Candidates were asked:
1. Two of the major problems facing city residents are the availability of affordable housing and rising property taxes. If elected, what would you do to alleviate these problems in your ward?
2. Which city services are most in need of improvement in your ward, and if elected what would you do to improve them?
3. In your opinion, what is the major problem in the city and how do you plan to address it? Democrat David A. (Dave) Clarke, 34, of 3320 17th St. NW, is a lawyer and a council member. He has been Washington director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
1. and 3. I have worked and will continue to work to provide affordable housing and to reduce the rise in property taxes. I have supported the creation of a Housing Finance Agency and have successfully fought for the inclusion of guaranteed minimum percentages of low-and moderate-income housing development. I introduced the anti-speculation law, the only one of its kind in any city in the country, to deter excess profit-taking in the buying and selling of homes by speculators (homeowners are exempted altogether). The speculation tax takes just enough from any gros income to leave the seller with a net income one percentage point lower than if sold at a prescribed reasonable level. Accordingly, the law encourages sales at or below the level at which no tax is applied. I have fought for strong rent controls, moving many amendments some of the results of which were the elimination of a.) across-the -board increases from the first law and b.) virtually unlimited increases from the second law. I voted for continuation of the moratorium on condominium conversions and, when that failed, sponsored an amendment to restrict as much as possible conditions under which conversions could occur. I have been working with various groups such as the tenants of Seaton Street, 12th Place, the Kenesaw, and Beverly Courts to enable home ownership. This has taken legislative dimensions (e.g. declaration of a Community Development Area, extension of the offer-period for multi-use properties, and reprogramming of CD funds), and advocacy dimensions (e.g. procurement of counsel, arrangement for housing inspections). I am pleased to have the support of the families involved in each of these struggles. I have worked to reduce residential property taxes first by introduction of may antispeculation bill, for speculation has caused the astronomical increase in assessments. I also sponsored legislation, now law, to treat residential property more favorably than commerical property. It is this classification which enabled the present reduction in rate. I have introduced a bill, now pending, to repeal all of the special-interest tax exemptions enjoyed by organizations like the Daughters of the American Revolution (as opposed to general exemptions for classes like churches and universities) to raise over $1 million which can be used to cut residential taxes further.
2. Most problems involving delivery of city services are more associated with executive than legislative responsibility. And council candidate promising cleaner streets with no supervisory authority over street cleaners is promising what he or she cannot deliver. In some areas, however, legislative action can be effective. My amendment to a budget prevented persons in the medically needy category from being discontinued from Medicaid. I sponsored legislation to make the city responsible for water pipes breaking on municipal property. Ward 1 was excluded from the proposed cut of trash collection from twice to once per week. I sponsored the law requiring elimination of lead paint from public schools and public housing. One of my pending bills will move the incredibly inefficient dog pound from the Department of Human Resources to the Police Department and direct the contracting to a humane organization of the stray-capture function as well as the spay-and-neuter function. Frank Smith, 36, of 2904 18th St. NW, is an urban planner. He has been chairman of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission and of the Adams-Morgan Organization.
1. I believe it is of primary importance to expand homeownership opportunity for families whose incomes fall between $10,000 and $20,000 a year. In order to do this, the D.C. government must reprogram some of the Department of Housing's budget to create a self-help development bank. It would give downpayment assistance and offer counseling services.
A sweat equity program would be developed whereby people would gain credit by working on their own houses. In addition to learning new skills to maintain their homes, the people in the program would develop a new respect for their property and increased self-respect.
Such a program could make homeowners out of tenants, some of whom must rely on government subsidies to cover their monthly rental payment. Instead of directing the subsidies toward rental payments, families could direct them toward mortgages.
Subsidies should be increased for those who need them, such as the elderly and the very poor.
Frank Smith would assist long-term homeowners by giving them a tax deferment whereby they would pay only a fixed percentage tax increase until the property is sold outside of the families.
A special housing team ("Swat" team) could be created to assist families threatened with eviction notices. This team would counsel such families and other families who wish to become homeowners. The team would arrange for alternative housing if nothing else could be worked out.
I would sponsor a resolution to force the D.C. government to sell any housing it owns within a year of purchase. Boarded-up housing should be placed back on the market.
Finally, rent control should be continued until these measures I suggest or other measures alleviate the housing crisis.
2. The most poorly handled service in our ward is garbage and trash collection. Frank Smith would develop a program to assign a garbage truck and crew to each advisory neighborhood commission for one day per week. The ANC would be allowed to employ five unemployed youths as sanitation aides. Then the commission would organize volunteer clean-up days on all the blocks and schedule pick-ups, with the assistance of the paid aides. This program would have several positive aspects. Our alleys and vacant lots would be cleaned up. Some jobs would be created for unemployed youths.Also, the program would tap the vast volunteer resource available in our neighborhood that is presently idle.
3. The major problem is education. If elected. I will not accept the $7,000 raise the City Council recently voted itself. Instead, I will donate that $7,000 to set up a scholarship fund for needy minority students. Some of these will be children from families who are threatened with eviction and displacement, another problem to which I have given a great deal of attention.
