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TO: Mayor Marion Barry

FROM: Lisa Gray, unpaid adviser

A few thoughts on spinning that hotel brouhaha:

1.) The crux of the Washington Post‘s story seems to be that you scored a $2,500-a-night hotel suite for a measly $150—a 94 percent discount for simply being who you are. I say, amen! Run with it! Everyone knows the District is facing tough fiscal problems, and this coup proves that you’re the guy to deal with them. Has the D.C. Council ever negotiated a 94 percent discount on anything? Has the control board? Or Congress? Case closed.

2.) Badmouthing the Post has always worked in the past. Keep it up. Why not point out that near the bottom of that newspaper’s Sept. 13 article, the Mayflower’s general manager states that of the 13,000 guests who stayed at the hotel in April, only 63 paid full price? There’s the story! The Post completely missed the point. Instead of tracking down those 63 spendthrifts, the reporter focused on the piddling matter of your wrangling a great deal. I say, demand the identities of those 63 chumps! Maybe one of your tormentors will show up on the list! And at the very least, the press can have a field day tracking the profligates’ other dimwitted transactions: paying sticker price for a new car, tipping at McDonald’s, or renting thousands of square feet of additional office space to house a government that is rapidly downsizing.

3.) Don’t worry that voters will resent you for enjoying the good life. Hold your head high: You and Cora have earned a few luxuries, and people respect you for living large. The public wants you to wear designer clothes, wants you to occupy a beautifully remodeled house, wants you to sleep in exquisite comfort. Go ahead: Brag about that night at the Mayflower. Think Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Your fans want to live vicariously, and you’re their only chance to know what a $2,500 hotel suite looks like. Did the maid leave a whole candy store under your pillow? Were there extra sanitary strips on the toilet?

4.) One last, long-term suggestion: From now on, stay home or at friends’ houses or at the very least at a B&B. Nothing good has ever happened to you in a hotel.