The Honorable John Ray
3740 Military Road N.W.
Washington D.C. 20015
Voice mail: (202) 363-4511
Setting the standard for leadership
Dear Cleveland Park Citizens Association Members:
I am sorry that the Association vas unable to schedule the Ward
3 candidate forum on a day Lcould attend, and I look forward to
seeing you at the November 2 meeting. Following are responses to
specific questions that were raised at the meeting October 5.
Please feel free to email back if you have any follow-up concerns.
1. Voting rights for non-citizens.
The right to vote is obviously a cherished right, particularly
for District residents who still must fight for full rights in the
U.S. Congress. I do not, however, support extending voting rights
2. Tax assessments
The Council Committee on Finance and Revenue is keeping its
commitment, made to Cleveland Park residents and others in the
spring to review our laws and regulations on property tax
assessments. Committee Chair Jack Evans has scheduled an oversight
hearing on the property tax assessment process for November 6 at 2
p.m. in the Council chamber, and I look forward to coming away
from that review with .specific steps to improve the process. In
addition to the specific issues on valuation, use of sales prices,
and accuracy of data generally that were raised in the spring,
this hearing will include a discussion of the Office of Tax and
Revenue-decision to grant a reduction to certain homeowners in
Spring Valley who appealed their assessments based on the World
War I munitions testing and soil contamination.
3. What steps have I taken to enforce the laws requiring
District residents to register their cars and pay income taxes?
A small but real factor in the District's financial recovery
over the last six I years has been far better collection of income
taxes, including better information technology and improvements in
customer services (though still some distance to go, there): I
have supported capital expenditures to improve the information
technology within the Office of Tax and Revenue including the
ability to know, through data sharing, who has not paid certain
income taxes - including a business that pays withholding but not
sales tax or vice versa, for example. In terms of enforcing the
laws on car registration, a Ward 3 advisory neighborhood
commissioner; Christopher Lively, has worked with the Metropolitan
Police Department Second District; on a pilot project to improve
compliance. My oversight of the MPD as chair of the Judiciary
Committee will continue to press for better processes and
practices so that cars are ticketed in .a timely fashion to
promote compliance with the law.
4. What was my position on Klingle Road prior to January 2000?
My work on Klingle Road prior to January 2000 consisted of
pressing the executive branch of government to begin the
remediation that has long been necessary regardless of whether the
road is rebuilt or another alternative is pursued. As most know,
there was no action regarding Klingle Road due to the District's
financial crisis in the 1990s. It wasn't until the city began
operating in the black, including federal highway dollars, that
the Administration moved forward toward a decision, on the future
of the roadway. In January 2000 I sent a letter to Mayor Williams
including my support for a hike/bike pathway, noting the cost to
rebuild a road and noting; also, the continuing deterioration and
need for remediation. In the wake of September 11, 2041, I issued
a statement on Klingle Road supporting the use of the roadway for
emergency vehicles - consistent with the Mayor's posture - and
opposing ending the right of way so that the District could choose
to rebuild the roadway at some time in the future.
5. What can be done about the Water and Sewer Authority and its
The District's water and sewer systems are part of the
infrastructure - roads and bridges are others - that were allowed
to deteriorate during the 1980s and 1990s, and we are paying the
price today in, many respects for failures at routine maintenance
and modernization. Paying to rebuild portions, of the system is
one cost-driver affecting water rates: The Water and Sewer
Authority is governed by the Board of Directors, the majority of
whom are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council. The
Council does not have a role in approving increases in rates, but
does have a role in oversight and asking questions of nominees who
wish to serve on the board. The intentions of such candidates in
terms of future investments in WASH are areas we raise during
confirmation hearings. It was mentioned at the forum that a
proposal was made to change the structure arid authorization of
WASA from the independent entity it is today, so that it would no
longer have a Board of Directors and instead be governed by the
Public Service Commission as a utility, with the PSC, setting
rates. Discussions of this proposal have not convinced me that
residents of the District would gain by such a change.
Again, I am sorry that I was not able to join the Association
this past Saturday and look forward to seeing you on November 2.
Councilmember, Ward 3
Paid for by the Kathy Patterson for Council
Committee, Jan Aber Treasurer. Our report is on file with the
Office of Campaign Finance.