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?
Marion S. Barry:
Budget: My plan for the next four years is to increase the level of fiscal responsibility established and maintained during my first term in office. This was, and will be achieved by (a) balancing the budget, (b) restraining tax increases, (c) getting an equitable Federal Payment and (d) eliminating the accumulated deficit. The number one priority of my administration is to maintain a stable work force, with adequate funding of programs that improve the quality of life for our citizens. I will continue to address the need for increased spending to counteract the cuts in federal funds in housing, employment, economic development, health care and social services. I will continue to seek opportunities to decrease the budget through productivity gains and efficient management.
Problem: Our city's most important problem is jobs. The philosophy of my administration is to try to make jobs available to all citizens who want to work. The impact of Reaganomics and the continuing recession make this task even more difficult than before. Yet, over the past four years my administration has increased economic development opportunities that have resulted in new jobs and increased city revenue, and we have increased local spending for jobs programs that included a summer youth employment program for 20,000 youths in 1982. Over the next four years our plans call for instituting a tax incentive to businesses that hire D.C. residents and the economically disadvantaged; the strengthening of private-sector involvement through employment/economic development linkage projects; development of employment and training programs for jobs in emerging industries such as the D.C. lottery, cable TV and others; and the design of new training components under the city's Youth Employment Act of 1979.
Qualifications: I am seeking reelection to continue the "partnership" established by my administration with the people of the District in 1979. The foundation has been laid. Accomplishments have been realized by my administration in such areas as jobs and economic development, where we have provided summer employment for 20,000 youth in 1982 and attracted new business development to the city that has resulted in thousands of new jobs; housing, where we have assisted 10,000 Washingtonians in purchasing homes; and improved fiscal management. We have made a measurable difference in the lives of thousands of D.C. citizens. I am the only candidate for mayor with first hand experience in managing local government. We have nurtured a pro-jobs, pro-economic development climate and have demonstrated that city services can and will be delivered effectively and efficiently. The people of this city deserve an opportunity to continue to benefit from experienced, competent leadership.
Patricia Roberts Harris:
Budget: My own priorities are clear. Our elderly, our unemployed, our youth, our ill-housed and our sick must receive help. We must provide adequate job training, education, senior citizens' programs, public health and housing. To do this in the era of Reagonomics, we must make the most of the scarce resources available to us, improve D.C.'s current poor performance in competing for critical federal grants and leverage additional private investment and support. When we demonstrate that the District has made maximum use of its own funds, and restore fiscal integrity, Congress, I submit, will increase federal support to D.C. for worthwhile programs. But every citizen is a consumer of some of the services the D.C. government provides. And every citizen has a right to excellence in the delivery of services. No one should be asked to accept second-rate services, even when our resources are scarce. Tough decisions will have to be made. And I am prepared to make them. But I intend to make them in a budgetary process open to the people. And I intend to make them after an unprecedented, comprehensive review of all city programs.
Problem: We face three immediate, interrelated problems: unemployment, education and crime. As mayor, I will attack unemployment through comprehensive job training and placement programs. I will create jobs by promoting a pro-business climate that encourages existing businesses to stay and expand here, and by attracting new business here. I will be an advocate for our public school system. Our schools need adequate and dependable funding. I would propose a new program providing a head start for all our children by beginning public education at the age of 3. We need an educational system that teaches our children the fundamentals. But we also need a system that gives our children the job skills they need. More jobs and better education will help to reduce crime. They will not eliminate it. In three years, violent crimes are up 62 percent. Every citizen has a right to personal security. Our city police need a system that provides swift, firm and fair administration of criminal laws. We need to focus on convictions, not arrest statistics. I will seek passage of the Speedy Trial Act, develop an effective witness support program and focus attention on repeat offenders. I will organize and provide personal leadership to a Mayor's Crime Control Council. I will establish a victim support service to help the forgotten people of our criminal justice system, and I will encourage and support greater community involvement in the war on crime.
Qualifications: I want to be mayor to restore a sense of excellence and pride to the District. I want to help this great city live up to its enormous potential. In the 33 years I have lived in this city much of my time has been spent fighting for self-government for D.C., for equal treatment and a decent life for all our citizens, and for excellence in public service. I now see a city which cannot even maintain its voter lists, where the city does not have enough forms to collect its bills and where public housing conditions are deplorable. The nation's capital should not accept as its standard the notion that "things could be worse." The people of this city have a special chapter in American history that is still to be written. Our rights as citizens are still unfulfilled. We will never gain these rights or realize our enormous potential unless and until we have leadership that demands excellence, that turns problems into opportunities and that has a vision of this city's destiny. I have a proven ability to lead, to harmonize a public debate over priorities, to make tough decisions over how scarce resources will be allocated among competing demands and to make government accountable to the people. I have a vision of this city as a great city, striving for excellence. From lunch counter sit-ins to the president's cabinet, I have never accepted second best. The people of the nation's capital should not either. But only if we demand the best, can we get it.
