- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 14, 2002

The Rev. Willie Wilson yesterday attacked the character and credibility of D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, talking tough about the incumbent's record and lack of attention to the needs of poor residents in the District.
Mr. Wilson, pastor of Union Temple Baptist Church at 1225 W St. SE, said he wants to make Mr. Williams' ethics and integrity a major issue of the campaign. He said he also will draw attention to the mayor's apparent "lack of sensitivity" for residents living east of the Anacostia River.
"The mayor may have a solid record of financial accomplishments in the city, but he's forgotten about the people, especially the poor people," Mr. Wilson told WTTG-TV (FOX 5) in a morning interview.
Mr. Wilson on Monday announced his decision to run for mayor as a write-in candidate in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary. He demonized the mayor for his close ties to business and affluent residents in the District.
And he hammered Mr. Williams at a press conference on the closure of D.C. General Hospital, the proposal to move the University of the District of Columbia to Southeast, and on countermanding a D.C. Council decision to put more police on the street.
Meanwhile, Mr. Williams continued his weeks-long effort to win support for his write-in campaign, glad-handing with local businessmen and attending meet-and-greets with city residents. He met with seniors in the Friendship Heights and Chevy Chase neighborhoods and at UDC.
He defended his record of financial security for the city, downtown investment, and investment in neighborhoods throughout the District. He also discussed his view of the new hot topic in the election since Mr. Wilson announced his candidacy race relations.
"This whole thing about 'is the mayor black enough' has gone on long enough. The last time I checked I was black," Mr. Williams said on WAMU (89.3 FM).
"If I wasn't the mayor and wearing a bow tie, I would have trouble getting a cab and starting my own business," he said.
The mayor has declined to debate solely with Mr. Wilson, but he told WAMU he would debate if all other candidates were involved.
The mayor also addressed unemployment disparities between Wards 3 and 8. He said during the next four years if elected he will work to develop a "job production trust fund" much like the housing trust fund the city started earlier this year.
"I would work on a system where so much out of every dollar spent would go to job preparedness, readiness and training," Mr. Williams said.
Yesterday, another man of the cloth who is running for mayor attacked Mr. Wilson's motives for entering the race.
"I think Reverend Wilson is a coward," said Methodist minister and former D.C. Council member . Douglas E. Moore. He called Mr. Wilson a "Johnny-come-lately who didn't have the courage" to challenge the mayor when he was considered a shoo-in for re-election.
"I beat him in his own ward and I beat the mayor," Mr. Moore said, referring to winning the endorsement of Ward 8 Democrats last weekend.
However, neither Mr. Williams nor Mr. Wilson could participate in the vote because they are write-in candidates. The Ward 8 Democratic Committee only endorses candidates who are on the ballot, said Philip Pannell, president of the Ward 8 Democrats.
Mr. Moore questioned Mr. Wilson's motives for running, saying that Mr. Wilson is "fronting" for former four-term D.C. Mayor Marion S. Barry Jr. Mr. Moore said Mr. Wilson is using the "Barry colors of green and white" and trying to use the same voting base.
"Mr. Wilson is trying to knock me out of the vote because he knows that he and Marion Barry and others who support him will have no power in my administration," Mr. Moore said.
Mr. Wilson has indicated that he will receive an endorsement from Mr. Barry, a longtime friend and member of his congregation.
Spokeswoman Raymone Bain said Mr. Barry will not comment on the local campaigns unless he gets the go-ahead from lawyers for his employer the Wall Street investment banking firm of M.R. Beal which is subject to rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission governing involvement in local government affairs and politics.
Mr. Moore said Mr. Williams and Mr. Wilson are targeting too narrow a voter base, while he promises to run an inclusive campaign.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide