In the midst of the 2010 election season, Mayor Fenty finally gives up the ghost of arrogance and steps down from D.C.’s epic political sideshow—Ticketgate “07”, “08” and “09”! As the creator and leading man of a drama that most constituents and even onlookers despised, Mayor Fenty suspended Ticketgate on March 11, 2010 by forfeiting 19 of the 86 Nationals baseball tickets to their legitimate owners—D.C. City Council.
Just as Fenty premiered Ticketgate in 2007 for no rhyme or reason, he ended the saga in the same fashion. This vacuous, one sentence blurb was sent to the Council via his understudy, aka, Neil Albert, City Administrator:
“Pursuant to our practice of the last three years, enclosed are tickets and parking passes to Suite 61 of the Nationals Park for the 2010 baseball season.”
Is the City Administrator serious? Pursuant to our practices of the last three years . . .!! Did Webster change the definition of “pursuant to” and, was Fenty’s understudy the only one who received the notice? No, according to thefreedictionary.com, “pursuant to” still means: “according to, consistent with or in accord with.”
For the 2010 to be “pursuant to practices of the last three years” there would have been a repeat of the following senseless episodes:
2007 Ticketgate Season: Shortly after being elected Mayor, Fenty flipped the script on his former colleagues and refused to share with the City Council a luxury suite at the Verizon Center that the late Abe Pollin gave the District to help promote economic development. According the Mark Seagraves, WTOP Radio , Fenty maintains the suite is the sole domain of the executive. Seagraves also noted that, most of those invited to D.C.’s Luxury Suite at the Verizon Center by Fenty, either contributed the maximum $2,000 to Fenty’s campaign or worked on the campaign.
2008 Ticketgate Season: Fenty seized the Council’s allotment of Nationals baseball tickets and only rationed-off some to council members who weren’t on his blackball list. And, according to a statement from Chairman Vincent Gray in The Washington Post, the mayor’s office would send tickets to selected council members, hours before each game, leaving no time to give tickets to constituents, a common practice of many council members. In a testament to democracy, the Council refused to participate in an autocratic style of government and returned the tickets to Fenty. Gray declared, there will be no leaving out of members, everyone will be treated equally.
2009 Ticketgate Season: Yes, Fenty did it again! He kept all 86 baseball tickets to the Nationals’ games, including two sky suites. Gray told The Washington Post, “it’s déjà vu, we were assured this fiasco would not happen again, and here we are with no tickets.”
Although the mayor wasn’t agreeable to sharing with the Council, he freely handed-out the District’s baseball tickets to his deep-pocket donors. Mark Seagraves, of WTOP noted, Fenty has given thousands of dollars worth of baseball tickets to campaign contributors, longtime friends, several of his running partners, as well as a few members of Congress, according to records provided by the mayor’s office.
After weeks of negative publicity, public outrage and tiffs with the media, the Attorney General had to intervene and Fenty ultimately gave the Council 19 of the 86 tickets. Fenty kept the remaining 67 tickets.
As for now, Fenty has placed Ticketgate on hiatus due to the 2010 election season. In a few months, District residents will cast their vote for mayor, and if the electorate base their decision “pursuant to” Fenty’s Ticketgate drama, his chances of getting their support might be slim to none.
With poll numbers down and a dismal approval rating amongst majority of the residents, one ponders the same question Council member Mary Cheh recently posed to The Washington Post, “the price he paid for those actions surely could not have been worth it?”