Friday Question of the Day – What Issues are most Important to You for the Mayoral 2014 Election

Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

As campaign season is beginning to heat up, I feel like I’ve been hearing an awful lot about marijuana decriminalization and affordable housing but not much else. Obviously these are important issues but it got me thinking about what are the topics that you are the most concerned about for this election. Of course many issues can overlap but for the poll we’ll narrow it down to your number one most important topic. For the comments you can obviously list as many important ones as you’d like.

86 Comment

  • Easy. Banning bike riding on sidewalks.

    • How about more bike lanes and paths to make the city more bike friendly, so less bikers will have to ride on the sidewalks.

    • Smart growth and urban planning and incorporating things like bike lanes and such. Crime is low on my list because, to me, crime is drastically improved since when I moved here 12 years ago. DC is only growing in population size so all that has to be taken in serious consideration for the person who is going to lead this city. Tregoning leaving for USG is a big blow for the District so the next planning leader needs to be just as if not more dynamic as the planning and execution affects just about every other answer listed here. Except govt corruption.

    • As soon as you get cars and buses to stop trying to run me into the curb I’ll stop riding on sidewalks.

  • You should add “Government corruption and inefficiency”. The Mayor’s first job should be to manage city agencies and deliver services efficiently.

  • Implement the death penalty on corrupt city officials.

  • Affordable Housing. I am entitled to a 3br/2ba apartment within 5 minutes walking distance of the Red Line for less than 750 a month.

    • No one wants live near the Red Line anymore. But affordable housing near U St.? Yes please!

    • Is this a joke? You live in one of the most desirable places in the united states. By living here you have the opportunity to receive income that is well above the national average. Obviously rents are commiserate with desirability..

      Now that’s not to say that more can’t and shouldn’t be done to improve access to affordable housing but you are definitely NOT entitled to a $750 3 BD / 2 Bath within a 5 minute walk of the red line. This mentality is hilarious to me. Do you know how much it costs to acquire land in this city, particularly that close to a metro? Do you know how much it costs to construct a building? Developers aren’t in it to lose money or at best break even…

  • I’m looking for a candidate who increase my property value and make the schools better. So I don’t have to move to the burbs.

  • LOL / sigh

  • What is considered affordable housing because paying over $1,000. monthly isn’t affordable? I wonder how some of the hipsters can afford to live in many of the expensive apartments in upscale neighborhoods? Maybe many come from wealthy families with money and they don’t have a care in the world. It must be nice!

    • Living way out in Anacostia southease is like living in the Bronx. I’ve lived uptown in Ward 4 close to 50 years. I’m 10 minutes away from west of the Park, Connecticut and Wisconsin Avenues, NW.

    • Darn hipsters with their wealthy parents and carefree smiles…

    • I understand not everyone has the same privilege and upwards mobility as me, but in my case I started off with a low-paying non-profit job and three roommates in a shared Columbia Heights apartment. Several years later, I changed jobs and am making more money, and am paying 1000/month in rent to live in a basement with my girlfriend (she pays another 1000).

      It’s not wealthy parents necessarily. It’s well-paying jobs. “affordable” housing just reflects the fact that wages in this country have dropped and are in need of a significant boost. Fix that and more places become affordable.

  • I think you missed one. How about some self god damned determination? Either make D.C. a state or restore its budget autonomy to it or both. What do you think would happen if D.C. legalized marijuana for example? Some Asshole like Rand Paul that cries states rights would slap some kind of rider on our budget bill to kill it. That is total bull shit. My issue, let D.C. decide how D.C. spends D.C.’s money.

    • gotryit

      The mayor can’t do anything about that other than get his / her undergarments in a bunch. And I think all the candidates have learned to do that quite well on the issue of DC statehood.

      • Legally speaking perhaps you are correct but what about kicking up a political shit show. Here we have an African American president in a city that is, I believe still, majority African American. I believe there would be a way to basically shame Obama and the democratic party into making a real push for D.C. statehood. Make it a racial issue, throw some mud. Tell the democrats to stop taking the African American vote for granted and to step up for the only majority African American jurisdiction in the nation that does not have congressional representation. Then, if the Republicans oppose, hang the racial label on them. They want to go back to Jim Crowe days etc. etc. I think a mayor that is clever enough and ballsy enough to break ranks and demand this publicly might at a minimum be able to revive some genuine debate on the subject. I might be wrong but I’d like to see a solid effort on this front.

        • I always wondered why this didn’t happen when Dems had the Senate, House and Presidency at the start of the Obama Presidency? Was it not a priority or just drowned out by bigger stuff like the financial crisis or healthcare? Since we only had 60 dems in the senate for a narrow window, was it an issue of not enough hours on the Senate calendar to get stuff like this done? Just seems like such a wasted opportunity.

