Frank Smith Jr., a community development specialist and an active civil rights worker in the 1960s, announced his candidacy for the Ward 1 seat on the City Council.
Smith launched an attack on the incumbent, David A. Clarke, just minutes after Clarke announced his own bid for re-election a half a block away. "This guy (Clarke) is a fraud and a phony," Smith said.
Clarke's appearance on Seaton Street was "a dirty campaign trick," Smith said, contending that it was Mayor Walter E. Washington's response to community pleas and not the incumbent councilman's activities that led to making the street a community development area.
Smith attacked the doubling of tax assessments in the area in the past four years and said he would introduce a novel program to grant real estate tax relief for low-income people who have lived in "speculated areas" of the city for 10 years or longer.
He contended that present city policies, supported by Clarke, have lured upper-middle-class residents into the ward, displacing lower-income people.
"This may be the last chance to elect a candidate such as myself," Smith said, "with a proven record of leadership in working with low-income families . . ."
Smith, 35, is a Georgia native who has lived Washington 10 years. The father of a daughter, Malaika, 6, and a son, Tarik, 5, he is a fellow at the Public Resource Center, a reserach organization. He wrote a booklet last year on inner-city housing speculation.
Smith said he spent five years as a civil rights worker in Mississippi, where he and his wife, Jean, were jailed repeatedly for trying to help blacks register to vote.
The president of Local 3668 of the American Federation of Teachers, Smith is past chairman of both the Adams-Morgan Organization and Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1C.