courtesy of ‘bhrome’
It’s a controversy you’d expect out in the ‘burbs, rival politicians bickering over the placement of a fence. However, as of now, it’s proving to be a hot button issue in this year’s mayoral campaign. The Washington Post ran nearly 1,300 words yesterday about Council chair and mayoral candidate Vincent Gray (D)’s metal fence.
DC political junkies may remember this hubub, which broke last year and resulted in an Office of Campaign Finance investigation. OCS investigated the relationship between Gray and a contractor, WCS Construction, who also does business with the District. The investigation turned up no evidence of wrongdoing, but did result in the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs investigating if Gray had all of his construction permits in order. As it turns out, a contractor installing a fence along Gray’s lot had not obtained the proper permits. The fence’s location requires a public space permit, which is issued by the District’s Department of Transportation. Since the fence is taller than 3 1/2 feet, it must be approved by the Public Space Committee, which is chaired by Mayor Adrian Fenty.
The Public Space committee admits that this situation is confusing, and that many homeowners make mistakes when trying to obtain permits. While Gray technically violated licensing requirements, this whole dust-up says more about the state of the campaign than about Gray’s respect for public space and the rule of law. If Fenty’s operation is relying on a fence, a fence, as their way to hit Gray, the Green Machine may face trouble this summer. It would certainly be surprising if the Public Space Committee fails to approve the fence, putting this bit of nonsense to bed.