Entries in Marion Barry (4)


Who’s DC’s Most-Popular Elected Official?

Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, a man whose 30-year political career has been marred by one scandal after another, is the most-popular elected official in the capital city’s government, according to a recent poll.

Now a member of city council, Barry, 76, has been convicted of cocaine possession and served six months in federal prison. He was also found guilty of a misdemeanor for failure to pay his taxes, although marijuana-possession and stalking charges were dropped.

But his approval rating is 52 percent, higher than Mayor Vincent Gray’s and all his fellow council members, according to a Washington Post poll released this week.

Barry’s relative popularity might not be saying much, considering his competition. More than half of the district’s residents think Gray should resign as mayor amid questions about how he financed his 2010 mayoral campaign. Nearly two-thirds said in the Post’s poll that their mayor is not trustworthy.

And with two city council members resigning in light of felony charges this year, the public’s confidence in its ruling council is dismally low. The Post poll shows that 74 percent of respondents think council members Kwame Brown and Harry Thomas’ resignations are signs of broader problems in city government.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Marion Barry, DC City Councilman and Former Mayor, Is Hiring

Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The District of Columbia’s often-controversial and always-colorful “mayor-for-life” Marion Barry is hiring.

For $46,350 to $75,000 per year one brave soul can serve as the communications director for Barry, now a D.C. councilman.

Since Barry has been spokesman-free for months, his chief of staff Joyce Clements-Smith has had the tricky task of smoothing over Barry’s recent comment that the “dirty shops” run by Asians in his ward “ought to go” and his lamentation that the area’s clinics were hiring too many Filipino nurses.

His former communications director, Natalie Williams, tried to unseat Barry in last month’s Democratic city council primary. Barry defeated Williams in the primary, paving the way for his second term on the city council.

Qualified candidates to be Barry’s new spokesperson must have at least a bachelor’s degree and live in or move to D.C. Whomever is up to the task “designs and develops a communication plan,” “writes, manages or directs a staff in the writing and dissemination of press releases,” manages Barry’s website and responds to constituent and media inquiries.

Even the Mayor for Life has a sense of humor about his unquestionably challenging job post. Shortly after the position was posted on April 30, Barry tweeted “Seriously … looking for a bright energetic hard worker. Won’t be boring. :)”

“…and obviously not for the faint of heart,” Barry added via Twitter.

Neither Barry nor Williams returned ABC News’ requests for comment.

The four-term mayor is an institution of D.C. politics, albeit a contentious one. Barry, 76, was convicted of cocaine possession in 1990 and served six months in prison. Three years after being released he was re-elected for another term as mayor.

In 2002 he was arrested again after traces of marijuana and cocaine were found in his car, but no charges were filed.

 Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Marion Barry: ‘Dirty [Asian] Shops’ Comment Was ‘Not Racial’

Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry doubled down on comments he made earlier this month that the “dirty shops” owned by Asians in his Southeast city council district “ought to go.”

“That’s not racial,” Barry, now a city councilman representing the majority-African-American Ward 8, told Reason TV.  “The fact is that 95 percent of the carry-outs in Ward 8 are owned or managed by Asians.  So I’m finished with that.”

After winning the Democratic primary in his re-election bid for city council, Barry, 76, said in an April 3 speech that Asians’ shops “ought to go” so that African-American businesspeople will “be able to take their places.”

“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,” Barry said in his election-night speech.  “They ought to go.  I’m going to say that right now.”

He sought to explain his criticism in the Reason TV interview, which was posted online Sunday, by citing the “cultural differences” that are present in Ward 8, one of D.C.’s poorest areas with the highest unemployment rate in the nation’s capital city.

“There’s a cultural difference between a number of ethnic groups whether it’s Hispanics or whether it’s Asian or white people,” Barry said.  “There is a cultural difference because of our socialization, because of our segregation, discrimination.  All of this adds to it and affects every aspect of our life.”

Barry’s original comments sparked immediate outrage from D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, who said he was “deeply disappointed” by Barry’s remarks.

Barry, who served as mayor for sixteen years, apologized for his “choice of words” earlier this month, emphasizing that his comments were only directed to the “less-than-stellar Asian American businessmen” in his ward, not an entire ethnic group.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Former DC Mayor Apologizes for Comments on Asians’ ‘Dirty Shops'

Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry apologized Thursday evening for comments he made earlier this week regarding Asian business owners, saying in a statement that he was “deeply apologetic for any harm I have caused.”

“I am sorry that my choice of words in expressing my discontent with some of the Asian business owners in my Ward offended the Asian American Community,” he said, emphasizing the word “some” in his statement.

Tuesday night, after winning the Democratic primary election for the District of Colombia city council, on which he has served for the past seven years, Barry seemed to berate the Asian-American business community in his Southeast D.C. district.

“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,” he said after winning the Democratic Primary for his Ward 8 City Council seat, according to a video posted by NBC 4 in Washington.  “They ought to go.  I’m going to say that right now.  But we need African-American business people to be able to take their places, too.”

The comment evoked a response from current D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray on Thursday, who said he was “deeply disappointed” by Barry’s remarks.

“There is no room in this wonderfully diverse city for comments that disparage anyone on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation,” Gray said in a statement.  “Our energies are better spent focused on building everyone up rather than tearing anyone down.  That is how we achieve the vision of One City.”

Barry intially took to Twitter on Thursday to clarify his remarks.

“My comments were taken out of context & construed as disparaging 2 entire Asian biz community. We DO deserve our bizs t/b nice places in W8!” read a tweet from his @marionbarryjr Twitter account Thursday afternoon.

The city councilman then tweeted photos of three businesses, two of which seemed to be run by Asians, saying “WE can do a better job.”

“I do NOT disparage the Asian community, but the fact is there r some bizs that can do better!” Barry wrote.

In his statement Thursday evening, Barry continued his scorn of the Asian-owned businesses in Ward 8 that, he said, “don’t reach-out to neighborhood groups, make financial contributions to the neighborhood or, help young people in the neighborhood improve their quality of life.”

“It is to these less than stellar Asian American businessmen in Ward 8 that my remarks were directed, not the whole of Asian businessmen in Ward 8 or, the Asian American population,” Barry said in the statement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio