Inside an 800-square-foot shop, D.C.-based social entrepreneur Ahmad Ashkar is using his Mom's falafel recipe to raise money for refugees.
The votes stream in early in D.C.’s race for mayor. Local contests turn ugly in the fight for the Maryland State House. And Virginia politicians turn their focus on the governor’s plan to privatize the commonwealth’s liquor business. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
- Tom Sherwood Resident Analyst; NBC 4 reporter; and Columnist for the Current Newspapers
- Delano Hunter Candidate, D.C. Council (D-Ward 5)
- Kenyan McDuffie Candidate, D.C. Council (D-Ward 5)
- Harry Thomas, Jr. D.C. Council member (D-Ward 5); Chairman of the Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation; Candidate for Re-Election
- Tracey Turner Democratic Candidate, D.C. Council (Ward 5)
Politics Hour Extra
The candidates for Ward 5’s D.C. Council seat discuss their positions on same-sex marriage, with all the candidates except Delano Hunter voicing support for the measure. The Washington Post endorsed Mr. Hunter last week:
D.C. Council candidate Tracey Turner (D-Ward 5) talks about the factors that prompted him to run in this year’s election, touching on crime and what he described as incumbent Council member Harry Thomas’s unresponsiveness to his concerns:
MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington, welcome to The Politics Hour featuring Tom Sherwood. I'm Kojo Nnamdi. Today, we welcome the candidates for Ward 5 on the D.C. City Council. But first, Tom Sherwood is our resident analyst. He's an NBC 4 reporter and a columnist for the Current Newspapers. Tom, we've got a lot to talk about before we get to this debate, so let's try to get through it as quickly as possible. First and foremost, remember to check out the coolest poll in town, at least according to the D.C. City Paper, since it was the Washington City Paper and "The Kojo Nnamdi Show" that commissioned the poll. You can find it at our website kojoshow.org. But where else can you find a poll that tell you -- tells you who's riding bikes in town? Who's using the bike lanes? Tom Sherwood is a recent bike lane user. That's the only poll that tells you that kind of stuff.
MR. TOM SHERWOODWell, you know every piece of information can help guide the voters to cast an informed ballot in this city. So lots of good contest there.
SHERWOODI mean, what where the results of the poll for -- in the mayor's race was 50 to 39 percent...
SHERWOOD...with Gray over 50?
NNAMDIIt was an eleven-point separation. However, there is a...
SHERWOODYou know, the only poll that counts -- if I can be the first to use the cliché -- the only poll that counts is the poll...
NNAMDIIs the one on Election Day.
SHERWOOD...on Sept. 14. The Election Day.
NNAMDIYeah, the poll on Election Day. Well, that's the primary day. There's still an election to come up in November. The latest from the mayor's race are allegations that somebody in the Fenty administration was offering young people jobs in return for their votes. Candidate Chairman -- Council Chairman Vincent Gray is asking the Feds to investigate. What do you know? What do you know? What do you know?
SHERWOODWell, you know, Channel 7 did the story. They said -- cited the person who said one or two people have been offered money to vote for Fenty and offered a job, and they never got neither the money nor the job. And so it's a fairly murky -- well, at least, who asked them? Who invited them? Fenty in his campaign has said this is nothing they've done. The Gray campaign has only based its call for an investigation on the Channel 7 story, and it seems to have no independent knowledge. So it may just be a last minute tempest that's not very widespread at all but just a couple of people out of the 14,000 people who had voted by the end of the day yesterday.
NNAMDIAny significance at all to the fact that the current mayor, Adrian Fenty, is gonna participate on a triathlon on Sunday, two days before election?
SHERWOODWell, I asked him that this morning. I said, you're -- you know, it's the final day, are you gonna be going to make a round of churches or other kind of community events? And he says, well, you know, this triathlon thing starts at 6:00 in the morning. He says, I'll be done by 9:00. And he says this is the fourth year he participates. And then he thinks it's a good example of healthiness. He thinks it's a good thing to promote the city as a place for these types of events. And he says he'll be out campaigning during the day.
SHERWOODAnd he is going to the Redskins game that night.
NNAMDIAnd a name that we haven't heard in politics in Washington recently surfaced in a public statement in the last 24 hours, Carol Schwartz, weighing in on the at-large race, saying that the difference between the Michael E. Brown, who is running in the race, and the Michael D. Brown, who already sits on the city council, is being exploited. Carol Schwartz saying, the poll leader, which would be Michael E. Brown, seems like a nice guy. And after all, it's his name too. So why blame him for the confusion? Because it has become apparent that he is purposely deceiving voters by not showing who he really is. If he is well-meaning, he should have run a real campaign from the beginning, and he should have put his middle initial on the ballot, as he did in his 2006 election for shadow senator. He also should have put a poster, sent out mailings and/or called press conferences to inform voters and clear up this confusion, and then run on his own merits, but he did not. That's the big problem with this kind of race.
SHERWOODWell, you know, I have a lot of great respect for Carol Schwartz, but knows her campaign didn't do so well the last time. So the fact is...
NNAMDIWell, I thought this is...
SHERWOOD...Michael Brown is a legitimate candidate. He is -- the name confusion is there. Mendelson only addressed it late. But, you know, Michael Brown, the councilmember, is an At-Large councilmember. He's African American. And he's fairly well known. Michael Brown, who's the candidate for this seat, is not very well-known and he's a Caucasian. It's up to the Mendelson campaign to press this issue to make sure people vote the way they need to vote or wanna vote on Election Day. But it's not that big of a deal. It is his name. It's not like he made up this name. It is his name.
NNAMDIOkay. Before we move on to debates, any final notes for you?
SHERWOODI don't think so. I just wanted everybody to vote. You know, there's some reporters and media people in the business, oh, I'm not gonna vote 'cause I don't wanna show any biases one way or the other. You know, people die for the right to vote. Anyway, it's a secret ballot. And I've already voted. I voted on the first day. I would hope people would vote and they'll vote for the candidates that you think are the best. That's what the whole point is, it's to have people vote.
NNAMDIOkay. Then we can move on to the issue at hand. If you have any questions or comments for our candidates who are all running for the Ward 5 council seat in the Democratic primary come this Tuesday, you can start calling now, 800-433-8850. That's 800-433-8850. You can go to our website kojoshow.org, join the conversation there. As a matter of fact, you can even start sending us tweets now. You can send us a tweet @kojoshow or send us an e-mail to email@example.com. I will start with the candidates in the order in which they are listed. Delano Hunter is a Democratic candidate running for the seat. Delano Hunter, thank you very much for joining us.
MR. DELANO HUNTERThanks for having me. A pleasure to be on the show.
