Sorting political fact from fiction, and having fun while we’re at it. DC residents will decide in November whether to take the next step–legalizing marijuana. The trail of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell wraps up. And taxi app companies Uber and Lyft get a boost in Virginia, but hit roadblocks in Maryland. 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
  • Carol Schwartz Independent Candidate for Mayor, District of Columbia; Former Member, D.C. Council (R- At Large)
  • Rachel Holt East Coast General Manager, Uber

Featured Clip

DC Mayoral Candidate Carol Schwartz (Independent) said Friday she’s being underestimated by the media as the race heats up heading toward November’s elections.

She pointed to recent articles that say she has no chance of winning, and a poll that left her name off of a question that asked voters which candidate they would prefer.

For the full discussion, watch below.

Watch Live Video

Independent D.C. mayoral candidate Carol Schwartz joins us in studio. Watch live video of our conversation below.


  • 12:06:40

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5, at American University in Washington, welcome to "The Politics Hour," starring Tom Sherwood. I'm Kojo Nnamdi. Tom Sherwood is our resident analyst. He's a reporter at NBC and a columnist for the Current Newspapers. And probably the main reason why Forbes Magazine declared Washington, D.C., America's coolest city. Tom Sherwood, welcome.

  • 12:07:12

    MR. TOM SHERWOODI'm happy to be here. Is Forbes Magazine cool itself?

  • 12:07:15

    NNAMDII don't know.

  • 12:07:16

    SHERWOODI mean how does it know what cool is?

  • 12:07:18

    NNAMDIHow does Forbes Magazine become the arbitral of cool?

  • 12:07:21

    MS. CAROL SCHWARTZ(unintelligible) question and be glad.

  • 12:07:22

    SHERWOODThe richest, coolest person in Washington -- I don't know who that is. I don't know who that would be.

  • 12:07:26

    NNAMDICarol Schwartz that would be. Carol Schwartz…

  • 12:07:27

    SHERWOODShe might be among the coolest.

  • 12:07:30

    NNAMDIShe joins us in studio. She is an independent candidate for Mayor of the District of Columbia. Carol Schwartz, welcome.

  • 12:07:35

    SCHWARTZWell, thank you. I'm glad to be here, you guys -- with you guys.

  • 12:07:38

    NNAMDIDo you agree with Forbes declaring D.C. the coolest city in the nation?

  • 12:07:40

    SCHWARTZWell, I think it's awfully cool. When I discovered it 50 -- nearly 50 years ago I thought it was awfully cool then, too.

  • 12:07:47

    NNAMDIWell, it's cool because Tom Sherwood is here. That's what I'm...

  • 12:07:50

    SHERWOODAnd, you know, we've all these lists.

  • 12:07:52

    NNAMDIThat's my story and I'm sticking with it.

  • 12:07:53

    SHERWOODWell, all these lists, you know, they do lists, you know. We've got the worst traffic. We've got the rudest people. We've got the coolest people. You know, all they do is they're just trying to sell…

  • 12:08:01


  • 12:08:01

    SHERWOOD…internet hits and magazines.

  • 12:08:03

    SCHWARTZWell, that's okay, as long as they're talking about us. That's important.

  • 12:08:05

    NNAMDIIf you have questions or comments for Carol Schwartz, call us at 800-433-8850. You can send email to You can send us a tweet, @kojoshow. Or got to your -- our website, where you will see a live video stream of the broadcast at You can also ask questions or make comments there. This is the week that marijuana legalization got on the November ballot in the District of Columbia.

  • 12:08:33

    NNAMDITom Sherwood, it's been speculated that given that this is an off-year election and turnout in the primary was so very low, that this issue being on the ballot may bring more people to the polls. What do you think?

  • 12:08:44

    SHERWOODWell, the D.C. Cannabis campaign, which is the organization that got it on the ballot, in addition to getting approval for the ballot, the organizers have picked up some -- nearly 50,000 voter registration cards. They say -- these -- the organizers said they're going to go out and register 50,000 people to make sure that they, in fact, will vote.

  • 12:09:05

    SHERWOODThere's a lot of, you know, young people in town who don't have a driver's license so they don't get registered there. So there's a lot of new people in town who haven't registered to vote. They're gonna register them. And it'll have unpredictable effect on the mayor's race.

  • 12:09:16

    NNAMDICarol Schwartz, do you think this will encourage more people to come out to the polls? And if so, if more people come out to the polls is that a good thing for your campaign?

  • 12:09:24

    SCHWARTZWell, I don't know. I think if they're going to do a big voter registration drive, of course, I like to see more registered voters. But if it's all around one issue that I don't happen to favor, that may not necessarily be good for me.

  • 12:09:39

    SHERWOODAre you -- you're the only candidate, that I'm aware of, that has said you don't support recreational marijuana.

  • 12:09:45


  • 12:09:46

    SHERWOODMedical marijuana, yes, decriminalization, yes, but not recreational.

  • 12:09:47

    SCHWARTZMedical, yes. And I'd like even expanded medical. And the decriminalization, absolutely. I think, it's been too discriminatory and I'm very glad to see that.

  • 12:10:03

    SHERWOODWould you be upset if -- well, of course you would be, but are you worried that Congress might interfere, even if the city votes for it?

  • 12:10:07

    SCHWARTZWell, listen, whether I like something or don't like something, I don't want Congress interfering. And so I will certainly do a push-back with Congress, even if it's an issue where I agree with them. They should, you know, butt out. This is our city and this is about us.

  • 12:10:25

    NNAMDIBefore we get to your campaign, the individual against whom you ran on at least a couple of occasions, former -- Marion Barry had some parking ticket problems this week. He also had some ongoing ailment problems because, you know, he's a diabetic. We hope for a speedy recovery whenever we have such an incident. But it brought to light, Tom and Carol Schwartz, the fact that Mayor Barry, and apparently Ward 7 Councilmember…

  • 12:10:52

    SHERWOODYvette Alexander.

  • 12:10:53

    NNAMDI…Yvette Alexander, all -- both had a lot of outstanding tickets. Is there a policy, when you were on the Council, Carol Schwartz, to kind of turn a blind eye to councilmembers getting tickets until a long period of time has elapsed?

  • 12:11:08

    SCHWARTZNo. I -- but listen, I never tried it. I pay my tickets on time…

  • 12:11:12

    SHERWOODBut there is…

  • 12:11:13

    NNAMDI(unintelligible) around town.

  • 12:11:13

    SCHWARTZ…because I don't want it to double. Now, if a councilmember is on official business, they can park free. Not everywhere, but in certain places they can. Yeah.

  • 12:11:22

    SHERWOODThey can park, yeah, right. They can park illegally, as long as it's not a handicapped zone, a fireplug…

  • 12:11:27

    SCHWARTZRush hour.

  • 12:11:28

    SHERWOOD…rush hour, things like that.

  • 12:11:30

    SCHWARTZYeah. No, but I -- listen, when I got tickets that were not in any of those categories, I paid them. And I didn't want to them to double, so I paid them quickly. So I can't -- there's no policy that I know of that gives us a pass.

  • 12:11:45

    SHERWOODMayor Barry, you know, because he has been ill and he does -- and he blames this latest incident, going the wrong way on the street, on a hypoglycemic -- is that the right word?

  • 12:11:55

    NNAMDIYes. You have it exactly right.

  • 12:11:57

    SCHWARTZYou pronounced it will.

  • 12:11:59

    NNAMDIHypoglycemic attack.

  • 12:12:00

    SHERWOODAttack. But his closest people, the people who cared the most about him as a person, think he really shouldn't be out driving, that he ought to have someone drive him around. You know, he's 70…

  • 12:12:09

    NNAMDIThat costs money, man.

