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The Current

Voters Guide

The Current april 1, 2014 ■ PRIMARY election About the Voters Guide The Current’s Voters Guide for the April 1 primary election appears in The Current and The Washington Informer. It is also available online at issuu.com/currentnewspapers. The Current’s staff interviewed the major candidates in the Democratic contests for mayor, D.C. Council chairman, at-large D.C. Council and the Ward 1 D.C. Council seat. In the mayoral race, Carlos Allen was not interviewed because he did not meet either of two threshhold requirements: having served as an advisory neighborhood commissioner or held other elected office in D.C.; or having raised at least $10,000 in campaign funds.

mayor Democratic primary

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Muriel Bowser

Jack Evans

Vincent Gray

Reta Jo Lewis

Vincent Orange

Andy Shallal

V1

Tommy Wells

Muriel Bowser

Jack Evans

Vincent Gray

Muriel Bowser, 41, lives in Riggs Park and serves as Ward 4’s representative on the D.C. Council. She chairs the council’s Economic Development Committee and sits on the board of directors for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. If elected mayor, Bowser’s three priorities would be accelerating school reform across all eight wards; growing the District’s middle class, with a focus on affordable housing and jobs; and building an open, transparent and efficient government with top talent to lead D.C.’s public agencies. With regard to school reform, Bowser did not commit to retaining D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, but said, “I think she’s a great chancellor with great ideas, and I’m looking forward to talking to her about how we can work together to advance reform across the city.” See Bowser/Page V4

Jack Evans, 60, lives in Georgetown and serves as Ward 2’s representative on the D.C. Council, where he chairs the Committee on Finance and Revenue. If elected mayor, Evans would concentrate on jobs and economic development, education and affordable housing. On employment, the council member points to his lengthy legislative record as evidence of his abilities. Specifically, he touts his involvement in big economic development projects in D.C. such as Nationals Park, the Verizon Center and the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, all of which faced initial opposition. “These projects have led to ... thousands of jobs for District residents,” Evans said. “As mayor, I will use the experience I’ve gained to continue to create jobs, particularly for residents in wards 7 and 8.” See Evans/Page V4

Vincent Gray, 71, lives in Hillcrest and serves as the District’s mayor. Prior to his election in 2010, he chaired the D.C. Council. If re-elected, Gray would continue to pursue fiscal stability, education reform and economic development. On fiscal stability, the mayor argues that he inherited a city in a precarious position. “We weren’t broke,” he said, but the District’s discretionary reserves were virtually nonexistent. Earlier this year, Gray announced that D.C. has a $321 million surplus. That turnaround “suggests we are a fiscally healthy jurisdiction,” he said, crediting the city’s population growth and expanding economy. Once the District has 60 days’ worth of extra cash on hand, Gray supports investing revenue back into public services or tax relief. Gray also makes the case that he has corrected fiscal irresponsibility See Gray/Page V4

Reta Jo Lewis

Vincent Orange

Andy Shallal

Tommy Wells

Mount Vernon Square resident Reta Jo Lewis, 60, is an attorney who most recently worked for the U.S. State Department. If elected mayor, she would focus her energy most on eliminating corruption, improving education and getting District residents more job opportunities. Lewis favors an elected attorney general “to create a partner in fighting corruption,” she said in an interview. “I believe an elected AG would probably be a law-and-order candidate, who would be another partner the chief executive would have to move out fraud and abuse. “The tone,” she added, “must be set at the top by the mayor.” Lewis said the city needs to increase transparency with regard to contracting. There is a real need, she said, “to shine a spotlight on contracts and procurement,” with the D.C. Council providing regulatory oversight rather than See Lewis/Page V5

Vincent Orange, 56, lives in Brookland and serves as an at-large member of the D.C. Council, where he chairs the Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. If elected mayor, Orange would focus on education, affordable housing and finances. On education, the council member would prioritize creating a pipeline for students to remain in the District from pre-K through college. Ideally, he wants government-funded college scholarships to give incentives for students to pursue higher education in the city. “Keep the dollars here,” Orange said. “Keep our young people here.” He also noted that college students tend to live near their schools after graduation. The council member portrays his record on school reform as an indication of his future performance. He describes longtime support for earlychildhood education and robust wrapSee Orange/Page V5

Andy Shallal, 58, is an Adams Morgan resident and the owner of Busboys and Poets. An Iraqi-born entrepreneur, artist and activist, he has been involved in the civic life of the District for decades. If elected mayor, he would focus on education, local business development and making the city a more affordable place to live. On education, Shallal would seek to chart a dramatically different course from Mayor Vincent Gray or any other mayoral candidate, largely rejecting fundamental assumptions underlying the past decade of D.C. school reform. He is wary of charter schools and the prevalence of standardized testing, and he thinks schools that are classified as failing often could succeed with the proper investments, but without needing disruptive overhauls in leadership and staffing. Though Shallal has declined to declare whether he would keep D.C. See Shallal/Page V5

Tommy Wells, 57, lives in Capitol Hill and represents Ward 6 on the D.C. Council, where he chairs the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety. If elected mayor, Wells would focus on education, public transit and youth investment. On education, Wells’ first priority is elementary schools. “Under a Wells administration, every family will have an elementary school within walking distance of their home, which they can attend as a matter of right,” he said. Asked to evaluate D.C.’s current school reforms, the council member sounded a note of frustration. “We have the greatest achievement gap between black and white students in the nation,” he said. “As a matter of social justice, we must do better.” Pressed on whether he would retain the current D.C. Public Schools Chancellor, Wells said he is “inclined to keep Kaya Henderson,” arguing for See Wells/Page V6

The Washington Informer’s staff interviewed the major candidates for the D.C. Council seats in wards 5 and 6. These wards are outside The Current’s distribution area and do not appear in The Current. Due to space limitations, we were unable to include the statehood senate seat, in which Pete Ross is challenging incumbent Paul Strauss, or various Democratic State Committee posts. The incumbent Ward 3 council member, D.C. delegate to the House of Representatives and statehood U.S. representative are uncontested in the Democratic primary. There are no contested races in the Republican or Libertarian parties. The D.C. Statehood Green Party’s contested at-large D.C. Council race — between Eugene Puryear and G. Lee Aikan — was not included due to the limited number of party members.


V2

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

AT-lARGE SEAT D.C. Council

The Current Anita Bonds

Nate Bennett-Fleming

Pedro Rubio

John Settles

Democratic primary

Anita Bonds

Nate Bennett-Fleming

Pedro Rubio

John Settles

Anita Bonds, 68, lives in Bloomingdale. She has chaired the D.C. Democratic State Committee since 2006, and she was appointed to a vacant at-large seat on the D.C. Council in 2012 and elected in a special election in early 2013. If re-elected, she would focus on reducing poverty, creating affordable housing and addressing youth development needs. With regard to poverty, Bonds authored legislation approved in March that will eliminate property taxes for residents over 70 who have annual household incomes under $60,000 and have lived in their homes at least 20 years. The council member also wants to root out abuse of the elderly, especially by their guardians. She supports closing the District’s homeless shelter at the former D.C. General Hospital and shifting homeless families into permanent public housing. “In other words, I think we need to do something we haven’t done in a long time — have the government become a landlord,” Bonds said. “We could purchase some apartment buildings as well as some row houses and town houses.” She also suggested that the city make use of surplus public properties like former schools. Bonds supports the D.C. Promise college scholarship program, which recently won council approval and now needs sign-off from the mayor. The initiative would provide high school graduates from low- and moderate-income families with up to $7,500 a year for higher education, and Bonds believes it would be a good addition to the council’s recent antipoverty strategies. “We’ve increased the minimum wage,” she said. “We are headed in the right direction.” Concerning affordable housing, Bonds would pursue modifications to current rules so that units do not become market-rate when a lowincome tenant leaves. She also supports giving public grants to landlords to subsidize upgrades to affordable units. In addition, she believes incentives should be offered to developers of city-owned land in lower-income communities, if the projects include an affordable housing component. On youth development, Bonds is calling for a “unified approach” akin to the District’s push to help seniors. “We really need a Department of Youth Development,” she said, “to give young people an opportunity to become solid citizens and give parents See Bonds/Page V5

Nate Bennett-Fleming, 29, is D.C.’s shadow representative in Congress. A resident of Anacostia, he is also an adjunct law professor at the University of the District of Columbia. If elected to the D.C. Council, he would focus on three areas: education; jobs and economic inclusion; and housing affordability. On education, Bennett-Fleming would seek to prioritize neighborhood schools and ensure that school buildings are community hubs. “Often they are silos and not directly related to their communities,” he said. With regard to teacher accountability, the shadow representative said, “Evaluation should have less focus on high-stakes testing. Teachers should not be fired if their students are improving. Improvement should have more weight than proficiency.” Bennett-Fleming would also push for increased family involvement for public school students, mandating that parents and guardians participate in college counseling sessions with their children. In terms of classroom learning, the shadow representative believes schools should teach computer coding and programming, preparing students for a digital economy. “Even if they don’t go to college, these skill sets can connect them to jobs,” he said. Some of the specific school-related initiatives Bennett-Fleming would back include subsidies for enrichment programs for low-income students as well as a new network of open-door college prep centers across the District. On jobs and economic inclusion, the shadow representative favors boosting job training, especially for digital skills. This means promoting private programs such as Comcast’s Internet Essentials, which provides online training to low-income customers. It also means giving tax credits to businesses that train their workers or employ low-income people. “The problem is not necessarily a shortage of jobs. It is barriers to employment due to lack of education and criminal justice problems,” Bennett-Fleming said. “We need stronger partnerships with research universities and the private sector to make the District more of an innovation hub and connect community colleges with training programs in areas of job growth such as nursing, data analytics and information technoloSee Bennett-Fleming/Page V6

Pedro Rubio, 27, lives in Brightwood. He works as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense and serves as a board member of the D.C. Latino Caucus. If elected to an atlarge D.C. Council seat, his top three priorities would be after-school programs; safe, walkable communities; and affordable housing. Rubio wants to see the District government finance after-school programs for all students. Specifically, he is pitching a $5 million plan to fund 83 afterschool mentorship programs across the city. The initiative would give annual grants of $60,000 to nonprofit programs operating in schools and churches. These programs could offer tutoring, learning opportunities across subject areas, and activities in arts and sports. He envisions students from D.C. colleges and universities as key volunteers. He also believes that creating more facilities for school sports (especially to equalize opportunities for female athletes) should be a budget priority. To increase walkability and safety in blighted communities, Rubio suggests adding more police officers and offering incentives like tax breaks and loans for more businesses to set up shop. To enhance transportation, Rubio would like to see the city invest more in bus service, including expansion of the DC Circulator into more neighborhoods. He also supports expanding the city’s network of bike lanes. The candidate described several ways in which the District should bolster its efforts to protect and enhance the availability of affordable housing. Since many D.C. families pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent, Rubio believes more assistance should be available for home purchases. One program that could be expanded is “DC Opens Doors,” which helps certain homebuyers with their entire down payment. Expansion of the Housing Production Trust Fund could also help develop more affordable two- and three-bedroom units. He suggested that the city could dip into its reserve funds to finance such projects without harming its credit rating. He said public-private partnerships could also support such projects, which should focus on housing families and seniors. The properties could also include spaces for the community at large to use. See Rubio/Page V4

