The Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association developed a questionnaire for Candidates for the 2010 election containing questions related to Brookland and Ward 5 topics.
This questionnaire was sent in early August to 2010 candidates for Mayor, Chairman of the Council, At-Large Member of the Council, and Ward 5 Member of the Council. BNCA posted the results on BNCA website and sent the results to various neighborhood listervs.
BNCA president Caroline Petti stated via email
Various organizations, interest groups, and the candidates themselves are providing information on issues generally affecting residents of the District of Columbia. The BNCA questionnaire digs a little deeper and elicits information on the candidates’ views on and plans for addressing issues of specific concern to Brooklanders. Our hope is that this will be additional useful information for Brookland voters.
Below is a reposting of the BNCA Questionnaire
Question 1 Development: City planners are encouraging “transit-oriented” development around Metro stations and the area around the Brookland/CUA Metro station is beginning to attract the attention of developers. Many Brookland residents look forward to the new restaurants, shops, and jobs that new development entails. At the same time, many are concerned about potential ill effects such as increased traffic, increased population density, and loss of open space. If you are elected, what will you do to ensure that new development will not come at the expense of Brookland’s character and liveability? What will do you to ensure that Brookland residents will have a meaningful voice in development decisions?
Vincent C. Gray (Democratic Candidate for Mayor): As Mayor, I will ensure the Government of the District of Columbia is open, responsive and accountable to the residents which it serves. This commitment to transparency extends to neighborhood development projects. My administration will ensure that any development in Brookland is implemented through a set of guiding principles developed with the direct input of the community and which are designed to both enhance the unique character of the neighborhood and protect the low- density residential areas east of 12th Street. Development around the Brookland/CUA Metro Station will require a number of government reviews and approvals which will provide additional opportunities for the public to be actively involved in the process. I will also direct the DC Office of Planning to work with community residents and organizations and establish a community review process of new development to address issues of density, design and scale, pedestrian and vehicular traffic and parking, and preservation of open and green spaces.
Kwame R. Brown (Democratic Candidate for Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia): Brookland is one of the District of Columbia’s greatest neighborhoods because of its character and livability. I was proud to support the “Brookland/CUA Metro Station Small Area Plan Approval Resolution of 2009.” This resolution proclaimed the Council of the District of Columbia’s firm dedication to ensuring that future development of the neighborhood respects, and is compatible with, the nearby residential area and takes into consideration the desires of its residents. The resolution also committed the District to coordinating with the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority to ensure that the community will have a meaningful voice in development decisions. As Council Chairman, I am committed to ensuring that both of these promises are realized.
Darryl L. C. Moch (Statehood Green Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): As Council Member At-large, I plan to hold regular meetings in each ward, to allow for focused discussions about ward-specific issues and concerns. I plan to oversee a robust constituent services component within my office for real-time communication regarding concerns of importance to the residents of D.C. I support the Open Government is Good Government Act of 2010 to hold the Council accountable for improved transparent governance. I will undertake efforts to strengthen agency reporting requirements and the mechanisms that result in a more inclusive and responsive Council and will maximize the resources of ANCs and my constituent services arm to liaison with neighborhood civic and community-based organizations. I will also engage the community using innovative communications strategies. Retaining Brookland’s character and livable community will only be achieved when residents feel included in any land development planning. I am committed to ensuring their participation is informed and their presence meaningful.
Clark Ray (Democratic Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): If elected, I would propose the formation of a working group, working with the Ward 5 Council Member, Brookland Business Association, Brookland Civic Association, community leadership, citizens and other stakeholders, to facilitate an on-going dialogue with the developers about the specific plans for development and the wants and desires of the residents with respect to ensuring Brookland’s livability and character, as new development begins to take shape. Brookland is a very unique enclave in Washington and it has an active, diverse community that deserves specific input into the growth of its community. I will be an advocate for smart growth and citizen-engaged development.
Kenyan McDuffie (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): Community input must be the cornerstone of every development project in Brookland and throughout Ward 5. Too often, developers are allowed to change the character and makeup of communities with little or no input from residents. Every development project should be driven by the affected community’s needs and wants, not the developer’s bottom line. As Councilmember, I will promote the exceedingly important concept of community building in Ward 5 projects and push to incorporate it into a coordinated city-wide economic development strategy. Ward 5 has several projects slated for development and some that are underway. However, there has been no comprehensive examination of the potential collective impact (e.g., traffic, environmental, etc.) of those projects on the community. As Councilmember, I will introduce legislation that requires the completion and publication of a comprehensive community impact statement that analyzes the potential impact of multiple development projects within a certain radius.
Harry “Tommy” Thomas, Jr. (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): As the incumbent Ward 5 Councilmember, I have a strong record of working with Brookland residents to ensure their voices are heard as part of any development decisions. I have both sponsored meetings and attended numerous others so as to hear and respond to residents’ viewpoints regarding development. For example, I hosted a series of meetings with 10th Street residents with concerns about the Colonel Brooks project. I have met with residents about the Abdo/CUA South Campus project. I have participated in Single Member District meetings for which development projects have been on the agenda. As your elected Ward representative, I have been and will continue to be responsive to the residents of Brookland on development issues – and all other issues – and make sure that city officials and developers work closely with this community to achieve positive growth that retains both the character and livability of this city gem.
Question 2 Parks and Green Space: City planners have identified an expanse of lawn abutting the eastern border of Metro property between Newton and Otis Streets, NE as a prime development opportunity site. This area — known as the “Brookland Green” — is treasured for its tall, mature trees, the beauty it brings to the neighborhood, the environmental benefits it brings in terms of cooling shade, cleaner air, and stormwater control, and the potential it offers as a pleasant community gathering spot. If you are elected, what will you do to help Brooklanders protect and preserve the Brookland Green?
Vincent C. Gray (Democratic Candidate for Mayor): I understand the importance of open, passive green space to the quality of life of a neighborhood. The preservation of the Brookland Green provides a challenge because the land is owned by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and not the District government. Nonetheless, my administration will review the feasibility of acquiring from WMATA the Brookland Common land in order to preserve the open, green space. In addition, my administration will require that any development around the Brookland/CUA Metro Station integrate open and public gathering spaces into the development and provide for green space along 10th Street. In addition, my administration will seek ways to improve and enhance existing park space by engaging with the community and by having the Department of Parks and Recreation coordinate with the National Park Service to identify creative funding opportunities for park improvements at Noyes and Fort Bunker Hill.
Kwame R. Brown (Democratic Candidate for Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia): The Brookland Green is a very important part of the Brookland neighborhood. Any future development of this site must take into consideration the views and opinions expressed by Brooklanders. As Council Chairman, I will work with the residents and the Council to make sure that the Administration continues to incorporate the concerns of the residents.
Darryl L. C. Moch (Statehood Green Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): I will take several steps to working alongside Brookland residents to ensure their interests are upheld during land development negotiations regarding their community. I plan to engage both residents and developers separately, first, then jointly if potential resolutions and agreements are possible. I’d want to gauge majority residents’ opinions about, as well as the developer’s objectives for, the proposal. If warranted and legally permissible, public opposition may dictate revisiting proposed plans. I would support the majority community. Meanwhile, I would work with local DDOT and federal EPA, where appropriate and feasible, to obtain reports that buttress residents’ arguments for retaining “Brookland Green.” Most importantly engaging the community in real solutions that work for the community is vital and necessary.
Clark Ray (Democratic Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): As the former Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation I know how important it is to protect green space. I believe that the voice of the citizens of any community is paramount. If the overwhelming majority of stakeholders are interested in preserving Brookland Green, I will work to uphold the wishes of the citizens through legislative authority.
Kenyan McDuffie (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): With any development project, preservation of green space must begin with community involvement and a transparent planning and design phase. Green space should not be sacrificed at the expense of development. With the evolution of LEED design and a recent push towards environmentally friendly development, green space preservation should be a required facet of new developments throughout the city. As Councilmember, I will ensure that developers are sensitive to existing green spaces and look for innovative ways to increase the amount of green space in their projects. I will also make sure developers understand that “open space” does not constitute green space. Green space not only improves the livability of communities, it helps to decrease respiratory diseases such as asthma, which is at an extremely high rate in Ward 5. I will also ensure that our city’s tree bill is enforced, and that developers who violate it face stiff consequences.
Harry “Tommy” Thomas, Jr. (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): Because the “Brookland Green” is owned by WMATA, it is important to work with the district’s representative on its Board of Directors to lobby for preservation of the beautiful green space that means so much to many Brookland residents. Because the Small Area Plan supports development around the Brookland/CUA metro stop, fighting to keep this space green will be challenging. Even so, I will – as I always have – champion the viewpoints of residents on development of the “Brookland Green”.
Question 3 Diversity: Brookland residents choose to live in Brookland because we enjoy life in a diverse community of young and old, rich and poor, deaf and hearing, gay and straight, and all races, ethnic backgrounds, and creeds. Prejudice and intolerance have no place in Brookland. Please describe the work you’ve done to work with and unite diverse constituencies around common goals and aspirations.
Vincent C. Gray (Democratic Candidate for Mayor): As a native Washingtonian and life- long resident of the District of Columbia, I have worked my entire life to unite diverse constituencies and rally around common goals and aspirations. As a student at George Washington University, I was the first African-American admitted to the white fraternity system and within a year, became its President. Throughout my professional career, I have united diverse communities first to fight on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities as Executive Director of the Arc and then on behalf of homeless youth as Executive Director of Covenant House Washington. I am running for Mayor under the banner of ‘One City’ because I believe we can do much, much more to bring people together to build better schools for our children, reduce crime, and generate real jobs for our city’s residents.
Kwame R. Brown (Democratic Candidate for Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia): Prejudice and intolerance have no place in Brookland— or in the District as a whole. I am committed to making our city one in which everyone is welcome and has the opportunity to participate in and enjoy all that our nation’s capital has to offer. Among my efforts, I am proud to have co-sponsored two important pieces of legislation that directly impact our citizens and protects them from discrimination: the “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009” and the “Prohibition of Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Expression Amendment Act of 2008.” As Chairman, I will ensure that all District residents, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender—are served, represented, and protected by the Government of the District of Columbia. Finally, I will work with my colleagues to strengthen and enhance the District’s “Hate Crime” legislation to increase penalties for individuals that seek out victims because of their protected status.
