Candidates for mayor were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Priorities: What would be year three top priorities in directing city agencies over the next four years?
Development: What would you do to encourage economic and business development in the city, especially in areas outside of downtown?
Crime: Do you think the District of Columbia now has an adequate crime-fighting program? If not, what would you do to improve it?
Marion S. Barry Incumbent, a 46-year-old Democrat, is completing his first term as mayor. A former president of the D.C. Board of Education, he was elected to an at-large seat on the City Council in 1974 and was reelected in 1976. Barry's political involvement began in the 1960s when he worked in voter registration and the civil rights movement. He helped organize the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, serving as its first national chairman and later as director of its Washington office. In 1967 he co-founded Youth Pride Inc., which provided job training for unemployed youth. He lives at 3607 Suitland Rd. SE.
E. Brooke Lee is a real estate owner, manager and developer who formerly worked for Scott Paper Co. as sales manager for national accounts. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard business school, the 64-year-old Republican is an officer and stockholder in several area real estate firms. He has been chairman of D.C.'s Drug Action Coalition, was building fund chairman for the greater Southeast Community Hospital and currently is fund co-chairman for the Center of the Aging. A captain in World War II, he was an airborne infantry field commander. He lives at 2340 Kalorama Rd. NW.
Dennis S. Sobin, 39, an Independent candidate for mayor, is publisher of Washington magazine and Met Forum tabloid. An urban planner, he has been a consultant to several "model cities" programs. Sobin holds a doctorate in sociology from New York University, has taught at a number of colleges and is the author of several books including The Working Poor, The Future of the American Suburbs and Dynamics of Community Change. Sobin is active in anti-censorship activities and in efforts to prevent exploitation of children through cults, child abuse and child pornography. He lives at 1304 4th St. SW.
Glenn B. White, 29, is a Socialist Workers candidate for mayor. A structure repairer for Metro, he is an active member of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689. White is a native of St. Louis, where he participated in efforts to desegregate public schools, institute Black Studies programs and defeat "right-to-work" legislation. He also has been active for more than a decade in anti-war and socialist movements. A former Operation PUSH activist, White is a member of the NAACP and the national committee of the Young Socialist Alliance. White was the Socialist Workers candidate for the City Council in 1980. He lives at 230 Rhode Island Ave. NE. Marion S. Barry Democrat
Priorities: The three top priorities for my administration over the next four years will center around economic development, jobs and crime prevention and reduction. Every agency will be directed to consider the above factors as they determine their priorities and prepare programs for the future. I plan to push for passage of the Business Incentive Zone legislation that is before the council, which will allow the city to focus limited local monies to leverage private economic development capital. And in the area of jobs, we will be looking at ways to tie job training to actual employment and economic development in the city. We will also be giving added emphasis to those programs that will deter crime, expand crime prevention and reduction programs and provide alternatives to incarceration.
Development: My program will be two-fold: retaining and attracting businesses, and the simplification of procedures for issuing a range of permits and certificates necessary for business development. We will continue to expand such mechanisms as the revolving loan fund administered by the Office of Business and Economic Development, which provides small and minority businesses with loans for land acquisition, construction, renovation and other capital needs. Further, I am committed to continuing the efforts symbolized by Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1982, which transferred the Building and Zoning Regulation Administration from the Department of Housing and Community Development to the Department of Licenses, Investigations and Inspections. I will continue my efforts to attract new businesses to the city, especially food stores, drug stores and other neighborhood service establishments. In addition, the progress of the Comprehensive Plan process will produce concrete community-based recommendations to increase the supply and location of neighborhood shopping areas.
Crime: I'm not going to be satisfied until our citizens and business people feel safe in their homes, streets and work sites. Over the past four years we have taken initiatives that are now showing results through a leveling off and recent downturn in reported crimes. Our major crime fighting programs are: the Repeat Offender Program, which coordinates actions by the police, U.S. attorney and courts to get violent criminals off our streets; drug enforcement and drug treatment programs; crime prevention through my 13-point program including "neighborhood watch," which involves all segments of the community in preventing crimes; and improved management and deployment of police personnel and technology to provide targeted protection. There will be added emphasis on witness-victim assistance; deterrence of juveniles from crime; alternatives to incarceration; improved prison conditions; and expanded crime prevention. I will work with the whole community to build a safe city. E. Brooke Lee Republican
Priorities: As mayor, my top three priorities would be: 1) more jobs; 2) less crime, and 3) more services for each taxpayer's dollar. Washington has one of the highest per capita spending rates of any comparable city in the U.S. Spending, yes. Services, no. Clearly, management of our money is the problem. The mayor must establish coherent budgetary procedures with clearly defined program goals. These proven techniques of good management are not revolutionary, except to Washington. Just look at Barry's handling of voter registration. A special task force was convened -- recommendation ignored. Board of Elections, the body legally responsible -- recommendation ignored. Instead of ordering re-registration as recommended, Barry waited until seven months before the election to apply a bandaid to a mortally wounded system. The resulting mess was accurately described by one would-be voter as "degrading and embarrassing." The water bills, potholes and deteriorating housing are all symptoms of incompetent management. Only with a good manager as mayor will Washington get the services we pay for.
Development: Creating jobs requires a mayor who knows how to promote Washington and deliver services reliably, at a reasonable price. This is my training. To stay, businesses must have an administration working with -- not against -- them. The people who can bring jobs to D.C. are a small, close community. I am in their network and they already know what I am asking: Bring jobs to Washington. It can be done -- if companies know the mayor will not waste their time or money. For instance, the Barry administration's recent failure to complete a redevelopment plan on time delayed the needed project, cost Washington money, cost the companies. Barry has failed to work for a federal enterprise zone which provides tax incentives for housing and jobs. While Barry fiddles, Virginia is actively competing and I have talked with the White House. Washington cannot afford the luxury of Barry passing up federal aid.
