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Marion Barry is not right for Pacifica

Interesting background about Pacifica board negotiator Marion Barry.
[ Former D.C. mayor selected to the "Pacifica" national board in Sept.,2001 ]


Sojourners Magazine (a progressive Christian social-justice magazine)
"Marion Barry's Politics of Redemption"
Bob Hulteen., December 1994-January 1995 (Vol. 23, No. 10, pp. 11-13).


"As his coalition coalesced, Barry increasingly believed that his fortunes were synonymous with those of the city. Years later this belief justified his use of the District's treasury as his own checking account But Barry, a three-term mayor already, should have been running against his record as much as his individual shortcomings. He had no intention of seeking redemption for his policies that sabotaged the lives of many District residents. Barry attempted to unravel D.C.'s rent control laws, offered tax abatements to developers who built in an already office-glutted city, and made land deals with real estate magnates who became millionaires, bankrupting the city in the process. For this legacy Marion Barry offers no repentance.

Most of us have room in our hearts to forgive the penitent sinner who acknowledges shortcomings and makes amends. But by confessing only personal flaws, Barry's redemption stands shallow."


Biography Resource Center
©2001, Gale Group, Inc.

"By 1967 Barry had begun to appreciate the resources of government. He split with the increasingly radical SNCC and, trading his dashiki for a business suit, persuaded U.S. secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz to appropriate $300,000 for "Youth Pride," a one-month project that would hire 1,100 African American youths to kill Washington's rats and clean its streets. S Barry quickly won other grants for the program and within months had expanded it to include Pride Economic Enterprises, a for-profit venture that ran several small businesses and a 55-unit apartment complex."

"Barry also faced a number of problems during his first term S In 1979, the Washington Post charged that Mary Treadwell, the mayor's former wife and a co-founder of Youth Pride Inc., had skimmed $600,000 in federal money from a Pride-run low-income housing project."

"By the end of Barry's second term S Treadwell and Barry's chief aid, Ivanhoe Donaldson, were convicted of financial crimes. A female city worker with whom Barry had a "personal" relationship was convicted of selling cocaine. And Barry's third wife, Effie Slaughter, whom he had married in 1978, was forced to decline a sharply discounted mortgage when the transaction was made public."

"By February 15, 1990, a grand jury returned nine counts against Barry S That May, the jury returned six new counts, five accusing him of cocaine possession, one of conspiracy. If convicted on all 14 counts the mayor could have faced 26 years in jail and fines of $1,850,000. Barry contended that the government's case was the work of overzealous prosecutors out to get a big-city mayor. Jay B. Stephens, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, told the New York Times that his office was "fairly enforcing the criminal laws without regard to the position or status of the offender."

Jet, January 10, 1994, pp. 35-36; February 20, 1995, p. 6.
The New York Times, May 14, 1996, p. A14; December 27, 1997, p. A18; January 15, 1997, p. A16; February 4, 1997, p. A14.
The New York Times Magazine, October 29, 1995, pp. 38-41, 44-45, 54-58, 76.
Newsweek, May 13, 1996, pp. 32-33

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