Candidates for the D.C. Council were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Problem: What is the most pressing problem facing residents of your ward, and what would you do as a member of the D.C. Council to solve it?
Qualifications: What is the most important reason you should be elected instead of one of your opponents?
Reuben M. "Rudy" Lewis (D), 38, of 2480 16th St. NW, president of Reuben Lewis Associates, has been a financial consultant to both government and the private sector. He has been president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and is active in numerous business, labor and community groups.
Problem: Problem: 1. Disunity. Solution: Reuben M. "Rudy" Lewis' leadership and unity platform are major to elect. Problem: 2. Truancy. Solution: Stay-in-school incentive programs monitored by the community, which will grossly reduce some chronic as well as absenteeism and other bad experiences. Problem: 3. Poor neighborhood public services are not evenly dispersed or targeted with respect to general or select constituent service needs respectively. Citizens perceive the government does not care for the percentage of property owners who are in need of tax relief and who are receiving grossly inadequate services for the amount of taxes paid. Solution: Building on and expanding of community base operations with productivity guidelines. Problem: 4. Comprehensive planning by the city government. Solution: Ward 1 must have the ability to move the hands of progress forward, to provide adequate planning and forecasting so that the community may have a means of prereading short- and long-range strategies for community revitalization. This prereading capability would be in lieu of the high degree of speculation, uncertainty and surprise which accompanies current practice.
Qualifications: There are a number of problems facing the residents of Ward 1 -- unemployment, economic depression, low-income housing, crime and health. Each of these and other problems can be solved with better utilization of Ward 1 and citywide resources. My credentials for office and for developing and carrying out solutions to problems of the ward represent 18 years of diversified community experience. From my perspective as a seasoned financial and economic analyst, volunter community activist and as a bureaucrat with legislative implementation responsibilities, the most important need for the ward is for improved information flow to, and from constituents. This information exchange requirement is specially acute with regard to the financial and economic impact on the community prior to legislative enactment and administrative implementation. Public elections are for citizens and citizens can win with my leadership in City Council. Vote No. 2 on the ballot, for "In Unity We Build Our Community and Grow." Marie S. Nahikian (D), 35, of 1669 Columbia Rd. NW, a journalist and former D.C. housing official, serves on the board of Howard University Cancer Center and chairs the Committee for Lead Poisoning Prevention. She was Ward 1's delegate to the statehood convention and is active in tenants rights and neighborhood issues.
Problem: Economic survival is the bottom line in Ward 1, whether it is jobless youth, families coping with RIFs or senior citizens on fixed incomes. With cutbacks and no new government funds, the only solution is creating a self-help partnership where technical assistance is maximized. This means: 1) Housing -- Increasing home ownership through programs like the Tenant Purchase Program (which I designed for the city) where 3,000 families purchased homes in three years with an investment of 5 private dollars for every $1 of public funds. 2) Crime -- Change the current contradiction of D.C. residents spending $32,000 for every person in prison, and less than 50 cents per family on crime prevention. D.C. has the highest incarceration rate in the nation, but crime keeps rising. 3) Taxes -- Stop quick-fix approaches like property tax assessment freezes. Determine assessments based on use in order to stop displacement of homeowners who have been the city's most stable source of income. 4) Jobs -- Support small, labor-intensive businesses, with the unemployed having technical assistance to create their own employment. 5) Land -- Stop giving it away; our land is one of our few tangible resources. Citizens, unions and churches could invest in small shares for development projects; alleys closings and sidewalk cafes should not be free for private profit.
Qualifications: For 14 years, Marie Nahikian has cared about and solved the problems that affect people's day-to-day lives. From creating the model for citizens to affect government decisions through the advisory neighborhood commissions, to being the first to organize families being displaced from their homes, to coming up with a real answer and giving families a chance to own their homes and apartment buildings, Marie Nahikian stands for increasing economic equality. Marie Nahikian's experience spans from community worker to government official and yet her voice has been consistent: people must have the chance to solve their own problems. Government should not get in their way.
Glenn Logan Reitze (D), 39, of 1816 Kalorama Rd. NW, an attorney with a general civil law practice, has written or co-authored large sections of several law and planning textbooks and has published many legal articles. He was a journalist for about 10 years, working in the United States and Mexico.
Problem: As a community, we are engaged in a hidden but very real economic struggle to survive and control the way we live. Predominantly, the enemy speculates in real estate. Traditionally, it has bought our politicians and sold us out. The victimized include not only renters but also owners of individual homes and condominium and cooperative units. As we do not have the economic power to control our destiny, we must use the law to help us. I favor lowering property taxes by first reducing city government employment through attrition; more effective job training in the schools; encouragement to small businesses; city powers to take over rental buildings whose owners flagrantly violate the law; and restoration of vacant buildings. In short, I favor using city powers to keep Ward 1 safe for our residents and to take back for ourselves the critical economic power that controls our lives.
