On the Record: Anthony A. Williams
Mayoral candidates responded in writing to five questions posed by The Washington Post. These are the responses of Anthony A. Williams.
Question 1: As you know there have been discussions about what form city government should take after the D.C. financial control board goes out of existence. Describe the governmental structure that you believe would best serve the District and, specifically, what role, if any, a professional city manager should play.
Anthony A. Williams: Our nation was founded on the right to self-government. The people who live in the nation's capital must have the right to elect our own leaders and to determine our own form of government.
But a good mayor is not enough. The District needs an inspector general with complete autonomy and the budget necessary to stop waste, fraud and abuse. The District should also continue to build professional management in government by providing an appropriate level of autonomy for the city administrator and the chief financial officer. As with the IG and the CFO, the city administrator should be appointed by the mayor and [be] accountable to the mayor and city council.
Question 2: Detail the single most important step you would take as mayor to improve the city's schools.
Anthony A. Williams: In the District, too many children attend schools where teachers lack the tools they need to teach, where roofs leak, and violence fills the halls. Through the Mayor's authority and responsibility to propose the District's budget, I will submit a comprehensive budget based on the following principles. 1) Teachers are equipped to teach. Teachers must have textbooks, training, aides, supplies and administrative support to teach kids effectively. Adequate resources must be targeted to support school-based management, rather than to unnecessary overhead.
2) School grounds are safe. Police and security guards must be assigned to school grounds to ensure that classrooms, playgrounds, and surrounding neighborhoods are safe places for children. 3) School buildings are fully functional. A multi-year capital improvement program will fund repairs to school buildings to make them places where children can focus on learning. In addition, we must all work together -- educators, parents, community leaders and businesses -- to ensure a safe place for our children to spend their time outside school hours; develop their skills in math, science, the arts and other subjects; and provide enrichment opportunities to develop the social skills necessary to be successful in life.
Question 3: Describe in specific terms the most important steps you would undertake to make the police department more effective.
Anthony A. Williams: I will not claim success as Mayor of this city until we can walk home after dark or allow our children to play outside without fear. I will work with Chief Charles Ramsey to make two important changes:
1) Move police into the neighborhoods. I will ensure that every neighborhood has a dedicated, effective neighborhood police team, which patrols on foot or on bicycle regularly and reliably. Officers will spend time, building a trusting relationship with neighbors, working in partnership to deter crime. 2) Fix support systems to help police do their job. I will ensure that we quickly fix 911 services so that every resident and business receives a quick response. We will repair our rotting station houses and make sure officers have decent supplies and well functioning equipment.
We will provide and require better training for our officers. We will attract and retain the best and brightest by paying officers fairly. Finally, we will have crime statistics audited to ensure accountability.
Question 4: What would you do to create new jobs in the city?
Anthony A. Williams: To create new jobs in the District, we must support the growth of new and existing businesses. Drawing upon my proven track record in economic development, I will: 1) Create a business-friendly environment. Excessive regulations and outrageous tax rates create a hostile environment for businesses. I will streamline necessary regulations and eliminate unnecessary ones and strive to implement key recommendations of the Tax Revision Commission.
2) Enhance neighborhood business centers. In addition to downtown businesses, our city has many important neighborhoods and commercial corridors. I will ensure that active support and assistance are focused on these areas to promote neighborhood development. 3) Provide small business assistance. Small businesses are the engine that drives economic growth. I will focus resources on supporting small businesses, ensuring they have access to capital, access to local business networks, and full cooperation from government agencies. 4) Connecting residents to jobs.
We will adopt a regional approach to employment opportunities for residents supported by quality job training and effective transportation. I will ensure that D.C. residents have access to educational programs that prepare them for the technical job opportunities that abound in the region, and I will work with the Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to assure easy access to high-employment areas.
Question 5: Describe any issue that you see as vital to the city's future and how it would be handled under your leadership.
Anthony A. Williams: This is the most important election in recent history for the District of Columbia, for it will determine the form of government in the city for years to come. District residents are demanding a mayor who can deliver basic services, restore credibility to government, and return self-government to the city.
I am the one candidate with a proven track record and the ability to deliver the results citizens deserve. I restored financial accountability in each city agency so they could begin to deliver better services to residents. As the city's Chief Financial Officer, I made a commitment to residents to clean up the finances within a year or resign. I delivered on that commitment.
I stand ready to commit to make the government work for everyone -- especially for single mothers moving from welfare to work; for senior citizens that need quality services; and for working families that need safe and affordable health care.
I will work closely with Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton to stand eye-to-eye with Congress to fight for what is rightfully ours -- self-government and self-determination for the people of the District.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company