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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Splat-ter of the Week (Weekend Edition): DC Voters

It can be tough to elect a leader who's untainted by corruption.  Just ask the citizens of our nation's capital, who have struggled with this problem since the Home Rule Act of the mid-1970s gave them the right to choose their own mayor.

Marion Barry held this top city post from 1979-1991, until he had a pesky encounter with federal agents over his alleged use of some flammable narcotics.  His lawyers raised the "Beeotch Set Me Up" defense, which sounded catchy but was more persuasive as a bumper sticker than a legal theory.  But it wasn't his lawyers' fault, really.  The Monica Lewinsky scandal had not yet occurred, so they didn't realize an entire defense could be developed around the meaning of the two-word intransitive verb "is." So Marion Barry fell victim not only to the beeotch but to some very bad timing, legally speaking. 

The citizens of DC tried to rebound from this embarrassing electoral splat and promptly elected Sharon Pratt Kelly, who ran on the compelling "I Haven't Done Time (Yet)" platform.  But the voters gave Barry his job back in 1995, recognizing that Pratt Kelly's resume lacked the kind of real-world experience you can only get in prison.

Barry "The Sequel" proved to be an underwhelming one-season spinoff.   Barry didn't seek re-election, citing a desire to focus all of his attention on not filing federal tax returns. 

He was succeeded by Tony "Bow Tie" Williams, followed by Adrian "Proudly Courting the Triathlete Vote" Fenty.  Though Fenty's term did involve an investigation or two into potential contracting improprieties, it had appeared DC was recovering fairly well from the Barry splat.  

In 2010, Fenty was ousted by Vincent Gray, who had voters convinced he was less concerned with swimming pools and more interested in connecting with citizens. Recent allegations indicate that, unfortunately, some of the people Gray connected with quite closely weren't so skilled at following the rules about public accounting of campaign funds.  

It appears that these folks somehow forgot to disclose more than $650,000 expended to help Gray gain the mayoral seat. Gray claims he had no knowledge of this shadow campaign-- even though it blocked out more sun than the Empire State Building--stating, "You know how sometimes you put a $20 bill in your pants pocket and forget all about it until you stumble across it after doing laundry? Well, these pants had really deep pockets."  

Here we go again.  DC voters, come on over and grab your golden pancake! 

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous! Glad D.C. isn't letting me down in my absence. This also reminds me of how Dave Barry's mom's name is also Marion Barry, and that Mayor Barry didn't find that as amusing as Dave always did.