Last year it was too much snow, this time it’s too little. After predictions of a big storm led to delays and cancellations of air, rail, and bus service in and out of D.C., the area ended up with just a light post-Christmas snowfall, escaping the big storm that hit much of the East Coast. But while stranded travelers are grumbling, the fizzling out of the storm at least spared Mayor Adrian Fenty a final crisis as he heads into his last week in office.
Assessing Fenty’s term, the sympathetic Washington Post says Fenty, in just four years, “completed massive construction and renovation projects,” and in some areas “outperformed his predecessors, including two-term mayor Anthony A. Williams, whom many credit with pulling the District back from the brink of financial collapse. Fenty is credited with driving the transformation of several neighborhoods, securing mayoral control of schools and ousting perceived critics of reform.”
But the Post says critics charged Fenty with “ruthless hypocrisy,” “misguided loyalty,” and “imperious leadership.” Fenty “declined to give an interview to discuss his legacy.”
Washington Examiner columnist Jonetta Rose Barras says Fenty’s been too busy to reflect, announcing new designs and construction projects, opening a new Department of Employment Services facility, and taking on “negligent nonprofit group home managers.” Barras says “anyone who has watched him throughout his tenure hasn’t been surprised he’s pushed to the end, continuing his duties with vigor and verve.”
Barras says Fenty has “outpaced other D.C. mayors: homicides at historic low, closures up; more homeless persons in permanent housing; more improved neighborhood facilities; an increase in D.C. Public Schools population and improved student tests scores.”
Fenty recently told Barras, “You can criticize me on many things. But you can’t criticize me on results.”
Elsewhere in the DMV:
* It’s a big, um, deal: The Examiner reports Montgomery County Chief Administrative Officer Timothy Firestine and Fairfax County Executive Anthony Griffin each earn more than Vice President Joe Biden, and in fact, “dozens of local officials earn better wages than the nation’s marquee power players under compensation packages that soar past those for comparable positions.”
* The Post reports ex-Sen. George Allen is facing unexpected conservative resistance as he prepares a bid to take back the Virginia seat he lost to Democrat Jim Webb in 2006. Right now, “no fewer than four Republicans billing themselves as more conservative than Allen were considering challenging him” for the Republican nomination. The critics say that while Allen was an admirably conservative governor, in the Senate he was “too moderate” and became “part of the establishment.”
* Virginia Statehouse News says that while critics of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli accuse him of using his post for “new levels of activism,” Cuccinelli “says he’s just doing his job.” Cuccinelli, a possible 2013 gubernatorial candidate, conceded, “The attorney general’s position is somewhat awkward in the political sphere.” But he says an AG has to support state laws “even when you don’t like the law.”
* The Examiner reports Virginia will take up several high-profile bills dealing with illegal immigration in 2011 as the state heads into legislative election season. One bill “would bar illegal immigrants from attending Virginia’s public colleges and universities,” while another would require local social service agencies “to verify the legal status of those applying for public assistance” and let the governor withhold state funds from those in violation. And of course, there’s a measure that would duplicate Arizona’s controversial new immigration law in Virginia.
* The Gazette reports some Maryland state lawmakers want to extend the state’s “millionaires’ tax,” currently set to expire at the end of 2010 -- perhaps permanently. The tax raised the income tax rate on those earning more than $1 million per year to 6.25 percent, up from the 5.5 percent rate it will return to next week.
* Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar says conservative Alex Mooney, elected to lead “Maryland’s sad-sack Republican Party” in the wake of “disillusionment with the Ehrlich cult of personality that dominated the state GOP for over a decade,” will not be able to return the GOP to a position of influence in the increasingly Democratic state.
* Washington Times columnist Deborah Simmons says the leadership of the Washington Redskins and incoming District mayor Vincent Gray should work out a plan to bring the team back to D.C. proper. Simmons says Gray, D.C. Councilmember Michael Brown, and Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen “were spotted at the legendary Morton’s steakhouse on Thursday evening,” suggesting something may be in the works.
* DCist reports “57 percent of Washingtonians, 49 percent of Virginians, and 37 percent of Marylanders have Internet speeds below the federal standard,” according to a Communications Workers of America study. The federal standard is actually quite high, so Maryland ranks fourth-fastest in the nation in Internet speeds -- while D.C. ranks 42nd. The nation’s fastest? Delaware.
* The Arlington housing blog Under One Roof says the county’s affordable housing system is saving about 6,000 residents and families “money and time” and is benefiting everyone “by getting cars off the roads, thereby reducing congestion and pollution.” The program could expand, as ARLnow reports a federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit that would block a Clarendon affordable housing deal.
* In an editorial, the Post says Fenty and predecessor Williams deserve some of the credit for “the District’s first population increase in two generations.”
* Congress Heights on the Rise is gathering holiday photos from east of the Anacostia.
* D.C. Blogs has added several new local bloggers to its feed.
Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC