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Ward 5 coalition debuts with mayoral town hall meeting

(Published March 22, 1999)

By LUTISHIA PHILLIPS

Staff Writer

Ward 5 has 25 distinct communities, three Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and numerous civic associations. But only one group has united them, according to the new groupís members.

"The Ward 5 Coalition formed in October of last year to serve as an umbrella coalition to bring all the different groups and factions together," said co-chair Robert Magnus.

Over 75 ANC commissioners, education advocates, environmentalists and residents are members of the coalition. Magnus, a ward coordinator for Anthony Williamsí mayoral campaign last year, said the coalition plans to work closely with the mayor.

Mayor Williams was the coalitionís invited guest speaker at its first town hall meeting March 11 at Bethesda Baptist Church in the Ivy City neighborhood of Northeast Washington. Co-chair Robert King said he thought the meeting was a success, considering the snowstorm two days earlier.

"People told me they appreciated the orderly way the meeting was conducted," he said.

The meeting began with an overview of the coalition and approving bylaws. The town hall meeting immediately followed. Magnus said the coalition, meeting monthly since October, has just begun to look for office space and also is preparing for a leadership conference at the University of the District of Columbia.

Some of the coalitionís immediate goals include working with new Ward 5 Councilman Vincent Orange on economic development in the ward and planning summits on crime and the welfare of senior citizens. King also said another town hall meeting will be scheduled on Y2K computer problems and the mayorís budget. King said the Y2K meeting is the coalitionís next priority.

The coalition currently has nine board members and five co-chairs. The co-chairs are James D. Berry Jr., ANC 5C chairman; John P. Frye; King, ANC commissioner for ANC 5A12; Magnus; and Rosalie Smith. Anita Bonds, Diane Pecor, ANC 5C10 Commissioner Debbie Smith and Keith Washington serve as at-large members.

Anyone of any age is able to become a member of the coalition. Voting members are required to pay $20 a year for dues.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator