- Mayor Fenty talking to a group of seniors at Ingleside Apartments in Ward 4 (Photo: TBD Staff)
Adrian Fenty appeared to win over a gathering of seniors Friday, describing in an energetic speech and question-and-answer session what he considers the accomplishments of his term as mayor of the District.
Fenty, who's been struggling in recent polls against Council Chairman Vincent Gray leading up to the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, talked about education, public safety, and the resistance he's encountered trying to reform the D.C. bureaucracy, particularly from the city's employee unions, among other issues.
He portrayed himself as someone willing to take quick action when he encounters problems, citing his move to dismiss government social workers after four girls were found dead of apparent child abuse in 2007, an action he acknowledged triggered push back from the personnel in question. (Three workers appealed their firings and an arbitrator ruled in their favor, though the city has yet to re-hire them.)
Fenty also highlighted the work of Police Chief Cathy Lanier. Murmured words of praise could be heard throughout the room, and there were audible gasps when he said that the police union has called for her to be fired. "No!", one woman said, seemingly horrified.
The mayor spoke from a lectern set up in the front of a large ground-floor meeting room inside the upscale Ingleside at Rock Creek complex, along Military Road in Ward 4. Most seats were taken, and a few people listened from the hallway outside.
Judging from comments offered after Fenty spoke, this audience liked what it heard.
"You look awfully good," said a man in a seersucker jacket as he and others filed into an adjoining room for a wine-and-cheese reception.
"I can't imagine someone who's seen you and heard you not voting for you," another man said.
"You're getting such bad press," a woman admirer lamented.
"I know. We'll overcome," the mayor replied.
During and after the mayor's presentation, Fenty volunteers with clipboards and rolls of big green stickers gathered names. Fenty, who encouraged the Democrats in the room to take advantage of the city's new early voting system, even arranged for a campaign van to ferry people to a nearby polling place on Saturday.
"Let's say 3 o'clock," he offered.