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When Mayor Barry makes an appearance at the annual Unifest celebration in Anacostia, he’s used to a smooth ride, gladhanding his neighbors and die-hard supporters. This year’s crowd, though, included a few die-hard detractors. As he walked the parade route beside wife Cora, Barry encountered his longtime nemesis Sandra Seegars on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE. Seegars, along with Barry-hating D.C. cabdrivers, was working the sidelines to collect the 34,000 signatures needed to force an election to recall the mayor. She says Barry ambled over and asked, “How many you got?”perhaps noticing Seegars’ “It’s Time to Remove Mayor Barry” T-shirt. The mayor flipped through more than a dozen petitions, squinting at the signatures. “I must have had about 10 blank [sheets], and he thumbed through all of them, too,” says Seegars, who handed him a second clipboard to peruse. After he returned the petitions, Seegars says Barry thoughtfully handicapped her haul for the day, saying, “You’ll probably get around 200 down here.” Barry then rejoined the parade, says Seegars, who notes that by day’s end, “We got about 200. He was right.”
When WUSA-TV sportscaster (and avid runner) Glenn Brenner died of a brain tumor in 1992, the beloved Channel 9 newsmannoted for his “Weenie of the Week” award and other irreverent banterwas memorialized with an annual 5K race. The event has raked in about $600,000 over the past five years for local children’s charities. But the popular race has evidently quietly run its course. “All of a sudden I realized, hey, they didn’t have a Glenn Brenner race this year. What’s going on?” objected Ed Barron, a Brenner fan and former participant in the run. “We’re not having that anymore,” a Channel 9 receptionist briskly informed a reporter. “We were only supposed to carry it for two years, and we carried it for five….It didn’t raise that much.” But station spokesperson Khalim Piankhi said that the spring fund-raising run, which once attracted as many as 6,000 participants, had always been slated for a five-year stint. “We couldn’t really grow it,” Piankhi said. As for the more than half a million bucks that went to groups like the Darrell Green Learning Center and the Anthony Bowen YMCA over the years, Piankhi said the event’s yield was “not enough.”
Last Saturday, D.C. Councilmembers Harry Thomas and Sandy Allen joined Mayor Barry to kick off a summertime “pothole blitz”an eight-weekend “let’s fix all the potholes” fantasy project. Courtesy of the Department of Public Works (DPW), Barry received instruction in how to operate the Roadpatcher, an all-in-one pothole repair machine. If this ceremony sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Barry did the exact same thing around this time last summer, when he used the miraculous Roadpatcher to take on a puny pothole near 1 Judiciary Square. According to a Washington Times account of the 1996 festivities, Barry and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton were like little kids with a new toy: In her patent-leather heels, Norton jumped up and down on the fresh tar for good measure. She apparently got the gist of the gizmo, however, and did not attend the refresher course this year. The repeat demonstration was necessary, according to DPW spokesperson Linda Grant, because Washington “has such a mobile population. The people who were here last June to witness the demonstration have come and gone.”