NNAMDIPlease be forewarned that when we ask you questions, we're gonna ask you to limit your answers to about one minute so we can get it all going. And then on at the end, each of you will have one minute to make a final statement. Sitting next to Delano Hunter is the incumbent Tommy Thomas. But don't try to vote for Tommy Thomas on the election ballot because you will see the name Harry Thomas. He is Harry Thomas, a member of the D.C. Council, known to his friends as Tommy. He's a Democrat, and he's also running for reelection. Councilmember Thomas, thank you for joining us.
MR. HARRY THOMAS JR.Well, it's always a pleasure. Thank you both for your good work, and Kojo, for your long-time work. It is actually Harry Tommy Thomas Jr., number three on the ballots. So they can pick between the two names and do that because, as you know, my father was in there and it's in there as a distinction between the service and leadertude. While I honor his past, I think that I've made my own mark in this business. And I want people to understand they are voting for me, and that there is no name confusion. So I think...
NNAMDISo Tommy is your real name?
JR.That's what they call me. That's what they call me a long time. Harry Tommy Thomas Jr., number three on the ballot.
NNAMDIThat's what I always thought. Tracey Turner is also a candidate for this office. He joins us in studio. Mr. Turner, welcome.
MR. TRACEY TURNERThank you. Thank you for having me.
NNAMDIAlso with us is Kenyan McDuffie. Kenyan McDuffie, welcome.
MR. KENYAN MCDUFFIEThank you, Kojo. And thank you for having me.
NNAMDIAgain, the number is 800-433-8850, if you would like to join the conversation. Harry Thomas, you've represented Ward 5 for the past four years. You mentioned your father represented Ward 5. He did for three terms. A few weeks ago, The Washington Post's editorial page said your tenure has been a disappointment, that you've limited your activities to simply saying no to everything on Mayor Fenty's agenda. How do you respond to that characterization of your tenure, and what case do you make for why you should keep this job?
JR.Well, I think the case is obvious. I mean -- and, you know, it was -- you know, what's the odd thing about that is it's not just The Washington Post. There was one editor who interviewed us for that endorsement process, who I think if they read their own paper, I mean, it's clear that many people have talked about the many things that I have done for the residents of Ward 5, and what we've been able to accomplish.
JR.I think The Informer had it better. When you look at The Informer's endorsement, when you look at what they say about this budget crisis that's coming up, having someone who's a responsible leader, who has been doing the things to represent his ward, I think that that depicts much better.
JR.I think if you look at the other aspects of it, I've been endorsed by just about every subject matter group that you can imagine in the District of Columbia, and those are constituents. And to discount folks like the labor folks, who over 10,000 of our voters are going to the poll in Ward 5 are labor households, it's a huge mistake.
JR.You know, I've been on this show fighting for the rights of workers. The contract fraud and abuse came through my committee. But, more importantly, I've moved Ward 5 forward in many ways. We have great streets that weren't great streets three years ago that have brought construction and jobs and opportunities. And those are the things that I stand on my record. And I invite anyone to go to Harry Thomas 2010 or even go to my own website. We have virtual town hall meetings. We do things that are very progressive for our ward that are moving us in a positive direction.
NNAMDIDelano Hunter, you just heard all of that. Why are you running against Harry Thomas Jr. if he has accomplished as much as he says he has.
HUNTERWell, because I don't believe that is accurate. I think if you look at our ward and any candidate who spends significant time, you're gonna -- from talking to the residents, you're gonna see that there's some pressing issues that we just have not made any progress on. We have one of the highest unemployment rate, which approaches 20 percent, high HIV-AIDS rate, also high truancy rates, and the incumbent has not set forth the vision, a legislative agenda, and has not really made a mark to move our ward forward. And our ward is suffering, so there is a need for leadership that has values, and a leadership that has vision to address these issues.
SHERWOODWell, on education, maybe I'll hear from all the candidates. Let's start with Mr. Hunter since he mentioned truancy and dropout rates. Would you say the Fenty reform the last three years of the school system has been working pretty well? Just give me a very quick answer if you think it works well, and would you support the continuation of Michelle Rhee as the chancellor?
HUNTERI think I see progress. I definitely see progress. And most folks would say that there is an improvement in terms of the physical appearance, in terms of accountability. I think that is something that should be continued. However, the reform has to be in form. We want to see a larger footprint on vocational training, also preparing our residents for employment opportunities upon high school completion and also work with our adult literacy, our adult population.
SHERWOODKeep Michelle Rhee?
SHERWOODMr. Thomas, what about that? You've seen the improvement of the physical of the schools. I know that you like that. But what about the leadership of Michelle Rhee? Should she stay or go in the -- whoever the next mayor is?
JR.Well, the issue is not whether we should ask -- we should ask her if she's planning on staying or going. We look at that...
SHERWOODBut she says she will stay if Mayor Fenty...
JR.I don't believe that to be the case because I look at every indicated that has been around. I think education reform is not about Michelle Rhee. It's about reforming a system that's gonna work for all of us. You know, at least three of us sitting here were D.C. public school graduates, and I appreciate that.
JR.And we have to look beyond just who the people are doing education reform. Reform has not been fully realized. Let's be -- make that honest. When you look at schools like Spingarn, where I was there the other day, with the internal things had not been prepared, when we've disenfranchised by a middle school not being there while it was slated to be there in Ward 5, these are things that have happened. The reform that takes place and I think the candidates here should get the pulse of the residents of Ward 5. Seventy percent of our residents in the informal surveys that we've done -- and we did our own surveys that's what this councilmember has done -- have said that reform is not meeting the expectations of the residents of Ward 5.
SHERWOODWhat about that, Mr. Turner, very quickly on Michelle Rhee?
TURNERI think Michelle Rhee is doing a good job. I think Ward 5 was one of the largest wards hit by her school closures, but looking at her five-year plan, I think Ward 5 will stand a great gain from following Michelle Rhee's plan. A lot of...
SHERWOODThat's good. That was a very good answer, and it was short, too.
TURNERWell, thank you.
MCDUFFIEYeah, I think Michelle Rhee is doing a good job. I think that there's still some ways to go in terms of making sure that we make education reform more inclusive. I think that we need to expand it to include discussions with teachers, parents, education advocates, and make sure that some of the resources that have been spent in other wards are also being spent in Ward 5. In addition to me being a DCPS graduate, I also I think I am the only candidate who has a daughter in D.C. public schools, so I think it's very important -- I think that's a show of the confidence that I have...
NNAMDIWhat school is your daughter going to?
MCDUFFIEShe is going to Murch.
NNAMDIWhat do you think about the school?
MCDUFFIEI think it's a great school. She's only been there for a short while, but I think it's a great school. I think that's why my wife and I made the decision to send her there. Previously...
SHERWOODMurch is an out-of-boundary school.
MCDUFFIEIt is. But previously she attended a charter school in Ward 5.
JR.Well, let's be clear if we're gonna talk about our children. I had a child that graduated from Coolidge. I coached at Coolidge. I've worked in the system myself. I have two daughters at Elsie Whitlow Stokes, which by the way is in Ward 5. And so let's understand I also have a son at St. John's, and that's what I mean about education. Education has to be a holistic approach that fits every child in different ways.