  • 12:12:10

    SHERWOODWell, and not a government worker. I don't mean -- let me be hasten to say that. But just -- he needs a little more assistance, I think, getting around so he doesn't get in these situations. But he's resisted that.

  • 12:12:21

    NNAMDIWell, his signature program…

  • 12:12:23

    SCHWARTZWell, we know he marches to his own drummer.

  • 12:12:25

    SHERWOODThat's true.

  • 12:12:25

    NNAMDIYes, indeed. The signature program, the Summer Youth Employment Program, just ended its 35th year. And, of course, there are a whole lot of people in the city who say that that's how they first got employment in the city. The program will be continuing. I think you were already on the Council when this program got started in 1979.

  • 12:12:43

    SCHWARTZYes. Well, I wasn't there...

  • 12:12:44


  • 12:12:45

    SCHWARTZ...yet. I was on the Board of Education.

  • 12:12:46

    NNAMDIYou on school board then?

  • 12:12:47

    SCHWARTZBut I think it's a good program, but we need to always make sure that the young people, who participate, know that when you get a summer job, that it is a job. You need to arrive on time. You need to do something that's relevant. And so when I chaired the committee that had oversight over it, I certainly emphasized that. And I think sometimes they've done a good job with that and sometimes not.

  • 12:13:12


  • 12:13:12

    NNAMDIIn case you're just joining us, our guest is Carol Schwartz. She's an independent candidate for D.C. Mayor. If you have questions or comments for her, give us a call at 800-433-8850 or go to our website,, where you can see our live video stream and ask a comment or question. Tom Sherwood is our resident analyst. He's a reporter for NBC and a columnist for the Current Newspapers. Can we get on to the business at hand?

  • 12:13:33

    SHERWOODYes. Well, I want to just talk briefly about summer jobs because…

  • 12:13:37


  • 12:13:37

    SHERWOOD…it's important, one, for those new voters who are in town who are going to be introduced to Carol Schwartz and reintroduced to the older ones. The summer jobs program, Mayor Gray, today -- they're having an event, at 6:00 to 9:00 tonight, to celebrate the end of this year's summer jobs program. I don't believe there's been any negative stories, which is a good thing. And they're going to, in fact, honor Mayor Barry for the 35 years of summer jobs.

  • 12:14:00

    SHERWOODEven though many children got paid for not working and some didn't paid for working, there was lots of various problems, through all the administrations, Mayor Williams, Mayor Fenty, and Mayor Gray. But the issue is that tens of thousands of young people were introduced, and have been introduced, to the world of work, just as Carol was talking about.

  • 12:14:20


  • 12:14:20

    SHERWOODSome people are asking -- and I'd ask you Ms. Schwartz, why not have some type of summer job program, year round, so that students, high school juniors, maybe even seniors, could have some type of job after school during the school year, rather than just doing it for seven weeks during the summer?

  • 12:14:36

    SCHWARTZYeah. No, I would certainly, if I'm elected Mayor, would consider something like that because I think we need to keep our young people occupied in constructive ways.

  • 12:14:45

    NNAMDIYou filed over 6,500 signatures this week to become a mayoral candidate for the fifth time. Two thousand of those signatures you say you personally collected. You said this week that your candidacy should not be underestimated. What do you mean by that?

  • 12:14:59

    SCHWARTZWell, I'm glad you asked the question. I mean, one, I'm thrilled that we had over 6,500…

  • 12:15:03

    SHERWOODCan I answer this question? She thinks the media has underestimated her. She…

  • 12:15:07


  • 12:15:07

    SHERWOODYou fussed at Mike DeBonis of the Post.

  • 12:15:10

    NNAMDIEverybody in the media except me.

  • 12:15:11

    SHERWOODI'm cutting right to the issue and then she can explain it.

  • 12:15:13

    SCHWARTZOkay. Well, no. First I want to talk about the petitions, which I'm real excited about. And that is over 6,500 collected by myself, who alone got over 2,000 of those signatures -- and with 72 volunteers. Not one penny was spent for one signature. That's highly unusual. Most people pay people to collect signatures. And we did it with all volunteers. It represented every ward of the city and signatures from every ward of the city.

  • 12:15:43

    SHERWOODYou surprised people with the number of -- some people were wondering whether you, in fact, would have enough.

  • 12:15:47

    SCHWARTZCould even get to 3,000, but less far more than double that.

  • 12:15:52


  • 12:15:52

    SCHWARTZAnd 72 people -- and most of whom I didn't know. They called -- when I first announced and it, as you all know, it was a surprise announcement, I thought I could be that Maytag repairman sitting there, nobody calling and being very lonely -- for those of you who remember the Maytag repairman commercials.

  • 12:16:11

    SCHWARTZAnd -- but anyway, it didn't prove to be that way. People were ringing our phone off the hooks -- continue to do so. And those petitions were collected by mainly strangers to me. So it was really thrilling.

  • 12:16:23

    NNAMDIBefore Tom gets into this conversation and pushes me out of it completely, my own uninformed speculation is that your path, to winning this race, is a simple one. You have got to get a lot of registered Democrats in the District of Columbia to vote for you, because the Democrats are an overwhelming majority.

  • 12:16:43

    SCHWARTZSeventy-six percent of the voting population.

  • 12:16:45

    NNAMDIHow do you plan on doing that?

  • 12:16:47

    SCHWARTZWell, listen, I've been fortunate that even when I was Republican, that Democrats voted for me. I mean, I would never have won an election if I had just depended on Republicans and Independents. So Democrats are used to voting for me. In fact, they walk up to me all the time now and say, "You're the only," blank, "I ever voted for." You know, they constantly remind me about that. So if they all just get together and do it at the same time, I could win. The people that voted for me for one election or another election…

  • 12:17:17

    NNAMDIHow about those people that Tom mentioned who are new voters in the city, who are not familiar with you?

  • 12:17:21

    SCHWARTZWell, I'm introducing myself to the new voters. I'm out and about all the time. I think my record should make them look at me and look at me seriously. One of the things -- when you talked about my being under a -- considered that -- I consider that I'm being underestimated, is I keep reading things like in a City Paper article, Will Summer said that, you know, little chance of winning, you know.

  • 12:17:51

    NNAMDII saw that.

  • 12:17:51

    SCHWARTZCan't win. Then they use things like five percent of the vote or 10 percent of the vote. I mean, I've never gotten less -- when I ran for Mayor -- and I know it was a two-race, not three people plus others in the race -- and where I never got less than 30 percent of the vote. And that was when I was a Republican. And then as much as 42 percent of the vote. So I think it's…

  • 12:18:11

    SHERWOODIn 1994.

  • 12:18:13

    SCHWARTZYeah, so I think it's terribly unfair to do the "She can't win. She's gonna get this ridiculous number of low votes." Where's the poll? Where's the poll? I want to tell you all about something -- speaking of polls. I had about three or four weeks ago, there was a poll out -- I didn't know who did it, but I found out about it from friends who were the receivers of this poll. They would say there are three people we want to know your favorable ratings of and your unfavorable ratings of.

  • 12:18:45

    SCHWARTZAnd they named the three, I guess, considered leading candidates.

  • 12:18:48

    SHERWOODThe well-known, Bowser and Catania and Schwartz.

  • 12:18:50

    SCHWARTZBowser, Catania and Schwartz. They named all three. And on a scale of one to 10, was favorability and unfavorability. And then the next question was, if the election was held today, who would you vote for, Bowser or Catania?

