We talk with restaurateur Ashok Bajaj about how he keeps his customers coming back and what defines and distinguishes his native Indian cuisine.
Maryland braces for primary elections. D.C.’s chief financial officer warns lawmakers that tax cut proposals may bust the city’s budget. And Arlington County puts the brakes on plans to put a street car project up for a voter referendum. 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
- Matt Bush Maryland Reporter, WAMU 88.5
- Anthony G. Brown Democratic Candidate, Governor of Maryland; Lieutenant Governor, Maryland
- Carol Schwartz Independent Candidate for Mayor, District of Columbia; Former Member, D.C. Council (R- At Large)
Watch Featured Clips
Lt. Gov Anthony G. Brown, a Democratic candidate for Governor of Maryland, talks with Tom Sherwood and Matt Bush about how he distinguishes himself from current Gov. Martin O’Malley, with whom he’s served for the past eight years.
Carol Schwartz, an independent candidate for DC Mayor, talks about why she decided to run for the city’s top office — again.
Watch Full Video
Starting at noon June 20, watch live video as we host Maryland Lt. Gov and gubernatorial hopeful Anthony Brown and DC Mayoral Candidate Carol Schwartz in studio.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5, at American University, in Washington, welcome to "The Politics Hour," starring Tom Sherwood and co-starring Matt Bush. I'm Kojo Nnamdi. Tom Sherwood is our resident analyst. He's a reporter at NBC 4 and columnist for the Current Newspapers. Tom, welcome back.
MR. TOM SHERWOODI'm glad to be back. And I have big news.
NNAMDIEverything happened while you were away. So what big news do you have now?
SHERWOODAfter this I'm going to play golf for the first time in almost 10 years, with Bruce DePuyt of News Channel 8.
SHERWOODBecause I figure he'll -- even after this layoff he's still worse than I am.
NNAMDIExactly right. If I were playing with you it would be three bad golfers playing at the same time. Matt Bush is our guest analyst. He's a reporter for WAMU 88.5. He filled in for Tom Sherwood last week and like it so much he bogarted his way back into the studio again today. But Matt is really our reporter who covers Maryland and he is here, in large measure, because of our guests. Matt, thank you very much.
MR. MATT BUSHTwo weeks in a row, feels very, very good. Since we have the live video, I did make sure I shaved better this week. So…
NNAMDIYes. We have live streaming video today. You can go to our website, kojoshow.org, and join the conversation and watch the conversation take place there. The aforementioned guest is Anthony Brown, Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland. He's currently the state's lieutenant governor. Lieutenant Governor, welcome.
LT. GOV. ANTHONY G. BROWNKojo, it's great to be on the show. And it's great to be here with Tom and Matt. Thank you for having me back.
NNAMDIIf you have questions or comments for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, call us at 800-433-8850 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. But first breaking news, Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe announcing today that he's going to sign a budget recently sent to him by the general assembly, but that he will use his line item veto on seven pieces of that budget. He also said in no uncertain terms that he's going to move forward to find a way to expand Medicaid by executive power because the budget sent to him by the assembly did not address the issue.
GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFEI have directed Secretary Hazel to work with our federal partners in Washington, the insurance industry, the healthcare providers, our university medical centers, non-profit organizations, our local health departments and the hospital industry to extend the promise of healthcare to all our people. Secretary Hazel will have a plan on my desk no later than September 1st of this year, detailing how we move forward with healthcare in the face of the demagoguery, the lies, the fear and cowardice that have gripped this debate for far too long.
NNAMDIWell, on one hand, the state is going to have a budget. It will not be undercut by the lack of agreement on Medicaid. On the other hand, the governor uses some pretty strong language, "lies," etcetera, to underscore the fact that he's going to try to find a way to do this by executive order.
SHERWOODWell, this is a 96 billion biennial budget. This is a huge deal for the governor. You only get one really good shot at doing a budget and then implementing it because by the time you bring up the second budget you're out of office because you can't secede yourself. And his Medicaid expansion, which many states have done and have received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid to expand healthcare, was his signature centerpiece goal.
SHERWOODAnd you can hear in his voice the frustration and the anger because he did not get it. In part he didn't get it because -- or mainly because a Democratic senator resigned from the Senate, giving the Republicans control of the Senate.
NNAMDIFBI's investigating that now.
SHERWOODAnd they moved ahead with the budget…
SHERWOOD…without the Medicaid expansion. It's a bitter pill for him to swallow.
NNAMDIMoving ahead with the budget without a Medicaid expansion you feel is more important than a vaguely defined or, well, no definition at all -- a vaguely defined intention to try to do it some way or the other.
SHERWOODWell, he's mimicking somewhat, maybe, President Obama, who's trying to wind his way around various issues in Congress. They have to have a budget. They were facing all kinds of cutbacks and bond rating issues, any number of things. If you don't pass a budget, it is the fundamental thing that drives any government, state government or city government, county government. And so they have to have a budget. So now they have one. It just doesn't have the cherry on top that this governor wanted.
NNAMDIIt's -- you're expanding Medicaid in the State of Maryland, Lt. Governor, are you not?
BROWNYeah, so Maryland embraced the Medicaid expansion. It's a great deal for states with the, you know, in the first few years, 100 percent picked up by the federal government. And then a high percentage will continue to be…
BROWNYeah, 90 by the federal government. So it's a great deal for states and it's also -- at least in Maryland, we've already seen early numbers that it's reduced our uncompensated care that's being delivered by our hospitals. That's a good thing for taxpayers, also for anyone that pays for insurance. Because, in Maryland at least, that cost of uncompensated care is baked into the insurance rates. So the Medicaid expansion, enhanced Medicaid is a good deal for states. I do commend Gov. McAuliffe for moving forward with high executive order
BUSHAnd then there's something about -- it seemed like -- I would imagine Gov. McAuliffe -- the last straw in this was the resignation of that senator and how that happened. And I think at that point it looked like some dirty pool or something had happened there that, you know, just sort of pushed him to the point -- or I think at this point he just wanted to go for it.
