Candidates were asked: 1. Two of the major problems facing city residents are the availibility 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? Democrats George Gurley, 50, of 239 A 12th Pl. NE, is retired from the U.S. Air Force. He was twice elected as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner.
1. To answer the first question, I must say, it is my belief that decent, affordable, and secure housing is a fundamental right of all people. I believe both have a corresponding right to make a profit which may deny decent, affordable, and secure housing to anyone. Therefore, I would propose the following recommendations: a.) A general reorganization of the current housing program which has caused inefficient implementation and management. b) A comprehensive housing policy and plan to which all proposed housiing issues could relate. c) No more evictions for luxury rehabilitation. d) A complete halt to condo conversions. e) No dislocation for speculation.
There has been an astronomical increase in property taxes during the past few years. When a property tax is first levied it falls upon the property owner. If he is a landlord, however, he can shift the tax to his tenants by increasing his rents accordingly. But, because poor people spend larger than average percentage of their incomes for housing, property taxes take larger shares of the incomes of the poor than those of the relatively well-to-do. I would propose a limit on potential tax increases annually. This proposal would affect assessed value, not the open market value of homes.
2. All city services in my ward are in need of improvement and if elected, I would demand administrators/worker accountability, the hiring of more workers and fewer administrators.
3. It is my belief that the major problem in this city is citizens' disillusionment with city affairs. I would devise more effective communication to residents, alerting them to issues and actions of substance. David L. Hall, 39, of 1338 K St. SE, is a minister. He has been a member of the Christian Concern for Community Action, the SCLC, the NAACP and other community groups.
1. Propose legislation to provide low-moderate subsidized housing propose a high speculation tax to halt speculators from buying property cheap and selling at a high price to the poor. I would propose property tax relief.
2. Public transportation, rail and bus systems to all sections of the city with one fare to cover the complete trip, environment-solid waste, more marketable skills, job training and hiring for project building, public utilities - a day and night rates.
3. D.C. residency requirement. I would propose that all D.C. government workers present and future reside in the District. Those who presently reside in Maryland and Virginia would be given nine-month ample time to find housing or would be subject to dismal. The major problem has been addressed in question one. Pat Press, of 723 F St. NE, is a real estate broker and laundromat operator. She is a graduate of American University and has a master's degree in social work from Howard University.
1. The shortage of adequate, affordable housing in the District is critical. The real estate marker in Ward 6 has led to great displacement of low and moderate-income families. I have made a basic commitment to increasing housing and home ownership, and I understand the realities of the housing market. Therefore, I propose to help more of the residents of Ward 6 own their own homes by bringing information and technical assistance to those who need it. I am a businesswoman an have a good real estate background. Therefore, I have been able to make money move from private and public financial resources in the hands of people who need homes. I have fought redlining practices in the District and recently I secured a $2 million loan commitment from a major lending institution to support home ownership in Ward 6: and with regard to rising property taxes. I shall introduce legislation that would prevent residential taxes from rising to more than 10 percent of the assessed value of presidential property in any given year with special provisions for the elderly and others on fixed incomes.
2. I shall see that the delivery of services in Ward 6 is at least equal to that available in other wards. I will also serve as a working partner in ensuring the efficiency of the fire and police departments and health services in the ward. I will actively work for the completion of the planned subway line to Anacostia. There is a crucial need for more supermarkets and other shopping facilities in Ward 6. I will work with the Office of Business and Economic Development and will use the authority of the City Council member to stimulate economic development and commercial revitalization. Furthermore, I shall establish a Ward 6 office.
3. There are several problems beseting the District: high unemployment, economic development and eduction, just to name a few. However, I see the number one problem in the District as housing. As I have already mentioned in question one, I shall do all in my power to provide the technical means to produce home ownership. Elected city council members serve as representatives of the people. They have a responsibility to work in the interest of the people they serve. I believe that active and agressive City Council members can develop good relationships with the executive branch of the city government and that together they can be more responsive to the needs of the people. It is through this relationship that I believe together we can address ourselves to alleviating the problems confronting us now. Nadine Winter, of 1100 K St. NE, is a City Council member. She has been a member of the Democratic Central Committee and a delegate to the Democratic Convention.