  • 12:19:09

    SHERWOODLeft you out?

  • 12:19:10

    SCHWARTZLeft me out. I wasn't even in it. And then the person that told me -- there were several people -- but one kept saying, "I kept yelling Schwartz. And I kept pushing three." It was vote one for one, and two for the other. And so I think that poll was done by a PAC. I think it was called D.C. First, that was the same PAC that was put together for Patrick Mara in 2008 to run against me. It's the same players, according to the City Paper.

  • 12:19:40

    SHERWOODThis -- well, this goes -- this -- well, this goes…

  • 12:19:41

    SCHWARTZAnd -- but anyway, they didn't even have a chance to punch me.

  • 12:19:44

    SHERWOODIt's called a push poll, if they just try to do that. A push poll is to try to get people to just focus on who the poll wants you to focus on. But this goes to the issue of you've got…

  • 12:19:53

    SCHWARTZWell, why don't they do a real poll? Somebody should do a real poll.

  • 12:19:55

    SHERWOODWell, because they're not interested in a real poll. They're trying to get somebody elected. Here's the deal, Bowser…

  • 12:20:00

    SCHWARTZBut why don't, in the media, do a real poll?

  • 12:20:01

    SHERWOOD...and Catania -- Bowser and Catania have...

  • 12:20:03

    NNAMDIWe will.

  • 12:20:04

    SHERWOOD...contemporaneous records of things they've been doing, the last couple of years, certainly Catania's run city-wide five times. Bowser's very well known. They have money, they have organization, they have campaign structure, they're organized on the precinct level. You told us, the other day, that you're not -- you don't have a lot of money, you've got to report, Sunday night or Monday night, your report. And you said, you're not gonna have a lot of money. You've loaned your campaign 30,000.

  • 12:20:28

    SCHWARTZI've loaned $30,000. And with…

  • 12:20:31

    SHERWOODAnd you've raised about thirty. But they have hundreds of thousands. Bowser may be up around $800,000 or more. And Catania will be over four probably.

  • 12:20:38

    SCHWARTZWell, she's raised, gosh, all over about $2.5 million for this election.

  • 12:20:41

    SHERWOODSo how do you compete in a field like that where you -- where the media -- you mentioned the City Paper -- how do you compete in the field where you think the media is not giving you fair shake and the campaigns that you're running against are very well organized?

  • 12:20:55

    SCHWARTZWell, we're very well organized. You don't get 6,500 or more signatures not being…

  • 12:21:00

    SHERWOODThat's true.

  • 12:21:01

    SCHWARTZ…organized. And we have a huge cadre of volunteers. So we're doing with volunteers what they are doing with paid workers.

  • 12:21:08

    NNAMDIAre you doing precinct organization or ward organization?

  • 12:21:09

    SCHWARTZWell, we will. It's three months to the campaign. One has been out there since March of 2013. What is that? Like 15 months or something.

  • 12:21:18

    SHERWOODIt's a long time.

  • 12:21:19

    SCHWARTZThe other one's been out there -- when you count his exploratory committee -- about eight months. And so we've been out there less than two months. I can assure you we will have a strong organization when it comes to Election Day.

  • 12:21:33

    SHERWOODAnd you're -- but not a lot of money.

  • 12:21:34

    SCHWARTZAnd we have another -- nearly another three months to build that.

  • 12:21:37

    SHERWOODOne of our supporters said to me, "I'm just worried she doesn't have enough money."

  • 12:21:43

    SCHWARTZWell, listen, I have very strong name recognition. And even though I've been gone for a while, I have strong name recognition, I have strong face recognition. I think I -- most people admired the work I did. One of the things that's bothered me, Tom, is that all the articles that have been done -- and I'm not getting ignored by the media, I'm just getting discounted by them. I mean, they'll say my name, but they'll say, "Oh, she's not going to get any votes."

  • 12:22:08

    SCHWARTZWell, let's do a poll. Let's do something that'll show…

  • 12:22:10

    SHERWOODWell, you could do a poll.

  • 12:22:11

    SCHWARTZ…I match -- I don't have the money to do a poll.

  • 12:22:14

    NNAMDII want to get to issues, but this, of course, will come up. So we might as well bring it up now in the form of an email from Karl, who writes, "Some of the coverage of Ms. Schwartz's entry into the mayoral campaign had suggested it has less to do with her interest in the office, and is more about sour grapes between her and David Catania, the other Independent candidate. In effect, she has been characterized as running as a spoiler, to siphon votes away from Catania.

  • 12:22:36

    NNAMDI"What does she have to say in response to that criticism and why isn't she instead running for the at-large seat reserved for non-majority candidates?" I can answer the last part of that question. Been there, done that.

  • 12:22:49

    SCHWARTZBeen there, done that. And did it for 16 years actually. And everybody, after 16 years, is entitled to an advancement. They are. They are entitled to advancement or the opportunity…

  • 12:22:59


  • 12:23:01

    SCHWARTZThe -- entitled -- the…

  • 12:23:02

    SHERWOODAnd opportunity for an advancement.

  • 12:23:02

    SCHWARTZ…opportunity for an advancement. I don't mean I'm -- I don't ever feel entitled to anything. I work very hard for everything I've ever gotten. But I do think that you're entitled to an opportunity for advancement. This is a rumor that was put out by the Catania campaign the day I announced. And they, you know, his supporters continue to whip it up. It's ridiculous that I -- they say that I was a put-up job by Muriel Bowser. Anybody that knows me, that knows that I'm my own person -- it so ridiculous.

  • 12:23:33

    SCHWARTZIt's also disgusting and degrading. Look at my record, my long record of substantive things. And one of the things I want to talk about -- so I did say in the Post the other day that I intend to siphon off votes from everybody. I'm in this election to win it. I'm not in it to, like, hurt any one person. I'm in it to win the election.

  • 12:23:56

    SHERWOODBut you don't -- you -- and I accept that as your answer. But other people do say and people feel that you're -- you had the right to be mad at David Catania because in 2008 he helped orchestrate the campaign that had you lose the Democrat -- the Republican primary.

  • 12:24:12

    SCHWARTZThat's absolutely right.

  • 12:24:12

    SHERWOODAnd so therefore, you do…

  • 12:24:14

    SCHWARTZAnd he used all the people…

  • 12:24:14

    SHERWOOD…have a personal dislike for him.

  • 12:24:16

    SCHWARTZWell, no. And he also used the people who are mad at my -- giving sick leave to workers…

  • 12:24:20

    SHERWOODSo if you don't…

  • 12:24:20

    SCHWARTZ…which I'm very proud about. But I was running for mayor long before he was an ingredient in this election.

  • 12:24:28

    SHERWOODIf you -- but can I just put this to bed, maybe.

  • 12:24:32

    SCHWARTZNo. You never put it to bed if he's…

  • 12:24:33

    SHERWOODWell, no, I'm not going to put it to bed.

  • 12:24:34

    SCHWARTZNeither -- both of you have brought this up. It is two months into the campaign. When are you ever going to just put it to bed?

  • 12:24:39

    SHERWOODI only have one more question. If you want to win and be mayor because you'll think you'll be a good mayor -- I understand that and I buy that. But if you…

  • 12:24:47

    SCHWARTZAnd my history of getting along well with people and getting jobs done…

  • 12:24:49

    SHERWOOD…end up in this campaign…

  • 12:24:51

    SCHWARTZ…and getting jobs done show I would be a good mayor.

