In the weeks leading up to the close of the City Council's fifth legislative session, the members have paused to reflect on the body's present, future and past through the activities of three individuals.
On Tuesday, they talked about satisfaction and sadness as they praised a member whose 15 years on the council will end this month. The Rev. Jerry A. Moore Jr., the council's lone Republican, was defeated in the November election.
At a reception in his honor, Moore spoke of his plans to devote more time to his personal life. He talked of the past, his training as an actor and singer, the years when he enjoyed cooking for his family and his community activities.
Moore said he will continue to devote much of his time to being the pastor of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church, a position he has held for more than 30 years. Despite the public speaking experiences that come with being a pastor and politician, Moore acknowledged that there was a tightness in his throat Tuesday as he said farewell to his council colleagues.
Clutching a plaque, a council gift, Moore smiled as he calmly said goodbye to people who wished him well at a reception in Chairman David A. Clarke's office. The man who described himself as a "servant" of the people would perhaps have chuckled if he had seen a memo about his gift: It said Moore would receive "a plague and a watch."
The council's new member, Republican Carol Schwartz, who defeated Moore in November, is preparing to take office. Other members have speculated about what her presence will mean.
She campaigned on the issue that she would raise a strong voice against such things as tax increases. As the council's junior member, Schwartz said she is well aware that there will be some limitations on her activities. She said she will take some time to understand the workings of the council and pointed out that Clarke had informed her that junior members do not receive committee chairmanships. "He said it to me straight and before I asked," she said.
Schwartz will not take office until January. Nevertheless, she already is receiving invitations addressed to council member Schwartz.
And she has selected three campaign workers to fill her staff positions. Robert T. Richards, a lawyer who arranged speaking engagements for Schwartz, will become her executive assistant. Ronald Cocome, whom Schwartz first met when he volunteered for her campaign, will become her legislative assistant. Gloria B. Strickland, who has known Schwartz for 10 years, has been named administrative assistant.
Finally, some council members were reminded of the uncertain future they may face out of office. The reminder came in a letter from former Ward 7 council member Willie J. Hardy, whose council salary exceeded $30,000. "I do hope you remember me," she wrote.
"One must take time to plan where one goes or what one must do to survive after years of community volunteer service, Civil Rights, Home Rule; making laws for our city or changing laws for our city, raising a family and -- oh so much for the past.
"I now look forward to earning a living, and it is because of my new but old-fashioned way of working that I am writing to you. I am using the basement of my home as my home-based business. I create draperies, pillows, chair and sofa covers, tablecloths and wreaths . . . .
"These wreaths are made the old-fashioned way . . .[and] may be used year after year . . . . I need your purchase soon . . . . I can arrange next day delivery . . . .
"May I count on you. This is my source of income."
Sincerely, Willie J. Hardy.
Hardy said that each of the council members responded to her letter by purchasing wreaths for themselves or someone else. She also said that she selected her new job.
"I enjoy this, and there is nothing demeaning about it at all," she said in a telephone interview. "There is nothing in that letter to say I'm starving to death. If I were, I would call them council members up and say, 'I'll be over to your house for dinner.' "