THERE ARE two good fights in next Tuesday's primaries for six District Council seats; otherwise there are no contests. The main Democratic bout is in Ward 7, where H. R. Crawford, a real estate executive known for taking a hard line with tenants who are sloppy or noisy, is battling attorney Johnny Barnes, an aide to Del. Walter Fauntroy. The prize is the council seat left open by Willie Hardy's decision to step down. On the Republican side, the main event has the Rev. Jerry A. Moore Jr. facing the first substantial challenge to his council seat in years. His main opponent is Joseph N. Grano Jr., who -- with no help from Mr. Moore -- organized the Citizens Committee to Save the Rhodes Tavern.
In Ward 7, Democrats Crawford and Barnes have been throwing tough punches from the start of the campaign, pulling down each other's campaign posters and loading forum audiences. Mr. Crawford opposes rent control and highlights youth crime. Mr. Barnes supports rent control and places the District's budget problems and school system at the top of his list of priorities. Mr. Crawford regularly points out that Mr. Barnes is younger and has lived in the city for less time, and accuses him of being a puppet of Mr. Fauntroy and former council chairman Sterling Tucker. Mr. Barnes accuses Mr. Crawford of not having the concerns of tenants and the poor at heart, and of not having a solid idea of what he would do if he won. Neither candidate is a stand-out, but it seems to us the better candidate is Mr. Barnes -- despite his support of rent control -- because of his Hill legislative experience and his focus on city finances.
In the Republican at-large race, Mr. Moore points to his strong record as head of the council's transportation committee and his involvement with the regional Metro board. His chief opponent, Mr. Grano, argues that Mr. Moore has not done enough to make the local GOP a strong opposition party and that he has failed to take a strong position on the city's financial troubles. Mr. Grano has brought refreshing vigor to Republican politics in the city, but he fails to present a convincing case for unseating the experienced Mr. Moore.