In the black community where youth unemployment runs as high as 40 percent, drugs are a disaster which threaten to destroy our school system. I would, therefore, oppose the legalization of marijuana. (The incumbent Ward 1 councilman sponsored a bill to legalize marijuana which was vetoed by the mayor.)
Although there are apparently some people in highly paying jobs who can handle marijuana and other drugs, the struggling mothers and fathers to whom I have spoken have told me overwhelmingly that they do not want to encourage drug usage in any form or fashion. My response to them - neither do I.
We should begin moving some senior citizens' programs into vacant classrooms of elementary schools.This way the senior could be near the youngsters, and they would have a chance to teach them. It would establish positive contact between the two generations and provide additional adult supervision for the classrooms. Our public school system deserves full and adequate funding. Sam Wallace, 47, of 3415 14th St. NW, is a teacher, writer, consultant to Congress and the State Department Medical Health Technician and an inventor.
1. I agree with the Washington Post that two of the most important problems facing the city residents are the housing shortage and the excessive rise in property tax.
It is my belief that these two problems are interrelated. The housing shortage both in the city and in the suburbs together with the excessive inflation caused in part by OPEC Oil price rise of 1973 has been responsible for the increased costs of purchasing housing units and the excessive rise in rents. In turn these excessive inflationary forces have caused the assessed valuation of property to soar which in turn has increased rents and excessive rise in property taxes.
It is my belief that the new property tax law sponsored by Marion Barry and Mayor Washington go a long and adequate way toward bringing excessive property taxes into proper proportion with the other elements in the economy without encouraging irresponsibility on the part of the taxpayer. It is my honest opinion that the new law on revised property taxes is a legislative masterpiece that gives relief to the overtaxed property owner while avoiding the excesses of proposition 13 which in time could lead to anarchy in government and the drying up of normal government services. I also think that the circuit breaker provisions of this law are humane in that they give relief without confiscation of property to those who no longer can honestly afford to pay property tax.
My own suggestion for alleviating the present housing shortage which is one of the major causes of excessive rent increases and housing costs is massive federally funded high-rise rental units for the poor and lower-income groups constructed by the unemployed primarily in the inner city.
At the same time, a massive federally funded housing project, public in nature, would not in itself solve the nation's housing shortage even if $3 to $4 billion were invested in public housing in all the major cities. Such federal and state investment would, however, be an incentive and encouragement for private enterprise to invest its vast sums for the purpose of rebuilding our major cities. I honestly believe that such investments are available from the private sector from insurance companies, from oil companies, from steel companies and other manufacturers who have made vast profits in recent years. And who could afford to invest in areas of moderate return on their investment through moderate rental practices which would assure community growth and a resurgence of the cities in the American economic and cultural life.
2. The services most in need of improvement in my ward are the quality of drinking water now inadequately purified, the high and ever-increasing costs of utilities, particularly gas. To improve the water quality I would have a study made of how water is purified in London because that city obtains its water from a river just as D.C. does, yet apparently their water is purified more. With respect to utilities, I would call for an examination of their costs for producing their services with a view toward reducing their costs and improving services at a price that a consumer would find more affordable.
3. The major problem in the city and the ward is unemployment among the residents, including youth. I would try for a comprehensive plan for the city which would reorder priorities in terms of the needs of people living here; I would try to increase revenues by a commuters tax while lowering the tax burden here to some extent; I would work for a massive federally funded public housing project employing primarily the unemployed in my ward and in the city and the surrounding area. I would also work to encourage private enterprise such as insurance companies and other corporations willing to invest in modestly rented private housing which would guarantee them long-term profits on their investments. I would also try to bring into this city at least two major industries, and I would encourage the growth of trade and commerce between Washington-Baltimore area and other parts of the world. I would encourage more small business and the local farmer greater access to supermarkets.
There is also another major problem which is the lack of leadership at the executive level and the lack of continuing serious leadership at the council level. Thus while the City Council is able to rise to the legislative heights at times, yet on many other occasions there is a lack of real concern with the problems of the city. The present mayor has held the city together, which is no small feat in itself, but he has not brought it progress nor even the funds that should have been available for its growth and development.
Administratively there has been too much carelessness about public funds and not enough of public funds seems to have reached the people who are in most need of economic and medical help.
To understand what D.C. should be one has only to visit Atlanta, where money gained in the city has been reinvested in the growth and development of the city. Here everything is taken out while inner city residents remain largely poor.
There has been also a lack of attention to the purposes and goals of various programs such as CETA and the Department of Resources. Personnel have not been hired from among the city's poor nor have those departments received people who are sympathetic with the problems that people have.
This city is probably no different than any other except that people here are closer together and more aware of each other's problems and should not walk away from helping their less fortunate brothers or sisters when they are able to help.
There is also a need for greater cooperation between industry, commerce and business. This city must begin to pull together or else it will come apart or simply collapse. Calvin O. Wingfield, 52, of 721 Girard St. NW, is an employe of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a part-time taxi driver. He has been involved with neighborhood assistance.
