- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 26, 2002

On March 6, Marion Barry announced he wants to return to public life as a law-maker. On March 21, U.S. Park Police found evidence that he broke the law.

Police discovered traces of marijuana and a "powdery substance under the former mayor's nose" last Thursday, the Associated Press reported. Officers found Mr. Barry perched in his Jaguar near Buzzard Point Southwest in a no-parking zone. A trained police dog "signaled that there had been drugs in the car," and a "field test on the Jaguar's interior also hinted of recent drug presence." But "the traces were too minimal to arrest Mr. Barry."

The so-called Mayor-for-Life denied having any illegal drugs, and told The Washington Post that he reluctantly agreed to the searches because "I didn't want to give them any excuse to do anything to me."

Both the police and Mr. Barry are taking hits for what happened. The police leaked the story before they knew if there was one. After all, Mr. Barry was not arrested on drug charges right there; in fact, he was not even ticketed or towed for parking illegally. Others complain that Mr. Barry is receiving special treatment. He is a very public figure who has held several elected posts, and he is again seeking public office, this time as an at-large member of the city's legislature.

But the question certainly has to be asked whether Mr. Barry learned anything from his past mistakes. His 1990 arrest for smoking crack in a hotel room with a woman not his wife is legendary. Interesting as well is that a federal law-enforcement agency busted him this time around, too, when Mr. Barry said he had planned to meet a female acquaintance who is having personal problems.

Mr. Barry never hesitates to say that he has been clean and sober for years, that he has been redeemed in the eyes of God Almighty and that, at 66, he is a prostate cancer survivor. Good for him, if any or all of that's true. But what about his political judgment day, which initially was set for Sept. 10, Democratic primary day? Thanks to the March 21 drug incident, judgment day happens to be now. So the sooner Mr. Barry stands before the cameras with an honest public accounting the better.


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