News Maker of Year? Let's Not Forget Barry
Washington, Adrienne T., The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
It's a tough call on the news maker front this year.
Even Time magazine wimped out with its 1998 man of the year. The editors couldn't make up their minds between President Clinton, the impeached, and independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, the impeacher, and picked them both.
I decided not to go there.
I almost gave the nod to "My Girl," Connie Morella, Montgomery County's Republican representative in the U.S. House. And I do mean "My Girl" with the utmost respect. She voted not only her conscience, but also the will of the majority of the people, when it came to opposing impeachment.
Speaking of the "My Girl" club - which includes the tireless freedom fighters D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and D.C. mayoral candidate Carol Schwartz - kudos are in order for D.C. Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis. Mrs. Jarvis has built one of the most multifaceted dynasties in the District in decades.
She could call a conference at her kitchen table with ranking members of the city's government, academia, business, economic development and the media and never talk to a soul who doesn't share her last name.
Indeed, my judges, a panel of my multiple personalities, have been arguing among themselves for days about whom we should choose to induct in our annual News Makers Gallery. The list of dubious distinction includes such notable-quotables as former D.C. financial control board Chairman Andrew F. Brimmer, former D.C. schools Superintendent Franklin Smith and former City Administrator Michael C. Rogers.
In keeping with that "former" thing, we finally decided it was only fitting to give a slim nod to another soon-to-be-archetype, the outgoing mayor of the District of Columbia, Marion S. Barry Jr.
After all, my jury reasoned that we have plenty of time - and already plenty of reasons - to wail about the Bow Tie Bandit, Mayor-elect Anthony A. Williams.
But only four days remain until dethronement of the People's Prodigal Prince.
Oh, how I'm going to miss Hizzoner. But not nearly as much as the paternalistic Barry bashers on Capitol Hill.
Make no mistake, the Once-and-Future-Mayor-for-Life will continue to be "all that." Say what you will - and there's more than enough to fill a historical novel, a docudrama or a columnist's clip file - Mr. Barry is definitely an original.
Mr. Barry's tenacity, his determination to overcome meager beginnings, his sharp mind and his quick wit endeared him to the multitudes. He is nothing if not a fighter, which I respect. …