Candidates for mayor were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Budget: What would be your budget priorities as mayor? In which areas would you increase spending? In which areas would you decrease spending?
Problem: What is the most important problem facing the District of Columbia today and what would you do to solve it?
Qualifications: Why do you want to be mayor of the District of Columbia and what is the most important reason you should be elected instead of one of ypur opponents?James E. Champagne:
Budget: My main budget priority would be to address our indebtedness. Currently our long-term debt exceeds $100 million annually. This obligation needs to be renegotiated. Our short-term cash deficit also needs to be repaid through annual installments. And we must tend to our outstanding pension fund liabilities. These three areas are essential to reestablishing fiscal responsibility at City Hall. All program line budget items should be reviewed in terms of efficiency and need before any recommendations are made for either funding increases or cutbacks. This is necessary because of the shift from categorical grants to block grant funding. I would propose, however, that policy shifts should focus on developing adequate training programs to increase employment opportunities for our citizens. And I would reorganize our police and judicial system in such a way as to stress crime prevention. Accordingly, I would support full funding for these efforts.
Problem: The present D.C. budget is unjustifiable. Spending is out of control. Current expenditures for each major budget line item are over twice that of cities of comparable size. For example, per capita expenditures for police protection in this city (exclusive of federal police forces) amounted to over $400 in 1979, while similar costs in San Francisco were $87; in Baltimore, they were $94; and in Miami, they were $81. Since that time, costs for police protection has escalated while crime statistics have gone unabated. While I am not suggesting that we reduce the budget for our police department, I would recommend that we investigate ways to improve on the return for our dollar. This is true for the entire $2 billion budget recently passed by the City Council.
Qualifications: The city needs an alternative to the unworkable democratic formula of trying to solve problems by merely adding more money to the budget. I believe that responsible, reasonable Republicanism offers the best opportunity for setting meaningful priorities for the future. I also contend that it is important to reassert the fundamental parliamentary basis of our political system, i.e., a viable two-party system of elective politics. Regarding the Republican primary, I have argued the importance of selecting a nominee who in the general election could successfully campaign against the democratic opposition by offering a well defined program for fiscal responsibility -- one that would address the need for crime prevention, purposeful training programs, tax relief for personal property owners and small businesses and adequate social services.
E. Brooke Lee:
Budget: The District has one of the highest per capita spending rates of any city in the U.S. Delivery of services, however, is an entirely different matter. Clearly, money is not the problem. Management is the problem. My training and experience is in management. For 40 years in business, I have kept costs down, met payrolls and maximized the effectiveness of every dollar. This must be done with the city budget. Specifically, I would upgrade the Business and Economic Development Office to "cabinet level," reporting directly to the mayor, and use this office to fulfill its purpose -- jobs for Washingtonians. In contrast, a "cabinet level" city administrator is at best superfluous. The mayor is the top administrator and should be held directly responsible. The money we are spending for education must go to the schools, not the school board. Criteria for board service should be experience in education, not political ambition.
Problem: Jobs is the most important issue and the problem the next mayor has to solve. Over 11 percent of District residents are unemployed. Stopping this escalating unemployment requires bringing in new businesses and keeping our present businesses from fleeing to the suburbs. To be successful, the District needs a business-oriented mayor -- a mayor who is part of the business network and knows the people who create the jobs. I have the contacts and will use them. I have already spoken with several corporate heads about locating a plant or office here. The prospects look favorable, if the city can start supplying the services that make operating here feasible. Additionally, Washington should be one of the first 25 federal free enterprise zones. In March, I met with White House officials on exactly this issue. Getting Washington working again -- the government and citizens -- is possible with an experienced, business mayor.
Qualifications: I am running for mayor because this is my home and has been for generations of my family. Washington should be a good place to work and live. It can be, but first Washington needs a mayor who can manage the budget and deliver more services for the dollar; who can provide jobs and job training; who can return the streets to the people and make them safe for young and old alike; who can stop drug trafficking; and a mayor who can collect the bills -- correctly and promptly. I have been creating jobs all my life. I have been managing businesses, answering to my "taxpayers," the stockholders. I have worked with drug addicts and seen the tragedy of drugs readily available. I have been on Minnesota Avenue visiting with the store managers who fear for their lives. As mayor, I can get Washington working for all citizens.