John Settles, 43, is a Wells Fargo mortgage consultant and a resident of Logan Circle. If elected to an at-large D.C. Council seat, he would prioritize housing affordability, education reform and neighborhood development. With regard to affordable housing, Settles said he would invest more in the District’s Housing Production Trust Fund. In addition, he would push for D.C. to acquire new properties to house residents with modest incomes. “Over the course of the recent recession and drop in prices, the city had an opportunity to acquire properties at below-market prices that then could have been used to ease the crunch,” he said. “I think we need to invest between $25 and $50 million a year into land banking. The more we aggressively land bank, the more housing we produce.” Settles said D.C.’s high housing prices are a problem for longtime residents facing rising costs of living, but they also hurt new arrivals, many of whom are young professionals. “I’ve talked to so many young people who work for an NGO or a nonprofit, and instead of making the $150,000 they could make, they’re making $40,000 and $50,000,” he said. “They come here to make the world better, but they can’t afford the economic costs. I think that’s why we lose people.” Concerning education, Settles said he thinks about the issue daily, as the father of three children attending Hearst Elementary. “As co-chair of my kids’ school’s Local School Advisory Team, I deal with a wide range of issues, from the budget to school security, performance and facilities,” he said. He hopes to focus on transferring the best practices of charter schools into D.C.’s traditional public schools. He also pledged to improve collaboration and coordination between the District’s education agencies, ensuring “a single point of accountability” for charter schools. He would have schools in under-served neighborhoods function as community centers. On the subject of accountability for students and teachers, Settles said he is primarily concerned with students showing growth, as opposed to consistently meeting achievement benchmarks that might be unrealistic. “It should be about steady progress,” he said. “We don’t have enough teachers who have the depth of experience,” he added. “We have too many teachers that get burnt out.” See Settles/Page V4


The Current

CHAIRMAN D.C. Council

Calvin Gurley

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

V3

Phil Mendelson

Democratic primary

Calvin Gurley Calvin Gurley, 57, lives in Takoma and has 23 years of experience working in the federal government, primarily as an accountant and an auditor. If elected D.C. Council chairman, he would push policies aimed at creating jobs, expanding affordable housing and improving D.C.’s education system. With regard to jobs, Gurley believes District residents should be prioritized to fill local government positions that become available through retirements and vacancies. He also supports building a Las Vegas-style hotel and casino on Buzzard Point. Finally, Gurley hopes to open more vocational high schools offering apprenticeships in fields such as automobile repair, plumbing and nursing. “They should be located in the areas of most need, where they have high unemployment and high school dropout rates,” he said. Concerning affordable housing, Gurley would encourage developers to build needed units on D.C.-owned property and on the sites of abandoned housing developments such as East Capitol Dwellings in Southeast. “We need to bring some

Ward 1 SEAT D.C. Council

accountability to the Housing Production Trust Fund to finance an agreed-upon number of units per year,” he said. On education, Gurley pledges to return D.C. to an era before mayoral control of the school system. “Mayors generally are not good at education — not unless they come from an educational background,” he said. Specifically, Gurley would revert the District to a school system run by an elected school board. He would push for free meals and tutoring for all students. Asked about his other educational priorities, Gurley said, “There’s a need to do less standardized testing, and our curriculum needs to focus more on math, science, analytical reasoning, music and extracurricular activities.” Gurley, who ran for the same post in 2012, has served as the president of the Fairlawn and Takoma civic associations. A graduate of Eastern High School, Gurley holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Bowie State University. He has also taken graduate business administration courses at the University of the District of Columbia. He is married with two children.

Phil Mendelson Phil Mendelson, 61, has chaired the D.C. Council since 2012. The Takoma resident was first elected to the council in 1998, winning an at-large seat. If re-elected, Mendelson will have three priorities: improving the professionalism, transparency and reputation of the D.C. Council; reducing truancy in D.C. Public Schools; and using council oversight to improve the University of the District of Columbia. Regarding improvements to the council, the chairman supports enhancing the quality of legislative reports accompanying bills, which he said “vary enormously.” Some “barely explain legislative intent,” he said. Mendelson backs boosting resources for the council’s budget office and its general counsel. He also pledges to make public documents more accessible to citizens and to continue working to minimize ethical infractions by council members. “I can’t make a council member not take bribes or not commit a criminal act if he or she is so inclined,” he said. “However, the amount of contentiousness and embarrassing episodes has declined in

Jim Graham

the past year and a half that I have chaired the council.” With regard to truancy, Mendelson supports continued investment in grants for community organizations that work with parents to address the root causes of chronic absences. When bullying is the cause, these groups sometimes help children find new schools. On funding, Mendelson believes the city should invest more in middle and high schools, and carefully analyze the data on elementary schools “to see what is working best.” For the University of the District of Columbia, which “spent the last two years contracting and finding its focus,” Mendelson seeks to provide oversight without jeopardizing its independence. “The community college is a tremendous opportunity for workforce development to improve job opportunities for District residents,” he said. A graduate of American University with a bachelor’s in political science, Mendelson worked as a council aide and served as an advisory neighborhood commissioner in McLean Gardens prior to his election to the D.C. Council. He is divorced and has one daughter.

Brianne Nadeau

Democratic primary

Jim Graham Jim Graham, 68, has served as Ward 1’s representative on the D.C. Council since 1998. Should he be re-elected, Graham would focus most on Ward 1 issues, concerns related to his position as chair of the Committee on Human Services, and affordable housing. Graham said he is particularly proud of his constituent service successes because they make a real difference in the quality of life of residents in his ward. Given the ward’s diversity, with large numbers of people from Vietnam, Latin America and Ethiopia, immigration and cultural issues are important, he said. Development is also a hotbutton topic in Ward 1, he said, noting that he was a major contributor to spurring growth in Columbia Heights and in the U Street area. Currently, he is working to attract a full-service grocery store to the proposed Howard Town Center on lower Georgia Avenue. Graham said he is also pleased with his efforts to preserve the First Church of Christ, Scientist, building in Adams Morgan, which will be merged into a new hotel. He secured $41 million in tax relief for the development, conditional upon 50 percent of the employees being Ward 1 residents. “It’s going to be a great project,” he said. The incumbent also touted his efforts

on the Committee on Human Services. “I’m very proud of the work I’ve done in fighting poverty,” he said. “We now have a promising employment program to move people from chronic welfare dependency to self-sufficiency.” When asked about his support for a bill that would have raised the minimum wage at Walmart and some other stores — but which drew threats that the megachain would cancel planned outlets — he stood his ground, even though the new stores have meant hundreds of new jobs for D.C. residents. “We want people to get out of chronic dependency,” he said, adding, “I wasn’t moved by the [Walmart] threat. Whether or not they withdrew was irrelevant to me.” Graham also said the “context” surrounding the Large Retailer Accountability Act was important. New York and Los Angeles also “fiercely opposed” Walmart, he said, noting also that he didn’t know that the council would later approve a hike in the minimum wage for everyone, not just those working at large nonunion companies. Related to poverty issues, of course, is affordable housing. Graham says the city must focus on bringing “an end to chronic homelessness in D.C.,” though “we’ll always have a need for emergency assistance.” When asked if emergency assistance See Graham/Page V5

Brianne Nadeau Brianne Nadeau, 33, has lived in the neighborhood surrounding Meridian Hill Park for 10 years and is a former advisory neighborhood commissioner. If elected, her three top priorities would be strengthening schools, maintaining affordability and focusing on ethics. School reforms, she said, are working, “but the kids ... need wraparound services such as health care and social workers who deal with behavioral issues.” And she said all schools should have solid art programs, music, after-school tutoring and extracurricular activities. She would also like to see more honors and Advanced Placement courses available to top students. “We are learning from successful charter schools. ... E.L. Haynes and DC Prep provide lots of services for their kids and with great results,” Nadeau said. But she said neighborhood schools fill a distinct role and draw different populations, as parents must apply to charters, which can expel students who fail to perform. Neighborhood “schools should be community hubs,” Nadeau said. By working with nonprofits, businesses and area residents, she said, the city can ensure community engagement and arrange for services ranging from food pantries and health care to after-school jobs for older children.

Nadeau is also interested in athletic equality. “We should rotate fields so boys and girls have equal space,” she said. “There should be a needs assessment for additional sports facilities.” Another area of concern is the cost of housing in the city. Nadeau supports tax abatements for low-income residents to maintain housing affordability. She also believes the government should help residents “shift to renewable energy to reduce their costs.” “We need some affordable housing to be family-sized,” she said. “We are not providing enough long-term affordable housing.” One way to improve the situation is putting more money into the city’s Housing Production Trust Fund, which should maintain a minimum designated amount, she said. “Our top priority must be moving people out of poverty,” she said. “We cannot have 1,800 people needing shelter in the wintertime. … We must move more people into homeownership or limited equity co-ops,” in which the owner shares equity with the co-op. “We must produce more affordable rental units through government incentives or when government land is involved.” Nadeau said she’s particularly concerned about ethics because Ward 1’s 15-year council member, Jim Graham “has not held himself to ethical standards See Nadeau/Page V6


V4

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Current

SETTLES From Page V2 Settles believes there should be more wraparound social services for students, largely provided by school social workers. In terms of neighborhood development,

EVANS From Page V1 Asked about Walmart’s recent D.C. expansion, the council member said it’s impossible to know if the superstore was bluffing when it threatened to abandon the District if minimum wages were increased for large retailers. He voted for a bill to mandate a living wage for large nonunion stores, after securing backing for a decrease in the District’s sales tax. On education, Evans declined to say whether he would keep Kaya Henderson as D.C. Public Schools chancellor, saying “all personnel decisions would be made after I’m elected.” The council member said he believes the current schools budget is adequate, though he questions whether it is always spent wisely. He does not favor varying education funding levels based on the socioeconomic status of neighbor-

hoods, because so many District students travel outside their neighborhood to attend school. The two school reform policies Evans said he would prioritize are expanded early-childhood education offerings and increased after-school programs. “It’s clear to me that children who start school at an earlier age acquire better skills to succeed,” he said, adding that all children should be enrolled by age 3. “Secondly, it’s very important for many of the children and families in our city that they be provided with after-school homework helpers,” Evans said. To that end, he wants to initiate a partnership with D.C. universities through which college students receive academic credit for tutoring in the District’s public schools. “I would have to work out the details of how it would be financed or implemented. Maybe universities would do it for free,” the council member said. Overall, Evans said he believes

BOWSER From Page V1 Reforming the District’s middle schools is Bowser’s biggest priority in education. “I think confidence and quality in our lower grades has improved dramatically,” she said. “Parents lose confidence as their children approach the middle grades, and we know parents start making those decisions as early as second grade.” The council member is pitching a citywide reform initiative — “Alice Deal for All” — modeled on Ward 3’s Deal Middle School. “I think we need to identify schools that are on the brink of being top-tier schools and identify the resources they need to push them to tier-one status,” she said. According to Bowser, improving middle schools would have the added effect of boosting high school achievement as well. At the

GRAY From Page V1 from Mayor Adrian Fenty’s administration, like the D.C. Summer Youth Employment Program overspending its $20 million budget by $23 million. On education, Gray has continued the sweeping reforms begun in 2007 under D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. He remains a strong supporter of Kaya Henderson, Rhee’s successor, whom he appointed in 2011. As external validation for his school reform vision, the mayor has touted recent national standardized test scores that show the District making larger academic gains than any state or big city in