SHERWOODWell, initially, he was going to get appointed to a state job…
BUSHHe rejected -- but he turned that down.
BUSHInitially. And then there's also his daughter would get a judgeship, yeah.
SHERWOODAnd his daughter (unintelligible) judge and now there is a federal review of that, to see if there was any quid pro quo.
NNAMDIQuid pro quo.
SHERWOODI hate that word.
NNAMDIBut last week on this broadcast, former Congressman…
BUSHAs Tom Davis said, that's…
NNAMDI…Tom Davis said, hey, that's no more than political…
NNAMDI…horse trading in Virginia. It just looks strange to people outside of Virginia.
SHERWOODWell, no, no. It's just -- well, you don't generally talk about those things. Just do them.
BROWNWhatever you do, do them on the merits.
NNAMDIYeah, do it on the merits.
SHERWOODAnd you don't have that trouble in Maryland. Should you be elected governor you would -- you have -- the Democrats control both houses pretty well, don't they?
BROWNYeah, but that doesn't mean that, you know, there still has to be compromise and negotiation. We share the same values and principles, but it's a big party.
NNAMDIWell, as a result of the fact that Democrats control both Houses in Maryland, it would seem that you got a bad report card from StateIntegrity.org, with executive and legislative accountability, which says that the investigation that they conducted found that due to the unchecked Democratic control in the legislature in Maryland, a revolving door between lobbyists and government officials, failure to correct audit findings and limited data access across the board, according to that report. How would you, if elected, improve accountability and, especially, transparency in Annapolis?
BROWNYou know, I think that we are a perpetual sort of state of improving accountability and transparency in government. The legislature, through the Office of Audits, every year audits each of -- or on a cyclic basis, a cyclical basis audits executive agencies. And often those audit reports that come back are not flattering and point out, you know, deficiencies and short comings. And as the executive branch we take responsibility to make improvements in response to that.
BROWNWe also conduct our own audits and investigations and reviews, much like what happened at the Baltimore City Detention Center. That was -- I think that got lost in the conversation, but the problems that were discovered there was the result of our own investigation. So we're constantly looking at what's working well, what's not working well, and being as responsive as possible.
SHERWOODOn that issue of accountability, there's been some complaints -- and Lord knows you've heard enough about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the responsibilities for it. But one issue that continues is that people who want to look back and do a total review of what happened, they say that you have not released your emails during the affected period. Are do you plan to do that or you just haven't had a formal request for it? How does that stand?
MCAULIFFENo. We've had a formal request. And our response has been in compliance with state law on that score. Our compliance and what we've released and not released is consistent with the advice that the attorney general's office has given to the Health Benefits Exchange. There are a number of categories of information that is not disclosed under those requests. And certainly, you know, there's plenty that is.
BROWNI think, though, the larger question is what are we going to find when the reviews -- and there are several -- are completed with the Health Benefits Exchange, what happened, what didn't happen. And I think, to no surprise, what we'll find is that the vendors with whom we contracted -- some of them very common popular household names, like IBM and others -- did not perform as contracted. This was not a situation unique to Maryland.
BROWNI mean, every state, even those that did well, and the federal government had technical challenges with the launch. Many of them attributable to underperformance, poor performance by contractors. And that was what Maryland's experience was. And we'll learn much more about that and share much more of that with the public, as these reviews are being completed.
SHERWOODAnd what's the time table on that? Do you think there'll be something fairly soon? In late summer or do you -- you don't control it, so…
BUSHI believe it's November, correct?
BROWNYeah, I don't control that. I know that that the
SHERWOODSooner would be better.
BROWNYeah, sooner would be better. And keep in mind that these reviews and audits, they occur on sort of a good government timeline and not necessarily a political timeline.
SHERWOODOr a media timeline.
BROWNOr a media timeline. The most important thing is thoroughness. We want to be -- it's wants to be comprehensive and complete and thorough. So the legislature, their review, I think begins about now.
BUSHOne thing to ask about that was the company is-- one of the companies used was from Fargo, N.D. And there's been a lot of talk of Maryland has this very big, you know, internet -- or a lot of technology companies, and particularly in Montgomery County and Howard County. They very much pride themselves on a lot of their tech companies. Why wasn't a Maryland company chosen to run the Maryland website?
BROWNYeah, and in fact, a Howard-based company, QSSI, right now is working with Optum. And Optum, you know, assisted the federal government in, you know, fixing the federal marketplace. So now QSSI is on the job in Maryland. You know, in all of our contracting in Maryland -- this is true whether it's the federal exchange or whether we're contracting for toilet paper, you know, you -- we're not able to have as a selection criteria, whether you are a Maryland company or not.
BROWNI mean that violates the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution. And, you know, perhaps we would like to do that because we want to give more business, more opportunity to Maryland companies, but where a company calls home, with very few exceptions, is a selection criteria.
SHERWOODBut this is "The Politics Hour," and I think there's an election on Tuesday.
BROWNYes, indeed there is. Four days and a wake-up.
SHERWOODYesterday was the last day of early voting in Maryland. There's been a good turnout of early voting, but there has been expressed concerns by all the candidates who've appeared here and elsewhere, that still there's worries -- just like in the District for its April primary -- that too many people aren't tuned in. Are you seeing that in your own polling and you're concerned?
BROWNSo in every campaign that I've been involved with there's always a concern about voter turnout because the goal is to turnout as many voters as possible. And we spend a lot of time and energy doing that. So not only do campaigns do it, the political parties do it, the media participates as well with the number of programs that you host and people that you interview. We reach out to community-based organizations to do that as well.