Darryl L. C. Moch (Statehood Green Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): Throughout my life’s work, in a variety of places and on a lot of issues, none of this work was more rewarding then maintaining or encouraging the rich diversity of experience that comes from the full inclusion of people from every sphere of life. I worked to secure place and support for the LGBTQ and Ally relationships, communities of color, and intergenerational activities. I have served on a racial profiling commission working to improve relations between community and police, worked on LGBTQ Pride organizations, and served organizations whose missions include building for diversity of experience, thought, and participation. I serve in inclusive ministries that uphold the sanctity people without prejudice. Let me state clearly that in every aspect of my life working to maintain the diversity of influence is primary. I cannot imagine living or working in anyway that was not inclusive and inviting for all people.
Clark Ray (Democratic Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): I am an openly gay man and have always lived my life out and open. As Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) I required all DPR employees take sensitivity training classes. I also served as a Reserve Metropolitan Police Officer where I was assigned to the Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit. I have worked all over the city, first as a neighborhood services coordinator in Wards Two (2) and Eight (8) and then city wide as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Service and Director of DPR. I have an extensive record of public service to the residents of the District regardless of race, ethnic backgrounds, creeds and sexual orientation.
Kenyan McDuffie (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): As a Justice Department attorney, I traveled the country enforcing federal civil rights statutes which protect the rights of institutionalized persons in nursing homes, mental health facilities, and prisons. I worked with adversarial groups to formulate cooperative consent decrees and memoranda of understanding, as well as with police departments and community organizations to reform unconstitutional police practices, including racial profiling. As civic association president, I embraced diversity within my own community to bring seniors, youth, and new residents together for our inaugural Community Day event and other community- building activities.
Ward 5 is beautifully diverse. Accordingly, our government must deliver services and meet the needs of its residents in a fair and equitable manner. As Councilmember, I will celebrate Ward 5’s diversity, encourage tolerance and inclusiveness, and work to institute programs and policies reflective of the community’s diverse needs, in order to meet our common challenges and move Ward 5 forward.
Harry “Tommy” Thomas, Jr. (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): As the incumbent Ward 5 Councilmember, I have demonstrated that I embrace diversity and shun prejudice and intolerance. My voting record on the city council is evidence of my openness and commitment to ensuring that each and every one of us has equal human rights, particularly my vote for and support of same sex marriage. I will never waiver in my commitment to diversity and will remain steadfast in my efforts to unite diverse constituencies.
Question 4 Economic Revitalization: 12th Street, NE — Brookland’s “Main Street” — was once a thriving place to shop and do business. The businesses currently there do a good job of serving the needs of the community, but many would like to see 12th Street enlivened with more small, independent boutique/specialty businesses and sit-down restaurants. What steps do you believe can and should be taken to attract new businesses to 12th Street without sacrificing its present small-town, small-scale character and appeal?
Vincent C. Gray (Democratic Candidate for Mayor): I understand the urgent need to take action to address our city’s economy – both to revitalize our city’s many neighborhood main streets and to create real jobs for District residents. As Mayor, I will develop a detailed economic development strategy for the future, coordinated by a Deputy Mayor focused on local business growth in commercial districts like 12th Street, NE. This work will begin even before I take office. As Mayor-Elect, I will convene a DC Economic Development Task Force during my transition – with a Jobs Summit to take place during the fall of 2010. The DC Economic Development Task Force will include business owners, organized labor, government officials, job training providers, representatives of the higher education community, and other key stakeholders. The Task Force will identify strategic opportunities and targets for growing the city’s economy and creating jobs. The Task Force will develop specific strategies to grow specific commercial districts – while maintaining a balance between new development and the traditional look and feel of the community itself.
Kwame R. Brown (Democratic Candidate for Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia): When we invest in our neighborhoods and local businesses, we create a stronger community. That is why I have consistently introduced bills designed to change the overall environment for businesses in the District. We can ensure the long-term vibrancy of the business community by:
- Requiring government agencies consider the financial impact of their regulatory proposals on small businesses by passing the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act
- Adequately funding the business micro-loan fund, an effort that I supported in the FY09 Budget Support Act
- Preserving government funding for businesses—resources like the Main Streets program, a goal that my Committee was able to realize in the FY11 Budget Support Act without assessing one new fee, tax, or other revenue generating proposal
- Creating and supporting new resources for District entrepreneurs, like the opening of the District’s first Women’s Business Center by the Small Business Administration
Darryl L. C. Moch (Statehood Green Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): I believe this to be a classic textbook case for resident engagement, coupled with public-private partnerships. First, I would solicit input from residents. What is your vision for 12th Street, Brookland’s “Main Street?” Second, I would encourage residents and community-based organizations and small to mid-size developers to establish a blueprint for small business development, including independent, non-franchise entities. As Council Member, I would advocate to bring in federal, foundation, and other funding that the Council would award with complete transparency to organizations and for-profit companies who commit to First Source and other laws conducive to training and employing DC residents, with priority preference given to Brookland residents, particularly and where appropriate our teens and young adults.
Clark Ray (Democratic Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): I would support and work with the Ward 5 Councilmember to create a “Doing Business in Brookland Campaign”. I would also work with stakeholders to create a city-wide message about Brookland and 12th Street to help drive consumers to the commercial corridors and I would help sponsor special events on 12th Street to attract visitors to the neighborhood.
