Saturday, July 13, 2013

Marion Barry: Drugs, crime, prison, politics and Walmart! (Video)

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Story of former D.C. mayor, current councilman, past prison resident and recently censured and fined Marion Barry and his vote to kill economic development in the nations capital!

Most of you already know the details of the long saga revolving around the rise, fall and rise again to power of DC's Marion Barry.

Caught in 1990 smoking crack cocaine with a hooker in a D.C. hotel room, sent to prison, elected to city council, elected mayor again and now city councilman it is a story that Hollywood might have had trouble creating proving once again that fact is often stranger than fiction.

That he was recently censured and fined for accepting gifts from contractors will likely do little to impede his popularity with his constituents in a town where abuse of power and position seems to be a right of passage with little if any serious ramifications if caught.

This video provides a brief synopsis of the career path of Mr. Barry and for those who would rather read than watch this is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

'Barry came to national prominence as mayor of the national capital, the first prominent civil-rights activist to become chief executive of a major American city;[2] he gave the presidential nomination speech for Jesse Jackson at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. His celebrity transformed into international notoriety in January 1990, when Barry was videotaped smoking crack cocaineand arrested by FBI officials on drug charges. The arrest and subsequent trial precluded Barry seeking re-election, and Barry served six months in a federal prison. After his release, however, he was elected to the D.C. city council in 1992 and ultimately returned to the mayoralty in 1994, serving from 1995 to 1999.' (Source)

Stymying economic development in the District of Columbia!

With an unemployment rate that is above the national average (8.5% versus 7.6%) and a high percentage of residents participating in governmental assistance programs, what could be more beneficial to the residents of D.C. then to have Walmart bring six new stores to the area?

Apparently, based on a city council vote Wednesday that included an emphatic NO vote by 'economic development' focused Marion Barry, having Walmart completely pull out of DC instead is the correct answer.

In an 8–5 vote, the council elected to prevent the “underserved” poor people of the District from getting fresh produce and other food, a wide variety of good-quality products at affordable prices, and some 1,800 jobs, many of them entry-level.

In short, the D.C. city council has defeated the mighty Walmart. (Source)

Mr. Barry's argument, stated in a rambling and not-so-clear way in the video below, was that the city council of D.C. was not going to let the big and bad box store chains like Walmart stick-up, hold hostage or push around the people of D.C.

At the same time, approximately 1:50 in, the former mayor insists that creating jobs is his #1 concern for the people who he serves!

At issue for Barry and the rest of the city council was the fact that Walmart be required to pay a 'Living Wage' of $12.50 an hour to employees.

This when the national minimum wage is $7.25 and the D.C. minimum wage is $8.25. Union shops and existing businesses, however, would be grandfathered and excluded from the provisions of the Living Wage bill giving them a huge and unfair advantage over the box stores.

Therefore Walmart, at the expense of and to the detriment of the people of D.C., people who desperately need jobs and who at the same time would benefit from the ability to shop at Walmart, has instead decided to pull out of the project all together.

Who wins? Certainly not the people of D.C. although in the upside down world of politics they will somehow be convinced that the city council people are saviors and protectors.

So who wins? The same people who always seem to win at the expense of the people they serve (see White House and Congress)! The politicians!

Picture source

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