DC Federation of Citizens Association Annual Holiday Luncheon, 12/7/15


>>WE HAVE BEEN GRACED WITH
THE PRESENCE OF OUR MAYOR I’M VERY PROUD OF THE JOB
SHE IS DOING SO FAR AND I HOPE IT CONTINUES.
SHE WILL TAKE A FEW QUESTIONS AFTERWARDS.
SO, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, OUR MAYOR. [ APPLAUSE ]>>MAYOR: WELL, GOOD AFTERNOON,
EVERYBODY, AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU.
I THINK THIS TREE DEFINITELY WINS AS THE BEST TREE I’VE SEEN
SO FAR THIS SEASON. AND I AM DELIGHTED TO BE WITH
THE FEDERATION THIS AFTERNOON. I’M PRETTY SURE I WAS SITTING
RIGHT THERE LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME.
THE PODIUM WAS A LITTLE MOVED OVER, BUT I GOT A CHANCE TO
START THE HOLIDAY SEASON OFF WITH YOU THEN AND I AM GLAD TO
BE BACK. EVERYBODY KNOWS HOW MUCH I LOVE
GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS AND HAVE BEEN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT IN
MY OWN CITIZENS ASSOCIATION AND THE CITIZENS ASSOCIATION I GREW
UP WITH NORTH MICHIGAN PARK AND THEN LAMOND RIGGS SHOULD NOT TO
BE THE SHEPHERD PARK CITIZENS ASSOCIATION, AND I JUST FIND
THAT ALL OF THE THINGS THAT NEIGHBORS CAN DO TOGETHER
ENHANCE EVERYTHING THAT THE GOVERNMENT DOES.
AND IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT WE PAY ATTENTION AND WE LISTEN.
SO WE STARTED OUT OUR ADMINISTRATION WITH THE NOTION
THAT WE WOULD BE OPEN, TRANSPARENT AND WE WOULD ASK FOR
INFORMATION AS WE MAKE BIG DECISIONS.
WE STARTED THAT PHILOSOPHY OFF WITH THE MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENT
THAT THE MAYOR CREATES AND THAT’S THE BUDGET AND ADVANCING
THE BUDGET FORUMS BEFORE THE BUDGET WAS COMPLETELY FORMULATED
AND WE FOUND THAT WAS VERY HELPFUL TO US.
SO PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ASKING ME THIS MONTH ESPECIALLY SOL WHAT
HAS IT BEEN LIKE? DO YOU LIKE IT?
AND TELL US ABOUT BEING MAYOR. THERE IS NO MORE FUN JOB THAN TO
BE MAYOR OF YOUR HOMETOWN. SO UNLESS YOU ARE FROM D.C. I
HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT BECAUSE THEN YOU WILL BE RUNNING AGAINST ME. [LAUGHTER]>>MAYOR: EVERYBODY FROM D.C.
YOU CAN JUST HELP YOUR MAYOR. BUT IT IS JUST A TREMENDOUS
HONOR AND IT IS ALSO A TREMENDOUS RESPONSIBILITY.
MANAGING A CITY AND LEADING A CITY IS ABOUT THE HARDEST THING
THAT YOU CAN DO AND I KNOW IT IS THE TOUGHEST JOB IN ANY — OF
ANY ELECTED OFFICE. BEING THE MAYOR.
THERE IS A LOT OF DIFFERENCES BETWEEN, YOU KNOW, YOU HEARD THE
PRESIDENT LAST NIGHT SO THAT’S A PRETTY TOUGH JOB, TOO, BUT HE IS
NOT WALKING AROUND ON THE STREETS OR GOING TO THE GROCERY
STORE TO THE LOWE’S OR THE HOME DEPOT WHERE PEOPLE ARE LITERALLY
SAYING I NEED THIS, BUT THE ADVANTAGE TO BEING MAYOR IS THAT
I CAN ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING WHEN SOMEBODY COMES UP TO ME TO MAKE
A DIFFERENCE AND TO CHANGE IT ALMOST LIKE THAT.