  • 12:24:51

    SHERWOODAll of that -- it's stipulated. All right. If you are not the candidate who wins, do you have a choice between the other two opponents? Would you prefer to see Muriel Bowser, the Democrat, or David Catania, the Independent? If you -- it turns out -- we get those polls a month -- a few weeks from now or a month or so from now we have polls and you are not credible as a candidate because you don't have enough support…

  • 12:25:14

    SCHWARTZI'm never going to pick one of my opponents.

  • 12:25:16


  • 12:25:16

    SCHWARTZI'm going to pick Carol Schwartz for mayor.

  • 12:25:18

    NNAMDIOn to the issues.

  • 12:25:18

    SHERWOODAll right. We didn't make her say David Catania's name, but she had not said that on this program last time.

  • 12:25:22

    SCHWARTZListen, I don't mind saying anybody's name, but I -- it is, you know, the thing about this campaign that's really been irritating and that is that having to spend endless amounts of time…

  • 12:25:34

    NNAMDIWell, let's cut that off right now.

  • 12:25:35

    SCHWARTZ…answering this charge that was started by them.

  • 12:25:37

    NNAMDILet's cut that off right now.

  • 12:25:40

    SHERWOODWell, let's move it on. Move…

  • 12:25:40

    SCHWARTZBut let me tell you…

  • 12:25:40

    NNAMDIBoth you and Tom have lovely hair styles -- and I know you don't want to mess your hair up by putting on the headphones, but…

  • 12:25:44

    SCHWARTZOkay. But…

  • 12:25:45

    NNAMDI…Cathy, in Annapolis, Md., is going to take us to issues. Cathy, you're on the air…

  • 12:25:49

    SCHWARTZAnd I hope so.

  • 12:25:51

    NNAMDICathy, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:25:53

    CATHYOh, thank you. I'm not sure this is the right forum for this, but I have a question about, you know, people who live in D.C. and get the subsidy to go to the state colleges around the country. And, you know, with the lack of funds around, I was wondering if there's a way to channel that so that it really goes to the people who need it, as opposed to just everybody who lives in D.C.

  • 12:26:14

    SCHWARTZWell, that was a -- that's a federal program. And I think it's a good thing. And…

  • 12:26:20

    SHERWOODNorton -- Eleanor Holmes Norton got the…

  • 12:26:20

    SCHWARTZ…nor, yeah, nor would I tailor that. Now, there is one that hasn't been funded yet, but that will do a local program. And I think that probably should be tailored.

  • 12:26:35

    NNAMDIYou released your campaign manifesto in June and you say you're concerned that the city is leaving seniors, minorities and the poor behind. Can you talk about what you plan to do about that as mayor?

  • 12:26:46

    SCHWARTZWell, listen, I want to work on affordable housing. I think that we're watching people being pushed out of the city. And so I want to protect our seniors who have lived here and help them. And I want to have affordable housing and rental housing. And I'm looking at best practices around the country. I have other -- some ideas, the inclusionary zoning thing we did 13 years ago to try to put that to better use.

  • 12:27:12

    SCHWARTZSo affordable housing. I want to do drug treatment. It think that now that we've got money coming in, I see we have a lot of people that need drug treatment and alcohol treatment. And that's why I haven't been a sign-on to the recreational marijuana thing because I think that we have other addicted residents. And I don't want to add to that number. So I'm also worried about diminishing diversity.

  • 12:27:45

    SCHWARTZAnd that is not just racial diversity, but also economic diversity. So I want to concentrate on the homeless population and mental health issues related, and addiction issues. I also -- one of the…

  • 12:28:01

    SHERWOOD(unintelligible) ask about homeless? Because it's been a big issue that D.C. General Hospital has had hundreds of families -- that the homeless population has transformed from mostly single men and some women to families with children. There are hundreds or -- I don't know how many -- 600 children at D.C. General. What -- everyone knows that's an issue, but when people talk about it they want to fix it, but I don't hear them say, we've got to put homeless facilities in all eight wards of the city.

  • 12:28:29

    SHERWOODWe've got to do this, we have to do that. People just talk about it as a serious issue they want to address. What would you do specifically about homelessness that's not being done, that the mayor hasn't tried to do?

  • 12:28:38

    SCHWARTZWell, no. I think -- well, I think D.C. General has certainly deteriorated. I mean, it has, you know, rats around. I mean, there -- I certainly would clean up…

  • 12:28:48

    SHERWOODI know how bad the problem is, but I don't hear a solution.

  • 12:28:50

    SCHWARTZWell, listen, you -- one, you clean up the facility. You put people in. And you make it habitable.

  • 12:28:56

    SHERWOODOkay. That's good.

  • 12:28:57

    SCHWARTZAnd you do programs. And you do -- these things are not impossible. They're not impossible to do. And I can assure that I will get them done. If you've watched me, one of -- I mentioned about this. When they do articles about me, they talk about my personality. I've got a lot of -- I give a lot of hugs and womanly advice. But look at my record, whether it be a whistleblower's protection act, whether it be to establishing the Department of the Environment, whether it be getting SUVs out of being the vehicle of choice of every government worker.

  • 12:29:37

    SCHWARTZI have done the job. We have not tried me. We've tried everybody else. We've not tried me. I think that I show that I have the know-how, the knowledge, the record, the background, the commitment…

  • 12:29:52

    SHERWOODIt's a low…

  • 12:29:52

    SCHWARTZ…to get a job done.

  • 12:29:53

    SHERWOODIt's low-income house -- apartment building downtown, in the diminishing Chinatown area of the city, that, you know, that the owners of the building want to tear it down or change it completely. How much aggressiveness should there be in Park Southern, the place on Southern Avenue that Muriel Bowser's been involved with in terms of those 700 tenants there? I mean, people are afraid they're losing their homes. So we need…

  • 12:30:17

    SCHWARTZI know.

  • 12:30:17

    SHERWOOD…firm action, not just definitions of the problem.

  • 12:30:18

    SCHWARTZI know. And that's why one of the reasons -- but that's one of the reasons why I'm out here, Tom, is because I'm worried about those people that are losing their homes. And I can assure you I will work very hard to do something about it and to make sure that if they do there'll be alternatives.

  • 12:30:36


  • 12:30:36

    NNAMDICarol Schwartz is an Independent candidate for D.C. Mayor. She joins us in studio. Later in the broadcast we'll be talking with Uber executive, Rachel Holt. But if you have questions or comments for Carol Schwartz right now the number to call is 800-433-8850. Here is Jonathan, in Washington, D.C. Jonathan, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:30:56

    JONATHANGood afternoon, all. Ms. Schwartz, good afternoon to you.

  • 12:30:58

    SCHWARTZWell, thank you. Good afternoon.

  • 12:31:00

    JONATHANI have great respect for you and your record. And -- but I do have a question for you.

  • 12:31:06


  • 12:31:08

    JONATHANWhich is that I recall that you were not in favor of same-sex marriage in D.C. And I wonder what your position is today.

  • 12:31:17

    SCHWARTZOh, no. I'm very much in favor of it. In fact, my daughter is married to a woman. I was always in favor of people of the same-sex uniting and having all the rights and responsibility of a union. I felt that, along with many in the gay and lesbian community as well, that if we pushed the marriage aspect -- the word marriage -- that it might be problematic with Congress. And so I also, in many cases, followed the lead of those who were affected. When they decided they wanted marriage, I wanted marriage.

  • 12:31:58

    NNAMDIEducation, one of the more contentious issues in this mayoral race. We've been talking about your track record on education. You were were a Council member back in 2007. At that time you voted against giving control of the school system to the Mayor. You say you don't regret that decision, but you have pledged to retain school's chancellor Kaya Henderson if you're elected. What do you think the main education issues are now? And what would your approach be to those issues that would be different from your opponents?

