Wilhelmina Rolark still hasn't gotten her special City Council auto tags from James Coates, the man she defeated in September. She was in office a month and a half before she was finally issued a beeper. And during last week's Council meeting, colleague John Wilson publicly labeled one of her first major legislative proposals as "bull".
So it sometimes goes these days for the newest member of the D.C. City Council, after six weeks on the job. Rolark's energetic, punctual and aggressive style has gone over well with some colleagues, but others mumble in private that she may already have made herself an enemy or two.
Breaking into the Council, which has become a frequently tightly knit group during its first two years, was no easy task. To begin with, several of the key persons with whom Rolark now serves had endorsed Coates for re-election.
Her husband Calvin, the newspaper publisher and United Black Fund man, is a strong supporter of Mayor Walter E. Washington, which the Council sometimes is not. In one of her first votes, Rolark joined Douglas Moore, the Council's outcast Democrat, in voting to uphold the mayor's veto of a bill taking the human resources department out of the business of running D.C. General Hospital.
With that, some colleagues were quick to say 'I told you so,' and branded Rolark as the mayor's person on the Council. Others made nothing of it, but did wonder why Rolark, one of two members of the bar on the 13-person Council, took to referring to herself as "Attorney Rolark" on press releases. (Both ministers on the Council use the title Reverend, she says.)
Wilhelmina Rolark says she does not sense any animostly yet from other Council members. She voted against the transfer of D.C. General on the merits of the proposal. "I am my own person," she flatly asserts. "If anybody's trying to judge me because of my husband, that smacks of sexism."
She has no disagreement with Wilson (D-ward two), Rolark says. But Wilson apparently has one with her. Private ly, he is pondering boycotting meetings of her Employment and Economic Development Committee. As for a Rolark-sponsored bill to prohibit supermarkets from using those thick-and-thin lines as the only price marks on products, Wilson says he'll sit on it. Passage of that bill would discourage supermarkets from locating in the city, he contends.
Mrs. Rolark says she is still learning the ropes, and getting only limited assistance from other members of the Council. Either way, David Clarke (D-one) notes, she's catching on fast.
The Foggy Bottom and West End Advisroy Neighborhood Commission sent a letter of welcome to the new residents at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, the James Earl Carters. "We hope that you and your family will have the time to participate in our town meetings," the letter reads.
There are no plans now for the President to attend an ANC meeting, the White House says. Nor is it certain yet if the Carters will go to any meetings of the PTA at Stevens Elementary School, where 9-year-old daughter Amy is a student, according to a White House spokesman.
The D.C. Statehood Party concluded its first convention in nearly two years last Saturday. It was three months in the organizing, and held in the shadow of reports that the party's most well-known member, Councilman Julius Hobson, is seriously ill.
A constitution and bylaws were streamlined, and a new party leadership chosen with Josephine (Jo) Butler, an unsuccessful at-large Council candidate last year, selected as the new chairperson. She replaces Anton Wood.
Hobson has said that if he leaves office before the end of his term in 1978, he would like his wife Tina to succeed him. The party's 23-member party central committee would get to choose a replacement for Hobson until a special city election could be held. But it is still undertain if Mrs. Hobson would be that choice, a party official said.
Council member Marion Barry would like to abolish the District Building - in came only - and replace it with D.C. City Hall. "The term District Building has negative connotations, since the term is a daily reminder of the colonial rule imposed on us for so many decades," he says.
Barry has introduced a name change bill, which if passed could become effective July 1. The name change is symbolic, Barry argues, but it's important.