Crime: The District obviously does not have adequate crime fighting. This is a fact tacitly admitted by Mr. Barry when he announced that the goal of his "next" administration is to reduce the crime rate by 25 percent, to 1978 levels -- the year Barry took office.In other words, under four years of the Barry administration, crime has risen 25 percent and he now expects voters to believe that if we give him another four years, he will be able to return us to the 1978 status quo. If, as Barry claims, he can reduce crime in 1983, why did he wait so long? The overwhelming vote for Proposition 9 shows how fed up Washingtonians are with non-action. Proposition 9 is a good first step. Concurrently, the parole board must revise its policy of giving those finally convicted the "earliest possible date for parole." The first priority must be to get drug dealers out of Washington. Dennis S. Sobin Independent
Priorities: My three immediate priorities are: 1) the immediate repeal of the Paraphernalia Law and other repressive legislation; 2) the immediate reintroduction of the Sexual Assault Reform Act and other progressive legislation, and 3) the immediate abolition of the D.C. Morals Division and other city agencies that violate the rights and dignity of our citizens in general and our female citizens in particular. In addition to these, my ongoing priorities would reflect and embrace the hopes and dreams of all of the residents of Washington as embodied in the wonderfully liberal and progressive proposed D.C. Constitution, including provisions for a guaranteed job for every resident who wants to work, the right to sue abusive public officials, the right to privacy and an expanded and increasingly innovative public school system, and improved health care and other vital services. Finally, I would increase the accountability of all public officials, beginning with myself as mayor, by increasing the number of regular mayoral press conferences from monthly to weekly.
Development: As an individual with substantial business experience in Washington as the owner of both large and small businesses, I have many proposals for increasing economic activity not only in downtown but also throughout the city. I fully support the master economic development plan devised by Washington activist and former cabinet member Patricia Roberts Harris and I would seek the assistance of Ms. Harris as a consultant to help implement this excellent plan, starting with its provisions for cutting red tape in the business licensing process and offering tangible and immediate incentives for keeping and relocating industry in Washington. In addition, I would seek the immediate redrafting of the city's zoning and business regulation statutes. I believe that many of the current laws are not only exploitive of business owners but also are unconstitutional, as I have successfully argued with the support of the American Civil Liberties Union after I personally became victim to one of this city's many anti-business laws.
Crime: Our city has a far from adequate crime-fighting program because the attitude of the present administration is not on using the police for real public safety concerns but rather to have them enforce social convention and conformity. Under my administration, police would no longer operate in undercover Gestapo-like fashion but would maintain a conspicuous and uniformed presence in each community to deter crime before it begins and thereby rebuild their image as friends of the community. I will stand firmly behind each police officer when I tell him or her that lying, bullying and entrapment of citizens will no longer be tolerated and that the ends will no longer justify the means. I will also command police officers to make arrests only in cases where there is or is likely to be a demonstrably injured complainant to make the best use of the valuable time of police officers, as well as to halt the trend of overcrowding our jails with victimless criminals who often become the victims or students of violent criminals while incarcerated. Glenn B. White Socialist Workers
Priorities: I'm running on a platform of opposition to war, jobs for all, an end to police brutality, better housing. A key part of my platform is the need for working people to become politically independent. Along these lines, I would put the mayor's office and all the city agencies at the disposal of the people. But the problems that the working people and young people of Washington face can't be solved in a single city.Our campaign stands for measures that can solve the problems of working people. We oppose the five-year, $1.5 trillion war budget. We say, "not one cent, not one person for the U.S. government's wars." Eliminate the war budget and use its funds to put the 12 million unemployed to work in a crash public works program. A public works program funded in this way would build the housing the people of Washington, D.C. need. It would upgrade the medical, educational and cultural facilities, and we would be able to expand bilingual and bicultural educational programs.
Development: The Socialist Workers campaign speaks to issues that none of the other mayoral candidates address, and does so from the point of view of working people, not the employers, bankers or landlords. The crisis in the economy here is part of an international crisis of the capitalist system. The only solutions the corporations and their parties, the Democrats and Republicans, offer are no solutions: war, lower wages, higher taxes on workers and tax breaks for the corporations. I think that the labor movement should get out of the bosses' two parties and build a labor party that would fight for real solutions to the economic crisis. A labor party could fight for a shorter work week with no cut in pay to spread all of the available work to all who need jobs. A labor party could stand firm against layoffs and plant closings by fighting for nationalization of basic industry under the management of publicly elected boards. A labor party could help bring into existence a revolutionary government of workers and farmers that would reorganize our society in the interest of the majority.
Crime: The so-called "crime issue" is a phony issue that is dragged up in every election year to take the heat off the real criminals. The crimes are the crimes of the government and the employers. It is a crime to cut the disability checks of the sick and disabled. It is a crime to arm Israel against the Palestinians. And it is a crime to throw workers out of their jobs. These crimes are defended and compounded by the police. The police are in our communities and at our picket lines to protect the interests of the capitalist employers, not us. Police brutality in Washington and the recent invasion of Dakota City, Nebraska by state police and the National Guard prove this. In Dakota City striking meat packinghouse workers faced tear gas tanks and guns. Over and over the police have proven that they are not a force for public safety. That job could be done by community patrols that would respect the rights of working people.