BROWNSo I do think there'll be a slight drop off from the last two elections. Or let's compare it with the last gubernatorial election, the off-year elections, because we moved the election from September to June. And any time you make a change, people are out of rhythm and often you see a drop off. So we'll see that. I don't think we'll see the large drop off like we saw in early April in the District of Columbia.
BUSHWell, 20 percent is the prediction. Is that about what you think it's going to be?
BROWNNo. I think it's going to be higher.
BROWNYeah, I think it's going to be higher.
SHERWOODYou've been leading in the polls in the race with Doug Gansler and Heather Mizeur, but do you know the name Eric Cantor?
BROWNWell, yeah, there were -- there's a newly coined verb in the campaign world. You remember a few years ago we coined the compound verb swift-boat, don't get swift-boated. And now the verb is don't get Cantored. So don't be lulled into complacency with what the polls tell you.
SHERWOODHave you double-checked with your pollsters?
BROWNWell, more importantly, have we double-checked with our field operation to make sure that we are engaging and continuing to engage and spread the message about building a better Maryland for Marylanders and being in that conversation with Marylanders, because that's what it's about. My pollster will not win the election. He will just give me somewhat of an accurate depiction of how well we're doing.
NNAMDILast week, one of your opponents, Doug Gansler, essentially said that during the past eight years under the O'Malley/Brown administration the state has become less economically competitive. He said businesses are leaving and that people are getting tired of taxes. We have got Jim, in Baltimore, Md., who wants to ask about taxes. Jim, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
JIMYes, sir. Mr. Brown, there's been a lot of discussion about whether we should lower the corporate tax in order to attract more businesses and be more competitive with Virginia. I'm wondering, do you agree with that? And also, how would you help grow small businesses in Maryland that need the help?
BROWNThank you, Jim. Let me answer it this way. The -- two out of every three private sector employees in Maryland are hired or employed by a small business. And the vast majority of small businesses in Maryland do not pay a corporate income tax. By lowering the corporate in tax and giving relief to Maryland's largest companies, a small subset of the employers, is not necessarily the best way to provide the kind of relief that we ought to provide to incentivize employers to invest in their businesses and create jobs and opportunities in Maryland.
BROWNAnd that's why what I've called for is comprehensive tax reform, to look at all of our tax code, income, both corporate and personal, sales tax, property tax, etcetera, to find ways that we can incentivize employers to invest in their businesses and create jobs in Maryland, find ways to provide you and others tax relief, you know, for Maryland's working families. But also -- and finally -- not to roll back the investments we've made in college affordability, our schools, our environment and healthcare and public safety.
BUSHAre there specifics that you're looking at, though, and is there something in general? A lot of your opponents have said that you have a lot of plans. I have your jobs plan next to me here. It's 26 pages. But there aren't a lot of specifics in it. There's a lot of "we're going to create studies to look at it," "blue-ribbon panels," and all that sorts of things. Are there specifics in there?
BROWNWell, let me just say, there's not a lot of blue-ribbon commissions in there. But there are a lot of specifics, if you look at my pre-K proposal, if you look at my career technology education proposal, if you look at my recidivism proposal, veterans' proposal, foster care proposal. But when it comes to tax reform, campaigns are not the place to do tax reform. I mean, it's easy to stand in front of a group, identify the…
NNAMDINo new taxes.
BROWNOr, depending on who the group is, you know, understand which tax they like the least or they hate the most, and promise to reduce that tax. But I don't think that that's a responsible way to govern. And we want to campaign the way we govern. And that's why our commitment is to comprehensive tax reform.
NNAMDIOur guest is Anthony Brown. He is a Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland. He's currently the state's lieutenant governor. WAMU 88.5 will be airing special coverage of Maryland's primary elections next Tuesday, beginning at 8:00 p.m. I'll be joined by Matt Bush for an hour-long election special from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
NNAMDIAnd at 9:00 p.m. WAMU's "All Thing's Considered" host Pat Brogan will host live reports and analysis of the results from 9:00 p.m. onward, with WAMU reporters in the field, with candidates and "Politics Hour" producer Michael Martinez, with the aforementioned Matt Bush, will be in studio. If you'd like to join this conversation with Anthony Brown, you can call us at 800-433-8850, send email to email@example.com, go to kojoshow.org, our website, where you will see the live video stream currently in progress. You can ask a question or make a comment there.
SHERWOODYour -- one of your opponents, Doug Gansler, has said he recognizes that with the terrible economy of the early 2008, '09 and that area, that the state had to raise taxes and did raise taxes, but that 40 something taxes were increased during this period of time. He says now in a better time some of these taxes ought to be looked at to give some relief to lower income, middle income and even some businesses. The corporate tax, for example, at 8.25 percent is much higher than Virginia's 6 percent. Are you -- what kind of tax relief do you think you would do? Or do you want to wait to have a commission study it?
BROWNYeah, I really think you need to have a comprehensive, sort of full spectrum look at your tax code to make sure that -- I think the first question you have to ask -- and there are various opinions on this -- is if you look at our comparable states and our neighboring states and our overall -- the revenues that we collect from Maryland citizens, how does it compare? Are we asking Marylanders to do more than other states?
SHERWOODCompared to Virginia.
SHERWOODWho wants your businesses.
BROWNRight. And we should compare it also to Pennsylvania and Delaware. We should compare it to comparable states that compete for the same industry sectors that Maryland leads in, like Massachusetts in IT. And then once we understand the level at which we're asking Marylanders to support, you know, government services and programs like education, and healthcare, and the environment, and public safety, then we look at our tax code and say, hey, where do we provide the relief? How do we do that?
SHERWOODHeather Mizeur would tax marijuana.
SHERWOODYou're not there yet?
BROWNI'm not there yet. I'm at the -- I'm at a red light at the intersection on that one. I did support the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana, that should actually save us about $100 million a year. And that can go towards combating our more violent crime. It can go to drug treatment, drug counseling, education to avoid or to discourage drug use. So I do support (unintelligible).
