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Age:48 Hometown:Atlanta Occupation: D.C. Council chairman Claim to fame:first woman elected chairman of the D.C. Council, former D.C. school board president, endorsed by Mayor Anthony Williams
MP3 Audi Linda Cropp discusses how D.C. can have a better relationship with the federal government.
VISION It’s been a lot of hard work, concern, and care to get where we are, and I don’t want to lose it. I want to build on it, so it touches every neighborhood and community. But the difference between Linda Cropp and the other candidates is on leadership. I’ve shown that I can bring diverse groups of people together, identify the problem, find the solution, and get people on board to move this city forward. I don’t have to get credibility — I have it. I’ve earned it. I am the continuity candidate and the change candidate. EDUCATION It’s the most important issue facing us. I’m a former teacher, guidance counselor, and member of the Board of Education. Education is a way to keep the middle class in this city. Part of the problem is how we look at education. The fact is, the children are only in school six hours a day. There are 18 other hours that are [available for] educating our children. We gotta get a handle on it. I want the superintendent to be in the Cabinet meeting — not to be under the mayor but to be there with the head of the department of recreation so that we can develop our recreational programs that can reinforce what they’re trying to do in the schools. I want to have a principals institute. They’re in charge of a facility. They have to do things businesses have to do. And so we need to make sure our principals are trained in management. Some people suggest we’re going to learn half of what we’ll learn in life by 6 years of age. And if that’s the case, we’re missing a crucial opportunity with our children. As mayor, I want to have universal kindergarten, pre-kindergarten, and expand early-childhood education. AFFORDABLE HOUSING My approach is to bring about diversity of income. One rule that I have is 1-for-1 replacement of lower-income housing. One of the concerns many residents have is that people are going to be moved out, people who’ve been here for years during the hard time. I don’t want that to happen. Our tent is big enough for everybody. We don’t want this city to be exclusively of the very, very rich and the very, very poor. And the only way you can do that is having strong affordable-housing policies. The average cost of housing is $450,000. The area median income in D.C. alone is $50,000. I want housing policies that will enable people [earning] from $20,000 to $80,000 to be able to [buy a house]. CRIME EMERGENCY We must, as leaders of this city, provide a safe and wholesome environment for people who live here and people who visit here. Over the past several months there has been an 83 percent increase in crime of our juveniles. We had actually been experiencing a reduction in crime over the past several years. I’ve always said to prevent crime you have to deal with action in the long term and short term. Long term is education and jobs. But then you also have some knuckleheads. Short range you gotta have more police in the communities. The [emergency] crime bill [which the council passed July 19] was prevention and enforcement. We kept recreational centers open to keep kids off the street. And people were afraid to talk. Well, guess what? Cameras aren’t afraid to talk. I had to work with myself on the cameras. But I went around and talked to people, and they said, “Get these cameras here.” BASEBALL Baseball ended up being an extremely divisive issue for the city when it didn’t have to be. We need things that bring folks together. My fight on baseball was to make sure it’s the best deal for the citizens. I said I’d support it under one condition: that it wouldn’t take money from any existing programs. In other words, we wouldn’t pay for the stadium if it removed from education or health care. When I finally saw the agreement I realized that there was nothing in the agreement that will keep the team here. I wanted something that would prevent that from happening. My fight was not against baseball. My fight was to make sure the deal was a better deal. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT I am for statehood. We pay more than $3 billion in taxes, and the federal government doesn’t support us. And we have no voice if our sons and daughters go off to fight in war. We don’t have any voice about how our dollars are spent. I’m a realist and a pragmatist. I know that in the near future we probably won’t get statehood; therefore, I’m very much in support of incremental steps to get there. I was in support of [D.C. Delegate] Eleanor [Holmes Norton] being there [in Congress]. She doesn’t have a vote, but she has a loud mouth. I think we should eliminate everything that’s under federal control. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Businesses used to literally run from us, and now they run to us. We have traditionally suburban stores coming into the District of Columbia. I want to expand the development opportunities in the District to Southeast and Northeast Washington, where they have not had the development we’ve experienced in Northwest. I think Northwest is finished; there’s maybe a few places to fill in. Other areas are crying for development, and I want them to have it. Washington, D.C., is the number-one real estate market in America, and that’s part of the change we’ve seen. When a new Giant opened up at 14th and Park Road, about 180 people started to walk to work every day. That’s a good thing. That’s the connection between economic development and the benefit to the city. Only 33 cents of every dollar earned in this city stays in this city. We need to bring more revenue in, so the burden on the tax-paying citizen will be spread out. • Visit Linda Cropp’s campaign Web site

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