All three candidates are Democrats. They were asked:
1. Two major problems facing city residents are the availability of affordable housing and rising property taxes. What do you plan to do, if elected, to alleviate these problems?
2. Which city services are most in need of improvement, and what would you do to improve them if elected?
3. In your opinion, what is the major problem in the city and how do you plan to address it?
4. What specifically should be done to assure effective administration of the D.C. City Council?
Arrington Dixon, 35, of 8227 West Beach Ter. NW, is a member of the City Council representing Ward 4.
1. I believe that this city must have a housing finance agency in order to receive greater federal housing assistance and to help with the financing of low-and moderate-rent housing facilities.In addition, Community Development Block Grant money should be made available for acquisition and renovation, or at least, to establish a fund for guaranteeing private mortgage loans. Economic stimulation can be achieved without displacement, and increased revenues for D.C. can be raised without exporting the poor and near poor. In order to effectuate solutions to the housing problem there must be an effective partnership between the public and private sector. I will work toward providing direct governmental assistance in the areas of rent subsidy, rent control, and those discussed above.
I believe that by preserving and expanding the tax base of the city through economic development, the residential property tax protection can be established. I also believe that special residential property tax protection should be made available to low-income persons by way of a strengthened circuit breaker tax credit system.
2. I have been committed to improve city services since my first term as councilman from Ward 4. I was the first councilman to open a ward office so that constituents could communicate their problems and concerns regarding city services and other matters in the community. My record with regard to improvement of city services is excellent. I sponsored the legislation which established the metro police force for the safety of D.C. citizens using public transportation. My legislation also produced the D.C. Office on Aging and supported and helped create the Office on Latino Affairs. As chairman, I will work to enact the merit personnel system and the D.C. procurement law. I will monitor the budget review of D.C. agencies to assure efficient and effective service delivery to the citizens of the District of Columbia.
3. I believe that the greatest problem facing our city is the lack of full self-determination and its consequent negative impact upon the District of Columbia's stability in the areas of economic development, employment, and housing. It has been my experience that predictable and reliable economic planning cannot occur without a guaranteed federal payment, complete control of our local budget, and full voting representation in both the House and Senate. As chairman, I will work diligently with Congressman Fauntroy and the local executive branch to advance the cause of self-determination for the citizens of D.C. Only when the District enjoys the prerogatives of a state, commensurate with the responsibilities of a state, is there any potential for economic development, employment, and housing stability.
4. I will ensure that the council's procedural rules are improved and followed. I have introduced legislation which would streamline the legislative process. I will require that the council's legislative and general counsel work with the committees to assure that technical and legal problems are resolved before a bill is reported. I believe that more efficient procedures will enable the council to perform in as orderly and more effecitve fashion. Toward this end, I introduced a resolution which sets up a structure for council expenditures. This resolution calls for the establishment of separate funds for each councilperson and his or her staffs. These funds would be monitored by the office of the Secretary of the Council. Consequently, under my leadership, there would be accountability of all council members.
John G. Martin, 49, of 354 Anacostia Rd. SE, is the pastor and founder of the Holy Comforter Baptist Church.
1. My basic philosophy for attacking the problem of housing would begin first with the housing needs of all the citizens of this city - rooms, apartments and single-family dwellings - according to the demographic census which reveals over 400,000 making less than $15,000 a year, 200,000 less than $10,000 and 165,000 less than $0 per year. I would strongly suggest that the council relate their decisions to the need of all the people and make the city a ward of the people until we bring housing authorities in line with housing needs.
1. I see utilities as a major problem, our roadways, the Metro system, sanitation, health care, and delivery services. I would review the existing legislation and budget related to these and suggest to the council we make the necessary correction to bring about equitable solutions.
3. One of the major problems in this city is the insecurity of full home rule, the lack of full understanding of the home rule charter, and the need for real leadership in our selected officicals. I intend to pursue full home rule, define the council so that it will be more effective and become directly responsive to the business community in a direct relationship to the needs of the people.
4. I would review the existing organization and make necessary changes.
Douglas E. Moore, 50, of 1300 Newton St. NE, is an at-large City Council member. He has been director of the Community Planning, Reconstruction and Development Corporation.
1. As chairman, I will be able to guide the council toward being more responsive to the needs of the people of this city. One of the most pressing needs is in the housing area. The people of this city suffer from skyrocketing, inflated costs of housing due to council inaction and loopholes in measures which were designed to address the problem of real estate speculation. As an at-large member of the council, I have earned a reputation of actively opposing vested interests and standing up for the little people of this city. As chairman, I will be in a position to guide the council away from lowering the condominium conversion point into moderate-and low-income, unit levels. I will stand for strong rent control measures. As an at-large council member. I have introduced legislation and supported other legislation to hold the line on property taxes and give relief to homeowners. I will appoint chairman of the Finance and Revenue Committee who will be sensitive to the concerns of our homeowner citizens - one who will not cut taxes on the industries of wealthy contributors while raising them on longer have to fight for this but I will be in a position to guide the council toward a more balanced legislative approach to community and budgetary interests.
2. I recognize that city services are the responsibility of the executive branch; however, it falls to the council to propose legislation which the executive can implement. I stand for strong education for D.C. residents; therefore, I will continue to press for full funding of the school budget. It was Douglas Moore who put in $75,000 for D.C. students to study veterinatian medicine at Tuskegee Institute because I believe education is the basis of our future. I stand for a strong UDC with a quality educational program. In addition, I support legislation to empower residents to purchase the many District-owned houses at the same low cost and at the same 3 percent interest rate that our current leadership makes available to the rich speculator. As chairman, I will work toward closing loopholes which allows 127 corporations to make $1 million and pay no tax while the citizens carry the burden. I will work to reverse the trend of the current leadership to cut in half taxes on contributing special interests. Once this trend is reversed, we will then have the funds to reopend closed fire stations, reopen all public library outlets, restore summer school programs where needed, rehire teachers and improve the quality of our emergency fire service equipment.
3. Again, as council chairman, my focus is on legislation. After the people of the city gave me the widest vote margin in the election. I had a mandate to preserve and protect their interests on the council. As documented in my book (available from my committee), I feel the major problem in this city is the influence of special interests, their money and their lobbyists upon the current leadership of the council. My concern for the little people of this city has been reaffirmed by the endorsement of their churches and unions. My opponent cannot break the involvement of special interest on the council - which is the major legislative problem of the people of this city - because he represents these interests. You have a clear choice in this election: You can vote for increased influence of special interests or you can vote for a citizen-government. You can vote for the Board of Trade's candidate, after their president announced their intention to drive the low and moderate people out (Post, 4/2/78), or you can vote for the labor and church candidate who will guide the council toward you. You can vote for an image, or you can vote for your own self-interest.
4. The council should set legislative priorities. Once legislative priorities are set, the legislation would benefit from collective effort and thinking by the council. The council should be about the business of focusing on the major issues affecting masses instead of majoring in minor legislation such as men marrying men and women marrying women, which is a waste of time. The council's voting record, financial contributors and names of lobbyists should be computerized so that this information is readily available to any citizen upon request. I would propose that the council include itself under the Freedom of Information Act. Additionally, the council should have more evening meetings and less morning meetings in order to accommodate the working people. The council should have its books audited each year and should be accountable for what it spends.