Barry Parallels Charter Schools, Ward 8 Shops

4/24/2012, 3:55 p.m.

Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry, who ended up apologizing earlier this month to the Asian community over comments he made about the upkeep of their shops, made a subtle comparison to the establishments with charter schools during hearing Tuesday morning.

Barry stated that because admission to charter schools is gained by citywide lotteries, students who live in close proximity can't always attend them. As a result, parents are hard-pressed to pull their children out of low-performing public schools in the District, he reportedly said.

"I'm running into the same situation with these restaurants in Ward 8," Barry was quoted as saying to charter school officials. "Somebody said to me the other day, 'Well, if they don't treat you well there, why should I shop there?' The problem is, in some of our neighborhoods -- in my neighborhood -- there's no other place at 9 o'clock at night or 4 o'clock in the afternoon, except those carry outs."

The veteran council member, who easily retained his post in the April 3 Democratic primary, added that: "So, we're going to make sure that they're clean, they're decent places to come in to, they're conducive to eat [at], but also that the owners are contributing to this community. They're not going to come into the Ward 8 community and just take all our money."