Guest Host: Tom Sherwood

A federal judge considers whether D.C. should have more power to spend its own locally raised dollars. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe calls for a review of new regulations for abortion clinics in the Old Dominion. And candidates across Maryland begin their sprint to the finish for the state’s June primaries. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Guests

  • Tom Sherwood Resident Analyst; NBC 4 reporter; and Columnist for the Current Newspapers
  • Patrick Madden Reporter, WAMU 88.5 News
  • James Rosapepe Maryland State Senator, (D- Dist. 21, Prince George's / Anne Arundel County)
  • David Catania Member, D.C. Council (I-At Large), Chairman, Committee on Education

Watch A Featured Clip

D.C. Council Member and Mayoral candidate David Catania (I-At Large) said Friday his opponent, fellow council member Muriel Bowser, “doesn’t understand the education system of the city.”

When asked on Kojo Nnamdi’s Friday Politics Hour what separates he and Bowser on the issue of education, a hot-button topic for District voters in light of recent proposals that would change school boundaries, he said Bowser (D-Ward 4) has a “serious lack of understanding” about how the system works.

Catania, the chair of the council’s education committee, went on to say that while Bowser has in previous elections has promised voters schools legislation, she has not had a “single substantive measure” during her tenure on the council, he said.

For the full discussion, watch the video below.

Watch Full Video

Watch The Full Politics Hour live in our studio.

Transcript

  • 12:06:39

    MR. TOM SHERWOODFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University, in Washington, welcome to "The Politics Hour." I'm Tom Sherwood, from NBC 4, sitting in for Kojo. And guest analyst today, WAMU's Patrick Madden. Welcome, Patrick.

  • 12:06:57

    MR. PATRICK MADDENGood afternoon, Tom.

  • 12:06:58

    SHERWOODI wanted to just talk to you before we get to David Catania, who's here in the studio. Let's -- we've got to talk about the trash. What's going on with the trash cans in the District?

  • 12:07:07

    MADDENYeah, well, right now we don't have a trash problem, but we have a trash can problem. And that's because across the city there are tens of thousands of these old super cans that basically are piling up. And the city needs to pick them up. This all goes back to March when Mayor Gray launched this aggressive blitz to bring new super cans to residents.

  • 12:07:30

    SHERWOODIt had nothing to do with the April 1 primary, right?

  • 12:07:31

    MADDENNothing to do with the primary. That was a couple of weeks later.

  • 12:07:34

    SHERWOODI saw them. There were tens of thousands of them backed up down on 295, along where the street car was being developed. They were just sitting there and sitting there and suddenly they were all over town. And then what happened?

  • 12:07:46

    MADDENRight. So now we -- apparently now there's going to be an aggressive blitz to get all of these old super cans off the streets because they are becoming a trash problem. And we had this one incident where the city, as part of this effort to pick up the old ones, had placed these bright yellow "Take Me" signs on them and apparently…

  • 12:08:04

    SHERWOODIt's like "Kick Me" signs.

  • 12:08:06

    MADDENRight. And apparently someone did that. They did just that. They started taking them, but I guess that was illegal and they got arrested actually. And so just this whole saga has become sort of a debacle. And now we just have too many super cans all over the road. And I guess if the city had followed the regular schedule, this wouldn't have happened.

  • 12:08:26

    SHERWOODFrom the moment this started it was a political thing. The postcard, big, large-sized postcard that was sent out to all the residents of the District, looked like a campaign ad.

  • 12:08:36

    MADDENYeah.

  • 12:08:37

    SHERWOODNice smiling picture of the mayor. Here comes your new super can and all that. They got them, they sent them out, then they didn't pick up the old ones. And then they went out to pick up the old ones and picked up the new ones, too. It was just -- it's been a real mess.

  • 12:08:49

    MADDENYeah, and it's -- in terms of sort of political ways to get votes, it doesn't even seem like it, you know, not many people, I think, are going to decide to vote for someone based on…

  • 12:08:59

    SHERWOODWell, you're obviously not a homeowner.

  • 12:09:00

    MADDEN…their trash can and…

  • 12:09:01

    SHERWOODYou, obviously, are not a homeowner.

  • 12:09:03

    MADDENI don't know.

  • 12:09:03

    SHERWOODPeople get violent over…

  • 12:09:05

    MADDENI know they get very, very -- yeah.

  • 12:09:07

    SHERWOODAlleys and trash cans. We'll talk to the candidate for mayor in a moment about that. But let's first go back -- a serious matter. The D.C. Council is suing Mayor Gray over the mayor's refusal, he says, to spend money that's not been appropriated by Congress. The Council says, "We had a referendum. We worked our way around the Congress. And you've got to spend this money." They're suing the mayor in court, saying you've got to spend the money. They didn't seem to have -- the Council didn't seem to have a good day in court on Wednesday.

  • 12:09:37

    MADDENNo. I was in court and it just sounds like the judge, you know, I think he may agree with the District's position, that of course the city should be able…

  • 12:09:48

    SHERWOODEmmett Sullivan.

  • 12:09:49

    MADDEN…to spend its local tax dollars without having to get Congress to authorize it, but it just may not be possible. I think his quote was, "It tugs at the heart strings, but the court can't rule from the heart." And if you want to, sort of, read into that you can. But, I mean, again, it's a simple question, you know. Should the city be able to spend its tax dollars that it raises from parking tickets, parking meters, but it's complicated. It gets into all these constitutional issues, the Home Rule Act, and…

  • 12:10:15

    SHERWOODYeah, the judge said it himself. He said, well, and Congress has full legislative authority over the District of Columbia, whether a lot of folks here like or not. No one's broken through that.

  • 12:10:26

    MADDENRight. And one of the issues was if the city had the ability to amend its Home Rule Charter, you know, going back 40 years, why is it deciding to do it just now? I mean -- and that was one of the questions put to the lawyer representing the D.C. Council, Karen Dunn. And she said, "Well, you know, the time is right now. We've shown we're fiscally stable."

  • 12:10:48

    MADDENI think it was like 17 straight, you know, good, positive budgets. So there's all these different things that the judge will have to look at, but it's just interesting to see, you know, on one hand you have the mayor and the new CFO Jeffrey DeWitt, versus the Council. And they both agree that the city should have this ability, but they don't agree that this is the right way to do it.

  • 12:11:09

    SHERWOODRight. As a citizen of the District, I've said I would like for us to have all the rights other Americans have in running our government, but as a reporter I have to look back. This is the third time we've been led to the well. We are now at the well on the budget. Can the Council engineer this end run around Congress, its authority over our budget? Prior to that, back in the middle of 2005 or so, there was a suit that we could impose a commuter tax on Maryland and Virginia people.

  • 12:11:36

    SHERWOODWe lose nearly $2 billion a year out of the monies that are earned in this city, but taxed in Maryland and Virginia and a few other states. And we've had, the people who've told us, "Oh, voting rights is a slam dunk. We're going to go to courts. The courts are going to agree with us. This is unconstitutional. This is horrible. But we're going to get voting rights. We're going to go to court and get it."

  • 12:11:56

    MADDENAnd I…

  • 12:11:57

    SHERWOODThen in all three -- well, two of the three cases, courts said this is a political matter for the Congress.

  • 12:12:03

    MADDENAnd I think there are two sort of potential repercussions. I mean, on one hand, yes. There is the serious could the District be violating the anti-deficiency act. And other sort of federal…

  • 12:12:13

    SHERWOODThat means just spending federal monies that have not been approved by Congress.

