The Washington Post incorrectly reported the first name of a newly elected member of the D.C. City Council yesterday in a news account and its accompanying headline and photo caption. Her name is Charlene Drew Jarvis. CAPTION: (NEW-LINE)Picture, CHRISINE DREW JARVIS . . . "I am not a radical" By John McDonnell - The Washington Post
A year ago, Christine Drew Jarvis walked through the side door of District of Columbia politics as a campagin worker for a mayoral candidate. Now she is preparing to walk in the front door as a member of the City Council.
The election of Jarvis by a commanding margin to the Ward 4 seat gives the council a 7-to-6 female majority, making it unique among state and big-city legislative bodies.
Jarvis, 37, a daughter of the famed medical researcher, Dr. Charles Drew, is expected to take her seat soon after formal certification of Tuesday's vote by the Board of Elections and Ethics, tentatively scheduled for May 17.
During a wide-ranging interview yesterday in her cluttered campaign headquarters at 5111 Georgia Ave. NW, she did not take issue with a suggestion that she is a political moderate. "I am not a radical," she said with as grin at one point.
She said she wants to stablizie or reduce property taxes for the 52 percent of the Ward 4 residents who own their homes - the highest porportion in the city. She also said she would favor amending the city's rent control law to increase the 8 percent annual return on investment for landlords in order to preserve vanishing rental units.
"I want to revise the [rent control] legislation and make sure the [authorized] rent subsidy program is funded," she said. "If we do that, I think we will see a move away from condominium conversions."
She said she would like to serve on the council's committees dealing with finance and human resources.
A third-generation Washingtonian, Jarvis grew up in Ward 4, in the "gold coast" area on the eastern fringe of Rock Creek Park much favored by successful black families. The ward extends to the Maryland border near Silver Spring.
Her father, who developed a reliable method of separating blood plasma and became a towering figure in the lore of black America, died when she was 9. Among his continuing legacies was the medical research program he nurtured at Howard University.
Fresh out of Roosevelt High School, the 18-year-old Charlene Drew married her childhood sweetheart, W. Ernest Jarvis, Grandon of the founder of the Jarvis Funeral Home on U Street NW and a fifth-generation Washingtonian.
Marriage did not deter her push for education. She graduated from Oberlin College, won a master's degree from Howard, then a doctorate in neuropsychology from the University of Maryland.
For seven years, she was on the staff of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, taking on an added duty as chairman of its equal opportunity council.
She resigned from NIMH when she announced her candidacy and now servies as a part-time consultant to the agency.
In 1972, when her husband got a job with the General Electric Co. in Columbia, the Jarvises moved to that Maryland community. After Ernest Jarvis returned to the family undertaking business, they moved to Chevy Chase, then-in 1977-back to a home at 1789 Sycamore St. NW in Washington's Ward 4.
"I really wanted to come home," she said yesterday. "I wasn't thinking of politics at the time."
She got into politics last year as a Ward 4 coordinator for Sterling Tucker, the city council chairman then making his unsuccessful run for the Democratic nomination for Mayor that was won by Marion Barry.
When Arrington Dixon, the Ward 4 council member, was elected to replace Tucker as council chairman, Jarvis decided to run for the seat with Dixon's support. She became one of 16 candidates in the winner-take-all race, topping all the rivals with 28.4 percent of the vote.
One thing she learned from the campaign, she said, was that "there is a general feeling among people that government doesn't serve them-that government wants tax money from them, but doesn't really serve them." That, she said, is something she hopes to change.
An imposing woman who stands a half-inch under six feet tall and wears her hair in close-cropped ringlets, Jarvis plays the piano for recreation and enjoys summer weekends with her husbands and two sons.