        • gotryit

          1. You’re seriously in favor of race baiting to press the issue? I’m not with you there. Besides, you might be doing them a favor with their political base.
          2. It’s a side point, but I don’t think DC is majority African American anymore. I think it was just barely as of the last census.
          3. I think the mayor has done some of that, and it doesn’t actually make any waves. No one else cares. They’re too busy working on small government to get out of our business. (yes, irony noted)

          • Regarding 1. You can drop the second half of my point about painting the republicans as racist if they oppose if it makes you feel better. But let’s be honest. That is already a part of the democratic playbook, may as well use it to our advantage.

          • gotryit

            Not because it makes me feel better – because race baiting is just wrong on so many levels. Save that flag for when they do something that actually is racist or you’ll wear it out, and that’s not helpful. Think – crying wolf.

        • Not to disagree with your main point, but you really sound like you want to use people’s race as a tool here for your political gain. This is and always will be wrong.

  • I would say crime is #1. I just don’t feel that the police or elected officials are doing enough to proactively combat all of the assaults, robberies and shootings in our city. So many times the police sit in their cars, sometimes witnessing crimes while doing nothing and then only tell us to “be more vigilant.”

    Second would be development. I would like to see more being done to encourage retail growth in areas such as Petworth. Let’s help current owners rehab their businesses and encourage new business to come open up shop in the vacant, blighted locations. To me, the biggest travesty is that more is not being done to fill the retail space in Park Place in Petworth. Hopefully more will come when the Safeway opens, but I blame the developer. It’s time we hold them accountable.

    • I agree, I would like to see foot beat officers patroling in neighborhoods like in New York City and in Philadelphia? I would like to see a mayor pro-active by supporting foot beat patrols in neighborhoods, not just downtown, Georgetown, Adams Morgan, U Street, NW, and Capitol Hill. However, I like Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, I think it’s time that she should be replaced.

    • what the hell is the mayor supposed to do about the retail space in park place? it is the developer’s decision to charge the rents they are charging.

      • Bozzutto recieved tax breaks and incentives from our tax dollars to build Park Place. As I said, they need to be held accountable. Pressure needs to be applied. What’s the deal? Something needs to be done.

        • Same as DCUSA. Would be great to have a politician with the cojones to hold the developers to the terms they signed up for. Prospective tenants are turned away while space sits empty, and only large chains even get a call back. Despite the promise to offer preferential rates to local-, minority-, and women-owned businesses.

    • Re: Park Place. Absolutely. Bozzuto are a greedy bunch. They raised my rent by $500. They’ve turned down many prospective tenants who wanted a better deal and or tax break.

  • Doing something to help the homeless, and actually addressing the mental health issues that often accompany homelessness, is important to me. The breakdown in the city’s shelter system that occurred during the most recent cold snap should have never happened. If we’ve made the decision that we’re going to shelter everyone in hypothermia conditions (a decision I wholeheartedly agree with) then we need to be prepared to do so. I’m willing to pay more taxes to make it happen.

    • I’m curious to why DC is Bastian for homeless people and why the surrounding DC suburbs don’t front the bill. How many homeless shelters are there in PG county, Montogomery County and Arlington. I bet that’s a big part of why there is so much homelessness in DC.

      • That’s definitely a good point, and is going to need a solution. I don’t agree with people (not saying you said this, but it’s been said by others) who believe we should cut our services to the homeless in the hopes that they’ll just migrate back to the ‘burbs.

        • I agree with you – not having shelter in the U.S. in 2014 in unconscionable. But the issue of creating attracting more homeless and creating a greater need cycle is real by enhancing city services is a real issue. Hate to suggest it, but it seems like a national program is the best option to manage this issue.

          • Why do you hate to suggest that? A national program to end homelessness is really the best idea. Do you ever watch those house hunter shows where people are buying 4 bedroom homes in the rest of the country for under $200,000? Providing temporary local homeless support in a city for city residents who may be temporarily displaced due to job loss, illness etc. is a city responsibility.
            Providing lifetime housing for people who will never be able to function on their own – for a variety of reasons – is not.

          • Maybe not national (too many administrative hurdles, I think) but certainly regional, like D.C., Maryland, Virginia.

    • +1, more taxes for that wouldn’t hurt my wallet!

  • Make DC a more attractive place for new businesses. As long as I live in DC, it’s a reasonable expectation that I can work in the same city. Nobody really likes the reverse commute to Arlington or Tysons.

    • Ugh, yes! I live here and would love to work in the city, but it seems like so much jobs are in the suburbs these days.

    • I would like to see more tech jobs come to DC, especially in the energy field. I really want to stay here, but there are very few opportunities for engineers besides working for suburban defense contractors. Many of my peers have decamped for more tech-friendly cities, and I might reluctantly do the same.

  • I voted schools, but a close second would be affordable housing.

    • By affordable housing, I mean housing for low-income families and inclusive zoning.

      • Do people understand they live in Metropolitan area. That’s like me complaining there aren’t any cheap housing Manhattan if you can’t afford to live here move to a cheaper locality. I lived in Virginia for year because I could not afford to live in the city.

        • Thank You! My thoughts exactly

        • Where in Virginia is it significantly cheaper than DC? I lived there for three years and had a good deal, but that’s because we were renting from my mother-in-law and were paying below-market rent. Even then, the 3-4 hours of commuting to and from the city every day (from Annandale!) was not worth it the money saved. People fail to consider the mental and health consequences of a mega-commute. In the long run it ends up costing you your life.

