I AM WRITING IN REPLY to the cheap shot you took at me in your column titled “Frank Smith Rebuffed” (“Loose Lips,” 4/21). First of all, Marie Drissel is a hard-working person who has contributed much to the quality of life in our city, as have the other Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners honored in the ceremonials I initiated. A ceremonial is a small price to pay for ANC volunteers who have given so much to their city, and one has to be crazy to believe we can balance the budget of the District of Columbia on the small savings one might generate from canceling ceremonials that honor our citizens for outstanding deeds.

As for Ms. Drissel, I pulled her ceremonial because Councilmember Harold Brazil objected and asked that her name be removed from the consent calendar. When Chairman Dave Clarke called upon Mr. Brazil to state his objection, I realized that Mr. Brazil was about to put something critical upon the record regarding Ms. Drissel and I chose to pull her ceremonial resolution to protect her good name.

Secondly, with regard to whether I am unpopular with public-housing tenants, I want to remind Washington City Paper that I ran in the general election in Ward 1 in November and was re-elected. Those precincts in Ward 1 having large concentrations of public-housing residents (20, 37, 38, and 43) were precincts I carried by overwhelming margins. Case closed.

I have great respect for all the candidates in the Ward 8 race who would seek public office in these days of increased congressional authority, fiscal austerity, and public cynicism—cynicism often fueled by a cynical press. Several of these candidates have shown their mutual respect for me by coming to my office to seek my advice and support even though I neither live nor work in Ward 8.

As to your comment that at the Ward 8 forum someone in the audience characterized me as a “fool” and the candidates did not take issue with this characterization, I can only paraphrase the popular movie Forrest Gump, and say, “A fool is as a fool writes.” And, I might add—if the shoe fits, wear it.

Councilmember, Ward 1, District Building, Downtown

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