What Adrian Fenty and Michelle Rhee did right

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Regarding Courtland Milloy's Sept. 16 Metro column, "Ding- dong, Fenty's gone. The wicked mayor is gone.":

Well, so much for "One City."

I am a native-born Washingtonian. I am a parent of a child in a D.C. public school. I frankly don't care about the mayor's arrogance, because the city improved under his leadership. Crime is down, schools are improving. The quality of life in my neighborhood is better. Apparently my interest in results over attitude places me in the same group as the other 44 percent of registered Democrats who voted for the incumbent: "Myopic little twits."

Mr. Milloy's suggestion that those of us who voted for Adrian M. Fenty (D) are interested in a return to "a more sophisticated version of the plantation-style, federally appointed three-member commission that ruled the city for more than a century until 1967" is offensive and wrong. Which of the more than 54,000 voters who chose Mr. Fenty did Mr. Milloy interview? Which of those whom he interviewed indicated that the problems facing the District were due to representative government and that the best solution would be to return to federal oversight?

Did Mr. Milloy really suggest that 44 percent of the voters wanted a "plantation-style" government? My ballot had a choice for mayor, D.C. Council and a few other offices on it. I somehow missed the race where we were to decide on reversion to federal control and surrender of home rule.

One hopes that before he pens his next column, Mr. Milloy will tone down the hate and interview people with whom he disagrees to see if they actually hold the views he ascribes to them. If he chooses to continue to write his columns in his bubble of ignorance, I hope that he will at least reflect on whether he is helping to form "One City," to use D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray's phrase.

Daniel Kolker, Washington

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Courtland Milloy argued in his column that Mayor Fenty and D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee ruled the city like the federally appointed commission that ran D.C. government before 1967. On the issue of schools, a more apt analogy would be the city's Financial Control Board, which in the mid-'90s had to make tough decisions after years of municipal dysfunction. Similarly, Ms. Rhee took over a system that had for decades deferred making necessary changes, and she had the courage and conviction to challenge the status quo.


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