  • 12:32:26

    SCHWARTZWell, I just wanted to say that why -- I was one of two people who voted -- Phil Mendelson and myself-voted against the takeover, the mayoral takeover. And it had to do with doing away with our elected Board of Education, just pushing them aside. We have so little democracy in this town, something I would work very hard to rectify as Mayor. But I hated to see our other elected body being so pushed aside. And so that's why I voted…

  • 12:32:51

    NNAMDIIt really didn't hurt Phil Mendelson's career. He's now the chairman.

  • 12:32:54

    SCHWARTZYes, exactly.

  • 12:32:54

    NNAMDIYou're hoping it won't hurt yours either.

  • 12:32:56

    SCHWARTZYes. But I do think the disparity in the test scores is very, very concerning. I served on the National Advisory Council on the Education of Disadvantaged Children, which did all the Title I money, and that is for disadvantaged children. And I care greatly about that issue. And I'm going to make sure that we get the resources into those schools where there is such disparity. Financial resources, as well as human resources.

  • 12:33:23

    SCHWARTZI'm going to call on former teachers who are retired and people all over the region -- of course we'll do background checks on everybody before we let people into our schools -- to help supplement the -- what we have now, so each child can be individually tutored by an adult who has worked with children in the past.

  • 12:33:44

    SHERWOODI want to get to -- a bit short on time.

  • 12:33:46

    SCHWARTZI'm going to bus them in if we have to.

  • 12:33:49

    SHERWOODOkay. I want -- on the -- we have our next guest, who'll talk about Uber, the online app cab service. What is your thoughts about that? There's a lot of cab drivers say that the lift and these other cab services at Uber take business. They don't have to have the regulation that cab drivers have and that they are eating into the very livelihood of the thousands of cab drivers. Do you have any thoughts?

  • 12:34:16

    SCHWARTZYes. I like competition, but I also like fair competition. Our taxicab drivers have to have certain licensing and regulations.

  • 12:34:25


  • 12:34:27

    SCHWARTZInsurance and all that. I think anyone else who's in -- competing against them have to have the same. And I think we have a right to regulate them, just as we have a right to regulate the taxicabs.

  • 12:34:37

    SHERWOODWe had an event last night that you attended with the political reporters and various government officials and candidates. And I've talked to a variety of people in the Bowser campaign and they are very confident. They wouldn't say it publicly, but many of them are saying there's no way…

  • 12:34:52

    NNAMDIBut you're saying it publicly.

  • 12:34:53

    SHERWOODThere's no way that David Catania can win the Mayor's race. And there's no way that Carol Schwartz can win. And a few of them -- not last night -- but a few of them have said in -- "Oh, you know that's going to happen, Michelle Obama is going to appear with Muriel Bowser some place in the city and that's just going to seal the deal for Democrats to vote for Muriel Bowser." I've heard that like three or four times from different people, that even -- that that would be a big blessing thing for her, Michelle Obama. What do you think about that?

  • 12:35:24

    SCHWARTZWell, listen, I don't like when Congress gets involved with our local politics. I would not like to see the president get involved with our local politics. And if he does get involved -- I know he recently said he favored…

  • 12:35:36

    SHERWOODWell, Michelle. It's not him, his wife.

  • 12:35:38

    SCHWARTZWell, but…

  • 12:35:39

    SHERWOODIt's the same thing.

  • 12:35:39

    SCHWARTZ…that he favored statehood, but I mean he's been here a long time and they've been here a long time without promoting our voting rights. I was thrilled that recently that happened. But I would hope they would not get involved in our local politics, just as I don't want Congress to get involved in our local politics.

  • 12:35:54

    NNAMDIHere is Joe, in Washington, D.C. Joe, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:35:59


  • 12:36:00

    NNAMDIHello, Joe.

  • 12:36:01

    JOEI am a registered Democrat, lifelong registered Democrat. And -- but I want to say that I am more than likely going to vote for Ms. Schwartz.

  • 12:36:11

    SCHWARTZWell, thank you, Joe. I appreciate it. And I…

  • 12:36:13

    NNAMDIJoe, what are your reasons for that?

  • 12:36:16

    JOEWell, a lot of it's guts. I'm just tired of Democratic control over this city, actually. The candidates seem kind of tired to me, same old stuff over and again. And I think she's a fresh voice. I'm glad to see her back.

  • 12:36:38

    SCHWARTZWell, thank you.

  • 12:36:39

    NNAMDIIs that what you're hoping to bring to this campaign, Carol Schwartz?

  • 12:36:42

    SCHWARTZI -- absolutely. And so many people have said to me, as I've been out and about, "Oh, finally, we have an answer." Like they've been praying for my -- to come back. They've told me they prayed. "Where's Carol when we need her?" Well, Carol's here. And I can bring us honest government, get the job done. I think I have a personality and temperament for this. I mean, I'm strong and I'm tough, but I'm also fair. And I love people. That's a good thing.

  • 12:37:09

    NNAMDIYou filed your signature, 6,500 of them. What's next for you?

  • 12:37:13

    SCHWARTZWell, listen, I'm still out. I'm going to be out on the campaign trail. I guess I’m going to have to break down and get on the phone and raise some money, something I hate to do. But I also -- I…

  • 12:37:24

    NNAMDIAre you looking forward to debates?

  • 12:37:26

    SCHWARTZI look forward to it all. I'm having the time of my life. I'm loving trying very hard to finally run this city. As I said before, we've tried everybody else. Why not pick someone who can protect people and our property? And I have a history of doing both. Not just talking about these things, but actually doing them.

  • 12:37:46

    NNAMDICarol Schwartz, Independent candidate for Mayor of the District of Columbia. Thank you so much for joining us. Good luck to you.

  • 12:37:51

    SCHWARTZThank you. I enjoyed being here, guys.

  • 12:37:53

    NNAMDITom Sherwood is our resident analyst. He's a reporter at NBC and a columnist for the Current Newspapers. I'm assuming, Tom, that like everyone else, you have been following what some people are calling "Desperate Housewives" meets "Law and Order," the McDonnell trial in the commonwealth of Virginia. As a former reporter at the State House there, what is your own reflection on this trial?

  • 12:38:12

    SHERWOODWell, I only wish they -- this had happened when I was there, which is, of course, long ago, before any of this could have possibly happened. This is such an embarrassment for the state, the commonwealth of Virginia. We don't know exactly what's -- I mean, the next thing I want to see is I want to see former Governor McDonnell on the stand himself. He had said that he would testify. I assume that he will.

  • 12:38:34

    SHERWOODIt's just a real -- the state is so proud of itself and not being the problems that Maryland had with Mandel and what we've had with Barry and other states have had, Illinois, New Orleans. This is just such a horrible, tawdry, trailer-park sideshow, you know, of taking money and fancy cars and fancy vacations. And whether they did it to barter some of their power, I don't know yet. The jury will have to decide that. But it is just unseemly.

  • 12:39:07

    NNAMDIJoining us, in studio now, is Rachel Holt. She is the regional general manager for the East Coast for Uber, a mobile transportation network, connecting people with taxies, private cars and ride shares. If you have questions or comments for Rachel Holt, call us at 800-433-8850, send email to, send us a tweet @kojoshow or go to our website,, ask a question, make a comment there, watch our live video stream. Rachel Holt, thank you so much for joining us.

  • 12:39:35

    MS. RACHEL HOLTThanks for having me.

  • 12:39:36

    NNAMDIIt's been something of a roller coaster, in our region, this week for Uber. Maryland's public service commission ruled that Uber is like other for-hire car services and should be regulated in the same way. Virginia, however, went the other way with an agreement to allow Uber to operate. Care to comment?