Settles worries about communities that currently lack the kind of amenities all “livable, walkable” neighborhoods should have. “For example, in Shepherd Park, despite the high incomes, there isn’t a sit-down restaurant other than Ledo Pizza. Nor a grocery store. Many of the residents have to go to Silver Spring,” he said. Settles believes the D.C. government should

there is a straightforward formula for every good school: a strong principal, excellent teachers, a topnotch curriculum, a safe environment and, critically, an involved group of parents. He acknowledges that parental involvement is often the most difficult part, but pledges to increase the school system’s outreach to families. In his view, the next mayor will need to do a better job of integrating D.C.’s traditional public schools with its charter school sector. On affordable housing, Evans is quick to point out that he worked with Mayor Anthony Williams to create the Housing Production Trust Fund, which he sees as “the primary and most successful vehicle to create affordable housing in our city’s history.” The council member is proud that the D.C. Council allocated more than $100 million for affordable housing just this year. “In addition, I have made sure that when the city is a participant in

high school level, the council member would focus curriculum on science, technology, engineering and math. She would also increase technical skills education such as training in computer coding. Asked about expanding high school offerings for students with the highest academic aptitudes, Bowser said, “With upcoming high school renovations, we have the opportunity to replicate programs like Benjamin Banneker Academic High School and the School Without Walls in other parts of the city.” In terms of D.C.’s early learning initiatives, Bowser said the key is qualified educators, and described early development of vocabulary and reading skills as “a key indicator” of a program’s success. Throughout D.C.’s schools, Bowser supports more language immersion programs in Chinese and Spanish as well as more extracurricular programs. “I think we need a vision at the top for what athletics should

the country. “I think we are demonstrating that our children can learn,” he said. “We also recognize that there continue to be very substantial achievement gaps in the city, but we’re starting to close those.” Asked about the criticism that Rhee’s and Henderson’s reforms unduly burden teachers and place too much emphasis on standardized testing, Gray talked about striking a balance. “I don’t think people should spend all their time teaching to a test,” he said. “I think that will be a continuing challenge.” Gray takes particular pride in special-education and early-childhood programs. “When I came into office, we had spent $168 million the previous year on sending children to private schools because of

help plan these types of developments by “identifying an ideal site, working with the property owner to ensure that they had the proper zoning and re-permitting.” Married for 17 years, Settles has three children. He is a graduate of St. John’s College High School and has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Howard University. any development project involving housing, at least 35 percent of the units built are affordable,” he said. As mayor, Evans would maintain current funding levels for the Housing Production Trust Fund and work with nonprofits to build as much low-income housing as possible. “Our preference certainly would be for people who are in affordable housing to be longtime District residents, but I doubt it is legal to have a requirement,” the council member said. A Pennsylvania native, Evans has lived in the District since 1982 and was first elected to the council in 1991. He previously served as chair of the Dupont Circle advisory neighborhood commission. Married with three children and three stepchildren, Evans holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He also holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh.

look like across the city,” she said. To grow D.C.’s middle class, Bowser’s first concern is affordable housing. She pledged to continue to invest $100 million annually and to seek a steady funding source for the Housing Production Trust Fund. Bowser clarified that her financial commitment would include preserving existing housing units, not simply acquiring new properties. The council member also said she thinks some amount of workforce housing should be created each time a public project is initiated on public land. In terms of increased jobs training, Bowser said, “We will play close attention to women exiting the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program.” She also pledged to work with private-sector partners to offer training to former prisoners readjusting to the workforce. Finally, Bowser described fundamental reforms she would make to the D.C. govern-

the District’s insufficient capacity to provide special-education services,” he said. At the time, Gray remembers, 2,200 D.C. children were receiving these services in private schools, and he pledged to cut that number in half. “The most recent data I have is that we are down to about 1,150 children,” he said, suggesting that he will soon achieve his goal. On early-childhood education, the mayor touts nationally acclaimed initiatives that he championed as D.C. Council chairman and implemented after assuming office. “We have 70 percent of our 3-year-olds who are in school. We have 92 percent of our 4-year-olds who are,” Gray said. “We showed progress in virtually every area that was measured.”

RUBIO From Page V2 Rubio noted that “a lot of the city is underdeveloped” including the area in Northeast near Union Market; while in Ward 4 the redevelopment of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center still offers many opportunities. “They’re trying still to figure out what we want and don’t want there.” He believes the city’s current rent-control laws are “very successful,” but more should be done to ensure affordable units in new apartment projects — which he said shouldn’t scare off developers. Rubio was born in the District, the son of Salvadoran immigrants. He graduated from American University with a bachelor’s in business finance and is now pursuing a master’s in professional studies at Georgetown University, focused on affordable housing. His career background includes working as an accountant and contract specialist for federal government agencies. In 2009 he cofounded the Inter-American Development Fund, which supports real estate infrastructure in Latin America. Rubio, who is single, lives with his sister, niece and nephew.

ment itself — changes aimed at attracting the best and brightest to serve. “They want to work for a mayor who’s going to focus on the challenges of our future — let them come up with big ideas and stand behind them as we implement those ideas,” she said. On transparency, the council member sought to strengthen the District’s open meetings law, including applying it to advisory neighborhood commissioners with a quorum present. Bowser also introduced measures to strengthen the city’s Open Government Office and to improve agency compliance with Freedom of Information Act requirements. Bowser, who is single, holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Chatham College and a master’s degree in public policy from American University. She served as an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Riggs Park before being elected to the Ward 4 council seat in 2007.

Asked how the District plans to gauge the success of these programs — not simply reporting enrollment numbers — Gray said D.C. is working with several states on a kindergarten readiness assessment. “This tool will be able to measure not only academic skills but also social skills,” he said. For now, the mayor said he is watching for positive indications such as test score improvements in the early grades. He also plans to continue infant and toddler programs and modernizations of school buildings. On economic development, Gray noted that D.C. has created 30,000 private-sector jobs during his first term. “The unemployment rate was in double digits when I came into office,” he said, whereas

it now stands at 7.6 percent. Moving forward, his priority is to diversify D.C.’s economy, boosting new sectors that are beginning to thrive, such as technology. According to the mayor, one fact is certain: Recent austerity measures on Capitol Hill show that the federal government won’t be contributing to major job growth anytime soon. Gray is a graduate of Dunbar High School and George Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. A widower, he has two children and two grandchildren. He previously served as the Ward 7 council member, director of the D.C. Department of Human Services and head of the nonprofit Covenant House Washington.


The Current

BONDS From Page V2 the resources they may need.” Bonds wants to combat the effect of “food deserts” on children by encouraging development of more grocery stores throughout the city. The council member also believes schools in low-income communities should offer clothing

SHALLAL From Page V1 Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson — “I think that’s an unfair question,” he said — he has continuously critiqued the Democratic Party’s education establishment from the left. For example, he opposes shuttering neighborhood schools, which he believes harms communities. Instead, Shallal would flood struggling neighborhoods with wraparound social services for students, including home visits by teachers. He would increase arts education to make school more enjoyable and call upon local university students to mentor gradeschool children. With regard to student and educator assessments, Shallal said, “I think any kind of high-stakes testing is dangerous. It becomes fraught with cheating.” Moreover, he believes the current evaluation sys-

banks. Bonds also supports implementing a school uniform policy to cut down on bullying. Asked if this would apply to all city schools, regardless of area, she said, “There’s a stigma if it’s just for underserved communities.” The council member was formerly the director of corporate relations for the Fort Myer Construction Co., which performs roadway and bridge work. Her previous District government

tems lack buy-in from teachers and principals alike. “I talk to principals who just learned recently that their assessment got changed halfway through the year,” Shallal said. “That’s unfair. That’s inappropriate. When I set an assessment system for my management team, I have them understand 100 percent of what it means.” As a result, he said, “When you screw up, it’s because you screwed up. It’s not because somebody pulled the wool over your eyes or somebody pulled a fast one on you.” As mayor, Shallal would face the challenge of trying to substantially change school policies while adhering to mandate-heavy federal programs such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. He acknowledges that the District can’t afford to lose federal funding, but insists that the city could find more flexibility within the mandates: “I think more creative principals and

ORANGE From Page V1 around social services. In terms of legislative achievements, he touts his 2001 bill requiring that public school students receive textbooks and other school supplies by the second week of each semester. “It took me two years to get that legislation passed, because they said I was trying to micromanage the school system,” he said. Orange stresses the need for early detection of struggling learners. “The earlier I can ascertain where you are, the better it is going to be for me to provide you what you need,” he said. The council member also supports rigorous entry requirements for Advanced Placement courses, dismissing critics who claim that is a form of discrimination. On affordable housing, Orange criticizes the Gray administration for its handling of contracts in Lincoln Heights, one of the neighborhoods prioritized for development through the New Communities program. Citing a Jan. 8 Washington Post article, he laments how the District denied developer Anthony Wash a request for $1 million to finish apartments he was building. Wash received $7 million in subsidies from the city, but the council member contends that D.C. could have afforded to pay the businessman more. “To his credit, he went into his own pocket and suffered himself, where the government should have,” Orange said. “For Deputy Mayor Hoskins to say in the article that Mr. Wash was naive sends a message to every person east of the river — and every potential businessman — that this government will leave you behind.” Orange supports increasing funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund, subsidizing renters with modest incomes and offering tax

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 experience includes serving in the administrations of Mayors Marion Barry, Sharon Pratt and Anthony Williams. Bonds was also chief of staff for Kwame Brown when he was an at-large council member. A widow with three children and seven grandchildren, Bonds studied chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley after graduating from McKinley Technical High School in the District.

more creative teachers have found a way to work within those confines.” On local business development, Shallal envisions two new initiatives. The first is a micro-lending program awarding seed money to young entrepreneurs, similar to the arts commission funding art projects. Under such a program, “someone who has a great idea can go apply for a grant, a small amount of money, like $5,000,” he said. “Those types of opportunities often pay for themselves.” The second initiative is a socalled Office of Civic Innovation — a kind of public marketplace for entrepreneurial ideas that would aim to connect like-minded citizens around new projects. On affordability, Shallal’s first priority is to fully fund the Housing Production Trust Fund. “When I’ve talked to organizations that do housing, they’ve all expressed the importance of maintaining a $100

breaks to landlords who provide affordable housing. He also said he would seek to ensure the continued affordability of homes owned by low-income seniors, veterans and disabled residents who benefited from city assistance in their property purchases, rather than allowing the individuals to enjoy the full windfall from the market-rate sale of their properties. On finances, Orange pledges to better enforce the law requiring government agencies to spend half of their discretionary budgets on local small businesses. “It’s been documented that the Gray administration has short-changed our business community to the tune of $783 million,” he said. Moreover, the council member said, “We are losing millions of dollars on allowing businesses outside of this city to come in and get contracts when there are available contractors here that can do the job.” As an example, Orange cites Trusted Health Plans, which was known as Thrive Health Plans when it won a $542 million contract from D.C. last year. The company’s two owners are from California and Michigan, respectively. “There needs to be more of an examination of the D.C. dollar, letting that dollar circulate in the District, all things being equal,” Orange said. The council member argues that his record on these issues provides a welcome contrast to Gray’s. Specifically, he said he helped increase D.C. government spending on local small businesses from $98 million to $567 million between 2001 and 2006. Married with three children, Orange holds bachelor’s degrees in business administration and communications from the University of the Pacific. He also holds a Juris Doctor from Howard University and a master’s degree in law and taxation from Georgetown University. He has worked as a lawyer, certified public accountant and an auditor, and previously represented Ward 5 on the council for two terms.

million baseline,” he said. “We’ve lost about half of our public housing in the last four or five years, and that has caused a lot of displacement for people,” he added. “Public housing is still an important part of making sure people who are at the very bottom economically are able to have a base to start with.” Shallal would also increase awareness of low-income housing options using phone hotlines — including in Spanish, Chinese and Amharic. In addition, he would seek to redefine affordable-housing eligibility to include people earning less than $40,000 a year. Married with four children and three grandchildren, Shallal is a graduate of the Catholic University of America. Although he studied pre-med as an undergraduate and subsequently enrolled in Howard University School of Medicine, he quickly became disenchanted and began his business career.

LEWIS From Page V1 holding approval authority. All contract proposals and awards should be available online to the public and competitors, she said. The city also must be “more transparent in our hiring,” she said, but those applying must be able to keep applications confidential so they don’t risk their current jobs. Lewis also urges annual online classes in ethical behavior for senior executives, as well as creation of a city ethical team to review related issues. The candidate believes improvements in education are crucial to allow residents to improve their financial standing. “We must continue to put a priority on education so people can move into the middle class,” she said. “Every neighborhood should have a great school.” She said elementary grades have seen “successes, … but parents are terrified going into junior high and high school.” Lewis called for more wraparound services to help out when a child is sick but a parent must work. She said D.C. should partner with nonprofits to develop programs that address this sort of challenge. Banneker Academic High School and School Without Walls High School must be assured of adequate resources so parents will continue to rate them highly, she said. In areas where parent participation is weak, Lewis called for teachers and administrators to make home visits. When a school’s usage starts to decline, steps must be taken to repair it so it need not be closed, she said. The candidate is critical of simply “teaching to the tests,” saying that development of critical-thinking and problem-solving skills is most important and those are difficult to measure.