  • 12:12:17

    MADDENRight. But on a more -- in the political sense, what does this do with our relationship with Darrell Issa and sort of we -- it seemed we had been making incremental progress on a number of issues and taking this route, will that hurt us down the road?

  • 12:12:29

    SHERWOODWell, the people on the House side, the Republican House side, they've been very polite by not saying much publicly, although they did have the general accountability office tell us that this was a nice suggestion by the city, but it's nothing -- it doesn't have the weight of law.

  • 12:12:42

    MADDENRight.

  • 12:12:44

    SHERWOODBut they also are laughing at the city. And I think, in part, because this, again, this is the third time the city's tried to do a court run around the limitation on the rights of citizens of the District. So let's bring in David Catania, an at-large Council member, elected five times, I think. And he's running for mayor on the independent ballot. Mr. Catania, you, I think you signed onto this Council move, didn't you, on the budget autonomy move?

  • 12:13:08

    MR. DAVID CATANIARight, that's right.

  • 12:13:09

    SHERWOODWhat are your expectations from what you've heard about the court hearing on Wednesday?

  • 12:13:14

    CATANIAThey aligned with that…

  • 12:13:15

    SHERWOODWelcome, first of all.

  • 12:13:16

    CATANIAThank you for having me.

  • 12:13:16

    SHERWOODWe have to be polite here.

  • 12:13:18

    CATANIAThey aligned with Patrick's, you know, from every indication from those in the courtroom, the judges sympathetic, but it doesn't appear as if we're going to prevail. You know, and the issue of why it took 40 years for us to initiate this expansion of our essential Home Rule powers is a very good question. And when you look at the legislative history surrounding the Home Rule Charter and its adaptation, the parties who were participants, you know, I think the best answer for why it took us 40 years is really, you know, for the members of our government, collectively, to look in the mirror.

  • 12:13:48

    CATANIAIt isn't the absence of the anticipated and expanded powers that were part of the thought processes of those who brought us home, but we just have been derelict, candidly, in moving it forward.

  • 12:13:58

    SHERWOODThat's David Catania. He's an independent candidate for mayor of the District of Columbia. He's a member of the D.C. Council, who holds an at-large seat. He chairs the Council's committee on education. Patrick Madden is our guest analyst today. You can join us by calling 1-800-433-8850. Or email us, kojo@wamu.org. Patrick?

  • 12:14:21

    MADDENWell, Councilmember, I guess the big issue we got to…

  • 12:14:25

    SHERWOODGo anywhere you want to, Patrick.

  • 12:14:26

    MADDENOkay. Anywhere? Well, then…

  • 12:14:27

    SHERWOODIt's open season.

  • 12:14:28

    MADDEN…if it's open season, I'm going to start with this nice mailer that's been brought into the studio today.

  • 12:14:33

    CATANIASure.

  • 12:14:33

    MADDENAnd this is literature from the Catania campaign. And Councilmember Catania's running for mayor as an independent against Muriel Bowser, who won the Democratic primary. And it's this nice green mailer, the color of the Bowser campaign. And it says, "Who is pulling Muriel Bowser's strings?" And it has a couple of clips from the Washington Post. The answer being, Adrian Fenty. And so the question…

  • 12:14:57

    CATANIAIt actually doesn't involve Adrian Fenty.

  • 12:14:59

    SHERWOODNo. It's his -- the people around him.

  • 12:15:00

    CATANIAIt's Adrian Fenty supporters. And that's a clarification. And I just wanted, for the record, to reflect that Councilmember Bowser was invited to participate in today's "Politics Hour," if I'm not mistaken, and she has declined the opportunity. And so, you know, if this may seem one-sided it was really not by design, but by her refusal to attend.

  • 12:15:19

    MADDENAnd just to clarify one…

  • 12:15:19

    SHERWOODThis is…

  • 12:15:20

    MADDEN…thing, though. If you actually look at the mailer, the highlighted names, it's not Fenty supporters, it's Fenty. So I think the implication is clear, Adrian Fenty.

  • 12:15:30

    CATANIAWell, that may be the implication, but that's not what the words say, and we're talking about Fenty supporters.

  • 12:15:34

    SHERWOODAnd we're talking about east of the river. This was only distributed east of the river.

  • 12:15:37

    CATANIAWell, so far, but I mean that…

  • 12:15:38

    SHERWOODSo far.

  • 12:15:39

    CATANIA…was a piece put together for the Congress Heights parade. And I think there is a great deal of concern by people across the city about those who surrounded, then Mayor Fenty. And we're not talking about the fact that, you know, my opponent's, her campaign chairman, her treasurer, her chief strategist, and all of the key people around Fenty are with her.

  • 12:15:58

    CATANIAAnd it's not necessarily the A team that we think of, and Dan Tangherlinis and the Neil Alberts. It's the David Jannarones and the Sinclair Skinners. These are individuals that the Council's own report into nearly $80 million in spending for parks and recreation showed massive waste and possible fraud.

  • 12:16:16

    CATANIAWhen Sinclair Skinner and David Jannarone were very good friends and David Jannarone was approving contracts and approving invoices submitted by his good friend Sinclair Skinner that had markups in excess of 500 percent, one has to wonder what will get when we have the return of the very same people?

  • 12:16:34

    MADDENBut do you think that having an association with Fenty or his supporters is a negative?

  • 12:16:40

    CATANIAI think if you look at those specifically pulling the strings, and two of the names that I mentioned are those that I would include as pulling the strings, Sinclair Skinner and David Jannarone. I think there's a great reason to be hesitant. I mean, people remember that Mayor Fenty was exonerated in the Trout report for having participated in that procurement boondoggle, but they were not. In fact, you know, Mr. Skinner was specifically pointed out by the Trout report has having refused, frankly, to cooperate with the investigation.

  • 12:17:10

    CATANIAAnd there's nothing to be said, for the fact, at the end of the day the taxpayers haven't been made whole because of the relationship he had with David Jannarone and Omar Karim and we're out millions of dollars because they helped themselves to the treasury. And David Jannarone one is running around town telling people he'll be my opponent's deputy mayor for economic development.

  • 12:17:27

    SHERWOODI think people are mostly surprised that this was a negative ad out so quickly in the early stages of this campaign, where some people are saying, "Is is even a campaign, because you seem to be the only one publicly campaigning. But you did do a negative ad early. And some of the Bowser, Muriel Bowser people are saying, "Oh, David's desperate. He had hoped to run against Mayor Gray, but Gray didn't win the primary. Now he's got to figure out a way to get some attention for himself because she's the Democrat.

  • 12:17:54

    SHERWOOD"And the Democrats are going to come together. And 75 percent Democratic city. She's going to win." And she seems to be marginalizing you…

  • 12:18:03

    CATANIASure.

  • 12:18:03

    SHERWOOD…by not agreeing to appear with you until after you're formally on the ballot, which won't come until after September the 8.

  • 12:18:10

    CATANIAWell, I think those are good talking points that she's been given. But the reality is that I don't recall that she sent Hello Kitty dolls to Mayor Gray during their primary. She was extraordinarily negative towards him. So I think, you know, I think for her to or her campaign…

  • 12:18:24

    SHERWOODHello Kitty dolls, is that what you said?

  • 12:18:26

    CATANIAYeah, their warm and fuzzy.

  • 12:18:27

    SHERWOODSorry, that stuck in my -- that may be a new one for the campaign.

  • 12:18:30

    CATANIAThe point is she was extraordinarily negative in her campaigns. And so for her all of a sudden to suggest that we should play nice, suggests a bit of amnesia in how she and her team ran the primary campaign. As far as her race against me and her refusal, I mean, it's been her refusal to show up at invitations made by others, not by me. And whether or not she participates, and whether or not she chooses to be a fact in this election is entirely up to her.

