This is a nice little election year story about Big Allen, Little Allen, Willie Hardy, Sterling Tucker, Douglas Moore, Walter Washington and a couple of low-numbered license tags.
Big Allen is the Rev. Andrew J. Allen, pastor of First Baptist Church of Deanwood and the brother of the Rev. Willie B. Allen, who is pastor of the Upper Room Baptist Church and the husband of former D.C. School Board President Anita Allen.
Big Allen said he really isn't sure why many of the ministers in town affectionately call him Big Allen while his brother is referred to as Little Allen. "Maybe it's because he likes a Cadillac and I like a Chrysler. Maybe it's because I'm the ugliest," Big Allen, the older of the two, joked the other day. But that's another story.
Anyway, Little Allen is president of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Washington D.C. and Vicinity, a group of more than 300 clergymen who are considered to have a good deal of political clout in this coummunity.
Little Allen's church is located at 60 Burns St. NE, in the 7th Ward. He used to have license tag number 327 on his car. This year, however, he was informed by Council Member Willie J. Hardy, the Ward 7 Democrat, that the tag would not longer be available to him. Little Allen couldn't figure out why.
So he called Council Member Moore, who told a reporter that he can figure out why Little Allen lost the tag. The Baptist ministers group has gone on record urging Mayor Washington to run for re-election, while Hardy has gone on record in support of Council Chairman Tucker for mayor, Moore said.
Moore promptly took the problem to the mayor himself, who in turn had tag number 133 assigned to Little Allen.
Meanwhile, at the mayor's prayer breakfast last week, Big Allen delivered a closing prayer which at one point jolted many of those in the audience and afterward brought a nice little chuckle from the mayor.
"We thank Thee for our mayor," Big Allen said, "not because we think he is the best person in the world, but because we do not want him succeeded by the worst person in the world."
Who did Big Allen have in mind? No one in particular, he said later. "Anybody who approved of vices, anyone who believed in gambling, anyone who believed in dragging the city down by having people dependent on public assistance," he said. "I know the mayor doesn't believe in these things."
By the way, Big Allen says he still has his own low-numbered tag, number 1023.
David A. Clarke's (D-Ward 1) weekend announcement that he will not run for chairman of the City Council in the fall elections, leaves only John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2) as an uncertainty in the chairman's race.
The Rev. David Eaton dropped out earlier; H.R. Crawford, after toying with a race for chairman, decided instead on running atlarge; Carol Randolph, whose trial balloons were floated by Conrad Cafritz and others, has decided to stay in television.
That leaves City Council Member Douglas E. Moore (D-At large), who has already announced his candidacy, and Council Member Arrington Dixon, (D-Ward 4), who has filed candidacy papers and is expected to formally announce early next month, as the mostly likely field for the contest to see who will occupy the number two elected position in city government.
Clarke said he never got beyond the early stages of trying to feel out his candidacy. He talked to some members of the D.C. Democratic State Committee who told him he had good qualifications but might not get elected, he said. He also talked to some people in Ward 3, the mostly white and politically potent area west of Rock Creek Park. They told him, Clarke said the other day, that a white candidate for chairman would probably have trouble getting support among blacks in the city. None of the blacks he talked to echoed that concern, said Clarke, who is white.
The main thing that kept him back, Clarke said, was that he vowed not to take away from his Ward 1 duties in order to sound out his chairmanship possibilities. As a result, he said, that campaign just never got off the ground.
Wilson, who appears to be either in or out of the race, depending on who else is in and what the going interpretation of the election law is, is still undecided. Meanwhile, Dixon appears this week to be leaning toward possibly running on the same ticket as Tucker, whose campaign for mayor he has already endorsed.
Clarke's announcement also left one other loner on the city political scene. Hilda Mason, who replaced the late Julius Hobson as an at-large member of the council, has been strangely silent on her own political plans. She was elected last summer to complete the remaining 18 months of the four-year term to which Hobson was elected in 1974. Her term expires at the end of this year.
Mason, who like Hobson is a member of the D.C. Statehood Party, said she plans to announce her candidacy in about two weeks and has already begun laying the groundworkd for her re-election bid. When she was first elected last summer. Mason received some crucial organizational support from many ranking members of the city's Democratic Party.
In this year's Sept. 12 primary, most city Democrats are expected to be preoccupied with the mayor's race and determining their own nominee for council member at-large.
However, Mason and her supporters are not anticipating much of a fight in the Statehood Party primary, and, she said confidently this week, "I expect some help from Democrats if and when I need it" in the general election, where only one Democrat and one Statehood candidate will vie with independents and other party nominees for the two at-large council seats that are up this year.