H.R. Crawford's announcement ceremony was a carefully orchestrated event on the front steps of the District Building, where he stood behind a lectern fitted with microphones. When he proclamed, "We are in it to win," about 300 persons applauded and dozens of colorful ballons were released into the air.

A housing manager and developer, Crawford worked in two Republican presidential administrations. He stressed, however, that he is a Democrat.

Crawford offered himself as "the bridge between the people, the business community and the government," who could find ways to cut the costs of government, reduce crime and improve education.

"If the present trend (of taxation) continues, we may have to move out of our houses, quit drinking water and stop flushing out toilets," he said.

Crawford, who noted that he is a Catholic and said he was "the support of the cardinal," was flanked at the ceremony by several prominent. Protestant clergyman. Among them was the Rev. Jerry A. Moore Jr., who is a Republican, at-large member of the council.

Moore later told a reporter that he did not believe his own endorsement of Crawford intruded in the rival party's primary. "I am mighty concerned who is going to sit in that (council) seat," Moore said.

Crawford, 39, is the father of five children. He said the Rev. Robert Pruitt, pastor of the Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church, will be campaign chairman and Horace Nelson will be campaign director. Headquarters were opened at 509 14th St. NW, across the street from the District Building.

Among those who attended Crawford's announcement ceremony was a group of elderly residents of the Edgewood Terrace Apartments, who arrived on a bus owned by the D.C. Recreation Department.

When a reporter questioned him about the campaign use of a tax-financed vehicle, Crawford said the residents "were probably on an outing - I don't know." He flashed a grin and added, "If they were on an outing, they had a right to stop."

A Recreation Department spokeswoman said the use of the bus would not have been permitted if the department had been informed it was going to a partisan political event.