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THE CURRENT

VOTERS GUIDE

A Special Section in the October 20, 2010, issue of The Current Newspapers

NOVEMBER 2, 2010, GENERAL ELECTION

About the Nov. 2 election

About the Voters Guide

Inside

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2. You may also request an absentee ballot by mail through Oct. 26. Early voting has begun at One Judiciary Square, 441 4th St. NW, and will continue daily through Sept. 13 except Sundays. The Chevy Chase Community Center and three other satellite early-voting locations will be open Oct. 23 through 30, except on Sunday. Voters registered as of Oct. 4 are eligible to vote; if you are not registered to vote, you may register at an early voting location or on Election Day and cast a special ballot. Information about voting places and other aspects of the election is available on the Board of Elections and Ethics’ website, dcboee.org. Election information is also available by calling the board’s office at 202-727-2525.

The Current’s editors interviewed the major candidates in races within our coverage area in the Nov. 2 election — the contests for mayor, D.C. Council chairman, two at-large D.C. Council seats, the Ward 1 D.C. Council seat, the Ward 3 D.C. Council seat and the Ward 1 State Board of Education seat. Laura McGiffert Slover is uncontested in her bid for re-election to the State Board of Education seat for Ward 3. The races for D.C. delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives and shadow U.S. representative are not included due to space constraints. Advisory neighborhood commission candidates also are not included due to space constraints. The interviews provided the basis for profiles combining candidates’ biographical information and a discussion of their top priorities, as well as charts offering brief positions on a host of specific issues.

Mayor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page VG2 D.C. Council Chairman . . Page VG3 At-large D.C. Council Seats Q & A . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page VG6 Ward 1 D.C. Council Seat Candidate Profiles . . . . Page VG4 Q & A . . . . . . . . . . . . Pages VG7 Ward 3 D.C. Council Seat Candidate Profiles . . . . Page VG5 Q & A . . . . . . . . . . . . Pages VG8 Ward 1 State Board of Education Candidate Profiles . . . . Page VG5 Q & A . . . . . . . . . . . . Pages VG9

AT-LARGE D.C. COUNCIL SEATS ■ Vote for Two

David Catania

Phil Mendelson

David Schwartzman

Independent

Democratic Party

D.C. Statehood Green Party

David Catania, who has held an at-large seat on the D.C. Council since 1997 and chairs the council’s Committee on Health, is running for re-election as an independent. He is a senior counsel at the law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld. If re-elected, Catania said he plans to focus his efforts most on health care, education and job opportunities. Catania said he strongly supports continued education reform. A major objective should be to build a successful specialeducation system within the D.C. Public Schools, with exceptions for children with severe mental health problems, who may need to be educated outside the system. To reduce the number of children misdiagnosed as learning disabled and to ensure provision of proper services, he would create a “first-of-its-kind” mental health screening and assessments program. Since more than 90 percent of District children are covered by a publicly financed health system that includes mental health benefits, such screenings and treatment wouldn’t impose new costs for District taxpayers, he said. Another major Catania priority is getting school finances in order. “That goes hand in glove with my support for early childhood education,” he said. Catania said that he has experience improving finances. When he became chair of the Committee on Health, “we got a trust-but-verify budget system [for the city Health Department]. ... You go through every single contract and line item. What is shocking is how often we spend money on services and receive no benefit — or none relative to the amount we were spending. I was able to save tens of millions.” See Catania/Page VG10

Phil Mendelson, a D.C. Council member since 1999, is running for re-election for his at-large seat as the Democratic nominee. He chairs the council’s Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, which has jurisdiction over police and the fire and emergency medical services agency. Mendelson said that if re-elected, he would continue aggressive oversight of those agencies, which he said have improved under his watch. Other priorities, he said, are fiscal stability and public education. “There’s been a lot of progress in public safety,” he said in an interview before the primary. “We are at the brink of substantial improvement.” But some areas still need lots of work: In addition to its muddled oversight of youth offenders, the city has inadequate programming to help curb recidivism and other ills such as drug addiction, he said. “This city still has way too much violent crime,” he said. Mendelson cites as a particular battle he has waged the effort to bring the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department budget in line. With agency heads asked to reduce overtime spending, he said, Police Chief Cathy Lanier has brought down those costs by $16 million, while Fire Chief Dennis Rubin has overspent by $100 million. Mendelson said that if re-elected he would hold monthly hearings on the matter. He also pointed to the juvenile justice reform bill he recently introduced, which, if passed, would add to the 300-plus bills that he has shepherded into law. Just like most of this year’s candidates, Mendelson said that education reform is a top priority. Before the primary, Mendelson said he preferred See Mendelson/Page VG10

David Schwartzman is the D.C. Statehood Green Party nominee for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council. Since 1973, he has worked as a professor in Howard University’s biology department. If elected, Schwartzman said, he would focus most on poverty reduction, the green economy and tax and revenue. To reduce poverty, the city must work to restore cuts in child care, affordable housing and adult education, while working to reopen and properly staff social-service centers, said Schwartzman. “We’ll afford it by addressing the revenue side and corporate welfare.” Schwartzman said the need for such services is dire because “one out of three D.C. children live in poverty, four of 10 black children.” He said the privatization of social services has largely failed and that poverty reduction should be “linked to creating living-wage job opportunities.” He would ban employers from asking about criminal records on initial job applications “as it discriminates against rehabilitated ex-offenders.” But banks and other institutions could require an answer in follow-up questionnaires, he added. To foster a green economy, Schwartzman said, D.C. needs to start with schools. “We only have one vocational high school, but no apprenticeship programs integrated with it,” he said. “We need programs partnering with businesses, unions and nonprofits emphasizing sustainable jobs such as green energy and food production.” Such programs should also be “available to adults in areas with high unemployment.” Schwartzman said the city should encourage solar See Schwartzman/Page VG10


VG2

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2010

THE CURRENT VOTERS GUIDE MAYOR

Faith

Vincent Gray

D.C. Statehood Green Party

Democratic Party

Faith, who legally has just one name, is the D.C. Statehood Green Party nominee for D.C. mayor. She has sought the position — as well as the District’s nonvoting seat in the U.S. House — several times in recent years. If elected, Faith said, she would work to further empower advisory neighborhood commissions, house the homeless and achieve statehood for the District. She said that all advisory neighborhood commissioners should collect ideas from each of the 2,000 residents they represent. Then, she said, the commissioners should present those ideas to the D.C. Council. Commissioners would accumulate more power by contributing legislative ideas to the council, she said. Faith said that commissioners should also enlist artists to come to their single-member districts and teach students of all ages. She believes that young people and the homeless should have local community centers where they can be trained in the performing arts. The neighborhood commissions should be encouraged to use such centers, she said.

In 2004, Vincent Gray was elected to the D.C. Council to represent Ward 7, and two years later, he won a race to serve as council chairman. Now he is running for mayor as the Democratic nominee, having defeated incumbent Adrian Fenty. If elected, Gray said, he would prioritize education, economic development and fiscal responsibility. To rein in spending, Gray would turn first to public safety, health and human services, and education. “With 80-plus percent of our expenditures in those areas, there’s really nowhere else to look.” He didn’t rule out a tax increase to solve the budget crunch; he called it “a last resort.” He wouldn’t say what taxes would be targeted if the city needs additional revenue. Besides cutting spending, Gray said he would promote economic development initiatives. He said improved vocational training, particularly for “emerging jobs” in environment-related industries, would provide a major boost for the District. A well-trained workforce could attract green companies to D.C. and grow the city beyond hosting tourists and the federal government, he said. This would

In terms of housing the homeless individuals and families of the District, Faith pointed to many empty condominium and rental apartment developments. She thinks the homeless should be allowed to live in them “until they get their feet on the ground.” She advocates for the city to rent the spaces from building owners for about $2 million to $3 million a year. Doing so would not create a big item in the city’s multibillion-dollar budget, said the mayoral hopeful. Statehood, Faith said, is imperative for D.C. “It must be implemented now to keep Congress from interfering with See Faith/Page VG11

boost resident employment — and therefore their contribution to the economy and the tax rolls — and the city would collect taxes from the new businesses, Gray said. He pledged to hire more enforcement officers to oversee the District’s firstsource law, which requires firms working on city-funded contracts to hire D.C. residents as more than half their workforce. On his third priority — education — Gray said he is committed to maintaining the reform momentum set by Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. He described, in his interview before the primary, an ideal chancellor as “someSee Gray/Page VG10

FAITH

VINCENT GRAY

What are the three areas upon which you would concentrate the most as mayor?

Empower advisory neighborhood commissions, housing homeless, statehood.

Education, economic development and fiscal responsibility.

