The Georgetowner Hosts Final Mayoral Forum between Fenty and Gray

July 26, 2011


-Friday afternoon, September 10, at Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place on Washington Harbor, The Georgetowner hosted the last of the 2010 Mayoral forums between Adrian Fenty and Vincent Gray. Drawing quite a crowd, the debate dealt with subjects as expansive as the state of small businesses and as focused as the improvement of Georgetown’s parking meters. The end result was a forum that provided greater insight into the positions of the more prominent candidates on the ballot and enough drama to keep the air of excitement billowing until voting day next Tuesday.

Unlikely candidate Leo Alexander opened fire, arguing that small businesses were being taxed out of the District due to costly rent. Gray echoed Alexander’s fears with a plea to voters: “Let’s not run customers out of the District to Virginia or Maryland.” Gray went on to add that his efforts lead to the personal property tax exemption rate being raised, eliminating the tax altogether for small businesses with a net worth under $225,000.

In spite of his opponents’ concerns and criticisms, Mayor Fenty remained optimistic, pointing to the 26-year success of his family’s own small business (he did not specify what type business his family runs). Noting his history of working with the Georgetown Business Improvement District, Fenty asserted “We are revitalizing Georgetown in a fantastic way.”

Another issue on Georgetown voters’ minds was Georgetown University’s student body encroaching into the community, as they have more frequently been taking up residence within the neighborhood. Alexander cited a lack of communication between the university and the neighborhood as the reason for all the worry. Fenty labeled the debate one of “acrimony.” However, it was Gray who offered a definitive plan to smooth over the “strange relationship,” promoting the establishment of a zoning commission that would handle the 10 to 15 year growth plans of city universities. Gray’s hope is to limit college housing expansions to campuses because a large number of students are transient.

The candidates were given the chance to tackle Georgetown’s parking problems as well. Alexander pointed out how expensive it was to have a good time in Georgetown, joking that in order to even park your car for dinner, “You need to have a roll of quarters with you.”

“Two rolls!” shouted an observer, to the amusement of the crowd.

“I stand corrected.”

Fenty’s plan to improve parking would involve more Circulator routes and further expansion of the upcoming trolley lines. Gray hopes to see smarter growth in the future, providing more housing where mass transit is located.

The forum came to a head when Fenty claimed he had recently been endorsed by former mayor, Anthony Williams. “He did not endorse you!” interjected a livid audience member. Fenty, in an attempt to brush off the situation and repeat his allegation, was interrupted again — “He did not endorse you!”

While the moderator eventually quieted the outraged woman, it was Gray who was able to shed light on the situation. The woman was none other than former Mayor Williams’ mother, defending her son’s neutrality throughout the campaign.

With the matter settled, the candidates went on to give their closing statements. Alexander pointed out the political ramifications of Fenty raising $5 million in campaign donations, Gray $2 million, and himself $35 thousand: “Think about the strings attached to that money,” he warned rather ominously.

Gray’s spoke to the state of the economy: “We have got to get people back to work again.”

Fenty challenged Gray’s reluctance to criticize mayoral decisions, until the political season, and defended Chancellor of DC Public Schools, Michelle Rhee, who Gray could replace if elected: “Michelle makes tough decisions that don’t always make the city happy, but for the right reasons. A mayor must make tough decisions, which [Gray] is not prepared to do.”

Sharp words to end a tense debate. Here at The Georgetowner, we consider that a success.

School Without Walls Awarded 2010 National Blue Ribbon

Last Thursday, School Without Walls, the D.C. magnet high school, was named a 2010 National Blue Ribbon School. This year only around 300 public and private schools nationwide were granted this distinction by the U.S. Department of Education.

Mayor Adrian Fenty, controversial Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, and Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan were among those present for the announcement of the award. With the award comes the recognition that Schools Without Walls has made great strides in enabling its students to achieve, especially disadvantaged students and those belonging to minorities.

Other schools that have earned the award within the last three years are Noyes and Murch, though Schools Without Walls is unique in its partnership with George Washington University. The relationship has enabled juniors and seniors in high school to take college-level courses and get acclimated to a university class environment. 20 such students are enrolled at George Washington currently, with DC Public Schools covering the costs.

Schools Without Walls also boasts a 100 percent acceptance rate of students into four-year universities. This is incredible when you consider that the school only reopened last fall, following renovations that provided the students with advanced I.T. resources and followed green standards. The school now ranks 112 among Newsweek’s top high schools in the country.

DC Water Continues Commitment to Chesapeake Bay

Recently, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) and United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) agreed to a new operating permit that will reduce the Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant’s nitrogen emissions to an all-time low. The move is part of an effort to improve the state of the Potomac River and subsequently the Chesapeake Bay.

DC Water was the first company to comply with the Chesapeake Bay Program’s aim of reducing 1985 emission levels by 40 percent and continues to underscore its dedication to healthier waterways.

