Annette J. Samuels, who spent nearly six years promoting D.C. Mayor Marion Barry as his press secretary, said she took one look at the mayor's statements on the front page of The Washington Post on May 30 and "just decided I'd had enough of this stupidness."

The mayor's acknowledgement in an interview that he had smoked crack cocaine at the Vista Hotel and his assertion that he had damaged no one but himself prompted her to write a letter calling on citizens to "rise up and say, 'No more,' to the disgracing of the District" and to the reelection of her former boss.

The appearance of the letter Thursday on The Post's editorial page caught some Barry administration officials by surprise and once again stirred emotions in the District. WOL radio talk show host Cathy Hughes in essence asked her listeners who cares what Samuels thinks. Some Barry supporters accused Samuels of "kicking him while he's down."

And the mayor's press secretary, Lurma Rackley, suggested on the federal courthouse steps that Samuels might have had ulterior motives for writing the letter. "I found out today that Annette may be working in the Sharon Pratt Dixon {mayoral} campaign, and if so, that will color those responses a little differently, I think," Rackley told reporters.

Samuels responded that she is not working for Dixon and that she couldn't care less what Hughes had to say. As for criticism that she had betrayed the mayor after he had treated her well, Samuels shot back, "My brothers and sisters may be good to me, but if they lie to me, I'm gonna take 'em on."

This was a curiously feisty stance for Samuels, who as mayoral press secretary from 1981 to May 1987 kept a low profile and tried to steer clear of controversy.

But Samuels said she felt betrayed when she read the mayor's "cavalier statement" that he had smoked crack. "There were no qualifiers," Samuels said. "He did not say this was the first time."

Samuels was press secretary when suspicions and allegations of drug use by Barry began to surface. Frequently, she was called upon to respond to allegations and reporters' inquiries.

When former D.C. government employee Karen K. Johnson pleaded guilty to cocaine sale and possession charges in 1984 and admitted selling drugs during a period in which Barry repeatedly visited her at her apartment, it was Samuels who told the press, "The bottom line is that I know the mayor has never taken drugs, sold them or bought them."

Samuels said she talked about drug use with Barry at that time and he told her, " 'I've never taken any drugs,' and I believed him. I had no reason not to . . . . "

What most disturbed her was the mayor's comment that he may be a "poor role model, but . . . being a poor role model is not a crime."

Barry is a role model at least "to his 10-year-old son . . . and when he stepped out there and asked me and others to vote for him to be mayor of this city, he put himself out as the best role model we could choose," she said.

She dismissed suggestions by some that the mayor is being persecuted because he is black. "I don't think it's a racist plot, and people can get mad at me if they like," said Samuels, who is black.

In May 1987, Samuels left the press secretary's post, where she had received mixed reviews from reporters and city officials. She briefly worked for the D.C. Recreation Department and then, as part of a city program, she attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, receiving a master's degree. She returned to D.C. government briefly, but left last fall and is hunting for a job.

When people began lining up outside the federal courthouse last Monday for the start of Barry's drug and perjury trial, Samuels was among the first six people to show up.

She still voices some compassion for the mayor. "He is a brilliant man and he did some fine things for the city," she said. "I think it is sad. No matter what happens, this will always be with him."