some other public craziness.

My sincerest wish is that this mayor really study the last mayor-for-life we had here because he has some eerily similiar personality traits.

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterColHgts

NOT voting for Fenty!! Did not vote for him the first time. I do not know ANYONE who is voting for him. We are just walking around holding our noses for a few more weeks and looking foward to sweeping his arrogant, out of touch with the people arse along with Fenty's Frat Flunky's and Michelle Rhee out of DC politics and leadership. Can't wait to get the Fenty Funk out of our face and the Mayoral race!!

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSavvybroad

COl hgts, see I wasn't even going to address his shadiness, and hand greasing of his freinds and frat brothas with awarding contracts to them by going thru other city agencies SMH....

Simone take a walk thru ward 8, and 7where is the economic development across the river?? The jobs etc
Where are the programs to assist seniors, young folks citywide etc???

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOrange Star Happy Hunting

Reason Why I'm not voting for Fenty

-83million laundered to friends

- Issuing check for $2.5 million to Banneker Associates despite an on-going investigation

-No job plan for those who are un-employed in the District.

-Attorney General who enters into agreements providing financial payments to groups under current investigation by the city council.

- Fenty's God Father (no he really is) Peter Nickels aka Attorney General for City, yet never defends the citizens of D.C

-Peachoholics given 10 million funding without written contracts or results.

-D.C. Youth Facility inmates escape and kill D.C. residents

-Shut down the Department of Mental Health (who will mostly likely use the new hospital owned by the city)

-Firing Grace Wiggins types (meaning any D.C. civil servants who sides with District residents seeking to keep their place of residents affordable)

- Pretty much denying any Agency Director the ability to testify at council hearings

-Nominating unqualified individuals to influential boards

-having a $75,000 heater installed in his favorite city pool (Hains Point)

- having his name scrawled in super sized letters on the new soccer field

-using city money to throw a frat party

-Cut D.C. Fire Cadet Program (few programs that allowed 18-22 yr to become firefighters).

- Summer Youth debacle (years 2007 -2010) has overspent $30 million in the last three yrs

-Peter Nickels refusing to make public the books on NCRC and AWC (it's beleived that his wife was paid off some of these deals)

-Fire Truck Scandal (Please google Mr. David Jannarone) now Deputy Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development

-HIV rates climbed to the highest and federal money mismanaged (Bars HIV Director from meeting w/ HUD’s top brass to discuss why Federal money wasn't spent)

-Bulit 400k doggy parks

-Maintaining friendships with Ron Moten (former drug dealer and CEo of Peacaholics see above about 10 million awarded) types who intimidate citizens and elected officials

-using police resources to stop traffic so that his friends can ride bikes

-maintained associates with I don’t recall Sinclair Skinner and OMG Karim aka Banneker Associates Bandits who also worked with David Jannarone aka Fire truck man. Skinner and OMG Karim were the middle men who received an outrages “Fees” for construction contracts. The most interesting part is that neither have past their engineering test and aren’t license to do the job.

- OCTO (Office of Cheif Tech Officer) Scandal (google Yusuf Acar) multimillion-dollar embezzlement scam w/kickbacks, contract steering and ghost employees. Also it's beleived that while several DC employees were fired many new employees are here on H1B visa's

-handling of the Banita Jacks case. Fired workers without knowing the true extent of how their case loads had jumped. Didn't provide the resouces to help said caseworkers.

- D.C. tax office scandal ($20 million)

-Moves David Jannaron (fire truck man aka) to be second in charge (Deputy) at DHCD

-Federal investigation opened investigating ANOTHER employee in the city's workers' compensation agency

-Planned to cut housing for homeless families in lieu extending Summer youth one week

-Security fee’s waive for some events. D.C. doesn’t collected need revenue. An example is the $485,000 fee waived for the National Marathon alone. In hard times like these are these wise decisions? Also how does the administration determine who is waived and who is not.

-Vetoing the pay-to-vote bill based on recommendations from his **cough** volunteer campaign strategist, thugnificant…gov’t name Ron Moton.

