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Local: Education

Marion Barry criticizes hospitals for hiring Filipina nurses

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Local,Education,Lisa Gartner

Ward 8 Councilman Marion Barry made comments Monday about Filipina nurses who work in District hospitals, just weeks after Barry told his supporters that Asian businesses "ought to go."

At a hearing, Barry told the president and board members of the University of the District of Columbia that the school should be supplying D.C. residents to serve in the "lucrative" posts of nurses and teachers.

But that was not the case, Barry said.

"In fact, it's so bad, that if you go to the hospital now, you find a number of immigrants who are nurses, particularly from the Philippines," Barry said. "And no offense, but let's grow our own teachers, let's grow our own nurses -- and so that we don't have to be scrounging around in our community clinics and other kinds of places -- having to hire people from somewhere else."

Barry did not respond to phone calls on Monday evening, and his voicemail inbox was full and not accepting messages.

Earlier this month, Barry found himself in hot water when, after his victory in the Ward 8 Democratic primary, he told supporters, "We've got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops. They ought to go."

Barry called on African-American businessmen to take their spots in the community.

Barry initially defended his remarks, going so far as to post photos of restaurants serving Asian food in his ward. He blamed their Plexiglass storefronts for creating distance between the owners and the community; then criticized the food for its calories.

Mayor Vincent Gray and several members of the D.C. Council condemned his statements.

Barry apologized, but maintained "that there are a number of the Asian-owned, neighborhood stores and carry-outs in Ward 8 that only sell highly caloric food and that, unlike some other Asian businessmen in Ward 8, 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."

lgartner@washingtonexaminer.com

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