The mayor and council faced difficult challenges when preparing the 2011 budget. They increased “fees,” which some would describe as taxes; made some budget cutbacks; and reduced the District’s reserve funds. Should the city face similar problems in the next four years, would you favor increasing taxes, cutting expenditures, further reducing the amount of the reserve funds, or a combination?

Further reduce reserve funds, cut expenses in construction of new buildings.

First focus must be on reducing expenditures. We cannot legally further reduce the fund balances. I’d want to work with citizens on what should be reduced. Tax increases would be a last resort. At this time I don’t want to take a position on what taxes we should look at. We can’t increase cigarettes, sales or gas taxes. On expenditures, we’d have to look at education, human services and public safety as they are over 80 percent of budget.

As council chairman, Vincent Gray voted for a budget dependent on our cashing in on some reserve accounts, even after having criticized the approach. Was the criticism insincere?

Yes.

We had only 56 days to consider the budget. In all likelihood we will be revisiting it very soon.

What approaches, if any, should be taken to reduce the likelihood that rising real estate values and taxes will force low-income D.C. residents out of their longtime homes, or are our current policies adequate?

Initiate tax exemption for buildings that house low-income and homeless residents.

Continue rent control; enforce inclusionary zoning; continue home purchase assistance for first-time home buyers; create a workforce housing fund for teachers, police officers and firefighters.

What departments or areas, if any, should be the District’s three top priorities in terms of any new or additional spending?

Recreation, senior and youth centers.

When we can afford it, investments in early-childhood education, career and technical education, enhanced community college support and employment services.

What agencies or programs, if any, should be reduced or eliminated?

Agency reviewing movies should be eliminated.

We would have to work with citizens before making any decisions.

Should the District turn over information on citizenship to the U.S. immigration agency when suspects are arrested and booked for alleged serious criminal activity? Or convicted?

Only if they are convicted.

No.

Should the city force universities to provide more on-campus undergraduate student housing? If so, how?

No.

Yes, it should be a part of their 10-year campus plans. If they don’t have adequate space, they shouldn’t be allowed to increase the university’s size.

Should D.C. allow residents to set up self-taxing districts where residents agree to pay extra taxes to receive extra services similar to Maryland municipalities and to business improvement districts here in D.C.?

Yes.

The BIDs by and large work well. As a general policy, I would support it, but there is a downside that people will say they already pay taxes to the city. My own neighborhood, Hillcrest, has expressed an interest.

In 20 words or less, explain why voters should elect you as mayor.

I would create a new state empowering ANCs and the revival of Roosevelt’s WPA to bring a new arts economy.

Vince Gray will put an end to cronyism, restore character, integrity, leadership and sound fiscal management to District government.


THE CURRENT VOTERS GUIDE

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2010

VG3

D.C. COUNCIL CHAIRMAN

Kwame Brown

Ann Wilcox

Democratic Party

D.C. Statehood Green Party

Kwame Brown, the Democratic nominee for D.C. Council chairman, has been an at-large member of the D.C. Council since 2004. He chairs the council’s Economic Development Committee and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Brown’s priorities if elected council chairman would be to continue the District’s education reform efforts, improve its vocational training programs and ensure its financial well-being. In an interview before the primary, he said he recognizes the need for improvements to the District’s schools — as an elected official and as a parent. “I believe I’ll be the first chairman of the council to actually have children in D.C. public schools at a time when school reform is a No. 1 issue that residents are concerned about,” he said. Brown said he’s pleased with the progress in the city’s public elementary schools, but the improvements need to continue into higher age groups. The school system needs “world-class middle schools,” Brown said. “I believe that wherever you go, middle schools are a big concern for middleclass families who are leaving the system

Ann Wilcox is the D.C. Statehood Green Party nominee for D.C. Council chairman. She works as an attorney concentrating in criminal defense work and First Amendment defense for protest groups. Wilcox said that if she is elected, she would concentrate her efforts on affordable housing, expanding the social safety net and gaining statehood for the District. “We’ve lost a third of our affordablehousing stock in the last 10 years,” Wilcox said. “Most of the new units being built are high-end buildings. “Columbia Heights,” she said, “is a perfect example of an area being gentrified — long-term African-American and Hispanic residents being replaced by yuppies.” Wilcox said she would push the city to fund down payments for tenants seeking to buy apartments under the city’s Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, or tenants’ right-of-first-refusal law. “The group as a whole would have to pay it back, but some of the [payback] funds should comes as grants [from the city],” she said. The chairman hopeful also believes that the city should ensure that there are enough apartment buildings to house the

and leaving the city,” he said. “When we start to fix our middle schools, it will start to improve our high schools.” In the middle schools, he would like to see smaller class sizes, a teacher’s aide in every classroom, and Saturday and summer classes available to all students. It’s too early to tell whether school reform under Chancellor Michelle Rhee has been successful, he said. A progress report is due in the next year or two. Brown said he worries some educators may feel left out of the reform process. “We need to move as quickly as possible in ensuring that the education reform methods are continued while bringing See Brown/Page VG11

disabled and the elderly. “We need to develop more senior housing — build new projects,” she said. “There is a lot of federal money available ... . Now, the government often doesn’t even fill out grant applications.” Wilcox favors group homes in stable single-family-home neighborhoods for the mentally challenged, the elderly and recent prison releases. She said, “We must educate people who would move if [new] neighbors are recent prison releases. Releases have an incentive to behave.” She continued: “You don’t want to put them [releases] in the neighborhood See Wilcox/Page VG11

KWAME BROWN

ANN WILCOX

What are the three areas upon which you would concentrate most as D.C. Council chairman?

Move education reform forward, job training, city’s fiscal health.

Affordable housing, social safety net, statehood.

What do you see as the main role of the council chairman, especially in relationship to the mayor, D.C. agencies and neighborhoods?

To provide leadership and oversight, to work with and lead colleagues, and to be collaborative with the mayor for benefit of District residents.

Oversight of budget and agency operations.

What specific skills and formative experience do you bring that would enable you to chair the council effectively?

Professional experience at Walmart, Citibank, First Union and the U.S. Department of Commerce and as chair of the council’s Economic Development Committee.

Have served on boards such as the D.C. Commission on Women and the Board of Education; have chaired many committee meetings; have formulated agendas.

Should Ward 8 Council member Marion Barry chair a committee?

Everyone should have a committee — perhaps a small special committee. It will not be a major one such as economic development.

Not right now.

The mayor and council faced difficult challenges when preparing the 2011 budget. They increased “fees,” which some would describe as taxes; made some budget cutbacks; and reduced the District’s reserve funds. Should the city face similar problems in the next four years, would you favor increasing taxes, cutting expenditures, further reducing the amount of the reserve funds, or a combination?

First, ensure expenditures are properly allocated and have analysts put together an income and program expense plan that can be presented in an open, transparent way. Spending cuts come first, looking at areas we could consolidate. Would not further cut reserve funds. We’ve lost $30 million a year in Medicaid reimbursements from the federal government for years. Would consider cuts in everything except education and public safety. Would introduce tax on online hotel reservations.

Increase luxury taxes on theaters, health clubs and other highend services. I oppose increases in income and sales taxes. Possibly increase all property taxes. Reduce developer breaks. Delay some capital improvements. I have no problem going into the reserves. We should use the rainy-day fund when it’s a rainy day.

What departments or areas, if any, should be the District’s three top priorities in terms of any new or additional spending once the economy recovers?

More funding for middle schools, summer schools and career technical education; push completion of neighborhood economic development projects.

Schools, libraries and recreation centers; public safety.

The city’s charter school supporters claim that far more taxpayer money is spent for the public school system’s buildings on a per-pupil basis than is available to charter schools. If you agree, what, if anything, should be done about it?

I agree. There should be parity. My two kids have attended a charter school, and my wife works for one.

I don’t agree. They get really good deals on buildings, and they get some of the better ones. They can do foundation fundraising.

Should police officers be able to write tickets with large fines for underage drinking and for quality-of-life offenses so the officers won’t be off the street?

Yes.

No. It’s OK the way it is.

Should the city force universities to provide more on-campus undergraduate student housing? If so, how?

Yes, by offering incentives that local advisory neighborhood commissions might approve, such as building-height incentives.

I don’t think we can.

In 20 words or less, explain why voters should elect you as D.C. Council chairman.

I will continue to fight for aggressive education reform, working with the mayor to create a world-class school system.

I will use my experience to lead the council toward an economically diverse city that provides for all its citizens.


