Loose Lips

Marion Barry Considers His Options in Mayor’s Race

Marion Barry endorsed Vince Gray in the 2010 mayor's race, but Gray isn't guaranteed a repeat. Barry tells LL that he's judging each of the candidates based on how willing they are to commit to plans he calls the "Black Agenda" and the "Ward 8 Agenda."

Just how closely the candidates adhere to his agendas will remain a secret, though, because Barry won't reveal what's on his checklists to LL. Barry says he's pitching the agendas to "major" candidates—Gray, Tommy Wells, Muriel BowserJack Evans, and Vincent Orange.

Potential horse traders worried about Barry's health intervening in a deal should relax. Barry insists that recent health problems, including a blood clot in 2012, hospitalization in 2013, and more recent diabetes complications in his legs won't prevent him from working for a candidate. "I'm at the zenith of my popularity," Barry tells LL.

Not all nine of the Democratic mayoral hopefuls will get a lunch with Barry for a chance at his endorsement. Barry won't meet with the people he considers "fringe" candidates, a list that he says includes Busboys & Poets owner Andy Shallal and contractor Christian Carter.

Barry says Shallal tried to convince son Christopher Barry to get a sit-down with him during Barry's Ward 8 Christmas party at THEARC last month. Unfortunately for the restauranteur, Christopher Barry is "too smart" to get involved, according to his father. (A Shallal spokesman disputes Barry's story.)

"He doesn't consider himself a fringe candidate, but that's natural," Barry says.

At least Barry doesn't consider Shallal a fringe restaurateur. Barry says he's still trying to get Shallal to open a Busboys & Poets in his ward.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Natasha H

    What about Rita Lewis?

  • Marvin E. Adams

    It is time to tell it like it is!

    I am very much interested in seeing what the ask(s) is/are for the "Black Agenda" and the "Ward Eight Agenda." I obviously can't speak for anyone other than myself, but I find it pandering, at best, and insulting, at worst, that there needs to be separate "agendas."

    It appears that every Ward within the city, over the last 20 years, have experienced significant growth, in some manner, except for those east of the river. Why is that the case? Ask yourselves, who was the mayor of the city, and who were the councilmembers of those Wards during that period of time.

    There's a name for re-electing the same officials repeatedly, and expecting to get different results. If, and/or when, the residents of this city decide to start electing individuals based on merit and qualifications, irrespective of party affiliation, gender, political or social orientation, then it really doesn't matter, because at the end of the day, what you get is what you elect.

    But, alas, not to fret. Because like trouble, this won't last always.

  • HUAlum71

    Will Marvin E. Adams please sit his tired butt down.
    But, alas, not to fret. Because just like trouble he hasn't lasted at all, much less always.

    This is a democracy and the people have spoken again, and again, and again, and again, and again and again ad infinitum. What the Heck is it some haters don't understand about that very clear fact??????

    Bet Rocky the Old Wanna-Be-New-Man tried to pull Chris into something he was wise enough to stay out of.

    Good for you Chris!!!!!

  • HUAlum67

    Well said HUAlum71

  • lovey

    The only "black agenda" Ward 8 residents should worry about is getting Marion out of JWB once and for all. He is a curse on our great city!

  • Dave B

    There really is nothing to lose by replacing Barry. It COULD get a little worse, but it could be so much better. He seems to stay in power because people fear losing the little they have. Whether or not that is by his design, I don't know

  • Marvin E. Adams

    @HUAlum71/HUALUM67: Why is it so difficult for some to engage in a civil discourse, without resorting to name calling, attempting to belittle and such. Instead of attempting to justify the lack of cognitive awareness, actually, lack thereof, of a certain segment of the population, merely look at the facts.

    1)Columbia Heights; 2) U Street; 3)Adams Morgan, 4)H Street, yes, and even Brookland are booming. All of these areas have seen and/or seeing major development or reinnvigoration. Absent emotion, PLEASE ask yourselves WHY. For the record, I am not, as you imply a "hater." Just a little enlightened, and truly understands that a lot of citizens, for myriad reasons believe as you do. Repsectfully, I submit, I am not one of them.

  • Son of Washington

    I find it insulting to say the least that folks would even consider Barry the gatekeeper of the so called black agenda a joke. Ward 8 hasn't drastically improved since the days that I attended Ketcham Elementary more than 30 years ago. Ironically the only constant in local elected politics during that time is the not so Honorable Marion S. Barry. Now he is the savior.

    Folks in Ward 8 need to stop falling for Barry's game time and time again. He is the problem with our city not the solution. It really is time for him to retire and head back to Mississippi.