NNAMDIWell, you are also the head of the Council Committee on Parks and Recreation.
JR.And libraries, most important aspect.
SHERWOODCan't forget those libraries.
JR.That's right, most important aspect of that committee.
NNAMDIAnd it is my understanding that you are one of the members of the council who objected to Allen Lew taking over development projects in Parks and Recreation. Most people think he did a pretty good job with the schools. Why did you object to him?
JR.Well the objection was based on one simple thing. When the authority was given to Allen Lew -- Allen Lew's authority was granted to him to do the school and there was no line in it that said he should be going beyond schools. The second part is, we have a capital facilities team within -- in Parks and Recreation that no one had given adequate planning for. And what you see now -- because of that contract review and we've done -- that actual group of people now has a purpose, now has the responsibility of managing capital projects. And he is doing it within the means of the budget of people who were paying to do their job. Allen Lew's primary charge, as you know, was to take over facilities' maintenance for the school system. That's what the law was changed to do, and that was the objection based on. And we have moved forward. The interesting thing you would say about that is, guess what? Most of those Parks and Recreation libraries and centers, without his leadership, have moved forward. That's the number one touted thing. And anyone's information about capital improvements in this government has come to the recreation centers which we have done through that. As well as libraries has its own independent contracting authority, which is very important, which has been a critical part. That's why libraries have moved forward.
MCDUFFIECan I just...
NNAMDIHarry Thomas is the incumbent member of the City Council, representing Ward 5. His challengers in the Democratic primary all also joined us in the studio. They are Delano Hunter, Kenyan McDuffie and Tracey Turner. Kenyan McDuffie, I interrupted you.
MCDUFFIENo, no problem. I just wanted to jump in and say that, you know, the example of how Mr. Thomas treated the contracts with the Office of Facilities Management is just one example of the flip-flops that we've seen from him over the last four years...
JR.You know, It was not a flip-flop. I'm...
MCDUFFIEGage -- can I finish my story please?
JR.Don't call it what it's not. It's inconsistency.
NNAMDIWell, finish your statement, Mr. McDuffie.
MCDUFFIEI appreciate that, Kojo. What I was saying is there's one example of flip-flop that we've seen from Mr. Thomas over the last four years. Another example was Gage-Eckington. And speaking to...
SHERWOODThere is Gage-Eckington. Tell...
MCDUFFIEGage-Eckington. Which is a...
SHERWOODWell, tell people what that is?
MCDUFFIE...a park over in Ward 1. It borders Ward 5.
MCDUFFIEFolks over in Bloomingdale have been clamoring, and LeDroit Park have been clamoring for some green space and somewhat an area for recreation to take families. And Mr. Thomas, initially, supported it then introduced a disapproval resolution. He got bombarded with phone calls from folks in the community, and then he flip-flopped and he withdrew his disapproval resolution. But then, you know...
MCDUFFIE...Marion Barry -- Councilmember Marion Barry followed suit and also introduced a disapproval resolution on Gage-Eckington, which totally slowed the process down. Like I said, folks in that area have been clamoring for a park for some time now and the politics as usual needs to stop. And let me finish my last thought about Parks and Recs. Mr. Thomas, DCP -- the Department of Parks and Recs has spent approximately 100 million on Ward-specific projects over the last four years. Out of that 100 million, only approximately 2 million has gone to Ward 5. That's an issue, particularly when the councilmember from Ward 5 is the chairman of the Parks and Recs committee.
JR.Well let's just be clear and understand. Well, you see, when people don't -- who have not been in this process and are trying to run for office, they quite don't understand. They don’t understand that, for example, Joe Cole Recreation -- if you just said I only spent $2 million -- Joe Cole was just opened. Joe Cole was opened to the tune of $14 million dollars. So just that alone, that one factor, we've opened a new recreation center, Joe Cole. It dispels anything he just said about new recreation centers as true. So disapproval resolutions.
JR.Secondly, Marion Barry introduced the disapproval resolution and put out a statement that is because of my negotiation that that project moved forward. And what Mr. McDuffie needs to understand is the fact that these contracts where never approve through the Department of Parks and Rec with budget process -- I was wanting to show and talk about it -- where moneys were misappropriated to do these parks. I've always supported green space plans, and I've kept that on track. And why we ended up where we ended up is because of the oversight responsibilities that we had. We came back with a process to allow projects that weren't originally funded and came to the normal process to go forward, while other projects and neighborhoods didn't get railroaded out of the process and that's why Joe Cole came around.
NNAMDII want to follow up on that for one second, Mr. McDuffie. I'm not carrying water for Mr. Thomas here, but I'm simply quoting from The Washington Post that says...
SHERWOODOh, the Post editorial page or the news pages?
NNAMDIThe Post editorial page. But over the next five years, only Ward 6 and 8 are expected to experience more development than Ward 5, that according to the city's office of planning. It might have been from the news pages that...
MCDUFFIEBut the development is something different. You know, Ward 5 has a ton of development in the pipeline. The problem with the development that is in the pipeline for Ward 5 is that the community hasn't had an adequate opportunity to weigh in. For example, we can take McMillan which, you know -- I live directly across the street from McMillan. That's 25 acres of potential. The problem is that we don't know at this point. We're just starting to learn what the impact is gonna be of that development on the community. That's a problem. I think development projects in Ward 5 is greater than they've lined up their sleeve. But I think the process in terms of getting community input needs to be changed, and it needs to be more community drive.
JR.McMillan has been discussed for 25 years.
MCDUFFIEAnd nothing has happened.
JR.So if someone sits at this table and tells you there has not been planning meetings, that if under this councilmember we moved forward a planning process, Mr. McDuffie sits on a mag board that discusses these processes. So don't sit in and listen for...
SHERWOODWhat is a mag board?
JR.The board that represents what we have and actually expanded to have all community representation around that community come in and talk about how the development should happen at that 24 -- 25-acre site.
SHERWOODAnd they were talking about -- they were talking about this site on North Capitol Street.
SHERWOODLook, I would like to ask a question to the three gentlemen who are challenging Mr. Thomas. In my long experience of local city politics, it seems to me Ward 5 is always in the situation where you have so many people who run who have basically good characteristics and good backgrounds that the opponents split the vote and the incumbent wins. And I would ask the three gentlemen, if you all think Mr. Thomas is not being good, don't you think…
NNAMDIWhy didn't you all get together and decide that one of you should run?
SHERWOODYeah. Why not -- why has Ward 5 never been cohesive enough to just have one or two at the most people challenge an incumbent? Because as you know, dividing the opposition is good for the incumbent?
NNAMDIFirst you, Mr. Hunter.