V5

GRAHAM From Page V3 could be limited to D.C. residents, he answered, “It’s very difficult to keep Virginians out. We have residency requirements for the homeless, but I’m not sure they are constitutional. It’s a huge problem. [But] it shouldn’t deter us from solving homeless problems. That’s a result that I can live with, especially in a city with record surpluses.” Overall, Graham said he has done good work on housing. “I’m proud of what Ward 1 has done,” he said, referring to numerous affordable-housing projects in Ward 1, some built in cooperation with the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. Before he was elected to the D.C. Council, Graham taught at the University of Wisconsin law school, worked a staff attorney for a U.S. senator, led the Whitman-Walker clinic as executive director and served as a law clerk to former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren after he had retired. He has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, where he majored in political science, and a law degree from the University of Michigan. He initially came to D.C. to get a Master of Laws degree from Georgetown University.

Lewis said computer access is an issue for many students from low-income families, and she called for partnerships with high-tech firms to address the problem. Lewis is also focused on jobs, and she believes small businesses need more help. “We must partner with the private sector and continue to support small businesses,” she said. “We need to get rid of any onerous licensing rules and regulations. We must establish more incubators.” She suggested the District’s “sister city” relationships be expanded from cultural exchanges to also involve economic support. “The Department of Small and Local Business must be integrated within our economic development efforts,” she added. “Locally owned businesses that want to become Certified Business Enterprises to get a leg up on city contracts should be able to go to just one stop instead of running from agency to agency.” Lewis said the District should partner with the federal government, universities and hospitals to prepare residents for careers in growth fields like nursing. “We should constantly counsel with labor on construction-related jobs and must enforce our laws on city projects coming down the pike,” she said. A University of Georgia alumna, Lewis received a Master in the Administration of Justice degree from American University and a law degree from Emory University. Lewis was formerly a senior administrator in the Obama administration’s State Department, serving as a special representative for global intergovernmental affairs. In the Clinton administration she served as a regional political director working with state and local leaders. D.C. government positions have included chief of staff for the Department of Public Works and chair of the Commission on Women.


V6

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Current

BENNETT-FLEMING From Page V2 gy.” On affordable housing, Bennett-Fleming said he would reduce resale restrictions on affordable units. Whereas they currently cannot be sold at the market rate for 15 years, he would support enabling owners to sell them at this rate after a decade.

WELLS From Page V1 continuity between mayoral administrations. However, he said would seek to make several policy changes. Concerning teacher evaluations — criticized in some circles for placing an undue burden on educators — the council member said, “The IMPACT assessment should focus on building capacity rather than just on punishment.” He believes evaluations should do more to measure student progress, in addition to achievement pegged to grade-level standards. “The most important measure of a school is where do parents choose to send their children,” Wells said. Asked for his opinion of federal programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, the council member said federally mandated standardized testing had “gone too far,” but he insisted he

He also said he wants more enforcement of the number of affordable-housing units set aside under inclusionary zoning rules. “It is not adequately enforced right now,” he said. “There is petty fraud.” To solve this problem, Bennett-Fleming would require owners of the set-aside apartment units to report their tenants to the Department of Housing and Community Development on a quarterly basis. Finally, he would continue efforts to fight

would be able to finesse the requirements as mayor. “I’ll have the bully pulpit — right down the street from the [U.S.] Department of Education,” Wells said. With regard to public transit, Wells would continue to build the city’s streetcar system, connecting neighborhoods throughout the District. He would also seek to link streetcars with the DC Circulator buses. In areas that cannot support either mode of transit, he supports adding shuttle systems. The council member insisted these services would be inexpensive for passengers, although he acknowledged they would probably require additional taxpayer investment. “I would look to a potential half-cent sales tax increase to fund the operating cost of city’s transit system,” he said. As he discussed his vision, Wells pushed back on the idea that he is waging a “war on cars,” saying the intent of his plan isn’t to

homelessness. “Our shelters are packed,” he said. “We have to create more options and laser in on homelessness under age 18.” Bennett-Fleming is a graduate of Morehouse College and attended law school at the University of California at Berkeley. While in law school, he won a Harvard Public Service Fellowship and studied as a graduate fellow in public policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2008 and 2009. He is single with no children.

replace the automobile. “It just manages our growth,” he said, describing how population increases will likely make D.C.’s roadways increasingly congested. As far as youth investment, Wells has proposed a $100 million annual initiative to fund afterschool jobs for adolescents. The program would start with the District government, paid for with new revenue and by repurposing existing budget funds. “Every city agency should have as a part of its mission a youth engagement initiative, which may include internships, apprenticeships and tutoring clubs,” the council member said. “We have 30,000 city employees. Part of their workday or volunteer time should be given towards promoting healthy outcomes for youth.” Wells wants to engage private companies to provide similar experiences. In the meantime, he plans targeted case management

interventions for at-risk families. “This initiative will serve children from the northwest corner of the city to the farthest southeast corridor,” he said. “I believe we can cut the number of crimes committed by teenagers in half in two years.” With fewer adolescents on the streets, the council member predicts the initiative could bring higher graduation rates. Wells, who is married with no children, holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and philosophy from the University of Alabama. He also received a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota and a Juris Doctor from Catholic University. He previously worked as executive director of the Consortium for Child Welfare. Wells served as an advisory neighborhood commissioner and a member of the former D.C. Board of Education before joining the council in 2007.

NADEAU From Page V3 set by the council and D.C. law, from not reporting offered bribes to him and his staff and for violating ethical standards of the [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority] board, the D.C. board of accountability and ethics and the council itself. … For his action, he was reprimanded by his council peers and stripped of some leadership capacity.” Nadeau said the city should ban corporate contributions to political candidates and shift to a public-financing model for elections. She also said she would push to “reform our contracting processes and remove the council from the process of approving public contracts. The council should still have oversight,” she said, and the substitute approval process must be transparent. “I would also end ... constituent services funds as they have been abused,” she said, saying she was concerned about a lack of detail on some of Graham’s spending. Also problematic is that the accounts are “largely funded by special interests,” according to Nadeau. She also advocates a ban on council members accepting “free or discounted entertainment or professional services.” Born in Michigan, Nadeau graduated from Boston College, where she majored in political science, and she holds a master’s degree from American University in public policy. She works in public relations for a D.C. communications firm.

Perhaps the greatest right that we Perhaps theUnited greatestStates right that we all have as citizens all have United citizens isas the rightStates to vote!

is the right to vote!

Being an informed voter is important and we urge you to take the time to Being an informed voter candidates is important take and we you to take the time to review the review the positions onurge the myriad of issues that can help to improve our region both the local andthat the can federal As a our region positions candidates take on the at myriad of issues help level. to improve long-standing corporate citizen metropolitan Washington both at the local and the federal level. of Asthe a long-standing corporate citizenarea, of the we hope you will indeed and then exercise your right metropolitan Washington area,become we hopeinformed you will indeed become informed to vote in the upcoming elections.

and then exercise your right to vote in the upcoming elections. Giant is commited to continuing our long-standing

Giant is commited to continuing our long-standing tradition of being an involved corporate citizen of this tradition of being an involved corporate citizen of this community. Please join us in becoming involved too! community. Please join us in becoming involved too!

See the polls! See you you at the at polls!


The Current

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

V7

Vote Tuesday, April 1 in the 2014 Primary Election Polls will be open from 7am to 8pm.

During a closed Primary, only Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, or DC Statehood Green voters may participate. All voters, regardless of affiliation, may vote in the General Election on November 4, 2014. To find your polling place or confirm your registration information, visit dcboee.org or call (202) 727-2525. Some polling places have recently changed.

Want to vote early?

Vote early at One Judiciary Square starting March 17, or any Early Voting Center in the District starting March 22. Early Voting Centers are open daily from 8:30am until 7pm, except Sunday, March 23.

Early Voting Centers One Judiciary Square 441 4th Street NW

Columbia Heights Community Center 1480 Girard Street NW

Chevy Chase Community Center 5601 Connecticut Avenue NW

Stoddert Recreation Center 4001 Calvert Street NW

Takoma Community Center 300 Van Buren Street NW

Emery Recreation Center 5801 Georgia Avenue NW

Turkey Thicket Recreation Center 1100 Michigan Avenue NE

King Greenleaf Recreation Center 201 N Street SW

Sherwood Recreation Center 640 10th Street NE

Kennedy Recreation Center 1401 7th Street NW

Dorothy I. Height/Benning Library 3935 Benning Road NE

Hillcrest Recreation Center 3100 Denver Street SE

Bald Eagle Recreation Center 100 Joliet Street SW

Need to Register?

To register at the polls, bring a driver’s license or DMV identification card to cast a provisional/special ballot. No driver’s license? Bring any of the following showing your current name and address in the District: • Lease or residential agreement • Occupancy statement • University housing or tuition bill • Statement from a homeless shelter • Other government document


V8

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

mayor Democratic primary

What would be your three major areas of concentration as mayor? How would you differentiate yourself from your competitors?

The Current Muriel Bowser

School reform across all eight wards; middleclass jobs and affordable housing; efficient, open government I’m focused on how to prepare our city for the next 25 years with 200,000 additional residents, and the needed infrastructure and educational facilities.

Jack Evans

Vincent Gray

Reta Jo Lewis

Vincent Orange

Andy Shallal

Tommy Wells

Education; economic development/job creation; affordable housing

Fiscal stability; education; economic development

Ending corruption; Education; affordable improving education; job housing; finances opportunities

Making the city more affordable; education; a focus on local businesses

Education; public transportation; youth investment

Leadership, knowledge and experience, and a record of accomplishment that will enable me to bring the city’s prosperity to all our residents. My involvement with the city’s finances distinguish me from other candidates.

I am the mayor; they’re not. I have had a great deal of experience with the job. Previously, I was council chairman and previous to that an administrator. I’ve accomplished the things I said I’d do when I ran.

I’m the outsider with the experience locally, nationally and internationally to lead the city to the next level.

By my record of helping people and producing results. I’ve planted seeds in Ward 5 that provided the genesis for improvements that have blossomed in education, economic development and employment.

I’m the outsider, bringing a fresh vision. I will not accept a salary. I have business acumen combined with social consciousness. I’m CEO of a multimillion-dollar corporation, which I founded.

I’m a reformer, not accepting corporate contributions. My three clear proposals: invest $100 million in youth, assure all families have elementary schools they can walk to, and build a 21st-century transit system.

It would be unwise to make decisions before holding conversations and making evaluations. If I retain any, it will be those who share my vision. Outlaw contributions from those with current contacts with the city. End LLC contributions. We must follow federal law on limiting individuals. Yes to public financing after looking at other states’ policies.

I would ask for all their resignations and then interview them to ascertain whether they would fit into my administration.

I would definitely not get rid of all of them. After a one-on-one conversation with each of them, I’ll make decisions.

I’m inclined to keep Kaya Henderson as schools chancellor. I’m open to other current agency heads who meet my standards.

Ban corporate contributions and outside employment by council members, except professors or the selfemployed who have no business ties with the city. I’m sympathetic to public financing.

There should be some public financing. New York has a 6-to-1 match. We should look at their system.

End corporate contributions as in 23 states. It was challenged in Connecticut unsuccessfully. They are not allowed in congressional races. I’d support public financing. It’s successful in New York City.

If elected, which deputy mayors and department heads, if any, would you ask to stay on board? Which ones would you definitely get rid of?

I’ll keep any of the good I won’t make those ones whose vision decisions until after I’m comports with mine. elected. Keep Police Chief Cathy Lanier. Create an East of the River deputy mayor.

By and large I think they’ve done a great job. So yes, most of them should stay.

What should be the main elements of legislation regarding political contributions? Is limiting contributions to individuals appropriate? Is it legal given Supreme Court decisions? Should there be some public financing? Should businesses or employees of businesses that do business with the District be allowed to make contributions? In looking over the upcoming budget, what spending areas, if any, would you like increased and which decreased?

Transparency, disclosure and enforcement. Business contributions are OK if laws are enforced. I’m concerned that public funds would be diverted from pressing priorities.

