Community bellyaching over the disruption caused by Metro construction is old hat. But last week, John Nyarku, fed up with Green Line construction in his Columbia Heights neighborhood, pushed back and won. All week long, a huge drilling rig had been pummeling Nyarku’s front yard, which happens to double as a city easement. Workers had covered the rig in sound-deadening blankets and kept it operating below allowable decibel levels, but they violated a city ordinance prohibiting drilling before 7 a.m. and after 10 p.m., according to neighbor Yavonne Jackson. Exhausted, Nyarku last Thursday staged a one-man sit-in against Metro and its primary contractor, Kajima Kiska. He pulled out a chair, set it across a newly dug grout hole on his lawn, and sat down waving protest signs—right smack in front of the drilling rig. Kajima Kiska immediately sent Nyarku, his wife, and their child to a local Holiday Inn to wait out the clamor. Although the drilling was finished on Friday, the family stayed at the hotel through Sunday at the contractor’s expense. “We try very hard to be good neighbors,” says Metro spokesman Rod Burfield.
Motor Voter Walter Masters, Washington’s most famous in-law, would do anything to vote for Ward 8 Councilmember Eydie Whittington. Trouble is, he needs a Ward 8 address—again. Mayor Marion Barry’s brother-in-law had his 15 minutes of fame last year after D.C. Council candidate Sandy Allen alleged that Masters did not live in Ward 8 when he voted in the special election to fill Barry’s former council seat. (Allen lost to Whittington, Barry’s handpicked successor, by one vote.) After the election, Masters apparently returned to his wife and child in Florida, but this June he resurfaced in the District, working for Whittington’s re-election campaign. Masters had been registered at a Savannah Street address, but when his residency was challenged before the board of elections last year, he admitted that the lease on that apartment had expired even before the 1995 election. Upon his return, Masters changed his voting address to an apartment at 4660 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., where he was staying with another Whittington supporter. “He was sort of camping there,” says Ward 8 activist Cardell Shelton. “But then they had some kind of misunderstanding,” and Masters got the boot. On Aug. 2, Masters, who still drives a car with Florida tags, re-registered to vote at 161 Raleigh St. SE—home of, you guessed it, Marion Barry. Staffers at the mayor’s office could not confirm whether Masters actually lives there.
Ghosts in the Machine The U.S. Attorney’s office has asked the Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs office to investigate charges that Whittington submitted forged petitions to the Board of Elections to get her name on the September primary ballot. Ward 8 activist Sandra Seegars told prosecutors that someone had filled out a petition for Whittington by copying names from a sign-in list at a monthly residents’ meeting at a neighborhood apartment building. Seegars says all the names on that petition are written in the same handwriting, and she provided the U.S. Attorney with written statements from three elderly residents who claim their names were forged. Seegars says the FBI and the D.C. Inspector General’s office have also been investigating the allegations. Mystified by the brazenness of the alleged forgery, Seegars says, “I guess they thought the seniors wouldn’t do nothing about it.”