HUNTERWell, I think that if you look overall, Ward 5 is a very diverse ward, and you have many different opinions. You have many different neighborhoods and many different interests that seek representation. I think that, you know, that that has been a problem historically in the past. And I think that the incumbent has the benefit of having a father and mother who has done a great job here within this ward. However, you know, it's a new day. It's 2010. And the time now, you know, our ward has changed the life over the past five or 10 years or so. And I think it is a new day, and there's an opportunity for new leadership.
SHERWOODWhat about you, Mr. Turner? You guys are gonna split the vote.
TURNERThat's been discussed. Kenyan and I met a couple of times and talked about actually merging or -- not even merging but stepping up to see who is the better candidate. Tom has gotten away from us. I think we were gonna have a meeting before to talk about who should step down and who should be the stronger candidate to beat Councilman Thomas. But we never followed up on that conversation.
NNAMDIThat's a very honest answer, Mr. Turner. And then you will respond, Mr. McDuffie. Mr. Turner, it's my understanding that your decision to run came after your home near Trinity College was burglarized. Is that...
TURNERWell that was kind of not how you -- did you get that from The Washington Post?
TURNERIt really wasn't, it really wasn't...
SHERWOODYou got to stop reading that newspaper.
TURNERThat wasn't the conversation. We were just talking about the whole and -- one thing is that -- a couple of things led up to it, the lack of response from Harry Thomas, the lack of police presence that we had.
NNAMDIWhat would you have expected from the councilmember in that situation?
TURNERWell, I actually met -- I set a meeting up with Harry Thomas to talk about the next steps of actually trying to get some type of program set up because that community is over 75 years old, a lot of them are senior citizens. So, you know, they respect Mr. Thomas. So I thought maybe if he came out, trying to encourage them to come out and speak with the police because they do fear the police in that area of talking out and being...
NNAMDIAnd you were not satisfied...
NNAMDI...with his response.
TURNERI was -- well, I didn’t get a response from him.
NNAMDIAnd that's why...
JR.So he e-mailed me, the chief of police...
TURNERLet me at least finish. Can I finish?
JR.The commander came to his house. The councilmember responded to the e-mail that he sent me on this issue...
TURNERThat wasn't, that was he saying...
JR.And we have a PSA...
TURNERThat was the second burglary...
JR....meeting that I've had, several meetings in that community and he has never attended. And so to say these broad brush statements -- let's be honest on what we’re doing. I can produce the e-mails. My staff produced them at the last meeting on how I responded to you, how -- why we responded to you. And not only the number of walkthrough (unintelligible) ...
NNAMDIBut you're saying, Mr. Turner, that that is not the only -- I mean -- that that's not the only reason you decided to run.
TURNERThat's not the only reason. The break-in is not the only reason for me to break in. It was even without -- Kenyan just spoke about the McMillan site. I've been in those meetings. I've tried to talk about and discuss what was going on or actually have a voice from the community. They were not listening too. They already had their platforms designed. It was the five platforms that you picked from. No one had any input and none of these constituents...
NNAMDIKenyan McDuffie, why did you not put more pressure on Mr. Turner to decide (laugh) just one of you should be running instead of both of you?
MCDUFFIEWell, let me be clear. I did meet -- meet with Mr. Turner but the conversation never sat around who was the best candidate. I've always believed that I'm the best candidate. I think that my record speaks to that. You know, I don’t think that history is gonna be a determiner of, you know, what happens in this particular race. Historically, there have been tons of candidates on the Ward 5 ballot and it split the vote. We can split the vote all day. As long as I, you know, have the majority of the voters, you still win. So that's the attitude that I've taken. Out of all four candidates who sit here before you today, I believe that I am the best candidate for the job and that I have the best combination of career, community and life experience.
NNAMDIHere is Eric in Ward 5. Eric, you're on the air. Go ahead please. Eric, are you there?
NNAMDIYes, go right ahead, Eric.
ERICYes, can you hear me?
NNAMDIYes, I can.
ERICGood afternoon, gentlemen. Over the past four years, Ward 5 has seen an increasing amount of returning residents from the prison community with a lack of job placement, job training, inadequate jobs in the community. With SoCal vocation center online as well as the new community college coming on track, what are your plans to make sure that there's now adequate job placement and job training for real jobs in the ward and not just short-term positions but long-term career?
NNAMDIIs that question directed at any specific individual, Eric?
ERICAll four candidates.
NNAMDIPlease make your responses as brief as possible. Starting with you, Mr. Hunter.
HUNTEROne of the things that I'm proud of, I'm the only candidate here that has actually worked at the grassroots level. And I worked in a neighborhood in Brentwood where I had a case load of ex-offenders who are transitioning. And one of the things that I have identified from a preventative measure starts with truancy. I ran a truancy program and I noted that many criminal offenses that first alarm that goes off is truancy. Coming out of incarceration, we have to find a way to connect these residents to real skills and jobs. One of the things that I'm in favor of is reintroducing that vocational training and also utilizing the community college as a vehicle for these residents to actually get the training that they need.
NNAMDINow you, Mr. Thomas.
JR.Well, I wanna thank him for that question quite frankly 'cause I brought the community college to Ward 5 by putting it in the Budget Support Act and bringing it to Backus by working with that community to have that workforce development opportunity for our residents. More importantly, I'm the only person here that has participated in ex-offender population and put forth legislation that actually is called "Ban the Box" legislation, where we do not eliminate ex-offenders upfront in the initial application process. That's the number one issue to do that.
JR.But more importantly, we have green job initiatives. We've done good will for training. And let's stop talking about jobs, let's talk about careers. And that's how we have to connect people in this workforce, and that's why U. D.C.'s grand opening will be this Saturday, 9/11 because of this councilmember sitting in this chair as councilmember Ward 5.
TURNERI think that with a lot of the development and millions of dollars that's gonna be spent in Ward 5 over the next four years, I think a lot of the on-hands vocational training for ex-offenders would be a great deal a lot -- especially for the youth to have them actually work and build a skill set that they could take with them forever.
NNAMDIHow would you put together the on-hands vocational training that you mentioned?
TURNERWell, with different developers, you work with different developers saying what type of careers or openings that they would have, and then you sit with the ex-offenders or youth and kind of develop them a road map of where they wanna go in their career.
MCDUFFIELet me just first correct the record.
NNAMDIYes, Kenyan McDuffie.
MCDUFFIEThis is Kenyan. Let me just first correct the record. Mr. Hunter said that he's the only candidate that's worked with the grassroots level...
HUNTERIn Ward 5.
MCDUFFIE...are simply not true.
HUNTERIn Ward 5, that is.
MCDUFFIEThat's simply not true.
HUNTERThat's not true at all.
