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#2 on the ballot, re-elect
Mayoral forum looks at environmental issues By KAT LUCERO Current Staff Writer
Six mayoral candidates sounded off Friday at a forum focused on city transportation policies and other â€œgreenâ€? issues. At the event in Southeast D.C., sponsored by the United for a Healthy Anacostia River coalition, Mayor Vincent Gray faced four of his challengers in the Democratic primary: D.C. Council members Jack Evans, Vincent Orange and Tommy Wells, along with rapper Carlos Allen. Faith Dane â€” or simply â€œFaithâ€? â€” represented the Statehood Green Party. The candidates all supported taking D.C. in a more environmentally friendly direction, but their views varied on how to make that happen. On the question of granting the D.C. Department of Transportation authority to charge market rate for residential parking permits, each candidate offered different positions. â€œWeâ€™ve had that experience giving [the department] a blanket of authority to do something. It always backfires. A one-size-fits-all solution to our city does not work,â€? said Evans, who touted his approach of working with residents, businesses and religious institutions on parking issues in his densely populated Ward 2. At-large Council member Orange
said the city â€œshould provide every household a free parking pass in their neighborhood.â€? In general, he described the cityâ€™s Transportation Department as â€œout of controlâ€? and also described the revenue the city takes in from its speed camera network as excessively high. â€œItâ€™s no longer about safety,â€? he said. Mayor Gray skirted making a specific statement about Transportation Department policy, but pointed out more broadly that cars are becoming unsustainable modes of transportation. He went on to highlight his support for increasing alternatives such as streetcars, expanded Metro trains and bicycles. â€œThatâ€™s why Iâ€™m supportive of adding 100 miles of bike lanes,â€? said Gray. â€œWeâ€™re about 50 to 57 miles of bike lanes at this stage.â€? Ward 6 Council member Wells, known for his agenda for a â€œlivable, walkableâ€? D.C., said he would back Transportation Department initiatives to discourage car ownership, but â€œitâ€™d have to be a phase-in so that we donâ€™t have a complete revolt.â€? Allen said he wanted to make sure that residents are â€œable to get parking that they already have in front of them.â€? However, he refrained from giving a direct answer on the agencyâ€™s right to charge market rates for parking, even when an associate in the third row prodded him to say â€œyes.â€?
Faith, who brought her bugle to the event, said she supports driving golf carts around the city. Most of the candidates want to ban polystyrene, a non-biodegradable material used in food packages and, according to moderator Mencer Donahue Edwardsâ€™ question, a major waste item found in local waterways. Gray noted that he has crafted a bill banning the substance. Evans and Wells also expanded their criticism to the water bottles distributed to the candidates at the forum. Allen said small businesses may not be able to afford alternative food packages, so he suggested education as the more important priority. All the candidates agreed to push for a vaster tree canopy in the city. Evans wants to make D.C. a â€œcity of treesâ€? again. Gray pointed to his goals to restore canopy coverage to 40 percent of the District. â€œItâ€™s going to take planting somewhere between 8,500 to 9,000 a year,â€? he said. Wells said adding more trees is part of his â€œholisticâ€? vision of turning D.C. into a LEED-certified city that would cut down waste and make more efficient use of resources. â€œThe tree canopy is part of our fight back against global warming,â€? he said. Absent from Fridayâ€™s forum were entrepreneur Andy Shallal and Ward 4 Council Muriel Bowser.
Residents aim to save Spring Valley pocket park By BRADY HOLT Current Staff Writer
Bonds grew up in Ward 7, attended DC schools and UC Berkeley, raised her family in the District, four-term ANC chairperson, Georgetown University official, Perry Center board president, and corporation director.
Councilmember Bondsâ€™ votes include: Increased minimum wage & paid sick leave for tipped workers Guaranteed college/training funding to every DC graduate Increased resources to address disparities in low performing schools Decriminalization of marijuana felony possession charges Moratorium on predatory tax lien sales Elimination of property taxes for low-income seniors 70 or older
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As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers investigates possible chemical contamination in Spring Valleyâ€™s groundwater, some residents are concerned about damage to a tiny park in the median of Rockwood Parkway. Spring Valleyâ€™s woes date to a World War I-era Army chemical weapons testing station at American University, created when the area was still largely undeveloped. In addition to caches of munitions left behind, the Army has been trying to track the underground spread of the chemical perchlorate. The Army has identified the park as the best location for a new groundwater monitoring well â€” joining 53 already installed in the area â€” which will identify whether contamination has spread into this section of the neighborhood. â€œThat particular site does meet our project objectives and looks like the most viable option,â€? agency spokesperson Andrea Takash said in an interview. But some residents are crying foul, according to Spring Valley advisory neighborhood commissioner Nan Wells. Neighbors have dedicated themselves to planting bushes and small trees on the spot at the corner of Rockwood Parkway and Glenbrook Road â€” and working in challenging shade at that. Although the Army would restore any area damaged during the well construction, neighbors arenâ€™t convinced it would be easy to replant. â€œThis is a very difficult place to do restoration, and it took [residents] two years to do it before,â€? Wells said at the neighborhood commissionâ€™s March 5 meeting. â€œI think the Army needs to take another look at this and work with us, and preserve this beautiful park.â€? â€œThe question is whether itâ€™s really necessary to wreck what residents consider to be this jewel,â€? added commissioner Tom Smith. â€œThese people have spent an enormous amount of our own money because the District wouldnâ€™t put any resources into protecting this land
Brian Kapur/The Current
Spring Valley residents want to preserve this small park in the median of Rockwood Parkway.
or restoring it.â€? The neighborhood commission voted unanimously to ask the Army to find another site. Takash said yesterday that the Army has investigated other locations but they didnâ€™t work out. One area of flexibility, though, is where on the median to dig the well, she said. â€œWeâ€™re committed to working with the local residents and hearing their concerns, and the exact location on the island has not been decided and the plan is not final,â€? said Takash. â€œUntil the plan is final and until we get a public space permit, nothing is in stone.â€? Although Takash emphasized that no decisions have been finalized, she said the Army isnâ€™t currently considering any other sites. In an interview this week, Wells said some neighbors may organize a protest at the park if well-drilling does commence there. In response to a neighborhood rumor that the Army was threatening to arrest demonstrators, Takash said, â€œNo, no, thatâ€™s free speech.â€? Another new well coming to the Spring Valley area is due soon near Sibley Memorial Hospital, according to Takash. The combined cost of the two wells is about $150,000.
The Dupont Current