Art Fletcher, 53, of 516 G. St. SW, is a Republican. Fletcher is president of Arthur A. Fletcher & Associates, a management consulting firm. He has served as a deputy assistant to the President for urban affairs.
What are the major challenges facing the city during the next four years and how would you address them as mayor?
The major challenges during the first Fletcher administration will be to improve the management and efficiency of city operations, make available to citizens the housing and jobs they need and to improve the working relationship between the city and Congress as Washington moves closer to total home rule. As mayor, I will set forth a management standards index, whereby department heads will be able to measure their progress in meeting performance standards and service delivery goals; I will expand the economic base by conducting a nationwide recruitment drive to attract labor-intensive industry to D.C.; I will work for a firm federal payment for five years.
Some of the most crucial problems confronting many city residents are in the area of housing. As mayor, what would be your first initiatives in the area of housing?
The key to the housing crisis in the District is both creative financial and effective management of resources.
D.C. Bond Issues: The District has consistently refused to used the financing leverage that it has at its disposal in order to alleviate the housing crisis. In addition, it refuses - beyond mere tokenism - to create new financing sources. Since September of this year, D.C. has had the authority to float bond issues, though the current ceiling is set far below a meaningful level in order to overcome the sincere housing crisis.
Fletcher proposes that the housing agency float at least a $50-million bond issue. The revenue from the sale of these bonds would go directly to construct or rehabilitate housing for low- and moderate-income families.
Displacement: Long-term residents of the District are being forced to move because their apartments or houses are being sold by the owners.
Fletcher proposes creative financing on a meaningful scale whereby lending institutions who do business with the District and with the District government would form consortiums that would provide financing at affordable monthly mortgage payments plus rehabilitation costs.
In addition, Fletcher would establish free educational courses to teach residents how to do home maintenance and financial counseling in order to help prevent foreclosures. Key: a "partnership" between District and the private lending institutions.
Rent controls: Fletcher proposes that rent control legislation as presently enacted is not the best interest of either tenants or landlords.
Fletcher proposes that landlords who prevent their properties from becoming substandard or who make necessary repairs to raise property out of the substandard category be allowed to earn a return of maximum of 12 percent.
Housing for the elderly: After working years to own their own homes, many of our elderly residents are being forced to sell their homes because they can't afford the tazes, the excessive water and utility bills or the upkeep.
Fletcher proposes greater tax relief to the elderly and reduced utility taxes. By working in "partnership" with private lending institutions, Fletcher would encourage them to begin "reverse mortgages" whereby elderly homeowners could receive the equity in their homes in the form of a monthly check which would later be repaid by their estate.
Thus, our elderly citizens would not be forced to sell their homes nor be hindered by excessive monthly debts.
D.C. housing stock: Fletcher proposes that the thousands of abandoned and boarded up units owned by the District government be rehabilitated on a neighbor-by-neighbor basis involving not only government and private lenders (as part of the "partnership" approach to housing), but people of the neighborhood where such housing is located.
This community involvement is a vital component to maintaining housing once it it rehabilitated.
Fletcher believes that people in the District want homes for their children and an investment for the future, not boarded up houses for speculators.