D.C. City Council member Willie J. Hardy has accused Mayor Marion Barry of trying to make the City Council "the scape-goat for your unrealized campaign promises" to double the number of summer jobs available for city youth this year.
"When you were still a member of the council, I pointed out to you during a legislative session the 30,000 jobs for this summer was unrealistic, and what the dangers were in promising that to the youths of this city, already frustrated by so many problems in many of their lives," Hardy wrote.
Hardy's May 29 letter came in response to an article in The Washington Post Tuesday which reported that slightly more than half the 30,000 summer jobs promised by Barry had materialized, and only 11,000 jobs had been filled.
Acting D.C. Labor Department Director Matthew F. Shannon was quoted as saying that on its present course, the program scheduled to begin June 28, could fall 6,000 jobs short. One reason cited was a decision by the council to cut about 2,000 summer jobs from the program.
Hardy, the major author of that proposal, said the council did not cut out money for those jobs, but merely "diverted 500 of those jobs to provide employment possibilities for persons 22 years of age and older with dependents."
She said the change would result in "no appreciable loss" in the current budget and would not begin until after the summer jobs program ends.
Hardy (D-Ward 7) also accused Barry of "premeditating possible youth disturbances" through a statement in The Post article in which Barry said youth frustration was growing as summer approached and added, "It's getting hot and they don't have any jobs."
"Then, after suggesting the above," Hardy said, "you state that you 'didn't raise any false hopes' in the youths of this city. If there were no false hopes raised, what of your implication that a long, hot summer is imminent?"
Hardy, whose ward includes some of the more poverty-ravaged areas of the city, opposed Barry's nomination for mayor and has become a prime target of some of Barry's political organizers, who believe a candidate of their choosing may be able to defeat her in next year's election.
Barry, through a spokesman, had no comment on Hardy's letter.