D.C. Mayor Marion Barry failed to show up again last night for a debate with the other three candidates for mayor in next Tuesday's election, prompting his opponents to contend that Barry's strategy is to convince voters that the election is over before the votes are cast.
The mayor also has declined to appear on the "Good Morning, Washington" television show on WJLA-TV on Monday morning, as had been scheduled, and the station has canceled the appearance of all the candidates, according to a producer of the television show.
"The purpose of this vacant seat next to me and the mix this city has seen with its election-day procedures can only be described as one thing: cruel, cunning and cold manipulation by Marion Barry," said E. Brooke Lee Jr., the Republican candidate for mayor last night. " Barry wants the voters to think the race is done, so he won't have to run and face the issues and his record."
In addition to Lee, candidate Glenn White of the Socialist Workers' Party, Dennis Sobin, an independent candidate, and write-in candidate Dr. John Womble attended the hour-long debate in the City Council chambers.
"This man's absence tonight builds a strong indictment against the mayor," said Sobin. "His problem is inaccessibility and his lack of accountability."
White added later: "Marion Barry won't show up here because, in a real debate, Marion Barry can't handle himself too well."