It was incorrectly reported in last Thursday's District Weekly that Dianna Brochendorff, formerly Dianna Harvey, had in the past managed the election campaigns of four members of the D.C. City Council. Brochendorff worked in, but did not manage, the 1974 campaigns of Polly Shackleton, Nadine Winter and John A. Wilson. She was coordinator of Barry's 1974 campaign, which was managed by Ivanhoe Donaldson.
From the Watergate to H Street NE, from the high rise apartments of Southwest to the row houses of Shaw, Ward 2 stretches across Washington's downtown and probably is more diverse than any other ward in the city. It includes areas of wealth and blight, blacks and whites - in about equal numbers - the White House and the Capitol, large public housing projects and the city's highest proportion of low-income families.
In the Nov. 8 school board election, two candidates are competing to represent the ward on the D.C. school board - Alverta Munlyn and Alaire Rieffel.
Both women are in their 30s. Both speak highly of D.C.'s school superintendent, Vincent Reed. Both say they are strongly committed to improving the schools in their area.
But the contrasts between them are considerable.
Rieffel, a Smith College graduate with a law degree from Boston University, lives in a Victorian row house near DuPont Circle that she and her husband, a Treasury Department economist, are restoring. She sends her one school-age child to the neighborhood public school, Ross Elementary, where he is part of a white minority of about 10 per cent.
Munlyn, who works as an education specialist for an antipoverty agency, the Center City Community Corporation, dropped out of Dunbar High School before graduating and earned her diploma at night school when she was 27 years old. She lives with her husband, a District government sanitation worker in Sursum Corda, a subsidized low- and moderate-income housing project, sponsored by the Catholic church. Two of her stepdaughters graduated from D.C. public high schools. Her 14-year-old daughter attends St. Patrick's Catholic school.
"Sure, I'm from the other side of the tracks," Munlyn said in an interview. "At times we have to give the other side of the tracks a chance. The problems are from the other side of the tracks."
Rieffel responded later, "The issue in the election is who can be more effective on the school board. Look at what I've done. My child is in a basically black school, and I'm president of a black PTA (at Ross school). I've put my kid where my mouth is. It's not empty white liberalism. I believe I can be effective."
John Treanor, the current Ward 2 board member who decided not to run for reelection, lives just a block away from Rieffel and has endorsed her warmly. When Treanor won the seat in 1973, ousting Evie Mae Washington, Munlyn finished fourth in a field of five candidates. She received only 127 votes.
Rieffel also has been endorsed by city council member Hilda Mason, who used to serve on the school board, and by current board members Conrad Smith (Ward 1) and Betty Ann Kane (at-large).
Munlyn, on the other hand, has been backed by John Wilson, the Ward 2 representative on the D.C. City Council, who has encouraged people who worked for him to help her election bid. She also has support from the Washington Teachers Union and the Washington Central Labor Council.
Although Ward 2 has more than 90,000 residents and about 34,000 registered voters, only 2,106 people voted in the ward's school board election in 1973. The turnout this year is also expected to be low. In the past the precincts with the most voters have been in Southwest, Foggy Bottom and around DuPont Circle, neighborhoods that are mostly white. The virtually all-black precincts at the eastern end of the ward usually have had few voters, even though they supply the bulk of students who attend public schools.
One campaign worker in the area said the election probably will be won by a candidate's organization - "who can get people out to the polls" - because there is little media coverage of the race and few people turn out at forums to hear the candidates.
Rieffel, who has raised about $800, has hired a part-time campaign consultant, Dianna Brochendorff, who in the past has managed one of Wilson's campaigns for the City Council as well as those of council members Marion Barry, Polly Schackleton and Nadine Winter.
Munlyn said she is doing almost all campaign organizing herself, and has raised about $250. Her job with the CCCC often takes her into schools, she said, where she tries to help students who are having problems - either with school work or at home. She said she belongs to eight different Parent Teacher Associations and has been president of two of them. She also has served on several Title One Advisory Committees, made up mostly of low-income parents whose children attend schools getting Title One federal aid.
For about a year she played an active role in community groups pushing for the demolition of old Dunbar High School, which was vehemently opposed by a group of Dunbar alumni. The school was torn down last summer to make room for athletic fields for students at the new Dunbar High, which opened last April.
Munlyn said she has been campaigning hard for the past month, passing out literature door to door and appearing at meetings, most of them of tenant's associations, and church groups. Her main theme, she said, is the need to have committed people on the school board to get more money for the schools from the city government and Congress.
Her campaign flyer declares: "The District's school system has all the typical earmarks and attendant problems of an urban school system. The worst of these problems - drugs, children from broken homes, teenage pregnancy, unemployment, and child abuse - can be witnessed daily in our Ward 2 schools. Alverta Munlyn is familiar with these barriers to good education and knows the types of educational programs that Ward 2 schools need."
In her campaign Rieffel also has been canvassing door to door and going to PTA meetings and occasional parties for her supporters. She talks frequently about her successful efforts last year to keep open Ross school, which shares a principal with Stevens Elementary, the school attended by President Carter's daughter, Amy.
"Children need the environment of a small neighborhood school, a public school," Rieffel said. "It upsets me very much when people who have a choice - black or white - send their children to private school."
As a school board member, Rieffel said she would work hard to "insure that (D.C. high school) graduates have solid basic skills (and to) prevent arbitrary cuts in the school budget."
Like Munlyn, Rieffel praises superintendent Reed and his competency-based cirriculum.
"I think CBC is a good thing," she said. "If the kids learn what they have to learn then we can have other things. But now the kids are not learning what they should learn so I think we should not concern ourselves about any rigidity or lack of flexibility (in the CBC)."
Besides Munlyn and Rieffel, a third candidate, Gloria Handy Holloway, filed nominating petitions for the Ward 2 race. She later withdrew and announced her support for Munlyn.