  • 12:18:53

    SHERWOODAre you in the (unintelligible)…

  • 12:18:55

    CATANIAAbsolutely. Listen -- absolutely.

  • 12:18:56

    SHERWOODThey say that you still have time until August, I think, 8, you can put in…

  • 12:19:00

    CATANIANo. Let me, let me put all that to rest, Tom.

  • 12:19:02

    SHERWOOD…petitions (unintelligible) …

  • 12:19:03

    MADDENAs Mark Plotkin went off on a tangent here last time saying…

  • 12:19:07

    SHERWOODOh, yeah.

  • 12:19:07

    MADDEN…definitively you were not going to run. That you would pull out. Can you put that to bed?

  • 12:19:11

    CATANIAWell, Patrick, can I -- may I put that to rest? Absolutely. I have every intentions of running. I've won -- I've run five times citywide. I've won every one of those elections. You know, I appreciate that my opponent won a primary with the lowest turnout in the history of a mayoral election in the city, but I can assure I'm in this race. And part of the reasons why we put pieces like this out, if you look at the other side, it was a piece constructed for the Congress Heights parade to demonstrate what I've done for the east-of-the-river community.

  • 12:19:36

    CATANIAAnd the fact that she has no record that she cares about that community. So elections are about contrast. And, you know, I'm happy to engage in ideas. I'm happy to engage her if she chooses to show up. But at the end of the day, the people of our city deserve to know where their next mayor will take the city. They deserve to know whether or not you have the experience, the record and the vision to secure our future.

  • 12:19:55

    CATANIAHer presumptuousness to suggest that simply by virtue of a label she doesn't have to engage is her choice. But I remind people all the time that a label alone never puts food on the table and it never educates children and it doesn't provide healthcare. What does are substantive thoughtful plans and the ability to execute. And I’m happy to have a discussion about that.

  • 12:20:15

    SHERWOODI just want to be absolutely clear, because you did say that you have every intention to run, just now. And I think you are, in fact, running.

  • 12:20:21

    CATANIALet me be clear. I will not be seeking reelection as a member of the Council. I am running for mayor of the District of Columbia.

  • 12:20:28

    SHERWOODWin or lose.

  • 12:20:28

    CATANIAWin or lose.

  • 12:20:29

    SHERWOODOkay. Now, let's get -- one of the issues, one of the searing issues in the city right now is education. You've been in the position of the chairman of the education committee for over a year.

  • 12:20:39

    CATANIAYeah.

  • 12:20:39

    SHERWOODA year and a half, maybe. And one of the big issues is this effort by the mayor's administration, Mayor Gray's administration to change the boundaries of where parents can understand where their children will be going to school. And it's kind of ricocheted across the city…

  • 12:20:56

    CATANIAYeah.

  • 12:20:56

    SHERWOOD…like thunderbolt. The -- Mary Cheh, in Ward 3, has written a three or four-page letter…

  • 12:21:00

    CATANIASure.

  • 12:21:01

    SHERWOOD…wringing her hands about it. You've called for slowing down and delaying these changes.

  • 12:21:06

    CATANIAI said I won't go forward with them, when elected mayor.

  • 12:21:11

    SHERWOODOkay. What is the difference between you and Muriel Bowser on this issue? This is like a fundamental issue for the voters.

  • 12:21:17

    CATANIAThe fundamental difference is when the mayor's proposal came out there were three proposals. One of which included the notion of choice sets, which means that individuals, rather than having access to their matter-of-right neighborhood school, there would be four or five elementary schools, you know, in different proximities to their homes. And you would enter into a lottery to see which one of those four or five schools you would get into.

  • 12:21:37

    CATANIASo it ends the notion of matter-of-right traditional public schools. As soon as…

  • 12:21:42

    SHERWOODYou mean if you live the neighborhood you can't just go to the school near your house?

  • 12:21:45

    CATANIARight, exactly. You know, you -- and so it puts in play four other schools, perhaps. And by lottery you would decide -- you would be determined -- it would determine which school your children would attend. You know, I fundamentally think that is an assault on traditional public schools, matter-of-right schools. My opponent thought that it was an intriguing idea and interesting.

  • 12:22:03

    CATANIAAnd it wasn't until she felt the blowback from the community across the city that she reconfigured her position. And what I think that shows is a sincere -- or a serious lack of understanding on the part of my opponent of these issues. Another one, when she was on your show last, that I really have to address, I have three major special education measures that we will be having hearings on next month. One of which includes how long it takes between the time the parent asks for an individual education plan and when the plan has to be completed.

  • 12:22:31

    CATANIARight now in the District, it's 120 days, which makes us the worst in the country. Mississippi is the next worst at 60 days. All I'm suggesting is that we get to the same place as Mississippi. That IEPs be done within 60 days. When she was asked her plan she thought, well, the chancellor should make these decisions. She has a failure to understand that these aren't decisions that the chancellor makes, but these are decisions that are made by our state education office and our superintendent. But there's serially, and I can give you many, many instances…

  • 12:22:59

    SHERWOODAre you saying she doesn't understand the education system of the city?

  • 12:23:03

    CATANIAI'm absolutely saying she doesn't understand the education system of the city. When she made a proposal, for instance, that all, you know, singularly, in seven years, she's run for Council in 2007, 2008, 2012. And in every instance she said she's going to be the education council member. But in seven years she's never introduced a single substantive measure on education.

  • 12:23:23

    CATANIAThe only thing she has introduced is a sense of the Council that all of our middle schools should be like Deal, which sounds great. But in the absence of a plan and a vision on how you execute that, that and $3 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

  • 12:23:37

    SHERWOODPatrick?

  • 12:23:37

    MADDENHow would you describe your relationship with schools chancellor Kaya Henderson? I know you have not stated whether you would keep her if you become mayor, but…

  • 12:23:47

    CATANIAI think our relationship is very professional and very cordial. And yesterday, by way of example, the Council -- my committee approved the committee on education budget. And by, again, by way of telegraphing what I'm very proud of, this year for the first time we have what is known as an at-risk weight. And it is pursuant to legislation I drafted that is now law, that identifies that certain kids in our system have additional challenges and additional resources are necessary.

  • 12:24:13

    CATANIAThese includes homeless kids, foster care kids, kids on welfare, kids on food stamps and high school students who are one year older than their peers. There will $80 million more flowing to our schools next year versus this year, as a result of this. So go to back to Tom's last question, the way to address boundary issues, isn't by assigning the so-called high-quality spots in the few that may exist. It's investing seriously in all of our public schools and creating neighborhood schools everywhere.

  • 12:24:39

    CATANIAAnd the first step in accomplishing that goal is this at-risk weight, which is bringing, as I said, nearly $80 million concentrated in the eastern part of our city, so we can build those schools up so parents don't feel, every morning, that they have to drive west in order to give their children an opportunity.

  • 12:24:56

    MADDENSo you would not change the school boundaries at all?

  • 12:24:58

    CATANIANo. What I'm saying is that the way it has been proposed…

  • 12:25:00

    SHERWOODNot any time soon?

  • 12:25:02

    CATANIAThe way it is proposed, I don't believe, it is very thoughtful. I think you -- the time and energy that we have spent directing how we will assign the high quality seats is time that should have been spent thinking about how were going to improve neighborhood schools. We broke this by virtue of poor planning. And we have overcrowding in a handful of schools, which we must address. But upsetting the entire apple cart and reconfiguring and ending traditional matter-of-right education to fix a few overcrowded schools doesn't make sense to me.

