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?
Robert I. Artisst (D), 48, of 1353 Otis St. NE, is an associate professor at the University of D.C., president of the Brookland Civic Association Inc. and a four-time elected advisory neighborhood commissioner. A graduate of Howard University, he is active in civic groups and has served on community advisory boards.
Problem: In order of priority, as the citizens have addressed: Youth (and family) employment is essential, in order to promote better life for our city. Through education and training skills, youth will benefit to be a major segment in the community, which will further curtail crimes and other matters related to drug abuse, etc. Both inadequate housing and unaffordable homes contribute to an environment that is against the citizens of the city, and those are problems that will be addressed in Ward 5.
Qualifications: My commitment, dedication and knowledge have been reflective to serve the city and the people of my ward. My abilities include management skills and administrative know-how, people's charisma and, more importantly, a sensitivity to citizens' needs and the ability to deliver services to the people of this ward. I am the only candidate with a proven record of performance in Ward 5.
Bob King (D), 42, of 3102 Apple Rd. NE, a social planner, is a founder-director of the Columbia Heights Community Association and has helped organize housing, social service and youth employment projects in the city. He has served on the city board of appeals and is on the Children's Hospital Advisory Council.
Problem: The most pressing problem expressed to me by the citizens of Ward 5 is the lack of adequate representation coupled with disunity. This is to say the majority of residents do not feel the present representative expresses their will and interest in the D.C. City Council. There is also a lack of togetherness. Businesses, tenant councils, senior citizens, civic associations and elected officials are all concentrating on different issues. As the elected council representative of Ward 5, I would establish an advisory committee representative of the precincts with the primary responsibility of assuring my administration expresses the will and wishes of Ward 5 residents. I would also establish a ward office in Ward 5 (with evening hours) to maintain my availability and channels to the residents.
Strengths: In my view, which is shared by a number of Ward 5 voters, I should be elected to this office because as the elected representative I will not go against the will of the majority of voters after they have expressed their wishes through a referendum. As a candidate I will not go against voters or the rules and principles of the Democratic Party after they have voted for the nominee in the primary election by launching a maverick write-in campaign as was done in the past. I will not use deceptive methods or gimmicks in order to get elected, such as circulating pictures of myself taken many years ago to present myself in a false image. The basic thrust of my campaign and administration is to forge the various sectors of Ward 5 into a cohesive coalition whereby I would serve as a conduit of the will, wishes and interests of the residents.
Rick Lee (D), 39, of 1923 Upshur St. NE, manager and vice president of Lee's Flower and Card Shop Inc. for 15 years, is on the city Board of Accountancy, was board chairman of the Jaycees and belongs to several professional associations. He has been active in school, community and church activities for more than 20 years.
Problem: Crime is the most pressing problem in Ward 5. Crime not only takes a heavy toll on its victims, but it also forces all of us to live with fear and suspicion. Crime affects us all: elderly persons afraid to leave their homes; parents who fear their children will be victims of crime or will get involved in crime; all of us who fear walking home from the subway or bus stop at night; small businesses which cannot afford the expense of security systems or losses through theft. Crime diminishes the quality of life in Ward 5 and prevents us from developing the kind of relaxed, cooperative environment in which we would like to live. While there are no simple solutions to the problem of crime, there are specific steps I would propose as a councilmember: 1) passage of a reasonable "Speedy Trial" Act for D.C.; 2) development of consistent punishment policies through citywide hearings with representatives of the law enforcement agencies, judges, citizens and public defenders, and the passage of appropriate legislation; 3) emergency efforts to expand job opportunities and recreation programs for youth, and youth crime-watch proposals; 4) much closer relationship of ward leadership with the police in Ward 5 and increased police visibility through foot patrols; and 5) comprehensive economic planning for Ward 5 to eliminate the obvious economic disparities which produce despair and may lead to crime.
Qualifications: Ward 5 desperately needs effective, responsive leadership on the City Council, both to solve the problems within the ward and to improve the negative perceptions which many ward residents and city leadership have of Ward 5. Unlike my opponents, I offer extensive experience in the private sector and possess an understanding of its role in the successful economic revitalization of our communties. The incumbent, William Spaulding, has an undistinguished record after eight years on the council, and suffers from a crisis of confidence in his leadershp abilities within the ward and on the Council. Douglas Moore is a public example of contempt for the law and disrespect for individuals; his inability to work cooperatively with others toward accomplishment of mutual goals is a serious flaw. As a former councilmember, Douglas Moore was surrounded by controversy but accomplished little else. Bob Artisst has clearly been unable to inspire public confidence and lost two elections; his excessive personal ambition has closed many lines of communication and support. Again, unlike my opponents, I offer fresh approaches to serious, long-standing problems, and I am free of the burdens of poor reputation and diminished energy for tackling the issues facing Ward 5 and the city.
Douglas Moore (D), 54, of 1300 Newton St. NE, is an international businessman who served on the City Council from 1974-78; he was chairman of the Budget Committee and a member of the finance and human resources committees. An author and lecturer, he also organized a food network service for senior citizens.
Problem: The most pressing problem in Ward 5 is inequitable assessments. This is due, in part, to the politicizing of the assessment process. I believe the politicizing of the assessment issue can be eliminated by the establishment of an assessor's handbook. I would press the City Council to pass a legislative directive mandating the development of a manual. I would also sponsor legislation creating a tax advocate for the public who would be charged with equalizing over- and underassessments.
Qualifications: I have the broadest training and experience necessary for the job; the longest record of social service; the ability to effectively utilize resources. My research skills enable me to analyze and interpret social data which gives the community instant interpretation of legislation and actions which affect them in their community.
William (Bill) Spaulding (D), (Incumbent), 57, of 1905 Randolph St. NE, has chaired four committees during his seven years on the City Council. He has taught in D.C. schools and at Howard University and has worked for the National Security Agency. He is a board member and officer of many civic groups.
Problem: The most pressing concern for the residents of Ward 5 pertains to the economic situation and the problems that have been created because of the high unemployment rate. There is a great need for a program of economic development. As a member of the City Council, I have initiated a job training program with the D.C. Public Schools, the University of D.C. and other local universities whereby students are being trained and placed in jobs in the D.C. government and in the private sector. The Physical Science Institute, a model which I have been instrumental in establishing at UDC, trains youths (beginning at the 9th grade and up) for careers in science and technology. I am presently developing a program with the public schools, UDC and the city government to provide on-the-job training in high-unemployment areas for recent high school graduates.
Qualifications: I have written legislation (now ready for council action) based on the results of my programs, making them a regular part of government. I am now expanding the Crime Watch Program, which I developed in Ward 5, to include CB radio patrols working directly with the police. I will continue to push for more police on the street. I cosponsored legislation banning drug paraphenalia and will continue to support the fight against drug sale and use at all ages. I helped established the Northeast 12th Street Steering Committee which has provided an effective vehicle for community participation in planning and implementing programs for economic development of the 12th Street community. I will continue to support the designation of the New York Avenue corridor as an enterprise zone and also support programs and legislation that will bring new businessmen to Ward 5 and the city. My experience as a councilmember makes a difference.