Tired of the lowly life of being just City Council members, the District's 13 elected legislators are now planning to spend at least $500,000 - and maybe $1 million - for new quarters which will, as one Council member says, "present a statehouse type of image."
"Is the Council perceived as a state regislature or a city council? Do the council quarters reflect the congressionally mandated stature of the Council?" Willie Hardy asked in a memo to her colleagues.
The Council answered Monday with an 8 to 4 vote agreeing to spend at least $500,000 to make itself a new home - probably on the historic looking, marble columned first floor of the District Building.
"I can think of a lot of other ways of spending federal money or our own money better than improving our image," said Council member Polly Shackleton. "I'm not sure that that's the most important thing before us at this time."
Nevertheless, the Council reluctantly voted the funds. The Council has been faced with continuing complaints of overcrowding by 130 Council staff members tripping over one another in corridors that have been redone as offices.
There are a few drawbacks to the first floor plan as proposed. One of them is that the 71-year-old District Building is condidered obsolete by the city's director of general services. There is no telling when the entire six-story structure may have to be totally overhauled.
Another drawback is that if the first floor proposal is approved, another plan will have to be dropped. That one called for the building of a $40,000 spiral staircase between the fifth and fourth floors of the District Building to ease traffic flow patterns.
In many cities it's called the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, but the big annual Democratic fund-raiser in this city will be held Saturday and it's called the Kennedys-King dinner.
No slight to Messrs. Jefferson and Jackson, local Democrats say. It's just that Bobby, Jack and Martin Luther King Jr. really did something to help persons who were previously on the fringes of American society to get more into the mainstream.
Secretary of State Cyprus Vance will give the keynote address, and abyone who is enough in the mainstream to buy a $100 ticket is welcome at the dinner.
Sam Eastman, the mayor's press secretary and head of the city's public information department, said he wasn't quite sure what to make of a report from the Washington Researchers alleging that for the second year in a row members of teh Washington press corps had rated the D.C. government as the least effective disseminator of information in the nation's capital. The research group polled 57 reporters and concluded that the city government came in 23rd out of 23 on a list headed by 22 federal agencies and branches of government.
Eastman would not give his own assessment of the city's performance on queries from the news media, but he conceded, "There is room for improvement in any gevernment."