An article yesterday incorrectly stated that the Food & Beverage Workers Local 32 has endorsed Democrat Walter E. Fauntroy for D.C. mayor. The union has not made an endorsement in the campaign. (Published 7/21/90)
Walter E. Fauntroy and David A. Clarke, two of the Democratic hopefuls for D.C. mayor, stepped up their attacks on chief rival John Ray yesterday, withFauntroy accusing Ray of lying about his contributions from developers and Clarke criticizing him for a 1985 vote to weaken rent control in the District.
At separate news conferences, Clarke, the D.C. Council chairman, and Fauntroy, the D.C. delegate to Congress, continued to press the attacks they launched Wednesday night during the first televised debate in the increasingly bitter race for the Democratic Party's mayoral nomination.
Fauntroy, seizing on Ray's assertion in the debate that he had a smaller percentage of developer contributions than most of the other Democrats, said Ray, an at-large member of the D.C. Council, had sought to "hide the truth and hide the money."
"That's downtown developer double-talk," Fauntroy added. "To intentionally mislead the public on this issue is hypocritical and inexcusable."
Fauntroy contended that the $220,000 Ray has reported raising from real estate interests represents about one-third of his total contributions -- a share far larger than those of the other Democrats in the race.
Margaret Gentry, Ray's campaign press secretary, said Ray stood by his assertion. "Ours on a percentage basis is no more, and in some cases less than, the contributions from development interests that other candidates have received," Gentry said.
A recent Washington Post analysis of campaign contributions through March 10 found that Ray had received $182,315 from developers and real estate interests, or 35 percent of his total contributions.
Clarke received $11,525 from developers, or 10 percent of his total, not including funds raised by his political action committee before he formally launched his mayoral campaign.
Another Democratic candidate, D.C. Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (Ward 4), received $34,058 from developer interests, or 23 percent of her total. Lawyer Sharon Pratt Dixon (D) received $14,676 from developers, or 10 percent of her total.
Fauntroy's totals were not included in the Post analysis because he entered the race in March and had not been required to file financial disclosure forms. He has since accepted contributions from developers, but his share has not been as great as Ray's, according to a review of a campaign finance statement filed by Fauntroy last month.
The five major candidates in the Democrats' Sept. 11 primary are Dixon, Fauntroy, Clarke, Jarvis and Ray.
In a separate campaign development, the Washington Teachers Union, representing 7,000 teachers, has decided to endorse Ray, sources said yesterday. William H. Simons, president of the union, has called a news conference for today.
Meanwhile yesterday, Clarke used a news conference marking his latest endorsement from a tenant group -- the Committee to Save Rental Housing -- to accuse Ray and Jarvis of trying to distort their records on rent control.
Clarke said that while Ray and Jarvis have tried to portray themselves in recent weeks as friends of rent control, both had actually tried to undermine the city's pro-tenant law during the council's 1985 deliberations on the reauthorization of the legislation.
Gentry said Ray "voted for rent control every time it has been before the council during his 11 years in office, and he is the author of more pro-tenant legislation than any other council member."
Ray said after the debate Wednesday that Clarke had voted for the 1985 bill that would have gradually phased out rent control, after Clarke tried unsuccessfully to strip the bill of the provisions weakening rent control. The bill was approved by the council but was later overturned by voters in a referendum.
"If he felt so strongly about rent control, why didn't he vote against the bill?" Ray said.
A spokesman for Jarvis, who was allied with Ray during the rent control debate, said Clarke "is trying to deflect attention from the fact that he voted for the rent control bill."
Clarke said yesterday he voted to support the final bill only because the rent control statute was set to expire the following day. By voting for the measure, he helped preserve the law, he said.
Gottlieb Simon, a Clarke supporter and an organizer of the referendum overturning the bill, said, "Clarke has been with us, and Ray has been against us -- again and again and again."
Although Ray strategists have expected the other Democrats to accelerate their attacks against him in an effort to narrow the lead he enjoys in published polls and fund-raising, Gentry said Ray does not plan to respond in kind.
"We intend to run a positive campaign," Gentry said.
Fauntroy told reporters after his news conference that he intends to hammer away at the issues of developer contributions, as well as Ray's rent control vote. "My quarrel is not with developers," Fauntroy said, but with "the Beltway bandits who raid the District of Columbia" in search of development opportunities at the expense of affordable housing.
Fauntroy, who used the televised debate as a forum for sharper criticism of Ray, picked up some endorsements from organized labor this week, including the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Local 25, the union that first endorsed Marion Barry when he was elected in 1978; the Service Employees International Union Local 722; and the Food & Beverage Workers Local 32.
At his news conference, Fauntroy repeated his call for a commuter tax on the incomes of nonresidents who work in the District.
However, Rep. Stan Parris (R-Va.) condemned Fauntroy's proposal. A commuter tax "may be good politics for him, but it is faulty public policy and an irresponsible evasion of the city's obligation to get its fiscal house in order," Parris said.
Staff writer Richard Morin contributed to this report.