Taxes, Education and Redskins Debated at Ward 3 Forum
The seven candidates who will be on the ballot for the April 23 special election for the D.C. Council talked about a number of issues facing the District at a forum on Feb. 28 at St. Columba's Episcopal Church in Northwest.
Democrats Matthew Frumin, Michael Brown, Paul Zukerberg, Elissa Silverman and interim D.C. Council member Anita Bonds joined Republican Patrick Mara and Statehood Green Perry Redd at the event which attracted about 90 people.
The Ward 3 Democratic Committee sponsored the forum. Ward 3 is home to many of the city's most affluent residents and the candidates addressed their concerns in remarks made during the 90-minute event.
"Many of you have supported me in the past and now that the ethical cloud about the criminal activity regarding my 2012 campaign is behind me, I want to build on a vision that I have for the city," said Brown, a former at-large member of the D.C. Council. "I want to be the champion for affordable housing, jobs for District residents and making sure that our city is business-friendly and family-friendly."
A few years ago, Brown, 47, led an effort on the D.C. Council to raise the income taxes of the city's wealthier residents to 8.9 percent. However, some of his opponents indicated that they would work to cut the rate.
"We need to reduce taxes in this city," said Mara, 31.
Frumin, 55, said that he supported the tax increase but wants to see what the D.C. Tax Revision Commission which is led by former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams will recommend for the city's tax structure.
Silverman, 40, said that it's important "that better city services should be a result of [higher] taxes."
Bonds, 67, said that she would like to see the 8.9 percent level maintained. She said that "we need to keep it right now."
Education emerged as a key issue during the forum, with Bonds saying "the education system has been broken for some time."
"All of our education [components] needs to be combined under one administration," she said. "We need more attention at the classroom level so that our students can learn more effectively. And yes, I believe that some of our schools should be closed."
Brown, who noted that his sons attended Lafayette Elementary School in Northwest, said that parents make the difference in whether their children attend a quality, neighborhood school.
"Parents across the city should not have to wait hours in a line or sign up for a lottery to attend a school," he said.
Silverman said that the traditional public and charter school systems "aren't working together" and on the D.C. Council, "she would ask the tough questions in regard to classroom outcomes."
The candidates talked about high parking fees, the war on automobiles in the city, a bottle tax, and whether sugary sodas in large cups should be banned. The Washington Redskins also emerged as an issue.
"I think that the name Redskins is offensive and should be changed," Brown said. "I would like for the Redskins to come back to the city. The city would [build] the infrastructure for a new stadium but the owner would have to build the stadium."
Bonds echoed Brown's sentiments, adding that the name should be changed to the "Washington Skins."
Frumin wants to bring the team back and change the name while Silverman wants to "change the name and change the owner", to the delight of many in the crowd.
Frumin Wins the Lottery
The D.C. Board of Elections conducted a lottery to determine the order in which the candidates' names will appear on the April 23 special election ballot and Matthew Frumin hit the jackpot.
Frumin-Democrat will be followed by Perry Redd-Statehood Green, Elissa Silverman-Democrat, Patrick Mara-Republican, Anita Bonds-Democrat, Michael Brown-Democrat and Paul Zukerberg-Democrat.