Steven D. Abel, 31, of 20 Adams St. NW, is a member of the D.C. Statehood Party. He is an apostolic evangelist and social worker. He has previously been a pastor and school teacher.
Committees: I would like to serve on the education Committee. I would introduce legislation that would create a community-based ombudsman to serve as the community's representative to hear complaints by students and faculty of the city's university (UDC). The taxpayers should have an active role in safeguarding the public's interest in how its tax dollars are being used or misused in the proper and complete education of our young people and those seeking to improve themselves through a quality higher education. The ombudsman would be the appellant following an unsatisfactory appeal to the board of trustees by students or faculty members.
Ward services: City services in Ward 5 are inadequate. I feel that services to our senior citizens are most inadquate and, if elected, I will propose the following measures to improve things: supplementing SSI payments with DHR money; call for free health care for qualified senior citizens; increase the amount of food stamps to qualified elderly; create a mini-bus service; support measures to make available affordable housing for the elderly. I also feel the need to provide more money to fill pot holes, get old trees removed and get street lights for safe crossings.
Projects: I would undertake to communicate more effectively with my constituents so as to quickly and effectively deal with their concerns which I believe will produce clear changes in the ward. I will establish an office in the ward and will be available on a 24-hour, full-time basis. I would also also like to work on jobs programs for the youth, full-time after school in the winter. I would also like to work on a jobs project to find employment for the elderly and handicapped.
Jonathan M. Owens, 36, of 129 Thomas St. NW, is running as an Independent candidate. Owens is an attorney.
Committees: I would like to serve on the Government Operations Committee. I believe that the citizens of Ward 5 and the city are entitled to a responsible government - that is, a government that takes the tax dollar and gets maximum efficiency with minimum waste. To help in eliminating waste, I would introduce legislation to have the D.C. auditor examine, for waste, all government agencies on a rotating five-year basis. Also, I would introduce sunset legislation that would automatically terminate all boards and commissions after two years unless they can justify their existance.
Ward services: Yes, there are problems with the delivery of services in Ward 5. The greater problem is how those services are delivered. We must first see that our government becomes a responsible government - that is, one that is accountable to the citizens. For instance, all government personnel answering phones should be required to identify themselves by full name and department. Consequently, we will find that persons are likely to hang up or be discourteous when they have lost their anonymity. This is a simple solution for a complex problem but also the first step toward developing a responsive government.
Projects: There are two specific projects I will undertake as a member of City Council to effect clearly identifiable changes. First, I would provide the leadership to see that block clubs are formed for every street possible. The objective is to make residents become responsible for their neighborhoods. Controlling our neighborhoods through block clubs is the first step toward controlling this city and our lives. Second, I would provide what Ward 5 is sorely missing - a responsive councilman. A responsive councilman returns phone calls of constituents; he meets regularly with the residents of the entire ward to determine the needs, and finally, a responsive councilman solicits and listens to other people in the ward with ideas. As an attorney, these qualities are what I would bring to City Council as Ward 5 representative.
William (Bill) Spaulding, 52, of 1905 Randolph St. NE, is a Democrat.He is the incumbent council member from Ward 5. He has served with many civic groups.
Committees: Education, Recreation and Youth Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and Government Operations. Legislation that I will introduce is as follows: Special school book account to receive funds for replacement of lost and damaged books; department of energy to oversee and control utility rates and charges; strengthen the Commission on Aging to ensure that every senior citizen gets the social, health care and financial assistance needed. A major legislative thrust will be to continue monitoring those agencies that were created by legislation which I introduced. They include D.C. Law 1-36 establishing the University of the District of Columbia; D.C. Law 1-93 establishing the Office of Youth Advocacy, which monitors the nature and quality of all activities that service the youth of the city and also makes recommendations to the mayor and City Council; D.C. Law 1-1-4 establishing the Educational Institute Licensure COmmission, which licenses private educational and training institutions and makes recommendations to the mayor and City Council on the education and training needs of the city.
Ward services: No, and in fact, monitoring these services is my primary concern for the next four years. There needs to be further improvement in trash pickup, street cleaning and repairs and police protection. I have already established a Citizens' Observer Program (COP) in which citizens are trained by the 5th District Police Department to identify and report crime and suspicious actions in the community. They also monitor the delivery of city services, i.e. trash pickup and street cleaning. This makes the streets safer and cleaner and also improves the overall quality of service delivery.
Projects: I will continue to push for a comprehensive plan for developing Ward 5 and the city; a plan to improve the business sectors along 12th Street NE, Rhode Island Avenue and 15th Street and Bladensburg Road NE (Hechinger Plaza); the relocation of new light industry into the New York Avenue industry into the New York Avenue industrial corridor; the construction of libraries and recreation facilities for the North Michigan Park, Bloomingdale and Gateway areas, and the publication of a housing resource guide to explain existing federal and local news and programs so that they might be maximized.