  • 12:25:31

    MADDENSo how -- what would your plan be, though, in terms of trying to fix those overcrowded schools?

  • 12:25:35

    CATANIAWell, we've done two things. One, the at-risk weight. And so having additional resources in our under-performing schools, which permits, you know, the faculty, in consultation with the principal, to decide longer school days, longer school years, additional staff, or reading intervention, social and emotional support, technology to support teachers, etcetera. Those are the resources that are needed to help increase, you know, the outcomes.

  • 12:25:59

    CATANIAThat, coupled with another bill that I introduced in the past last year to end social promotion. You know, we no longer, by operation of law, automatically promote kids. And so there are a number of things we need to do and unfortunately it's going to exceed the amount of time Tom has on the show.

  • 12:26:13

    SHERWOODRight. That's correct. That's David Catania who's correct in what he just said. He's an independent candidate for mayor of the District of Columbia. He's a member of the D.C. Council, at-large member. He chairs the Council's committee on education. Patrick Madden is our guest analyst today. I'm Tom Sherwood, from NBC 4. Let's take a phone call from…

  • 12:26:29

    CATANIABefore -- Tom, before we do, but one thing I can…

  • 12:26:31

    SHERWOODIt's on education.

  • 12:26:32

    CATANIAOne thing I can be sure of is that, one thing that won't improve our public schools, our sense of the Council's resolutions, which offer no plans, no resources and no vision.

  • 12:26:41

    SHERWOODEducation -- the caller, Oscar. Oscar, are you there? You want to talk about selection of principals.

  • 12:26:48

    OSCAR(unintelligible) yeah, hello?

  • 12:26:49

    SHERWOODOne of the issues of whether or not -- go ahead, sir, with your question.

  • 12:26:52

    OSCARSure. First of all, I do believe that reform is very important, but I think it's an overgrown terminology. My question to David Catania is, is that the key to a successful school is the principal. How would you differ from, say, Kaya Henderson, in -- if you were mayor, and obviously you would have great control of the schools and selecting principals for schools?

  • 12:27:16

    SHERWOODThank you.

  • 12:27:17

    CATANIAOscar, thank you for that question. We have had incredible turnover within the ranks of our principals over the last several years. And we need to understand why. You know, I often talk about school visits. This Wednesday we finished -- I finished my 139 school visit. And I can tell you these two-hour conversations with our school leaders, I'm very impressed with the caliber and quality of people in our system. But they are being burned out based on certain expectations that are not possible for them to obtain.

  • 12:27:45

    CATANIAAnd I think specifically of middle school principals in the eastern part of our city where kids are showing up typically on a second-grade math level and a third-grade reading level. And you've got principals whose evaluations are dependent upon them being on grade level when they go to high school. And there simply -- it's simply too much stress and unrealistic expectations in the absence of what I had mentioned earlier, which are additional resources to help narrow the achievement gap.

  • 12:28:09

    CATANIAI think we have to be smarter about how we evaluate our principals. We have to give them the resources and set them up to succeed. But we have had too many very good principals leave just by virtue of exhaustion and not feeling supported. And I'm not pointing fingers at the chancellor. I'm just saying, generally speaking.

  • 12:28:24

    SHERWOODAs mayor, what can you do about that?

  • 12:28:26

    CATANIAWell, I think, among other things, you can look at how we have decided to evaluate principals. We can perhaps put less emphasis on the standardized tests and more emphasis on, you know, how are they viewed in the community and how are they viewed by their teachers in terms of 360 review. So you can understand, you know, what is working and what isn't. You could give them the resources they're asking for, so their students and teachers can succeed.

  • 12:28:49

    SHERWOODIt does seem like we're in an "Alice in Wonderland" of tests…

  • 12:28:52

    CATANIABut there…

  • 12:28:52

    SHERWOOD…whether it's for principals, for teachers, for students. It just seems like a morass.

  • 12:28:56

    CATANIASimply fixing contracting and procurement, where we ask principals to tell us what they need in June, but we don't deliver it until October 1st, and school starts in August. I mean, things -- just simply listening to our leaders and asking what do you need and getting it to them is a great first step.

  • 12:29:13

    SHERWOODMost people don't have children in the D.C. Public Schools, counting charter and -- you cannot -- or do you think you can? Can you run a successful race for mayor on the issues of education?

  • 12:29:25

    CATANIAWell, it's not simply on education. And I tell people all the time…

  • 12:29:27

    SHERWOODOkay. What are the…

  • 12:29:28

    CATANIA…that whether or not you have a child in public schools in the city, we all have a stake in their success. Period. The consequences of the failures of DCPS and of our public education system generally, we are paying for every day in higher social services costs, you know, public safety costs, etcetera. The other issues, though, I've very proud of. I've chaired the committee on health for eight years. You know, I'm credited with saving our public hospital in Ward 8, on cutting the…

  • 12:29:55

    SHERWOODIt's Greater -- Great -- United Health Center.

  • 12:29:58

    CATANIAUnited Medical Center.

  • 12:29:58

    SHERWOODIs that going to ever be redone or rebuilt into something bigger?

  • 12:30:00

    CATANIAWell, perhaps we can talk about that.

  • 12:30:03

    SHERWOODOnly for a moment.

  • 12:30:03

    CATANIAWe have the second lowest rate of uninsured in the country, thanks in part to the expansions that I offered prior to the Affordable Care Act. We have been the most faithful, in terms of implementing the Affordable Care Act, much of which, under my chairmanship, where we added 40,000 people to the ranks of Medicaid, where I authored our healthcare exchange legislation, which is, you know, viewed as one of the best implementations and best in the country, where we've had 40,000 people sign up.

  • 12:30:28

    CATANIAWhether it's school help, etcetera. But, Tom, I've got a list of things that I have done, but what I'm interested in talking about is what I want to do.

  • 12:30:35

    MADDENAnd them, councilmember, on that point about what you would do, one of the biggest issues right now is homelessness.

  • 12:30:41

    CATANIAYeah.

  • 12:30:42

    MADDENAnd homeless families. A report just came out this week, the number of people living without homes has grown 13 percent. We have 460 families living at D.C. General. As mayor, what would your plans be, specifically, to address this issue? Would you close D.C. General? Where would these families go?

  • 12:30:58

    CATANIAWell, I think, you know, let yesterday's markups of my committee, in contrast to my opponent's committee, stand in, you know, in contrast. I moved a committee print yesterday that added $80 million to at-risk kids. My opponent, who chairs the committee on economic development, which is essentially the city's housing committee, the Housing Production Trust Fund, the Rental Housing Commission, the Housing Finance Agency, the Public Housing Authority, you know, she has the entire constellation of housing under her purview.

  • 12:31:29

    CATANIAHer committee report yesterday was a cut and paste job from her last year's report. I invite people to see it. In the 16 months she has been chairman of the housing committee, she has not introduced a single measure with respect to housing. She has had only one hearing on the subject of new communities. And so our homelessness crisis is a function of having no housing policy. And my opponent has simply been -- as the InTowner, Peter Wolff, publisher of the InTowner put it, she's been derelict in carrying out her assigned responsibilities.

  • 12:31:58

    CATANIAWith respect to D.C. General, you know, there are no easy answers when you dig yourself into a hole. Right? What we have to do is we have to have an organized plan on how we're going to tackle the various segments of our community that need housing. Those that need permanent assisted housing, those who need partial, those who need some subsidy, etcetera. We haven't done that. And we've not executed that.

  • 12:32:21

    SHERWOODThe chairman of the council, Phil Mendelson, has questioned who are even the people -- we don't really even know who we're trying to serve. The people kind of come and go. There's no firm handle on who these people are.

