MORE THAN a year has passed since the death of Joseph B. Danzansky -- and before another one goes by, his lifelong, phenomenal love for Washington should be returned at least in grateful part with a fitting monument. In the considered and correct judgment of those who remember best the extraordinary significance of Joe Danzansky's all-embracing presence in this, his native city, the site for such a monument should be along the "grand avenue" that he worked so exuberantly to revive and glorify.
We refer to Pennsylvania Avenue, the focus of Mr. Danzansky's last labors as a civic cheerleader and financial big-heart. The decision rests with the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation, the organization with which Mr. Danzansky met in the final hours before his death. But according to the Joseph B. Danzansky Commemoration Committee -- a broad coalition of longtime friends and admirers who have contributed generougly to uphold his record of charitable works in the community -- action seems to have been "indefinitely postponed." Why?
Supporters of this project as well as numerous other community undertakings planned in Mr. Danzansky's name believe that the indecision has been caused by a series of articles in this newspaper last fall on the operations of the National Bank of Washington. The articles noted that at the time of his death, Mr. Danzansky held more than $2 million in loans from the bank, a fact that was criticized by federal bank examiners because executive bank officers are forbidden by law to borrow more than $10,000 from their institultions. Bank officials argued that his duties did'nt fulfill the legal definition of executive officer. The issue became moot when he died.
Surely this unresolved matter is not enough to cancel out the enormous spiritual and financial commitment of Mr. Danzansky to people in every corner of this community, including those who once suffered financially, racially and socially in a segregated town. The list of causes, activities and awards is vast -- and well known to all in a position to commemorate this unofficial "City Father." His legacy is important to Washington -- and this message should never be lost on the future generations who find this city to their liking.