- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A sign promoting voting rights for the District will be displayed at RFK Stadium for the Nationals’ home opener tonight, after officials said earlier yesterday the chances were “almost none” the sign would be up in time for the game.

Anthony Robinson, a spokesman for D.C.’s Sports and Entertainment Commission, said yesterday talks are nearly finalized to put the sign in place, but details have not been determined.

The push to install the sign was spearheaded by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s nonvoting representative in Congress, who has proposed that the sign be “large and visible” in the stadium.

Mrs. Norton said her idea made sense because “the world’s focus will be on this city.”

“If beer can be promoted in our ballpark, surely we can get our act together to promote our own human rights,” Mrs. Norton said.

D.C. Council member David A. Catania, at-large independent, last month introduced a resolution asking that players wear patches on their uniforms representing the District’s lack of voting right in Congress.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams called for council members to set aside their differences concerning the team and attend the game.

Some council members — including Mr. Catania and Marion Barry — who opposed the city’s offer to build a new ballpark with public funds are skipping the game. Mr. Barry said his attendance would undermine his stance opposing the stadium-funding deal.

Mr. Barry, Ward 8 Democrat, is not opposed to attending future home games despite his stance on the stadium’s financing, said Linda Greene, spokeswoman for Mr. Barry.

“He loves baseball and supports the team,” Miss Greene said. “He just feels the symbolism of him attending [tonight] would be hypocritical.”

Other council members are citing scheduling conflicts.

But Mr. Williams urged the council to present a united front for opening night.

“They ought to just chill out and come to the game,” he said. As to concerns that opponents of the stadium might be booed, he said, “It’s all part of being in politics.”

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