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Mayor Fenty Regrets He's Unable to Meet Today

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By Nikita Stewart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 3, 2009

Heavy-hitters Maya Angelou and Dorothy Height tried to weigh in on the eviction of the Recreation Wish List Committee from the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center this summer.

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But they couldn't get a meeting with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D).

The famous poet and the civil and women's rights icon are concerned about the city giving the boot to the organization headed by Cora Masters Barry, estranged wife of D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8).

Fenty canceled a Saturday meeting with them and another meeting Monday.

"The Mayor's scheduling office worked with Dr. Angelou's staff to identify a meeting date, but couldn't settle on a date that worked for everyone. The Mayor is eager to meet with Dr. Angelou on her next trip to the District," Mafara Hobson, the mayor's spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5), who oversees the Libraries, Parks and Recreation Committee, said the mayor's office is underestimating the national reach that Cora Barry established for the tennis center.

"You need to look at programs in a broad way before you disrupt them," he said.

Thomas said he will hold an oversight hearing on the eviction when the council returns from recess this month.

The eviction stems from the revocation of the Recreation Wish List Committee's corporate registration. Although the group is apparently clearing up the discrepancy, the city is still scheduled to evict it.

Fenty Again Vetoes Funds For State School Board

For the second time in two months, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has vetoed a $950,000 provision in the 2010 budget that would allow the D.C. State Board of Education more autonomy.

The board's nine members are elected but have no authority over day-to-day school operations. That power rests solely with Fenty (D) and Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee under the 2007 law that dissolved the old D.C. Board of Education. The new board is exclusively beholden to Fenty and his appointee, State Superintendent of Education Kerri L. Briggs, for its budget and staff. It sets policies that affect public and charter schools in areas such as learning standards, truancy rules, teacher licensing, early childhood education and graduation requirements.

But even that is apparently too intrusive for Fenty, whose original proposed budget cut the board's $1 million budget by more than half. D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) restored the cut and then added extra money for the board to hire a couple of staff members to make its own spending decisions and do community outreach.

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