VG4

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2010

THE CURRENT VOTERS GUIDE WARD 1 D.C. COUNCIL

Jim Graham

Marc Morgan

Nancy Shia

Democratic Party

Republican Party

D.C. Statehood Green Party

Jim Graham, who has served on the D.C. Council since 1998, is again seeking re-election for the Ward 1 seat as the Democratic nominee. He chairs the council’s Committee on Public Works and Transportation and serves on the board of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which he chaired in 2003 and 2009. If re-elected, Graham said, he would focus on quality-of-life issues, jobs and economic development, and public safety. In an interview before the primary, Graham said the constituent service in his ward is “considered the best in the city.” He said he responds promptly to constituents’ emails, dedicating “several hours every day to giving meaningful responses. Then, the staff follows up.” On employment, Graham said the most frequent question he hears is, “Can you get me a job?” In many cases, he said, his office has been able to help. “I do work hard to increase vocational training and strengthen people’s opportunities,” he said. “I was brought up saying that all work has nobility.” Graham wants to see more rigid enforcement of the requirement that 51 percent of jobs generated by D.C. government-funded projects go to city residents. “The contracts for construction in Columbia Heights that were not in compliance had no penalties,” he said. He takes credit for helping to create “truly productive properties” in Ward 1 that have yielded jobs. A decade ago, U Street and Columbia Heights “were abandoned areas,” he said. In Columbia Heights, he said, a new IHOP offered 110 jobs, and 85 percent of jobs at a new Giant were filled from the immediate area. Graham said he helped arrange in Columbia Heights the city’s first significant tax-increment financing deal, which postpones property tax payment to encourage development. He was the major author of the $41 million financing bill, he said. Graham identified the next “target area” in his ward as the lower part of Georgia Avenue around the Howard Town Center development at 8th and V streets and Georgia Avenue. The United Negro College Fund has taken 50,000 square feet there, he said, while an effort to restore the nearby Howard Theatre broke ground recently. He also cited successes with transportation initiatives in his ward. “Adams Morgan became a station name. The Yellow Line was extended due to me,” he said. And the DC Circulator route he helped create has been a “great success.” He said he has also helped improve the public safety climate, including combating gangs. “Nobody handed me a magic wand” to help target entrenched gang problems, Graham said. “We connected with gang experts who provided us with intelligence.” He speaks highly of the ProUrban Youth DC jobs program, which offers more than 1,000 positions in Ward 1 and is now in its ninth year. “I authored the money for people who were undocumented,” he said of the program. “We have several thousand who have no papers. They were the prime targets for the gangs.” See Graham/Page VG11

Marc Morgan is the Republican nominee for the Ward 1 seat on the D.C. Council. He is director of development and strategic partnerships for the American Council on Renewable Energy. If elected, he said, his three major priorities would be jobs, education and fighting crime. “We need more higher-paying, long-term, sustainable jobs,” Morgan said. “The way to get them is to work on green technology because it requires skilled people and has a long-term future.” To make sure D.C. residents get these green jobs, Morgan said, he would push high schools to offer courses in solar installation and recycling as well as life-skills programs. “We must integrate sustainable practices in the schools to pique [students’] interest,” he said, noting that green jobs can attract students with a range of academic skill levels. Morgan also said he’s an advocate for trade schools and strong mentoring programs. He said Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee did “an outstanding job of putting us on a performancebased platform that lifts up our students and teachers.” He praised her for being “very effective in holding teachers accountable.” For example, he said he once told Rhee about his son’s lack of homework, and she took initiative. “As a result, some of his classmates are now in the Shaw Library doing homework.” However, Morgan said, there’s “a lack of emphasis placed on increased performance and higher education” at D.C. schools, which can be like factories with insufficient attention to students as individuals. He noted that “there are many kids in my son’s senior class ... who cannot read at an eighth-grade level.” He said he disagrees with “teachers [who] say we don’t have the money” to make improvements. If elected, Morgan would “put more focus on advanced education at a very young age: science, technology and mathematics,” he said. Advocating a balanced emphasis on education and athletics, he said some kids need to focus less on inflated dreams “to make the NBA.” Morgan said recent shootings and break-ins are evidence “that we have not paid enough attention to pockets of crime.” His solution would be not only to add more Metropolitan Police Department officers on the streets, but also to increase community engagement. “In my neighborhood, there are four police officers I know by name as they walk the neighborhood,” he said. “A lot of neighborhoods do not have that. If [police are] not out on the street, they are not effective.” He said police must work more with the business community, particularly in Columbia Heights and the U street area. Morgan also addressed the problem of retention: “We need more officers, but we must keep them,” he said. “They get trained here and then go somewhere else with higher pay and better working conditions. ... Their talents are not utilized enough here.” Morgan said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier is doing a great job but “does not have the support of the [D.C.] Council,” which has not fully funded the See Morgan/Page VG11

Nancy Shia is the D.C. Statehood Green Party nominee for the Ward 1 seat on the D.C. Council. She has served as an Adams Morgan advisory neighborhood commissioner since 2006. If elected to the council, Shia said she would concentrate most on statehood, childhood poverty and education. She encouraged more activism for the D.C. statehood effort. “Educate, agitate and organize” is her mantra: “Educate the kids, get them to agitate where the pressure must be put on other state governments, and organize to get them to put pressure on their Congress people.” High-schoolers, for example, should get “involved in writing to kids in other states,” Shia said. “It will take a relentless drumbeat in Congress. ... Statehood is one fight we will have to take to the streets in every state.” She described the problem of childhood poverty in D.C. as “all-encompassing,” noting that it involves issues of “civil rights, living wages, bad schools and gentrification.” It also contributes to crime, she said: “Children living in poverty are much more likely to enter the juvenile justice system.” Shia highlighted a racial backdrop to the problem: 43 percent of African-American children in D.C. live in poverty, while only 2 or 3 percent of white children do, she said. Many poverty-stricken children have parents struggling to overcome criminal backgrounds, she said. “I would end housing and job discrimination with people with criminal records. I would support banning the box where you check off if you have a criminal record,” she said. “I would support programs that take people from jail to the halfway houses and from the halfway houses to a place where they can learn to have a living job.” Shia said schools could help address some of the issues, by offering healthy food, parent training and family counseling. “The problems are not going to be solved in the next 10 years, but you have to chip away at it.” To improve education in D.C., Shia encourages stronger relationships between schools and their surrounding communities. “The schools are locked up at night,” she said. “They have nice gyms and stages. The school belongs to the community,” not to D.C. Public Schools. “DCPS needs to relinquish some of its tight control.” Shia said she would encourage advisory neighborhood commissions “to be active with their district schools” and help sponsor programs like a parent-of-the-month award. If she becomes a D.C. Council member, Shia said, she would “get to know all the principals and find out what they need.” Engaging more with children’s families is also critical, she said. “We should recognize a parent of the year from every school and have more family nights with dinners. ... We should incentivize grandparents. ... When grandparents are involved, the grandchildren do much better.” Absence of community engagement has been a particular problem at H.D. Cooke Elementary School in Adams Morgan, said Shia, adding that the See Shia/Page VG11


THE CURRENT VOTERS GUIDE

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2010

VG5

WARD 3 D.C.COUNCIL

Mary Cheh

Dave Hedgepeth

Democratic Party

Republican Party

Mary Cheh, was was elected to the D.C. Council in 2006 as the Ward 3 member, is seeking a second term after receiving the Democratic nomination in an uncontested primary. She also teaches constitutional law at the George Washington University Law School. Cheh said that if re-elected, she will focus particularly on quality-of-life issues, education and fiscal responsibility. She touted her record over the past four years in tackling small issues that have a big impact on constituents’ daily lives. Visitor parking passes, street-paving funding on par with other wards, pedestrian-safety initiatives, school renovation projects accomplished or begun at Deal Middle School, Wilson High School and elsewhere, and amenities such as the Wilson pool were initiatives from her office or benefited from her strong advocacy, she said. But she acknowledged that there remains much to be done and pledged to maintain her focus on constituent issues in a new term. Cheh is also known for a citywide legislative record that includes bills — both passed and promulgated — promoting healthy food in schools, clean energy, a health-inspection “grading” system for

Dave Hedgepeth is a candidate for the Ward 3 seat on the D.C. Council. He received the Republican nomination in an uncontested race. He is a litigation support specialist with CACI International Inc., where he helps manage cases for the U.S. Department of Justice. If elected, Hedgepeth plans to pay particular attention to education, fiscal responsibility and small-business advocacy. Calling himself a strong supporter of outgoing Mayor Adrian Fenty and Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, Hedgepeth said that if elected he would help ensure that school reform moves forward. The teacher ratings system known as IMPACT, said Hedgepeth, is particularly important to preserve. “I’m fearful that the new mayor would select a chancellor who is willing to gut the IMPACT system,” Hedgepeth said. “And that’s the key to making the system work.” Robust teacher evaluation is also a fiscal concern, he said. “Salaries are going to be high. … We want to make sure we get what we pay for.” Hedgepeth said he’s particularly buoyed by the momentum of education reform in Ward 3, and not only in his ward’s popular elementary schools. Ever

restaurants and a tax on sugary drinks. She emphasized that her much-discussed mayoral endorsement of D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray was not a call to end school reform, as some have interpreted it. “I’ve supported every aspect of the school reform movement,” she said. “Going forward, I want people to appreciate that the architecture of school reform is in place” including the mayoral takeover, closed school buildings, Allen Lew’s modernization office, strong principals in many schools and the new teacher contract, she said. But Cheh questioned the level of success the reform initiatives have achieved See Cheh/Page VG10

since Deal Middle School received a thorough renovation and launched an International Baccalaureate program, more and more parents are choosing to send their children there instead of — as has traditionally happened — to a private school after the elementary grades, said Hedgepeth. He also said principals should be given more flexibility to determine what’s right for their schools, such as the longer school day that incumbent Cheh has proposed for the D.C. Public Schools. “I wouldn’t do it on a citywide basis,” he said. “Let the people on the ground decide.” See Hedgepeth/Page VG10

