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From D.C. community leaders, a to-do list for Mayor Gray

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By D.C. Community Leaders
Thursday, December 30, 2010

Communicate.

Mayor Gray, you campaigned promising a change in how the District government interacts with its citizens as it makes decisions. You promised an open and collaborative process, and keeping that promise is the most important thing you can do over the next four years.

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Unlike Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration, which ranged from imperial to merely autocratic and in which communication was a one-way street, you should present District residents with options rather than decisions that are fait accompli. After all, we are adults, not children. Respect our views. Recognize that those who disagree with you are not your enemies. Do not pit one group of citizens or neighborhoods against another. And above all, learn not just to tolerate criticism but to treat it as a chance to learn and improve.

If you and your department and agency appointees are straight with us and run a transparent, collaborative administration, not all the decisions may necessarily come out the way you anticipated or hoped for. But your administration will run a lot better with the consent and assent of the citizens than it would without it.

- Dorothy Brizill, executive director, DCWatch.com

Go green.

You can boost employment, slash government spending and reduce the city's carbon footprint all at once. Here's how.

First, train and put the unemployed to work weatherizing low-income homes. Next, have this growing workforce install solar panels on City Hall, libraries, firehouses and schools throughout the city. "Solar garden" laws that promote shared solar installations, along with other renewable-energy incentives, would encourage individuals and businesses to invest in renewable power sources and reap the dividends via lower utility bills.

Finally, you should replace the archaic incandescent lamps now found in 6,500 D.C. streetlights with LEDs, which use much less electricity and last 16 years longer. Smart streetlighting would improve public safety and save us millions of dollars annually.

The ever-greener City Council and the people of the District stand ready to support you as you lead us into a green-energy future.

- Jim Dougherty, conservation chair

Put people to work.


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