Adrian Fenty, the youngest mayor to ever hold the office of mayor in Washington D.C. (winning at age 35) is facing an uphill battle to win the primaries this election season. Because the city is heavily liberal, whoever wins the primaries for the Democratic ticket will most likely when the race in the end.
This young, go-getter won his first election by knocking on doors and talking to the citizens of the city. He promised to overhaul the school systems and reduce crime with new police methods. In large part, he’s done these things. So why is he so disliked by citizens of the District of Columbia?
The main reason is many citizens don’t feel like he’s among the people enough. Many times he misses community forums and other public appearances. Many of the citizens, as well, don’t like how the overhaul of schools was dealt with. Fenty hired Michelle Rhee to be his schools chancellor. Her belief is to act and she feels that collaboration is overrated. She has gone through the school firing many teachers who have proved to be inadequate. Some citizens have hailed the efforts that have resulted in rising test scores and improved enrollment for the school districts in the city, but others feel Rhee is arrogant. They believe that these improvements are largely due to programs that were already in the works before she began her overhaul.
In addition to this, something else has added to his tarnished reputation; there is a belief that Fenty gave construction contracts to his friends that was inappropriate. That matter is currently being investigated, but Fenty claims that he had nothing to do with it. We’ll have to wait and see what the results of the investigation turn up.
Fenty is up against Vincent C. Gray, who is the City Council chairman. He currently has the lead (according to poles from August). Gray is a former head of district for social services. Fenty believes that part of the problems of the city are rooted in Gray not managing the human services in the city well in the 1990s.