Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Ongoing Saga of D.C.'s Mayor-for-Life

Oh yes... the always entertaining Marion Barry is in the news again. It seems that Ward 8's beloved City Councilman is not doing so well. Let's begin with a quick back-story: First elected as Mayor of the District of Columbia in 1978, he held the office until 1990. Of course, we all remember (even if you were only four years old at the time), the sting. Yes this stunningly good looking man in the wife-beater tank top and suspenders, smoking crack cocaine, is none other than the honorable Mayor Barry. It was shortly after this moment from the sting footage that Mr. Barry could be heard waxing poetic about his plight: "Bitch set me up."

Fear not though, Marion Barry's journey was far from over. Only in the supreme meritocracy that is D.C. could a Mayor be arrested and convicted of misdemeanor cocaine possession (a mistrial had was declared on the other 12 counts he was charged with... so it's not that he was innocent, instead he got off easy), serve 6 months in a federal prison, be elected to the city council less than two years later, and re-elected as Mayor two years after that.

After a period of lying relatively low from 1995 (following successful treatment for prostate cancer) through 1998 he decided not to run for re-election. He eventually ran for and won a seat on the city council again in 2004. The District (or at least Ward 8) really loves this guy.

Wait, there's more. We're now back to recent events that contribute to his current "situation." In October of 2005, Councilman Barry pleaded guilty to charges stemming from an IRS investigation. Apparently there was a small matter of him not filing his taxes... since 1998. 1999-2004 were years in which Mr. Barry seemingly forgot he had an income at all. Not only this, but before he could enter his plea, he underwent mandatory drug testing. Shockingly, it turned up positive for cocaine and marijuana. Subsequently, in March of '06, the Councilman was sentenced to 3 years probation and drug counseling.

So here we are today: 2 years and 11 months later (that's 0.14 score years and 1 month, for those of you swept up in this strange equivocation of Presidents Lincoln and Obama).
(Enter Marion Barry, stage right, being chased by IRS agents)
He must have "forgotten" to pay his taxes from 2007. You know, this forgetfulness bug is going around now-a-days. It was just a "moment of sloppiness," like Daschle and Geithner.
Be that as it may, it is a blatant violation of the terms of his probation.

So it looks like jail time for Marion Barry... again. (You know, it's a natural cycle. Just like solar maximums and minimums [and climate change on Earth as a result, but that's another matter altogether], and Lindsay Lohan's oscillating sexual preference) Needless to say, he will be back, and the good people of Ward 8 will welcome him with open arms and a spot on their ballots.

Until then, I leave you with a few thoughts that I had while contemplating Marion Barry's story during my afternoon lavatory meditations...
  • I'm all for DC being given voting rights (that, by the way, will be an upcoming topic as well) in the House. But I'm not sure that I like the idea of a vote in congress coming from an enclave that knowingly re-elected a crack-head Mayor by popular vote.
  • Why is it always those people most likely to advocate for tax increases that seem to think they are above paying their own taxes? Strange, isn't it?
  • I think Marion Barry might want to hire me as his new publicist/hype-man because of the picture (left)... after all, he looks much better with O.J.'s body.

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