District Mayor Marion Barry Jr. challenged members of a restructured economic development committee yesterday to get on with the task of preparing plans for specific action by his administration to revive the city's economy and jobs base.
Speaking to the first meeting of the Mayor's Overall Economic Development Advisory Committee (MOEDAC) Barry asked for special attention to three "immediate concerns":
Retention of current business and attraction of new employers.
Improved employment opportunities for city residents, especially entry-level jobs for unemployed youths.
Effective programs to develop and improve the business capability of minority and small businesses.
Noting that D.C. has lost firms and jobs in recent years, thereby reducing the city's tax base, the mayor said: "We must stem this flow and make every effort to keep our remaining businesses. . . The business climate in the District must improve. Red tape and other disincentives to doing business in Washington must be minimized."
According to Barry, the new committee will meet five times a year. Smaller working groups will be formed to concentrate on specific proposals that can be implemented by the administration in cooperation with the private sector, he added.
Riggs National Bank President Daniel Callahan III was picked by the mayor to head his advisory committee, and consultant Marie Barksdale, president of the B.L.K. Group, is vice chairman. The staff will be headed by Barry's coordinator of economic development reorganization, Ann Kinney. "We hope this commiee will be a place for input from the private sector - idea input and development programs that can be implemented," Kinney said recently. "We don't want any more restudving of problems," she added in a reference to the principal occupation of such committees in previous years.
The mayor's committee will complement the work of Kinney, named by Barry to oversee all development programs, and of the city's Office of Business and Economic Development, headed by Knox Banner with a 17-person staff.
Members of the advisory committee already are studying creation of a local development corporation to take advantage of government funds available through the Small Business Administration.
Separately, representatives of Washington's tourism industry are considering a proposal by Barry to begin a combined program to promote travel to the District.
Members of the new committee are Patty Abramson, vice president of Hager-Sharp Associates; Tensia Alvirez, president of ABL Associates; James Banks, executive vice president of the Washington Board of Realtors; Berkeley Burrell, president of the National Business League; and James Clark, president of George Hyman Construction Co.
Also, Don Culver, of Lost & Found; Orlando Darden, president of Community Federal Savings and Loan; George Eliades, president of the Washington Society of Association Executives; John Faraxlas, Adam's Rib; Michael Gill, Gill's Valet; Dr. Virginia Howard; John Israelson, vice president of Woodward & Lothrop; Judith Jenkins, vice president of One America Inc.; Harrison Lee, chairman of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association; and Delano Lewis, assistant vice president of Cheseapeake & Potomac Telephone Co.
Also, Wesley Long; Edward MacMillan, general manager of the International Inn; economist Robert Nathan; Thomas J. Owen, president of Perpetual Federal S&L; attorney Paul Pascal; Charles Qualls, Anacostia Pharmacy; Ronald Richardson, Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union. Local 25: Daniel Robinson; Donald West, executive vice president of Weaver Brothers; Blake Newton, American Council of Life Insurance and Donald A. Tollefson, Arthur Anderson & Co.
In addition, the committee includes representatives of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, D.C. Development Corp., Federal City Council, Greater Washington Business Center, Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade, D.C. Federation of Citizens Associations, D.C. Federation of Civic Associations, Greater Washington Central Labor Council and 12 city government officials.