The following were among actions taken at the Oct. 27 meeting of the District of Columbia Council.
NINTH PRECINCT -- The council approved emergency legislation requiring the city to sell the vacant former Ninth Police Precinct building at 525 Ninth St. NE for residential use.
In 1986, Mayor Marion Barry proposed housing 50 inmates there during acute prison overcrowding at the Lorton Reformatory. Council member Nadine Winter (D-Ward 6) led a fight against the proposal, and the city withdrew the plan.
At the Oct. 13 council meeting, Winter proposed emergency legislation to expedite the building's conversion to apartments, but withdrew it when council members discouraged using emergency legislation, which is valid for only 90 days, for real estate transactions.
But on Tuesday, Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large), chairwoman of the Government Operations Committee, introduced her own emergency legislation, saying that the D.C. corporation counsel had decided that emergency legislation would be permanently binding for real estate deals.
Winter, pointing to her long-time concern about the building in her ward, urged the council to vote for her resolution, which she reintroduced.
"I don't care who gets credit for this. I just want to see it done right," Kane said in response.
At one point, Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4) asked about the difference between the two resolutions.
"There's not much," said council Chairman David A. Clarke.
"Is there any substantive difference?" Jarvis asked.
"I haven't been able to discern any," Clarke said.
Winter said that Kane had seen Winter's work and "pretty much used White-Out" to write her own.
As the debate continued, Clarke slammed his gavel, saying "Whoa! We're going to concentrate on the issue, not on the personalities. That's in our rules."
John Ray (D-At Large) said that "this is not the first time" that such a debate had arisen between Kane and Winter and that he resented being drawn into the fray.
"We all saw Mrs. Winter on TV. We read about her in the newspaper. The fact of the matter is that she earned this the old-fashioned way. She worked for it," Ray said, pounding the dais.
Carol Schwartz (R-At Large) said that she resented the legislation because "the mayor is given total credit" for initiating development of the property, when, in fact, "if he had his way there would have been a jail right in the middle of this neighborhood."
John Wilson (D-Ward 2), chairman of the council committee on finance and revenue, who opposed the city selling the property, said "I'm glad that somebody wishes to be responsible, for it's the most irresponsible thing I have ever seen."
Wilson pointed out that the city has an ever-increasing need for low-income housing and various shelters. The District recently spent $2.9 million to purchase the Hurt Home in Georgetown to house mentally disturbed youths. He predicted that after the city sells the Ninth Precinct building, it would go "back to that same neighborhood and buy another property at double the assessed value."
The council passed Winter's resolution, which requires the city to invite bids from private developers who must promise to convert the property to residential use as a condition of sale.
TUITION AID -- The council unanimously passed a bill offering tuition grants at the University of the District of Columbia to persons receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
More than 53,000 AFDC recipients live in the District, according to the Office of Intergovernmental Relations.
The bill requires the university's board of trustees to set aside funds for the grants, but does not specify the amounts to be dispersed. It excludes from the program anyone who has previously received tuition assistance but has not successfully completed course work.
The university is charged with providing the council with end-of-semester reports on the number of participants in the new grant program, program costs and results on whether students passed, failed or dropped out.
In pushing for the legislation, council member Hilda H.M. Mason (Statehood-At Large) noted how difficult it is, in particular, for single women with children to attend school and use what they learn to find meaningful employment.