The Strange Case of Adrian Fenty

By Matthew Yglesias

Colbert King has an informative column about the political woes of DC Mayor Adrian Fenty who seems to be in real danger of losing his re-election bid. To me the bottom line is this:

Still, it’s ironic that Fenty is viewed so harshly among blacks. He can point to improvements, and not just in the lives of gentrifiers. School performance has improved, crime is down, and public health and municipal services are better since Fenty’s election.

Fenty’s not a God or anything, and Fenty-era improvements (like the Williams-era improvements before them) are largely improvements from a very low base. But still give the man some credit! What’s a mayor supposed to do if not preside over population growth, rising test scores, falling crime rates, and improved municipal services? As Gray outlines, Fenty’s personality and style and that of several of his key appointees have pissed various people off and DC Council Chairman Vincent Gray is capitalizing on the idea that maybe we need a kinder, gentler approach to civic reform. But do we? If something’s broken, but it’s in the process of getting fixed, why fire the fixers in favor of nicer people?