One by one, D.C. City Council members yesterday praised the Rev. Jerry A. Moore Jr. as a lawmaker, teacher and friend whose memory will not fade although his presence on the council will end.
Yesterday ended the council's fifth two-year legislative period and was the last meeting for Moore, an at-large Republican who has served on the council for 15 years. The final agenda item was a resolution recognizing Moore's work.
Moore, a Baptist minister, became a presidential appointee to the council in 1969 and was then elected three times. Chairman of the council's public works committee, Moore lost in the November general election to Republican Carol Schwartz after Moore ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign as an independent.
During an emotional farewell that took 30 minutes, council members described Moore as a non-controversial, hardworking, honest colleague who extended a hand to anyone in need.
"He now becomes an elder statesman worthy of national distinction," said council member William R. Spaulding (D-Ward 5). "He has the wisdom, he has the skill and the temperament to provide the kind of leadership this nation needs."
Then it was Moore's turn to speak to the council and the 33 people, mostly council staff and the press. After acknowledging the kind words, Moore added a touch of humor:
"Someone has said let me have my roses while I live," he said. "I can't hear then when I'm dead. This is not my funeral, it is just simply my exit from the Council of the District of Columbia."
Moore said that he was not sad about his departure but felt "terrific" that he'd had the opportuntiy to represent the city for 15 years. He said that he was not a politician but a "servant of the people."
"God has said to me, 'Move on,' and I'm hitting the ground with my feet running," Moore said.
In other action, the City Council gave final approval to a bill that would award the city's cable television franchise to District Cablevision Inc, a Washington-based company that plans to have the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company build the system's transport lines.
City Council member Betty Ann Kane (D-At large) said Mayor Marion Barry, who is in Africa, has indicated he will sign the cable legislation when he returns next week.
On the second and final reading, the council also approved:
* A land-use segment to be added to the city's comprehensive plan as a guide for commercial and residential development.
* New licensing requirements for taxicab drivers. The number of questions on the hacker's license examination would be increased from 25 to 60 and applicants would have to take a training course to learn the city and regulations.
* Increased penalties for activities related to the use of the drug phencyclidine, also known as PCP. The legislation would increase the penalty for the distribution or possession with intent to manufacture or distribute the drug from a maximum of five years in prison and a $50,000 fine to 15 years and a $100,000 fine.