H. R. Crawford's otherwise routine first week as a member of the D. C. City Council was actually highlighted by the whirlwind gala inaugural activities that ushered into office the newest one-thirteenth of the council.
There is still no official price tag on Crawford's Jan. 2 inaugural events, but Crawford's inaugural committee chairman James W. Baldwin estimates it is somewhere around $4,000.
Baldwin said the inaugural committee expects to have some money left over, when they finish counting up the receipts from ticket sales, from the $1 souvenir booklets and the $100-a-page advertisements in it.
There is no provision in the city's current campaign finance, election or conflict-of-interest laws covering fund-raising for such inaugural events, according to city officials.
"Inaugural committees are like any other committees -- they should have the freedom to do what they want," said Lindell Tinsley, acting director of the Office of Campaign Finance. "The inaugural committee is not political because it is not [organized] to support or defeat a political candidate."
"He [crawford] was already elected. He's not a candidate. Should the American Civil Liberties Union file? Should the NAACP file?"
Baldwin said the inaugural committee plans to make a complete public listing of all the costs and contributors as soon as the committee treasurer, Monteria Ivey Sr., returns form an out-of-town vacation. Baldwin said the left-over money could either be returned to the contributors or turned over to a constituency service fund for Ward 7.
What is certain now is that Crawford's inaugural activities were unprecedented for a ward or at-large council member, according to Crawford's colleagues on council. Most members in the past have marked their initial swearing-in day with a small private party for former campaign workers and a few friends.
Crawford began his day with a mass at his parish, St. Francis Xavier Church on Pennsylvania Avenue in Southeast Washington, followed by a $5-per-person breakfast in the church's basement.
At the breakfast, and later at the $10-a-ticket evening inaugural ball [also at St. Francis Xavier], volunteer workers were busy hocking copies of Crawford's 56-page souvenir inaugural book.
The slick-backed book includes 28 pages of advertisements, sold at $100 a page, from local merchants, realtors and attorney friends of Crawford. Crawford said last week that he is still receiving requests for copies of the book, and money from the ads "is still trickling in."
The back cover ad announced that, "The Barry family extends best wishes to our Councilman, H. R. Crawford, for a successful term of office, Marion, Effi and Christopher Barry." Barry did not support Crawford's election, but he does live in Ward 7, and he did not pay for the ad, according to his press secretary, Alan F. Grip.
There were also ads from architects, a Burger King restaurant of Pennsylvania Avenue whose opening was initially opposed by some neighborhood groups and the ward's First Resident, the mayor. The Washington Informer Newspaper (owned by Calvin W. Rolark, the husband of council member Wilhelmina J. Rolark of Ward 8) and the East of the River Health Clinic had full-page ads.
Several banks and savings and loan associations took out ads, as did Crawford's management firm, Crawford/Edgewood Managers Inc. ("Congratulations to our consultant, H. R. Crawford.") Numerous neighborhood businesses -- liquor stores, beauty parlors, dry cleaners, restaurants, funeral homes and realtors -- bought ads, and there was space for autographs in the back of the booklet.
The morning's events were followed by an evening inaugural ball at which former Mayor Walter E. Washington, a personal friend and close adviser to Crawford, made one of his few appearances at a public political function since leaving office in 1979.
The former mayor used the occasion to renew his political affinity with the church-going, backbone Washington voters of Ward 7 who made up his constituency and who, for the large part, supported Crawford in his campaign last year.
Washington reminded the Crawford supporters packed into the church basement that he had carried Ward 7, the far southeast and northeast corner of the city, in every election he ran in. The son-in-law of a prominent Baptist minister, he told them in typical, good-humored fashion that he felt just a little out of place in the Catholic church basement.
Then Washington tossed some good-natured barbs at Barry, who moved into Ward 7 to try to establish his own political base there. "What deficit?" Washington asked at one point, referring to the city's $409-million revenue shortfall this year. "I left something." Barry, sitting not far from Washington on the platform, laughed good heartedly.
At another point, Washington told the crowd that Barry "is your mayor, and you've got to support him."
Someone in the audience clapped, and Washington turned to Barry and said, "There's one for you. You'd better take him home and wrap him in a warm blanket."