  • 12:32:30

    MADDENWell, what if we just start with the families that live at D.C. General? We know who they are. We know where they are.

  • 12:32:34

    SHERWOODBut the mayor said he's going to move them.

  • 12:32:36

    MADDENSo -- but the question is what you would do as mayor.

  • 12:32:39

    CATANIASo a lot of people suggest that we just close the facility. But it's not as if those nearly 900 individuals have another place to go. All right. We will spend, next year, in excess of $125 million through hotel fees, for those who are homeless, through our rapid re-housing and through homeless services. That is an incredible amount of money. And it's misdirected money, where we should be investing in new housing. But for the folks at D.C. General in particular, we have to make that facility as comfortable as we can and as acceptable as we can while we have a longer strategy.

  • 12:33:12

    CATANIAThe focus on simply shutting it down, in the absence of providing a place for people to go, doesn't make sense. And you simply cannot make a place to go. And let me just share one thing. Our city has focused on inclusionary zoning. We've used zoning as a way to create housing. And since we've passed the inclusionary zoning law in 2008, we have -- it has created fewer than 40 units. When you have 70,000 people on a wait list, it is time to reconfigure or rethink the way we want to provide housing.

  • 12:33:44

    SHERWOODI want to ask you quickly about Muriel Bowser's proposal on drunk driving. She has proposed that there be civil penalties for people who have drunk driving records of .05, not .08, that's criminal drunk. She wants to drop it to .05, which is one or two drinks for someone and lose your license for three days on the first offence, seven on the second, 30 on the third. She says it's drunk driving, and it ought to be punished. Do you have any thoughts on that law? Some people have worried about it. Some like it a lot.

  • 12:34:14

    CATANIAI understand that Mothers Against Drunk Driving aren't supportive of the law. They believe that there are other suggestions that are better, including enforcement, including devices on people's automobiles that have already been convicted of drunk driving. You know, I think there are many issues that are pressing in our city. I'm not diminishing the significance of driving drunk nor am I condoning it any way.

  • 12:34:36

    CATANIABut I wonder, you know, while she chairs the committee on economic development, which has jurisdiction over housing, if some attention should be directed at solving the housing crisis. Again, 16 months of chairing the committee and she has had precisely one roundtable on new communities. And in the -- and that was in October of last year.

  • 12:34:55

    SHERWOODWe're almost out of time with you and we've got a zillion issues to ask about, but unless Patrick has one, I'll ask you, is there something specifically in this campaign with Muriel Bowser that you want to bring up or that Patrick has also?

  • 12:35:08

    CATANIAYou know, not really because this isn't a campaign necessarily against me versus Muriel. This is a job interview with the people of the city as to who is best positioned to secure our future. I think people understand that even if they don't necessarily agree with me all the time, that I roll up my sleeves and I'm very serious about getting solutions. And the things that I'm doing, I may not share the label that many have in this city, but I certainly share the values.

  • 12:35:30

    CATANIAAnd all you have to do is look at a record of championing marriage equality, smoke-free D.C., cutting our rate of uninsured, D.C. -- our medical marijuana initiative. And what I've done in the last 16 months, which is put education front and center. Great cities need two things to thrive. We need safe streets and we need an educated population. And, you know, that's what this campaign is about.

  • 12:35:54

    CATANIAAnd at the same time, focus on our other issues. You know, if my opponent chooses to engage, that's great. I'm going to be out every night and every morning and every afternoon talking to voters and including them in…

  • 12:36:05

    SHERWOODPatrick?

  • 12:36:05

    CATANIA…what the vision should be.

  • 12:36:07

    MADDENAnd how much money do you think you're going to have to raise to compete? Obviously you're going up against the local Democratic Party here, that's going to, you know, it's not going to be easy. How much money do you think you need to raise to be competitive?

  • 12:36:19

    CATANIAWell, I think the local Democratic Party is super divided. And as I'm going door to door, even when I see my opponent's signs, what I'm often told is the election -- the primary was about who shouldn't be mayor, not who should be. But to answer your question, Patrick, I think I'll need between a million and a million and a half dollars.

  • 12:36:35

    SHERWOODThank you very much. David Catania.

  • 12:36:37

    CATANIAThank you all very much.

  • 12:36:37

    SHERWOODAn independent candidate for mayor. Thank you for coming in.

  • 12:36:39

    CATANIAI appreciate it. Appreciate it.

  • 12:36:40

    SHERWOODDavid Catania, an independent candidate for mayor, Council member and chairman of the Council's education committee. As he leaves, Patrick, education clearly is a hot-button issue this year, despite the fact that many people don't have children in the schools.

  • 12:36:54

    MADDENWell, I think it's interesting when you look at the primary, it really was -- it was a question of ethics and corruption and obviously it was -- the race came down to about the Jeffrey Thompson guilty plea and how that affected Mayor Gray, but really the issues that we talked about were ethics and corruption. This time round in the general, obviously, it's education, it's economic development, it's homelessness. So I think you're seeing a shift in sort of issues that we're talking about right now.

  • 12:37:22

    SHERWOODAnd, again, I think this is one of the drawbacks of having an election on April the 1st. With the incumbent losing you have a lame duck for nine months. So everything that Mayor Gray does, questions of his hospital, his big hospital plans going nowhere. And now we're just going to have to wait until the fall in order to have a campaign. It just seems really odd.

  • 12:37:45

    MADDENIt seems odd. It think it obviously helps folks who are running as independents this time around. And not just council member Catania. But I think there will be sort of a down ballot effect for people who are going to be running as independents in some of the -- the at-large Council race, some of the Ward races. I think we're going to see, obviously, a much more competitive general election than we've seen in a long time.

  • 12:38:08

    SHERWOODWe can certainly have the supporters of Muriel Bowser stop saying that David Catania is not going to run for mayor. He's going to revert back to his at-large seat. I think he made that pretty clear today.

  • 12:38:16

    MADDENRight. I think, yeah, I mean that was a very important takeaway from our discussion.

  • 12:38:20

    SHERWOODWhile we're waiting for our next guest to come in let's talk about the Wizards. Well, let's talk about sports in general, because the Wizards, excited people. I was downtown last night.

  • 12:38:29

    MADDENYeah, I mean I think they put together an incredible season. I don't think anyone expected them to be as good as they were. Obviously John Wall, Bradley Beal, I mean, they definitely are setting the foundation for a really strong team. I'm a Mets fan, a New York Mets fan. So they're in town right now.

  • 12:38:45

    SHERWOODOh.

  • 12:38:45

    MADDENSo we've got the Mets and the Nationals. I mean it's a good sports time right now. And both teams are sort of treading water right now.

  • 12:38:52

    SHERWOODYou know, Mike Wallace, from the Washington Post, noted that you didn't see the end of something last night, you saw the, maybe, the beginning of something, with the Wizards team. I know that's all the rah-rah for wait until tomorrow, wait until next year and all that stuff. But maybe we can have a winner. Two years ago we thought we had the champion Nats team, and now we don't. Now we've got the Wizards who were better than expected, better since '79, but still not champions.

  • 12:39:17

    MADDENThe Wizards are…

  • 12:39:17

    SHERWOODDon't know what the Skins are going do this year.

  • 12:39:18

    MADDENNo. But at least the East, the conference they play in is so weak that I do think the Wizards are probably -- they're looking good.

  • 12:39:26

    SHERWOODAll right. Good. Our next guest -- do you have any thoughts on the Wizards?

  • 12:39:30

    MADDENOur sports talk.