Full complete disclosure is critical. Limiting contributions to individuals is not appropriate. The court has ruled in a federal case it is illegal. No to public financing.

We have proposed legislation that would prevent LLCs from contributing and ban money orders and cash contributions as well as bundling. Public financing is not at the top of my list.

Yes, they should be allowed, as long as there is proper disclosure.

Yes.

Anyone should be able to No to both. Bosses can Under my legislation, we No to companies. We would allow employees, cannot limit individuals contribute, but it should pressure employees to give. beyond a dollar amount. be disclosed. but not businesses.

Invest more in middle schools, senior services, getting people back to work, and permanent housing for the homeless. Look carefully at chief financial office’s budget.

Increase funding for the arts and hiring police officers. I can’t think of any cuts right now.

Which taxes would you like increased, and which would you like decreased?

Provide middle-class income tax relief with a new bracket. Be more competitive on business taxes with Maryland and Virginia. Consider linking the estate tax with the federal rate. Reduce the high earner rate. There is no need for increases. I would examine implications of the Tax Revision Commission’s proposed $100 per employee tax on all employers.

The District’s commercial real estate and business tax rates are the area’s highest by far, even though for many small companies, Virginia’s gross receipts tax makes its total tax take higher than ours. Should there be an effort to reduce them to better compete?

Yes. We must send Yes, to the same rates signals that we are open as Virginia, but without a for business. We can’t gross receipts tax. afford to let them leave town. Virginia is very aggressive, especially for law firms.

Follow the local small business spending law so we get some of our money back in taxes. Increase spending on affordable housing, ambulances, fire trucks, and poorly performing schools. Reduce travel and conference spending. Reduce taxes for small I would broaden sales I’m not proposing any No increases. I would like to see decreases in tax increases. I will study businesses and seniors. tax recommendations as this applies to nonNo increases. Look at the expansion and personal income tax increase of the sales tax adding categories to the residents, but I’m rates and in corporate worried about the sales tax. Raise the the Tax Revision and unincorporated estate tax exemption to constitutionality of a Commission business taxes. Raise $100 tax on all the federal level. the estate tax exemption recommended as well employees. Look at as raising the estate tax from $1 million to reducing corporate exemption to the federal federal level of $5.2 business profits taxes level. I’m concerned million. (particularly for small about the commission’s businesses) to stimulate proposed $100 fee for business opportunities. I nonprofit organizations favor raising the estate as many provide tax exemption to the services here. federal level. There are some education areas we want to look at increasing, as well as employment training, early childhood education and affordable housing. I’ve not developed a list of decreases.

Make affordable housing a permanent line item. Put more in education for successful schools with high poverty levels. Put more in job training. I’d review the budget for cuts.

I cannot give a final There should be an answer. I don’t like the effort. We should Tax Revision research the issue. Commission’s $100 per employee fee. Reducing taxes will cost services. I haven’t heard a hue and cry from small businesses.

We are competing very well right now. We have 62 cranes, so we can maintain the course.

Spending for the rainy day fund should be shrunk to 15 percent instead of the current 20 percent. We spend money on homelessness that does not help solve the problem. We should spend more on affordable housing. Reduce business taxes at least to Maryland’s level. Increase the minimum bracket to $60,000 for singles and $80,000 for couples. Match inheritance taxes with federal guidelines. Maintain the soon-toexpire $350,000 income tax bracket.

At a minimum, disclose the contributions. They should be banned if the council votes on their contracts. I would eliminate the taxicab commission, while increasing investment in youth and a new improved transit system.

Decrease commercial property taxes on small businesses with receipts of $2.5 million or less, introducing an allowance to refund the taxes they pay on their leases. Consider a small sales tax increase to pay for operations of the streetcar system and on increased land values it causes. I would strongly consider raising estate tax exemption to federal level.

Reduce the business tax Yes, the commercial rate to Maryland’s 8.25 property tax for business percent. with revenues of less than $2.5 million should be decreased and a tax credit for lessees equal to the difference.


The Current

mayor Democratic primary

More than 60 percent of D.C. government employees live outside the city, and as a result D.C. can’t collect their income taxes. What, if anything, should be done about it? Does the District budget enough for government building maintenance? If not, what changes would you propose?

Muriel Bowser

Vincent Gray

Reta Jo Lewis

Vincent Orange

I don’t think anything at this time.

Tommy Wells

Work with Congress to implement a tax on all non-residents who work here.

I would love to require Have affordable housing residency, but it’s illegal. and better education for The most likely neareverybody. term prospect is to make residents as qualified as they can be.

The budgets are adequate. We need to hold our leadership and developers more accountable for delivering.

I’m pretty sure they are adequate. If not, we should increase them.

By and large, yes. We’re spending tens of millions of dollars. Bringing things together under one department has made it more efficient.

Not having seen the line No. We should increase They seem to be item, I cannot make a them especially since we adequate. determination. are improving our buildings. We should have a $20 million to $30 million maintenance fund.

Maintenance budgets for our parks and recreation centers are inadequate. We have to find new revenue sources or dedicate revenue to it.

No.

Yes, we feel we should have control — at least outside the L’Enfant area of downtown. There are lots of checks and balances.

Raise it only for affordable housing and outside L’Enfant city plan (area south of Florida Avenue).

No, to maintain the beauty of the District.

The height limit is not limiting growth in the city. We are having record growth. It has forced development across the city.

I don’t believe it is necessary due to progress the city has made. We have created an environment such that they will locate here.

We want to be competitive, possibly with short-term property tax reductions that contractors would pass on. I think the money would come back to us.

Yes to tax credits.

No. We don’t need them. No. High-end retailers are coming to CityCenterDC.

I’m more interested in incentives for amenities such as grocery stores, sit-down restaurants and drugstores.

Yes.

No. I vetoed it. It was potentially an economic development and job killer.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes. I don’t believe in corporate welfare. I believe in jobs that have a living wage.

No. It was a bad bill with arbitrary standards. It did little to address income disparities for other stores.

It is unknown what the consequences will be in that regard.

It could. It’s a concern I’ve raised. But it was the right thing to do for our residents.

No to both. Eventually, Virginia will also be affected.

Probably not. Look at Costco where 84 percent of employees are District residents. Inner cities are where the growth is, and we have high disposable incomes.

No. We need to make sure folks here who need jobs are trained. We should give tax breaks to businesses that hire locally, as Maryland does. I don’t believe we will lose stores as we’re the nation’s capital.

We’ll have to see. That does concern me. We could provide employer credits for hiring D.C. residents.

Lower annual tax increase cap from 10 percent to 5 percent. Eliminate requirement to pay taxes on at least 40 percent of a home’s value. Eliminate property taxes on seniors over 75 with gross incomes under $60,000 who have lived here 15 years. No.

We have been losing the battle. There is no single answer. I’ve invested $180 million in affordable housing. There is a need for jobs. The cuts in food stamps will hurt us by $15 million.

Current policies are inadequate. We must develop more affordable housing. We could look at an income tax credit for renters and homestead exemptions for owners.

We are now in a position to invest in our lowincome population to educate them and get them employed. We must define what we mean by long term — say 10 years.

We need to have tax forgiveness for lowincome elderly residents who have lived here a long time. There is a huge waiting list for Section 8 vouchers. We need to do something for long-term residents in this category.

We must invest in local rent supplements, especially for seniors on fixed incomes; leverage publicly owned assets for affordable housing; and raise incomes qualifying for senior tax exemptions.

No.

No.

Yes. Use the money for affordable housing.

Yes. Reduce the business taxes.

I would reserve such a revenue source for financing public transit improvements.

Yes, restore it to 6 percent. Use funds for middle-class tax break.

We’d like to have a commuter tax, but we’re prevented by law. We should try to have a preference program if it is legal.

Andy Shallal

V9

We need to make extra effort to train high school and University of the District of Columbia graduates to prepare them for our government jobs.

For commercial real No. Our skyline is a estate in a high-landmonument, and it cost area such as D.C., should be preserved. the price per square foot is far lower for highrises than for low-rises. Some say this is one reason Rosslyn, Va., is so successful. Should the federal act limiting heights be altered? Many high-end, luxury- I support incentives where they are a good goods stores such as Tiffany’s are located in deal. I would absolutely consider incentives Tysons Corner and in Friendship Heights, Md., where they are needed. across the District line. Do you support offering developers tax incentives to bring such stores here to increase real estate and sales tax revenue? No. I voted against it. Did you support the Large Retailer Accountability Act, which would have raised the minimum wage at Walmart and similar stores? That’s a concern. We Will the decision to need to train our increase the District’s workers for those jobs. minimum wage along For most of our city, the with Prince George’s new store competition is and Montgomery Maryland, not Virginia. counties end up bringing more Virginians to work here, thereby making it more difficult for unskilled District residents to find jobs? Could we lose new stores to Virginia? I increased the What approaches, if any, should be taken to household income level decrease the likelihood for a 50 percent property tax reduction of lower-income, longand created a housing term District residents being forced from their modernization fund. We should do more for homes because of renters. Eliminate increasing real estate property taxes for values and taxes? Or are our current policies 70-year-olds with limited means. generally adequate? In Virginia and Maryland, the sales tax is at 6 percent; ours is at 5.75 percent. Should we restore ours to 6 percent and use the resulting revenue of more than $20 million to reduce taxes elsewhere? Or use the money to fund services of some kind?

Jack Evans

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

We should visit the idea of heights in certain parts of the District away from the center.

Make a major investment in workforce housing for people making between $35,000 and $65,000. It would entice many government workers to live here.


V10 Wednesday, March 12, 2014 mayor Democratic primary

The D.C. Office of Planning has been both praised and criticized for favoring fewer parking spaces in new apartment buildings. Supporters say underground parking is expensive to build, forcing higher rents. Critics say it would result in more cars parking on the street, depriving residents of nearby single-family homes of convenient parking. Others say there have been reasonable compromises in the agency’s proposal. What is your position? What additional steps, if any, should the District take to help former prison inmates find jobs?

The Current Muriel Bowser

It’s appropriate to reduce parking space requirements, especially near Metro stations. I’m concerned about eliminating them anywhere.

The government should do more for job training and subsidize job opportunities in both D.C. government and for private sector. Eliminate the crime history box on job applications, but allow it in the interview stage. What steps do you think Invest in improving middle schools; give should be taken to resources to schools on improve public education? the brink of being top tier to attract families; prepare students for math, science, engineering and technology jobs. Yes, we should fund Some educators say schools based on per-pupil spending in areas with a great deal student need. of poverty should be higher than where students generally come from affluent, well-educated families. Do you agree? Montgomery, Arlington Our schools must serve every child. So they and Fairfax counties should have programs have a reputation of having far better public allowing them to excel. schools — particularly for brighter students — than we do. A substantial number of residents move there once their children reach school age, middle school age or high school age. Should we have separate classes for the brightest students as a way to combat such moving? What line items, if any, Look at the central should be altered in the office to see it isn’t topschool budget? heavy. Put more in the classrooms, especially middle schools. How should the District select technical education choices, or should we have them?

Schools must have pathways for all students. Emphasize science, math, document management and health care where there are a lot of goodpaying jobs.

Jack Evans

Vincent Gray

Reta Jo Lewis

Vincent Orange

Andy Shallal

Tommy Wells

I support the current parking regulations and oppose changes proposed by the Office of Planning.

We have to do necessary things to reduce the number of cars in the city.

We should not reduce parking spaces in new apartment buildings.

We should not reduce the standard as we are losing many parking places to bike lanes and car-sharing vehicles.

There have been appropriate compromises. I favor keeping current regulations that involve advisory neighborhood commissions.

This is a regulatory problem, not a zoning problem. New apartment buildings should not qualify for local residential parking where parking is limited. Developers usually still need curb cuts that could be denied.

The city needs a more comprehensive approach involving job training, life-skills training and access to existing jobs.

We’ve augmented the Office on Returning Citizens Affairs. We need to get the office working with all aspects of the workforce development system. We have between 2,000 and 2,500 people returning annually. Stay the course. Continue to modernize buildings, offer choice, and have teacher and principal accountability. Why should children with disabilities not have the services of public education? I look at it as health and social service costs. Perpupil spending must be evaluated in this broader context.