OUR CITY COUNTY STATE WASHINGTON D.C. IS REMARKABLE AND UNIQUE IN
THE POLITICAL STRUCTURE, AND IT HAS JUST BEEN AN HONOR TO LEAD
OUR CITY. YOU MAY HAVE HEARD THIS STORY,
BUT MOST OF YOU PROBABLY HAVEN’T SO I WILL TELL YOU JUST THE
FIRST FEW WEEKS OF MY TENURE AS MAYOR TO GIVE YOU A TASTE OF
WHAT IT IS LIKE. YOU KNOW THAT I HAD THE HONOR OF
REPRESENTING WARD 4 ON THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA FOR ALMOST EIGHT YEARS SO I WAS CONVINCED THAT THERE
WAS REALLY NOTHING THAT WAS GOING TO SURPRISE ME A LOT ABOUT
BEING MAYOR. I KNOW THE GOVERNMENT, I KNOW
THE PEOPLE AND I KNOW A LOT OF THE EMPLOYEES, AND I WAS SWORN
IN ON A FRIDAY. IT WAS JANUARY 2ND, AND ON
MONDAY MORNING GUESS WHAT HAPPENED?
IT SNOWED. WASN’T THAT JUST WHAT I NEEDED?
AND SO WE CLEANED UP THE SNOW AND THEN ONE THING YOU WILL KNOW
YOU WILL LEARN IF YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME IS I DON’T LIKE TO
CLOSE THE GOVERNMENT. GOVERNMENT IS THERE ESPECIALLY
IN TOUGH TIMES AND I DIDN’T CLOSE THE GOVERNMENT.
SO I LEARNED A LESSON, I LEARNED THAT I FIRST HAD TO GET TO KNOW
EVERYBODY. THEY HAD TO GET TO KNOW ME AND
KNOW WHAT ALL OF THE ASSUMPTIONS WERE THAT WENT INTO THOSE TYPES
OF DECISIONS. AND PROBABLY IF I HAD TO DO IT
AGAIN I MAY HAVE DELAYED OPENING OF A COUPLE OF HOURS BECAUSE BY
11:00 THERE WAS NO SNOW ON THE GROUND AND THEN PEOPLE COULD GO
TO WORK BUT THEN FOR NINE STRAIGHT WEEKS GUESS WHAT
HAPPENED? IT SNOWED EVERY WEEK FOR NINE
WEEKS, AND SO WE LEARNED ABOUT MANAGING SALT AND ALL OF THE
THINGS THAT GO INTO THAT SO CERTAINLY THE END OF THAT NINE
WEEKS WE HAD IT DOWN AND WERE ALREADY PREPARING FOR THIS
COMING SEASON. ABOUT NINE DAYS AFTER I WAS
SWORN IN WE HAD A PRETTY SIGNIFICANT INCIDENT.
THERE WAS A SMOKE INCIDENT ON THE METRO.
MANY PEOPLE WERE HURT. A WOMAN DIED, AND THE CONFIDENCE
IN THE SAFETY OF OUR ECONOMIC ENGINE OF OUR CITY WAS LITERALLY
SHAKEN AND HAS BEEN IN SOMEWHAT OF A TUMULT EVERY DAY SINCE SO
WE WORKED FOR THE TEN MONTHS TO GET A GOOD LEADER, GOOD PEOPLE
ON THE BOARD TO REALLY CHANGE THE SITUATION AT METRO BUT FOR
THAT FIRST WEEK LITERALLY NOBODY WOULD TALK TO THE NEWS MEDIA
EXCEPT WHO? BOWSER.
SO THEY FOLLOWED ME AROUND FOR A STRAIGHT WEEK.
SO I LEARNED IN THAT SITUATION HOW IMPORTANT IT WAS TO
COMMUNICATE TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE LOOKING TO YOU FOR
LEADERSHIP. WHAT YOU KNOW AND HOW YOU KNOW
THINGS ARE GOING TO CHANGE AND MAKE SURE THAT IF SOMETHING IS
WRONG OR NOT SAFE THAT YOU ARE COMMUNICATING THAT AS WELL
BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE STARVED FOR INFORMATION TO MAKE THE TYPE OF
DECISIONS THAT THEY NEED TO MAKE, TO MAKE THEIR FAMILIES
WORK. AND SO THAT WAS A REAL LESSON TO
US. WE GOT OUT EARLY AND WE WERE
TRANSPARENT AND IN RELEASING MORE INFORMATION ABOUT 911 CALLS
OR RESPONSES AND WORKING WITH OUR FEDERAL PARTNERS.
