Although pre-season contests of sorts have already begun among those vying for mayor in this fall's elections, spring training has yet to get underway for the many hopefuls who plan to run for the six at-large and ward seats on the City Council that are also up for grabs.
Still, the recently disclosed results of a recent poll taken by Afro-American Datanamics, Inc. means bad news for incumbent 5th Ward Democrat William R. Spaulding, but brings good tidings for former D.C. School Superintendent Barbara A. Sizemore.
The results were part of the same survey that found City Council Chairman Sterling Tucker ahead of Council member Marion Barry and Incumbent Walter E. Washington in the race for mayor, 27 percent to 18 percent to 16 percent.
The good news for Sizemore is that she is far above any of the other candidates mentioned in preference for an at-large seat on the City Council. The bad news for Spaulding is that there appears to be a relatively strong "No-Not-Bill" factor in his ward, which, when combined with other observations, provides an early forecast that Spaulding probably faces a more difficult time getting re-elected than any of his fellow Council members.
The Datanamics poll surveyed 403 registered city Democrats who said they probably would vote in the fall election. Of those respondents, who are given a list of possible candidates, about half had no choice for at-large member of the council. But of the remaining 50 percent who did have a choice, nearly 30 percent favored Sizemore.
No one else came anywhere near that percentage. Sizemore's political mentor, council member Douglas E. Moore got about 10 percent while school board member Betty Ann Kane received 8 percent. About 3 percent were for council member Arrington Dixon (D-4).
It was just a few months ago that Sizemore switched her registration from independent back to Democrat and moved to the Democrat-rich 5th Ward in Northest Washington.
Although the findings of the poll cannot be definitive in and of themselves, they do appear to clearly indicate continuing strong name recognition for Sizemore and also hint that after an often emotional period as chief administrator of the city's school system and an impressive near victory in her race last summer for an at-large council seat (which was her first major political outing) Sizemore is beginning to develop a few rock-ribbed supporters.
That could be a plus for her in the at-large race to fill the vacancy expected if Moore continues his candidacy for council chairman or the vacancy likely to come about when Barry steps down from his at-large seat to continue his announced campaign for mayor.
The bad news for Spaulding was about as solid as it could be, given the limitations of the survey. Of 57 Ward 5 residents interviewed, only 13 - about one in every four - said they would vote for him. All but one of the others were undecided.
Many of Spaulding's colleagues are already murmuring that they would rather not have him on a united front, re-elect-all-the-incumbents Democratic ticket. At several community meetings, ward residents have complained loudly, "We don't have any representation on council." And apparently his weakness is not the best kept secret over the back fences in Michigan Park, Brookland, Trinidad and Ivy City, for already more than half a dozen persons are volunteering that they are available to take Spaulding's Job.
Ironically, that could be the best news of all for Spaulding. With a crowded field of newcomers the anti-Spaulding vote could be so diffused as to render all of the challengers impotent and allow the incumbent to squeak through in 1974 when he won the Demoractic primary after a recount reversed his earlier apparent loss and made him the winner by a scant 41 votes.
The bureaucratic snarls are continuing for Edna Hopkins Smith, the lady who tried for two years to find out about getting a low-interest government loan to rehabilitate the house she owns to LeDroit Park - right across the street from Mayor Walter E. Washington's house.
Smith had made a personal appeal to the mayor Dec.5 on a "Direct Line to the Mayor" call-in show, only to get what she considered another period of silence that lasted nearly two months. Finally on Feb. 4 - two days after her story was reported in The Washington Post - it came: a response from Carrol A. Swanson, acting administrator of the Neighborhood Improvement Administration of the city's Department of Housing and Community Development.
The letter was dated Feb. 1, the day before the issue was aired in the press. The envelope was postmarked Feb. 3, however, the day after the report.
The letter informed Smith that her application had been placed in the inactive file until October 1977, the earlier date for which rehabilitation loan funds for LeDroit Park were available. For further information, she was told to contact James R. Littlejohn of DHCD.
That left Smith wondering about two things. For one, it was from Littlejohn's office that she had obtained the loan application form in 1976. Second, and more importantly, if her application was inactive until October, 1977, why did city officials inspect the property twice before that date - during a time whenit was apparently ineligible for assistance?.