Kenyan McDuffie (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): The first step in revitalizing the 12th Street corridor has to be th empowering the existing business. It is imperative that the current businesses along 12 Street are given the resources to compete with the new development proposed for the Brookland area. As Councilmember, I will ensure that the city makes an investment in the 12th Street corridor for façade and streetscape improvements that actually work. There are also zoning issues that must be addressed so small businesses can expand and offer more services without going through the more stringent PUD process. In order to attract new small business to this corridor, DCRA should streamline the business startup process and make it more business-friendly. As Councilmember, I will work to ensure that existing businesses remain competitive, and that new businesses receive technical assistance and microloans to facilitate startup and are more consistent with the architecture, character, and scale of existing businesses.
Harry “Tommy” Thomas, Jr. (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): 12th Street is a wonderful neighborhood business corridor that I have frequented since I was a child. I recognize the need to implement a revitalization strategy for 12th Street that not only includes recommendations from the Office of Planning’s recent study of neighborhood business corridors, but also some other creative ideas. For example, I have advocated for municipal parking adjacent to neighborhood business corridors to increase accessibility, encouraged our larger institutions to “buy local”, and have sponsored a number of events at establishments on the corridor. We also need to support our small businesses by providing them with technical assistance. Too many times, a small business opens without a cohesive business plan and, consequently, fails. My office has been working closely with the GWHCC, which has had grants to provide small business technical assistance in Ward 5.
Question 5 Trees and Utility Lines: The pruning needed to accommodate overhead utility lines is preventing the growth of a healthy tree canopy along 12th Street. A healthy tree canopy would contribute significantly to making 12th Street a more attractive and inviting shopping destination. People are drawn to areas cooled and shaded by trees. As an elected official, what will you do to improve the condition of trees along 12th Street? Will you work with Brooklanders to implement cost-effective ways of undergrounding 12th Street utility lines?
Vincent C. Gray (Democratic Candidate for Mayor): I believe it is essential that we support the growth of a healthy tree canopy along 12th Street. As Chairman, I worked with Councilmember Thomas to pass a resolution that declared a sense of the Council on the need to temporarily halt activity on the 12th Street streetscape improvement project in Ward 5 to support the Brookland community’s desire to explore placing all utility lines underground. As Mayor, I will work with the Brookland community to reach the best environmental and aesthetic outcome for 12th Street, which includes a healthy tree canopy, and to ensure 12th Street once again becomes an attractive and inviting shopping destination. The community’s desire for a healthy tree canopy and for underground wires should be integrated into how we approach the overall revitalization of the 12th Street, NE area.
Kwame R. Brown (Democratic Candidate for Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia): I supported the “Brookland Streetscape Temporary Act of 2010” to determine the funds remaining for the 12th Street streetscape project and to determine the costs of burying the utility lines along part or all of the length of the project. The condition of the trees along 12th Street is a major concern for the neighborhood residents. You deserve to know—as soon as possible—what the options are when it comes to both the care and maintenance of the trees and the cost of burying the utility lines. I pledge to work with Brooklanders to explore ways of implementing a cost-effective method of burying the 12th Street lines.
Darryl L. C. Moch (Statehood Green Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): Yes, I would work with Brooklanders to preserve the healthy tree canopy on Brookland’s “Main Street.” First, I would research and inform myself of both my constituents’ and the utility company’s perspectives, including the arguments for and against replacing the existing overhead utility lines. My motto “For the people…for a change” is not just a platitude, it characterizes my life’s work as a servant-leader. I pledge to represent you; if a majority of Brooklanders agree to cost-effective implementation of underground utility lines along 12th Street, I will work with you to ensure the project is managed and completed in a timely, efficient, and professional manner.
Clark Ray (Democratic Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): Yes, if feasible and desired by the citizens. I would also work with the Ward 5 Councilmember and the City Arborist to explore the feasibility of planting new trees to provide cover, but do not grow as tall as the current trees. The most important thing to do is to look at development and get consensus on a plan and to know the alternatives.
Kenyan McDuffie (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): As Councilmember, I will certainly work with Brooklanders to implement cost-effective ways of undergrounding the 12th Street utility lines. In addition to securing funding for undergrounding, I will ensure that companies responsible for pruning near utility lines routinely service the Brookland area, adhering to generally accepted best practices instead of performing inferior work in an effort to cut costs. I will also ensure that the Urban Forestry Administration works responsibly with private contractors and residents to discuss tree removal and pruning plans prior to commencing work. Additionally, I will work with residents to find creative ways to add to the 12th Street canopy in an effort to support the goal of increasing the citywide tree canopy to 40%.
Harry “Tommy” Thomas, Jr. (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): My record of supporting the undergrounding the utility lines on 12th Street is consistent and strong. As the Ward 5 Councilmember, I have introduced numerous pieces of legislation to compel the District to work with residents and apply any excess 12th Street streetscape funds to undergrounding the utility lines along the corridor. I have attended rallies and meetings regarding undergrounding. I will continue to be an advocate for the Brookland community so that their voice is heard on the matter of undergrounding.
Question 6 Senior Citizens: A high percentage of Brookland householders are senior citizens (age 65 years or older). If you are elected, what will you do to ensure that our neighborhood seniors have the services and support they need to live at home and fully participate in the life of our community?
Vincent C. Gray (Democratic Candidate for Mayor): As our senior population continues to increase, both with the Baby Boomer population and our growing 85+ demographic, so too does the need for health and social services, supports and programming. As Mayor, I will tackle the unmet needs of our seniors by strengthening and improving community support systems that enable our seniors to remain in their own homes for as long as possible; and implement a comprehensive set of initiatives geared toward improving the quality of life for our seniors and specifically designed to promote physical, emotional and financial well-being. My Administration will work to expand “Aging in Place” networks in all parts of the city, providing access to transportation, health benefits, and in-home services. We will also work to empower our seniors to stay active and healthy while increasing disease and disability prevention programming. As Mayor, I will develop a long-term plan for aging services in the District.