NNAMDISo you go, like, from a red light to a yellow light before you get to a green light?
BROWNWell, I'll tell you. We have Colorado and Washington that have legalized marijuana. They're going to tax it and regulate it. In Colorado we're already beginning to see some challenges with is, like labeling of food products that have cannabis in it. So while financially, it's probably obvious that there are benefits to a state, you've got to look at all the socioeconomic and health factors that come into play.
NNAMDIGot an email from Gwen, in Cheverly, who says, "Do you think your military service is a reason to vote for you? I respect your service and thank you for it, but I don't think that it adds a plus in your column when I'm weighing my choice for governor. If military service was a significant qualifier for elected office, then John McCain would be president. He was a POW, but I think Barack Obama was the better choice."
BROWNYeah, I think -- look, I think Maryland voters who -- I'm pleased to see that Maryland voters are a very informed electorate. And what I've encouraged voters to do is to look at a number of factors. Look at our record. Look at our vision, which we articulate on the campaign trail. For me, you can go to AnthonyBrown.com and certainly see, not only the vision, but the proposed plans and actions. You want to look at experience. You also want to -- and that experience should be our lifetime experience.
BROWNSo not just my military service and not just my eight years in the Maryland general assembly. And not just my eight years as lieutenant governor. But all the things that I've -- and choices that I've made, my experience, but also judgment. Look at judgment, look at how I've exercised -- and when I say I, I mean all candidates, how we, you know, the judgment that was exercised. Try to get an insider feel for our character and personality because all of those things will factor into the decisions we make and the policies we pursue as your next governor.
BUSHGoing forward, looking at this, the Democratic primary this year, you hail from Prince George's County, your two opponents hail from Montgomery County. Those are now the two biggest counties in the State of Maryland. They have the population, the political power seems to be shifting to them, away from Baltimore. Going forward, does this mean they will be getting more focus? Particularly in Montgomery County, where they have long decried that they do not get back what they put into state government via tax dollars.
BROWNLook, I believe that a governor has to govern for one Maryland. And you have to look both regionally and locally at where the needs are and what is our responsibility as a state. We have a responsibility for, example, and it's in our constitution to provide adequate public education to every, you know, Maryland child. And so that's going to be true whether you're in Montgomery County or whether you're in Baltimore City.
BROWNSo the work of a governor in working with the legislature and delegations from Montgomery and Prince George's County and Washington County and around the state, is to make sure that there is, you know, fair and equitable allocation of resources and insuring that, you know, we're addressing the needs. In terms of education, every child should get a world-class education. In terms of public safety, right, we ought to be looking at those areas where you have higher incidence of crime.
BROWNAnd that's where resources should go. That doesn't mean you ignore those communities where they have low crime, but obviously, where there's higher crime, you're going to devote higher resources. So…
BUSHI think the point to that though is that those are two counties that do border on Virginia and there's always been this that Virginia's trying to take -- businesswise, is trying to take jobs and economic growth away from those two counties. And in many ways they say they don't -- particularly in Montgomery County, they say we don't get enough help from the state.
BROWNSo if you look at -- if you look at the Brown-Ulman Five-Point Jobs Plan, it begins with infrastructure. And infrastructure like the $2.3 billion Purple Line in Prince George's County and Montgomery County. It includes infrastructure investments in schools n Prince George and Montgomery County. While the need is still great, we have done well in the national capital region when it comes to school construction.
BROWNThere's more that has to be done. There's no doubt. And I look forward to working with those two delegations to do for Montgomery and Prince George's what we're able to do for Baltimore.
NNAMDIWhen you talk about comparing Virginia and Maryland, that's what Michael, in New Carrollton, Md., wants to do. Michael, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
MICHAELAll right. My question is very short. And my question is I am a limo driver. I sit down. I live in Maryland. And in Virginia, to get a license to drive limo or sit down, all you need is your driving license. But in Maryland, no. You have to go to Public Service Commission. And nowadays, actually I have to find somebody to hire me before I get the license. And then I have to get all the fingerprint, everything. Is this to hurt the small people trying to get a job? Actually, you're discouraging them. What is happening to the Public Service Commission doing all these things? That's my question.
BROWNLet's talk a little bit more broadly about business climate, right, Virginia and Maryland. And I think Michael raises the issue of, you know, the regulatory environment in Maryland, right. Getting a -- he uses the example of getting a limousine driver's license. You can talk to a lot of business owners, small entrepreneurial business owners, large businesses, and one of the things that often comes up in that conversation…
NNAMDIToo much bureaucracy.
BROWNToo much bureaucracy, government is slow to respond. And when you look at our Five-Point Jobs Plan, point number four is a much more responsive government. So there's some low-hanging fruit, there's some regulations that we can streamline, maybe even eliminate, but let's be clear. The regulations are designed to protect the public, to protect the environment, to protect consumers in the workplace. I believe -- Ken Ulman, my running mate, and I believe that we can protect all of those interests, but do it in a way that it's not overly burdensome.
NNAMDIUnder a Brown administration, will Michael be able to get his limo driver's license more easily than were he in Virginia?
SHERWOODThere you go.
NNAMDIYou heard that, Michael.
SHERWOODMichael, campaign promise.
BROWNNo, not -- well, okay. Okay. I'm not saying it's going to be the identical process as Virginia, but our goal will be to streamline and make much effective and cost effective someone's ability to comply with our regulations.
SHERWOODSome people might be surprised Virginia has any requirements, but that's -- I want to go back to your personal life and where you say don't judge me on my military record, but judge me on my whole life. Because Laslo Boyd, in the Center Maryland Blog wrote this week that you're virtually going to have a coronation if things work out the way the polls suggest, but that we still know -- quoting him, "we still know relatively little about Brown, beyond his official biography."
SHERWOODI read your official biography and for example, you're very family oriented. You talk about domestic violence and education, immigration opportunities, but you're official biography doesn't give your whole life. It leaves out, for example, your first wife and the mother of your children. I'm just wondering, how much do we know about you, Anthony Brown, as a human being? (unintelligible).