By reducing nitrogen emissions, local water plants limit the growth of algae, which is responsible for reducing oxygen levels in the water. The new limit, 4.7 million pounds of nitrogen, is almost half last year’s limit and will require the $950 million nitrogen removal facility DC Water has constructed if it is to be met.

Additionally, the updated operating permit sets new phosphorous, bacteria, and trash controls.

Last week, the Washington Post hailed the Potomac River as being “cleaner now than it has been in decades.” Clearly, DC Water believes there’s still room for improvement.

Weekend Roundup, September 10

October 6, 2010


-ART BUS 9/11/10

D.C.’s fall art season kicks off this weekend with a free shuttle service linking three gallery hotbeds. The stops: Logan Circle (14th Street NW), U Street, and the H Street/Atlas District (Florida Avenue NE) feature some of the most fascinating collections you’ll encounter this quarter. The program is sponsored by the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities, which aims to allow D.C. residents access to variety of art shows this fall. Be sure to check out the Adamson Gallery, Project 4 Gallery, and G Fine Art among other aesthetic destinations — all of which are open from around 6:30 – 8:30. You’ll be well on your way to meeting your cultural quota for the fall!


For all you bluegrass fans, this Saturday’s Farmers’ Market, which runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., will feature the Parklawn Ramblers. Among the featured vendors are the Red Apron Butchery, known for their cured meats, Spring Valley Farm and Orchard, whose salads are as easy on the eyes as they are the stomach, and Spriggs Delight for your fill of fudge. Bike tune-ups are also available. The market is held in the Hardy Middle School parking lot, and as always dogs are welcome!


Starting Monday, September 13, the 14th Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project will be closing the left shoulder of the bridge. This means a new traffic pattern for would-be travelers, where all four lanes deviate right of the construction. The change will be implemented in stages over the weekend, with anyone taking Exit 10C from I-395N being advised to head left prior to the work zone. Make sure to approach the construction zone with caution. The change will be in effect for at least eight weeks.


In preparation for the opening of the newly renovated Georgetown Neighborhood Library, October 18, the Georgetown Interim Library plans to close September 25. Among the renovations made were improvements to lighting and the woodwork. There will also be new sections dedicated entirely to children and teens. Nevertheless, the reading terrace with a view of Book Hill Park is sure to be the biggest attraction. The West End Neighborhood Library is a nearby alternative in the meantime, and your old books can be returned or renewed there.

Weekend Roundup, September 24


-Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival: 9/24/10

Today marks the launch of the first-ever Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival, hosted by the International Wine & Food Festival. The event will run from 6pm to 8pm, in Woodrow Wilson Plaza, at the International Trade Center and Ronald Reagan Building. What makes the festival so unique is that each year a red fruit will be showcased — this year’s being the tomato. Area farmers, chefs, and home gardeners and cooks have come together to bring you tomato tastings with wine pairings. Best of all, the festival has teamed up with Seeds to Schools, a public drive that gathers and redistributes seeds to regional schools and community gardens seeking to promote life science and nutritional values. Common Good City Farm is an additional partner that serves as an urban farm and education center for the District’s low-income residents. For only $35, foodies can enjoy all the tomato-inspired non-profit food festival has to offer!

Prevent Cancer Foundation 5k: 9/25/10

$30 late registration is still available for the Prevent Cancer Foundation 5k (Children under 12 can participate for free.). Just head to the packet pick-up site, located at Georgetown Running Co., between 10am and 7pm today. You can also register via phone at 703-519-2103. Messages received before 5pm today will be returned. The 5k, itself, is set to take place this Saturday, from 8am to 11am, at West Potomac Park. Fitness expert Denise Austin is kicking off the event The Washington Post has labeled D.C.’s “5k best bet,” so you’re sure to have a good time while supporting a noble cause.

Smithsonian Media’s 6th Annual Museum Day: 9/25/10

This Saturday, Smithsonian Media is hosting its 6th Annual Museum Day. On this day, museums across the nation provide free admission to those wielding a Museum Day ticket. Among the D.C. museums getting in on the action are the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, National Geographic Museum, and the Newseum. To find more venues and print off your ticket, head to Tickets allow one household member and a guest entry but only into one museum, so choose wisely!

2010 National Book Festival: 9/25/10

The Library of Congress’s 2010 National Book Festival runs from 10am to 5:30pm this Saturday. President Barack and Michelle Obama will serve as the event’s honorary chairs. Additionally, the authors in attendance include Isabel Allende, Katherine Paterson, and Gordon S. Wood. The festival promises something for everyone, with its coterie of authors presenting on an array of genres and subjects. Best of all, it’s free and open to people of all ages. Come be a part of D.C.’s celebration of the joy of reading.

A Celebration of History: 9/25/10

A tribute exhibition to late artist James Beacon is being held at Gallerie Henlopen, this Saturday, at 4pm. Over the course of his career, Beacon has chronicled the history of slavery in his paintings. Now, the Silver Springs, MD art community wishes to pay homage to his significant effort. Marlen Bodden will also be present to sign copies of her novel “The Wedding Gift”. Fans of historical thrillers should be pleased.