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LL was pleasantly surprised this afternoon when Darrell Gaston, one of two independents challenging Marion Barry for the Ward 8 council seat, eschewed gentility and took the mayor-for-life to task on WAMU-FM’s Kojo Nnamdi Show, calling him a flip-flopper on the mayoral schools takeover and generally laying into Barry’s performance with passion.
Gaston also delivered one of the best lines LL has heard in Ward 8 politics in a while, pivoting on Barry’s longtime association with the city summer youth employment program: “Mr. Barry gave you a summer job,” he told radio listeners, “but let me give you a career!” Ow!
The tete-a-tete continued after the show ended, in the WAMU-FM lobby, when Gaston alleged being intimidated on two occasions in recent weeks by gentlemen, including one occasion where the incident was filmed by Fairlawn advisory neighborhood commissioner Anthony Muhammad, a well-known Barry supporter. Gaston also claimed to have been threatened by e-mail.
Barry overheard Gaston telling LL and the Washington Post‘s Nikita Stewart about the incidents, when he spoke up, “They don’t work for me! If Mr. Muhammad did that, he’s out of order.” (Muhammad says he filmed the incident on a cameraphone and later gave Gaston a ride home “so he wouldn’t get beat up” by the folks in question, who Muhammad said had accused Gaston of stealing an iPod.)
“We don’t tolerate that,” said Barry.
“No, we don’t!” chimed in Barry spokesperson Andre Johnson.
As Barry and Gaston waited for the elevator, conversation turned to possible roles for the incumbent should he lose the election to Gaston. “He’d be a formidable member of my staff,” Gaston said, referring to Barry.
Replied Barry, “He’s still fantasizing.”
“Sometimes fantasies turn in to realities,” Gaston said.
Outside, the two parted amicably. “I love you, man,” Barry told Gaston.
“I love you as well,” he replied.