1. The shortage of housing in the District along with inflated prices of building materials, labor cost increases, tight monetary policies, and speculation, have elevated the cost of shelter beyond the means of many residents.
I supported the council's recent action to provide homeowner relief through reducing the tax rate on non-commercial real property. I will continue to support efforts to lower the tax burden to equitable, manageable levels, particularly for those on fixed incomes and the elderly.
Through my efforts, the council enacted a comprehensive rent and eviction control program to protect tenants from harsh or excessive rent increases. The program includes a rent supplement for low-income tenants. I also co-sponsored a bill to increase the level of protection for tenants of buildings to be converted to condominiums, and have introduced a bill to provide permanent regulations concerning cooperative conversion. I shall continue to closely monitor the rental housing market and will support the continuation of controls if the market remains tight.
An important method of checking costs of housing is increasing the supply. I sponsored the Direct Payment in Lieu of Tax Act, which allows the owners of certain federally assisted housing projects to make a payment to the District in lieu of taxes, which payment substantially improves the project's financial viability. The Residential Housing Stock Increase Incentive Act is designed to stimulate new construction or rehabilitation of housing units for low-income persons.
Most importantly, I sponsored the Housing Finance Agency Act, which empowers an agency to assist in the construction or rehabilitation of single-or multi-family housing for sale or lease. Millions of additional funds from HUD will be available to District residents by establishing such an agency provide below-market interest rate mortgage funds for low and moderate-income housing. I have also supported a stepped-up Urban Home steading Program.
2. Ward 6 could benefit from better sanitation services. Statistics also show that the ward has a significantly high burglary (and other serious crime) rate, despite the fact that city-wide rates have recently been on the decrease.
I will continue to press for more efficient allocation of police and sanitation resources for residents' health and safety.
For example, the increased use of foot patrolmen in those parts of Ward 6 which are statistically considered 'hot spots' may be effective in lowering the incidence of crime. In combination with better relationships between residents and the police, foot partolmen can help to make the homes and businesses of the ward more secure. This is especially important for our elderly population, who are often victimized because of frailty or lack of mobility.
Ward 6 also has a number of alleys and lots which periodically become deluged with trash and abandoned cars. Many residents are inconvenienced by clogged sewers during heavy rains. These problems point out the need for more effective deployment of the resources of the Department of Environmental Services.
I have personallly spent a great deal of time coordiating the services of DES with individual residents' needs. I organized successful ward-wide Clean-Up Days in which the Department of Housing and Community Development and DES participated by Providing extra trash containers, large receptacles, and special pick-up service for the purpose of cleaning out back yards and removing debris from various locations. Additionally, through my efforts, DES has moved to make more regular and dependable trash pick-up schedules for Ward 6 including quicker response to reports of alley debris and emergency situations.
3. The major problem confronting the District of Columbia presently is one of neighborhood revitalization. The leadership of our city must concentrate on this aspect of urban life because it is the key to the maintenance of our economic racial and social mixture particular to the Nation's Capital.
Neighborhood revitalization encompasses the type of housing commerical, and industrial development which is appropriate to the needs of the city's different communities. If we do not recognize the neccessity for tailoring our efforts to community needs, identified through the established neighborhood advisory mechanisms, we run the risk of negatively impacting areas of the city with inappropriate responses.
In attempting to make neighborhood revitalization a reality in the District, I have continually worked as chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Committee to ensure the more efficient utilization of the city's existing resources. I have been directly involved in the reorganization of the Department of Housing and Community Development to more effectively use the more than $100 million in Community Development funds made available by HUD for projects of priority to neighborhood interests. Further I have supported the city's effort to establish an Office of Business and Economic Development. Such an office, when creatively and effectively led, can do much to breathe new life into deteriorating neighborhoods.
