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Age: 35 Hometown: Washington, D.C. Occupation: Ward 4 councilman Claim to fame: chairman of the Committee on Human Services, which oversees the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, the Child and Family Services Agency, the Department of Human Services, and the Office on Aging
MP3 Audio: Adrian Fenty talks about what makes him an attractive candidate in the race.
VISION I think Mayor Anthony Williams has done a great job. My mission and goal is to make the city even greater. I think that’s how government should work. Someone runs it, does a pretty good job; the next person comes along and puts even more energy, more attention to detail, hires better people. EDUCATION We’re going to look very seriously to have the mayor be at the front lines of accountability. I like three specific things they’ve done in New York. One: They’ve mandated no more social promotion. If you can’t read by the third grade, we’re not promoting you. And we’re gonna make sure we get all the resources necessary to make sure you’re promoted. Teachers who aren’t getting the job done won’t be teaching in the public school system. Two: Making schools more independent and autonomous. Schools that have the ability to set their own curriculum, hire the teachers they want, fix a light bulb or bathroom stall without having to go through some great bureaucratic process operate better. Three: More quickly close down troubled schools. These urban school systems are so broken that you need to have quick decision-making. AFFORDABLE HOUSING One of the big things I’ve done as a council member was to establish the Comprehensive Housing Strategy Task Force. This is a task force that put together essentially a long-term plan for housing in the city. The plan calls for 55,000 new units of housing, 19,000 of which will be affordable. It is that 19,000 units of housing that I’m really going to work hard for. We use the components of subsidies and incentives that we already have, including the housing production trust fund, low-income housing vouchers, rent control, tenant assistance, dollars that come through the housing finance agency. Compiled together in an aggressive plan, I think you can get at a lot of affordable housing. The private sector also has to be engaged. CRIME EMERGENCY I think I represent a majority of people in the District who are really tired with the old way that government used to work. There’s this textbook that politicians read and mastered: When there’s a crisis you pull everyone together, you pull together a piece of emergency legislation, have a big press conference, and everything’s fixed. I think people are really tired of that. They know that fixing public safety in a big city like the District of Columbia is a real job — both the two years before there’s the crisis and the two years after. And I tried to, in that vote [against emergency crime legislation], to stand with the people who are not going to let the government off the hook, because the City Council came together on a special session for a seven-hour vote, and instead are going to say, “This requires that police officers walk the beat; this requires that police officers really go into drug houses and adopt better policies — zero tolerance.” I think there’s some merit to surveillance cameras — I do. But I think passing them on an emergency legislation along with lowering the curfew by two hours and saying that’s our serious way to stop crime, I think that’s knee-jerk, it’s feel-good. And I think that’s how governments have always acted. In general, we need to follow what I consider the New York model — the model of zero tolerance, the model of cracking down on small crimes, of quality-of-life crimes. We need to make sure every part of life in a neighborhood is clean and safe. BASEBALL I was one of the six council members that voted against the public-financing arrangement. Not because I’m not a fan of baseball and economic development, but I just thought and continue to think we could have gotten a better deal. That being said, talking as a lawyer, we have a contract. It would be a really irresponsible thing to try and go back on that contract. It’s going to be tough enough financially and logistically to get this deal done. If you ever seriously consider backing out of this contract, it would, in an ironic twist, cost the residents of the city twice as much. AIDS The way to describe what I think should be done is almost a street war against HIV and AIDS. One of the great things that Sasha Bruce [ Youthwork, a private, nonprofit agency] does is take vans out into the community and test young people and people who are at risk. They spread the word with all types of information about how you can contract the disease, how you prevent yourself from getting the disease. But it’s just too few and far between. I think the future of us really addressing this crisis is vans being all over neighborhoods east of the river where the HIV crisis is at its most severe, seeing them around recreation centers and around public-housing projects and around other areas where right now the message just isn’t getting out. Everyone in the District of Columbia should be tested. • Visit Adrian Fenty’s campaign Web site

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