Loose Lips

Barry Scraps Free Bird Requirements

A few weeks ago news broke that Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry's annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway would have some strings attached.

A flyer from Barry's office said Ward 8 residents with kids who wanted a free bird needed to attend every parent/teacher conference and PTA meeting in October and November. Childless residents needed to go to at least three community meetings.

"I am doing things a little differently this year," Barry wrote on the flyer. "Pre-registration is now required."

But that was then. Now, the newest version of the flyer from Barry's office says you can register on the day of the giveaway, which is this Tuesday, starting at 9 a.m. at Union Temple Baptist Church.

"The only requirements are 2 health screenings that will be available that day," the new flyer says. "This will be done on a first come first serve basis."

Barry says he had to adjust his plans after they met with some pushback from his residents.

"We just had a hard time getting people accustomed to that we are not doing dependency anymore," Barry says, adding that the health screenings will include checking for high blood pressure, diabetes, and other maladies.

But Barry says next year will be different, and the original requirements he wanted in place for this year will have to be met in order to get a free turkey.

"I'm not giving away stuff for free anymore," he says. "No one is going to get a turkey unless they do something."

Barry says he's raised somewhere around $38,000 to $42,000 for this year's giveaway, but declined to say who the donors were. He says the money is going to a nonprofit, which will then purchase the turkeys. Barry also declined to name the nonprofit. "I'm not telling you that, either," says Barry.

When LL tells Barry the turkey business sounds like political donations that ought to be reported and publicly disclosed, Barry says LL's too cynical.

"The only goal here is for people to have a turkey for a good Thanksgiving," says Barry. "Of course it has political benefits, but I'm not doing it for that reason."

Barry added, rightly, that he'd still be popular in Ward 8 even if he didn't give away turkeys.

Those with plans on getting a free bird ought to get there early. If history is any guide, not everyone's turkey needs will be met on Tuesday.

The flyer:

  • Drez

    What a dick.

  • NE John

    hee hee hee, Uncle Marion is getting strict

  • BC

    At least Barry uses his constituent services fund to help people out struggling to put food on the table this holiday season unlike Evans who's apparently not helping out any of the po' black folk in Shaw this holiday season with his huge fund and the campaign $ he doesn't really need since he has not opponent. He so quickly forgets them when he doesn't need their votes. I wonder if Shaw residents will even get goodbye xmas cards this year. Not worth the postage?

  • Truth hurts

    I hope Bowser's ethics draft would require Barry and others to identify where money like this (42k) is coming from.

  • OldMarine

    What a hoot. You don't need a photo ID to vote (and perhaps reduce the impact of voter fraud), but you do need one to get a turkey.

  • Really?

    @Noodlez....Love it! One thing is for sure the local media uses Barry as the whipping boy to stir up comments to blog post and news article.

    But yet l the media is all “Love and Light” with Jack and Tommy. We don’t get 99 stories asking Jack where in the hell is the missing $50k (heard it’s in a blind trust). Or Tommy doesn’t become a “crook” for steering around $500k to his bar buddies who created a non-profit for the sole purpose of propping up their businesses. Nope corporate welfare is all good. But handing out Turkeys to those in need is somehow marginalized.

    Can’t wait and see if there will be 99 post about Jack and how much money he has raised for just one ward race where as of now there isn’t in opposition.

  • Southeast Ken

    I don't understand why politicians and other make a big thing about feeding the homeless or less fortunate during Thanksgiving and Christmas? What about helping and being nice to people throughout the year. I don't care for Marion Barry because he's been an embarrassment to blacks and to all resident in the District of Columbia. However, Marion Barry isn't an elitist like his colleagues Jack Evans, Michael Brown, David Catania, and Kwame Full Loaded Brown.

  • Southeast Ken

    To: noodlez, keep telling like it is brother. The truth will sat many of us free. LOL

    Happy Thanksgiving To All

  • http://yahoo a parent

    What happened to giving out of the kindness of your heart? I commend you on trying to get make the community aware and more involved but how about makiing the requirements a little less offensive? One meeting or suggesting the attendance of a meeting? Why does it HAVE TO BE an exchange? Great way to start out the holidays councilman.
    Give and it shall be given to you.

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