The Emergency Committee To Save Rental Housing, a coalition of protenant groups, yesterday endorsed Johnny Barnes in the Ward 7 city council race in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

The tenants coalition also endorsed retired Justice Department attorney Clinton B.D. Brown, who is running a low-budget campaign to unseat incumbent council member Jerry A. Moore in the Republican at large primary.

The committee made its endorsement based primarily on the candidates' positions on rent control and other tenant-related legislation. The group, which claims to represent a substantial number of the city's tenants, plans to contribute money and supply workers for the candidates it supports.

In endorsing Barnes, Committee Chairperson Catherine Eager was critical of Barnes' chief opponent, H.R. Crawford, who is a relator and former assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"It would be a diaster for the city's tenants if H.R. Crawford were elected," Eager sad in a prepared statement. "His election could help shift the balance of power in the council more towards landlords."

Crawford and Barnes have split sharply over rent control, one of the few divisive issues of substance in a campaign that has centered largely on the backgrounds of the two major contenders and the supporters they claim.

Barnes, an attorney who has represented several tenants' organizations, said he supports rent control and in public apperances at forums, has advocated government assistance for tenants who want to buy the apartment buildings they occupy.

Crawford has said consistently that "rent control has hurt the poor."

The group also endorsed incumbents John Wilson (D-Ward 2), Charlene Drew Jarvis (d-Ward 4) and Wilhelmina Rolark (D-Ward 8), all unopposed.