D.C. City Council member Marion Barry sent a letter this week to Vermont Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D) apologizing for his earlier statement calling the senator "rinky-dink."

Barry's effort to patch up relations with the head of the Senate District Appropriations Subcommittee was part of letter-writing efforts he made this week to urge all senators to support the District's embattled $110 million downtown convention center.

But Barry specifically sough Leahy's support and said he apologized for what he had said earlier. Barry, however, has refused to comment in detail about the letter and told a reporter that a copy would be provided Monday.

Barry made the "rinky-dink" statement several weeks ago in disgust when he learned that the Leahy subcommittee had recommended that all funds for the proposed civic center be cut out of the District budget.

At that time, Barry said. "The mayor and the City Council worked together on this proposal and now this little rinky-dink senator from a state like Vermont is going to take it away."

As an at-large City Council member, Barry represents about 702,000 residents. There are only about 476,000 people in all of Vermont.

Last week when the House approved that convention center, but temporarily blocked its financing mechanism - a loan from the Treasury - Barry fired off another response, calling the congressmen who engineered the obstacle "jive."