Mayor of DC to be stripped of his powers
Friday 01 August 1997
It is the latest stage in a struggle for control of the capital, which for decades was administered by the federal authorities until it was decided in 1973 that it should have an elected administration, just like any other US city. The move was largely a response to pressure from the city's black majority. Mr Barry, who like most of the councillors is black, benefited.
But his conduct during his first term, which included being discovered smoking crack cocaine with a prostitute in the lobby of a hotel (he insists it was a set-up), made him even more controversial.
His race, and his influence with the black majority, guaranteed him re- election when he left prison.
But it also ensured city politics would be perpetual guerrilla war between Washington's growing black population and its declining white population.
Mr Barry's return to office prompted many whites to move from the Washington- administered District of Columbia into the adjacent states of Maryland and Virginia, a process that continues.
Now joined by better-off blacks, they complain not just of poor city services, but of mismanagement, corruption and neglect of the infrastructure that leaves Washington unworthy to serve as a showcase for the US.
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