  • 12:39:53

    HOLTAbsolutely. It has been a busy week, not much sleep for us here in -- at Uber in D.C. But, you know, I think what we saw was a state, you know, in Virginia and the governor there and attorney general, taking a real step forward, saying, here is a technology app that's good for consumers, that's good for economic development in our area and it's something we want. And at the same time, we saw Maryland say, you know, lets try and put this new technology into rules that were developed in the '80s or '90s.

  • 12:40:23

    HOLTAnd essentially what happened in Maryland, was they said, you know, imagine if Orbitz, right, the airline booking company, you know, a ruling was said, hey lets regulate them like an airplane, like an airline.

  • 12:40:34

    SHERWOODWell, we have tried to regulate them in terms of paying sales taxes.

  • 12:40:37


  • 12:40:38

    HOLTRight. And, I think, what were all about is, lets put in place a common sense framework, a common sense set of regulations that say, lets protect consumers, lets protect drivers. It's exactly what the District did in 2012 with Councilmember Cheh's Innovation Act. And lets create a set of rules that makes sense for this new system. Lets not say, you know, lets put a, you know, a square peg in a round hole and say, lets force-fit a Uber technology company into a really old set of rules.

  • 12:41:06

    NNAMDIThe perception tends to be that Uber doesn't want to be regulated at all, that Uber feels it should be free to operate, well, because "Consumers want us and therefore we should be allowed to operate, we shouldn't have the kinds of restrictions that taxi drivers have. We shouldn't, kind of, have the kinds of fees that taxi drivers have." And, of course, taxi drivers say, "People want us too, why should Uber be free of the restrictions that we have?"

  • 12:41:28

    HOLTAnd, I think, that's a bit of a misnomer. I think, what Uber is really about and there's a bill right now that's going through the D.C. City Council and the Transportation Committee that's been introduced, that says, "Lets put in place a set of common sense rules. Lets mandate background checks that adhere to a certain set of requirements. Lets mandate insurance. And, by the way, our insurance is 20 times higher then D.C. taxies have today."

  • 12:41:53

    HOLTYou know, "Lets mandate and say that we want operators in this space and people in this -- entering this space that are adhering to a set of very high requirements. But those may be different sets of requirements then were right for taxies and maybe a different set of requirements that are right for an anonymous person getting anonymous ride from someone on the street, by putting their hand out."

  • 12:42:13

    SHERWOODLet me...

  • 12:42:14

    NNAMDIYou use the taxi service, Uber? I mean, do you use the service Uber? Give us a call, 800-433-8850. Do you think there should be more competition in taxies and car services in our region, 800-433-8850?

  • 12:42:28

    SHERWOODIn a simple sentence, you have Uber and you have Uber-X, which is a different style of vehicle.

  • 12:42:32

    NNAMDIYeah, maybe we ought to explain the difference.

  • 12:42:34

    SHERWOODYeah, I was gonna say -- well, either that or just say what is Uber, before I ask my other question? Just tell, for people who know, in a sentence or two, what is Uber?

  • 12:42:40

    HOLTAbsolutely. So Uber is a technology app and it connects individuals, riders to transportation through the touch of their buttons. So if you open your Uber app, here in the District, what you would see is three different options, Uber-Black which would connect you to a sedan, a typical, kind of, black sedan. And Uber-Taxi, which would connect you to a D.C. taxi. And Uber-X, which would connect you to a ride sharing vehicle. And there are different price points in different quality cars. And, for us, it's really about, lets provide a spectrum options and consumer choice.

  • 12:43:14

    SHERWOODThat's what you...

  • 12:43:14

    NNAMDIFor the purpose of this discussion, I downloaded that app today and there was somebody trying to pick me up here, at the station, even though I'm not going anywhere.

  • 12:43:20

    SHERWOODWell, you be careful. I actually -- mistakenly called someone, I didn't really mean to but (unintelligible) fix it.

  • 12:43:24

    NNAMDIThere you go.

  • 12:43:25

    SHERWOODBut here's -- I wanna -- you mentioned insurance. One of the cab drivers have to have, they have to have their -- they're in the process of having their cars all painted the same. They are required to do that. They must have the rooftop sign, saying, Taxi For Hire. They must have a credit card machine. We haven't yet ordered them to have water in their cabs but maybe that'll come.

  • 12:43:45

    SHERWOODBut what about insurance? You mentioned insurance. Some of the cab drivers say, they have these owners obligations to have insurance. Does an Uber driver have a general policy of insurance, that the Uber company has or do they depend upon their own insurance?

  • 12:44:02

    HOLTYeah, absolutely. So they're a little bit different, depending on the product. So on the Uber-Black product, these are commercially licensed limousines, the same one you might call if you went online.

  • 12:44:12

    SHERWOODDo we have commercial driver's license, CDL's?

  • 12:44:13

    HOLTCommercial drivers license, commercial insurance.

  • 12:44:15

    SHERWOODOkay. Do they have -- and they have to have insurance themselves?

  • 12:44:18

    HOLTCommercial insurance, yes.

  • 12:44:19

    SHERWOODYou don't -- it's not an Uber insurance policy...

  • 12:44:21


  • 12:44:21

    SHERWOOD...for which they're covered.

  • 12:44:23

    HOLTAnd that's the way the Maryland P.S.C. regulates. In Maryland, the Virginia DMV regulates...

  • 12:44:28

    SHERWOODDoes Uber-X have -- do the drivers of Uber-X have insurance?

  • 12:44:31

    HOLTYes. And so the drivers of Uber-X all have their own insurance and in addition are covered by Uber's commercial policy. And so the Uber commercial policy is in effect when the app is on. So it says, the app is on, that means commercial activity might possibly occur. When a trip is requested, as soon as a trip is requested, that driver and that passenger insured up to a million dollars, per incident.

  • 12:44:55

    HOLTThe District rules require $25 to $50,000. So these -- this -- these are -- these cars and these rides are being insured, literally 20 times.

  • 12:45:02

    SHERWOODAnd how do you vet the drivers? The -- if you get into a cab, there's a -- what they call a face card. You see the face of the driver, you see a number, you can complain to the Cab Commissions, that's an issue. How do you vet your drivers, some of whom are pretty good -- well, my -- most of the people I talk to love the service, when they use it, others are just been horrific. So how do you vet the drivers so we know that the consumer's getting a good driver?

  • 12:45:26

    HOLTAbsolutely. So every single driver that comes on the Uber system goes through a background check that's incredibly rigorous. To compare, again, to D.C., those background checks are three-years. Our background checks are seven years. And so, you know, anyone who has any -- anything in their in their past that, obviously, wouldn't make them a good driver or, you know, the type of person you'd want to be alone in a car with, those folks...

  • 12:45:49

    SHERWOODSo how do...

  • 12:45:50

    HOLT...are all disqualified.

  • 12:45:51 do you make money...

  • 12:45:51

    NNAMDIWe want to get to the insurance -- before you get away from the insurance issues because Paul, in Kensington, Md., wants to address the insurance issue. Paul, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:46:00

    PAULYeah, hi, Kojo, thanks for taking my call. Great show, as always. My daughter has decided that she wants to finance graduate school by becoming an Uber driver in Chicago. And I have some concerns about that, namely liability and her own safety but specifically about the insurance. So what I just understood then, Uber provides a million dollars worth of insurance. So does that kick in first while Uber is running and then she realize on her liability insurance otherwise? Is that in addition to? Is it a first payer, second payer system or what? That's my concern and what part...