  • 12:39:33

    SHERWOODJim Rosapepe, state senator, Prince George's County. We've got serious issues, too, but the Wizards, you know, they've got -- captured a lot of attention.

  • 12:39:39

    SEN. JAMES ROSAPEPEI'll go with you guys on that.

  • 12:39:39

    SHERWOODYou've got those Skins out there in your county.

  • 12:39:41

    ROSAPEPEWe do.

  • 12:39:42

    SHERWOODAre they going to win?

  • 12:39:44

    ROSAPEPEYes.

  • 12:39:46

    SHERWOODYou said that with great authority, but not certainty.

  • 12:39:50

    ROSAPEPEI'm a senator, remember.

  • 12:39:52

    SHERWOODWelcome. We -- boy, that's true. You can say anything. Welcome to the show.

  • 12:39:55

    ROSAPEPEThank you. It's good to be back.

  • 12:39:56

    SHERWOODWe want to talk about Pepco. It's going to be bought or if all the regulatory hurdles are met, all one million of them, by Exelon, which seems to own energy all over the country. Is it good news for the Pepco customers? Is it bad news if it gets sold for nearly $7 billion, whatever it is?

  • 12:40:20

    SEN. JIM ROSAPEPENot clear is the truthful answer. It depends what kind of a deal the Public Service Commission of the District and Maryland approve, if they approve a deal at all. And the big picture is, it's obviously a good deal for Exelon because Exelon has made very bad bets in nuclear power and in coal, deregulation. And because of what's going on with fracking and the reduction of the price of natural gas, those bets have turned out very badly for Exelon. So Exelon very much wants the guaranteed revenue of regulated utility profits that they would get from a Pepco that they now get from BGE.

  • 12:40:53

    SEN. JIM ROSAPEPESo it's obviously good for Exelon. Whether it's good for the customers here is an open question. Obviously, Pepco has not been good for the customers here. And I think there's some people who are like, anybody would be better than Pepco. But I think we need to be cautious about taking that point of view because Pepco may be terrible, but it could get worse.

  • 12:41:11

    MADDENAre you concerned at all when you have to merge these two obviously different technologies, different companies? And we know customer service is an issue or has been an issue with Pepco. I mean, obviously, it seems like it could get worse, right? And...

  • 12:41:24

    ROSAPEPEIt definitely could get worse.

  • 12:41:25

    MADDENAnd having to -- like, this company's from Chicago, so it's not -- they're not going to be as accountable to local officials.

  • 12:41:31

    ROSAPEPEAbsolutely. And we learned during the international financial crisis that some companies get too big to succeed. And if Exelon pulls off this merger, they'll be the largest utility in the country. So it raised the question whether they're going to be too big to succeed. The management will be in Chicago, not in Washington. All those issues are reasonable. The bigger issue, though, I think, which the Public Service Commission should focus on, that is that Pepco issue is an excellent issue, is an all-utility issue.

  • 12:41:58

    ROSAPEPEIf the entire utility industry is living in the 20th century -- and we're living in the 21st century. We're living in a 21st century economy where we have to have the Internet, where we're not charging our cars with electricity. Much more electricity-dependent economy that used to be. They're not ready for that in terms of performance and resilience. Secondly, we're living in a 21st century climate.

  • 12:42:19

    ROSAPEPEI don't know whether you noticed this winter, but there was a lot of extreme weather, like today. And so they're not prepared for that either. So that's the real issue. Will Exelon or Pepco modernize to the 21st century?

  • 12:42:30

    SHERWOODThat's state senator Jim Rosapepe. He's a member of the Maryland Senate. He's a Democrat whose district is in Prince George's County. Patrick Madden is our guest analyst today. He's a reporter for WAMU 88.5. I'm Tom Sherwood from NBC 4 sitting in for Kojo. You can join us by emailing us, kojo@wamu.org. You can tweet us, @kojoshow. Or call us, 1-800-433-8850. This is a huge deal. We're going to watch lots of -- how long will it take? Will it be weeks, months, years?

  • 12:43:05

    ROSAPEPEOh, at least a year. And...

  • 12:43:08

    SHERWOODSo we're going to go into this new season...

  • 12:43:11

    ROSAPEPEOh, absolutely. Absolutely.

  • 12:43:11

    SHERWOODSnow and power lines and all that.

  • 12:43:13

    ROSAPEPEYeah. But what -- Pepco will still be there this winter, no question about it, even if a merger's approved next year.

  • 12:43:19

    SHERWOODIf it's selling out, does that have any encouragement to do a better job this fall or just skate to the end?

  • 12:43:26

    ROSAPEPEThat's a great question. Probably uncertainty is probably not good, and probably people in Pepco are focused on their jobs and whether they're going to be there, whether they're going to be kept, as opposed to focusing on our electricity. So that -- the uncertainty's probably not good news. But one thing I will say in defense of Pepco is I think, since we had those terrible problems several years ago in the winter and in the summer -- as you recall, the derecho and all that stuff.

  • 12:43:49

    ROSAPEPEThe general assembly passed much stronger regulation. We passed fines where the Public Service Commission can impose up to $25,000 per outage per customer, serious incentives. I think the Pepco management got the message. They were way behind the times. And I think they begun to make some efforts, and that's encouraging. They still have a long way to go.

  • 12:44:11

    MADDENThere's a big plan in D.C., a billion-dollar plan, to put a lot of the power lines underground.

  • 12:44:16

    ROSAPEPEAbsolutely.

  • 12:44:16

    MADDENThey will not be affected by the storms and weather. Any sense on whether this merger will affect those plans?

  • 12:44:24

    ROSAPEPEGood question. I don't know specifically in the D.C. context. I do know that Pepco historically has been very resistant to undergrounding, which is totally nuts. New York City undergrounded 115 years ago. And in Europe, largely undergrounded because obviously, in the long run, it's cheaper, it's more efficient, and there's more resilience.

  • 12:44:47

    MADDENPepco's up front, but then you're...

  • 12:44:49

    ROSAPEPEYeah. Right. But these are multi-hundred-year investments. This is not a payback period of 10-years or 20-years. It's a hundred-year investment because digging the hole is the biggest cost of undergrounding utilities. And once the hole is dug, it's there. Pepco's never accepted those economics. Exelon generally has not accepted those economics.

  • 12:45:08

    ROSAPEPEIt's really been driven by the D.C. government or the Maryland government. You know, Maryland -- in 1968, long before I was in the general assembly, Maryland required undergrounding in all new developments. So in Maryland, in new developments, it's been undergrounded for 40 years.

  • 12:45:23

    SHERWOODI live in an underground development in Southwest Washington. It's terrific. All these scare stories that you see on TV of storms coming, batten down the hatches, I have no hatches to batten.

  • 12:45:35

    ROSAPEPEYou look very dry.

  • 12:45:36

    SHERWOODYes, I am. I stay dry. Let's talk about some other politics issues here on the Politics Hour. You've endorsed Anthony Brown.

  • 12:45:42

    ROSAPEPEI have.

  • 12:45:43

    SHERWOODWhat'd you think of Bill Clinton's endorsement this week? I thought it sounded fairly perfunctory.

  • 12:45:48

    ROSAPEPEI don't think he was perfunctory at all. I think Bill Clinton knows Anthony Brown, likes Anthony Brown, thinks he'll be a good governor. I mean, I -- he seemed pretty straightforward to me.

  • 12:45:56

    SHERWOODAnthony Brown stuck with Hillary Clinton back in 2008.

  • 12:46:01

    ROSAPEPEHe did. And I...

  • 12:46:02

    SHERWOODWas that just a payback?

  • 12:46:03

    ROSAPEPENo. But I think...