        • I think maybe you have Virginia confused with West Virginia? The housing is cheaper there, as long as you don’t mind leaving at 3 am for work.

      • there is a ton of housing available for low cost in the district.

        • But not places where a female or white person would be welcome (says this white woman, who tried to live in an all-black neighborhood and was the target of crime by some residents who didn’t want me there. Many of the residents were friendly or ignored me, but unfortunately the ones that wanted to kill me compelled me to leave).

  • Crime is my number one concern.

  • Education. It’s a personal issue for me because we’ve got a bun in the oven, but it also would go a long way toward helping in other areas mentioned in the poll, such as crime, development and the economy.

    • Truxton Thomas,

      We’re doing some pretty great work at Langley Elementary. The Principal (Spann) is one of the best in the city. So you should have a pretty safe bet there.


      • Thank you—that is encouraging to hear. I was under the impression that we were assigned to Thomson Elementary, but sure enough I double-checked and we’re assigned to Langley. I still have a lot of research to do on navigating DCPS, but I look forward to getting involved!

      • houseintherear

        Are you hiring an art teacher, by any chance?? 🙂

        – A MoCo teacher who is sick of the commute.

  • You omitted the option for preserving the sunlight of current condo owners. The darkness is encroaching! Literally!

  • Urbanism (development/transit/housing) is my number one. Self-determination for DC is a close second. I’m always shocked at how little DC does to advance its own cause. We need to be far more radical about this. Getting arrested during a protest for DC autonomy is the best thing Mayor Gray has done in office. It’s almost too bad that the government shutdown didn’t last long enough to force DC to spend its own money illegally. That would have been a golden opportunity to demonstrate the ridiculousness of DC’s plight.

  • Education. DC officials, and all residents, should be embarrassed by the state of the DC public schools. Educating all DC students will help lower crime, poverty, housing and public health issues.

  • Reform DCRA and all regulatory agencies so that their prime objective is to assist businesses instead of obstructing them.

  • My take on affordable housing is that you NEED density. It’s simple supply and demand. Anything else is just a subsidy that the DC government would need to pay for which would just increase taxes for no real benefit.

    If I was running for mayor, I would propose that the proposed modification of the Height Act be implemented only east of the Anacostia which has largely undeveloped places (ie. empty space or easily converted) near the Metro stations. I would even consider raising the height limit even more. I think that would cause a building boom in a place of the city that really needs it and would create a sufficient amount of density near Metro stations to be desirable to those looking for affordable rent near Metro. It would grow the tax base in the District and have a really nice view across the river into the city and be able to actually pay for the truly homeless.

  • I want to see a realistic, holistic, and compassionate plan for dealing with juvenile offenders. This will never be a nice city if a double-digit percentage of its residents can’t ever get a decent job due to a system that would rather lock kids up than teach them something.
    Pragmatically speaking, decriminalizing marijuana is one part of that. I don’t care for myself, but it makes my blood boil to see the lengths our “judicial” system will go to ruin the lives of (mostly young) people caught with pot.

    • This. Way too many DC residents have felony records for nonviolent crimes. And then end up becoming violent criminals because no one will hire a felon. It’s such a vicious cycle. Unfortunately since we have little governing autonomy I feel like this has got to change on a national level because Congress will just shut us down.

  • After living with Bowser, and watching her at the W4 strawpoll, I hate to say it, but my most important issues is getting someone in office that isn’t her. She is absolutely caustic, and I will vote for whoever I think has the best chance to win, that isn’t her. My wife will do the same.

    Put two votes in the anti-bowser camp.

    • andy

      what happened at the straw poll?

      • She just continued on her pandering ways, not really talking about anything, and making promises she knows she can’t/won’t keep. Plenty of articles covering the poll, but she was bad, and it scared me big time. She would be a disaster.

  • Education–especially focusing on our neighborhood schools and most importantly our messed up middle schools.

    I don’t have kids, but it’s still number 1 for me. I’m thrilled to see my local elementary schools improving by leaps and bounds under talented principals. But I’m horrified that my neighbor’s kids in Petworth are zoned for Backus for middle school. It is so freaking far away. If we want families of means to stay in this city, forcing them to drive their kids all over town to get to school eliminates one of the biggest advantages of urban living, at that point may as well move to MoCo if you’re going to drive your kids to school that is 25-30 mins away at rush hour.

    Like kken, crime is pretty far down my list of concerns, but that’s probably because I’ve lived here for almost 15 years. And in those 15 years I have never been the victim of violent crime, and only 1 minor property crime. Things are getting better and getting better rapidly on that front. I hardly ever hear gunshots anymore, it’s a very marked change. Obviously we all want zero crime, but I’m pretty satisfied with the progress that has been made to date.

  • andy

    High quality public education in Wards 1 and 4 is big for me!!!

  • TRANSIT TRANSIT TRANSIT but you all knew I’d say that.

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