- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Empower DC continued its campaign to stop the sale of public property to private interests by the Fenty administration. A rally was held Thursday in Freedom Plaza, which is across the street from the offices of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and the D.C. Council. Demonstrators said they mixed music and protest as a rallying cry for city officials to hear.

“We are here to deliver a message to the mayor to stop giving away public property to private developers,” said Linda Leaks, co-director of Empower DC. “The city needs to use those properties for the benefit of the residents. We need housing. More and more, low-income people are becoming homeless. We can use old schools and any other properties for housing.”

Mr. Fenty said, “They have a right to their opinion.”

The spirited crowd cheered as speakers linked the mayor’s sale of public property, particularly vacant school buildings, to developers who have made contributions to his political campaigns.

“Members of the People’s Property Campaign, are outraged by the conduct of the Fenty administration,” said Kimberly Johnson, a member of Empower DC. “He continues to give away our valuable public assets, often at well below market value to developers who contribute to his campaign.”

Braving the light rain, the protesters also cheered as speaker after speaker called for Mr. Fenty’s defeat in the 2010 mayoral race.

“Mayor Fenty, I hope that you are listening because of your attacks upon working families you are about to be run out of office,” said Roger Newell, chairman of DC Jobs With Justice. “A $2 million war chest is nothing against the will of the people.”

• Joseph Young is a freelance writer and photographer living in the District.

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