NNAMDIHow much do you think we should know?
BROWNWell, yeah, and so let me assure anyone that's concerned this is not a coronation. We -- I've assembled quite a team and we're focused, and we're committed. We're communicating to voters. We're working very hard to earn the vote of Marylanders so that when we -- if and when we're successful we'll be able to govern effectively.
BROWNSo let's see, Laslo, I was the first base coach at my son's little league baseball team until the campaign. I was overcome by the demands of the campaign. I love listening to my daughter play the violin and attending her recitals. And when she was on the All-County Orchestra in Prince George's County.
NNAMDIYeah, but where's the bad stuff?
SHERWOODNo, no, it's not bad, it's not bad stuff.
BROWNI drink Red Stripe beer. I like that.
SHERWOODNo, not bad stuff. For example, this would have been my 44th wedding anniversary today, has I stayed married. Right. But your official biography doesn't name your first wife, to whom you were married 15 years.
BROWNYeah, I mean, and my…
SHERWOODI had to go to Wikipedia.
BROWN…my mother was born in a small town called Altdorf, on the foothills of the Swiss Alps. And…
SHERWOODThey might have that in there.
BROWN…I love Swiss cheese and chocolate and -- but I don't own a Swiss watch. But I am pretty punctual and I'm on time. So…
BUSHWe'll keep that (unintelligible)…
SHERWOODBut in terms of family…
BUSHIf you become governor, please keep that up.
BROWNI will be.
BUSHThat was talked about on the campaign trail yesterday among reporters.
BROWNAnd I'm currently married to Karmen Walker Brown, a beautiful, talented, supportive, loving, caring mother and wife.
NNAMDII want to go to Susan because we're running out of time very quickly.
NNAMDISusan, in Silver Spring, Md. You're on the air, Susan. Go ahead, please.
SUSANThank you for taking my call. Mr. Brown, I spent a fair amount of time at the early voting poll in Silver Spring. And many voters said quite bluntly, "It doesn't matter who wins. They're all the same." How would you respond to that?
BROWNWell, let's see. In a…
NNAMDIHow do you distinguish yourself -- in one minute or less -- from your opponents?
BUSHAnd how do you distinguish yourself from the Martin O'Malley? A lot of people say this would just be the extension.
SHERWOODIn 50 seconds.
BROWNOkay. Well, I mean, the Martin O'Malley, I mean, look, I'm a first generation American. I spent eight years in the general assembly, 30 years on active military duty, I'm an adoptive parent. As people, our experiences are different. And if you believe me or agree, as I responded to a previous question, that voters are going to look at experience, lifetime experience, they're going to look at record and vision, then I am different than Martin O'Malley.
BROWNDo we share the same fundamental values? Absolutely. Strong public schools and safe neighborhoods, clean environment and access to affordable quality healthcare. And we believe that government doesn't have the answers to all the questions. It does play an important backstop, particularly to vulnerable populations. So we share many fundamental values, but we're different people.
NNAMDIAnthony Brown, thank you so much for joining us.
BROWNThank you, Kojo.
NNAMDIAnthony Brown is a Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland. He's currently the state's lieutenant governor. Carol Schwartz will be joining shortly. She's an independent candidate for mayor of the District of Columbia. If you have questions or comments for her, give us a call at 800-433-8850. You can send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a tweet, @kojoshow.
NNAMDITom Sherwood, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration on Wednesday. That won't force the NFL team to change its name, but it fuels the intense fight by opponents, according to the Washington Post, to eliminate what they view as a racial slur against Native Americans. The trademark registrations will remain effective, however, during any appeal process. And that, in fact, could take years, but this seems like just another blow to the team because of the name that it has chosen to continue.
SHERWOODYes. And you had, I think, this was a subject of one of your shows this week.
SHERWOODI went yesterday to the National Museum of the American Indian and talked to people coming out. And I got -- as I expected -- a diverse of few people who think the name is -- well, it's not part of the horrible history the Redskins name. That it's part of a football team that they wish would do better. There are people who think it's terrible. Then I interviewed Andrew -- I want to say his last name correctly -- who's from the -- Montana.
SHERWOODAnd I can't remember now the Indian tribe. But he was just saying, you know, this is just something that is building more and more and more. And that it's going to change. It's just a matter of when. It would be better for Snyder -- who has hired a public relations firm to help him handle this crisis -- maybe to start thinking about ways to change his position. Because even though the patent trade office thing will take a long time, the trend line is fairly certain.
NNAMDITom Sherwood is our resident analyst. He's a reporter at NBC 4 and a columnist for the Current Newspapers. Matt Bush refuses to leave. He's our guest analyst.
BUSHI -- if you want me to stay, I can.
SHERWOODI invited him as an outsider, you know, to say some things.
BUSHTom put me up to a question here for…
NNAMDIHe's a reporter for WAMU 88.5.
BUSHSo I'm going to ask it because Tom put me up to it. So…
NNAMDIAnd joining us in studio is Carol Schwartz. She's an independent candidate for mayor of the District of Columbia, former member of the D.C. Council. She held an at-large seat as a Republican. Carol Schwartz, thank you for joining us. Welcome.
MS. CAROL SCHWARTZWell, hi, gentlemen. I'm glad to be here.
NNAMDIYou get your chance to weigh in on the conversation we're currently having…
SCHWARTZOh, I just heard it.
NNAMDI…about the name of the Washington football team and the Patent Office.
SCHWARTZListen, it thrills my soul to have heard that decision. And I don't know if you all recall, but back in 2001, long before most people were thinking or talking about this at all, I put a resolution forward to the Council of the District of Columbia, calling on the owner of the team -- I don't say the name. I haven't said the name of the team in 13 years -- calling on the owner of the team to change the name. It's hurtful.
