- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: ‘I do’
- Grass-Whopper: Pan-fried cricket burgers go over big in New York City
- CDC sees measles spike and ‘failure to vaccinate’
Fenty, Gray talk unemployment
D.C. mayoral candidates looking to stay employed
Jobs. The one-syllable word remains a central theme in D.C. elections, where two Democrats, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, are vying to remain employed as the employment situation for other residents remains grim.
Last week, the agency set the rate at 9.8 percent - and it is an especially bad picture for residents who lack the skills and education to compete in a tough job market. In predominantly black Wards 7 and 8, for example, the jobless rates are 19 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
Some areas of the city are hurting more than others. According to the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, Ward 8 also had the highest unemployment rate in the city in 2009, and its average monthly jobless rate was 26.5 percent, compared to 2.9 percent for predominantly white Ward 3. Also, Wards 5, 7 and 8 had higher monthly average unemployment than the city as a whole in 2009. Those three wards also had the highest percentage-point increases in unemployment from 2008 to 2009, the institute said.
Mr. Gray hammers home those and other employment issues at every opportunity. In recent debates, Mr. Gray reminded voters that the Fenty administration failed to spend $4.6 million the council had appropriated for unemployed and underemployed adults during fiscal 2010, which ends Sept. 30.
The mayor did not dispute that, but he, his administrators and his supporters did offer explanations for the citys high unemployment numbers. For one, “the reality is, D.C. has always had higher unemployment rates than nationally,” the mayor said in a Sept. 1 debate.
As for the unspent local jobs funds, the Fenty administration focused instead on spending millions of federal dollars provided by President Obamas stimulus program.
Also, his supporters said, Mr. Fenty has indeed bolstered job prospects for unskilled residents. “He meets with the guys at nighttime,” said Fenty booster Ron Moten, co-founder of the anti-crime group Peaceoholics.
The mayor helped scores of ex-offenders and others who are unskilled get in job training and diploma-equivalency programs, Mr. Moten said.
“Adrian comes out in his 2x4,” he said, referring to Mr. Fentys convertible Mini Cooper.
At a live, televised debate Friday sponsored by WTTG-TV Channel 5, Mr. Gray vowed to reform the D.C. Department of Employment Services, aggressively enforce laws that mandate contractors hire D.C. residents and make sure community college, and vocational and adult-education programs are aligned for career-ladder jobs.
“He was chairman for four years, represented Ward 7 for four years and ran [the Department of Human Services] for four years,” Mr. Fenty said at the televised debate. “Our administration focuses on education. Education is the way to finally solve this [unemployment] problem in the long term.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...
- SIMMONS: Obama visits Southeast D.C. with minimum wage on his mind
- SIMMONS: Mayor Gray has only himself to outrun in campaign
- SIMMONS: Jack Kent Cooke's legacy continues to produce winners
- SIMMONS: Thanksgiving is about much more than gobble, gobble
- SIMMONS: Effects of raising D.C.'s minimum wage are murky
Latest Blog Entries
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- MILLER: Obamacare enrollees include 101 members of the House of Representatives
- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on 'outdated' agencies
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A politically conservative and morally liberal Hebrew alpha male hunts left-wing viper
This column will cover anything that has anything remotely to do with the game of baseball, from the game itself to mid-summer trades to offseason moves.
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
Political satirist and Christian apologist Bob Siegel discusses religion and politics.
White House pets gone wild!