  • 12:46:04

    SHERWOOD'Cause he praised him on healthcare issues, and I'm not sure that's what I would have praised Anthony Brown...

  • 12:46:08

    ROSAPEPEWell, no. But I thought that was a good example of President Clinton being the smart Bill Clinton that we know him to be, is he got the big picture. It's the fact of the matter is that, despite the problems with the Maryland website, with the national website, healthcare reform is a great success. It's a great success nationally. And it's a great success in Maryland. And Anthony...

  • 12:46:25

    SHERWOODIn Maryland, it is?

  • 12:46:26

    ROSAPEPEWe have over 300,000 people with health insurance who didn't have it before we embraced healthcare reform. I can tell you in my district, I met a guy at the Laurel Main Street Festival last Saturday who came up to me, virtually tears in his eyes, about how his wife had gotten health insurance that she hadn't had before because of it. So it's a great success. Are there glitches along the way? You may never have technical problems here at WAMU. But in my office, we do sometimes.

  • 12:46:50

    MADDENBut I would just argue that...

  • 12:46:51

    SHERWOODPretty big dollar signs on those glitches.

  • 12:46:53

    MADDENRight. Hundreds of millions of dollars, and now they're looking at potentially having, you know, to get some of this money back from the state.

  • 12:46:59

    ROSAPEPEAbsolutely. I'm the Senate co-chair of the Joint Audit Committee in Maryland, so we've overseen the audits of this. And clearly what the contractors did -- there were huge mistakes. They didn't know what they needed to do. They were fighting with each other. That's why Gov. O'Malley and the lieutenant governor fired the woman who was in charge of it. That's why they're looking to bring in the system from Connecticut where it's proven it did work. You know, the idea that everything works perfectly in life and in technology is not the standard.

  • 12:47:26

    SHERWOODWell, I don't think anybody's -- yeah. But I don't -- in fairness, I don't think anyone's asking that this conversion to healthcare be worked perfectly. I don't think perfectly is a standard. Just work would be good.

  • 12:47:37

    ROSAPEPEWell, it works in the sense that people -- 300,000 people have health insurance. That's the goal. That's the goal.

  • 12:47:41

    SHERWOODOkay.

  • 12:47:42

    ROSAPEPEWe have more people with health insurance today in Maryland than we projected to have despite all the problems with the website. I think that's the point that President Clinton was making in endorsing Lt. Gov. Brown.

  • 12:47:54

    SHERWOODWell, anything about the Purple Line, that some federal monies are going to be available for (unintelligible)...

  • 12:47:58

    ROSAPEPEThat's terrific. I mean, as I like to say, the Purple Line is on track.

  • 12:48:03

    SHERWOODThe death of the capital crescent.

  • 12:48:05

    ROSAPEPEWell, I'm focused on the Purple Line. I have in my district -- I have four stops on the university campus in the city of College Park. It's going to be transformative for the community. It's as close to a mother and apple pie issue in my area as you can find. And it's great.

  • 12:48:21

    ROSAPEPEThe state in our transportation package last year committed our money. President Obama in his budget this year committed the federal government's money. They're four bidders which include local companies as well as internationally-experienced transit folks. They're going to make a decision by the end of the year, and they're going to start building. It's going to be terrific.

  • 12:48:40

    MADDENWhat's the earliest that this will actually be up and running for folks?

  • 12:48:43

    ROSAPEPEI think it's 2018. But don't hold me to that.

  • 12:48:46

    MADDENOkay. And speaking of College Park, couple more stories about pedestrians being killed.

  • 12:48:52

    ROSAPEPEYeah, yeah.

  • 12:48:53

    MADDENI mean, what -- it seems like there are some dangerous intersections around there. Obviously, you have a lot of foot traffic at College Park. I mean, what can be done?

  • 12:49:01

    ROSAPEPEWell, a lot can be done. And in fact the delegates and I had a meeting with President Loh, the head of State Highway Administration, the head of the campus police last week about this, some very specific things related to the road that can be done, changing some of the traffic signals. One of the things that I learned, which I didn't know, is the timing on the traffic signals for pedestrians and for cars is the same at two o'clock in the morning as it is at 2:00 in the afternoon.

  • 12:49:24

    ROSAPEPEWell, obviously, there are a lot fewer cars and a lot more pedestrians in College Park at two o'clock in the morning than there are at 2:00 in the afternoon, so State Highway's working on those issues. But the other issue, which the university system is taking on and Josh Sharfstein, the state health commissioner, is taking on is the culture of college drinking. It's not an accident that the people who have been endangered there often are people who aren't in their -- aren't exercising good sense.

  • 12:49:53

    ROSAPEPEWalking in the middle of the road at two o'clock in the morning when you're stone drunk is not very intelligent. And so we got to deal with the technical issues with the road. But there's a statewide initiative to deal with the culture of excessive campus drinking. And I think that's a real good step forward as well. They go together.

  • 12:50:10

    SHERWOODSenator, we just have an email from David in Gaithersburg. "What do you feel are the fundamental differences between Anthony Brown and Doug Gansler? I wish I knew more of the substance at work in this race and less about the sensational stuff."

  • 12:50:24

    ROSAPEPEAmen. I'm totally with...

  • 12:50:26

    SHERWOODIt's the media's fault.

  • 12:50:27

    ROSAPEPEIt's totally the media's fault, not WAMU. But...

  • 12:50:31

    SHERWOODIs Doug Gansler a bad person? Would he be a bad governor?

  • 12:50:33

    ROSAPEPENo. No, Doug -- not exactly. What I was going to say is Doug Gansler's not a bad person. He wouldn't be a bad governor. The fact of the matter is that Heather Mizeur and Doug Gansler and Anthony Brown are broadly in the mainstream of the Democratic Party. They support healthcare reform. They support investments in transportation. They support tolerance, inclusiveness.

  • 12:50:48

    SHERWOODThey're all mainstream Democrats.

  • 12:50:49

    ROSAPEPEThey're all mainstream Democrats, and if you're not a mainstream Democrat, I can understand why you wouldn't support them. But if you're a mainstream Democrat, I think all of them are reasonable to support. I think that each of them would be good governors. I think the difference between Lt. Gov. Brown and Atty. Gen. Gansler is what people see and hear. They have different experiences. Obviously, Doug Gansler is experience as a prosecutor and as an attorney general, as an advocate, as a lawyer. Anthony Brown is a lawyer...

  • 12:51:17

    SHERWOOD(unintelligible) more aggressive.

  • 12:51:19

    ROSAPEPEI think that comes across sometimes, and that's a strength. (unintelligible)...

  • 12:51:23

    SHERWOODThat could be good or bad.

  • 12:51:25

    ROSAPEPEThat could be good or bad, but it's a strength, I think. In the case of...

  • 12:51:27

    SHERWOODOh, I thought you said a strike. You mean...

  • 12:51:29

    ROSAPEPEIt's a strength. It's a strength. It's a strength.

  • 12:51:30

    SHERWOODOh, strength. Okay. Could be a strike.

  • 12:51:31

    ROSAPEPEBut I would say in the -- but in the case of Lt. Gov. Brown, I think he was the legislator for eight years. He's also an attorney. But he's been lieutenant governor. He has more experience, frankly, playing in groups, like we were all supposed to learn how to do in kindergarten. And it -- that explains why he's getting such broad support from so many people who have worked with him because he's good at that. And that's important in being a governor.

  • 12:51:50

    SHERWOODWell, others -- the critical view of that is, well, he's, you know, it would be embarrassing to the current governor if Anthony Brown lost this year and that the whole Democratic establishment likes being around Anthony Brown 'cause he's nicer to be around than Doug Gansler. He...