MCDUFFIEThat's simply not true. Let me finish my thought, gentlemen, please. I've worked at the grassroots level in Ward 5 as a community liaison, a non-profit in Ward 5 on North Capitol Street, nine years ago when Mr. Hunter was still in high school. So I've definitely got that experience. In terms of your question Kojo, I think that workforce development is the answer. We need to put more resources into workforce development, not only for vocational education but also for industry-specific job trainings to make sure that we prepare people for careers as opposed to just job.
SHERWOODWell, you know, there's jobs in these.
NNAMDIEric, thanks for your call. Tom.
SHERWOODYou know, there are jobs in these what's so called sex clubs that they're trying to open out there in...
SHERWOOD...West Virginia Avenue. They're not the kind of jobs you want, but I know that's been a controversial thing that some of the places that were down where the baseball stadium was built maybe wanna move up to West Virginia, Montana Avenue area of New York Avenue. What do you gentlemen think about that? Has Mr. Thomas been strong enough on curbing these? Or what's that issue? I know Bob was up on all the e-mails that I get about it.
MCDUFFIEAbsolutely not. This is Kenyan. Absolutely not. I don’t think he's been strong enough on that issue or on a host of other issues that Ward 5 residents have had concerns on. I mean -- in particular, you know, when the stadium was being built, you know, a couple of strip clubs have been relocated, at least the council approved legislation to relocate them based on some pretty specific and narrow guidelines. One of which is that the zoning had to be identical to the zoning on the area which they left, and the areas which they move in, it's my understanding that they don't have the same zoning as the zoning in the area which they left in.
SHERWOODWhat about that, Mr. Turner? Is this a significant issue for you?
TURNERI think that -- having the sex clubs coming to Ward 5, is that what you're asking?
SHERWOODYes. The Club 55, I think, it 555 and the Stadium Club.
TURNERWell, we just have one sex club open, maybe a couple of months ago, right, Mr. Thomas, was it two months ago?
JR.I think they're asking you. I'll answer my own questions. (laugh)
TURNERI was just wondering -- but...
JR.I think you should know the issues if you were asked that.
NNAMDIEverybody who's been to the sex club, raise your hand.
JR.Because I got the answer for everybody here. I can educate everyone on this panel about what really happened, Tom, and I'll wait my turn.
SHERWOODWell, I mean, you're gonna be last...
SHERWOOD...because you're -- since you're the incumbent. I wanna hear with -- maybe it's not that big of an issue, it's just drawing -- I got a lot of e-mails about it.
JR.But I do think it's an issue. I do think it's an issue, bringing those type of clubs into Ward 5.
SHERWOODBecause it is the quality of life, in short, yes.
SHERWOODAll right, Mr. Hunter, what about that?
HUNTERWell, absolutely not. I think that council member has been silent on this issue. Many of the residence are near to that specific club, I know, the Stadium Club.
HUNTERYeah. They have voiced their concern of -- about that club locating there, and even with the other ones are -- you don't really see true leadership as it, you know, as it relates to taking the stand and saying these are not the sort of establishments that we want in our ward. I think that in some senses, Ward 5 has been dumping ground for certain things, even if you look at the waste transportation, even if you look at some of the Social Services provided...
SHERWOODThose who have waste transfer, that's a legitimate business. That's a lot, I mean, wouldn't -- I mean, not that sex clubs aren't, but that's a real business.
HUNTERBut once again, we have to look at what the areas in which they are expanding, so we don't mind our fair share, but what we don't want is become the sex capital of Washington, D.C. in terms of our ward.
SHERWOODOoh, that's a good segue to Mr. Thomas.
JR.That's a great segue.
HUNTERI mean, we already have some...
JR.It's a great...
HUNTER...we already have some that already are in existence, if you will get the...
JR.It's a great segue, Tom...
SHERWOODYou know that this gives a lot of heat in him.
JR....since everyone who answered was absent when that issue came before us, when I took office...
NNAMDIThat's the proof.
JR....let's put it in perspective. When I took office, there was a plan to move every club to Ward 5. And this council member authored legislation and took Jim Graham to test, and make sure that we put of a moratorium on a fair share of the number of clubs. And every club that had relocated has been in accordance with the law that does not allow more than a number that was prescribed, because we negotiated that as council member. And everyone sitting here, none of them participated in a hearing, came to any community meeting that I held, came to any legislative response team, because that's how you effectuate change in this community.
SHERWOODSo your legislation or the legislation you supported would -- limits the number of -- that are out there.
JR.It limits the number of clubs and put a moratorium on the number of clubs and had to find other clubs zone areas. For those clubs that exists in the District of Columbia, the Stadium Club was one of those licenses that was allowable under the law, and that's what we move forward with.
NNAMDIWe got an e-mail from Peter in Brooklyn, who says "When The Washington Post endorsed Hunter, it said he told the paper he would not try to change D.C.'s Marriage Equality Law, but other reports suggest he would support efforts to put the law before voters, even though the Board of Ethics and Elections has said that violates D.C. law. If The Post is right, why is the National Organization for Marriage working so hard on Hunter's behalf? If The Post is wrong, and Hunter plans to try to reverse marriage equality, for they deserve to know that, please ask him to tell us where he stands." Delano Hunter?
HUNTERWell, it's a great question, and I welcome the opportunity to clarify my position. I believe in traditional marriage. You know, point blank, that's not something I'm gonna waffle on. However, I do believe that...
SHERWOODTraditional marriage from what? From...
HUNTERTraditional marriage as it relates to -- being defined as...
SHERWOODA marriage between a man and a woman.
SHERWOODBecause the initial marriage was, you know, you couldn't have interracial marriages, that was traditional? It just -- could just ask (unintelligible).
HUNTERWell, once again, what I'm speaking of is traditional marriage as it is understood in about most of the residents of our ward. However, I do believe that individuals have right to a certain -- have rights, as it relates to transfer of property, as it relates to our health care for partners. That's something that I do believe in. All right, and as it relates to my stand, so I would respect the laws as they are. I think what's important here are...
NNAMDIYou would not try to put the issue before the voters? You would not try to reverse the City Council has done? You were saying that you would not...
HUNTERWell, it's still in a process of going to the court. So I think it's important to let that process play out, dependent upon what the next steps are. Or after they settled in the court, I will respect the laws of the land as they are, or I think that -- one of the issues that were missing is as to relates to the vote, the vote is indicative of folks who really want an opportunity to speak on this issue. This is a very contentious issue within our ward, and it something that I don't believe we had a lot of honest communication and dialogue.
NNAMDIThose oppose to the votes, say you cannot and should not be able to vote on people's rights.
NNAMDIDo you think that the comparison to those people make on whether or not this should have been a vote to allow black people to vote, to allow desegregation, to allow African-Americans to have their rights, would you have agreed to putting those things up to a vote?
