Housing Complex

Barry on Gage-Eckington Park: “I Have the Responsibility to Protect the Taxpayers’ Money”

One more hangup.

One more hangup.

LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale erupted in indignation this afternoon over the news that Councilmember Marion Barry had introduced a disapproval resolution for the planned Gage-Eckington Park at the site of a former school on V Street. Typically, these contracts are submitted to the council for approval, but don't have to be actively voted upon–they'll automatically pass through unless a Councilmember objects within a specific time frame. Barry filed his resolution on Wednesday, the last day he could (along with a protest of DDOT's planned move to 55 M Street SE). Now, both of them could be delayed until the Council resumes its session in September.

Local leaders suspect that Barry might be trying to use the park as leverage for his priorities with other councilmembers. But on a phone call with Housing Complex this evening, Barry claimed it was all about standing on principle, and had no plans to withdraw the resolution.

"The Gage-Eckington contract was one of those not authorized by the council, not voted on," he said. "The mayor in his shenanigans sent it over the council, and I have the responsibility to protect the taxpayers' money...There's no money available, and there's no authority to do this."

Not sure if Barry was around back in March when the Council explicitly approved the Mayor's reprogramming of funding for the park, which Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas had momentarily held up on procedural grounds. It's been a long road for this particular park–which also fell victim last year to the reorganization of contracts improperly awarded to Banneker Ventures–and the scheduled completion date has already been pushed back to November.

I asked Barry what he would say to the many people who had fought for years to make the park a reality.

"They should be angry at Mayor Fenty and Jim Graham for this delusional thing they're doing," he answered, adding that the mayor should have put the item in his 2011 budget. "If they're angry, be angry at mayor Adrian Fenty, and all his corrupt practices."

Councilmember Jim Graham, for his part, is ticked off too. "I am really upset with him, and I am doing all I can," Graham wrote in an e-mail to Housing Complex this evening. "His recent pattern is to make a fuss then back off. I hope that happens here."

Most recently, Barry did this alongside Councilmember Yvette Alexander in holding up the massive transfer of Hill East to District control, which would have been accomplished in part by temporarily shifting funds away from improvements to Kenilworth Park in Ward 7. The pair lifted their holds at the June 29th legislative meeting, but not before a good long time decrying the mayor's arrogance and corruption.

  • Truth Hurts

    Barry claiming to be the protector of tax-payer money is precious. If only he were a tax-payer. Long ago he did some good things for the city, but his chief priority these days is Marion Barry. I once defended Barry, yet now I despise everything about him. He's a disgrace.

  • Chris

    Wait... what?! the guy who funneled contracts to his girlfriend and took kickbacks is suddenly concerned about protecting the taxpayer's money?! uhhh...

  • Rick Mangus

    Mo (Crackatowa) Barry, "I Have the Responsibility to Protect the Taxpayers' Money", how stupid does he think we are!, even thou some morons keep voting him back in!

  • Do you know the truth when you see it?

    Barry has every right to do what he is doing. I hope he does not back down. Whatever he has done in the past is in the past. I would love to see the park. But, if corrupt Mayor Fenty really cares about it and not about his popularity, he would have done the right thing in the beginning. So what if it gets pushed back to 2012? You still have to clean up your dog's poop.

  • Mah-bah!

    When that sonofabitch dies, what will we ever do for laughs?

  • bloomingdale resident

    Barry represents all what is wrong with DC and politics. DC will be a better place when there is no more room for people like him. All those losers who support him must be high on crack too. There is no other way to explain how he is still around as a council member.

  • Marie Jackson

    When Barry dies who will you self-righteous fools have to hate.

    Get a life.

  • Rick Mangus

    'Marie Jackson', how about stupid morons like you!

  • LOL

    Really. It amazes me how people still defend Barry. He may have done some wonderful things in the past. Now people are simply enabling him with his actions. He was not concerned about our money when he was using it to woo that married woman he put out in Denver.

  • http://mumfordjennifer@yahoo.com Ward 2 Resident

    May the strength of Barry live in all of us. The Metro area should always be appreciative of his strength of understanding that we should live as equals. His thought process that African Americans too can maintain, obtain jobs effectively will always making him a legend.

    Look at Healthcare Finance (MAA) and see how many employees currently under Fenty are not qualified for their positions.

  • Chris

    The strength of Barry? The strength to, what, not pay taxes? To funnel city funds into kickbacks through his girlfriend? I'm sorry, this is not a man that anyone should be looking to as a role model.

    I really hope I get to see him go to prison before I get the hell out of DC.

  • Rick Mangus

    Mo(Crackatowa)Barry has perfected the art of the shakedown! As mayor he employed some of the dumbest bastards to walk on the face of the earth with no prior skills especially in basic english, not to mention zero people skills! Crackatowa Barry also put people on the police dept. with prior felony convictions and the FBI arrested 27 of them at the police academy who had outstanding warrants!

  • v deborah

    He is protecting the taxpayers money???
    How much was spent by the taxpayer to pay the city legal process when he was caught smoking crack, and pay his legal bills when he couldn't pay his and they had to represent him, and pay to investigate his girlfriend's contracts, and HIS cronyism which is still part of the city records????
    HOW dare he say he is defending the DC Taxpayer??

  • Really?

    It amazes me how people still defend Barry (insert Fenty). He may have done some wonderful things in the past (insert parks only). Now people are simply enabling him with his actions.

  • Cocaine is a powerful drug

    Marion Barry is a self-serving whack job. While he's professing to protect the tax payers, he's hitting on their teen-aged daughters...this is fact not fiction as he not once but twice attempted to pick me up (once at the age of 15 and again at the age of 21) undoubtedly smoked up on something. People don't change and Marion Barry is no exception. His behavior speaks volumes about his character, his priorities and his ability to be apart of DC's city leadership. I am amazed by the loyalty people continue to show this man. I lost respect from him a long time ago, I'm sure you will too; have a chat with your daughters and wake up! If there was ever any good in him, he's not the man he used to be.

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