Kwame R. Brown (Democratic Candidate for Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia): The District’s senior citizens are the backbone of our community. It is our duty to provide the services necessary to allow our seniors a good quality of life, one in which they are able to participate fully and actively. I introduced, along with Councilmember Cheh, the “Senior Housing Modernization Grant Fund Act of 2010.” This legislation was unanimously passed this spring. Now seniors who reside in a planned urban development will have access to grant funds to make repairs and improvements to their homes. I also believe that our government must increase awareness of, and access to, our existing social service programs through a concentrated outreach effort to residents in need of such programs. By creating One-Stop Social Services Centers in each Ward of the District, we can help our residents take advantage of existing programs and heighten awareness of what is available to them.
Darryl L. C. Moch (Statehood Green Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): I will establish ways to facilitate ongoing communication with residents—again constituents first…always—to learn of their concerns. I will request reports, to verify ADA compliance for applicable businesses, and follow-up with those that are not. I promote aging-in-place (i.e., at-home care) options and ensuring safe mobility in the community, e.g., streets with traffic calming techniques, zebra cross-walks, and tactile and speaker-enhanced pedestrian signals; some of the first steps to aging-in-place for longtime senior residents. I will work with the D.C. Department of Aging (DOA) and community/faith-based organizations to ensure residents have access to information and sensible, minimally bureaucratic paths to accessing services.
We will encourage comprehensive use of the rich resources of libraries and recreation center, ideal hubs for informational seminars, and propose using the UDC Community College —in Ward 5—and its Cooperative Extension Service to institutionalize relationships with DOA, libraries, and recreation centers to deliver such services.
Clark Ray (Democratic Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): I support “Living in Place” initiatives that allow for our seniors to remain in their homes and receive services that they need in order to live safe, healthy productive lives. I would make certain that seniors are made aware of existing services available through a variety of communication avenues – not just e-mail via the internet but through traditional mail from the U.S. Postal Service. I would also work with city wide and local programs to make available the existing services that are offered to seniors in other areas of the city such as DuPont Circle and Capitol Hill.
Kenyan McDuffie (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): Ward 5 has the highest senior population in the city, yet we lack the services to make sure our seniors can live comfortable, affordable lives in the communities they helped to build. As Councilmember, I will advocate for increased homeowner tax relief and tenant rent caps for senior citizens as well as the disabled. I will also work to secure funds to increase the number and enhance the quality of the city’s senior programs and services across Ward 5, and form partnerships with private service providers who have a track record of providing first-rate senior services. I will also work with residents and my council colleagues to improve the level of programming available to seniors at our libraries, parks, and recreation centers, where the focus has traditionally been on youth.
Harry “Tommy” Thomas, Jr. (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): As the incumbent, I have already been working to ensure the seniors of Brookland and across Ward 5 have the support and services they need to age in place. My office has a strong and positive working relationship with Seabury Aging Services, the lead organization for coordinating services for seniors in Ward 5. As a member of the Council’s Committee on Aging and Community Affairs, I have fought to retain funding for senior programs during these lean fiscal times, including the foster grandparent program. I have sponsored a host of activities designed to enrich the lives of seniors, including ice cream socials, thanksgiving celebrations, and travel to and from Ward 5 activities.
Question 7 Schools: Most Brookland residents rely on DC public schools (including charter schools) to educate their children for the future. Many Brookland schools have fallen into disrepair and are no longer offering the kind of quality education that Brookland children deserve and expect. One school — the Brookland School at 1102 Michigan Avenue, NE — has sat vacant for many years and residents have recently been informed that the building will not be re-opened as a school. If elected, what will you do to improve Brookland’s schools and ensure a quality education for Brookland students? How will you work with the community to determine a proper future use for the now-vacant Brookland School?
Vincent C. Gray (Democratic Candidate for Mayor): If elected, I will work to ensure a quality education for all District of Columbia students. This begins by looking at education as a lifelong endeavor. As Mayor, I will focus on every stage of education – from birth through post- secondary education and the world of work, so that every young person in the District has the tools to compete. I will also work with every school community to determine the future of each local school and school building, including the Brookland School; leverage the social and human capital in our local communities to create rich school partnerships with the District’s great universities, teaching hospitals, museums, and government institutions; partner with private industry and foundations to bring innovative programs to our middle and high schools in all segments of the city; and mandate that DCPS offer advanced academic and other special programs in every school. Finally, I will work to ensure that comprehensive middle and high school options are available for students in every segment of the city, including Ward 5. We also will work to achieve parity between DCPS and Charter Schools.
Kwame R. Brown (Democratic Candidate for Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia): As a graduate of Wilson High School and proud parent of two children that attend D.C. Public Schools, I know firsthand that nothing is more important to our future than the quality of the District’s education system. If elected Chairman, public education will continue to have strong oversight from the D.C. Council. Improving Brookland’s schools will take more than just Council’s oversight—it must include meaningful involvement from the students, parents, teachers, and greater community. I am proud of the fact that I was one of the three original co-sponsors of the School Modernization program that is now modernizing our schools and providing our children with 21st Century classrooms. Finally, I will work with Brooklanders, Councilmembers, and the Administration to find a good use for the now-vacant use of Brookland School. The first steps in that process must be open dialogue and a solid analysis of the options.
