Six mayoral candidates focus on reforming D.C.

Harold Brazil (D)

Councilmember Howard Brazil is the only Democratic candidate who has won a city-wide election – his 1996 win for the at-large seat on the city council. In his campaign speeches and literature, Brazil promises to create 25,000 private-sector jobs. He supports the building of the new convention center, a project that will create 10,000 new jobs. He said the “Brazil Tax Plan” will develop a tax-reduction package to expand business and create jobs.

Brazil claims he wrote all the major anti-crime laws that were passed in the city in the last seven years. He says he will double the number of police in the District’s neighborhoods and triple the number on foot patrol.

He says he wants to cut elementary school class sizes to 20 per class and advocates the removal of lazy or incompetent teachers and principals.

Kevin Chavous (D)

Councilmember Kevin Chavous is focusing his campaign on the restoration of D.C. neighborhoods, a spokesman for his mayoral campaign said. He has voted against topless bars in D.C. and liquor licenses for private clubs located in residential neighborhoods. He says he wants to ensure the Alcohol Beverage Control Division is strengthened so it can better regulate alcohol sales.

Chavous is against the construction of the new convention center at Mount Vernon Square, a project he says will be obsolete in 10 years and will cost more than $1 billion. The University of the District of Columbia, Chavous says, should continue to be a four-year degree institution. Additionally, he says he would like to see the city libraries open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Chavous vows to restore the D.C. recycling program and reach a goal of at least 30 percent residential and commercial recycling and 50 percent government office recycling in the first year of the program. He also says, if elected, he will provide discounted Metro fares to certain riders.

Jack Evans (D)

Councilmember Jack Evans is a white candidate in a city that pollsters say favors black mayoral candidates. As a result, Evans has made a point of speaking openly about race in the city.

Evans supported President Clinton’s plan to transfer $1 billion in District administrative costs to the federal government. He supports the construction of the new convention center and helped in the drive to build the MCI Center because he believes the projects will renew the neighborhoods where they are built. He advocates needle exchanges and condom-availability programs to battle the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

On crime, Evans favors increased foot patrols and investment in new technology to streamline police procedures. Evans has been endorsed by the D.C. Chamber of Commerce and the Tenants’ Advocacy Coalition, which represents D.C. residents who live in rental housing. So far, Evans has raised more money than any other candidate in the race.

Jeffrey Gildenhorn (D)

The only businessman in the race, Gildenhorn, the owner of the American City Diner, is financing his own campaign. Perhaps the most notorious statement he has made in the campaign was his suggestion last month that D.C. legalize prostitution.

Gildenhorn wants to replace the 12 part-time council members with a five-member full-time city council of four at-large council members and a chairperson. He advocates the opening of trade schools for D.C. students.

He said he believes the 911 emergency system must be overhauled and only individuals that “measure up psychologically” should be recruited to operate the emergency phones. Always a businessman, Gildenhorn has proposed to rebate 25 percent of the taxes paid by D.C. residents in the form of a voucher that can be spent on goods and services in the city.

Carol Schwartz (R)

The lone Republican and only female vying for the mayoral spot, Schwartz spoke at the GW College Republicans’ opening event last week. She twice has run unsuccessfully for mayor, receiving 42 percent of the vote against Barry in 1994. Schwartz is serving her second term on the city council and served two terms on the D.C. Board of Education.

While Schwartz will not release her official campaign platform until the Democrats choose their candidate, she has pledged to lower taxes, eliminate costly business regulations and clean up the city streets by planting trees, picking up litter and fixing potholes. She said she wants to see a healthier city, citing the fact that Washington is No. 1 in infant mortality and in the number of AIDS and prostate cancer cases.

Schwartz said she is not concerned about the fact that she is a part of the racial minority.

“I stand a chance because there is no Republican or Democratic way to pick up the trash,” Schwartz said. “There is no female or male way to do something about our housing shortage or to stimulate economic development of our neglected neighborhoods. There is no white or black way to fix or to create work for our youth.”

Anthony Williams (D)

Polls put Williams, who spoke last week at the College Democrats’ opening event, atop the Democratic field. At the CD event, Williams said affordable housing and parking for residents is a necessity.

He is the former chief financial officer of the District and has gained support from many of Barry’s supporters. As chief financial officer, Williams said he helped restore self-determination to D.C. residents by balancing the budget and improving services. Critics, however, blame him for firing 232 city employees and befriending members of the D.C. financial control board and members of Congress who worked to tear down D.C. home rule.

“(I) always understood, and tried to make others understand, that behind each line item in a budget book – and every failure of the system – are very human stories,” he said at the CD barbecue.

Williams wears a signature bow-tie, which he said he began wearing when some Muslim friends showed him how to tie one.

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