- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Outgoing D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams turned his podium into a “bully” pulpit yesterday.

Mr. Williams, 55, used his final official press briefing to get back at the pundits who have criticized and questioned him through his two-term tenure, sparing no one from a playful jab aimed at their performance or personal hygiene.

“Dorothy, I love you. I have nothing else to say,” said Mr. Williams, referring to Dorothy Brizill, executive director of the watchdog group D.C. Watch, who has relentlessly queried the mayor over the years. “Mark [Plotkin, of WTOP Radio] … I don’t want to get into your personal life, but you’re kind of sweaty.”

Mr. Williams’ final press conference at the John A. Wilson Building was a mixture of his usual sarcastic gibes and serious moments.

After showing a video of clips form past briefings, Mr. Williams — dubbed “Traveling Tony” for his frequent trips and overseas excursions — quizzed WRC-TV (Channel 4) reporter Tom Sherwood on who paid for his travels and meals.

“Do you plan to travel as much [in retirement] as you’ve traveled as mayor?” Mr. Sherwood later retaliated.

Mr. Williams also didn’t shy away from spoofing his 36-year-old successor, Adrian M. Fenty, an energetic marathoner who Mr. Williams joked is planning to turn the press room in City Hall into an exercise area for spin-cycling classes.

The press briefing room also will be “turned into a weight room” by Mr. Fenty, Mr. Williams said.

After the comedic dust settled, Mr. Williams became reflective.

He reiterated that his proudest moments since being elected as the District’s mayor eight years ago include restoring the city’s fiscal responsibility and bringing major league baseball back to the District.

“It was all wrapped up in one day, when I was standing there at RFK [Stadium] on Opening Day, and 30,000 people give you a standing ovation. That’s a good moment,” Mr. Williams said.

Mr. Williams championed his improvement of the District’s human service agencies and said he worked hard to encourage investment in the city’s neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River.

He also refused to critique Mr. Fenty, saying the new mayor has “his own style” and has his support.

Mr. Williams said Mr. Fenty will succeed at being extremely responsive to residents’ concerns and relating to the District’s young people.

But he did say Linda W. Cropp, the current D.C. Council chairman and Mr. Williams’ preferred mayoral candidate, would have provided some qualities that Mr. Fenty probably does not possess.

“She had enormous government experience to bring to bear,” Mr. Williams said. “You need a tough, motherly love, and I think she could have provided that.”

Mr. Williams also reiterated that he has not decided on his future career plans.

He said he will live in the District and possibly would like to work with nonprofits dealing in issues such as the environment and adoption.

“It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Mr. Williams said. “We’ve restored a sense of hope and belief that we can be the very best city in the world. And that’s an enormous legacy to leave.”

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