D.C. Political Roundup: Bonds Fights for Property Tax Relief

James Wright | 12/18/2013, noon
D.C. Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large), a candidate for re-election in the April 1 Democratic Party primary, has presented ...
Anita Bonds

D.C. Council member Anita Bonds (D-At Large), a candidate for re-election in the April 1 Democratic Party primary, has presented a bill that would provide tax relief to senior citizens. Bonds, 68, sponsored the "Senior Citizen Real Property Tax Relief Act of 2013" which would exempt residents over the age of 75 who have lived in the city for 25 years and earn less than $60,000 a year from paying property taxes.

"This is an act that will ease the financial burden on them [senior citizens]," Bonds said.

She noted that beneficiaries of her legislation are past their prime earning years and want to stay in their homes but have difficulty paying property taxes that tend to increase each year. Bonds made senior citizen property tax relief a key campaign issue in the April 2013 special election.

The spry D.C. Council member also serves as the chairman of the District of Columbia Democratic State Committee.

Bonds, has gained the support of her colleagues on the D.C. Council, along with D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) regarding the bill. All of the candidates for the 2014 Democratic Party nomination for mayor support her efforts, as well.

The bill is currently before the D.C. Council and has the strong support of D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), a 2014 mayoral hopeful and the chairman of the powerful Committee on Finance and Revenue. Evans has worked alongside Bonds to move the bill forward.

Graham Announces Re-Election Bid

D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) will run for a fifth term to represent his constituents in the John A. Wilson Building in Northwest. Graham, 68, made his intentions known on Dec. 9 on Channel 8's NewsTalk Show.

"This is such a rich opportunity for service," the council member said. "The question became, am I ready for it? Am I prepared to provide the services, the vigorous services, in another term and is this something that I really want to do?"

Graham said he’s decided to move forward. He also mentioned on the show that he was deeply touched by the respect afforded him during a recent event at the Prince Hall Masonic Temple in Northwest.

Graham has been credited for supporting economic development in Ward 1 along with his strong advocacy for civil and human rights. Critics contend that he’s marred by charges of corruption and doesn’t tolerate dissent in his ward from those who he disagrees with personally or politically.

Graham, who won his first election to the council in 1998, faces a trio of challengers in the April 1, 2014 Democratic Party primary. At this point, he has no opponents in the Republican, D.C. Statehood Green or Libertarian parties.

Bryan Weaver, a contender in the race, plans to challenge Graham again for the seat. He said that it’s time for political change in the ward.

"The council member's decision to seek re-election reflects just how out of touch he has become about the importance of the public's trust in our government," said Weaver, 43. "Ward 1 needs a council member who reflects the values of those who live here. The people of Ward 1 deserve better."

Evans Raises More Than $1 Million for Mayoral Campaign

D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), a candidate for District mayor in 2014, reached a fundraising milestone recently: a campaign treasury exceeding $1 million. To date, Evans has raised $1,019,373.16, in his quest to become the city's next chief executive.

"The support I am receiving throughout the city at public events and private homes is solid," said Evans, 60. "My campaign is about bringing quality jobs and more economic opportunities to residents in every part of this city – that message [resonates] with voters."