Darryl L. C. Moch (Statehood Green Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): Removing Chancellor Rhee is a priority. She has destroyed an infrastructure that at best was moribund and starving for leadership. Her disregard for teacher, staff, and parental involvement has exacerbated community mistrust. DCPS/DCCS needs leadership, vision, and experience that recognizes the complexity of issues confronting students, families, and communities.
- Restoring a Superintendent of schools
- School board with accountability to parents, teachers, staff, and the Council
- Local School Restructuring Teams (LSRTs) for oversight and governance of hiring and budgets; LSRT effectiveness should be part of the evaluative process for schools
I will hold forums, with residents, community associations, and organizations to develop a socially responsible project that improves the quality of life for those residents who struggle and for neighbors whose lives are stable and secure plans for Brookland Elementary School; be it creating affordable housing, community gardens, or incubator for non-profit activity, the community decides.
Clark Ray (Democratic Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): I would work with the Ward 5 Councilmember to convene a stakeholders meeting to seek community input. I would not support any attempt by any entity to make a unilateral decision on the use of public owned buildings without community input. I will be a strong advocate for locating a Middle School in Ward 5. I believe that Ward 5 parents should have the opportunity to have a quality middle school available to them for their child or children to attend.
Kenyan McDuffie (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): As a DCPS graduate and parent of two young daughters, one of whom attends a public charter school in Ward 5, I support education reform, including increased parity between public schools and charter schools in DC. As a Councilmember, I will work to establish innovative financial literacy programs in Ward 5 schools and recreation centers to address basic savings, investment, and credit education – the fundamentals of financial responsibility and opportunity. I will work diligently to build stronger coalitions between parents, teachers, students, and community-based organizations to foster a ward-wide education community that includes public schools and public charter schools. Regarding Brookland School, I will convene meetings to solicit input from residents and work with the city to determine a proper future use. Additionally, Ward 5 is currently the only ward without a public middle school. As Councilmember, I will work to bring a quality public middle school to Ward 5.
Harry “Tommy” Thomas, Jr. (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): The administration has not been forthright regarding Brookland ES. Like Brookland residents, I was led to believe that Brookland ES would be torn down and replaced, and that use of Bunker Hill was temporary until construction was completed. I remain committed to fighting to replace Brookland ES, not surplussing it for use as a charter or for private development. With Turkey Thicket right next door, it makes the most sense to transform this area into an education and recreation campus. Retrofitting Bunker Hill is not the long term answer nor is it what Brookland deserves or should accept.
Question 8 Recreation: Our neighborhood recreation center is Turkey Thicket Recreation Center at 1100 Michigan Avenue, NE. DC taxpayers’ monies pay for the good health, exercise, recreation, and civic engagement opportunities that Turkey Thicket offers. As an elected official, what will you do to ensure that clean, safe, and low-or no-cost (e.g., swimming, use of meeting rooms for community meetings) opportunities at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center continue into the future?
Vincent C. Gray (Democratic Candidate for Mayor): Due to the economic recession many state and local agencies across the country have grappled with cutting staff, foregoing maintenance, ending programming and even closing recreation facilities. Fortunately, the District has not been affected to the extent that some of our sister cities have, but in order to avoid these pitfalls as the slow economic recovery continues, we must begin thinking strategically and collaboratively. I believe that recreation is an integral part of our residents’ lives, impacting our physical and mental health as well as our environment. As Mayor, I will implement creative and entrepreneurial managerial and business strategies aimed at maximizing efficiencies and placing increased value on our city’s recreation sector. As Mayor, I am committed to providing the desirable, affordable and sustainable park and recreational opportunities and programming that our residents expect and deserve and am committed to working with the Brookland community to achieve this end.
Kwame R. Brown (Democratic Candidate for Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia): Turkey Thicket Recreation Center is a vital part of the Brookland neighborhood. As Chairman, I will continue to strongly advocate for and support funding to ensure it remains a vibrant part of the community. In addition, I pledge to work with residents and my colleagues on ways to improve the services offered at Turkey Thicket.
Darryl L. C. Moch (Statehood Green Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): Solutions to maintain the Turkey Thicket facility, and access to it, must first come from residents. I would support a bill, which guarantees low- or no-cost access to programs and activities for residents at their neighborhood recreation centers. Accompanying such privileges would be the city’s responsibility to strengthen existing regulations regarding proof of residency. A three-tiered fee structure would apply respectively, to “area” residents, other D.C. residents, and non-D.C. residents ensuring consistent and fair enforcement, priority and access for “area” residents, and a reasonable and needed revenue stream for the District. Maintenance of the facility includes facilities staff being properly trained, having the necessary supplies and equipment, and a work ethic that begins with city/department leadership, respecting its workforce. We must change the culture of lackadaisical public service to one in which every customer feels valued. It starts with First Source hiring, customer service training, and management accountability to constituents.
Clark Ray (Democratic Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): As the former director of Parks and Rec, I will use my expertise to help the citizens to work through the proper process to get things done in expedited manner. I will work to ensure that the department makes available information to the citizens about maintenance plans and work the community to ensure that appropriate programming is available to all facility users. I would also encourage the Department to engage local non-profits to become partners and provide additional services to the residents of Ward 5.