The most important thing is getting them jobs, so we need more workforce training. Partner with private sector. Consider tax incentives for firms hiring them.

There should be more training for jobs that are expected to come on line.

The Office on Returning Citizens Affairs should get more funding to help the 60,000 returnees to find job opportunities and housing.

Create a housing subsidy for families and friends to support their housing costs. I’ve introduced legislation banning information about arrests on initial job applications.

Take out the politics. Streamline the involved agencies. Continue the sense of urgency.

Establish a standard that every child entering fourth grade should be able to read, add and subtract, prior to standardized testing.

Ensure every school succeeds. Put the public voice back in public schools. Give more flexibility for experimentation with the D.C. Public Schools.

Continue school reform; better engage parents in creating high-quality elementary schools.

Yes.

We should spend more to encourage our best teachers and principals to help them. You can’t just throw money at the problem. Quality is needed.

Yes.

We do it already with federal Title I spending, and I would agree to increase it.

Yes.

Just continue to improve the overall quality. We are already stemming the flow. We’ve now had enrollment increases in both public and charter schools.

No. I don’t think it’s about the Advanced Placement classes. It’s about the schools.

Yes. We have some pretty good schools providing that challenge. We should have more.

We must ensure every child has the best possible opportunities to succeed. Our schools must be as good as those in the surrounding counties.

I have reversed that trend in Ward 6. The schools there are a reason to live in the area rather than to leave. More work is needed in middle schools.

At this juncture we are working with the chancellor to craft a school budget. At this time, I have no additions or subtractions.

I’m more into finding ways to invest in athletics, especially for girls. Expand other sports like lacrosse and volleyball.

Add teacher professional development, art and culture, athletics, and technology. I’m not looking at any cuts.

The system is moving forward. We should add more resources to the lowest performing schools, not cuts.

Revisit special education money and make the budget more transparent to ensure money spent has the intended impact.

Yes, we should have them. I would leave the decisions to the school system.

I’m planning for 10 career and technical education academies will be completed in August in information technology, hospitality and construction.

Work with business and labor to look at future jobs in D.C.

We should have them; I’d leave specifics up to the experts. We want to be known for science, technology, math and engineering.

Look at job trends and opportunities that are there: plumbing, car mechanics, electronics.

Add a fraud unit under the state superintendent of education to weed out Maryland and Virginia children. Continue to right-size under-enrolled schools. We should have them along with academic training. It improves outcomes overall.

Start children in school at an earlier age, preferably 3; provide after-school assistance to children who need it; continue to improve our academic programs. No. Youngsters from all over the city travel to other areas to attend schools in Ward 3 and elsewhere.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014 V11

The Current

mayor Democratic primary

Muriel Bowser

Jack Evans

Vincent Gray

Reta Jo Lewis

Vincent Orange

Andy Shallal

How should the District evaluate programs for prekindergarten students?

Look at certification of staff.

I would ask the school system to make sure they have the personnel to evaluate pre-K programs.

We are working on a We can work with those kindergarten entry around the country to assessment along with establish standards. nine states to measure children’s readiness for kindergarten and the programs’ success level.

See if preschool is preparing them for kindergarten. It is where we should identify problems. Does the kid know the colors and ABCs?

How should the District go about drawing new school boundaries?

Redrawing boundaries must go hand in hand with school improvements across the city, especially middle schools.

There is a commission examining how to make that determination.

We’re working on the process. It must be collaborative. We haven’t had major changes since 1968. Equity, neighborhood schools, and parent and community engagement are key considerations.

In conjunction with parents. Look for best practices around the country.

I favor neighborhood With a lot of community education. Resources involvement and should be similar transparency. citywide. But students should be allowed to cross boundaries. We want diversity of race and income, and we want educational results.

We should pilot drawing the boundaries around the families. We should explore setting them so the closest school is No. 1. If there are too many children, the next preference is the next closest.

I would give charter schools first crack at school buildings as the law requires.

We’re giving them preference and have a formal process. It has improved greatly since I became mayor.

They should have first crack at closed public school buildings.

Charter schools should Charters have been have first crack at closed proliferating, so I don’t facilities. believe it’s a major issue.

If I’m mayor, I’d create a skills training center to get people to work may take priority. Closed schools should be used for educational purposes.

Charters should comply with the law.

We don’t want D.C. Public Schools to be the default setting. The public charter school board must be more rigorous.

If true, the money should follow the child.

We should look to see if it is a pattern. The allegation may not be correct.

No.

I support neighborhood preference.

No.

There should be a mix of A portion could be so limited. students from all over the city, but the school should be allowed to give preference to its immediate community for part of the student body. Yes. Yes.

Some charter school We have an obligation to advocates claim the city make them available to government ignores charter schools. D.C. law by not giving them first crack at taking over closed school buildings. What, if anything, would you do about it? We need to tweak the Some charter schools have been criticized for law so no school is expelling students after penalized or rewarded the date when per-pupil for expelling students. funding is decided. What, if anything, would you do about this issue? Should charter schools With the growth of be allowed to limit their charters, a services, in whole or in neighborhood part, to the surrounding preference must be considered. neighborhoods?

By enrollment at the very least.

Tommy Wells

When the child is expelled, make sure the money follows them to the public schools.

Shift as many as possible into public schools at age 3. Teachers are evaluated by principals. Parents are involved. Schools should all have standards. I assume they can evaluate whether schools meet the standards.

We need to fix the problem by creating a reserve fund for the receiving school or allowing a claw-back. Yes, schools should be allowed to apply to do that if they so choose.

Is the District’s present open meetings law adequate?

Yes, but I will look for ways to increase public access.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes, if you send out notices.

No. The council is allowed to meet in secret when they are not taking votes. There should be a stronger law, with an exception for personnel actions. Yes, as long as it has no It should be shared by all city residents, detrimental impact on those who cannot afford including those in neighborhoods that it. already have it such as Georgetown and Capitol Hill.

Should residents of advisory neighborhood commission areas be allowed to vote on undergrounding utilities in their areas, assuming their residents would pay for it through an electric bill assessment? Is the present level of enforcement for qualityof-life offenses such as public urination, graffiti and littering generally adequate, too heavyhanded or not tough enough? Should D.C. turn over citizenship information to the U.S. immigration agency when suspects are arrested and booked for alleged criminal activity? When they are convicted? Just when convicted of a violent crime? Or not at all?

Our focus must start with areas where reliability of the grid is low.

Probably not.

No, it should be where the most problems are.

No, it should be a comprehensive benefit for all residents throughout the city.

Yes, as long as the area pays for it.

We need to increase both enforcement and public education.

Adequate.

Adequate.

It depends on the neighborhood.

Not tough enough.

It depends on the neighborhood.

Not tough enough.

Convicted of violent crime.

Not at all.

Convicted of a violent Only if there is a legitimate reason. Only if crime. it’s germane to investigating the crime at hand.

Convicted of a violent crime.

Convicted of a violent crime.

Convicted of a severe violent crime.


V12 Wednesday, March 12, 2014 mayor Democratic primary

The Current Muriel Bowser

Jack Evans

Vincent Gray

Reta Jo Lewis

Vincent Orange

Andy Shallal

Tommy Wells

How would you get better enforcement of laws on jaywalking, bicycle riders ignoring moving vehicle laws, and drivers ignoring yield signs, using cellphones and blocking the box, or would you eliminate some of these laws? Should the fines for bicyclists who violate traffic regulations be substantially increased? Should adult riders be allowed on sidewalks?

More public education on rules of law. Expand non-police enforcement across the city.

They are good laws. We Increased camera must direct enforcement enforcement. officers to enforce the laws.

I’m opposed to traffic cameras as it’s an unfair tax. Have more police officers on the street.

We should write more We should revisit all of citations and send them. Most are violators to traffic school. regressive.

I generally support greater enforcement assisted through use of cameras.

We need enforcement of rules of the road for bicycles and drivers. They should be allowed on sidewalks outside the central business district.

No to both.

I’m not sure as to the amount. They should not be allowed on sidewalks.

Increase the fines. Ban all bicycles from sidewalks.

No to bicycles on sidewalks. I think the penalties are adequate. But we are not writing the tickets.

$25 is fine. They should not be allowed anywhere in the city on sidewalks.

No bicycles on sidewalks in any commercial areas. The fines should be enforced, not increased.

Should D.C. allow residents to set up selftaxing districts where residents agree to pay extra taxes to receive more services, like the business improvement districts in D.C. and municipalities in Maryland? Should any changes in height limitations be subject to advisory neighborhood commission review? Should D.C. Council positions become a fulltime job with a ban on legislators earning outside income?

No. They shouldn’t have to pay more for basic city services.

Yes.

No.

No.

No. It would be discriminatory in nature.

No. It would increase inequity.

It’s working with business improvement districts; I’m not sure I would give it to neighborhood associations.

We shouldn’t change the height act. Neither the council nor ANCs determine zoning.

I don’t agree with any changes in heights.

Yes, they should weigh in.

Yes.

I’m opposed to any changes.

Yes.

I’m opposed to any changes.

I proposed it as a council member. It would end some conflicts of interest.

Yes.

Yes, except for professors and the selfemployed with no business with the city.

Yes.

Yes. We’re paid a handsome salary. It is difficult to eliminate the appearance of a conflict of interest.

No.

Yes, a second runoff.

No.

Yes.

Yes, instant runoffs to save money.

I support decriminalization. I am not there yet for legalization.

I favor decriminalization including fines, but not legalization.

We should study what’s happening in Colorado.

Yes.

Yes.

I don’t agree. We can always do better, of course. Enforcement has been substantially improved.

We need real enforcement efforts. We can use technology in reporting and disclosure.

I agree. There should be more aggressive oversight by the mayor’s office.

I agree. We need better enforcement. Empty promises should be fulfilled.

Many of our employment laws are not followed. I would create a Department of Labor to enforce these laws.

It would cost $20,000 to $30,000 per household. But it should be studied to see if it could be costeffective.

There are a lot of federal funds available. We should educate the public about them.

Continue to fund tax credits for the installation of solar power. We’re doing that with a rebate.

I bring a balanced, reasonable and fair approach to governing without “leaving anyone behind” and “taking no one for granted.”

Because I know how to bridge old D.C. and the new D.C. and deliver real school reform.

Tommy Wells is running for mayor to end corruption in D.C. that has prevented the true progressive government we deserve.

No. I’m increasingly concerned about conflicts of interest when council members have outside employment. I’ve never supported a ban, but my view is evolving. No. Should the District have I’m concerned about runoff or instant runoff increasing costs with little benefit. Most (where voters mark people vote for a second and third candidate who is closest choices) primary and to their values, even if it general elections to is not their top choice. ensure the winning candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote? Yes. Should it be legal to buy Decriminalize and sell small amounts possession, but ban public use. It’s of marijuana for recreational purposes? nonsensical to not provide a legal way to purchase it. Selling should be regulated and taxed. I agree. We need more We should ensure The D.C. auditor has enforcement resources. enforcement does occur. claimed the city does not enforce requirements that city contractors hire local residents. If you agree this is the case, what, if anything, should be done about it? We have tax incentives Yes. Utility costs price Should D.C. make a supporting it. I don’t major effort to expand many seniors out of know we need more their housing. Use the solar power for all model of our successful than we have now. The residents? If yes, how DC Sustainable Energy way to do it is to would you do so and increase the tax breaks. Utility. much might it cost? Muriel Bowser will be a Jack Evans is running In 20 words or less, for mayor to bring this pragmatic, problemexplain why voters city’s growth and solving mayor who should elect you as prosperity to every focuses on education mayor. resident of the District. reform, ethical leadership and housing solutions for everyone.

Yes. Solicit federal and I support solar power. We should work through private-sector grants the Sustainable Energy and loans. Utility. It will reduce electric costs. By continuing what we started and refusing to accept anything less than success, everyone in our city will be uplifted.

