- The Washington Times - Friday, August 23, 2002

That's no panhandler working the long line of cars snaking around the Department of Motor Vehicles station on Brentwood Road NE. That's mayoral candidate the Rev. Douglas E. Moore and he figures there's no better place to prospect for voters who want change than in the line of overheated drivers stuck in one of the city's most notorious bureaucratic swamps.
Mr. Moore is one of six Democratic Party candidates including Mayor Anthony A. Williams crisscrossing the city these days looking for votes, handing out cold water at vehicle-inspection stations, chatting up residents waiting for buses or trains at Metro stops, stopping in at church socials and senior citizens centers.
The race, long considered a lock for the incumbent, was thrown open when the Board of Elections and Ethics tossed the mayor off the ballot after his campaign falsified signatures on nominating petitions.
Now, Mr. Williams finds himself fighting for his political life against five challengers who are trying to convince voters they're ready to lead.
"I'm putting out about 1,000 posters," said James W. Clark, 62, whose name will be on the Sept. 10 primary election ballot.
Mr. Williams and the Rev. Willie F. Wilson are running as write-in candidates.
The second name on the ballot is Osie L. Thorpe, who said he's a builder rather than a campaigner. "I want to better the conditions of the city," he told The Washington Times this week.
The fourth name on the ballot and she only uses one name is Faith, a 78-year-old dancer-actress. She's spent recent weeks riding atop a car and blowing a bugle as she makes her sixth run for election to become Mayor Faith.
Mr. Williams and Mr. Wilson, realizing the odds are stacked against a successful write-in campaign, have also been campaigning hard: Both men are on the streets each day and attending forums and meetings each night to make their appeals face to face with potential voters.
A typical schedule for Mr. Wilson includes a 7 a.m. "meet and greet" with voters at the Minnesota Avenue Metro station in Northeast; a 9 a.m. radio interview; 11:30 a.m., another meet-and-greet session, this one with Greenleaf Gardens' senior citizens center in Southwest; 3:30 p.m., a neighborhood walk at Georgia Avenue and Harvard Street NW, moving at 5:30 p.m. to 16th and Leegate Street NW.
Mr. Williams' schedule one day was 7:30 a.m., Congress Heights Metro station in Southeast; 9 a.m., prayer breakfast, Allen Chapel AME Church; 5 p.m., waterfront Metro stop in Southwest, and from 5:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., meet and greet at three private homes.
Only Mr. Moore among Democratic mayoral candidates has taken advantage of a natural target, the long line of motorists stuck in the summer heat at the Brentwood DMV.
"I'm from the South and I know to stay out of the sun from noon until 3 o'clock," laughed Mr. Moore as he ventured out each day.
Calling Mr. Williams "dispassionate," Mr. Moore said it was "with a passionate heart" that he took water to "neglected customers."
Almost all candidates agree that the main issues are education, housing and public safety. The five other candidates blame Mr. Williams for the problems.
Mr. Wilson supported Mr. Williams when the latter won election in 1998, but defected soon after the new mayor suggested moving the University of District of Columbia from Northwest to Southeast. UDC is where three of Mr. Wilson's four children received degrees.
Mr. Wilson said that, as mayor, he would urge the school board to enact reforms to improve education, increase teachers' salaries and provide funding increases.
"We have a mayor who can find money for a sports authority, but he can't find money for summer school for young people," said Mr. Moore, who taught four years in Africa and whose father was a principal and whose mother was a teacher.
Also in agreement was Mr. Clark, who said, "They integrated schools, but they never integrated the books.
"I'm not trying to appeal to the high-up people. I appeal to the people on the street. I'm very black-oriented," said Mr. Clark, who then referred to Mr. Williams as "a stooge for white Ward 3."
Faith, who was named Faith Dane at birth, said her liberal conscience craves more local government. She would urge and allow the Advisory Neighborhood Committee of each neighborhood to conduct government business.
"D.C. has been getting terrorized by the Congress long before 9/11," she said. "We have become complacent to a decadent degree."
Other would-be mayoral candidates have their sights set on running write-in campaigns for the November general election.
Johnny Barnes, 54, a lawyer and executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of the Capital area, talked to motorists in the six-block-long DMV inspection line at Half Street SW, within sight of the Capitol.
Each day, up to 700 vehicles are processed there.
"They shouldn't have to sit in a line like this," Mr. Barnes said. "You find the citizens are pretty disgusted with government."
"There are too many [cars, trucks]. It's a mess up," said M.N. Abbas, a hotel worker and cabdriver who had been waiting 2 hours.
That, he said, is one reason he will not vote for Mr. Williams, whom he supported in 1998.

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