DCWatch home Archives home
Back to Anthony Williams main page
Response to the Citizens Association of Georgetown Questionnaire
1. Washington is blessed with having several fine fine universities. While these institutions are major employers and important components of the Districts economy, so too is the residential tax base. Several of these institutions (i. e. Howard, American, George Washington, and Georgetown Universities) are hemmed in by strong residential communities concerned about the growth of these universities. As Mayor, what steps would you take to protect communities that would be directly affected by any expansionist plans of these institutions?
Having world class universities in the District brings us tremendous resources and diversity. At the same time, I am mindful that our residents and communities are the life blood of our city. Universities must be good neighbors and recognize the right of our citizens to enjoy their homes and their communities.
We already have laws on the books to stop universities running roughshod over their neighbors. But with all these laws, we still see regulatory disasters like the Georgetown University cogenerator power plant that came within inches of being built. The problem is that the system is only as good as the people who run it. In a Williams administration, DCRA managers will be held personally accountable to me for making sure that university permit and zoning applications are properly scrutinized. Similarly my appointments to the BZA and other boards and commissions will be people who represent the broad interests of our community, not the narrow interests of institutions and developers. The Universities will always try to outgun citizens with big legal budgets and high priced development lawyers. The best defense is the appointment of good people and strong management. I did that as Chief Financial Officer, and I will do it as Mayor.
2. Compared to many other cities with historic districts (Annapolis, Alexandria, etc.) the District of Columbia has done a very poor job of protecting the historic attributes of many of its historic districts, including Georgetown. Historic homes are permitted to be destroyed, illegal additions are permitted to stand, illegal signs proliferate, etc. Describe why you think this problem exists and what specific solutions you would carry out as Mayor to protect our historic districts and buildings.
Again the problem is not inadequate laws, its inadequate government. Many parts of DCRA are a disaster. That makes for spotty enforcement which leads to degradation of our neighborhood landscapes and architecture infrastructure. There is no quick fix for DCRA. It has suffered from years of neglect and mismanagement. The agency is too large, too slow to change, and largely indifferent to the individual needs of its customers (the citizens of the District). The recent separation of the Health Department from DCRA is a step in the right direction, but I intend to further restructure the agency by bringing in skilled managers who will embrace technology, be more hands on, and most importantly, who will make customer satisfaction the agencys mission.
3. Georgetown residents routinely experience serious parking problems in our neighborhood. Lack of parking enforcement, missing parking signs, all-day business parking, and evening valet parking for money on our residential streets, all add to our parking congestion. As Mayor, what solutions would you implement to bring parking relief to Georgetown residents?
Parking is a perennial problem in this city, and Georgetown is among the neighborhoods hardest hit by the problem. Although upgraded signing and enforcement will help, it is only part of the solution. As Mayor, I intend to work with Georgetown's citizens, businesses, and parking lot owners to increase the usage of available private parking space. I want to create incentives to make sure that commercial parking lots are open, available, and filled whenever there is parking demand. I also believe that the newly-developed valet parking industry has grown very quickly, and with very little scrutiny. The parking regulations for Georgetown did not anticipate that streets would be used as a giant commercial parking lot. As mayor, I will take a close look at the valet parking business and consider whether additional regulation of the industry is appropriate.
4. You and your fellow candidates have all stated that education is a top priority. Knowing that the Mayor has a limited role in decision making with regard to District schools, what would you do specifically to demonstrate your support for improved public education?
Reforming the education system is the key to the long term health of this city. I have called for a three part reform to the school system in this city. First, we need to empower parents and communities through school based management and choice. We will work to create Local School Commissions which will expand the role of parents, teachers, principals and the local school community to improve schools. We also need to promote competition through public school choice for parents. We also need to invest in effective modern infrastructure and business practices. Finally, we need to develop partnerships with a broad range of organizations and community groups to work with us to provide innovative educational reform.
5. The voters of the District passed a referendum that would limit the maximum political contribution for the Mayor's race to $100 in order to try to reduce the influence of big money. The Council overturned the results of the referendum and raised the level to $1,000. Do you agree with the Councils action and were the voters wrong?
While big money in election politics is a problem at all levels of government, raising money in elections is a necessity for every candidate who is not independently wealthy, and still wants to have his message widely heard around the City. We must carefully balance the need to prevent too much influence by individuals against the risk of setting contribution levels so low that only millionaires will be able to run for office without the burden of spending all of their time trying to raise money.
6. While most if not all residents of D. C. believe that neighborhoods other than their own receive more attention or better service from city hall and city agencies, the sad fact is that through a combination of mismanagement, the lack of rational (unpolitical) system, and the citys failure to make efficient use of resources, residents of all areas of the District have something in common we are all being short-changed. As Mayor what can and will you do to make the city serve all of its residents well, fairly, and equally?
I absolutely agree that the city government over the past decade has really failed the people of this city. Over-spending, mismanagement, incompetence, and poor services have gone on for too long. As Chief Financial Officer, I implemented systems that not only brought the city government's finances into balance, but even provided us with a surplus. When I walked into the CFOs office, it took eighteen months to get vendors paid and some tax refunds took almost a year to arrive. Many vendors simply stopped doing business with the City, which meant that cleaners stopped cleaning, contractors refused to do school repairs, and even things as basic as street lights were threatened. When I left, we were paying vendors within 30 to 45 days, and tax refunds took as little as two weeks. As Mayor, I will bring the same discipline to all of the city's operations. We will end excuses and incompetence and replace them with accountability and effective management.
Send mail with questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)