Real change requires new leadership. I am the experienced outsider that can make D.C. a city that works for everyone.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014 V13

The Current

CHAIRMAN D.C. Council

Calvin Gurley

Phil Mendelson

Democratic primary

What would be your three major areas of concentration as D.C. Council chairman?

Jobs, affordable rents, education.

What, if any, additional safeguards are needed on political contributions to ensure honesty of D.C. elected officials?

Prevent contribution bundling.

Should there be a ban on corporate contributions to D.C. campaigns? Ban contributions from corporations doing business with District Would doing so invite a lawsuit the District would lose given recent government. There is a Supreme Court decision that could be the Supreme Court decisions? basis of a lawsuit.

Improving professionalism, transparency and reputation of the D.C. Council; reduce truancy; improve the University of the District of Columbia and the community college We need to see how the new law works before making changes; I will introduce bill to encourage people doing business with the city not to contribute. No, it would drive campaign finance underground and make donations less transparent. Unsure about potential lawsuit.

Did you support the proposed minimum wage increase for large nonunion stores? Some say very wealthy retired people are the most likely to leave D.C. due to high income tax rates, yet require few if any government services. Should there be an exemption on retirement income such as Social Security and 401(k) distributions similar to Pennsylvania’s? More than 60 percent of D.C. government employees live outside the District, and as a result the District can’t collect their income taxes. What, if anything, should be done about it? Many high-end, luxury-goods stores such as Tiffany’s are located in Tysons Corner and in Friendship Heights, Md., across the District line. Do you support offering developers tax incentives to bring such stores here in hopes of increasing real estate and sales tax revenue? If so, what should the incentives be? What approaches, if any, should be taken to decrease the likelihood of lower-income, long-term District residents being forced from their homes because of increasing real estate values and taxes, or are our current policies generally adequate? The District’s commercial real estate and business taxes are the area’s highest by far. Business groups say Virginia attracts many District firms due to attractive tax rates. Should there be an effort to reduce them to better compete? If yes, how would you make up the lost revenue?

Yes, it would have been long overdue. I would not have delayed the vote, as Mendelson did. Yes, so we can afford to offer the benefits to our seniors and federal retirees.

I authored the bill, including the exemption for stores with less than 75,000 square feet. We should expand the exemptions on pensions from the current $2,500.

D.C. residents should have priority in hiring. Return police and fire cadet programs to high schools; reopen several District vocational high schools. No to luxury-goods stores, but would offer incentives for car dealers.

Continue to give preference to hiring District residents.

I support Anita Bonds’ bill to give a property tax exemption to seniors over 75.

Look at increasing the homestead deduction for real property owners. Expand the Schedule H income tax credit that benefits homeowners and renters alike. Possibly lower real property tax rates for everyone. Focus on lowering income taxes for low-income people. We should try to reduce our commercial real property tax rate.

Should the sales tax include services such as gym memberships?

No. Also oppose applying it to home security systems and dry cleaners. Reopen Armstrong Vocational School to offer preparation for apprenticeships in auto mechanics, plumbing, et cetera.

What additional steps, if any, should the District take to help former prison inmates find jobs?

Yes.

Build a luxury hotel/casino at Buzzard Point.

What steps do you feel should be taken to improve public education? Develop a five-year plan for more emphasis on math, science and music. Some educators say that per-pupil spending in areas where there is Yes. We need more counselors and social workers. a great deal of poverty ought to be higher than in areas where students generally come from affluent, well-educated families. Do you agree? Last year, no D.C. public school students were named National Merit Hire the Montgomery or Fairfax superintendent. Scholars, while quite a few District private school students and suburban public school students did win the scholarships. What, if anything, should be done about this? Charter school advocates claim they receive less per pupil than the I agree, but we have less control over their budgets, so it’s OK. public school system does, as most charters have to fund their own buildings. Do you agree? If so, what should be done about it? Do you support allowing a neighborhood preference for charter No. schools? Should D.C. turn over citizenship information to the U.S. immigration At the time of a conviction. agency when suspects are arrested and booked for alleged criminal activity? When they are convicted? Just when convicted of a violent crime? Or not at all? How would you get better enforcement of laws on jaywalking, bicycle We should issue tickets to enforce these laws. riders ignoring moving vehicle laws, and drivers ignoring yield signs, using cellphones and blocking the box, or would you eliminate some of these laws? Should marijuana be legalized? No. Should D.C. Council members be allowed to keep their constituent Yes. Leave them as they are now. service funds? If yes, should they be larger, smaller or left as they are now? I support statehood and will push for federal jobs every year Although most District elected leaders have been trying to get statehood is denied. statehood, some observers say it is a hopeless cause as national Republicans don’t want two more Democratic senators and Virginia and Maryland don’t want a commuter tax. These people say we should go for territorial status, which would mean we wouldn’t pay federal income and corporate profits taxes and could thereby attract businesses that would ease unemployment. What are your thoughts?

I support incentives on a limited basis. Tax incentives should be calculated to produce a net gain for the District.

I would do it within a balanced budget. We have increasing revenues, so we do have the ability to lower taxes. This past year, I found about $50 million for tax relief while keeping the budget balanced. I am not inclined to expand the sales tax. I authored legislation protecting businesses from being sued for hiring ex-offenders; the bill authorizes certificate of good standing for former inmates, which should be implemented. We should also expand record sealing. I co-introduced a bill banning initial questioning of prison history in hiring. Keep the current chancellor; focus on literacy, providing more resources to poorly performing schools, and truancy reduction. Yes.

We should continue to focus on improving the quality of education.

In general, I agree. We should strive for equity through the budget. Almost always, no. There might be a reason for an exception at times. When convicted of a violent crime. I authored the law prohibiting disclosure for minor offenders. The rules serve a purpose, even if they are not enforced, but enforcement could be improved through greater council oversight. At this time, decriminalize it. Yes. I’ve opposed raising them. I support statehood.


V14 Wednesday, March 12, 2014 AT-lARGE SEAT D.C. Council

The Current Anita Bonds

Nate Bennett-Fleming

Pedro Rubio

John Settles

Democratic primary

What would be your three major areas of concentration as D.C. Council member? How would you differentiate yourself from your competitors?

What steps with regard to political contributions should the District take to restore honesty among the District’s elected officials?

Reducing poverty; affordable housing; youth development

Education; jobs/economic inclusion; housing affordability

After-school programs; walkable, safe communities; affordable housing

Housing affordability; education; neighborhood development

I’m an experienced community leader. I listen to people and want my work to reflect their interests. I practice honest and results-oriented government.

I’m not invested in the status quo as it relates to pay-to-play. I have the skill set to be an astute legislator.

My passion is service to the community. I’m the only candidate who has mentored D.C. students.

My experience in the relevant areas facing the city, my nonprofit service, my business experience and my ability to be a unifier. I co-chair Hearst Elementary’s Local School Advisory Team.

Contributions are necessary to run a campaign. We must have transparency. I’m not opposed to corporate contributions, especially for nonincumbents. No. It might well invite a lawsuit we would lose. $2,000 cannot buy influence.

We need public financing of elections and to close the LLC loophole.

End contributions from city contractors.

We must address the pay-to-play culture and the multiple donations controlled by one individual.

Yes. Several states outlaw them. They could still give indirect contributions.

No, just from those who receive government contracts.

Yes, especially if they do business with the city. I think we could write legislation that would have a good chance of passing court scrutiny. I originally voted for it, but then voted to Yes. No. Walmart has created jobs and is a No, but I would have introduced a living uphold the veto. shopping location for local residents. wage bill affecting everybody. We had actively recruited Walmart. You can’t go back on a deal. In looking over the upcoming budget, More funds for affordable housing, a Spend more on affordable housing and Increase education funding (especially Invest more in transportation, workforce what spending areas, if any, would you world-class educational system and services to homeless and other for after-school programs) and for the development, neighborhood vulnerable populations. Spend money on Office on Latino Affairs. I see no development and after-school programs. like increased and which decreased? ending D.C. homelessness. Reduce potential cutbacks. Save money by properly maintaining fire service duplication such as making the business incubators and start-up financing. Decrease parking vehicles. We must now pay $50 million recreation department responsible for maintaining school pools. There are enforcement. for a park in NoMa due to poor planning similar issues in the tax office. years ago. Decrease income taxes for those making Do not increase any taxes. Increase the Decrease taxes for those earning up to Lower taxes on incomes between Which taxes would you like increased between $30,000 and $80,000. earned income credit and the standard $85,000. Increase taxes for those $40,000 and $100,000 and lower and which taxes decreased, given our Increase standard deductions. No deduction for low- and moderate-income corporate tax rates. Possibly increase making over $350,000 by 0.5 percent. current budget situation? residents. Reduce the business profits increases. Cut property taxes for seniors making alcohol and tobacco taxes. Tax tax to help job creation and under $125,000. Index the homestead marijuana if it becomes legal. neighborhood development. deduction with cost of living. Ensure future hiring gives preference to Create more workforce housing so they We should hire more D.C. residents to fill Offer subsidies to teachers, police More than 60 percent of D.C. D.C. residents. I believe it would be legal. can afford to live here. officers, firefighters and nonprofit government employees live outside the these positions. workers to live here. Consider a tax on District, and as a result the District can’t people who work in congested areas as collect their income taxes. What, if in London. anything, should be done about it? Decrease property taxes for low-income Improve adult education and targeted We have to do things that benefit Some laws are on the books. Keeping What approaches, if any, should the D.C. government take to decrease the families in their homes is very difficult if everyone due to constitutional restraints. residents who have lived here more than workforce development programs. Increase affordable housing for low20 years. There is not much we can do there are financial problems, particularly Expand low-income housing likelihood of lower-income, long-term income residents. Give rental assistance for renters. requirements on developers when they for renters. The city should be a District residents being forced from priority to those here at least five years. their homes because of increasing real permanent landlord with units scattered purchase public land and have stronger Expand programs for senior renters. enforcement of current laws. around the city. estate values and taxes, or are the city’s current policies generally adequate? No. Our losses to Virginia are largely due Yes. We must lower business profits Yes, we should make them more Yes, the commercial real estate tax The District’s commercial real estate competitive, but not down to Virginia’s to the federal government moving more taxes. Business real estate taxes are not should be reduced and the profits tax and business taxes are the area’s levels. Make up lost revenue by offices there and companies wanting to the real issue; it’s the cost of the real looked at. In terms of making up the highest by far. Business groups say be nearby. estate. I don’t think there will be lost procurement reform. Virginia attracts many District firms due revenue, though we have speed revenue if we attract more businesses. cameras for public safety reasons, they to attractive tax rates. Should there be do generate funds for D.C. an effort to reduce them to better compete? If so, how would we make up the lost revenue? Should the sales tax include services Yes. No. No. Yes. such as gym memberships? Ban questions on prison history on initial We need training programs with a sixStrengthen anti-discrimination laws What additional steps, if any, should the I co-introduced a ban on questions on applications and offer more job training. month stipend for them to attend skillDistrict take to help former prison prison history on initial job applications. when hiring. Connect them with family enhancement programs. We need more centers to support their families. inmates find jobs? We should purge their records if they career counseling and affordable stay out of trouble for five years. Look at Promote entrepreneurship. Ban housing. questions about previous convictions on ending the ban on their living in public initial screening. housing. Greater collaboration rather than Provide more after-school programs, Strengthen the higher education What steps do you feel should be taken I am co-introducer of D.C. Promise competition between D.C. Public Schools including reading and writing tutoring; to improve public education? scholarship for graduating D.C. students pipeline; focus on teacher retention; and charters; expand number of highreduce class sizes; and offer more arts increase extracurricular activities; if income is 50 percent or less of the performing schools across the city; strengthen science and entrepreneurial and music. area median income, which is about create a middle school plan; provide education. $107,000. Reduce class sizes to wraparound services in schools with around 15 to 20 where possible to help high percentages of low-income kids. raise test scores. Have students use more modern technology in preparing reports. Yes. Yes. Yes. We should take a different approach. In Some educators say that per-pupil neighborhoods with high concentrations spending in areas where there is a great of low-income kids, we should offer deal of poverty ought to be higher than health care, social workers and other in areas where students generally come services. from affluent, well-educated families. Do you agree? Should the District ban corporate contributions? Would doing so invite a lawsuit the District would lose given recent Supreme Court decisions? Did you support the proposed minimum wage increase for large nonunion stores?


