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Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry says a recent attack on his political opponents was a mistake.

Barry, speaking to LL last week, said he shouldn’t have issued a news release criticizing Natalie Williams and her role in protesting a proposed transitional housing shelter. The fact that Barry’s news release came from the city-owned email address of one of his council staffers earned a gentle rebuke from Council Chairman Kwame “Fully Loaded” Brown.

“It was a mistake mentioning her name in terms of the campaign,” says Barry. “The tone of the release could have been a bit different.”

The most pointed attack of Barry’s news release was that Williams, who used to be Barry’s spokeswoman, hadn’t lived in Ward 8 very long and “knows very little about it.” A few months before he sent the news release, Barry endorsed Williams to be head of the Ward 8 Democrats and defended her newcomer status.

Barry says there’s no contradiction in those two viewpoints because the head of a local political party organization is different than being a councilmember.

“When you’re a councilmember, which has broad legislative authority to pass laws affecting every resident of the District of Colombia, it is relevant to me that you have lived in the ward sometime,” says Barry.

But Barry stressed several times during his conversation with LL that he bears Williams no ill will, and in fact encourages any and all challengers, as long as they realize that Barry’s going to win 75 percent of the vote.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery