Archive | David Pitts RSS feed for this section

AU’s Potemkin Village Debate

19 Sep
American University sponsored a kind of Potemkin village debate among only three mayoral candidates.  The audience were only political hacks and campaign staff, mainly Bowser’s, who were bused in before tickets were given out and got all the tickets for the main hall (the event was cosponsored by Palisades and Ward 3 groups, but neighborhood people who showed up were shunted across the building to an overflow room),  the three candidates squabbled among themselves in a slightly childish fashion, and their supporters shouted and were rude.  Both the candidates and their cheerleaders were admonished to behave a number of times by moderator Tom Sherwood.

We also learned that all three candidates favor disarming DC citizens and all three favor increased spending on a variety of programs.  We also learned that all of them think the other two were incompetent and unproductive in the past while on the city council, and that they are less than truthful about their records.  Perhaps we should trust their assessments of their opponents?

Needless to say none of the candidates identified ANY metrics showing that their past legislation has had any positive effects, in a city they all admit has double digit unemployment in Wards 7 and 8, and among the highest dropout and truancy rates in the country (calling Dr. Freud: Carol Schwartz said the book she would require DC students to read would be “A Tale of Two Cities”). And Catania did not tell us what his many many proposed programs would cost, nor where he would extract the loot for them from the taxpayer. 
 
I am a little surprised AU didn’t invite David Pitts and Richard Berendzen to officiate.


  1. For Catania, Schwartz and Bowser:  $29,000 is budgeted per pupil for students attending traditional public schools, but only $17,000 for charter students and even less ($12,000) for students using a DC Opportunity Voucher to attend an independent school.  Will you end this discriminatory and unequal funding, and allow all students the same resources, no matter where they choose to learn?

  1.  For Catania: You propose to spend more on programs for failing schools, trees, immigrant healthcare, the homeless, college scholarships, daycare, paid family leave, affordable housing, and many other programs, and have suggested raising taxes to pay for this.  You also say you want to bring more and diverse businesses and jobs to DC.  How will you get business to move to DC when you raise their taxes for your new programs?  Follow up:  How much is the total budget for your new programs?

  1. For Catania, Schwartz and Bowser:  In 1996 the DC voters voted for a term limit referendum by a 2/3rds majority; it passed by a majority in every Ward.  The City Council then overturned it.  How is the DC government legitimate if it nullified a basic constituitive principle passed by the voters?  How would you vote today?  For Schwartz:  How did you vote?

  1. For Bowser, Catania and Schwartz:  It is widely discussed by the public that officials in the Metropolitan police department may have covered up domestic abuse in the past by DC politicians.  Would you investigate these stories?

  1. For Schwartz:  You have said charter schools should be more closely regulated because some have misused funds.  But the traditional public schools spend $29,000 per pupil to produce at best equal results to those of charters, which receive only $17,000 per pupil.  How would you investigate the misuse of funds by the DC public schools?  Where is the money going?

  1. For Catania:  You have called for subsidies for day care.  But independent providers of K-6 education and after school care in DC are regulated by different agencies from those that regulate public and charter schools, and are required to have more staff, more bathroom facilities, etc. per the same number of students, as well as other more costly amenities (e.g., cots off the floor instead of mats).  What have you done in the past to address this?

  1. For Catania, Schwartz, and Bowser:  Mr. Catania’s 126 page booklet details how he has steered hundreds of millions of dollars to programs he favored, Ms. Schwartz’s 15 page paper details her history working on education issues, and Ms. Bowser has served on the city council for several years.  Yet as Mr. Catania’s booklet shows in various graphs, Wards 7 and 8 have double digit unemployment, and DC schools have higher truancy and drop out rates than anywhere in the United States, while spending more per pupil.  What metrics show that your past activities and expenditures have produced results?

  1. For Catania:  You propose to expand facilities for the homeless in DC.  How will you ensure that DC does not end up absorbing the homeless from the entire region from Baltimore to Richmond, at taxpayer expense?

  1. For Schwartz, Catania, and Bowser:  DC residents convicted of federal crimes are dispersed through prisons around the country, so that their relatives cannot easily visit them, which may frustrate their reintegration into society.  What plans do you have to address this and have them housed closer to DC?

  1. For Catania, Schwartz, and Bowser:  DC has reduced its homicide rate, but has regular car and home theft and vandalism, as well as muggings, gay bashings etc.  Yet police resources are used on ticket traps and victimless crimes.  What have you done in the past to address the misallocation of police resources?

m4msmaller.jpg

Bruce Majors, Libertarian for Mayor, 1200 23rd Street NW, Washington DC 20037