AND I THINK THAT CERTAINLY WE ARE THE BETTER FOR IT AS AN
ADMINISTRATION, AND WE THINK THE WHOLE PUBLIC SAFETY OF THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS BETTER FOR IT AS WELL AND THEN A COUPLE
OF WEEKS AFTER THAT THERE WAS THIS CONGRESSMAN FROM UTAH AND
HE DIDN’T LIKE, YOU KNOW, THE LAWS THAT THE PEOPLE OF THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA VOTED FOR. AND HE THREATENED TO THROW ME IN
JAIL FOR IMPLEMENTING THE LAW. AND SO WE KNOW ONE OF THE REAL
PROBLEMS, THE REAL INJUSTICES OF THE PLIGHT OF THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA IS THAT WE TAX PAYING AMERICANS CAN HAVE A CONGRESSMAN
CHALLENGE THE LAW THAT THE PEOPLE MADE AND EVEN MAKE
THREATS TO THROW THE MAYOR IN JAIL, BUT WE OVERCAME THAT AND
WE’VE IMPLEMENTED OUR LAW WITHOUT TOO MUCH FUSS, AND WE
ACTUALLY THINK THAT IT IS GOING TO MAKE OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE
SYSTEM IN THE DISTRICT THAT MUCH BETTER.
SO WE HAVE ALSO WHEN WE CAME INTO OFFICE HAD $190 MILLION GAP
AND WE ALSO HAD A BIG COMMITMENT TO A FEW MAJOR PRIORITIES
STARTING WITH INVESTMENTS IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING, ENDING
HOMELESSNESS, CONTINUING TO INVEST IN OUR SCHOOLS AND OUR
PUBLIC SAFETY SYSTEM. SO WE CLOSED THE GAP.
WE DIDN’T FURLOUGH OUR EMPLOYEES.
THEY ALL GOT THEIR COLA’S AND THEY WERE WORKING REALLY HARD.
WE ALSO MADE THE $100 MILLION INVESTMENT IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING
THAT WE WILL NEED TO MAKE EACH AND EVERY YEAR.
WE MADE A COMMITMENT, A DOWN PAYMENT I CALL IT TO ENDING
HOMELESSNESS FOR VETERANS AND FAMILIES AS WELL.
AND WE’RE GOING TO KEEP PUSHING ON THAT. [ APPLAUSE ]>>MAYOR: WE ALSO INHERITED A
PRETTY DYSFUNCTIONAL FIRE AND EMS, AND I KNOW MANY OF YOU,
YOUR HEADS ARE GOING TO SPIN BECAUSE YOU KNOW WE’VE BEEN
HAVING THIS CONVERSATION EIGHT YEARS, NINE YEARS, SO WE HAVE
MADE SOME CHANGES BUT WE HAVE A LOT TO GO.
ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES THAT WE ENCOUNTERED WAS SIMPLY I
WOULD GET E-MAILS AND I STILL DO SAYING THAT WE HAD RUN OUT OF
AMBULANCES. THAT THERE WAS A TIME DURING THE
DAY WHERE WE DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH AMBULANCES AND WE REACHED THAT
DURING CRITICAL POINTS THROUGHOUT.
SO THERE IS A WAY OF COURSE THAT THE FIRE DEPARTMENT MANAGES IT
SO THERE IS ALWAYS AN AMBULANCE AVAILABLE FOR CRITICAL CASES BUT
WE KNEW THAT WE SIMPLY HAD NOT MADE THE INVESTMENTS IN
AMBULANCES THAT WE NEEDED TO MAKE TO KEEP UP WITH THE NUMBER
OF PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES THAT HAVE MOVED HERE.
SO WE MADE INNOVATIVE PROPOSAL TO THE COUNCIL.
THEY’VE ACCEPTED IT. AND NEXT YEAR WE WILL BE ABLE TO
ROLL OUT MORE AMBULANCES AND MAKE SOME DECISIONS ABOUT THE
INVESTMENTS THAT WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO MAKE TO KEEP PACE
WITH OUR GROWTH. AND LIKE MANY BIG CITY MAYORS,
WE ENCOUNTERED A SPIKE IN VIOLENCE THAT NOBODY SAW COMING
OR EXPECTED. AND WE HAVE WORKED VERY HARD TO
GET AHEAD OF IT AND ADDRESS IT. I CERTAINLY SHARE THE FEELINGS
OF WASHINGTONIANS AND NOT BEING HAPPY AND CERTAINLY NOT RESTING
UNTIL WE DO GET AHEAD OF THE CURVE ON SPIKES IN VIOLENCE.