  • SEis4ME

    Marvin Adams,

    In our democracy "agendas" exists on all sides. It is why politicians focus on women, seniors, gays, and even immigrants as beneficiaries of their respective policies. It happens where there is a recognized level of inequality or issues germane to each group. In fact, POVERTY is the new buzzword that is subject of America's new "agenda."

    Is it not possible that "poverty, education, housing etc." all require it's own separate agenda? Especially considering that dealing w/all the above benefits the entire city overall?

    If "who was in charge" is the appropriate barometer for why certain areas are/n't successful, then how exactly does that explain that DC has always has Democratic mayors...coupled w/the fact that the problems you believe Barry is somewhat responsible for has existed under Democrat and Republican POTUS.

    The same goes for cities such as NYC.

  • SEis4ME

    Oh and the above applies to Son of Washington as well who continues the same type of social skullduggery

  • http://www.RonaldRHanna.com Ronald R. Hanna

    Anybody who doesn't reside in Ward 8 needs to rethink their paternalistic suggestions that WE reject Marion Barry and that WE have witnessed no progress in our ward over the past 30 years. I've lived in Ward 8 (when not on military assignment or travelling globally) for most of my 61 years. LOVE Ward 8 AND its long-term residents. Certainly, we don't mirror the changes in Shaw, Adams Morgan, H Street. Lucid to the point of paranoia to some degree, historic residents of Anacostia and upper Wards 7 and 8 see vividly the economic erasure of their kin across the bridge, and even as financial realities constrain many from deigning to even consider home ownership, TIME is the relative factor in many of our lives if we can ensure that the born-and-raised natives here remain for at least a few more generations, if not future lifetimes immemorial.

    LUCID I said to a point of projecting (most often correctly!) that the "changes" seen along H Street and Shaw and Adams Morgan would necessitate a sweeping of historic SE residents into "Ward 9," Prince George's County. Certainly we see the developments on St. Elizabeths Hospital grounds, and as sure as it is a basic logical premise that one live within proximity of where they earn their moneys, Homeland Security denizens, Coast Guard denizens, and even some outpriced on Capitol Hill (and around the Nat's Stadium) are already eyeing Anacostia.

    I've owned my home in SE for over 30 years, and even as I have a universal love for MOST of mankind, I really cherish my lifelong neighbors, and would like to exit the planet surrounded by "family." I only have a few kinfolk in PG County, hundreds in the Nation's Capital. And as quiet as it's kept, many of us ARE thriving, economically, and not all are spending unearned and future funds burying the young, sending "commissary" to the young at some far away prison, paying $4.95 per minute accepting calls from the incarcerated or, as some will ever cast as a "Marion-Barryism," smoking crack or shooting joogie (heroin).

    In contrast to the "if it bleeds it leads"-mantra that is taught in schools of journalism (yes, I'm a former reporter, present author), those things occuring in Ward 8 that are to be lauded rarely make the news. Dozens of former residents of not only Ward 8 but with historic roots in D.C. are undertaking a move to return moneys (and historic residents) to Anacostia and other parts of the city. Even more present residents are determined, with an almost religious vehemence, to remain in the place where we were born and raised.

    But you didn't hear that from me....

  • Marvin E. Adams

    @Ronald R. Hanna, from a former military officer(Air Force type), succinctly, I salute you, sir! Your thought provoking and well placed commentary speaks volumes about what some are clearly are not cognizant of.

  • http://www.RonaldRHanna.com Ronald R. Hanna

    Thanks Marvin E. Adams. I was born in Columbia Hospital for Woman, and as a spiritual thinker, believe I should leave the physical plane as close to where I entered it. Initially. THIS TIME! As did many of my more recent ancestors.

  • http://www.mayorallen.com Mayor Allen

    Everyone understands that it's by design that this city is being gentrified. That being said there are over 700,000 jobs in this city and enough to put everyone to work but we know that 300,000 of those jobs are given to people who live outside of the District of Columbia and a lot of employers try hard to hire folks from outside of the city. So we can focus all day about how bad things are but until we grasp the real issue, of not only educating our children to get a better understanding of life but we also need to educate some of our parents to get a better job or start a business! That is the real solution and once that happens we will truly see a a great city with happy citizens like other wards where the citizens make great money! Now some may say, money is not everything and it's the root of all evil, will please tell me the root. YOU CAN NOT DO ANYTHING WITHOUT MONEY AND PROVIDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING WITHOUT A JOB DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE--HOW WOULD YOU EAT???!!!!