The crowd of some 6,500 persons who trooped to the D.C. Armory/Starplex for last week's benefit boxing match was one of the biggest Starplex fight crowds since Dec.17, 1977, when Sugar Ray Leonard beat Hector Diaz.
Neither Leonard nor Diaz was on this card, but one thing the bout had going for it was an apparent knock-out punch from the chief executive's office.
Effi Barry, the wife of Mayor Marion Barry, is head of the group that cosponsored the fight. Many aides along the fifth floor corridor leading to the mayor's office said that more than subtle hints were dropped on staff members to but tickets for the bout.
"Now what am I supposed to do with two $30 tickets to a fight," one aide complained last week, holding up the tickets. "I don't even like boxing."
Marlene Johnson, deputy legal counsel to the mayor and a member of 11-person Network Plus group the cosponsored the event, was described as the aggressive salesperson.
"Marlene almost put the strongarm on you," one aide grumbled the night of the affair.
Johnson estimated that she sold 75 to 100 tickets. But she didn't strongarm anyone, she said though she was "very persuasive" and encountered "no resistance."
The affair was a benefit for athletic programs in city public schools. It is still not known how much was raised.
The subterranean wars of the city's regular Democrats have been continuing quietly over the past few weeks. The skirmishes are being fought to fill the seats on the D.C. Democratic State Committee that were vacated when several leading city politicians were elected to new offices and decided to bring some of their friends in with them.
One of the more interesting contests was the race for a committee seat representing Ward 6, which includes Capitol Hill and parts of Anacostia. The winner was Ted Gay, who managed John Ray's successful campaign in the May 1 special election to choose a replacement for Marion Barry on the City Council.
Not suprisisngly, Gay had the support of Ray and Barry. Ray was also backed by City Council members Nadine P. Winter (D-Ward 6) and Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large). Gay will replace Sharon Ambrose, who vacated the seat when she became Kane's executive assistant.
The looser was school board member John E. Warren, a perennial political foe of Barry, who brought two busloads of supporters to the election but still lost 219-124. Some of Warren's supporters considered it a geographical battle within the ward, because Warren lives in Anacostia and Gay lives on Capitol Hill.
In the contest to replace Anita Bonds, now a special assistant to Barry, as a representative from Ward 2, Paul Kuntzler was selected, making him one of the first openly gay persons to serve on the state committee. Ward 2 is the political stronghold of the gays, who have signficant clout in the DuPont Circle, Foggy Bottom and new Southwest neighborhoods.
Gloria Dent was the major loser in Ware 2. Her candidacy was supported by some of those persons who in the past have worked closely with Del. Walter E. Fauntroy(D-D.C.).
The state committee has also chosen 12 new at large members in an effort to broaden its political base. Among the 12 are Angel Luis Irene, who now becomes the only Hispano on the committee, and Mary Spottswood Pou, the first and only openly gay woman on the committee.
Organized labor, which has been on the outs with the committee since an anti-Walter Washington coalition seized control in 1976, has four representatives - Ron Richardson, Josh Williams, Geraldine Boykin and Bill Saunders.
Lee Carty, a veteran political activist in Ward 3, and professional agent-promoter Guy Draper, who both supported Sterling Tucker for mayor, are new at-large members. So is the Rev. A. Knighton Stanley of Peoples Congregational Church, who supported Washington.
Other new at-large members are Daria Winter (the daughter-in-law of City Council member Winter), restaurant owner Stuart Long and publicist Johnny Allem.
The slate of 12 at-large members was said to have been jointly approved by Barry, Fauntroy and City Council Chairman Arrington Dixon.
Call it a case of Shannon's Revenge. Donald Shannon, and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner from Georgetown and poilitical supporter of Barry, got upset last year when he received an invitation to a Dec. 30 "Decade of Service" testimonial for Walter Washington.
The event was cosponsored by the Club One Hundred of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church and Friends of the Mayor. The church group used its special bulk rate mailing permit to send out invitations to the $50-a plate affair for 2.7 cents each instead of the regular 8.4 cents rate.
Shannon complained to the U.S. Postal Serice, which last month found that the church group improperly used its permit to mail out materials for an event it cosponsored with another group that had no such permit. The postal service has since sent the club a bill for $88.39 to make up the difference. Harvey K. Altergott of the postal service said this week that he has been told that a check is on the way.
Shannon is satisfied. "If you can send out your political donations in an envelope with a charitable rate, darn, that's hutzpah," Sahnnon said. "Anybody who can run a $50-a-plate dinner can afford to pay regular postage."