THE TRUTH IS THAT WE ARE AND ON MOST CATEGORIES EXCEPT TWO, WE
HAVE FLAT CRIME RATES. AND IN MOST PARTS OF THE CITY
EXCEPT LIKE REALLY FIVE AREAS THAT WE ARE INTENSELY FOCUSED
ON, WE HAVE FLAT CRIME RATES. WHERE WE HAVE SEEN
UNFORTUNATELY, A SPIKE IN THE NUMBER OF HOMICIDES SO WE’RE
FOCUSED ON FIVE POLICE SERVICE AREAS IN OUR CITY FOR INTENSE
HUMAN SERVICES AND POLICE ATTENTION.
I HAVE PUT IN FRONT OF THE COUNCIL A PACKAGE OF PUBLIC
SAFETY THINGS THAT WE NEED, WE GOT TO HAVE THEM.
SO I HOPE THAT YOU WILL WORK WITH US TO MAKE SURE THAT THE
COUNCIL MOVES ON THIS LEGISLATION WHERE THEY HAVE
ALREADY HAD A HEARING AND WE ARE LOOKING FOR THE SAFER STRONGER
PACKAGE TO BE PUT IN PLACE. THERE IS A COUPLE OF, YOU KNOW,
MORE CONTROVERSIAL ASPECTS OF THE BILL.
WHERE WE SAID WE NEED MORE ABILITY TO SEARCH FOR ILLEGAL
GUNS. WE’VE ASKED FOR — FOR THE
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM TO BE ABLE TO PAY CLOSER ATTENTION TO
REPEAT VIOLENT OFFENDERS WHO USE GUNS AND MAKE SURE IF THEY
REPEAT THAT THEY ARE ABLE TO BE HELD.
WE HAVE ASKED FOR ENHANCED PENALTIES ON PUBLIC
TRANSPORTATION, AND I DID THIS AS A COUNCILMEMBER TO MAKE SURE
THAT THERE WERE ENHANCED PENALTIES AGAINST ANYBODY WHO
WOULD HARM A BUS OR TRAIN OPERATOR BUT WE NEED TO EXPAND
THAT TO BUS OR RAIL PATRONS AS WELL AND SO WE’RE ASKING THE
COUNCIL TO DO THAT. WE’RE TAKING AWAY SOME THINGS
THAT THE POLICE AND THE COMMUNITY HAVE SAID HAVE LED TO
TOUGHER POLICE COMMUNITY RELATIONS THAT WERE PUT IN PLACE
IN THE ’90S. WE CALLED THEM KIND OF THE
NUISANCE OFFENSES THAT ALLOW A POLICE OFFICER TO PULL SOMEBODY
OVER. GET THIS, BECAUSE I’VE BEEN
PULLED OVER FOR THIS. FOR HAVING SOMETHING HANG IN THE
WINDOW. THAT WAS A LAW THAT WAS PUT IN
PLACE MANY, MANY YEARS AGO. YOU LIKE THAT, DON’T YOU, SO
MOTORISTS AREN’T GETTING HARASSED.
I THOUGHT YOU WOULD. FINALLY I’VE SAID SOMETHING YOU
LIKE. FINALLY.
THAT’S JUST A JOKE. WE AGREE ON A LOT WITH THE AAA.
AND SO WE’RE GOING TO REMOVE THAT.
THERE WAS ONE OTHER THAT ACCOMPANIED THAT BUT THAT’S PART
OF OUR SAFER STRONGER INITIATIVE AND ANOTHER THAT’S ONE ASPECT OF
ENHANCING POLICE AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS, AND THE SECOND WHICH
I AM VERY HAPPY THAT THE COUNCIL HAS FINALLY MOVED THE RULES TO
PUT IN PLACE AND THAT IS THE POLICE BODY WORN CAMERA PROGRAM.
IN MY BUDGET, BACK IN MAY, I BUDGETED $5 MILLION SO EVERY
BEAT OFFICER WOULD HAVE A BODY-WORN CAMERA, AND WE WENT
BACK AND FORTH WITH THE COUNCIL A LITTLE BIT ON THE FUNDING BUT
IT WAS FULLY FUNDED IN THE SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET THAT I JUST
MOVED IN SEPTEMBER, AND THE COUNCIL AND I AND MY STAFF, MY
PUBLIC SAFETY TEAM HAVE WORKED OUT THE DETAILS OF THE RULES.
AND SO THAT WAS APPROVED, IT WILL BE FINALLY APPROVED BY
EMERGENCY ON DECEMBER 15TH. NOW, I’VE ALREADY ORDERED THE
CAMERAS AND THEY ARE COMING IN BETWEEN FEBRUARY AND JUNE OF
NEXT YEAR. THIS IS A BIG DEAL BECAUSE THE
POLICE WANT IT, THE COMMUNITY WANTS IT, ELECTED OFFICIALS WANT
IT, AND WE KNOW THAT IT WILL PUT I THINK IT WILL BE THE MOST
ROBUST BODY WORN CAMERA PROGRAM ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY.
WE ALSO CAME INTO OFFICE WITH A REAL FOCUS ON INVESTING IN ALL
EIGHT WARDS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
AND WE WANTED THAT TO BE MORE THAN A SLOGAN AND I’M REALLY
PROUD OF THE WORK WE’VE DONE TO LOOK AT EVERY ASPECT OF OUR
CITY. I CREATED AN OFFICE CALLED THE
DEPUTY MAYOR FOR GREATER ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY.
AND I APPOINTED COURTNEY SNOWDEN TO BE THE DEPUTY MAYOR FOR
GREATER ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY. THE FUNCTION OF THAT OFFICE IS
TO CUT ACROSS THE SILOS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND EXPAND
OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED IT THE MOST.
UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES IN OUR CITY.
WE CREATED AN OFFICE, A MAYOR’S OFFICE IN ANACOSTIA WHICH HAS
BEEN UP AND RUNNING SINCE ABOUT APRIL WHERE WE TAKE THE SERVICES
OF THE GOVERNMENT TO THE PEOPLE. SO WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO MAKE
SOME HUGE INVESTMENTS ON THE HUMAN SERVICES SIDE.
BUT WE KNOW THAT CITIES RUN. WE CAN MAKE THESE INVESTMENTS
BECAUSE THE ECONOMIC ENGINE OF WASHINGTON D.C. IS STRONG.
PETE WANT TO BE IN WASHINGTON SO PEOPLE ARE MOVING HERE.
BUSINESSES ARE MOVING HERE. AND I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DELIVER
ON SOMETHING ELSE THAT I PROMISED TO D.C., AND THAT WAS,
YES, LET’S FOCUS ON LOCAL WASHINGTON, BUT WE ALSO HAVE TO
EXPAND OUR FOOTPRINT IN THIS REGION, THE NATION AND THE
WORLD. THIS REGION IS ALSO A GROWING
REGION. AND THE CENTER OF THAT REGION
HAS TO BE AT THE TABLE SPEAKING UP AND COMPETING FOR EVERYTHING
THAT HAPPENS IN THAT REGION AND WE HAVE MADE A CONCERTED EFFORT
TO DO THAT. I CREATED ANOTHER SECTION IN THE
MAYOR’S OFFICE CALLED THE SENIOR ADVISOR’S OFFICE AND AN OFFICE
OF FEDERAL AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS WHICH THE MAYOR HAS NEVER HAD.
THAT’S IMPORTANT BECAUSE THE MAYOR’S VIEWPOINT IN ALL OF THE
THINGS THAT YOU SENT ME DOWN TO THE WILSON BUILDING TO WORK ON
HAS TO BE COMMUNICATED DIRECTLY TO THE CONGRESS TO OUR REGIONAL
PARTNERS AND BODIES AS WELL. BEFORE WE RELY SOLELY ON A
CONGRESSWOMAN TO DO THAT, AND SHE CAN DO THAT FANTASTICALLY
BUT WE ALSO NEED THE VIEWPOINT OF THE CITY GOVERNMENT TO BE
REPRESENTED. I WAS CONVINCED THAT WE HAD TO
GO THAT ROUTE WHEN I LEARNED THAT NEW YORK CITY HAS 17 PEOPLE
WORKING HERE FULL TIME ON THE INTEREST OF NEW YORK CITY AND
WASHINGTON D.C. SO THEY ARE ON THE HILL.
THEY ARE AT ALL OF THE FEDERAL AGENCIES AND HERE WE ARE DOWN
THE STREET AND WE HAD NONE OF THAT.
SO WE DON’T HAVE 17 PEOPLE BUT WE HAVE A ROBUST GROUP OF PEOPLE
AND I JUST APPOINTED EUGENE KINLOW TO RUN THE OFFICE OF
FEDERAL AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS SO THAT’S A GOOD THING. [ APPLAUSE ] WE ALSO WILL MAKE SURE THAT OUR
INTEREST ARE REPRESENTED IN THE WORLD.