1. Introduce legislation on price control enforcement on rental properties which includes property maintenance training so that individuals will see and reap benefits from knowing how to protect and preserve their property. This training can save millions of dollars. This training would be both for the kids and parents. The purpose of this training is to make people aware of the damages they cause to themselves, others and the city.
Do away with the sale tax completely and freeze housing prices in order to control increases in taxes. Lower taxes by means of strong lobbyists bringing light industry into the city. Legalize some form of gambling.
2. Police protection - improve communication with commander in this area: request increased foot patrolmen in areas with a high volume of elderly residents.
3. Major problem in city is education - working closely with school board, pushing for a larger budget and submitting proposals for programs to help our youth such as special schools to aid those with learning difficulties. Some children have been found to have psychological problems and require attending special schools for an hour or two per week - like the Area B Mental Health School on Spring Road. This is good and bad - Good because it is needed and it helps those requiring the services. It is bad because it now costs $48 per visit. Most children requiring this service are from low- and middle-income families who, as much as they want to help their kids, cannot afford to pay $48 per week. I intent to look thoroughly into this situation and make adjustments so that all children can get help, not just those fortunate enough to have parents with money. U.S. Labor Suzanne Klebe, 25, of 1801 Clydesdale Place NW, is a typesetter and has been a spokeswoman for the U.S. Labor Party in D.C. and Maryland.
1. D.C. is feeling the crunch of national inflation in general and the specific idiocy of G.W. Miller's exorbitant interest rate policy in a unique way - dubbed by The Washington Post as the 'housing' and 'tax' problems. The actual problem is one of national economy stagnating in terms of real investment and veering into speculation instead. In D.C., one of the country's few cities in the black, the investment boom is likewise being misdirected into real estate speculation and 'recreation' markets, rather than into technological and scientific investments - investments which are productive and which hire a work force at skilled wages in advancing industries. The only worse policy than this non-productive speculation is Dave Clarke's anti-speculation proposal - a proposal to bring the whole house of cards down.
What elected officials in D.C. must do is use every capacity they have to get the U.S. to join the proposals made at the Bremen meeting in July of this year for a new international monetary policy, which will reroute inflated dollars on an international scale into productive investments for developing the world's economy, from Africa to Siberia. This will provide the markets for U.S. technology that the D.C. metropolitan area can then hook into, using tax and credit policies to pull export, high technology industries into D.C. and environs. Interest rates will be drastically lowered and a two-tiered credit policy enacted which will be generous to productive investments and profits where they are beneficial to economic growth in general. This will provide lw interest loans for housing construction, a well-employed population that can afford rent, and massively expanded tax base which will allow individual taxes to be cut. And it will be done with in the year.
2. All services need improvement, from Metro construction to improvement in education, to sanitation. In Ward 1 in particular, however, drugs and drug sympathizers must be cleaned up. This includes Dave Clarke, who authored the 1977 bill in City Council to decriminalize dope, in coordination with similar attempts around the country, which would open the door wider to the international drug trade - a drug trade which is coordinated by the same people now trying to pull the dollar down and pull the world economy into a zero growth holocaust.
3. The major problem, particularly on the council, is lack of vision of how to build cities; and in the press, a refusal to give the population the information they need to demystify how the world works. There are no local problems; the problems which have Ward 1 residents out of work, unable to afford rent, or otherwise hit by inflation, are regional, national and, in most cases, international in scope. The candidate who promises to 'Save Our Neighborhoods' has no idea of what creates neighborhoods in the first place.
My candidacy addresses the question of real politics. The potential of unprecedented economic growth provided by the Bremen accords is the actual political basis for economic prosperity in D.C.; the breakthrough in fusion energy development, and the expansion of fission, is the actual basis for cheap, unlimited energy and therefore jobs in the District, and the commitment to progress and knowledge of how to get it is the only basis for expansion of education, culture and standards of living in D.C. Socialist Workers Antonio (Tony) Grillo, 31, of 1863 Newton St. NW, is a clerk. He has been a member of the NAACP, the Urban League and other community groups.
1. I would try to have legislation introduced abolishing any sort of property tax on homes where families live and especially where elderly people live on fixed incomes. It is a shame that people are punished for making the most simple improvement on their properties. Any abandoned home should immediately be taken over by the city and opened up for sale to low-income and poor residents in this city.
2. Presently street cleaning and trash pickups are done on a regular basis, but with the cutback that was made last week on our budget I expect the first thing the City Council will do is to make cuts in city services. I would see to it that this is not done and that no other cuts are made on any services that would affect the poor residents in this city.
3. The major problem today is the hgh rate of unemployment and the displacement the District is experiencing. We propose that the work week be shortened to 30 hours with no cuts in pay. This will alleviate to some extent the present unemployment and will force the employers to hire more people, especially if they operate on a 24-hour basis. The continuing rise in rent should be dealt with by legislating that no one pay more than 10 percent of their income for housing. The landlords would have to open their books to public scrutiny to justify any increases.