Remember Ann Walker Marchant? She was the campaign mouthpiece for Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) when the petition scandal hit the fan last summer. And virtually alone among that early staff, she continued on as the campaign pulled together to win both the September primary and the November general election.
So what did Marchant -- who emerged as a voice of reasonableness during the chaos -- get for all of those seven-day weeks and 15-hour days? Not much yet.
She submitted a bill to the campaign exceeding $100,000, covering her time, the time of her staff and her expenses through four months of virtually nonstop work. Campaign officials negotiated the sum down to $40,000 but haven't paid even the lower amount, say political sources speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Marchant declined to comment for this account, but those in the know say she doesn't want to follow the path of a campaign aide from an earlier era, Tom Lindenfeld, who has gone to court to recoup payments from the mayor's 1998 campaign.
Lindenfeld, a political consultant who raised money and helped craft the 2000 State of the District address, sued the mayor last summer for $75,000. In one of life's little ironies, Marchant was charged with putting the mayor's spin on the lawsuit when it hit the news, right in the middle of the petition mess.
Better Times for the Boss?
It's been a bad couple of decades for the eight-foot bronze statue of D.C. Gov. Alexander R. Shepherd, who ruled the city for two years in the 1870s until the federal government (does this sound familiar?) revoked home rule.
Shepherd, better known as "Boss Shepherd," sat in front of the District Building for most of the century before being unceremoniously moved during the construction of Freedom Plaza in 1979. His new home became a strip of city land not far from the Blue Plains sewage treatment plant along I-295, where crews left the statue lying on its side for years.
City Department of Public Works crews have rectified that situation, but a heritage group called The Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of the District of Columbia want the next step taken: Returning Boss Shepherd to his historic spot near the seat of city government power.
"We see it as sort of a slight of our local heritage and culture," said Nelson F. Rimensnyder, a former congressional staffer and historian for the group. "He was as local a fellow as you could get."
Rimensnyder said Shepherd (1835-1902) was a native of the city, a product of its public schools and, as a Lincoln Republican, an early advocate of civil rights.
Under his rule, the city constructed 123 miles of sewers, 208 miles of sidewalks, 157 miles of roads, 30 miles of water mains, 39 miles of gas mains. That's in addition to erecting countless streetlights and planting 60,000 trees.
With progress also came cronyism and bloated government, not to mention repeated investigations by the federal government. As Post staffer Eugene L. Meyer wrote in a 1991 magazine article on Boss Shepherd: "He was a hero or a scoundrel, of soaring rhetoric and sometimes mean temperament. For his good works, he was dubbed 'The Savior of Washington'; opponents used less flattering descriptions."
The push to move the statue has reached the mayor's ears, courtesy of D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who said Williams reacted favorably to the idea. Graham also said he might draft a bill urging the relocation of the statue to the front of the John A. Wilson Building, or onto its first floor.
"Boss Shepherd is part of the city's history, an important part of the history," Graham said.
Those of you who prayed at the inaugural breakfast or boogied down at the People's Celebration that night have the mayor's deep-pocketed corporate friends to thank for the good time.
Verizon, Fannie Mae, Comcast, Pepco and Chevy Chase Bank each gave $25,000 to underwrite the festivities, which altogether cost $216,000, according to a summary sheet issued by the mayor's office.
For those who like to follow the money, the inaugural breakfast ran $47,234; the swearing-in ceremony cost $30,404; and the People's Celebration was $116,694. Catering at a Wilson Building reception and other extraneous costs made up the rest of the expenses.
Picking up the tab were 52 monetary contributors, including bankers, insurers, broadcasters, builders, lawyers, restaurants and the occasional political bigwig. There were also 37 in-kind contributors, including Pepco, which gave its $25,000 by paying for an event planner.
Name That Tunesmith
Speaking of the People's Celebration, the lyrics of the unforgettable "Inaugural Blues" that Williams sang (sort of) at the event were recounted in the District Notebook last week, but we neglected to give credit to the songwriter.
So who was the muse behind the mayor's music? None other than his press secretary, Tony Bullock, going by his pen name, Blind Lemon Bullock.