WARD 1 D.C. STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

Patrick Mara

Dotti Love Wade

Patrick Mara is a candidate for the Ward 1 seat on the State Board of Education. He runs a consulting business in fundraising and political and business services, which he started in 2009. Mara said that if elected, he would concentrate on developing the school system’s science standards, collecting student data, and improving services for those whose native language is not English. In terms of science standards, Mara said, “We must see that [we] are in line with high-performing jurisdictions such as Massachusetts, as eventually they will be included in the common core standards being developed by most of the states.” There should be separate science standards for biology, chemistry and physics, he said, noting that the board has already started working on them. “It’s very important,” Mara said, “that any science standards are aligned with the standards of other states so we can better see how well we are doing relative to others.” Mara said the District currently lacks an adequate system for collecting data on its schools. “We need to start identifying how children do at the pre-K level and follow them all the way. It is important to compare children who have not had the

Dotti Love Wade is running for reelection for her Ward 1 seat on the State Board of Education. Before joining the board, she served for four terms on an advisory neighborhood commission in Columbia Heights. Wade said that if she is re-elected, she would focus most on ensuring full implementation of the recently passed English language, arts and math standards, developing strong assessment tools and working on community relations. In terms of implementing standards, Wade said that the board’s authority lies in developing assessment tools — not actually implementing the new guidelines. She also spoke of the board’s limited ability to act on results. “The results come back to the board from the Office of the State Superintendent. We, as a board, cannot do anything, as we don’t have enforcement powers,” she said. “If I find that a school in Ward 1 is not up to standard, I would report it to the state superintendent and ask her or him to look into it and find what we can do to help the school.” If no action is taken, Wade continued, “then we have the bully pulpit of [having our meetings on] live television to let the public know. We don’t have a staff, so we don’t send releases to the

benefit of pre-k with those who have at all levels.” He said teacher data should be public as well. The big flaw of the federal No Child Left Behind program is that it does not measure growth. It just measures proficiency.” For example, he said, “A fifth-grade teacher who has students reading at the second-grade level and brings them up to the fourth-grade level is doing a fabulous job, but because the youngsters are not at the fifth-grade level, the teacher is often considered unsatisfactory.” He said the state superintendent is reviewing proposals from different venSee Mara/Page VG11

papers.” Wade said her major concern is how youth violence, dropouts and low achievement can lead to high unemployment and gang violence. As for developing assessment tools, she said the Ward 3 board member, Laura Slover, is leading that effort. “We need strong [tools],” said Wade. “They have to be closely aligned to the curriculum and to the new science, technology and math standards that are being developed. I’m going to be pushing that those assessment dollars are equally formulated for all of our schools.” See Wade/Page VG11


VG6

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2010

THE CURRENT VOTERS GUIDE

D.C. COUNCIL AT-LARGE SEATS (Vote for Two)

DAVID CATANIA

PHIL MENDELSON

DAVID SCHWARTZMAN

Independent

Democratic Party

D.C. Statehood Green Party

What are the three areas you would concentrate on the most as a council member?

Education, health care, job creation.

Public safety, fiscal stability, public education.

Poverty reduction, green economy, tax and revenue issues.

The mayor and D.C. Council faced difficult challenges in preparing the 2011 budget. They increased “fees,” which some describe as taxes; made some budget cutbacks; and reduced the District’s reserve funds. If the city faces similar problems in the future, how would you react?

My committee reduced the budgets of agencies we oversee by eliminating waste while preserving core services. Ultimately I would support a balance of expense reductions and revenue enhancements. On taxes, we should look where we are lower than the suburbs, such as residential real estate, to stay competitive. Any increases should be modest and temporary. If we increase income taxes, I would look at something very small across the board — say, $25 on every $1,000, which would almost close the gap. There could be waste to cut in special-education transportation and private tuition.

Completely oppose reducing reserve-fund balances. Would look first at budget cuts such as reducing summer jobs program to the $10 million it used to be. Move out of rental space such as $12 per square foot we were paying for police evidence warehouse to 225 Virginia Ave. SE, which we now own. Spend the money to recoup hundreds of millions in Medicaid reimbursements from federal government. As a last resort, raise income taxes for the very wealthy.

We need to enact a progressive tax structure, curb corporate welfare received through tax abatements, and establish a D.C. municipal bank like North Dakota’s to hold our revenues so we can invest them in green jobs. We must campaign for payments in lieu of taxes from universities and semi-governmental organizations such as the World Bank.

Should the District increase income taxes on residents earning more than $250,000?

Any increase should be across the board, possibly slightly higher on higher earners, but only if absolutely necessary.

Only as last resort to balance the budget.

Yes, modestly and up to 1.5 percent more after the federal deduction for those with much higher incomes.

Should the council’s ban on earmarks remain?

Yes.

Yes, but grants for which applicants compete are appropriate.

There are earmarks and earmarks. A broad ban misses some valuable expenditures.

What approaches, if any, should be taken to decrease the likelihood that increasing real estate values and taxes would force low-income D.C. residents out of their longtime homes, or are our current policies adequate?

We should offer incentives for homeownership among low-income residents to protect them from rent increases. A 30-year mortgage does not increase. I support increases in the Home Purchase Assistance Program and allowing use of rental allowances as mortgage assistance.

Tools are in place but are not utilized. For example, the Housing Production Trust Fund was raided by the mayor to balance the budget.

Lower the cap on property tax increases for the less affluent and raise it for multimillion-dollar homes.

The District’s commercial real estate and corporate business taxes are by far the highest in the area. Should there be a major effort in future years to reduce them in order to compete better for local businesses? If yes, how should it be done?

Yes, without question, but it is not possible at this point as it would lead to a short-term reduction in revenue. We have to make parity a priority — especially with the expansion of Metro in Northern Virginia, which could result in our losing office and retail tenants.

The commercial property tax rate must come down, but we can’t afford it next year. I would like to eliminate the personal property tax and restructure utility taxes so institutions like the federal government would pay more and businesses less.

No for the foreseeable future. Our vacancy rate is lower than the suburbs, so we can justify taxes as they are.

Which departments or areas, if any, should be the District’s three top priorities in terms of any new or additional spending? Which should be cut?

We should look at possible increases for the Department of Employment Services, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Mental Health. Would look for reductions by reforming the pension system, special education and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, which has an enormous staff.

I am not thinking about increasing spending. There might be some budget shifting. Reduce social programs such as summer jobs to previous levels.

Affordable housing, adult education and child care should be considered for increases. Corporate tax abatements and exemptions that do not deliver real community benefits should be looked at as well as city contractors who do not fulfill the requirement to hire 51 percent District residents.

What line items, if any, should be struck from or added to the school budget?

Would enhance District-based special education to solve over time out-of-state tuition and transportation costs. Would also improve public health education as we are paying for low health literacy many times over. Special education transportation and out-of-state tuition should be cut.

Unsure on cuts; would like more vocational and extracurricular activities.

Cut the bureaucracy of deputy mayor for education Victor Reinoso’s office. We should get on top of special education and bring it in house, which would cost more now and save a great deal later. We should also cut back on “teaching to the test” instead of nurturing critical thinking. We should stop buying selections from books rather than the books themselves.

Should there be funding for pre-kindergarten for very young children from the moment of birth?

Yes, generally, but I am unsure of exact time to start.

We can’t afford it, and it’s not one of my goals.

Yes, and we could seek federal funding for it.

Should police officers be able to write tickets with large fines for underage drinking and for quality-of-life offenses so they don’t have to take the time to formally book the accused?

Would favor it on a limited basis to study its effectiveness.

Offenders should be formally booked and brought into the station, but the forfeit and release process should be reformed.

No. I favor fining based on one’s ability to pay, as is done in Scandinavia. Booking them can be a start to treatment.

