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 improvements 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? Democrats Joel D. Joseph, 30, of 1412 Foxhall Rd. NW, is a public interest attorney. He is a member of the Ward 3 Democratic Committee.
1. Rising property taxes and the lack of affordable housing are two major interrelated problems. These severe problems have been handled with a band-aid approach by the city-Property taxes have risen by more than 50 percent in Ward 3 during the last four years despite the council's socalled tax 'reform.'
In city council testimony Mr. Joseph unveiled his property tax reform package. He called for a rollback of property tax assessments to 1976 levels. Joseph stated: 'Assessments should be limited to purchase price plus a 2 percent maximum increase per year by reducing the need for assessors.' He would also cut property taxes for apartment buildings and require landlords to pass the reductions through to the tenants.
Thousands of apartment in Ward 3 have been converted to condominiums in the past year, increasing the shortage of moderately priced rental units. Middle income renters are not protected from conversions by the current and woefully inadequate condominium law which was supported by Joseph's oppenent Polly Shackleton.
Mr. Joseph's condominium proposal includes a requirement that a majority of tenants be required to approve conversion plans, whether the tenants are moderate-income or poor. Under his proposal long-term residents can continue to rent indefinitely, even in a converted building.
Mr. Joseph favors keeping council member salaries at their current $28,000 while incumbent shackleton favors increasing them to $36,000.
2. Votes by the council, including Mrs. Shackleton, have caused the closing of Gordon Junior High, Georgetown's police station, and fire stations in D.C. Ward 3. pays 40 percent of the taxes in D.C., yet receives only 10 percent of the services. Mr. Joseph, himself a product of the public schools, believes that the ward is being short-changed. He stated: "We must maintain our schools to attract and keep students, who must have the option of attending quality public schools. Costs can be cut in school administration, but cuts in basic textbooks and supplies are indefensible."
Joseph supports resource recycling rather than only collection of trash. D.C. is behind its neighbors in mandatory deposit laws which can improve D.C. trash collection and lower collection costs.
3. The problem in D.C. is that public officials are ignoring the major problems of the city, especially environmental quality. Environmental quality includes reducing air pollution, aircraft noise, traffic congestion and proper land-use controls.
The city council has failed to reduce air pollution. Ninety percent of air pollution in D.C. is caused by automobile commuting. Mr. Joseph is representing the Coalition for Clean Air in legal actions to require that D.C. enforce existing air quality laws, prevent the government from subsidizing auto parking for employees, and require GSA's heating plants to meet air quality laws.
Joseph supports legislation to reduce lead in the air, which has been found in the blood of children in Georgetown and Cleveland Park, by imposing higher taxes on leaded gasolines. He favors adding emission testing to D.C.' annual auto inspection.
Mr. Joseph brought legal proceedings against the FAA to reduce aircraft noise. As a council member he will introduce legislation to establish noise and altitude monitoring stations in D.C. The District needs on active advocate to pressure the FAA to transfer flights to Dulles and increase altitudes over residential areas.
Unplanned development, such as the Georgetown waterfront, adds stress to D.C.'s overcongested streets and increase air pollution. Mr. Joseph will actively support a new comprehensive plan which properly utilizes mass transit, improves air quality and minimizes impact and residential areas.
Joseph supports using commuter taxes to lower mass transit fares.
Mr. Joseph represents several nonsmokers rights organizations and would actively support legislation to reduce smoking in public places, stores, and restaurants. Polly Shackleton, 68, of 3232 Reservoir Rd. NW, is a council member and a member of numerous council committees.
1. Lack of affordable housing is a problem to be tackled city-wide, not ward by ward. Like others my ward wilI find help only when the executive branch formulates a housing policy and equips itself managerially to execute it. Meanwhile, I will continue to support tenants' relief measures (rent control, limitations on condo coversions, life tenancy for senior citizens speculation curbs) and will simultaneously push for far-reaching government housing policy reform.
I intend to adhere to the course I've followed on the Finance and Revenue Committee, where I have been heavily involved in far-reaching property tax reforms, including homeowner exemption, circuit-breaker, relief for the elderly, and property tax rate reduction. I would work hard to limit any property tax rise to a normal inflationary increase, which should take care of overall government cost if these are not permitted to rise above the levels made inevitable by inflation pressures.
2. Problems with environmental services-trash collection, litter removal and street cleaning, water billing, street sanding - are top concerns along with street repairs and complaints about lack of enforcement of traffic and parking regulation (particularly speeding, running stop signs, softness on residential sticker parking). Another type of city service my constituents often call about embraces those functions performed downtown by government officials in charge of vital statistics or such services as issuing licenses or building permits. Here the complaint is generally unresponsiveness, glacial slowness, or crumber some procedures.
All this, of course, lies in the domain of the executive branch.My role as I see it (and I intend to pursue it) is to push and push without let-up to take care of individual cases and to press the executive for changes tending to streamline procedures or make better use of resources. I'm fortunate enough to hace a constituent services volunteer crops in my ward office to help handle the huge number of calls received. This ensures that each cases is acted upon by the executive branch agency involved.
3. The city's major problem is how to achieve the economic stability we must have to shape the future we want for all citizens. First, we must have full self-determination and full budget control of determine for ouselves how to use our taxpayers' dollars. Second, we need a strong executive unafraid to implement good management practices and to plan decisively for prudent development. Lack of foresight and leadership invites ill-conceived, random decision making. Cost effectiveness falls victim to poor management practices, and wasteful budgets that call for higher taxes make matters worse by killing the goose that lays the golden egg.
I would continue as a council member to work for full voting rights and budget control and for maximum executive accountability in management and budget. Republican
Alexander D. Cartner did not respond.