SCHWARTZListen, it thrills my soul to have heard that decision. And I don't know if you all recall, but back in 2001, long before most people were thinking or talking about this at all, I put a resolution forward to the council of the District of Columbia calling on the owner of the team. I don't say the name. I haven't said the name of the team in 13 years -- calling on the owner of the team to change the name. It's hurtful. If you look it up in the dictionary, it means the same thing as the N-word of the K-word for a Jewish person. And I could go on and on. And why should we have a team name, the Washington, whatever, that is hurtful?
SCHWARTZAnd so this was 13 years ago. And then I just happened to be chair of the Washington area Council of Governments at that time. And I've took the resolution to them, and they passed it 11-to-2 with three abstentions, which was pretty amazing. And the Council passed it 12-to-1, the D.C. Council. So 13 years ago, I was trying to be -- get this thing done. I'm getting weary waiting for it to happen. I do, as I agree with Tom, I don't know why the owner, who wants good will, can't change the name. A polling changed the name of his team because it was hurtful, and life went on.
NNAMDIBoth Tom Sherwood and I have known you for much longer than 13 years. And I think I can speak for Tom when I say we both thought that you were finished with politics and that we were both surprised when you announced a little more than a week ago that you were entering the race for mayor of the District of Columbia. Why?
SCHWARTZWell, it's several reasons. One, since you all know me, you know I've been a sad puppy since I went out of political life. I didn't go out by choice. I'd actually given sick leave to workers. I'm a very bad person because I did that. I'm a very proud bad person, by the way. But they came after me because of it, and they knew they couldn't get me in the general election where I'd gotten 94,000 votes the four years earlier. And so they came after me in the primary. And they registered all the young Republicans, and they were successful. It was...
SCHWARTZWell, they were the mainly...
SHERWOODD.C. Chamber of Commerce.
SCHWARTZWell, and mainly the garage owners.
SCHWARTZThey put together a PAC, so they were able to raise unlimited money. You didn't have to abide by the regular rules. And...
SHERWOODAnd David Catania was part of that coalition.
SCHWARTZI believe he was.
NNAMDIWhen you announced that you were getting into this race, you essentially said that part of it was because you didn't see the kind of leadership skills among the general election candidates that you feel are necessary to guide the city in a critical time. What do you mean by that? Where do you think your opponents come up short in the leadership department?
SCHWARTZWell, I said that in my statement because I believe it. I think that -- but I really want to try to run a very positive campaign and talk about me and the depth and the breadth of my experience, my record, my commitment to this city. And so I think, in all those categories, I certainly am far and away the better mayoral candidate.
SCHWARTZI also -- when I was on the Council, I was kind of -- jokingly, they used to call me a policewoman because I was watching earmarks and all the kinds of things that were going on. And they tried to get me to raise constituent service funds. I wouldn't do it. And as soon as I left, they did. And you saw what happened. Earmarks and those funds just blew up in their faces. And...
SCHWARTZ...so I think that -- I think the kind of integrity and courage I bring to political life is needed. And I think I can bring back our reputation. And we need to have it brought back.
NNAMDILet me get one more in before Tom and Matt take over because they will. David Catania's campaign manager...
SCHWARTZI see they're just...
NNAMDIThey're chomping at the bit.
NNAMDIDavid Catania's campaign manager has already suggested that you're in this race for the sole purpose of drawing votes away from him. He called you Suleiman Schwartz. Frankly, I thought that was an insult to your career as a longtime public servant. But how do you respond to the suggestion that you may be working in concert with -- Muriel Bowser style?
SHERWOODOr not, or just to draw votes to make sure that David Catania, your almost moral enemy, doesn't win?
SCHWARTZWell, listen, gentlemen, I ran for mayor when I think the person you mentioned was, like, a teenager. I wanted...
SHERWOODOr there's another name you're not going to name?
SCHWARTZYes. That's another name I'm not going to name.
SHERWOODWell, I think that gives you an indication of the feeling. But here we go.
SCHWARTZBut I did that when he was a teenager. I ran again in 1994. I don't know his age at the time. In 1998, 2002, that had nothing to do with him. This race has nothing to do with him.
SHERWOODCan I -- let's clear this 'cause I know Matt wants to get in here. Would you be in this race if David Catania were not?
SHERWOODOK. Then if that's the case, what is it about Muriel Bowser that -- why you would be a better mayor than her? Specifically, you'll be -- you think you'll be better than Muriel Bowser. Is she inexperienced? I mean, you've got to have some reasons.
SHERWOODWe know the David Catania story now.
SCHWARTZLet's just put it this way, Tom. I have more experience. My record as is, like, very long and very deep and encompasses all areas of the city, whether it be starting the Department of the Environment, whether it be -- well, it, you know, parking regulations. Every issue you can think of, separating out the fire department from the EMS, which I called for years ago, every...
SHERWOODYou were against school reform and giving the mayor the control of...
SCHWARTZOh, that's not true. I was working on school...
SHERWOODYou voted against it.
SCHWARTZWell, wait a minute, Tom. I was for school reform in the 1970s.
SHERWOODI'm sorry. You were for school reform, but you were against the mayor takeover.
SCHWARTZI was against...
SHERWOODYou and Phil Mendelson.
SCHWARTZI was against doing away with the elected Board of Education. We had so few...
SHERWOODThe school (unintelligible)...
NNAMDIThat was the first office you had in the District of Columbia, on that elected school.
SCHWARTZExactly. And we had so few -- so little democracy in this town. Why would we take it away from ourselves? And that's why I was against that proposal -- school reform, yes.
NNAMDIOur guest is Carol Schwartz. She is an independent candidate for mayor of the District of Columbia, former member of the D.C. Council.
SHERWOODYes, I misspoke my...
NNAMDIShe held an at-large seat as a Republican. 800-433-8850 if you have questions or comments for her. Matt Bush.