But more than utilizing existing resources, the city must be aggressive in seeking out new resources to bear upon the problem of neighborhood revitalization. In that regard, I sponsored the Housing Finance Agency Act, which will authorize a District of Columbia agency to participate in single and multi-family housing development, including associated commerical and neighborhood facilities. The establishment of a State Economic Development Corporation may likewise assist in attracting new sources of capital for business and commercial expansion in those neighborhood facilities now losing local small businesses.
I will utilize my experience in office to urge the city to use its substantial taxing powers to create an incentive for appropriate light industrial and commercial firms to relocate from other areas of the country into the District. With a ready source of underutilized workers and with usable land which can be made available at attractive costs the city can do much to attract numbers of employers to our area.
The cooperative working together of the executive and legislative branches of government, as well as business and private citizens, is neccessary for successful neighborhood revitalization. My record is proven in achieving such cooperation. Statehood Anton V. Wood, 29, of 236 Massachusetts Ave. NE, is a consumer education counselor with the D.C. Office of Consumer Protection. He was chairman of his Advisory Neighborhood Commission.
1. This is a difficult problem, which I grappled with as a member of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Commission. The commission sought to address this problem by recommending that the city adopt a six-point housing finance plan. The plan has two components which would provide relief. First, the city would use its federal housing grants in a joint partnership with local financial institutions to provide low-interest home purchase loans. Secondly, the Department of Housing and Community Development recently decided to adopt our recommendation calling for the creation of a financial counselling service for potential homeowners. Beyond this approach, the city must increase new housing construction.
Rising property taxes are based on the D.C. government's increasing demand for additional revenues. We can save substantial sums with a cautious approach in the capital investment budget by eliminating the convention center project.
Additionally, I would introduce legislation to create an office similar to Montgomery County's Public Advocate for Assessments and Taxation. This office's chief function would be to represent the public's interests in assessment matters before governmental bodies, to ensure that valuable non-residential properties, like The Washington Post's offices, are not under-assessed.
2. Improvements in D.C. roads and streets are in order. Increased street repair funds should be included in the city budget.
Upgrading recreation centers and libraries which are in great need of increasing funding.
With more imagination and public responsibility Metro might develop into an effective transportation system. Neighborhood-oriented bus fleets similar to Maryland's Ride-on system or the Downtowner should be established to service areas abandoned by Metro. The neighborhood bus system would provide greater access to commercial areas like Good Hope Road, H. Street and the Eastern Market. During pollution alerts lower Metro fares should be instituted to discourage auto travel. Elimination of Metro's current double decker bus/rail fare schedule which causes undue delay by forcing transfers between systems. The double decker schedule accelerates decline in bus service in order to create a subsidy for subway operations. A regional tax would be more appropriate funding method.
3. Statehood would provide D.C. with effective total self-government. Statehood gives the city additional political clout which will greatly assist D.C. in securing proper federal funding. Neglect and conflict of interest on the part of the members of Congress have contributed to poor eduction, inadequate housing, high taxes, pollution, crime and lack of fiscl accountability here in D.C. Remember - statehood provides a real local government. Statehood automatically provides for full voting representation in Congress. Statehood requires only a simple majority vote of Congress, not a two-thirds vote in Congress and three-fourths approval by the other states as a Constitutional amendment would require.
Further, this city needs to restore a sense of balance to its economy by aggressively attracting nonpolluting manufacturing firms. The energy industry, especially solar and weatherization products, are good examples. This step would reduce unemployment and strengthen the city's tax base.
D.C.'s water quality and sewage treatment capacity are becoming problems, which will have an adverse affect on the city's ability to build new housing or attract new businesses. Funds presently allocated for the convention center should be utilized to address the water quality issue and to attract new business.