  • 12:52:07

    ROSAPEPEI think all three of our Democratic candidates are nice to be around. So I wouldn't do it on that basis. I would say that I think Lt. Gov. Brown has a lot of experience in the last eight years with Gov. O'Malley. And I think that's a strength. I think Gov. O'Malley's done a good job. I think the fact that Lt. Gov. Brown's worked with him, helped him accomplish many things, and is in that broad view, I think it's a good thing. I don't think it's a bad thing.

  • 12:52:32

    SHERWOODI have to throw a flag here. Just save your thought because someone has called in to say, "When you guys talk about D.C. sports, you forgot the Mystics."

  • 12:52:40

    MADDENThat's true.

  • 12:52:41

    SHERWOOD"They have an opening game tonight and could have a great season." My apologies.

  • 12:52:45

    MADDENThat's very true.

  • 12:52:46

    SHERWOODNow, go ahead.

  • 12:52:47

    MADDENGo Mystics. You were an ambassador to Romania.

  • 12:52:52

    ROSAPEPEI was.

  • 12:52:53

    MADDENI thought that was fascinating.

  • 12:52:54

    ROSAPEPEI did too.

  • 12:52:56

    MADDENCan you talk about your experience, and also in terms of -- obviously with everything that's going on in Ukraine right now, and there's just sort of -- can you share some of the experiences and what you think of what's going on right now?

  • 12:53:04

    ROSAPEPESure.

  • 12:53:06

    SHERWOODAnd when were you there, just to...

  • 12:53:07

    ROSAPEPEI was there in the second Clinton Administration, 1998 to 2001. And...

  • 12:53:12

    SHERWOODWell, that explains your defense of Bill Clinton's endorsement of Anthony Brown. Now, it all fits like a glove.

  • 12:53:19

    ROSAPEPEI'm a big fan of Bill Clinton's. I think he was a very good president. I think what's going on in Russia and Ukraine is very sad. It's a little scary for us. It's very scary for people in that part of the world. But from my point of view, it's mostly sad because the fall of the Berlin Wall, Gorbachev and Russia, President Reagan, President Bush, everyone thought there was an opportunity for Russia and the United States to get past some of the conflicts of the past.

  • 12:53:53

    ROSAPEPEAnd we've gone past a lot of them. Obviously there isn't the danger that there was during the Cold War. But it's very sad to see that Mr. Putin and the people around him have decided to pick fights they don't need to pick. The fact of the matter is that Ukraine wants to be a good neighbor of Russia and wants to be a good neighbor of Romania and Poland and Western Europe.

  • 12:54:13

    ROSAPEPEAnd, frankly, my own view is that Ukraine integrated into Western Europe, integrated into the European Union where Romania is now. It's actually much safer for Russia. Now, Mr. Putin doesn't agree with me. But I think we'll get there. I think this is a big bump in the road, but I think the road is still going the same direction.

  • 12:54:33

    SHERWOODLet's come back closer to home with Chancellor Kirwan leaving. University of Maryland campus in College Park, back in the 2007 or '08, there was this huge multi-hundred-million-dollar plan to rebuild, do lots of things. Now there's a new plan to build a conference center -- hotel and conference center right outside the main gate...

  • 12:54:53

    ROSAPEPEOh, I know what you're talking about.

  • 12:54:54

    SHERWOODAll right. Okay. Good. There was a much larger plan to redevelop 38 acres back there.

  • 12:54:59

    ROSAPEPEYes. Yes. Yes. It was called East Campus. Yeah.

  • 12:55:01

    SHERWOODJust still seems not to be developing as quickly as people would want. What is the holdup to getting a modern 21st century (word?) ?

  • 12:55:09

    ROSAPEPENo. It's a great question. Well, I -- actually, in addition to being the state senator from College Park, I'm chair of the City University Partnership, which is a local development corporation. So I'm deeply involved in these issues.

  • 12:55:15

    SHERWOODOh, okay.

  • 12:55:17

    ROSAPEPEAnd I think the reality is that the East Campus proposal was sort of too big to succeed.

  • 12:55:22

    SHERWOODThat was the big 38...

  • 12:55:23

    ROSAPEPEYeah, 38 acres. And it wasn't well thought out, and it didn't work obviously. What the...

  • 12:55:29

    SHERWOODEconomy wasn't so great back then either.

  • 12:55:32

    ROSAPEPEWell, when it started, the economy actually was very great. And then the economy popped. So part of it is economy. There's no question about it. Big picture is the President Wallace Loh came in and has changed the focus of the university in terms with engaging Prince George's County and the city 180 degrees, which is terrific. So, number one, he's embraced the city and embraced the county as a partner.

  • 12:55:51

    ROSAPEPESo, for example, one of the things the county and the city had wanted to do is to put together a school in College Park with the university. We opened it last summer. It's called College Park Academy. We wanted to expand the campus police jurisdiction off campus to work with the Prince George's police for a public safety point of view. President Loh made that happen. They're doing that right now. You know...

  • 12:56:12

    SHERWOODIs it having an effect?

  • 12:56:13

    ROSAPEPEIt's definitely having an effect. It's definitely having an effect. Absolutely.

  • 12:56:16

    SHERWOODStudents are drinking less?

  • 12:56:18

    ROSAPEPEBut students may or may not be drinking less, but those who are drinking more are getting called before the campus affairs office and being taken to task. So -- no, I hear this from residents. So these things are actually improving. Everything doesn't get solved at once, for sure. But they're making a lot of progress. Then under the development side, he hired as his advisor, someone who we had hired, a man named Omar Blake who was the vice president for real estate at the University of Pennsylvania who drove the rehabilitation of West Philly right around the University of Pennsylvania.

  • 12:56:47

    ROSAPEPEAnd now everybody's working together, Rushern Baker, the county executive, the city and the university. And the conference center is part of that. The school is part of that. And it's too much details to go into it here.

  • 12:57:00

    SHERWOODMm hmm.

  • 12:57:00

    ROSAPEPEBut route one is now really the focus of redevelopment, and I go to more meetings than I'd like to tell you about how we're going to redevelop the city hall site. How are we going to redevelop the shopping are site?

  • 12:57:13

    SHERWOODIs the golf course safe?

  • 12:57:15

    ROSAPEPEI hope the golf course is safe. I mean, the -- developing the golf course was a ridiculous idea. And it's dead for now. I hope it's dead forever.

  • 12:57:25

    SHERWOODThat's Jim Rosapepe. He's a member of the Maryland Senate. He's a Democrat whose district is located in Prince George's County. What did you say the Skins would be this year? He didn't.

  • 12:57:35

    ROSAPEPEI didn't.

  • 12:57:35

    SHERWOODPatrick Madden, our guest analyst today, he's a reporter for WAMU 88.5. Any more trash stories coming up?

  • 12:57:42

    MADDENWell, I just wanted to -- I don't think any more trash stories. I was going to ask, any future plans?

  • 12:57:47

    SHERWOODNo, we -- we only have -- he only has, like, 20 seconds to answer it. You can ask him. He can answer. Let's try.

  • 12:57:51

    ROSAPEPEMy plan is to come back and be on this show.

  • 12:57:53

    MADDENOkay. Well, there we go. I guess we got a big Nats-Mets game tonight.

  • 12:57:57

    SHERWOODAre you going?

  • 12:57:58

    MADDENYes. I'll be going, and tomorrow, too.

  • 12:58:01

    SHERWOODI'm Tom Sherwood from NBC 4 sitting in for "The Kojo Nnamdi Show." He'll be back next week. Thanks for listening.

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