Marshall Heights Advisory Neighborhood Commission

Joseph Wayne Lockett (commissioner from 1998 to 2002) a security officer at RFK Stadium VS Donald A. Hughes, a hairdresser who specializes in scalp problems and hair coloring

Key Issues

Crack houses that the police just can’t see

Neighborhood streetlights broken for two years

Abandoned cars, not counting the two junkers in Lockett’s front yard

The Record

Under Lockett’s watch, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 7E—a commission already plagued with financial troubles—closed out fiscal year 2003 with a checking account balance of $199.21, down from $7,662.54 just two years prior. Lockett also left office personally owing $60 to the petty cash “envelope,” where funds were kept after the lock broke on the ANC office’s file cabinet. “I’m glad you told me about that. I’m going to get a money order and pay that back right now,” Lockett said when confronted by the Washington City Paper.

The Debate

Current commissioner Joanice L. Cole recently decided to use her spare time to take Kaplan courses in criminal justice, leaving the seat up for grabs. Feeling the tug of public service, Lockett decided to re-enter politics. Concerned over Lockett’s financial past, Cole and neighborhood activist Naomi Robinson approached Hughes. “I’m a hairdresser, not a politician,” Hughes says.

The Mudslinging

“Call Joanice Cole and she’ll tell you all about the situation,” a reticent Hughes says from the front porch of his red-brick ranch house in Southeast. In a phone interview, Cole says, “Mr. Hughes is a better candidate; he’s like a David Catania for the community.”

The Punditry

Hughes has the endorsements of departing Commissioner Cole and neighborhood activist Naomi Robinson—two women with power in the block surrounding 56th Street and Central Avenue SE. With some door knocking from them, Hughes could easily lock up those votes. But Lockett, who has lived in the area his entire life, has widespread name recognition. And Hughes can’t discount the influence of his opponent’s neighborhood grass-cutting programs, which are popular with the elderly.

—Adrian Brune