Settles Wants to Make the District a Model City
John F. Settles II, a resident of Logan Circle in Northwest, said that he is running in the at-large D.C. Council special election on April 23 because he's fed up with the general tenor of the council.
"I am annoyed with the ethical cloud that hangs over our city government," said Settles, 42. "I am angry with the school closings that are about to take place. I question some of the decisions our city leaders are making with regards to education because education is the pathway out of poverty."
Settles, a businessman who deals primarily with real estate and community development projects, said that he wants "to be part of the solution, not part of the problem."
"I know that Washington, D.C. can be a model city and a model for other cities," he said.
Settles is a native of the District and received his bachelor's degree in finance from Howard University in Northwest. He said that his platform can be articulated by the acronym, HELPS.
"H stands for housing and we need affordable housing for seniors and those who are disabled," he said. "We want our seniors to live in dignity and housing should be affordable to police officers, fire fighters and teachers."
Education, Settles said, should not be a competition between the traditional public schools and charter schools but both entities should work collaboratively. He said that more trade courses should be offered in the school system curriculum "so that people who do not want to go to college can learn [a skill] so they can make a living."
Settles said that companies and industries that come to the District should be "job creators" and special incentives from the District government are needed for small businesses "because they employ the bulk of the city's workforce." As a member of the D.C. Council, he said, he would work to set up small business development centers in each ward.
Settles would support programs for returning citizens and recruit police officers within the communities they grew up in. He would also work to expand activities for seniors.
When asked why he didn't start his political career by running as an advisory neighborhood commissioner, he said "I am not running to climb the political ladder."
"I have an at-large commitment to the city," he said. "I have either lived or worked in all of the wards and I can do more as an at-large member of the D.C. Council. I am not looking for a job I am looking to be part of the solution."
Shapiro Accepts Position in Prince George's
Former D.C. Council member at-large candidate Peter Shapiro has been appointed as the executive director of the Prince George's County Revenue Authority. Shapiro, 49, ran in the April 4, 2012 at-large Democratic Party primary, but D.C. Council member Vincent Orange emerged victorious.
Shapiro, a resident of Northwest, will not have to move to Prince George's to work for the Revenue Authority, which is a quasi-public corporation that manages revenue-generating projects and facilities for the county. Shapiro is a former member of the Prince George's County Council and chaired the body twice, credentials that are good enough for Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker III.
"Peter knows this county and the region very well and I am confident he will bring a wealth of knowledge, talent, and experience to the job," said Baker, 54. "He will apply his expertise in leadership and regionalism to this position as he and his team create innovative solutions that will move our Revenue Authority forward in support of our economic development goals."
Shapiro said that taking a job in the county will not deter him from possibly seeking political office in the District in the near future.
In January, Shapiro said that he ruled out running in the April 23 D.C. Council at-large special election to replace Phil Mendelson permanently. He was quietly going through the final phases of joining the Revenue Authority and has endorsed Elissa Silverman in the special election.
"I am honored to have this appointment but with D.C. politics, you never know what is going to happen next," he said. "I am keeping my options open."