WASHINGTON D.C., I DON’T HAVE TO TELL ANY OF YOU THIS WHEN YOU GO
TO OTHER CITIES AND YOU TELL OTHER PLACES IN THE WORLD YOU
ARE FROM WASHINGTON PEOPLE ARE HAPPY USUALLY, RIGHT?
SO WHEN I GO 0 OTHER PLACES IN THE WORLD THEY ARE THRILLED TO
HAVE A REPRESENTATIVE OF WASHINGTON D.C. THERE.
SO I RECENTLY TOOK A GROUP, A BIG GROUP TO CHINA.
I’M SURE YOU READ ABOUT IT. TO TALK ABOUT THE INTEREST OF
WASHINGTON, AND THE CHINESE PEOPLE ARE THE NUMBER ONE, THE
NUMBER ONE NATION THAT VISITS THE UNITED STATES.
AND WE MET WITH JUST AMONG THEM MANY HOURS OF MEETINGS THAT WE
HAD. ONE OF THE BIGGEST TRAVEL AGENCY
I WILL TELL YOU HOW BIG IT IS. YOU KNOW HOW BIG CHINA IS.
IT HAS 33,000 EMPLOYEES. THE TRAVEL AGENCY ALONE IS
BIGGER THAN OUR GOVERNMENT. SO WE WANT TO KNOW WHAT PEOPLE
ARE COMING TO D.C. FOR, HOW DO WE GET MORE OF THEM TO COME,
STAY LONGER, SPEND MORE MONEY. BECAUSE AS DIVERSE AS OUR
ECONOMY IS BECOMING, AND IT IS, WE ARE NOT JUST A FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT TOWN. BUT LET ME BE REAL CLEAR ABOUT
SOMETHING. TOURISM FEEDS OUR ECONOMY AND
LETS US DO THE THINGS THAT WE NEED TO DO.
SO WE’RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON THAT.
AND SO WE’RE LOOKING FOR MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO EXPAND OUR
BUSINESSES AND INVESTORS FROM AROUND THE WORLD AND WHAT WE
NEED TO MOVE THIS CITY FORWARD. LET ME END BY SAYING A COUPLE OF
THINGS ABOUT SOME OTHER ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ENGINES THAT ARE
IMPORTANT. SO WHEN YOU HEAR ME TALK ABOUT
THESE KNOW THAT THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO WHAT WE HAVE TO DO.
WE HAVE TO MAKE THE INVESTMENTS IN THE HUMAN SERVICES THAT ARE
GOING TO MAKE OUR CITY MORE INCLUSIVE BUT IN ORDER TO DO
THAT, THAT ECONOMIC ENGINE HAS TO KEEP ROARING AND A PROJECT
YOU’RE GOING TO HEAR A LOT ABOUT WE THINK IS GOING TO TRANSFORM
UPPER WASHINGTON, D.C., AT WALTER REED AND SO I HAVE MOVED
TO THE COUNCIL THE PACKAGE THAT WILL APPROVE THAT DEAL AND THEN
THERE IS ONE FINAL THING THAT THE ARMY DOES AND WE HOPE TO SEE
THAT GOING. WE HAVE 100 ACRES AT WALTER
REED. HALF OF IT WILL COME TO THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. WE’VE COME A LONG WAY IN GETTING
ACCESS TO THAT LAND AND THAT’S REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT TO THE
WORK THAT WE HAVE TO DO. WE ALSO MOVED TO THE COUNCIL THE
TRANSFORMATION OF THE SAINT ELIZABETH’S CAMPUS IN WALTER
REED. IT IS ALSO, I THINK IS ALSO
ABOUT 100 ACRES, AND THE GRAY ADMINISTRATION MADE AN INITIAL
AWARD LAST DECEMBER WHICH WE HAVE REFINED SOME, BUT WE HAVE
SENT THAT PACKAGE TO THE COUNCIL ALSO TO BE APPROVED AND WE HOPE
THAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE EARLY SPRING.
PART OF THE SAINT ELIZABETH’S DEVELOPMENT WILL BE A STATE OF
THE ART SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX, AND I ANNOUNCED EARLIER
IN THE FALL A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE D.C. GOVERNMENT,
EVENTS D.C. AND THE WASHINGTON WIZARDS.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF A STATE OF THE ART FACILITY.
WHERE THE WIZARDS WILL PRACTICE AND IT WILL BE THE HOME COURT
FOR THE WASHINGTON MYSTICS, SO IT REALLY BECAME THE ANCHOR THAT
WE NEED TO DEVELOP THE REST OF SAINT ELIZABETH’S AND WE’RE
REALLY, REALLY HAPPY ABOUT THAT. SO I SAID THAT WAS THE LAST
POINT. THE LAST, LAST POINT IS THIS.