Wednesday, March 12, 2014 V15

The Current

AT-lARGE SEAT D.C. Council

Anita Bonds

Nate Bennett-Fleming

Pedro Rubio

John Settles

Democratic primary

Last year, no D.C. public school students were named National Merit Scholars, while quite a few District private school students and suburban public school students did win the scholarships. What, if anything, should be done about this? What line items, if any, should be altered in the school budget?

Charter school advocates claim they receive less per pupil than the public school system does, as most charters have to fund their own buildings. Do you agree? If so, what can be done about it? Undergrounding the entire city’s wiring would be very expensive. Should we encourage more undergrounding and if so how would you propose paying for it? Should the city’s advisory neighborhood commissions have the right to approve a neighborhood’s undergrounding so long as that neighborhood’s electric bills are raised to pay for it? The D.C. Office of Planning has been both praised and criticized for favoring fewer parking spaces in new apartment buildings. Supporters say underground parking is expensive to build, forcing higher rents. Critics say it would result in more cars parking on the street, depriving residents of nearby singlefamily homes of convenient parking. Others say there have been reasonable compromises in the agency’s proposal. What is your position? Is the present level of enforcement for quality-of-life offenses such as public urination and graffiti generally adequate, too heavy-handed or not tough enough? Should D.C. turn over citizenship information to the U.S. immigration agency when suspects are arrested and booked for alleged criminal activity? When they are convicted? Just when convicted of a violent crime? Or not at all? How would you get better enforcement of laws on jaywalking, bicycle riders ignoring moving vehicle laws, and drivers ignoring yield signs, using cellphones and blocking the box, or would you eliminate some of these laws? Do you think we have an adequate number of police officers? Should the fines for bicycle riders who violate traffic regulations be substantially increased? Should riders be allowed on sidewalks? Should D.C. allow 17-year-olds to vote? Should D.C. allow residents to set up self-taxing districts where residents agree to pay extra taxes to receive more services, like the business improvement districts in D.C. and municipalities in Maryland? Should D.C. have runoff or instant runoff (where voters mark second and third choices) primary and general elections to ensure the winning candidate receives at least half of the vote. Do you approve of allowing legal recreational marijuana sales?

I don’t know what the government can do except raise standards.

Create more special magnet programs for the very bright and have more test prep for potential National Merit Scholars.

Smaller class sizes and more afterschool programs.

We need to invest more in our highperforming students and create more gifted and talented programs in the summer.

Add free breakfast and lunch; reduce size of classes in under- performing schools; offer more enrichment activities, art and music; look at cutting administration.

Decrease administrative costs in central office; increase school security and funding to prevent truancy; use school buildings for social services and other community resources.

No reductions; increase after-school programs; reduce class sizes.

Make sure facilities budgets are better spent; increase budgets on security and arts programs.

I agree. Use empty schools for charters.

There should be equal funding, but it’s not always an apples-to-apples comparison.

Payment must be equitable. But charters We must take building costs into should be under the same scrutiny as account in terms of expenditures. D.C. public schools. We should encourage it. Government should pay a part of the costs as should the utilities.

Yes, but do it over many years. Finance it Encourage it. Dedicate parking ticket through a small increase in taxes on receipts to pay for it. electricity.

We must underground them due to power outages in some neighborhoods. Encourage it by piggybacking when streets are dug up for other purposes.

Yes.

No.

They, in conjunction with council members, should have input, but the Public Service Commission should decide.

No.

I favor parking in buildings. Perhaps the We don’t need a one-size-fits-all policy. first floor should be used for parking and Different neighborhoods are different and need different policies. housing would start at a higher floor.

Remove parking requirements in denser The city has done a poor job of planning. communities, but retain the requirement We must separate zoning from parking management. We have to get cars off in less dense communities. the street by reducing the cost of transportation options.

It’s adequate.

Generally speaking adequate.

Adequate.

The laws are adequate but enforcement needs improvement.

When they are convicted.

Just when convicted of a serious violent crime.

When convicted.

When convicted of a violent crime.

It’s an area we must examine.

Return human enforcement to its former Increase the police force. level. Increase awareness of laws.

Increased camera utilization will solve much of it. Increase fines from $25 for cyclists and jaywalkers and make sure officers enforce them. Reduce speed camera fines for cars.

Yes, so long as we remain at full capacity.

No. We need an increase.

Yes. We need better deployment. Officers should not do desk jobs civilians could do. Yes to raising fines; it’s only $25. Do not allow riders on sidewalks.

No.

The fines should be equal to cars as it’s No to increased fines. Continue to allow a safety issue. Adult riders should not be them on sidewalks outside the allowed on sidewalks. downtown area.

Don’t increase fines. Allow them on sidewalks except where there are bike lanes.

No. Business improvement districts should be allowed to expand into residential areas with residential approval.

Yes. No. It would make things too complex.

Yes. Yes.

Yes. Yes, with residents’ approval.

No.

Yes for runoffs.

Yes for instant runoffs.

I like the instant runoff idea as it is more efficient.

No, but I support decriminalizing marijuana possession. In years to come, I probably will vote to approve the sales.

I would consider legalization.

No, just for medical use.

I don’t approve of recreational use, but we should lower the fines and make them misdemeanors.


V16 Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Current

Ward 1 SEAT D.C. Council

Jim Graham

Brianne Nadeau

Democratic primary

What would be your three major areas of concentration as D.C. Council member? How would you differentiate yourself from your competitor? What steps with regard to election financing should the District take to restore honesty among the District’s elected officials? Should the District ban corporate campaign contributions? Would doing so invite a lawsuit the District would lose given recent Supreme Court decisions? Did you support the proposed minimum wage increase for large nonunion stores? Virginia’s minimum wage is now several thousand dollars less than the District’s for full-time employees on a yearly basis. Will the recent minimum wage legislation attract qualified low-end workers from Virginia, thereby reducing job opportunities for D.C. residents? Will stores favor locating in Virginia over the District?

Ward issues; issues under the purview of my committee; affordable housing My record of accomplishments is very strong. I favor public financing as in New York City. Candidates must first raise a certain amount of money. I’ve voted for all the reforms. Only if we have public financing. We might lose a legal case. I support banning contributions from city contractors and their owners.

Strengthening schools; maintaining affordability; improving ethics

Yes. I voted for it.

No. The bill was too narrow and proved to be incredibly divisive. I supported the comprehensive minimum wage increase. Probably not, but it could happen. If needed, we’ll create more incentives for local hiring. The District has a lot to offer retailers. Increasing wages will not negatively impact us.

More than 60 percent of D.C. government employees live outside the District, and as a result the District can’t collect their income taxes. What, if anything, should be done about it? What additional steps, if any, should the District take to help former prison inmates find jobs? In looking over the upcoming budget, what spending areas, if any, would you like to see increased and which decreased?

That’s the reality. There is nothing we can do about it.

Create more affordable-housing options and workforce subsidies for police, firefighters and teachers.

Ban the question of convictions from initial job applications for the private sector. Doing this has not created any problems for the city. Increase spending on homelessness, affordable housing; no significant decreases.

Which taxes would you like increased and which taxes decreased, given our current budget situation?

I support the package from the Tax Revision Commission. If they are piecemealed, then I’ll figure where to go.

Do you approve of tax rebates or other special attractions to induce firms to locate here? How about incentives for the Adams Morgan hotel at the church on Columbia Road? What approaches, if any, should be taken to decrease the likelihood of lower-income, long-term District residents being forced from their homes because of increasing real estate values and taxes, or are our current policies generally adequate? The District’s commercial real estate and business taxes are the area’s highest by far. Business groups say Virginia attracts many District firms due to attractive tax rates. Should there be an effort to reduce them to better compete? Should the sales tax include services such as gym memberships, as recommended by the Tax Revision Commission? What steps do you feel should be taken to improve public education?

Yes, in certain circumstances. We could have still had WETA here and other important companies. I was the author of its tax relief. It saves an historic building that was very much in jeopardy. We should have a real estate tax exemption for people over 75 with incomes under $200,000.

Ban question of convictions from initial job applications. Provide more workforce training, mental health counseling and housing placement. Increase spending on housing and education. Be more efficient in the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and the Department of Employment Services. Keep the top tax rate at 9.5 percent; increase standard deduction; reduce franchise (profits) taxes; examine individual and corporation property tax rates. Only if there is job creation or other benefits to the District.

The D.C. Office of Planning has been praised and criticized for favoring fewer parking places in new apartment buildings. What are your thoughts? Should D.C. turn over citizenship information to the U.S. immigration agency when suspects are arrested and booked for alleged criminal activity? When they are convicted? Just when convicted of a violent crime? Or not at all? How would you get better enforcement of laws on jaywalking, bicycle riders ignoring moving vehicle laws, and drivers ignoring yield signs, using cellphones and blocking the box, or would you eliminate some of these laws? Should the fines for bicycle riders who violate traffic regulations be substantially increased? Should riders be allowed on sidewalks? Should D.C. allow residents to set up self-taxing districts where residents agree to pay extra taxes to receive more services, like the business improvement districts in D.C. and in Maryland municipalities? Should D.C. Council members be allowed to keep their constituent service funds? If yes, should they be larger, smaller or left as they are now? * Do you approve of allowing legal recreational marijuana sales?

It’s hard to say. There are so many factors.

We’re very attractive if you look at the entire tax situation. There is a balance that we strike. Virginia has a business gross receipts tax. We don’t. I will support it if it is coupled with all of its recommendations. If it is separated, I’ll vote no. Continue to modernize facilities with quality space; re-establish an elected school board to advise the chancellor and mayor on D.C. Public Schools; provide more autonomy to public schools, the key to charters’ success; add funding for athletics, music, art and field trips. There have been reasonable compromises. Developers can agree to no residential parking privileges.

I am ethical and collaborative. I support public financing and a ban on corporate contributions. Yes. They are banned in congressional elections.

No. I support the hotel. The tax abatement was given away too quickly. We should have property tax abatement for those with incomes under $50,000, provide long-term supported housing, and help them be energy-efficient. Maintain rent control laws. Reduce franchise (profits) taxes to 8.25 percent and exempt investment funds from the business franchise tax as recommended by the Tax Revision Commission. I oppose the commission’s proposed $100 per employee fee and sales tax increase. Yes.

Not at all.

Increase funding for wraparound services, music, arts, and afterschool and summer school enrichment programs in neighborhood schools for real community engagement. Increase honors and Advanced Placement courses for more advanced students. I support the proposed parking minimum relief near Metro stations and other transit hubs. We need market-based solutions for residential areas near commercial corridors. When convicted of a violent crime.

We do a good job of cellphone enforcement. The bicycle issue is highly complex.

We need more public education and more enforcement for all of them.

Not until we deal with the issue of how bicycles are to be treated under traffic laws. They should not be allowed on sidewalks.

Don’t increase fines, but do increase enforcement. Don’t allow them on sidewalks downtown or where there are bike lanes. Increase bike lanes in areas where they cause sidewalk hazards. No.

Yes, if they have the requisite voter approval.

I really meet human needs with mine. Those dollars are very much appreciated.

No, but I approved of decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. Should D.C. allow 17-year-olds to vote? I think so. There’s an opportunity for a civics connection. Is the present level of enforcement for quality-of-life offenses such It’s virtually nonexistent. If you get people with minor offenses, you as public urination and graffiti generally adequate, too heavy-handed prevent major offenses. I would vote for more officers to handle this or not tough enough? and get results. Should the District have runoff or instant runoff (where voters mark I’m open to instant runoffs. I’ve always won with a majority. second and third choices) primary and general elections to ensure the winning candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote?

No. I support full legalization. Yes. Adequate, but we need mental health services and education to attack the root causes. Yes.


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