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Greg's Email to Skinner

Beth's Testimonial

Columbia Heights Resident's Statement

Witness Statement

Janet Lugo-Tafur's Statement

Joe Englert's Statement

Beth's Testimonial

A Brief Statement from the Taylor:

I would like to make it clear that I had spoken to Beth at her home where she personally told me the same story listed below. I also met with another one of Beth's neighbors for upwards of three hours and he confirmed having the same experiences with Sinclair. Both Beth and her neighbor I found to be very sincere and credible. To see the DC North Articles Beth refers to Click Here to read the first DC North article and read the article on the third page titled "The Wall Dividing Neighbors on Fairmont." Then Click Here to see the second DC North article, read the section on the second page titled "UPDATE: ART LOST ON FAIRMONT STREET". Now on to Beth's Testimonial.


I write this because I have some real concerns about Adrian Fenty based on his response to my inquiries about Sinclair Skinner.

Mr. Skinner is my neighbor. I have been handed both copies of The Georgia Avenue Defender (see copies on this website) at my door. I was handed the second by a boy who couldn’t have been more than 12. Mr. Skinner was instrumental in creating a divisive air on my street. He urged a small group of Howard University students to paint a mural on some Howard University owned property and then manipulated the matter in the press (see first DC North article) and at a block meeting to make it seem like a racial issue.

When I learned that Mr. Skinner was actually working for Mr. Fenty, I contacted the campaign office. I wanted to understand why Mr. Fenty had such a divisive individual on his campaign staff when he spoke of his intent to unify the city. My first email was ignored. I sent another copy and got a rapid response from Fenty’s campaign manager. He assured me that this was an important issue, that Mr. Fenty was serious about unifying the people of this city and that they’d get back to me shortly with answers to my concerns. I waited for about two months. I did not hear back. When I voiced my concerns about Fenty’s lack of follow-through on a community listserv, I was again approached by the Fenty campaign, this time Mr. Fenty called me himself.

During our phone conversation, Mr. Fenty assured me that if I had legitimate proof that Sinclair was racially divisive, he would not only fire him from his campaign, he would no longer associate with him. Would I meet with him and Sinclair to show what I meant by “racist?” he wondered. I agreed.

I brought only the second issue of the Georgia Avenue Defender with me as I was told that Mr. Fenty had the first. I showed him Sinclair’s name on the masthead and the Gramzilla cartoon on the back. Sinclair said that he had funded the newsletter but that he hadn’t known what was inside. I showed him the story in DC North, the one that ends with Sinclair saying, “How poetic, they painted it white.” He said that the press had twisted his words. I began describing a block meeting at which the Howard University students Sinclair brought with him told my neighbors, “They have Georgetown and Dupont Circle, why do they need to come here?” Sinclair said, I can’t take responsibility for what someone else said.

While he didn’t say these things himself, I think it is clear that the intent of bringing the students (who had out of state tags on their cars and didn’t live or work on my block), and Haile Gerima and his wife, members of The Lower Georgia Avenue Business Association whose rhetorical style at this meeting was particularly hateful, was to divide the neighborhood down racial lines.

I would like to add that before the meeting, I had supported Sinclair’s mural idea because he said that he had gotten permission from Howard and that he wanted to help the community and create something beautiful.
During the meeting, though, it became clear that this was not his only motivation because all of his guests were so vocal in describing their feelings about non-Blacks living in the community. At one point, Mrs. Gerima implied with a dismissive wave of her hand that my children did not deserve the same education as other children in my community because of the color of their skin.

I wrote a letter to Howard to ask if they had given permission for the project. In return, I received a copy of a letter sent to Mr. Skinner asking him to remove the mural and explaining that “...in much the same way as you would object to the University altering your property in any way without your permission, it is equally unacceptable for you and other residents to do the same with University property.”

I thought these “pieces of evidence,” both in print and anecdotal, represented compelling “proof” that, at least publicly, Sinclair was racially divisive. Mr. Fenty disagreed. It seemed that Sinclair’s denial of participation and promise “not to do it anymore” was good enough for him and that he expected it should be good enough for me too.

In fact, I heard recently that Mr. Fenty thought our meeting had left me a satisfied supporter. I don’t think the satisfaction I received was what he had in mind, though.

When all of the candidates had thrown their hats into the ring, I was excited by the prospect of Adrian Fenty being our next mayor. He’s young, he’s a parent, his parents own a small business, he’s locally raised, he’s health conscience and he’s biracial. I thought, “His concerns are similar to mine.”

I take my one vote seriously and I went to meet with Mr. Fenty to help make my decision clearer. Our meeting led me to see that, while our concerns may be similar, Fenty does not have the maturity to run our city. He asked me to show him proof that Sinclair is racially divisive and then turned his back on solid evidence indicating Sinclair’s feelings about race relations in this city. Then, with no follow-through, he assumed the problem had been taken care of. These are not the actions I’m looking for in a mayor.

My meeting with Mr. Fenty served exactly the purpose I had hoped it would. I have made up my mind who to vote for for mayor. Unless something major changes, it won’t be Adrian Fenty.