Qualifications: The policies of our current councilmember, David A. Clarke, have been extremely well received by Ward 1 voters. I propose largely to continue those policies and to build on them. My key opponent, Mr. Smith, bitterly fought those reasonable policies and unsuccessfully sought to oust Clarke. Ms. Nahikian has spent a decade publicizing herself. But her neighbors -- who know her best -- overwhelmingly refused to reelect her to an advisory neighborhood commission post. By training and experience, I am far better able to deal with the complexities of writing laws. Like Clarke, I am a 39-year-old attorney and a longtime resident of Ward 1. As a neighborhood lawyer, I know our problems well. I am a former environmental activist, Environment magazine columnist and am fluent in Spanish. I would add my voice and vote to those trying to bring reasonable, compassionate and intelligent government to our city.
Frank Smith (D), 39, of 2904 18th St. NW., represents Ward 1 on the D.C. Board of Education, where he chairs the Buildings and Grounds Committee. With a PhD in urban planning, he has been active in neighborhood organization and redevelopment. He also has taught college and was active in civil rights.
Problem: The most pressing problem facing residents of Ward 1 is a lack of comprehensive planning and communication. From Georgia Avenue to Connecticut Avenue people are concerned with rising crime, unemployment, especially among black youths, displacement and drug abuse. The quality of life in Ward 1 needs improving. It is one of the two poorest in the city. The various factions and neighborhood groups need to be brought together to work together and focus on our common problems. We need to identify a set of goals for the ward and develop a strategy to implement them. We should establish a ward plan for city services, housing, education, etc., and monitor citywide programs as they impact the ward. That would be my role as the City Councilmember from Ward 1.
Qualifications: My term on the Board of Education and my history of community involvement have given me an excellent preparation for the City Council. After my election, I founded the Ward 1 Council of Education, a group of teachers, parents and educators which meets regularly to discuss education issues and schools in the ward. We hold an awards banquet every spring to honor outstanding educational achievements. As the former chairman of the Adams Morgan Organization and Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1C, I am well-acquainted with other issues of concern -- crime, unemployment, housing, community economic development and rising tax rates. My past experience in working with the diverse special-interest groups, PTAs, block clubs and neighborhood associations throughout the ward gives me an advantage over my opponents.
Calvin O. Wingfield (D), 57, of 721 Girard St. NW, an employe of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has had management experience and has owned a store and a club. He founded the Girard Street Neighborhood Organization and served on Ward 1's Commission on Advisory Neighborhood Councils in 1975.
Problem: I would put more police on foot patrol, instead of having them ride around in squad cars. I would pull together a Neighborhood Watch Program. I would have everyone involved in this program from the precinct up. My goal is to establish a program in each neighborhood within Ward 1, on a volunteer basis by our homeowners and small business owners. This program will be federally funded. In getting this started I shall inquire within our precincts to see if an available officer will be willing to come out and have a discussion with our volunteers on how to prevent crime the safe way. The volunteers shall work closely with the officer or police department and report crimes being committed in our neighborhoods. We will have weekly meetings on how we can prevent our youths from the life of crime and corruption. We will get a group of young people to recruit some of their friends, and instruct them on how to prevent crime in their neighborhoods. Our elderly and handicapped will be drawn into making signs and posters and giving advice to people who are interested in this program. The small business owners can maybe donate to the program in any way they can, share with us some of their experiences in robberies, breaking and entering, etc. I think with this type of program established in the Ward 1 neighborhood, and progressing in a great manner, we can advance with other candidates in other wards on how we operate and they can start it in their neighborhoods all over. In other words, "It's all the people working together to make the neighbporhoods a better place to live and be proud of it."
Qualifications: I think I should be elected instead of my opponents because I've lived in this ward for 57 years and I've watched this ward change from one extreme to the next. I drive a cab part time, I see the changes. I'm out all hours of the night, picking up all kinds of people. I see crimes being committed in my ward, rapes, breaking and entering a citizen's business or house. I see the prostitutes picking up their johns or tricks, the pimps abusing the prostitutes, the prostitutes abusing their customers. I do not go in after dark, like the other candidates, who probably live in Adams Morgan, Mount Pleasant, Columbia Heights. I'm out here everyday with the people and seeing these unhappy scenes. I think I would make a better candidate for this ward by cutting down on the crime throughout this ward. By furnishing better homes for the people to live in, seeing to it that the youth are in some type of neighborhood program to keep them out of the life of crime and fast living. I feel I could make this happen, because I am about people and helping people. Also, I would like to see my ward get back in better shape like it was when I was a youth, and I know I can make this happen.