HUNTERSo one of the points I wanna make is that that vote is indicative of individuals wanting to have -- express their opinions about it in a sense, like, let's say for instance, I think that the vote is something that should be a last resort, if there is honest communications. One of the things that has disappointed me is that I've had the opportunity to have intimate conversation with both -- well, with folks on both sides of this issue, and they're not even arguing about the same thing. I have talked with folks who are pastors, and what they're saying, is they -- I have religious convictions that I wanna be -- that I want respected, however, I don't feel as if that we should deny rights to same-sex couples.
HUNTERAnd then when I talk to same-sex couples, it's about having certain rights as it relates to transfer of property, hospital visitation. Any reasonable person would not want to suppress that right for an individual. I think what the question is here is have we explored what the common ground is, what is the best vehicle to bring about to make sure that folks have rights? So, you know, that's something that is a contentious issue within our ward and once again hasn't been really aired out. We haven't had honest dialogue.
JR.I think the true question -- we got to be honest...
SHERWOODAnd this is Mr. Thomas speaking.
JR.The true question here is, are you willing to stand for everyone's rights and equality and understand the job you're gonna take? And it is clear in his answer here that, first of all, you don't even understand that there's a human rights law that prohibits anything being placed on the ballot in the first place. And secondly, did you meet with other individuals? This issue has been discussed in the District of Columbia for quite some time. It came before us, an earlier amendment where Mr. Mendelson put it before the council. And then it came before us in full measure, and I supported it because I, as a legislator, cannot deny any citizen full access to all rights in this city. That's what you do when you make laws from where I sit. That's what you have to stand up for. And that is... (unintelligible)
NNAMDIOne second. One at a time, please. It has been said that this is a contentious issue in the Ward. Is it? And if so, which side of the contention do you come down on, Mr. McDuffie?
MCDUFFIEWell, I fully support marriage equality.
SHERWOODThis is Mr. McDuffie.
MCDUFFIEI have a civil rights background. And what I think that Mr. Hunter quite doesn't understand is that, you know, folks who support same sex marriage know that it's not simply about legal benefits. As a married man to a beautiful wife, Princess McDuffie, I know that, you know, my marriage is one of the happiest days of my life. And so it's not simply about legal benefits. I don't think he quite grasp that understanding. Further, I wanna also say that, you know, he said in his video that the National Organization for Marriage is advocating for traditional values and the residents have the right to vote. How do you reconcile, you know -- and he said that he believes in it. So how do you reconcile the fact that you believe that there should be a right to vote with the fact that you said to the Washington Post that you would not seek to change the law? Those two things don't jive. And, you know, I think that he speak in both sides of his mouth right now.
JR.I think I only got 30 seconds of my minute, and I wanna answer this fully. You know, first of all, the laws of religious freedom in marriage equity act. Secondly, this councilmember not only met with religious leaders. I go to Catholic Church. My wife is Catholic. I'm a proud family person. But it had nothing to do -- had to do with giving people rights that they deserve under the law and protected by the law. And to sit here and waffle when you're being funded by the National Organization of Marriage, when you're being funded by those initiative and you're being funded by hate and disparity in the city, and try to sit here is wrong. Look at your financial records. Look at your financial records.
HUNTERThat's a lie. That's a lie. I wanna say I have received $450 from the National Organization.
NNAMDIOne second. One second. You will get a chance to respond, Mr. Hunter.
HUNTEROkay. Thank you.
NNAMDIAnd after you respond, I want to bring this issue to an end so that we can move on. It has been alleged time and again during this discussion that while you say that you will obey the law, you have not said that you will not seek to overturn the law by having a vote.
JR.And he has said he would overturn it because he was there with them. He did say that. Oh, so you changed your position.
HUNTERI would not seek to overturn. No. That is the position that I have had. I would not seek to overturn that law.
SHERWOODAnd we didn't hear from Mr. Turner, I think, on this issue.
SHERWOODIf you spoke, you were not loud enough. (laugh)
TURNERWell, I'm for marriage equality. And being out talking to the constituents, it is a small issue they feel like they should have, had some right to vote on it. But, I mean, just as Kojo said, you can't vote on civil rights for...
JR.Under the human rights act.
MCDUFFIEYou know, mister...
TURNERYou grab an opportunity to...
NNAMDIHere is Roslyn in Ward 5. Roslyn, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
ROSLYNYes. Good afternoon. I am calling about two things. I'm a resident of Ward 5. Also, I have a question about -- for Councilmember Thomas in his role as chair of the Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreations. Ward 5, Mr. Thomas, you have done absolutely wonderful things for our ward. But there have been a couple significant losses. The DMV Office, the Safeway, et cetera. How would you plan to make up for those losses and those inconveniences to our community?
NNAMDII wish they take down the DMV Office signs. I almost drove in there last week.
JR.Absolutely. As you know, this government invested millions of dollars in that site. And before I came in office...
SHERWOODThis was the one in West Virginia Avenue, wasn't it?
JR....decided not to fund -- in West Virginia Avenue. I've been advocating for it. Now we have some additional uses where we have that as the maintenance yard and other things. So I would say to you, I think you have to speak more about Brentwood where the neighbors didn't want that Brentwood facility located at Backus. And I've advocated and worked with the administration to bring another facility to Ward 5. I think the grocery issue is very valid. What you have to look at that Edgewood Shopping -- at the shopping center of Rhode Island Avenue, next to Edgewood, is that that shopping center is scheduled in 10 years for total renovation, so it's been very hard to get a grocery to stay under those terms.
JR.What we did do is bring ALDI over on -- over by the Hechinger Mall area, which is a new grocery, which we broke ground for. We also have an aggressive plan with farmers markets and other things to bring those resources, and to work with others at Fort Lincoln, for example. We're working with shoppers right now to bring that in, as well as Fort Totten. And if you look at the economic development plans, and I thank you for saying it and acknowledging the work I've done, we're not finished. And in 2011, because of things I've done to put things in the budget, this ward is moving lightspeed ahead in where we've been before, and I hope you continue to support me and work with those initiatives.
NNAMDIHarry Thomas is the incumbent member of the D.C. City Council representing Ward 5. He joins us in the studio with his challengers, Delano Hunter, Kenyan McDuffie, and Tracey Turner. Here's Kenyan McDuffie.
MCDUFFIELet's separate the rhetoric from reality. You know, Mr. Thomas is a professional politician. You know, he gives great one-liners. But the bottom line is that he's had four years, and we have lost the Safeway in 4th and Rhode Island Avenue in underserved community where Safeway's have been opening up in Georgetown and other parts of the city. He has lost the DMV. There's no public middle school in Ward 5. Those are our issues.
MCDUFFIEHe said that he's worked with the administration to bring another DMV. You know, where's the DMV? I mean, he says things like, you know, I'm advocating. I'm working. You know, you've had four years to bring about results. You haven't done it. We need somebody who's gonna bring strong leadership to position and move Ward 5 forward.
NNAMDIYou said professional politician with what I sensed to be a fair amount of derision yet you seem to be running to become a professional politician.
MCDUFFIENo. Let me make it clear. I am not a politician.