Kenyan McDuffie (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): In 2009, Ward 5 received less than $1 million of the $50 million dollars budgeted for improvements under DPR. Ward 5 still has two of the city’s original “Field Houses” at the Arboretum and Edgewood recreation center locations. As Councilmember, I will work with my council colleagues and the mayor to secure increased funding for Ward 5’s libraries, parks, and recreation centers. Moreover, I will provide more vigilant oversight of DPR budget priorities and spending requests to ensure that clean, safe, and low- or no-cost opportunities continue at Turkey Thicket and other recreation centers. Clean, safe, and affordable recreational facilities must be the standard. Further, taxpaying residents should not have to pay additional money to use their neighborhood facilities. Our city must do more to promote health and fitness activities at local parks and recreation centers, and these initiatives should not be cost prohibitive for any resident who wishes to participate.
Harry “Tommy” Thomas, Jr. (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): As Chair of the Council’s Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation, I have and will continue to ensure that Turkey Thicket provides programs that residents want at little or no cost. Turkey Thicket is a great resource and I am committed to continuing my stringent oversight as Chair of the Council’s Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation.
Question 9 Crime: Crime in Brookland is relatively low, but incidents can and do occur. For example, pedestrians walking to and from the Brookland/CUA Metro station too often fall victim to muggings and robberies. If elected, what will you do to assure a proper law enforcement presence in the community? And, what will you do to facilitate good communication between the police and neighborhood residents and businesses?
Vincent C. Gray (Democratic Candidate for Mayor): Increasing law enforcement presence
and good communication between the police and residents can be achieved through improved community policing. In this context, I have two initiatives that would directly address this issue. First, I would elevate the importance of community outreach positions at MPD. This means a central point of contact for both citizens and police officers at each police district who is accountable to the community and dedicated to improving police services to the community. Second, I would emphasize the development of “home grown” public safety officers. This can be achieved through workforce housing initiatives, tax breaks, housing subsidies, cadet programs, and educational partnerships. Front line officers that live, work, and are invested in the Brookland community would be the epitome of a law enforcement presence.
Kwame R. Brown (Democratic Candidate for Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia): I understand that communities thrive when families live in safe, clean neighborhoods. I pledge strong oversight from the Council on police operations in the Brookland neighborhood. I also support quarterly meetings in the community between the police, residents, and businesses to keep an open line of communication within Brookland. To address violent crime, I supported funding that added 350 additional officers to the force, increasing foot patrols and cameras on city streets, as a deterrent to crime in our neighborhoods. In addition, I authored the Victims of Domestic Violence Establishment Fund Act, which resulted in:
- $6.5 million in the FY 2006 Budget Support Act, tripling the number of shelter beds for domestic abuse victims in D.C., including $1 million for My Sister’s Place to complete an important expansion project
- The release of $4.5 million from the Victims Assistance Fund for emergency shelter beds for abused women and children
Darryl L. C. Moch (Statehood Green Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): Consistent, effective community policing is a quality of life element, linked to an individual’s feeling safe and secure. I pledge to work with residents, my colleagues, and MPD to establish regular ward meetings to hear first-hand problems relating to crime and police performance and quantifiable indicators to measure the effectiveness of community policing strategies. With those measurements, MPD can be held accountable. Specific to the incidence of crime near the Brookland/CUA Metro station, I favor consistent, increased police presence during high risk periods of the day—not only after a tragic incident, it should be an ongoing until the community and MPD agree the need has subsided. Also, I believe residents should receive information, tools and resources necessary to minimize risk. However, by no means does the latter suggestion mitigate or supersede MPD’s responsibility to patrol, engage communities, and enforce the law throughout this city, again, in this instance Brookland.
Clark Ray (Democratic Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): As a former Reserve Police Officer with MPD and as a Councilmember At-Large, I will advocate for more officers on the street using segways and bicycles to patrol. I will also look at crime data to see patterns for such crimes relative to times and work with MPD to increase presence during those hours. A lot of the crime is happening as people walk to and from retail and metro. I will work with stakeholders to increase awareness of crime data with the citizens to help with prevention to help citizens stay alert. I am a strong supporter of Community policing and will be an advocate for the Police- Community Partnership for Problem solving program.
Kenyan McDuffie (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): As Councilmember, I will collaborate routinely with residents, MPD, ANC Commissioners, civic associations, institutional partners, and other stakeholders to effectively address public safety concerns. I will work with Chief Lanier and residents to make community policing a reality, where officers routinely walk our streets, talk to residents, and become an integrated part of our community. As well, I will work with MPD and residents to ensure implementation of a coordinated, proactive strategy designed to prevent crimes rather than simply react to tragic incidents. I will also work with MPD, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency to ensure that there is greater communication and coordination concerning probationers and offenders on supervised release in order to close the revolving door on repeat offenders.
Harry “Tommy” Thomas, Jr. (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): I have worked – and will continue to work – hand in hand with 5D Commander Greene to ensure that Brookland, and all neighborhoods across Ward 5, have appropriate police presence. To facilitate good communications between MPD and residents, I have hosted public safety meetings and have even personally chaired some PSA meetings. I will continue this hands-on approach during my second term. I have also reached out to DDOT and WMATA to request better lighting around the Brookland/CUA metro station so that residents can safely walk to and from this important transit point. And to deter crime around such transit points, I have sponsored legislation to increase penalties for those who commit crimes near bus and subway stops and other transit areas.
