D.C. in Brief

Former mayor may run for council seat

Marion Barry may be coming back for another shot at politics.

Though he denies the reports, Barry allegedly told Ward 8 Councilwoman Sandy Allen (D) that he would challenge her for her seat this November.

“He told me he’s running,” Allen told The Washington Post last week. “He said it has nothing to do with me. He just doesn’t like the way the government is being run.”

So far, Barry has refused to comment on the situation, but he had harsh words for Allen.

“Since when did she become my press secretary?” Barry said to The Post. “It’s a dumb political move. When did you ever have somebody who’s an incumbent , announce somebody else’s candidacy? That ought to tell you something about the incumbent, right there.”

Barry, who held the Ward 8 seat during the 1970s, was elected mayor of D.C. in 1978 and held that position for 12 years until he was videotaped smoking crack cocaine in a 1990 FBI sting. After being convicted of misdemeanor drug possession, he served time in prison and was re-elected mayor in 1994.

Barry also dropped hints about running for the council seat during an appearance on a radio show last week. He told listeners to call 678-6979 “just in case I might be running.”

Potential rival Allen actually used to work for Barry, serving as his campaign manager in 1992 and as his “community liaison” to Ward 8 residents. However, Barry opposed Allen’s quests to take his former Ward 8 seat and instead lent strong support to her opponent, Eydie Whittington.

Barry needs to gather 250 signatures from Ward 8 residents by July 7 to get his name on the ballot. Election officials said he has not obtained nomination petitions yet, The Post reported.

Allen told The Post she is sure he will run, but she believes she will emerge victorious.

“He told me he was running,” Allen said. “I think that it is his right to run. And there’s no reason for me to feel anything different. He has the right to run for my seat. But I think I’m the better candidate, and I’ll win.”

-Ryan Holeywell

City rescinds liquor store hour extension

The D.C. City Council last week reversed an amendment that would have allowed District liquor and grocery stores that sell alcohol to stay open until midnight.

The revised law, which reverses an amendment passed last month that would have extended liquor store hours, allows only “genuine groceries” to sell alcohol until midnight. Liquor stores will still be restricted to their current hours of noon through 10 p.m.

Cynthia Simms, community resource officer at the D.C. Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration, predicted the reversal last week.

“They’re probably going to do a lot of amendments to that particular law,” said Simms in an interview Tuesday before the amendment was reversed. She added that she “doesn’t expect any real law until September or October of this year.”

The original amendment was introduced to help District stores that may be losing business by closing earlier than those in Virginia and Maryland.

A cashier named Mesfin at Foggy Bottom Grocery said he agrees that D.C. businesses are losing money under the current closing time.

“Sometimes they call us (asking), ‘You guys close at 9?'” he said. “They go somewhere else.”

Councilman Jim Graham of Ward 2 was a strong opponent of the original amendment from the start. In a letter that was sent to his constituents following the introduction of the original amendment, he wrote, “I want you to know I have strongly opposed any extension of these (liquor store) hours.”

He said his main concerns were that the Alcohol Beverage Commission Board would not have the resources to deal with applications from all of the stores that would apply for the licenses and that it would cause undue stress to residents.

“I know blocks in Ward One that are quite frankly relieved when the 10 p.m. closing time occurs,” he wrote.

The new amendment has a provision that makes the extension automatic for the five groceries that qualify.

-Kaitlyn Jahrling

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