Candidates for the D.C. City Council were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Problems: What are the three most pressing legislative problems in your ward any how do you propose to address them?
Employment: What would you do as a City Council member to increase employment opportunities in the District?
Betty Ann Kane (D), Incumbent, 41, of 118 5th St. NE, an at-large City Council member since 1978, serves on education, government operations, housing and finance committees. Previously, she was an at-large member of the D.C. School Board for five years. An educator, she is active in civic groups, cultural programs and local advisory boards.
Problems: As a citywide elected official for the past eight years, my experience has been that the most pressing problem facing our city is making government work -- restoring confidence in the city's finances, channeling economic development toward keeping small businesses and creating jobs for D.C. residents, providing basic services fairly to all neighborhoods and adequately funding our schools -- the key to a good city. When reelected, I will continue as a strong voice for responsible fiscal management that provides taxpayers with their money's worth out of tax dollars and ensures wise cash investments, and I will continue to develop legislation that provides a tax system that meets social needs without driving business and the middle class out of the city.
Employment: The key to increasing employment opportunities for D.C. residents is leadership and coordination -- making job training and education focus on providing the skills that are needed for the kinds of jobs that really exist, and working with the private sector to keep businesses that employ D.C. residents. The summer youth employment program must be redesigned to give more youth exposure to nongovernment jobs. I have spoken out -- against D.C. General Hospital going abroad to hire nurses, when we are paying thousands of dollars a year for a nursing school at the University of D.C.; against weakening residency requirements for D.C. government jobs, because the government itself must set an example. Other initiatives I support include some form of enterprise zones, tax incentives, cutting red tape, a one-stop business center, lowering the cost of unemployment and workers compensation insurance, loans and technical assistance to small businesses and a comprehensive plan that provides for neighborhood-based businesses and services.
Hilda Mason (Statehood), Incumbent, 66, of 1459 Roxanna Rd. NW, has served on the City Council since April 1977. A former member of the D.C. school board, she is active in groups in support of education, women's issues, the arts, the environment, the peace movement and civil liberties. She was elected an at-large delegate to the Constitutional Convention.
Problems: I believe that education and jobs (which are related subjects, in my opinion) and statehood are the key issues facing the District of Columbia. My support for statehood is basic to my service in office. My campaign for reelection is based on my record with regard to education, housing, civil rights and my support for achieving a state constitution on which the residents of the District can agree. The relationship between education and jobs which I see is that education is necessary to develop the community of people who can attract economic development in which they can participate. Education is the foundation for community development. It should be available for all segments of our population, including the very young, unemployed workers, the incarcerated, displaced homemakers and the elderly. Public education consistently commands a lower portion of our tax dollar than it does in any other state. My efforts on the council have been, and will continue to be, for full funding to the public education system and to promote full educational services for all parts of the District population.
Employment: As I indicated in answering question 1, adequate and comprehensive public education is necessary to prepare the District's population for economic development. I believe that the completion and maintenance of the planned mass transit systems are necessary, with adequate financial support for the systems from general tax revenues so that riding the subway and bus system is inexpensive enough to attract riders. With adequate protections for neighborhood integrity, for the principles of good zoning and for local equity, I believe that tax incentives can be used with good effect to attract businesses. Additional resources of the District could be used to develop or increase loans for new business through a revolving fund, or through the development of a state bank with this as part of its purpose. Grants from Community Development Block Grant funds could be used to encourage business in certain appropriate areas. Increasing the supply of housing at reasonable cost would attract business. Whatever economic development occurs in the District, however, must not come at the expense of a permanently unemployed or underemployed group of people. Worker equity and community equity are important features in District economic development.