Question 10 Political Empowerment: Brookland and DC residents pay federal taxes, fight and die in wars, and serve on federal juries yet do not have full voting representation in the US House or Senate. Locally passed laws must be sent to Congress for review and approval. If elected, what will you do to end this indignity and end taxation without representation in our Nation’s capital?
Vincent C. Gray (Democratic Candidate for Mayor): As a native Washingtonian, lifelong resident, former Ward 7 Councilmember and as Chairman of the Council, I have been a vocal, active champion of greater home rule, autonomy, voting rights, and statehood. Specifically, as Chairman of the Council, I’ve taken historic steps to raise the visibility of the issue including establishing the Special Committee on Self-Determination and Statehood. I have worked collaboratively with the District’s delegate to Congress and shadow delegation on programs and projects, like the Emancipation Day observance, to raise awareness.
As Mayor, together with other elected officials, friends in Congress, grassroots advocates, and residents, I will continue to fight for voting rights, full home rule and statehood for the District of Columbia with new determination and persistence until we win what we have long deserved as taxpaying Americans.
Kwame R. Brown (Democratic Candidate for Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia): As a Councilmember, I authored the bill “Taxation Without Representation Federal Tax Pay Out Message Board Installation Act of 2007,” which posted an electronic sign in front of the John A. Wilson Building itemizing the amount of federal tax dollars District residents pay without having the right to vote in Congress. I did so to raise awareness during the Presidential Inauguration ceremonies. Most recently, I opposed the recent D.C. Voting Rights bill in Congress because I believe that the District should not have to endanger its residents by gutting its gun control laws in return for our right to representation in Congress.
As Chairman, I will push to provide local funding to a reinvigorated statehood movement. I believe that it is past time for a new Statehood Convention to be held to write a new Statehood charter to be submitted to Congress. We must remain resolute in our pursuit of statehood.
Darryl L. C. Moch (Statehood Green Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): If elected, I will fully support full funding for D.C. statehood education campaigns and introduction of a bill for U.S. Congressional vote giving D.C. residents full voting rights in both the House and Senate. I fully support allocation of adequate funds for D.C.- based grassroots campaigns to raise awareness of D.C.’s disparate treatment, that is, taxation without representation, and its need for statehood. Teach-ins and other strategies must occur, first among D.C. residents and neighboring counties, followed by national outreach. DC efforts must be linked inextricably to the work of both the Shadow delegation and [non-voting] Delegate on Capitol Hill.
While several schools of thought exist on achieving D.C. statehood, the approach that seeks a simple majority vote in Congress appears the least onerous and protracted than either a Constitutional amendment or the equal disenfranchisement movement that seeks status similar to U.S. territories (Federal tax exemption).
Clark Ray (Democratic Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): I am a supporter of Statehood. I will work with my fellow Councilmembers and call for a new campaign that engages more of our citizens to garner more support for Voting Rights and Statehood. I pledge to visit Capitol Hill every week to lobby lawmakers re these two important issues: Voting Rights and Statehood.
Kenyan McDuffie (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): At present, our push for voting rights is fragmented, with discord between our Congressional Delegate, the mayor, and certain councilmembers. As Councilmember, I will work to coordinate a comprehensive strategy that clearly defines the city’s objectives, establishes a plan of action with viable outcomes, and coordinates implementation between our Delegate, our city’s other elected leadership, including our shadow delegation, existing grassroots groups, and civil rights/liberties organizations. Moreover, I will work to keep residents informed of, and engaged in, this effort. I will help scale up our efforts considerably and explore every available avenue leading to statehood.
Our budget and laws should not be subject to scrutiny by out-of-state lawmakers with personal and party agendas. We face some formidable challenges in pursuit of voting rights and statehood, given the plain language of the Constitution and the routine procedural maneuvering and leverage politics of Capitol Hill. However, we must stay the course.
Harry “Tommy” Thomas, Jr. (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia): I am a long-standing supporter of the DC statehood movement. I authored legislation in Council Period 18 to re-establish the 51st State Commission, which is now law. I introduced a sense of the Council resolution calling on Congress to provide statehood to the District before granting it to any territory, like Puerto Rico or Guam. I also serve on the Council’s special committee to promote statehood. If re-elected, I will continue to be a strong and unstoppable advocate for the DC statehood movement.
No Responses to BNCA Questionnaire Received from the Following Primary Election Candidates:
- Ernest E. Johnson (Democratic Candidate for Mayor)
- Leo Alexander (Democratic Candidate for Mayor)
- Sulaimon Brown (Democratic Candidate for Mayor)
- Adrian M. Fenty (Democratic Candidate for Mayor)
- Faith (Statehood Green Candidate for Mayor)
- Vincent Orange (Democratic Candidate for Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia)
- Dorothy Douglas (Democratic Candidate for Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia)
- Ann C. Wilcox (Statehood Green Candidate for Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia)
- Michael Brown (Democratic Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia)
- Phil Mendelson (Democratic Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia)
- David Schwartzman (Statehood Green Candidate for At-Large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia)
- Delano Hunter (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia)
- Tracey D. Turner (Democratic Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia)
- Tim Day (Republican Candidate for Ward 5 Member of the Council of the District of Columbia)
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