BECAUSE IT IS ALSO PART OF OUR ECONOMIC ENGINE, AND THAT IS
INVESTING IN HIGHLY EDUCATED SUCCESSFUL WASHINGTONIANS.
AND OUR COMMITMENT TO THE SCHOOLS IS UNCHANGED, BOARD
MEMBER, AND WE HAVE MOST RECENTLY EMBARKED FOR A BRAVE
NEW WORLD AND IT IS A NEW ASSESSMENT FOR OUR STUDENTS.
NOT EVERY JURISDICTION HAS ACCEPTED THAT CHALLENGE BUT WE
THOUGHT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO RAISE THE BAR FOR EVALUATING
D.C. STUDENTS SO WE KNOW THAT THEY WILL BE READY FOR COLLEGE
AND WORK MOVING FORWARD. SO WE HAVE CHANGES THAT WE NEED
TO MAKE IN INVESTMENTS AND DIFFERENT INTERVENTIONS,
INCLUDING MAKING SURE THAT CHILDREN HAVE ACCESS TO MORE
INSTRUCTION, MORE TIME. AND SO WE LOOK FORWARD TO
SHARING THOSE IDEAS WITH YOU AS WELL AS PROGRESS ON POPULATION
OF KIDS IN OUR SCHOOLS THAT HAVEN’T MOVED AS FAST AND THAT’S
BOYS OF COLOR AND SO IN THE NEXT YEAR WE’RE MOVING TOWARDS
PLANNING FOR THAT. SO I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR
ACTIVISM, FOR YOUR INVOLVEMENT AND PLEASE KNOW THAT WE TAKE
VERY SERIOUSLY WORKING ON WITH STAKEHOLDERS AROUND ALL OF —
AROUND ALL OF THESE ISSUES. AND I NEGLECTED TO INTRODUCE THE
RIDE ALONG MAYOR. SO WHAT IS THE RIDE ALONG MAYOR?
TODAY IT IS LAURA ZEILINGER AND SHE LEADS OUR DEPARTMENT OF
HUMAN SERVICES. HE PROBABLY HEARD ABOUT LAURA
BECAUSE SHE IS SPEARHEADING OUR EFFORTS TO END HOMELESSNESS, TO
HELP US CLOSE D.C. GENERAL AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
AND IN EARLY PROBABLY IN THE FALL I REALIZED THAT IN ALL OF
THE WORK THAT I’M DOING I’M OUT OF THE OFFICE A LOT AND I’M IN
THE OFFICE AND I’M IN BACK TO BACK MEETINGS, AND I HAVEN’T HAD
THE TIME TO SPEND WITH MY DIRECTORS.
AND WE HAVE REALLY RECRUITED A GREAT TEAM OF PEOPLE AND SO NOW
I GET TEN HOURS TO BE WITH LAURA.
I GET TO PICK HER BRAIN AND FIGURE OUT WHAT IS GOING ON AND
SHE GETS TO SEE A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE MAYOR.
SO THIS IS THE RIDE ALONG MAYOR’S DAY AND IF ANY TOUGH
QUESTIONS YOU ASK ME THE RIDE ALONG MAYOR IS GOING TO ANSWER
THEM. ALL RIGHT.
I’M HAPPY TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS. [ APPLAUSE ]>>ANY QUESTIONS?
>>YES. YOU MENTIONED SOMETHING CALLED
EDUCATION FOR OUR CHILDREN AND BEING ABLE FOR OUR KIDS TO GET A
GOOD EDUCATION. I HAVEN’T HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT
VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS AND BRINGING THEM BACK AND WHAT WE WERE GOING
TO DO WITH THEM.>>MAYOR: WELL, OUR FOCUS IS
NOW ON THE NINE CAREER ACADEMIES THAT WE HAVE ACROSS THE DISTRICT
OF COLUMBIA. IN OUR HIGH SCHOOLS AND IN OUR
STATE SCHOOLS. I WILL GIVE YOU A COUPLE OF
EXAMPLES OF CAREER ACADEMIES THAT WE HAVE LAUNCHED THIS YEAR
OR IN THE COMING SCHOOL YEAR. AT ANACOSTIA FOR EXAMPLE IT IS
GOING TO BE AN ACADEMY FOCUSED ON PUBLIC SAFETY.