Charlene Drew Jarvis:
Budget: As mayor, I will first determine, through performance audits, that every tax dollar spent is used in the most cost-effective fashion: that administrative costs of a program do not exceed costs of direct services; that employe functions are standardized and are being carried out by properly trained employes, paid at appropriate grade levels; that proper leveraging (using money to get more money) of dollars is achieved; that agency overspending is controlled; and that revenues used to support expenditures are in fact being collected. Money for other programs will thereby become available, not by reducing spending, but by spending more wisely. I would aggressively pursue solutions to the health care problems that are devastating our residents, for "the health of the city depends upon the health of its people": the problems of alcoholism, drug abuse, infant mortality, TB, teen-age depression and suicide, child abuse, spouse abuse, venereal disease and mental health problems, particularly among the elderly stemming from loneliness and isolation. I would give budget priority to housing rehabilitation and construction; to employment programs which properly leverage public-sector involvement; to school programs which train for jobs which actually exist; to proper staffing of Corporation Counsel's office to promote aggressive prosecution of housing code violations, noncompliance with zoning laws and prosecution of child support cases.
Problem: The most important problem facing the District today is joblessness. Joblessness creates enormous stress within families and within the society, reflected in alcoholism, drug abuse, violence against family members and criminal behavior. When elected mayor I will have a cohesive strategy for economic dvelopment and job expansion in order to attract high-technology firms, revitalize neighborhood commercial areas, develop waterfront areas and redevelop the District's primary opportunity for the generation of blue-collar jobs on the New York Avenue corridor; and will give highest budget priority to training programs that train for jobs that actually exist, or are predicted to exist, in this marketplace: paramedics, computer operators, paralegals, accountants, nurses, apprentice skills. I will also: 1) encourage private corporations to set up and fund training programs in conjunction with the public schools, creating a job talent pool as an attraction for new D.C. businesses; 2) give employers tax credits for employing students in work-study programs; and 3) have the University of the District of Columbia serve as a training center for employment within the D.C. government.
Qualifications: I announced my candidacy for mayor in front of the now-closed Upshur Street Clinic which fell victim to callous economic and political considerations. The closure of this clinic is symbolic of what is happening to the health of our city and its people. As mayor I intend to revive this city, not preside over its decay. I am an elected official with a tradition of caring and a record of achievement in local government. I seek the job of mayor because I want lives restored that have been devastated by joblessness and drug abuse; I want the mother of five who needs housing to know that affordable housing will be a priority in my administration; I want the senior citizen who is isolated and alone to know that as mayor I intend to use all of my resources to help those who have literally built this society. I am impatient with the absence of planning in this government and outraged by planned deception. I know that the future course of home rule in this city is being determined now. The mantle must be passed to one who can shoulder the weight of that responsibility. I am a planner and a problem-solver. I am committed and I am capable. I am believable. I have been here when you needed me. I need you now!
Budget: My first priority will be to collect all the revenues due. The current administration exercises such poor management that hundreds of millions of dollars go uncollected. For example, the city has failed to collect about $93 million in child support payments. The Department of Human Services neglected to collect more than $7 million for a year, simply because it ran out of billing forms. I will act immediately to make sure that the government collects the money due. With effective revenue collection, the city will have adequate funds to increase certain vital services and maintain current funding levels in other areas. We must provide sufficient funds to open additional drug treatment facilities. We must provide adequate funds to the school system to get the career schools into operation now. And I will push for additional funds for health care and other services for our senior citizens.
Problem: The most serious problem is the shortage of jobs for the 35,000 District citizens who are out of work. I would take these actions to bring in, not just more jobs, but more of the types of jobs that citizens need: 1) I will shift the focus of economic development away from downtown office building construction and toward such areas as H Street NE, Anacostia and New York Avenue. I will emphasize the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises, such as printing firms and repair shops, which can provide jobs for the unskilled, semi-skilled and blue-collar workers; 2) I will work to reduce or eliminate those quick-fix taxes which may yield short-term revenue but have the long-term effect of driving businesses out of the city; and 3) I will push for imaginative development creating a "living downtown" with a healthy mix of retail stores, entertainment centers and housing to attract people day and night and boost the tourism which should be our number one industry providing thousands of jobs.
Qualifications: I want to be mayor because I have a vision of how great this city can become and I want to provide the leadership to bring this vision to life. I am the only candidate with the combination of skills and knowledge that is necessary to provide that strong leadership. I am the only candidate who has worked in the private sector, in all three branches of the federal government and in the local government. Because of my working experience on Capitol Hill, for the late Sen. Phil Hart and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, I know how the congressional process works and I know how to use it to get a fair shake for the District. I know the people in every neighborhood. I know what their problems are and I know how to resolve them. Washington needs and deserves a mayor with the strength, honesty, dedication and skill to make our government work -- for the benefit of all our citizens. The John Ray administration will deliver just that.