SHERWOODYou are a politician.
MCDUFFIEI'm a public servant.
SHERWOODNo way you're a politician?
JR.Understand your word, understand your words.
SHERWOODThis drives me crazy as a reporter.
JR.That's a play on words, Mr. McDuffie. I'm proud of the profession.
SHERWOODI mean, let me say this. When you are running for public office, it is a political job and you are running to be elected.
JR.And you should be proud of the profession you want to represent.
SHERWOODSo I -- what you're trying to say is you're not gonna be a bad politician, but you are a politician.
MCDUFFIEWhat I am -- I'm sorry, Mr. Sherwood. What I am is a public servant. I've been a lifelong career public servant.
SHERWOODBut you're a politician. Are you're gonna be a good one or a bad one?
MCDUFFIEWell, you know what? I plan to be a good public servant is what I plan to be.
SHERWOODThere you go.
MCDUFFIEI plan to be a good public servant.
NNAMDIHere now is Debbie also in Ward 5. Debbie, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
DEBBIEYes. I wanted to know what the candidates plan as well as the incumbent plans to do to address the hot issues of youths in gang violence that are in Ward 5, you know, especially recently, there's been lots of incidents of youth violence. And I just wanna know what plan do they have going forward to address this issue.
SHERWOODThat'll be good to know, whether the...
NNAMDITracy Turner, since one of the factors in your running had to do with your home being burglarized, which was not necessarily a crime of violence, but I suspect you're interested in public safety generally.
SHERWOODAnd should Chief Lanier stay.
TURNERWell, I think that a lot of the youth are actually on the corner and causing problems because they have no jobs and no -- really feel like they have no future. I think with bringing on, taking them into vocational training, putting them in these community colleges, giving them some education, some skill set, it will kind of limit of -- the individuals being on the corner, creating crime and causing havoc.
NNAMDIWhat did Tom Sherwood ask? Should Chief Lanier stay on the job?
TURNERChief Lanier should stay on the job.
NNAMDIYour views on deterring youth violence, Delano.
HUNTERI've had the opportunity to work in the Brentwood community with youth, running a truancy program, many of which have been involved in gang and criminal and do have criminal backgrounds. And one of the things that -- these are good kids. One of the things that we have done, we have failed them as a city, or our councilmember has failed them to provide a plan. Once again, he had the opportunity to allocate $1.3 million in gang intervention funds, and those funds went to golf buddies, went to communities outside of Ward 5. It didn't really...
NNAMDIWhat are you talking about?
HUNTER...address -- so once again, there was $1.3 million in gang intervention funds that our councilmember had the opportunity to allocate. Tommy Wells had that same pool of money. There was an RFP process, request for proposal, something that's objective. In Ward 5, we didn't have that. But yet we still have communities which were plagued by Brentwood, Edgewood, or Trinidad or Carver Terrace. These are communities in which we have high gang and criminal activity. Nothing has been done. One of the things that I'm...
NNAMDIBut you made the allegation that that money went to golfing buddies?
HUNTERWell, it went to organizations. For instance, anybody who actually works with these youth, you know that gang intervention comprises of certain facets, certain characteristics such as substance abuse.
SHERWOODBut what -- tell us about that. The golf thing is really intriguing. What did you mean that money went to -- that Mr. Thomas sent money to golfing buddies?
HUNTERSo it went to organizations. Once again, what I am saying is that a significant portion of these funds went to organizations that do not provide gang intervention.
SHERWOODAll right. What is the golf buddy? Who is the golf buddy…?
NNAMDIWhat's the golfing reference there?
HUNTERI'll let him answer that.
SHERWOODNo, no, no. You brought it up.
HUNTEROne of the things -- a portion of those funds went to Langston Golf Course. So what I am telling you is that...
SHERWOODWait a minute. You're saying money went to Lang -- they have child -- I mean, I'm not arguing for Mr. Thomas, but I know that Langston...
NNAMDIHe's arguing for Langston golfers. (laugh)
HUNTERThis is not -- but once again, this is...
SHERWOODBut this is where they have computer programs...
HUNTERIt's not gang intervention.
SHERWOODBut they make these kids come and they do their school work and they can play golf.
HUNTERIt's not gang intervention.
SHERWOODIs that what you're opposed to?
HUNTERSo what I am saying is that if you are a councilmember and you have a vision, you have to have a lens in which you look through things and how you define certain issues. So if we're talking about gang intervention, any group that works with youth is not gang intervention. That's an incorrect inference to make. What I am saying is that these funds did not go to pure gang intervention organizations that have certain competencies.
SHERWOODMr. Thomas, are you guilty of giving money to Langston programs?
JR.What he is saying -- let me say -- yes, I'm very guilty of giving money to programs that have supported the change-around of young people's lives. I'm very proud. And let me help him understand what happened because even Mr. Hunter's brother received a scholarship stipend from those funds, from one of the programs that I funded so he could be in college right now and have resources. Because what we did is identify -- no other councilmember had done it -- identify $1.3 million that we put in the budget, to be sent to the Children and Youth Investment Trust through a process where people went through that process that were existing programs to apply for dollars, to continue to support neighborhoods in needs program.
JR.So Langston was a learning center where we have afterschool training for the Carver Langston community. For Brentwood, we funded exactly four different programs, around where Mr. Hunter works, and have serviced more kids, and there have not been any violent deaths since that. Remember, in 2007, we were the murder capital of the city and we turned it around because of the aggressive 10-Point Plan to fund community-based programs like Beacon House, like Woodridge, like Langdon Park, like Brentwood, like Trinidad, like Bloomingdale groups where they run the programs.
NNAMDIOkay, we do -- you're running out of time. You're running out of time.
JR.So those are the things that have changed lives because we're giving training, we're giving opportunity and we're giving structure to young people's lives.
MCDUFFIECan I jump in? Can I jump in? Can I jump in if you don't mind?
JR.That is gang intervention because we put down murders and changed lives.
SHERWOODGang prevention, isn't it?
JR.It's gang prevention. We don't want you to be in a gang. We want you to have options not to be in a gang and to fund programs that support educational fulfillment and lifelong learning and opportunities, and that's what this councilmember has done.
MCDUFFIEJob training is important, gang intervention programs are important, but I think we need to take a step back and look more comprehensively at the issues that are facing our youth in the city, and part of it is education. It's a huge part of it. What we need to do is put our kids and our youth on a pathway to success by opening -- exposing them early on to college education. You know, we need to make sure these kids -- in Ward 5, we got three nationally known colleges in our backyard in Catholic Trinidad -- Trinidad and Gallaudet University. We need to make sure we get these kids on these campuses, expose them to this experience, eliminate that fear factor that many of them are gonna experience because they're gonna be the only ones in their family, in some cases, to every apply to college. We also need to...
SHERWOODI didn't hear from Mr. Thomas about whether Chief Lanier should stay.