BUSHSo Tom was helping me formulate this question. I'll say this, you've been out of office since 2008. In those six years...
SCHWARTZActually, January 2009.
BUSHOK. January 2009, sorry.
BUSHSo five years, five-and-a-half years. The city, particularly, you know, there's been a lot of recent -- there's been a lot of people who have moved here in those five years who may not know who you are. And it's going to be -- and it would be a lot of younger people who are getting their first jobs out of college. They came to D.C. They wanted to be -- a lot of people who came because of Barack Obama's presidency and wanting to get involved in public service in jobs and -- or in government jobs and things like that. So how do you introduce yourself to those people who may not know who you are?
SCHWARTZWell, one, I'm on the street all the time. I'm carrying my own petitions around. I'm meeting people that way. Also, we invite people to go to my website, which is carolfordc.com, and you can spell out for or use the number, carolfordc.com. And we have a lot of information on that there about me. I know I'm going to have to reintroduce myself to the old timers and introduce -- except many of those I don't seem to have to reintroduce myself to. They've been ringing my phone off the hook. And they were also yelling at me on the street, run, Carol, run.
SCHWARTZAnd then I ran, and they've been here for me. I think the newcomers are going to be a bigger challenge. I'm also a little older, but I hope they'll look at the breadth and depth of my experience. I hope they'll look at my energy level which remains, knock on wood, very strong and that they will elect someone who's mature, who gets along well with people, who respects everyone, who has a good record, loves this city, and let -- and I want to lead it forward, and I want them involved as well as everyone else.
SHERWOODPeople who I know who love you, who know you, they will say, you would -- they don't doubt for a moment your passion about being mayor, that you not only would be -- want to be mayor, that you would be, in their view, a good mayor. It just seems that this electorate has changed a lot though, as Matt was suggesting. And there's...
SCHWARTZWell, Tom, we'll see. I think there are...
SHERWOODBut what kind of -- what's going to be different for -- this is the fifth time you've run for mayor. I do remember on Freedom Plaza, your first words were, this is it, folks. And that was your...
SHERWOODBut that was then. This is now. So how are you going to run?
SCHWARTZWell, listen, the people also help bring me back. I can tell you it wasn't just a decision I make.
SHERWOODYou have a hundred percent enthusiasm. I don't doubt -- how are you going to -- these -- I mean, the other candidates have posters. They have...
NNAMDIWhat's your campaign strategies?
SHERWOODThey have campaign operations.
SCHWARTZI just got out here 10 days ago. And we've got, like, probably 50 people out getting petitions signed for me. We're not paying people to do it. We actually have a beginning of an army of volunteers. I...
SHERWOODWho's organizing that? Are you doing that?
SCHWARTZAbsolutely, me and my deputy campaign manager, Hillary Schwartz.
SHERWOODOh, that's -- and your daughter, delightful person.
NNAMDIHow about fundraising? Do you have a strategy for fundraising?
NNAMDIAre there people from whom or people or organizations that you will solicit for money? Are there people, organizations, or businesses from whom you will not be taking money?
SCHWARTZWell, I'm not going to be taking money from LLCs. I'm...
SCHWARTZWell, I'm going to take money from corporations. They, like any individual, can give a maximum of $2,000. But a corporation then can't turn to their LLCs -- and many of them have five and 10 LLCs -- and give $2,000 from each of those. I think, you know, the Council obviously felt those were repugnant, so they passed legislation to do away with the LLC contributions.
SCHWARTZAnd yet, when it comes to this election, that law doesn't go in, interestingly enough, till January of 1952 -- 2015, which is obviously after the election. But, you know what, just because you can do it doesn't mean you should do it. And I could legally do it and probably successfully do it, but I'm not going to do it.
SHERWOODHow about -- can we go to the issues?
NNAMDII was going to specific issues.
SHERWOODOh, good, go ahead.
NNAMDII was going to start with schools. When you going to go...
SHERWOODWe'll let you join the conversation, Kojo. You're on the air.
NNAMDII appreciate it.
NNAMDIThere are a number of issues that a new mayor is likely to inherit. The plans to table to overhaul the city's boundaries for public schools, what do you make of those plans thus far? And what is the broader philosophy that you think should be guiding the city's approach to this issue?
SCHWARTZWell, I certainly like the second proposal that they have tweaked a great deal better than the first one. But I think there's still a long way to go. I -- one of the concerns I have is the -- by redrawing the boundaries away they're doing, like, at Eastern and Wilson, we're going to have pretty much segregated high schools. And I sent my children nowhere but the D.C. Public Schools.
SCHWARTZAnd one of the great appeals of those schools was the integrated nature of those schools. So I am certainly not in favor of some of the portions of the proposal. I understand that, because of school closings, they're going to have to redraw some boundaries because you have children that are there with no neighborhood school right now, and they have to do something. But this dramatic change I don't think is needed.
SCHWARTZAnd I also think they just should put on a stop -- not maybe a permanent stop because there is something that needs to be done -- but at least a temporary stop. I think we've got a new mayor coming in, whether it be me or someone else. I think they should be able to weigh in on this. I do like the fact that this -- they are -- the chancellor and the state superintendent are really reaching out to the community to get comments. And it's becoming an open and transparent process.
NNAMDIWill you keep the chancellor, Kaya Henderson?
SHERWOODOK. Here's the...
SCHWARTZI very much would keep her, and I'll tell you why. Because I think we are starting to make progress. Why would we want to start all over again? Let's keep that progress going.
SHERWOODThe problem with the boundaries is that September is a timetable for the mayor's administration, Mayor Gray, to put out the new proposal. And it goes into effect next year. The candidate whose name shall not be mentioned by you has said, let's pause and not have this and restudy it some more. Muriel Bowser has come out and said this. She also is not for this program. Whatever happens, do you think boundaries should go into effect next year? Or should it be looked at more thoroughly?
