Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) will be sworn in Thursday for his second term in office, with inaugural events toned down from four years ago to reflect the District's economic realities.
"We're in a period where we're feeling budget pressures, and we're seeing people who have had trouble [getting] employment since 9/11," said Williams spokesman Tony Bullock.
"This is not a time for a grand celebration," Bullock added. "Things have sort of been tailored to the times."
In addition, the procedures for raising the private funds to pay for the inauguration have been changed in response to audits by the D.C. inspector general that were critical of the mayor's previous fundraising activities. Under a mayoral order issued this year, the inaugural committee, appointed by Williams, had to get authorization to solicit donations. It also must record all donations, donors and how the money will be spent with the D.C. Office of Partnerships and Grants Development. Every quarter, that office will post on its Web site (at www.opgd.dc.gov) -- and release to anyone who requests it -- a detailed accounting of the money raised and spent by the inaugural committee.
"We're doing this . . . so there are no questions about who contributed," Bullock said. "Everything's just out in the open."
Thursday's three inaugural events are budgeted at almost $200,000, or half the cost of Williams's first inauguration. According to a preliminary list provided by the mayor's office, most contributions appear to be corporate, with only a handful of donations from private citizens. As of yesterday, the largest donors included Pepco Holdings Inc., Chevy Chase Bank, Fannie Mae and Comcast Corp., with $25,000 in contributions each, and ACS State & Local Solutions with $15,000. ACS, formerly Lockheed Martin IMS Corp., has been a major District contractor.
The events are free and open to the public, but the Inaugural Breakfast and the People's Celebration, an evening event, will require tickets. They were available through the Mayor's Office of Community Affairs, but the office said yesterday that all of the approximately 3,000 tickets had been distributed.
The Inaugural Breakfast will start at 7:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Washington, 400 New Jersey Ave. NW. That will be followed at 10:30 a.m. by the swearing-in at Warner Theatre, 13th and E streets NW, of Williams and seven reelected D.C. Council members: Democrats Linda W. Cropp, council chairman, Phil Mendelson (At Large), Jim Graham (Ward 1), Kathy Patterson (Ward 3), Vincent B. Orange Sr. (Ward 5) and Sharon Ambrose (Ward 6); and Republican David A. Catania (At Large).
The day will end with a dinner and dance dubbed the People's Celebration, to begin at 7 p.m. at the Old Post Office Pavilion, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
Bullock said the mayor's inaugural address, to be given at the swearing-in ceremony, will have three themes that he has designated as priorities in his second term: education, opportunity and public safety.
"There will be some mention of specific programs and other points he wants to make about the importance of homeownership and adult literary and raising the level of education in our city," Bullock said.
He added that Williams will touch on the increase in the crime rate this year and talk about ways to reverse it.
"He will pledge to put more police officers in our neighborhoods and forge relationships with citizens through citizen watch groups and Orange Hat patrols and the reserve officer program," Bullock said.