  • 12:46:38


  • 12:46:39

    PAUL...of her proceeds go to pay her portion of the Uber insurance?

  • 12:46:43

    NNAMDIHere's Rachel Holt.

  • 12:46:44

    HOLTAbsolutely. So, first of all, I think, you know, one of the things we hear time and time again is how being an Uber-X driver is great for putting someone through school is great in-between jobs. It's great to hear that story. So the Uber-X insurance applies -- so the insurance you're talking about, from the moment your daughter accepts a request, Uber's million dollar policy is the primary policy. So that becomes the first policy on her -- you know, if, God forbid, anything happens.

  • 12:47:12

    SHERWOODShe has to be on a call.

  • 12:47:14

    HOLTThat happens from the moment she accepts a call.

  • 12:47:18

    NNAMDIIs on a call.

  • 12:47:18

    SHERWOODBut if she gets into her car and she's driving on one of the beautiful streets of Chicago, she doesn't have a call, she's on her own insurance.

  • 12:47:26

    HOLTWell, if she's going -- you know, if she's going to class or going back and forth.

  • 12:47:28

    SHERWOODNo. She's...

  • 12:47:30

    NNAMDIYeah. Yeah.

  • 12:47:31

    HOLTYou know, then of course, she'd have her own...

  • 12:47:33

    NNAMDIShe's on her own insurance.

  • 12:47:33

    HOLT...she'd have her own...

  • 12:47:34

    NNAMDIHere's the other...

  • 12:47:34

    SHERWOODBut not when -- no, I mean, if she's out on the street and she's waiting for someone to get an app text and she's -- and her phone is on but she doesn't have a call, is it her insurance or your insurance, while she's waiting to be called?

  • 12:47:48

    HOLTSo, in that case, we have a contingent liability policy which applies up to $100,000. Again, it's above what most commercial policies, even, are.

  • 12:47:56


  • 12:47:57

    SHERWOODShe ought to double check it.

  • 12:47:57

    NNAMDIAnd having higher insurance limits then is required is a good thing in most peoples eyes but an accident in which someone is killed or injured can result in a multi-million dollar lawsuit. The issue that has come up is whether someone's suing a driver will also sue Uber and what the courts will say about the independent contractor arrangement.

  • 12:48:16

    HOLTSo, I think, the insurance issue is a little bit different then the independent contractor arrangement. All the drivers that partner with Uber are free to use Uber's app, other apps, they're free to go and off the system whenever they want, it's -- that's a classic, kind of, independent contractor relationship. The insurance requirements are spelled out quite clearly. And so if there is an incident -- you know, if there's an issue or an incident, that's obviously when Uber's policy would kick in.

  • 12:48:43

    SHERWOODWho owns Uber?

  • 12:48:46

    HOLTWho owns?

  • 12:48:47

    SHERWOODYes. Who owns Uber?

  • 12:48:48

    HOLTWell, it -- I mean, it was founded -- or there are a lot of people that Uber. I mean, it was founded by two co-founders in 2010 in San Francisco. And then we've had quite a bit of interest from venture capitalists and others.

  • 12:49:02

    SHERWOODWho -- can you say, who are your top three venture capitalists, investors?

  • 12:49:07

    HOLTI mean, we've had invest -- I mean, we've had investments from a number of folks.

  • 12:49:09

    SHERWOODGoldman Sachs?

  • 12:49:11

    HOLTGoldman invested at one point.

  • 12:49:13

    SHERWOODJeff Bezos?

  • 12:49:15

    HOLTJeff Bezos has a -- very small investment.

  • 12:49:18


  • 12:49:18

    SHERWOODThen why is it that you are reluctant to tell us who are the financial backers of Uber?

  • 12:49:22

    HOLTOh, I can...

  • 12:49:23

    SHERWOODYou want people to -- but I've read -- I've looked at, any numbers of times, it seems to be, you've guys have been reluctant to say -- it's an 18 billion -- valued now at about $18 billion, 128 jurisdictions around the world. I want to know who owns it.

  • 12:49:36

    HOLTThat information is all public, right. It's a Delaware C-Corp...

  • 12:49:38

    SHERWOODSo where is it?

  • 12:49:39

    HOLTIt -- then I can...

  • 12:49:40

    SHERWOODYou have to be...

  • 12:49:40

    HOLT...I can certainly give you...

  • 12:49:41

    SHERWOODWho are your top three investors?

  • 12:49:43

    HOLTI mean, so we've had investments from Menlo Ventures, which is a venture capital.

  • 12:49:46

    SHERWOODThat's the top three?

  • 12:49:47

    HOLTThey were -- they led our series B round. And they're a big investor. I can have...

  • 12:49:52

    SHERWOODI don't want to drag down all the finances but I just -- I'd like to see something more about it.

  • 12:49:57

    HOLTNo. I mean, we've had -- it's been quite publicized, Fidelity, Wellington, there are quite a lot...

  • 12:50:02

    SHERWOODOkay, good. Thank you.

  • 12:50:02

    HOLT...of public...

  • 12:50:03

    NNAMDIHere is Mohammad in Tyson's Corner, Va. Mohammad, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:50:09


  • 12:50:10

    NNAMDIYes, Mohammad, go ahead.

  • 12:50:11

    MOHAMMADMy question is that Uber advertised the sedan for Uber-X, 40 percent cheaper then taxies. And this Uber driver, X drivers are the one who are not making their living off of Uber-X, they are working for a couple of extra dollars and that's a very, very unfair competition for the cab drivers who, in D.C., are trying to make a livelihood and support their family.

  • 12:50:40

    NNAMDIWell, I'm not sure that is a question that Rachel Holt can answer. But one she might be able to answer, is it possible for someone to make a different -- a decent living as a full-time Uber or Uber-X driver? Because, obviously, a lot of taxi cab drivers, the old business model, saw that as a full-time job where they make a living doing it. And so, they feel that that competition is unfair. Can and Uber, Uber-X driver do the same?

  • 12:51:07

    HOLTAbsolutely. So we recently published some data that showed that, in New York, Uber-X drivers were making almost $90,000 a year. And San Francisco was $74,000 a year. And D.C. is close behind that. And, I think, what we've seen is that there are a lot of people that are former taxi drivers that have chosen to join the Uber platform, either as a Uber taxi driver or through Uber-X or through Uber-Black and SUV.

  • 12:51:35

    HOLTAnd what we're seeing is that this is a big job growth generator. We're seeing 20,000 jobs a month, globally, through the Uber platform that are being added. And, I think, that's -- you know, right now, I think, that that's pretty hard to avoid as a, you know, it's an important economic stimulator.

  • 12:51:52

    SHERWOODAnd if I'm an Uber driver and then I share in the money that we make, put it on the credit card, do I get a -- what do I get a 1099 from Uber, at the end of the year, the -- how much money I've been paid by Uber, out of what I've earned?

  • 12:52:06


  • 12:52:06

    SHERWOODIt's a 1099, that's separate?

  • 12:52:07


  • 12:52:08

    SHERWOODNow, also, the city -- the District of Columbia has, I think, it's just this week, it's talking about, if a Uber driver does more then 20 hours a week, then he or she would have to have more regulation or have -- meet some new standards. I know, the city's, kind of, gone back and forth on all types of different regulations. But is -- what is that about 'cause who would know, other then you guys, how many people have driven more then 20 hours a week? There's no monitor on them.

  • 12:52:36

    HOLTWell, I think, what we -- to be honest, what we've seen time and time again is that, D.C.T.C. has proposed regulations...

  • 12:52:42


  • 12:52:43

    HOLTSorry. The District of Columbia Taxi Cab Commission...