Should the District turn over information on citizenship status to the U.S. immigration agency when suspects are arrested and booked for alleged serious criminal activity?

Generally not, except for conviction of a serious crime.

Only when they are convicted, as doing so would put community policing at risk.

No.

How would you get better enforcement of laws on jaywalking, bicycle riders ignoring moving vehicle laws, drivers ignoring yield signs, drivers on cell phones and drivers blocking the box? Or would you eliminate some of these laws?

These are not trivial issues. However, there is a problem of how to use police officers, given more serious problems.

Police need to dedicate resources. Parking enforcers could write tickets for blocking the box if they have adequate training, but not for cell phone and moving violations.

In Finland a speeding ticket can cost a multimillionaire hundreds of thousands. We should look at large fines for wealthy people.

In 20 words or less, explain why voters should elect you to the D.C. Council.

As council member, I’ve worked for honest, accountable government. With your support, I’ll seek common-sense solutions to our many challenges.

I’m experienced, thoughtful and accessible, with strong grass roots, and I’m willing to take principled positions even when unpopular.

I will empower D.C.’s working-middle-class majority to create a more just community and a better life for all.


THE CURRENT VOTERS GUIDE

D.C. COUNCIL WARD 1 SEAT

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2010

VG7

JIM GRAHAM

MARC MORGAN

NANCY SHIA

Democratic Party

Republican Party

D.C. Statehood Green Party

What are the three areas upon which you would concentrate the most as a council member?

Daily quality-of-life issues, jobs and economic prosperity, public safety.

Jobs, crime, education.

Statehood, childhood poverty, education.

The District was suffering from a major potential budget shortfall when the D.C. Council considered the 2011 budget. The chief financial officer now sees an additional $175 million shortfall. To meet this challenge, would you favor increasing taxes, cutting expenditures or a combination of both?

A combination of both. Would restore 8.9 percent income tax rate for those with more than $500,000 taxable income; make real effort to collect Medicaid; reorganize Department of Child and Family Services; make progress in reducing special-education costs.

Cut expenditures such as overspending on parks and recreation. Reduce upper-level and mid-management staff positions. Look for outside sources such as foundations for private financing.

A combination of both. Increase auto-ownership taxes. Decrease tax exemptions for developers. Reduce salaries for upper-income bureaucrats. Schools chancellor shouldn’t receive a salary of more than $200,000. Reduce council salaries.

Should the District’s fiscal 2011 budget have been passed, given the reliance on reserve funds to balance it? Some claim it will result in higher interest rates and a lower bond rating.

Reserve funds are for a rainy day. We have one of the strongest reserves in the country. But we can’t spend all the money and must replenish the accounts when things improve.

No.

No.

The District’s commercial real estate and corporate business taxes are the highest in the area. Should we make a major effort in future years to reduce them to compete better for local businesses? If yes, which taxes?

If we were to do that, what budget items would we cut to provide a more inviting atmosphere for business?

Yes. Commercial property taxes and business licensing fees.

No. They can be the highest as it is the nation’s capital.

At what point — stop, arrest or conviction — should the District check the immigration status of people suspected of illegal activities and turn the information over to federal immigration authorities, or should the District not cooperate with immigration authorities at all?

Local and national agencies should be separated. Our police have enough to do.

Upon arrest.

Only if convicted of a violent crime. They should do their time and then be deported.

Should there be areas of the city where gang members are not allowed to go?

Attorney General Peter Nickles had a proposal making it easier to arrest gang members. You have court orders that can ban people from certain areas. I agree with the idea.

Yes, to deter illegal activity.

No, it’s far too vague.

Do you support the continuation of the city’s rent control law as it is? If not, what changes should be made?

I authored legislation making it permanent without a sunset provision.

Yes, but we must ensure housing conditions are and remain adequate.

Yes. I have not studied what changes should be made.

Should the District try to attract more high-income taxpayers to solve its long-term budget problems, or should it seek to slow down the process of gentrification to protect low-income longtime residents and the area’s diversity? How would you do so?

We need to increase our tax base by providing quality schools. The Ward 1 demographic changes have been primarily among single-family homes. We have preserved affordability of almost all large buildings.

We do need to attract more wealthy people, but we should study the strategies in place in cities such as Chicago and Portland, Ore., that do a good job of protecting their elderly low-income residents.

Attracting high-income residents need not cause gentrification. We do need to attract them. District should create more affordable units for gentrification victims.

What departments or areas, if any, should be the District’s three top priorities in terms of any new or additional spending?

Job creation and job training, collecting Medicaid.

Education, fighting crime and affordable housing.

Youth basketball leagues.

What agencies or programs, if any, should be cut?

Special education. The amount we pay lawyers and out-of-state services is staggering.

Parks and recreation as there is outside money that could cover a shortfall.

Busing of special-education children and of children to swing space when schools are being renovated.

Charter school supporters claim that far more taxpayer money is spent for the public school system’s buildings on a per-pupil basis than is available to charters. Do you agree? If so, what should be done about it?

I agree. We should be looking more at co-location to benefit both. When E.L Haynes Public Charter School couldn’t co-locate, it built a brand-new school within a block of a public school that was later closed. We would have saved millions.

I don’t agree.

I agree. What should be done depends on the individual charter school.

Should extra tax dollars above the regular per-pupil spending be allocated to magnet programs such as the Duke Ellington School of the Arts due to their additional costs?

Yes, if we can afford it.

No. There are other sources of funding.

It depends on what funds would be used for. Duke Ellington gets a great deal of private money.

Should there be funding for education services for children from the moment of birth? If yes, how should it be financed?

Yes. The earlier the better. They are dollars well-invested. It should have a high priority in the school budget.

Yes, but there are foundations that would help.

I’m unfamiliar with the program. I do believe in day care for them.

Should police officers be able to write tickets with large fines for underage drinking and quality-of-life offenses so they don’t have to take the time to formally book the accused?

Yes.

No.

Yes, particularly for littering.

Do you think we have an adequate number of police officers on the force? If not, how can we afford more?

Our authorized strength is 4,200, but the current number is 3,900. More would be better if we could keep quality up. It’s a top priority.

No. Reduce spending in other unspecified areas.

I think we have an adequate number of officers, but they need better education.

Would you favor or oppose legislation that would allow slot machines or their equivalents to be installed in the District?

Favor them, if properly policed.

Favor them.

Oppose.

In 20 words or less, explain why voters should vote for you.

I have a solid record of delivering for people — for quality of life, jobs, public safety, prosperity, diversity and housing.

To continue progress in our educational system, promote job creation, spur business development and leverage funding to offset taxes.

I have substantial community experience and will be a strong voice for statehood, human services and environmental sustainability.


VG8

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2010

THE CURRENT VOTERS GUIDE

D.C. COUNCIL WARD 3 SEAT

MARY CHEH

DAVE HEDGEPETH

Democratic Party

Republican Party

What are the three areas you would concentrate on most as a council member?

Quality-of-life issues, quality education, fiscal responsibility.

Education, small-business development, fiscal responsibility.

The mayor and council faced difficult challenges when preparing the 2011 budget. They increased “fees,” which some would describe as taxes; made some budget cutbacks; and reduced the District’s reserve funds. How would you react to similar situations in the future?

First, look for cuts and efficiencies. I’ve cut tens of millions of dollars in agencies I supervise. With schools we have to cut special education, but we may have to invest in order to cut. We’re looking at a $400 million shortfall for 2012. Raising taxes would be the last resort. The area where we are lower than neighbors is residential property. If we raised it a penny, we would still be better than our neighbors. Increasing business taxes would be self-defeating. I would look at payments in lieu of taxes from nonprofits such as universities. I’m not going to vote for any fees.

First we would have to cut spending, probably following Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans’ lead with an across-the-board percentage cut. I would want to exempt police and fire. There is not always adequate time to go line by line. It could be seen as unfair to well-run departments, but a well-run department is going to be more able to handle the cut. I would have opposed tax increases and fee hikes.

Should the council’s ban on budget earmarks remain in effect?

Given a choice between not doing it at all and having the risk of abuse the way we did it, I would not do it at all.

Yes.

Should D.C. offer builders tax incentives for super-luxury rental and condominium apartments in Georgetown and the downtown area to attract more high-income residents, with the hope of increasing income and property tax collections?

I would go along if the developer includes affordable housing.

No.

Many of the area’s new luxury stores are located in Tysons Corner and on Wisconsin Avenue just across the District line. Would you support incentives to bring such stores into Georgetown and other parts of the District to increase our real estate and sales tax revenue? If yes, what should the incentives be?

Theoretically, yes. Perhaps a delayed or graduated property tax. It would help if we had a constellation of these stores.

I don’t like breaks for individual businesses. We need to be more competitive with our neighbors overall. However, if a retailer would be considered an anchor tenant, we should say yes.

