A report Wednesday incorrectly stated that at-large Communist D.C. council candidate Maurice Jackson said that the city is made up of a "weak City Council" and a "heavy-handed mayor." The statement was made by independent D.C. council candidate Brian Moore.
All six candidates for an at-large seat on the D.C. City Council used a forum at the District Building last night to take turns criticizing one another and the city government in a discussion of issues ranging from city management to the District's rent control law.
The 21st Century Institute For Political Action, an independent nonpartisan political action committee, sponsored the forum and limited it to the candidates competing for two at-large council seats in the November election.
The hotly contested six-way race has attracted particular attention because incumbent City Council member Jerry A. Moore Jr. (R-At-Large) is running as a write-in candidate after losing in the September party primary to former school board member Carol Schwartz, a Republican who is also an at-large candidate.
Last night, Schwartz and independent candidate Brian Moore accused Moore of circumventing the party process.
Brian Moore called council member Moore's nonpartisan campaign "unethical." Schwartz said that the City Council needs "fresh blood" and that council members, six of whom are supporting council member Moore, are behaving like members of a closed club.
But Moore defended his right to run as a write-in candidate, and said that he is running on his record because "I know how to keep the peace . . . . I know how to make things work."
Moore also told the audience of about 50 persons that he is aware of "slurs against my reputation" and warned people to "examine the mouth" and the motivation for such statements.
Candidates Maurice Jackson, a Communist, and Statehood Party candidate Josephine Butler accused the City Council of not taking strong enough actions to reflect the wishes of the people. Butler, who billed herself as the voters' "only choice," said city trash is going uncollected and small businesses are having trouble getting paid for services rendered while the City Council appears not to understand its real responsibilities.
Jackson said the city government is made up of a "heavy-handed mayor" and a "weak City Council."
He accused both incumbents in the at-large race, Jerry Moore and City Council member John Ray (D-At-Large) of being in the "pockets of the mayor" and good representives for the Greater Washington Board of Trade and Mayor Marion Barry's "misguided budget."
As they discussed such issues as jobs and housing, each of the candidates promised to make improvements if elected. Brian Moore, for example, said that he would advocate bringing light industry into the District. When asked their position on rent control, both incumbents said that they supported some changes.
Ray predicted that rent control will remain for a time, but said that a subsidy program is needed to help poor people to find decent housing and that landlords should make certain that apartment buildings meet housing code standards.
Council member Moore said that landlords and property owners need to be given incentives to take the boards off vacant buildings.
Ray the last candidate to summarize his views, criticized the candidates for their negative views about the city government.
"These people beat this city over the head and this government is less than 10 years old," Ray said.
" . . . We have done a great job since taking over this city [from Congress]."