Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Getting around to the main point about unethical behavior in government

The report earlier in the week by Robert Trout, his investigation of alleged wrong doing by the Fenty Admistration, was touted in the local press as finding that Mayor Fenty didn't have direct involvement in the goings on. See "Report clears Fenty of contract steering charges, raises concerns about allies."

Just because you can't find direct orders doesn't mean people didn't know how to interpret the Mayor's desires and act accordingly.

Eventually, on Saturday, the Post got around to running an article about the findings of substance in the report, "Fenty ally charged $540k in markups, probe finds," that the Fenty friend's company marked up work up to as much as 400% and provided little value to the contracts, merely serving as an intermediary.

Somehow this kind of behavior was moving the city forward, at least according to the Post, because it was Mayor Fenty pushing it, rather than someone else.

Taking this coverage to further levels of incredulity, the Post ran a laughable op-ed in the Sunday paper, "Why Mayor Gray Should Resign," by Sinclair Skinner, the race baiter and recipient of the aforementioned contracts, about how Mayor Gray and Council Chairman Brown are so bad and so corrupt that they should resign.


They all suck. But Skinner is hardly qualified to lecture Washingtonians or elected officials in ethical behavior and good government.

Basically this op-ed is the rough equivalent of an op-ed piece by Bernie Madoff exonerating his behavior because of economic failures elsewhere, ignoring his own complicity and unethical, illegal, or corrupt behavior.

Again, I wrote in January 2010 about the real issue being the system of, if not corruption, unethical behavior, that runs rampant through the city's politics, and the reality that people like Fenty, Brown, and Gray are all part of the same system, and have the same standards of behavior and the same kinds of expectations of what government is supposed to do, if not for them (Council Chairman Brown's Lincoln Navigator), their friends and family (the various people that Vincent Gray has hired at high salaries, the various friends and acquaintances of Adrian Fenty who got city contracts or appointments to city boards and commissions and subsequent participation in business groupings with government business).

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