What approaches, if any, should the city implement to reduce the likelihood that low-income D.C. residents would be forced from their homes by increasing real-estate values and taxes, or are our current policies generally adequate?

The biggest thing people need is a job.

We should means-test residential property taxes so they would be progressive, based upon income.

D.C.’s commercial real estate and corporate business taxes are the area’s highest by far. Should the city make a major effort over the next few years to reduce them in order to compete better for businesses? If yes, how should it be done?

We are not able to do so right now, but we should do so as soon as we are able.

Absolutely, but it needs to be phased in over at least three to five years so we can adapt to its effect on revenue. I would reduce the corporate income tax before reducing property taxes.

What departments or areas, if any, should be the District’s three top priorities in terms of any new or additional spending? Which should be cut?

Special education with an eye to future savings by bringing students back home. Across-the-board cuts are foolish as we often get matching funds or produce revenue, as with speed cameras. Hiring people may reduce overtime and actually save money. I doubt there is a single agency that can’t give up something.

Given our fiscal realities, there should be no areas with increases. There are no particular agencies I would target for cuts.

Did the administration act appropriately when it sought to speed parks and recreation construction projects by having the housing authority handle contracts in excess of $1 million without D.C. Council approval?

No.

No.

Some educators say that per-pupil spending in areas where there is a great deal of poverty, such as the District, ought to be higher than in areas where students come from well-educated families, such as Montgomery and Fairfax counties. Do you agree?

Money per child is not the litmus test for quality education. We never seriously worked on wrap-around services for connected but non-school problems. In many cases the government should be the maestro, not the supplier.

Yes. Students in economically disadvantaged areas have different needs than do others. I would support longer class days, tutoring and more focus on basic education such as math and reading.

What line items, if any, should be reduced, struck from or added to the school budget?

We should lengthen the school day although it may cost more money under union contracts.

To reduce special-education costs, bring more kids into the public school system by providing the services locally. It will eventually save money.

Should there be funding for education services for children from the moment of birth?

I would like to see education start early, but in the near term, I don’t think we can afford it. The number of words a child is exposed to at age 2 is a fair predictor of success in school.

I would look into it.

Should police officers be able to write tickets with large fines for underage drinking and quality-of-life offenses so they don’t have to take the time to formally book the accused?

I’d consider that. If doing it would result in more enforcement, I would like it.

I’d look into that. I’m concerned about circumventing the judicial process.

Should the District turn over information on citizenship to the U.S. immigration agency when individuals are arrested and booked for alleged criminal activity?

Only when convicted of a violent crime.

Yes, at the time of arrest.

How would you get better enforcement of laws on jaywalking, bicycle riders ignoring moving vehicle laws, drivers ignoring yields, and drivers on cell phones and blocking the box? Would you eliminate any of these laws?

I try to get police to do sporadic, unpredicted, targeted enforcement, which seems to have an effect. I like speed cameras. A bike is a vehicle and should adhere to the rules of the road, but I don’t always do it myself.

I would be open to raising the fines. Use cameras or deploy more police officers where this is a problem.

Should D.C. allow residents to set up self-taxing districts where residents agree to pay extra taxes to receive extra services similar to Maryland municipalities and to business improvement districts here in the District?

It exacerbates economic division. Affluent areas can tax themselves and have more services. Business improvement districts are one thing. But beyond that, it invites division.

Am open to the idea.

Should Klingle Road be reopened?

No. To reopen and maintain it would cost too much money. It also is too narrow, very dangerous and subject to flooding.

Yes.

In 20 words or less, explain why voters should vote for you.

My priorities will be to energetically pursue quality-of-life issues, a first-class school system and fiscal integrity.

Ward 3 deserves a council member who is more accessible and in touch with the issues they care about most.


THE CURRENT VOTERS GUIDE

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION WARD 1 SEAT

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2010

PATRICK MARA

VG9

DOTTI LOVE WADE

What would be your three major areas of concentration as a member of the State Board of Education?

Science standards, collection of student data, improving services for those whose native language is not English.

Implementing recently passed English, language, arts and math standards; continuing community interaction and outreach; developing strong assessment tools.

What do you see as the most significant responsibilities of the State Board of Education?

Setting standards and graduation requirements; providing a vehicle to support fact-based education reform; helping parents understand options; serving as a soapbox to help people understand our role.

Reviewing and passing policies and standards affecting public and charter schools, which are implemented by the chancellor and the charter board; strengthening school nutrition programs; implementing federal government’s “Race to the Top,” especially in terms of professional development and assessments.

Charter schools have many of the same performance standards, assessments and accountability measures as regular public schools. What ought to happen if they are not met?

They should be reviewed by the D.C. Public Charter School Board.

The schools are responsible for carrying out the standards. If a standard is not followed, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education is obligated to take action. Furthermore, the children will not meet graduation requirements.

Do you agree with the District’s adoption of the “common core” subject standards developed with many other states?

Yes. It puts us on a more level playing field with other school districts.

Absolutely. Forty-three states are adopting them. It allows comparisons with other states and for us to share resources such as textbooks, assessment tools and models for professional development.

Should the District require competency in a second language for high school graduation? If so, what language should it be?

Yes, but the specific language should be up to students and parents.

Uncertain, but it is worth considering. I would favor Latin or a choice of one of several specific languages, but the board majority would go for Spanish.

There is a two-year foreign language requirement now, but the years need not be consecutive. Should we make immediate changes?

It depends on the new chancellor’s plan.

Not at this time, as so many students are far below grade in math, English and science.

In what fields, aside from math and English, should the District adopt common-core standards?

Science and possibly social studies and history.

Foreign languages, science, nutrition, student health, physical education.

Do you approve of the truancy standards we now have?

We need to identify students who need extra services at an earlier age.

Yes. If you are truant for 24 days, you are referred to the court system. The number used to be 13. We didn’t want to put our youth in the criminal justice system for truancy. There are intermediate required steps.

What should be the state board’s role in administering the Race to the Top funds?

It will all depend on the new chancellor.

Our role is to make sure the school systems, both public and charter, receive appropriate funding and implement the program.

Kerri Briggs recently resigned as state superintendent of education. What would you like to see in the next state superintendent?

Somebody who fixes the data system.

I’d like to see a more inclusive individual who is good at planning.

Are there areas currently outside the state board’s jurisdiction over which it should have oversight?

It depends on the overall plan of the new chancellor.

Special education is one. We also should have independent budget authority, and the ombudsman should work for us so charter schools could be covered.

What elements of the reform effort over the past three years should be continued, and what areas should be reworked?

The teacher-evaluation standards should continue. The process should be more transparent with greater community participation.

The relationship between the chancellor and the board should be reworked so there is a direct link. We shouldn’t interfere in day-to-day activities. We should be treated as an elected governmental body independent of the state superintendent’s office.

Should the board be responsible for hiring and firing the state superintendent?

Not now, but possibly in the future. It depends on the new administration’s direction.

No. It should continue to be at the pleasure of the mayor.

Should preparation given by third-party organizations such as Teach for America’s boot camp continue to count toward teacher certification?

Yes, as well as other alternative means of certification.

Uncertain.

Should experienced private school teachers who have never taken an education course be allowed to teach in the public schools administered by the city?

Yes.

On a short-term basis, but they must be certified within the time limit.

Are you personally happy with the job Chancellor Michelle Rhee did? Should she have been encouraged to remain?

Yes to both.

I like her personally. Whether or not she did a good job is not my call as long as the standards are enforced.

Does the school system, generally speaking, place too much, too little or about the right amount of emphasis on test scores?

About the right amount, but we need a faster turnaround on the results.

About the right amount, but we are developing different assessment models.

Is the $15,000 salary for positions on the school board adequate? Should it be zero?

We should look at lowering it in these tough budget times.

It should be increased given the amount of time and work that is required.

Should education services be available from the moment of birth?

Yes. It should be available.

No. I favor it from 3 years old.

Should the state board write vocational education standards?

It should be considered.

Yes, in conjunction with appropriate technicians.

What can we do to strengthen the teaching of math and science in the middle school grades?

Look at best practices of similar jurisdictions.

Establish strict teacher certification and enhanced professional development; encourage use of outside guest presenters; integrate math into all other courses.