SCHWARTZI think it should be looked at more thoroughly. But where there is immediate need, such as the individuals whose schools got closed, I think those can be done probably not too emotionally now. And that's a real need. I think the other is a discussion...
SHERWOODWhat about legal marijuana? I don't want to -- we've got lots of issues, legal marijuana.
NNAMDIWait a minute. Don't answer that yet because I think that Joe in Washington, D.C. has the same question. Let's see if Joe has anymore to add to that question. Joe, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
JOEHi, Ms. Schwartz. I go to Alice Deal Middle School, and I just graduated a couple days ago. I'm curious about your opinion on the legalization of marijuana because it's already very accessible in our school. And I'm wondering how you think that it should be dealt with.
SCHWARTZWell, listen, I was for a medicinal marijuana. I voted for it when it was on the Council and when it got stuck in Congress. I went up there and lobbied to get it unstuck so that people that needed it for medical reasons could have it. I am not for legalizing marijuana. I think we have enough. And now that I travel around on the streets again and I see people that are so stoned on alcohol and other drugs, and many of them marijuana, I think we have enough of a stoned population. I want to get them off of drugs. I certainly don't want to add to it.
SHERWOODAre you for decriminalization?
SCHWARTZOh, absolutely. Oh, I wouldn't...
SHERWOODOK. Just not legal. Not Colorado. You don't want to be Colorado East.
SCHWARTZOh, no. Not -- I don't want to be Colorado. And -- but I do -- I am for medicinal marijuana. I am for the decriminalization of marijuana, but I am not for the recreational use of marijuana.
BUSHAffordable housing, The Post had this story about Millennials wanting to stay in D.C. But once they start having families and then they have to start paying for things like childcare and all of that, they wouldn't be -- they couldn't afford to continue to live in D.C. What can you do? That's, without question, I think an issue that is affecting so many areas in this area.
SCHWARTZOh, it's one of my...
BUSHNow, how do you tackle that?
SCHWARTZIt's one of my top priorities, and we're already -- I've got people looking at best practices around the country in affordable housing. I chaired the regional taskforce on affordable housing for years, so I do know some best practices. I think Mayor Gray has led us -- starting to lead us in the right direction on affordable housing. Listen, I love the diversity of our city. And I want to keep that diversity. I want to attract people. And I -- one of the things that I love about this city, it's not just racial diversity, but also its economic diversity. And in order to keep it, we've got to have the affordable housing component. And I've worked very hard on that.
NNAMDIOne of the aspects of diversity seems to be an increase in soccer fans. The Council is going to meet next Thursday to chat about a fairly complicated and contentious plan to provide some public funds for a new soccer stadium for DC United, a deal that would involve the city swapping the Reeves Center site at 14th and U, one of the hottest locations in the city, for the land where the stadium would be built at Buzzards Point. Are you a supporter of the plan as its drawn out?
SCHWARTZI -- my great -- I'd love to see soccer come here. I've been a supporter of the team. In fact, I used to do Council resolutions commending them on their wins. And I would do it. It was my -- I was the impetus for those resolutions. But I don't -- the deal as I know it is -- Reeves Center, I do not like seeing the Reeves Center go. It is, you know, I heard it was appraised at, like, 180-some-odd-million dollars. And we're selling it for $55 million. Whereas we seem to be paying top dollar, $21 million, for that little parcel that we want for the stadium.
SCHWARTZAnd I'll tell you, the Reeves Center -- you know, I can't stand when we sell our property. It's not there for future generations. And then when we give it away or partially give it away -- if we're going to sell it, let's put it to the highest bidder and look at what we get the most benefit out of, not just constantly traded away. And so I -- that component of it, I hope that Mr. (word?) would look at another piece of property he might like and not the Reeves Center.
SHERWOODStreetcar. The big issue about streetcars, 37-mile system. The mayor put in a bunch of money to fund it in the out years. Council took it out. They have some issues now about that budget. But your own view about how fast the city should push for the streetcars?
SCHWARTZWell, that one I don't have a strong opinion about. I'll look into it.
NNAMDIHere is Clyde in Washington, D.C. Clyde, you're on the air. We only have about a minute left. But go ahead, Clyde.
CLYDEThanks, Kojo. I'll be less than 30 seconds. Hi, Carol. I'm glad that you've entered the race. I'm a registered Democrat. I'm a third-generation Washingtonian. I voted for you when you ran for mayor. I will vote for you this time. Please stay in the race. As far as streetcars are concerned...
SCHWARTZI ain't going anywhere.
CLYDEOh, excellent. Excellent. We don't need streetcars. We need more money for schools, public safety, and things of that nature. But thank you so much, and continue on.
SCHWARTZAnd thank you for your support.
NNAMDIThank you for your call. The Council voted recently for the largest income tax cut the city has seen in 15 years. The city's chief financial officer this week said he's concerned those cuts might bust the city's budget. How do you see it?
SCHWARTZWell, listen, I'm for tax cuts. I think we're among the highest tax to citizens in the United States. And so I would like to -- taxpayers to keep more of their money.
NNAMDIWe just have to find a way to make them work.
SCHWARTZAnd we'll have to find a way to make them work. And I also like the middle class tax cut. I think that's long overdue. So I hope money will keep coming in and that we will have the money to do the tax cuts. I certainly would have voted for it if I were there.
NNAMDICarol Schwartz, we're down to 20 seconds. She's an independent candidate for mayor of the District of Columbia, former member of the D.C. Council who held an at-large seat as a Republican. Thank you for joining us. Good luck to you.
SCHWARTZWell, thank you. I'm glad to be here.
NNAMDITom Sherwood is our resident analyst, reporter at NBC 4 and a columnist for the Current Newspapers. Always a pleasure.
SHERWOODWatch out for misguided golf balls.
NNAMDIMatt Bush, go away, please.
BUSHI've got to be back Tuesday.
NNAMDIThank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
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