There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Mayor Marion Barry by now knows that control board Chairman Andrew Brimmer is the big cheese in town. In their numerous and well-publicized fights—over budgets, personnel, and city management—Brimmer, equipped with the federally conferred powers of District dictator, has pummeled Barry into submission time and again.
So what a surprise it was to behold the mayor and the venerable chairman posed side by side, only a handshake apart, as equals—on a now-vanished web site titled “Washington, D.C. District of Columbia.”
The page positioned images of a grinning mayor opposite an assured-looking chairman. The only thing separating the two in the District’s cyberspace version of co-governance is a badly cropped shot of 1 Judiciary Square—not Vernon Hawkins, or Anita Shelton, or a host of other Barry appointees who have rankled relations between the city and control board.
Although the page’s sponsor has pulled the images off the web, it has left a foaming and typo-ridden primer on the mayor’s political career (available at http://www.usbol.com/ctjournal/Mbarrybio.html). But what the site gives in biographical depth it takes back in timeliness: The last news update is a bland, vintage-1995 article titled “The Mayor Has Prostate Cancer.” And while web browsers mourn the mayor’s health problems, they can gather old news on Brimmer: “D.C. Control Board Fires Hawkins” reads a shallow report on the most bitter dispute to date between the city’s top elected and appointed officials.
The site’s sponsor is the Congressional Times Journal (CTJ), a self-described online “Capitol Hill Newspaper.” Although CTJ’s editorial staff appears to be AWOL, an e-mail query on the site was answered by Robert Bush, who disavowed any affiliation with CTJ. Bush says the images of Barry and Brimmer as the city’s No. 1 power couple were pulled because they were judged too “controversial.”