VG10 WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2010

CATANIA From Page VG1 He noted that in some instances, the Health Department spent “as much as 70 percent of a property’s assessed value in rent. We got these leases renegotiated or canceled. ... The same thing has to be done in education.” On health care, Catania said he wants to continue reforms he started when he took over the Health Committee in 2005. “I have re-engineered the District’s publicly financed health insurance programs. As a result, ... along with Massachusetts, we have the lowest rate of uninsured [residents] — 3.2 percent” — in the country. To bring medical professionals and facilities to underserved areas, Catania said, “I authored legislation that invested over $240 million in health-care facilities across the city.” He also helped rescue the struggling Greater Southeast Hospital from closure three years ago by arranging a public-private partnership. The city took over its operation this year. Catania said that in terms of job opportunities, “the legacy of poor public education is evident in this economic downturn,” with many residents unable to compete for available jobs. He said the city must invest in adults, helping them “obtain skills

MENDELSON From Page VG1 for Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee to stay but wanted to see a more inclusive approach. “There needs to be more respect of parents as crucial to the success of the school system,” said Mendelson, whose daughter attends a D.C. public school. And while some schools have improved recently, Mendelson said it is important to remember that there are “two different systems” in the city, with too many schools still performing as poorly as ever. For the latter, Mendelson said, “we need to bring in additional resources,” including more after-school programs. As with public safety, Mendelson said his fiscal worries extend to the school system as well. “Special education remains a huge drain on the school system,” he said. The costs of transportation alone to ferry students to non-District programs are substantial enough that the city “could buy cars for each” of the children’s families, he said. Mendelson also worries about the District’s overall financial health. Although he voted this summer to approve Mayor Adrian Fenty’s fee-increase-filled budget, Mendelson said he disapproved of the mayor’s strategy, which also dropped the city’s reserve

THE CURRENT VOTERS GUIDE for meaningful employment through the new community college.” He also said the city should spend to supplement the federal Workforce Investment Act, which provides funds to train unemployed and underemployed citizens. Catania cited examples of successful programs that “died on the vine from lack of resources,” such as a certificate employment program at Georgetown University that trained people to manage doctors’ offices, emergency rooms and the like. “At Southeastern, we trained medical technicians, lab techs and coding and billing specialists,” he added. Catania said the city should also focus on implementing alternative energy sources for office buildings and training residents to do the work. “If it is a government-assisted project, we can prioritize hiring them.” First elected to the council as a Republican, Catania left the party to become an independent when President George W. Bush pushed for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages. He has since spearheaded a successful effort to legalize gay marriage in the District. Catania, 42, is also a former chair of the Sheridan-Kalorama advisory neighborhood commission. He received his bachelor’s and law degrees from Georgetown University. He lives in Dupont Circle. funds. “The timeline is tough,” he said of the window given to council members to analyze the mayor’s budget. Although the council did move to eliminate some of Fenty’s proposed cuts, Mendelson said there’s simply not enough time to develop an alternate budget and gather support from fellow council members. But if the body is able to revisit the budget this fall, he said, he would work with other members to alter the financial plan. Cuts to programs like summer jobs would be a primary strategy, he said. It’s critical that the city “stay at its debt-service cap” and adopt a “pay-go” budget, he said. Raising taxes on the city’s top earners, those who make more than $250,000 annually, would be a “last resort” to raise revenues, Mendelson said. Mendelson, 57, lives in Foggy Bottom. He came to Washington from the Cleveland area in 1970 to attend American University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in political science. He worked on the staffs of D.C. Council member Jim Nathanson and the late Council Chairman David A. Clarke. Before his election to the council, Mendelson he served as an advisory neighborhood commissioner in McLean Gardens for 20 years. He spent several terms as the commission’s chair.

GRAY From Page VG2 body who’s committed to education reform … and who would do it in a fiscally responsible manner.” Gray pledged to continue his commitment to public pre-kinder-

garten programs, pointing to the importance of ensuring children enter school ready to learn. He would work to “empower” teachers and principals by involving them in the reform process. Gray, 67, is a widower with two children and two grandchildren. He lives in Hillcrest. He grew up in

CHEH From Page VG5 so far. “Some of the testing results [are due to] highperforming kids … coming back. They’re raising the scores, but you have a bigger division by income and race. “I’m not so sure we’re such a big success, [but] we’re on the right path,” Cheh said. And she predicted that “there is no going back. … Gray has committed to [hiring] a strong chancellor who is prepared to make the hard decisions.” Cheh said she will continue to focus on finances. “Everything is on the table” for possible cuts in order to close an existing budget gap, she said. The city’s largest spending areas — education and social services — will be the target of some of those cuts, she said. The budget-busting cost of sending special-education students to schools outside D.C. has been a popular criticism for many politicians this election season — Cheh included. But she noted the city “will have to

HEDGEPETH From Page VG5 Parents should also have more choices, he said; lower-income children should be able to access private schools through a targeted voucher program. Fiscal flexibility is also key for furthering education reform, he said. “In this environment, we need to be more creative,” he said, citing public-private partnerships that Rhee used to raise funds. Those funds are even more important given the city’s mounting budget woes, said Hedgepeth. “We can’t keep raiding the piggy bank” of the city’s reserve fund, he said. “We have to address

invest” in its own system in order to educate those students properly before realizing those savings. Revenue-raising measures should also be on the table, said Cheh, though “raising taxes would be the last thing I want to do.” One possibility, she said, would be payments in lieu of taxes from universities and large nonprofits. The fees — paid by institutions such as Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which funnel money to the Cambridge, Mass., coffers — could be appropriate in D.C., Cheh said. Large institutions “can degrade the quality of life for residents [and add to] transportation and social issues,” Cheh said. “Universities need things from us, [like] tax-exempt revenue bonds. … You can’t have islands of activity that aren’t contributing.” Cheh, 60, lives in Forest Hills. She and her husband have daughters who attended Murch Elementary and Georgetown Day. Cheh earned law degrees from Rutgers University and Harvard University. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Douglass College, now part of Rutgers.

the spending side … and adapt to the new normal” after the middecade boom years, he said. Across-the-board cuts would be the most equitable way to trim spending to sustainable levels, Hedgepeth believes. He also supports targeted tax cuts for businesses as a way to regain the city’s fiscal health. A small-business advocacy group has rated the District as having the worst business-tax system in the nation, Hedgepeth noted. “It’s one of the reasons I got in this race. … We have to address the tax imbalance between us and our neighbors.” The discrepancies in business tax rates within the metropolitan area have caused too many busi-

SCHWARTZMAN From Page VG1 co-ops, making them more affordable “by financing both landlords and renters.” A D.C. municipal bank, staffed largely with city residents, could help accomplish this. The District could also take a cue from cities like Philadelphia, where “rain gardens and … permeable surfaces” are economical solutions for storm-water runoff, Schwartzman said. In D.C., “the water authority plans to spend over $5 billion to send storm water into the Potomac.” And Schwartzman said the city could look to London as a model to “push a congestion charge for car commuters to downtown, affecting residents and non-residents,” with certain exemptions. He suggested that the revenue from the charge could fund bus and Metrorail improvements. Schwartzman called D.C.’s tax structure “regressive.” “If people make $30,000 or more, the share of family income going to local taxes decreases steadily as income increases,” he said. After accounting for the federal deduction for D.C. income taxes, “the top 1 percent of our earners paid about 6.4 percent of their incomes in D.C. taxes in 2007, the latest year information is available, less than everyone else

Northeast, graduating from Dunbar High School and George Washington University. His past jobs include heading the D.C. Association for Retarded Citizens and Covenant House Washington. From 1991 to 1994, he directed the D.C. Department of Human Services.

nesses to leave or locate elsewhere, he said. And those absences have in turn cost huge numbers of jobs, contributing to the polarized nature of wealth in the city. “We have a very small middle class; we need to address that,” he said. Lowering business-tax rates and examining the cost of the city’s regulatory structure is one way to do that, Hedgepeth said. Hedgepeth, 42, is a New York City native and graduate of public schools in the Bronx. He studied history at Colgate University and received his law degree from Catholic University. Hedgepeth lives in North Cleveland Park with his wife and twin daughters, who attend first grade at Murch Elementary.

except the bottom 20 percent of earners.” Schwartzman said he wants to “lower taxes for people whose family income is below $100,000, while the top 5 percent would pay more.” The tax rate for the top 5 percent could increase from 8 percent to 9.7 percent, while the rate for the top 1 percent could be 9.9 percent. He pointed out that Maryland’s top tax rate is 9.4 percent. “The differential with Maryland would be so small,” he said, “that few if any would move there for that reason. The revenue increase would be far greater than the loss from any migration.” Schwartzman also advocates higher real estate taxes for people who don’t pay D.C. income taxes. To help people with low incomes, deductions in mortgage payments, rent and possibly condo/co-op fees could help, along with sales-tax credits, Schwartzman said. He suggested curbing corporate tax exemptions “where there is no real community benefit” and urging universities and other major landowners such as the World Bank to make payments in lieu of taxes. Schwartzman, 66, has been a D.C. resident since 1976 and now lives in Brightwood. Schwartzman was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He earned his bachelor’s degree in geochemistry at the City College of New York and his master’s degree in science and doctorate, also in geochemistry, at Brown University.


