Add Filipino nurses to the list of people Ward 8 D.C. Councilman Marion Barry has slighted in the past three weeks.
The former D.C. mayor is under fire for the second time in less than a month after making insensitive comments about District workers of Asian heritage.
"If you go to the hospital now, you find a number of immigrants who are nurses, particularly from the Philippines," Barry said at a council hearing Monday evening. "And no offense, but let's grow our own teachers, let's grow our own nurses ... so that we don't have to be scrounging around in our community clinics and other kinds of places [and] having to hire people from somewhere else."
|Marion Barry has been an enduring figure in District politics for decades.|
|1978: Elected D.C. mayor; wins third term in 1986|
|January 1990: Videotaped smoking crack cocaine; charged with 14 counts, including perjury and cocaine possession|
|June 1990: Says he won't run for re-election in 1990|
|August 1990: Convicted of cocaine possession|
|October 1990: Sentenced to six months in prison|
|November 1990: Loses bid for D.C. Council seat|
|1994: Wins fourth term as mayor of Washington|
|2002: Abandons run for council seat after police said they found traces of drugs in his car|
|2004: Elected as Ward 8 councilman|
|2005: Pleads guilty to federal tax charges; sentenced to probation in 2006|
|2008: Wins re-election as Ward 8 councilman|
|February 2009: Has kidney transplant|
|July 2009: Charged with stalking an ex-girlfriend; charges dropped days later|
|2010: Censured by council for his role in directing a contract to his then-girlfriend|
|April 3: Defeats four opponents in Democratic primary; makes insensitive comments about Asian business owners at victory partySClBApril 5: Apologizes for remarks|
|April 23: Draws criticism for comments about Filipino nurses during council hearing|
That comment came nearly three weeks after Barry made insensitive remarks about Asian business owners in his Southeast Washington ward on April 3 -- comments for which the former mayor eventually apologized.
"We [have] got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops," Barry said then. "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."
On Tuesday, Barry refused to discuss his most recent comments with a Washington Examiner reporter.
"I'm sick of you all," Barry told a reporter before walking away.
Elizabeth Gonzalez, president-elect of the Asian American/Pacific Islander Nurses Association, slammed Barry's comments.
"I'm truly offended by that statement because it targets immigrants in general and Filipinos in particular," Gonzalez told The Examiner. "Comments like that really do not help the relationship between U.S.-educated nurses with foreign-educated nurses."
Barry's remarks, though, are unlikely to place his job in jeopardy, one D.C. political observer said.
"There's very little he could say or do between now and [the election] to disqualify himself in the eyes of the voters of Ward 8," said political analyst Chuck Thies. "The only repercussion that Marion Barry suffers as the result of his behavior is his failing health."
In the past, Barry has acknowledged abuse of alcohol and illegal drugs.
Examiner Staff Writer Lisa Gartner contributed to this report.