Patricia A. Wells, a local realtor and long-time Washington resident, yesterday announced she will test the waters of city politics for the first time as a candidate for the Democratic at-large seat on the D.C. Council.
"I'm not a professional politician and I'm not really trying to be one. I'm just trying to go downtown and assist in getting some things straightened out," Wells said yesterday at a campaign kickoff.
Wells, president of Properties Services Inc., a real estate brokerage firm, said she would focus on making the city more attractive to new businesses and more responsive to those that are already here. She said a thriving business community is the key to reducing unemployment and crime rates and developing more affordable housing.
"We need to examine the licensing regulations and tax programs in our city to see if they really are an impediment to the business community," Wells said, "and then we need to make the business community more responsive to the needs of the city."
Wells criticized current council members for what she described as a failure to work together on problems such as crime and unemployment. "Individual council members attempt to do a lot of upstaging instead of being responsible to the community," she said. "I will hopefully bring another dimension to the council."
Wells, a 37-year-old resident of Ward 7, was appointed by Mayor Marion Barry to serve two terms on the D.C. Rental Accommodations Commission, a municipal agency that determines the amount of annual rent increase permitted to landlords and referees tenant-landlord disputes.
The Democratic at-large seat is one of two at-large positions on the 13-member council. Three other candidates have announced their bid for the nomination in the September 14 Democratic primary: Barbara Lett-Simmons, currently an at-large school board member; Johnny E. Barnes, an aide to D.C. Delegate Walter Fauntroy who lost the race for the Ward 7 council seat in 1980, and bar owner Lawrence R. Williams.
A group of prominent Washington political and community representatives have announced a campaign to urge former D.C. Council chairman Sterling Tucker to enter the at-large race as well. He is expected to make a decision next week.
Barnes had scheduled an announcement yesterday of what sources said would be an endorsement from Fauntroy. The event was postponed at the last minute because Fauntroy, a Baptist minister, had urgent church business, according to Barnes. "I was hoping he would endorse me and I continue to hope that he will and others will as well," Barnes said yesterday.