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Cleaning Up Ward 8 Businesses

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Richard Jordan reports on the fallout from Marion Barry's comments about Asian establishments in Ward 8.

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Vance's View: Marion Barry's Lesson Lost

What Councilman Marion Barry meant to say Tuesday night about retail in his ward deserves consideration, but what he originally said about Asian store owners was shameful -- especially because he knows better.

Marion Barry Apologizes for "Asians" Comment

Tom Sherwood reports on Marion Barry's apology for comments about Ward 8's Asian business owners.
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Fallout continued Friday after D.C. Councilman Marion Barry's comments about “dirty” Asian-owned stores in Ward 8, but at least one Ward 8 businessman said Barry has a point.

“We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops,” Barry said Tuesday night as he celebrated his Democratic primary win for his Ward 8 D.C. Council seat. “They ought to go. I’m going to say that right now. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”

Barry clarified Thursday that he didn’t mean to disparage the Asian community but was trying to call attention to retail spaces that are dirty, unhealthy and owned by people not involved in the community.

Ward 8 resident Donny Seto recently renovated his mobile phone store but said many of his neighbors fail to keep up.

“If you look in front of the stores, there are not too many stores that are being swept,” he said. “The windows are dirty. If you look on the ceiling tiles, you can see mold dust.”

He pointed out a nearby resident.

“I've been to these restaurants, some of these restaurants, and ordered food because they are the closest stores to me and yes, I wonder some times,” Seto said.

Barry apologized for the way he tried to make his point, but the former mayor maintains his ward's business owners can do better.

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