-Director of DDOT also owner of Zip Cars…conflict of interest?

-Using gov’t resources (i.e voter registration mailers) to mail Fenty Campaign information.

- The average number of Freedom of Information Act requests wholly denied by the city has quadrupled under Fenty, while the average number of requests has stayed constant to previous administrations

- Fenty administration takes more than four years to implement the living wage bill.

-Inclusionary zoning law (one for affordable housing) took almost 3 yrs to develop and implement regulations.

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterthelildiva4u

Chancellor Rhee is all smoke and mirrors. Beyond the fact that she doesn’t have the qualifications to posses the job (meaning the correct degree and only 3 year experience in the class room), she is a liar.
Rhee’s mission is to privatize the system with a legion of unqualified Teach for America types, who graduate in May, take a 5 week course and are teaching in your child’s class room by August. The most that a TFA stays is two maybe three years.

First Lie: Test scores improved. Well they were improving before she came and she is still using the same school curriculum from her predecessor. Who by the way was picked up by the other young dashing black man…..Cory Booker.

Source: (then click on “District of Columbia”)

4th grade Math
1996 – 187
2000 – 192
2003 – 205
2005 – 211
2007 – 214
2009 – 219

8th grade Math
1996 – 233
2000 – 235
2003 – 243
2005 – 245
2007 – 248
2009 – 254

4th grade Reading
1998 – 179
2002 – 191

*Note Rhee joined in 2007 and scores dropped in 2010 and the achievement gap has widen during her tenure.

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterthelildiva4u

Second Lie: Fenty at least took on the Public School issue. In fact when the former Mayor Williams sought the council’s approval (which by the way Fenty was on) to take Mayoral control of the school system in 2006, Fenty voted no.

More History on Michelle Rhee. Rhee was recommended by Joel I. Klein, chancellor in NYC. Please take a look at his results with NYC schools test results they aren’t stellar either. In fact he's been accused of dummying down the test and only 25% of black males graduate from HS in NYC.

OK.. Bloomberg is Fenty's mentor. So too all the New Yorkers I would love to hear your thoughts on Bloomberg? Also Michelle covered for her Fiancé Kevin Johnson who is the Mayor of Sacramento. Kevin had been accused of sexual misconduct with several young women.

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterthelildiva4u

Lie three: I’m in it for the kids: Rhee has stated numerous times that she doesn't want to play politics, but she’s done exactly the opposite. She now stated that if Fenty loses then she won’t work under the Gray administration. So she has tried to make the Mayor’s race about her again. This isn’t the first time. She went to a statement to the national business magazine Fast Company that some of the teachers laid off in October's budget cuts "had sex with children," hit them or were chronically absent without authorization. Well, it turns out that only one teacher out of the 266 who were laid off had been accused of having sex with a student.

Rhee as also stated that she didn't want to touch those schools that have been successful in the past.
Well she has torn down a program that has worked and been successful in the past. Schools like Hardy Middle school in Georgetown, Banneker, and McKinney Technology. These schools had proven principles who loved their student removed under Rhee. Schools that not only did well but had involved African-American parents. These parent’s cries of fowl where dismissed by Rhee.

In fact she tried to move Duke Ellington (think of the movie Fame) out of Georgetown. The issue was that some Georgetown parents (who don’t have kids in the systems) wanted the property so that they could link it to Georgetown school and send their kids there.

I’m not making this up…please read this link

One Washington Post blogger compared the Fame of Ms. Rhee to that of Joe Clark. At first I was puzzled but after reading the article I believe she was spot on. Rhee and Joe master the image of media, without substance.

So my point of these long posts is it isn’t about black women a looog list on why we take issue with Mr. Fenty. It goes beyond just Dorothy I. Height or Maya Angelou. There are real issues being played out here in the District of Columbia. What we are fighting for is our self-interest.

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterthelildiva4u

Why aren't women in DC pissed off at Fenty for smacking his wife around?
-The neighbors

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter18th Street
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