One might assume that Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry, who is likely to coast to an easy re-election victory in April’s primary, would have little use/need to sling mud at his competitors. Earlier this month, in fact, Barry told Fox 5 that he welcomes any and all comers. “I encourage everybody to run,” Barry said. “Including Natalie.”
Natalie in this case is Natalie Williams, Barry’s former spokeswoman who is now running against her old boss. Williams recently lost her bid to be president of the Ward 8 Democrats, but not before scoring a ringing endorsement from Barry.
But that was so mid-September. This is now, and today the mercurial Barry broke out the whacking stick to take Williams to task for her “Johnny-come-lately efforts” to oppose a hotly contested woman’s shelter in Ward 8.
“Natalie Williams just recently moved into the Ward and knows very little about it,” Barry said in a news release today sent out from a staffer’s publicly funded council email address.
“There’s some people want to make a big to-do about the fact that she just moved here,” Barry said a few months ago when he endorsed Williams. “But to me that’s irrelevant. There are folks who have been here 40 years ain’t doing a damn thing.”
“She should be ashamed of herself to oppose a group that is trying to bring help, hope, jobs and, resources to 50 single women who are attempting to get their lives together,” Barry said today. “I am positive that the residents of Ward 8 will see Natalie Williams for what she is.”
“Natalie Williams brings a new freshness, new energy, new direction, new vision for this ward,” Barry said in his endorsement. “I know her very well in terms of her committment to the people of Ward 8.”
Confused? What’s most puzzling isn’t Barry’s about face on Williams’ qualifications but why he would feel the need to make such a strong personal attack on Williams in the first place.
For her part, Williams says Barry’s comments today show that he’s “a bit confused and misguided.”
“I’m praying for our current councilmember tonight.” she says, adding that: “He knows that his comments are untrue. This is just another — it’s a politician’s move. It’s a political move.”
If you say so.
Here’s the news release Barry put out today:
Barry Finds Natalie Williams’ Calvary Church Efforts Off-Point and Misguided
The planned protest of the Calvary Women’s Shelter in Ward 8 led by Natalie Williams, a candidate for the Ward 8 City Council seat indicates, her insensitivity and knowledge about the shelter.
This is an issue I investigated and have been working with the Community on for over three months. Her Johnny-come-lately efforts are just that.
If she had taken the time, she would have found that Calvary Church is doing the Lord’s work and that they have successfully operated a women’s, transition house at 5th & K for almost 30 years. They are focusing on single women with health or personal problems and, working hard to get them employment. Ms. Williams apparently does not know city law which allows the transition house to be on Good Hope Road as a matter of right. While the ANC ought to be given great weight when there’s a variance, this is not true in this case. The transition house has a matter of right to be there. I couldn’t stop the transition house if I wanted to and I don’t want to.
Calvary is doing the Lord’s work. It is putting a 50 bed transition house on Good Hope Road for 50 single women, a third of whom are already working; the Calvary people intend to work vigorously to get jobs for the others. Anyone who opposes this transition house opposes 50 women trying to get their lives back together.
Natalie Williams just recently moved into the Ward and knows very little about it.
She should be ashamed of herself to oppose a group that is trying to bring help, hope, jobs and, resources to 50, single women who are attempting to get their lives together.
I am positive that the residents of Ward 8 will see Natalie Williams for what she is. I stand firmly for housing, jobs and healthcare and to help people, not hurt them.
And here is the video of him endorsing Williams in September:
Photo by Darrow Montgomery