THE CURRENT VOTERS GUIDE

GRAHAM From Page VG4 And despite the growing prosperity of some neighborhoods, “we haven’t sacrificed our diversity,” Graham said. “We rehabilitated 3,000 units of low-income housing. All those big buildings on 14th Street have been preserved. This is the true achievement of a lot of people working together but with my shoulder at the wheel.” Graham, 64, was born in

Scotland and grew up in Detroit and Hyattsville, Md. He received his undergraduate degree in political science and law degree from Michigan State University, and a master’s in law from Georgetown University. Previously, Graham worked as executive director of the WhitmanWalker Clinic in D.C. He also held adjunct law professor positions at Georgetown and George Washington universities and clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren.

FAITH From Page VG2 our lives,” she said. To achieve this goal, the city should first hold a plebiscite to show Congress that District residents demand it, she said. Then, said Faith, “if Congress says no, we should secede. If we can’t secede, we should try again.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2010 VG11 No way should we go back to Maryland.” Faith said the National Mall, the White House, the Capitol, adjacent museums and office buildings should comprise a separate entity under the authority of Congress. Faith, 87, was born in New York City and attended New York University, where she studied physical education. She then

BROWN From Page VG3

MORGAN From Page VG4 police department and has therefore hindered its ability to serve. He also criticized the council for rejecting Mayor Adrian Fenty’s crime bill. Morgan, 37, is a 10-year D.C. resident who lives in LeDroit Park. He received his undergraduate and master’s of public administra-

SHIA From Page VG4 principal ignored many of the local residents’ suggestions for community projects. Shia said the recently renovated elementary school is “great,” thanks more to the efforts of D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray than those of the mayor. “Fenty didn’t help to do anything for H.D. Cooke, but he took credit for it,” she said. Despite the school’s “state-of-the-art” condi-

WADE From Page VG5 Wade also favors development of standards for foreign languages, school nutrition, science, health and physical education. She said she’s concerned that the charter schools that did not sign on to the federal “Race to the Top” competition may not get expected funds unless they are willing to adopt the board’s standards. She is still unsure what should be done about it, since the board has not yet developed all the tools. “We are just beginning to look at them.” In terms of the board’s community relations, Wade said, “We are planning to hold town-hall meetings in addition to our monthly board meetings and special hearings. I have been working with organizations that serve Ward 1 youth in areas of education, to require excellence.” Wade said she has studied efforts other communities have tried. “We went to a gang-ridden, crime-ridden school in Baltimore that was turned around using community organizations.” But because Ward 1 doesn’t

tion degrees from Miami University of Ohio. In the past, he worked as a director of development for the Cincinnati Zoo and director of development for Equality Arizona, a gay and lesbian advocacy nonprofit. As finance director for the Maryland Republican Party, he drew dollars from foundations for state environmental services, he said. Morgan is a single father of a senior at Cardozo High School. tions, “we are still in the DCPS system, a nonresponsive bureaucracy,” she said. Shia, 63, received her law degree from the Antioch School of Law in D.C. and her bachelor’s from the City College of New York. For many years, she worked as a reporter and editor for the Federal News Service, covering Congress and the administration. Before that, she worked for the United Negro College Fund and as a newsletter editor for the Coalition for the Homeless. have as serious a problem as the Baltimore neighborhood did, Wade wants a different approach. She wants to have public hearings that would be open to groups serving Ward 1 and possibly citywide youth. “We have churches, youth collaboratives, teachers and other educators. All of us must work together to address these problems as they impact the schools,” she said. “We also have various socioeconomical cultures and therefore different ideas.” Wade, 68, is a native Washingtonian who has lived in Ward 1 almost her entire life. She served as interim executive director of D.C. Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board, and previously as deputy director. Prior to that, she was the administrative office manager for a company that worked with a government agency. She and her husband of 47 years have two children, two grandchildren and one greatgranddaughter. Wade attended the District’s public schools and took college courses at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Extension Services and the University of Missouri.

dignity and respect to those teachers and administrators who are working in our system,” he said. When asked how that would be best accomplished, Brown deferred to experts. “Sometimes I don’t think that the legislative branch should be that far in the weeds … when we have all these other layers of government,” from the mayor and chancellor down to the principals, he said. Brown spoke enthusiastically about his plans for job-training initiatives to combat unemployment in D.C. “We don’t lack jobs. We lack the ability to train our residents for those jobs, and no one has done anything for this more than I have,” he said. He cited his work toward boosting vocational options at Phelps, Cardozo and Hospitality high schools and others. Training should focus on weatherization and other “green jobs,” as well as teaching and nursing, Brown said.

WILCOX From Page VG3 where they came from. If some people leave as a result, that’s a consequence. There must be supervision and programs.” Speaking of the importance of broad social safety nets, Wilcox said programs that support foster grandparents, kinship parents and foster children “are not huge … but are very important.” “Unless you support these populations, there will be greater problems,” Wilcox said. “Foster children who are not cared for can become criminals or a weight on society. Grandparents taking care of children are at least keeping the family together for relatively small dollar amounts. You can help maintain the fabric of society and help

Having more skilled residents would make it easier to enforce D.C.’s first-source law, which requires that firms working on city contracts hire at least 51 percent D.C. residents, Brown said. But regardless of the law, “If people don’t have the skills, they’re not going to get a job.” On the city’s fiscal health, Brown said he would continue his record of scouring the budget for possible cuts or other savings that don’t “paralyze the government,” such as making sure the federal Medicaid program properly reimburses city health spending. He also pledged not to draw deeper into D.C.’s reserve funds. Brown, 39, lives with his wife and their two children in Hillcrest. He grew up in D.C., graduated from Wilson High School, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Morgan State University in Baltimore. He also completed business executive programs at Dartmouth College and Harvard University. Brown was active in the campaign of President Bill Clinton, who appointed him to posts in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

prevent crime.” She added, “You are talking at the most about $40 million to $50 million worth of programs. ... Each one is perhaps one million. They support vulnerable populations.” She said she also favors cityfinanced meals for low-income seniors. On the issue of D.C. statehood, Wilcox said, “I’m not a huge fan for our just having voting rights. ... The issue is really self-determination. ... We’re told we can’t have gun control.” Wilcox said elected officials need to take as strong of a stand as possible in their efforts to gain statehood; they need to be lobbyists. She suggested that D.C.’s elected officials could even withhold their taxes as a last resort. She said she thinks “retrocession would be OK” and seems

MARA From Page VG5 dors to improve data collection. Some of the federal government’s Race to the Top funds that the city won will pay for the system, according to Mara. “With better student data, it will be easier to see how well a teacher is really doing as well as the deficiencies of whole grades in a school and in the system as a whole. We should be able to do these things right now, but we can’t,” he said. About his quest to improve services for those whose native language is not English, Mara said that last spring, new standards along those lines were put in place. Under one program, he said, non-native speakers who had gone through the system as a group are actually outperforming native English speakers. “Since the city is becoming increasingly diverse, we must do a good job of keeping an eye on them. Perhaps we can transfer some of their best practices to native English speakers,” Mara said. “The key is to keep one’s eyes on constituents who are not native

studied art at Columbia University for two-and-a-half years. She said that she studied for six years at Actors Studio in New York and appeared in several Broadway shows. She was elected as an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Adams Morgan in 2000. Her husband is an arts teacher for special-needs students.

like a valid option, though she said it’s not her first choice for D.C. She also added: “I don’t think Maryland wants us. They don’t want a power shift from the Baltimore area to the Washington area. [But] I think it’s better than nothing. Both Democrats and Republicans might go for it.” Wilcox, 55, moved to D.C. 30 years ago and now lives in Logan Circle. She was elected to the Ward 2 seat on the old school board in 1994. She ran for a D.C. Council at-large seat in 2006 as the D.C. Statehood Green candidate. Wilcox grew up in Ohio and earned her bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University in Ohio, with a major in history. She then graduated from the American University Washington College of Law.

English speakers.” Mara, 35, lives in Columbia Heights. He graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., majoring in environmental and political science. He also earned a master’s degree in business administration from Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. He serves on the board of two education groups: One World Education, which focuses on students learning from the writings of other students; and College and Career Connections, which works with middle school students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, on college and career opportunities. He is also on the board of Columbia Heights Initiatives, which hosts Columbia Heights Day. Prior to starting his consulting business, Mara workded for a consulting firm as an advocate on energy, telecommunications and technology before Congress and the executive branch. In 2008, Mara defeated incumbent Carol Schwartz in the Republican primary for an at-large D.C. Council seat. Kwame Brown, a Democrat, and Michael Brown, an independent, ultimately won the two seats available in the general election.


13.0 in.

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34 Wednesday, October 20, 2010 The Current

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Voters Guide -- 10/20/2010