A snapshot of primary day in the District

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 15, 2010; B08

Among the scrum of photographers outside Precinct 113 in Ward 7 on Tuesday was Lateef Mangum, official photographer to former D.C. mayor Anthony A. Williams (D). Mangum captured Williams often behind a lectern but also in private moments, including on Sept. 11, 2001, just after Williams was told a jet had flown into the World Trade Center.

Mangum still had a job when Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) arrived. But the photographer did not last long after the mayor asked to have a photo of himself and President Obama blown up to poster size for Inauguration Day. When Mangum told the new mayor that the digital photo was not of sufficient quality to be enlarged to that size, the mayor got snippy, Mangum recalled.

"He said: 'Don't tell me what I can't do. I'll do it myself,' " Mangum said. A highly pixelated version soon appeared at Ben's Chili Bowl, and the photographer was on his own.

"Today, I'm working for myself. Tomorrow, who knows?" he said with a smile, his unspoken hope being a chance to document a new administration. As he finished shooting mayoral candidate and D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) at the polls, Mangum said he was going to Fenty's precinct to grab photos of the mayor voting.

But before he went, the photographer said, he planned on changing into a Gray T-shirt.

-- Annys Shin

* * *

Being a Fenty supporter in Ward 7 is a bit like being a Dallas Cowboys fan in the land of burgundy and gold.

"I'm a lone ranger," said Rashele Maclin, 33, of River Terrace.

She said she supported the mayor because she has noticed improvements in safety and in amenities such as a new library. She said she has seen a "tremendous difference" at her alma mater Spingarn High School, which her son now attends.

"Gray hasn't said what changes he will make because there aren't any," she said.

(She is less contrarian when it comes to football. She was wearing a Redskins jersey.)

Many Gray supporters around her credited Fenty for improving their quality of life but nonetheless found his governing style off-putting.

Gray "was a good person to talk to," said Linda Chambers, 63, of River Terrace, who said she met him at a recent neighborhood cookout.

Chambers said she has not seen Fenty in her neighborhood since he ran in 2006.

Ramone Brandon arrived at St. Francis Xavier Church on Pennsylvania Ave SE chanting "Fenty Got to Go!" His litany of grievances included the mayor's giving contracts to friends and his refusal to meet with certain community groups.

River Terrace resident Lania Coleman, 32, cited what she called Fenty's "refusal to be transparent."

The single mother said River Terrace Elementary used to be so bad that she pulled her now 8- and 10-year old children out and enrolled them at charter schools.

"The schools are revitalized. I've noticed a big change, but [Fenty's] arrogance is why I voted for Gray."

-- Annys Shin

* * *

Micheal White, 18, waited more than half an hour to place his first vote "to get the experience," he said, as he kept his 6-year-old brother, Amani Hart, occupied.

White was waiting in Precinct 81's special ballot line because he wasn't in the main registry.

He said he watched the news and had discussions about the race with his family. He also was "looking out" for his friends, who didn't fare so well with the summer jobs program.

As the brothers left Myrtilla Miner Elementary School, a Gray volunteer thanked them for voting.

"We didn't vote," Amani said angrily, while holding his big brother's hand.

Because White was registered without a party affiliation, he couldn't vote, but he said he wasn't as disappointed as he thought he would be. Others who invested the time and effort to engage, only to be turned away, however, were visibly frustrated.

"I stood in line for almost an hour, and then they tell me I can't vote?" Brenda Butler, 48, said outside of the Miner school's gym. She discovered that she was registered without a party affiliation. "Now I'm late for work," she said.

-- Christy Goodman

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