  • 12:52:45

    SHERWOODRight, figured.

  • 12:52:46

    HOLT...has proposed regulations, some of which make a lot of sense and some of which don't. And what we're seeing right now is the City Council and the Transportation Committee, particularly Councilmember Cheh and Grosso, take this issue up. There was a bill that was introduced in the spring and that's going through a committee -- that'll be going through a committee, this fall, that takes a different approach, that says, lets not put restrictions like, you know, random restrictions, artificial restrictions such as limiting economic opportunity, limiting the number of hours on the road.

  • 12:53:15

    HOLTThat's not -- that doesn't make sense, right? Right now, limiting peoples job opportunities is not something that we want to do. And it says, you know, lets, again, put in place common sense regulations that protect consumers, that protect drivers, that makes sure that everyone's safe. And, I think, that's a very good approach.

  • 12:53:32

    SHERWOOD(unintelligible) ...

  • 12:53:32

    NNAMDIWe got an email from Ted, who writes, "In a market where people are encouraged to vote with their wallets, it's clear that Uber is a successful and desired alternative to a cab service which is frequently perceived as crooked, selfish and sometimes combative to its customers. We're clearly sick of the status quo. Why does the Regulatory Service keep making this and uphill battle for Uber and its customers versus making them partners in the city and bringing them into the fold?"

  • 12:53:56

    NNAMDI"Maryland does recognize the changes in the industry and, it seems, plans to work on new regulations specifically for car sharing. What are you advising Maryland to do or are you involved in advising Maryland or in any other way?"

  • 12:54:09

    HOLTWell, that actually just came out, earlier this week. I think, it's -- I think, right now, we're trying to understand what roll the Regulatory body has versus the Legislature in crafting these kind of rules. And we're certainly willing and excited to participate in that process, as we have here in D.C. and as we have in other states around the country.

  • 12:54:31

    NNAMDIVirginia is allowing ride sharing but it's a temporary agreement, for the moment. This is a reversal from the position taken in June. Can you talk about that agreement? What does it say?

  • 12:54:41

    HOLTYeah. And I think, you know, the agreement and the approach Virginia took is a very good one. It says, "Hey lets begin, lets take a look at what companies that are doing a really good job in this area, are doing. Lets understand their insurance requirements. Lets mandate those requirements. Lets understand their background checks and lets mandate a very high level of background checks. Lets insure that the vehicles are inspected and are safe."

  • 12:55:06

    HOLTBut what it doesn't say is, "Lets impose a set of artificial restrictions, 20 hours restrictions," things like that, that don't make sense, aren't in the best interest of consumers, aren't in the best interest of drivers. And a lot of what you've seen in Virginia, this week, is saying, you know, "Lets codify the standards of the players in this space that are doing a really good job and lets make sure that and unscrupulous actor doesn't come in and enter the space with standards that aren't, you know, aren't up to that level."

  • 12:55:34

    SHERWOODYou're trying to create a new business. Do you have a -- who is the Uber lobbyist in the District?

  • 12:55:39

    HOLTOh, I mean, we've...

  • 12:55:40

    SHERWOODAre you -- do you guys have registered lobbyists? I haven't looked.

  • 12:55:43

    HOLTYeah. I mean, we do work with lobbyists...

  • 12:55:45

    SHERWOODWho's your lobbyist?

  • 12:55:45 D.C. We -- I mean, we work with the lobbyists from a law firm, Arent Fox. But we...

  • 12:55:50

    SHERWOODI mean, have -- do you have a name? Do you know who -- I mean, surely you know who the lobbyist is.

  • 12:55:54

    HOLTJon Bouker.

  • 12:55:55

    SHERWOODJon Bouker. Whose got a lot of experience on the Hill, worked for Ms. Norton and -- now...

  • 12:56:00

    HOLTBut, I think, what you see here -- and, I think, you know, things...

  • 12:56:02

    SHERWOODI don't ask that as a critical question.

  • 12:56:04

    HOLTNo, no.

  • 12:56:04

    SHERWOODBut that's the way Washington works. Do you give political contributions?

  • 12:56:08

    HOLTWe do not.

  • 12:56:09

    SHERWOODSo there are no corporate contributions anywhere?

  • 12:56:10

    HOLTThat's correct. And, I think, that's an important tact that Uber has taken that's quite different then taxies, then other industry groups here.

  • 12:56:18

    NNAMDIWe're running out of time very quickly. I wanted to get in Chris' question...

  • 12:56:20


  • 12:56:21 Washington, D.C. Chris, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:56:24

    CHRISHi, thanks for taking my call. My question is, what -- how does Uber decided rate augmentations, like, you know, sometimes you'll call a cab and it -- or call an Uber and it'll be three times the rate? And it seems to me, the past few times, it's happened to me, it's happened when I'm down at the bottom of the H Street corridor in an economically depressed and less desirable area. When later, in the same evening, I'm up in Georgetown and there's not but 3X fee. It just seems, kind of, underhanded.

  • 12:56:51

    HOLTYeah. So the way that fee is done, is strictly based on supply and demand. So a computer takes a look at the number of cars that are out on a system, at that time, and says, "Hey, lets, you know, we want to make sure that ever -- that folks can get a ride when they really need it." So you take a night -- I mean, New Years Eve is the classic example. You take a night like New Years Eve, you know, drivers and partners have a lot of options on that evening, whether it might be staying home with their family or taking a private, you know, a private job. And so when the prospect of having higher fares is possible, they come out on the Uber system, it means more trip...

  • 12:57:25

    SHERWOODIs there a maximum fee? We're almost out of time. Is there a maximum fee?

  • 12:57:30

    HOLTI mean, the -- you will almost never see the fare, you know, a rate go above, you know, 2 or 3X, multiples. But what you see is -- what you really see is that...

  • 12:57:40

    NNAMDIWhat does that mean, 2 or 3X multiples?

  • 12:57:42

    HOLTSo what you'll see is, at times, a very peak demand, you may see that the rate of an Uber-X trip, for example, might rise to account for supply and demand and to encourage riders on...

  • 12:57:52

    SHERWOODCan -- what's -- do you have an average fee that you guys...

  • 12:57:55

    NNAMDIYou got 30 seconds.

  • 12:57:55

    SHERWOOD...charge -- average fee, what's about an average fee?

  • 12:57:57

    HOLTYeah, the -- I mean...

  • 12:57:58

    SHERWOODIn the District?

  • 12:57:58

    HOLTYeah. The average Uber-X fare is about 25 percent...

  • 12:58:01


  • 12:58:01

    HOLT...30 percent below a taxi.

  • 12:58:03

    NNAMDIRachel Holt, she is the regional general manager for the East Coast for Uber, a mobile transportation network, connecting people with taxies, private cars and ride shares. We hope this is not your last appearance on this broadcast. Thank you for joining us.

  • 12:58:15

    HOLTThank you.

  • 12:58:16

    NNAMDITom Sherwood is our resident analyst. He's a reporter at NBC and a columnist for the Current Newspapers, we hope it's not his last appearance on this broadcast.

  • 12:58:25

    SHERWOODI hope not either.

  • 12:58:26

    NNAMDIThank you...

  • 12:58:26

    SHERWOODI have more to say.

  • 12:58:26

    NNAMDI...all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi. Coming up Monday on "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," cooperation or co-optation, local media outlets strike controversial deals with a pro-sports franchise. Then at 1:00, the essence of cool, an exhibit at The National Portrait Gallery explores the style, originality and talent behind our cultural icons. "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," noon till 2:00, Monday, on WAMU 88.5 and streaming at

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