In her continuing bid to run Ward 8 Councilmember Eydie Whittington out of office, Sandra Seegars says she’s collected enough petitions to force a recall vote on Whittington, who won her seat by one vote last spring. In a press release, Seegars accuses Whittington of cheating, lying, and stealing the election, and then doing a lousy job upon taking office. Along with being Cora Barry’s “Lady in Waiting,” Seegars says Whittington’s offenses include failing to “develop a jitney service as promised,” and supporting a proposal to bring “360 drug addicts/junkies to our community.” Seegars says Whittington also supports the $17.6-million lease of the “Yong Yun Building paid for by our tax dollars,” which will house those addicts. Seegars’ petitions should be filed in December, which should leave just enough time to recall Whittington before she comes up for re-election next fall.
Hookers on the Highway
Some unwitting D.C. residents, visitors, and prostitutes may soon have a whole new forum on the World Wide Web—with a little help from some neighborhood busybodies. The Blagden Alley Community Association has persuaded Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans to introduce a bill that would allow the group to upload mug shots of people arrested for prostitution-related offenses onto their web page (www.fga.com/ crimenet). The group hopes that by raising the risk of virtual exposure, johns will seek pleasure elsewhere, and the prostitutes populating downtown D.C. will head across the 14th Street Bridge on their own volition.
While Evans’ anti-harlot bill caters to a few squeaky Northwest neighbors, it would also repeal D.C.’s Bail Reform Act. The law was enacted in 1992 after the lucrative crack trade enabled some violent criminals to make bail that judges had hoped would keep them behind bars. Now, dangerous defendants can be held without bail, but the law also prohibits jailing nonviolent prostitutes just because they’re too poor to make bail. Blagden Alley Community Association President Leslie Miles argues that prostitution is far from harmless. She’s fed up with crack whores who avoid even a night in jail when caught. Miles believes that repealing the bail act could keep hookers locked up, off the streets, and out of her neighborhood, albeit temporarily. She apparently hasn’t given much thought to the homicidal maniacs that might buy their release in the process. “We have the most lenient prostitution laws in America,” says Miles. “This was recommended by the chief judge of the Superior Court.”
While he promptly nominated a new director to the critical D.C. Boxing Commission, Mayor Barry seems to have forgotten to name someone to head the Department of Finance and Revenue (DFR), which is needed to implement reforms recommended by the financial control board. Council Chairman Dave Clarke sent Barry a letter Oct. 17 reminding him that acting director Paul Wright, appointed on July 31, can’t serve longer than 90 days without council confirmation. But local activist Marie Drissel says the mayor hasn’t responded, perhaps because he isn’t eager to begin reforms in earnest. Then again, Drissel says, “Maybe they just can’t find anybody.”