JR.I think the chief is doing a good job, and I -- that’s the mayor's decision. I would support Chief Lanier staying. I've had a great relationship with her. My district was the number one crime reduction district under her leadership. But I'm gonna defer to whoever the mayor is to make that choice, but I support Chief Lanier.
SHERWOODAnd Mr. McDuffie, yes or no on Chief Lanier.
MCDUFFIEYes. I think she's doing a good job.
MCDUFFIEI think Commander Greene over in Ward 5 is doing an excellent job as well.
NNAMDIHere then is Randall in Ward 5. Randall, your turn.
RANDALLHi. There are several things, but one thing I wanted to speak about...
NNAMDIYes, please name one.
RANDALL...was the -- I think that the job training and focus of recreational centers all center around either people who are violent or people who have been incarcerated for the job training. And violent, you know -- youth violence programs are set up to, you know, stop gangs and stuff. But they're a group of kids that are out there and young adults who are not violent but are missed in these training programs, and something needs to be done about them. So, you know...
NNAMDIWe have an...
RANDALL...may be mishandled. I have a brother who's in his 30's...
NNAMDIWe have an adult literacy -- illiteracy rate in the District that's estimated at some 39 percent, and most of those people are not involve in crimes or gangs. What do you plan on doing about those people?
JR.And Randell is right. That's why the $1.3 million went to programs that don't just do just gang violence, they went -- they're preventive programs. They're training programs. They're opportunities for all citizens. We shouldn't have to wait until a kid gets in a gang and try and turn his life around. We should fund programs to prevent them from getting in the gangs. And he's exactly right. That's why I have Junior City Council member program, where 20 students are picked from Ward 5 every year to come down and learn how to be junior council members, civically minded, get financial leadership training and all the things that we talked about. That's why I talk about a 10-week program and wanted to support the mayor's summer youth program that has some competency-based skills to help our young people.
NNAMDII'm afraid we're just about out of time. And time for each of you to begin with your one-minute closing...
SHERWOODDo I get a closing statement this week?
NNAMDIYes. You got a closing statement...
SHERWOODI don't want one.
NNAMDI...this week, not. We'll start with Tracey Turner.
TURNERI just like to say thank you for having me. I'm Tracey Turner. I'm running for Ward 5 City Council. I'm out of Brookland. I live off of Girard in the North Capitol. I will like to be a strong advocate for Ward 5 and all its residents in Ward 5.
HUNTEROnce again, thank you for this opportunity. We have a very serious decision which we have to make on next Tuesday. For the residents of Ward 5, we have to choose our leadership for the next four years. And I think that it's time that we don't look in the past for leadership, but also to take the bold step of pumping new and fresh ideas into our leadership. I think that I have a mixed of professional experience and also grassroots experience that gives me the perspective how to be an informed member of the city council. So I'm counting on your vote. Delano Hunter, number two on your ballot. Thank you.
JR.You know, this is not a time for on-the-job training. We're facing some very tough issues for our city. We spent down our cash reserves. We had some very critical times. And as Ward 5 councilmember, during these critical times, in this economic time, I have found ways to bring our ward and move our ward forward. I would hope that the residents of Ward 5 will continue to support me. I thank you for the support and endorsements that I've had and made. Because as Ward 5 councilmember, I have connected residents to opportunity and we continue to work on your behalf, and have the kind of open and responsive government that builds better communities for all of us.
JR.And I also wanna invite you all tomorrow to come to our family day at Taft to share your ideas with me at twelve o'clock. And come to UDC's groundbreaking for the first community college that this councilmember brought to help connect our residents to jobs and opportunity. And remember to vote number three, on the ballot, Harry "Tommy" Thomas Jr., your current councilmember.
MCDUFFIEI wanna thank you, Kojo, for having me. And I wanna thank your listeners for tuning in. You know, I want voters to vote for me on Sept. 14, today as well as tomorrow, because Ward 5 needs stronger leadership. We need positive change in Ward 5. And I believe that I'm the best candidate to bring about that change. I've got the right combination of community experience, career experience and life experience.
MCDUFFIEI'm a former civic association president, community liaison at a local community development corporation. I've served on local boards and non-profits. In terms of career, I've been a postal carrier. I went from doing that just to pay my own way through college, working for Congresswoman Norton, doing constituent services, assistant and staff with legislation, going to law school, being a former prosecutor and a child attorney to the Department of Justice.
MCDUFFIEI also, you know, have a new collective experience that I bring to bear. I think that's important for Ward 5 residents in terms of their decision about who the next councilmember is gonna be. I ask for your vote. And if you wanna end politics as usual, end the politics that have passed in Ward 5 and ushering a new day and transform the future of Ward 5, then Kenyan McDuffie is the only choice.
NNAMDIKenyan McDuffie is a challenger in the Ward 5 City Council race. He is a challenger along with Delano Hunter and Tracey Turner, the incumbent is Harry Thomas Jr. Gentlemen, good luck to all of you.
MCDUFFIEThank you, Kojo.
JR.Thank you. Thanks for having us.
NNAMDITom Sherwood, with the little time we have left, the District's campaign finance watchdogs initiated a formal investigation Thursday into fundraising reports of D.C. Councilmember Kwame Brown At-Large, who is running for chair, that was on the basis of the fact the Vincent Orange has filled a complaint. And last week, Orange staged a news conference to highlight what he said were inaccuracies and irregularities in Brown's reporting for two previous elections. Of course, when we had them here, ask -- we asked Mr. Orange in spite of all of that, why is he still trailing in the polls?
SHERWOODWell, you know, Orange started late, and Kwame Brown did work very hard to get a base to support for running for council chairman. It's just mystifying to reporters, me and others, that he had all these financial issues with his personal debts, $50,000, three credits cards, and then this sloppy -- he called it sloppy himself in this program -- sloppy accounting for his campaign reports. I mean, you have to keep your records straight if you're gonna be a public official.
NNAMDII ventured into Prince George's County over the weekend, Tom Sherwood, for an event open to all candidates running for anything. Among those who showed up -- I thought I should mention Herman Taylor. He's a delegate who's challenging Congresswoman Donna Edwards in the 4th District primary. I mentioned him because we had Donna Edwards on a couple of weeks ago. She wasn't here to talk about her candidacy, but she was on. So I think it's important to mention that she has a primary opponent. He is delegate Herman Taylor.
SHERWOODYeah. We should respect the people who try to run for public office. And what they try to do, they try to do well. And we should respect them. And the best way to respect somebody is to go make a choice and go vote.
NNAMDISept. 14, it's primary date. Go out and vote. But, of course, if you live in the District, you can go out and vote before then because we have early voting. Tom Sherwood is our resident analyst. He's an NBC 4 reporter and a columnist for the Current Newspapers. Tom, always a pleasure.
SHERWOODThank you. Have a good weekend.
NNAMDIThank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
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