- The Washington Times - Monday, August 19, 2002

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams continued to "meet and greet" voters yesterday, crisscrossing the city's wards to stop at churches, restaurants and a barbecue to promote his write-in campaign.
"One good thing about this write-in campaign is that it gets me directly engaged with voters," he told WJLA's Kathleen Matthews on "Capital Sunday" yesterday. "Some people, even some of my supporters, felt that I was too aloof, not out there."
The mayor's biggest opponent in the write-in campaign, the Rev. Willie F. Wilson, had no campaign stops scheduled yesterday.
The mayor was denied a place on the Democratic ballot after the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics last month rejected his primary nominating petitions. Last week, his campaign was fined $277,700 because of 5,533 forged signatures.
The mayor has apologized for the situation, saying he regrets not having supervised the process more closely.
"I clearly underestimated the risk," he said. "I took a lot for granted."
Yesterday, Mr. Williams took further steps to remedy that.
Appearing first at Shiloh Baptist Church in Ward 2 in Northwest, he then stopped at French's Fine Southern Cuisine Restaurant in Northeast for breakfast.
An hour later, the mayor shook hands and greeted residents in another Ward 5 stop, New Samaritan Baptist Church. Early evening, residents found the mayor at the Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken League barbecue in Northwest.
"I've been accused of being arrogant," Mr. Williams told about 2,000 parishioners at New Samaritan Baptist Church, 1100 Florida Ave. NE.
"There is a difference between arrogance and confidence," he said. "I'm confident."
"I'm the mayor of the most powerful city on earth," he said, then stressed that he was "your public servant" and was submissive to the will of the people. He attended worship services at churches throughout the city.
He tapped his right toe in time with the music of the choir and the small orchestra. He appeared to listen closely to the sermon by pastor Michael Kelsey Sr. and recited memorized prayer responses.
"How many people came here to hear me?" said Mr. Williams, who was accompanied by his mother, Virginia Williams.
"Just what I thought," he joked when no one held up their hand. "You are a great church family."
Afterward, several members said they had made up their minds about whom they would support next month.
"I already made my choice," said Ned Coleman, a church member for more than 20 years.
Like deaconess Albertha Wheeler, Mr. Coleman chose to keep his election choice secret.
"I told him today, 'I'm going to vote for you,'" said James Adams, 72, after Mr. Williams shook the hands of parishioners leaving the church.
"He's been here before," said James Royal, 49. "He made an impact on me and everyone. He's good for the community. He's comfortable. He's a people's mayor."

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