The Rev. Douglas E. Moore, a former D.C. City Council member known for being an outspoken maverick, has indicated he intends to challenge Council Chairman David A. Clarke for election, while council member Frank Smith (D-Ward 1) yesterday announced his campaign for a second term.
Moore recently informed council members by telegram of his intention to run for the chairman's seat, according to a council member. Also, Moore wore a "Moore for Chairman" button at Thursday night's D.C. Democratic State Committee dinner.
"I have been considering it," Moore said yesterday, but he added that he is meeting with supporters during the weekend before making any announcement. He described the telegrams as a "preemptive strike" to let others who are considering running know of his intentions.
Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4) has been mulling the chairman's race but has made no announcement.
A spokeswoman said Friday that the entrance of another candidate in the race would not affect Jarvis' decision.
Clarke, who recently announced his decision to seek reelection as chairman instead of running against Mayor Marion Barry, said on Friday that he "would welcome the opposition" if Moore filed for the September party primary.
"It would give me an opportunity to show how far the City Council has come since Moore was on it. The council has improved immensely since Doug was a member," Clarke said.
Moore, a Democrat, was elected in 1974 to the first City Council under home rule as an at-large member; he served a four-year term.
He gave up his seat in an unsuccessful bid against Arrington Dixon in 1978 for the council chairmanship, and the next year he lost to Democratic council member John Ray in an at-large race. In 1982, Moore tried unsuccessfully to unseat council member William Spaulding (D-Ward 5).
Yesterday, Smith opened his campaign headquarters at 1223 U St. NW and emphasized economic development for the area to a group of about 30 supporters.
When asked what he viewed as his most significant accomplishment in his four years on the council, Smith pointed to a homesteading proposal, still under consideration, that would enable low-income persons to buy rundown and abandoned houses that the city acquires.
He said he is exploring with the city an idea of using eight vacant lots owned by the D.C. Redevelopment Land Agency on 14th Street to build about 100 houses for $60,000 apiece to be sold to low-income families for $50,000 apiece.
Smith, chairman of the D.C. Baseball Commission, has become the city's leading promoter in efforts to acquire a major league baseball franchise for the city. He said yesterday there is a "50-50 chance" that the Houston Astros will move here.
Trained as an urban planner, Smith was elected to the school board in 1979 after an unsuccessful bid for the Ward 1 council seat against Clarke in 1978. He was elected to the seat by a substantial margin in 1982, the year Clarke was elected chairman.
No candidate has announced against Smith, but Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and Democratic State Committee member Elona Evans-McNeill said she is considering a challenge to Smith.
In a telephone interview, she charged that Smith has not been a strong leader and pointed to group homes in the ward as a problem with which Smith has not dealt.
Evans-McNeill, a patients' advocate at the Washington Hospital Center, said that Smith has consistently supported Barry's proposals on the council and that she would expect Barry to help Smith in his reelection bid.
Smith also has labor support. Bernard Demczuk, legislative representative for the American Federation of Government Employees, said yesterday that Smith would get AFGE's endorsement.
John Boardman, recording secretary for the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union Local 25, said Smith has his group's support.
Smith said that he has raised about $55,000 for his campaign and that he thinks it will take $100,000 to win.