SO THE CHANCELLOR AND THE CHIEF OF POLICE AND I INTRODUCED THIS
PROGRAM AND IT IS GOING TO START IN THE UPCOMING SCHOOL YEAR.
THE BALLOU ACADEMY FOR EXAMPLE IS FOCUSED ON HOSPITALITY, AND
THE ACADEMY I HOPE I’M NOT GOING TO GET THE SCHOOLS MIXED UP, AT
THE COLUMBIA HEIGHTS EDUCATION CAMPUS WILL BE FOCUSED ON IT, ON
— SO THAT THE WAY THAT FOLKS ARE DOING VOCATIONAL NOW AND IN
OUR SYSTEM ARE AT THE HIGH SCHOOLS THEMSELVES AND ARE
FOCUSED ON THE JOBS WHEN WE KNOW THAT THERE IS JOB GROWTH AND
UNFILLED, UNFILLED JOBS THAT COULD BE FILLED BY D.C.
RESIDENTS.>>WITH YOUR COMMITMENT TO
HOUSING, AFFORDABLE AND SUPPORTIVE HOUSING, BUT I’M
WONDERING ABOUT BESIDES THAT HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS AND SO
FORTH ABOUT SPECIFIC PROGRAMS AS WE SEE RAPID GENTRIFICATION IN
SO MANY OF OUR NEIGHBORHOODS WHICH IS PUSHING OUT PEOPLE OF
MODEST MEANS. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW, YOU KNOW,
WHAT THE — WHAT YOUR SPECIFIC PLANS ARE IN THE — IN YOUR
ADMINISTRATION TO PRESERVE AND CREATE MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
>>MAYOR: WELL, THE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS I REFERENCED IS
AN INVESTMENT IN OUR HOUSING PRODUCTION TRUST FUND AND IT IS
THE CHIEF TOOL THAT WE USE FOR BOTH CREATION AND PRESERVATION
OF HOUSING. WE THINK THAT IN FOUR YEARS WE
WILL BE ABLE TO CREATE OR PRESERVE 7500 UNITS.
NOW, THAT IS A SET OF PROPERTIES.
I ALSO CREATED A HOUSING PRESERVATION STRIKE FORCE
BECAUSE THE TRUTH IS WE HAVE A LOT OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN THE
DISTRICT THAT IS NOW VULNERABLE BECAUSE TAX CREDITS MAY BE
EXPIRING OR FOR SOME REASON THE AFFORD — IT BROUGHT DOWN
AFFORDABILITY OF THEIR UNITS IS AT RISK, AND WE DON’T HAVE A
SOLUTION RIGHT NOW TO BE PERFECTLY HONEST WITH YOU, AND
SO EVERY YEAR OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS WE ARE GOING TO BE FACED
WITH A BUILDING THAT HAS BEEN AFFORDABLE AND SIGNIFICANTLY
AFFORDABLE IN SOME CASES THAT WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO FIGURE OUT
A SOLUTION AND THESE ARE NOT CHEAP PROBLEMS.
WE HAVE ONE BUILDING THAT, YOU KNOW, ANY ONE OF THESE BUILDINGS
IF THE GOVERNMENT WAS TO GET INVOLVED COULD BE 20, 30, 40,
50, 70 MILLION DOLLARS. AND SO THAT IS A SIGNIFICANT
PROBLEM SO PART OF THE GROUP THAT I BROUGHT TOGETHER AND I
GAVE THEM A SHORT TIME LINE TO WORK WITH, WAS TRYING TO
IDENTIFY CREATIVE FINANCING SOLUTIONS TO DEAL WITH WHAT WE
KNOW IS COMING. AND THAT IS AN IMPORTANT PIECE.
WE’RE ALSO LOOKING AT TWO INFREQUENTLY WHEN WE TALK ABOUT
AFFORDABLE HOUSING WE DON’T TALK ABOUT KEEPING PEOPLE IN THE
HOUSING THAT THEY HAVE. WHICH IS AFFORDABLE FOR THEM,
AND WE HAVE TWO SIDES OF THAT. WE HAVE THE HOME OWNERSHIP SIDE
AND WE HAVE YOU DON’T WANT TO GET ME STARTED TALKING ABOUT HOW
POORLY WE’VE USED THE MONEY THAT HAS BEEN THERE TO HELP SENIOR
HOMEOWNERS AND PEOPLE WHO ARE LOW INCOME BUT WE’RE WORKING ON
THAT AND I HOPE TO HAVE SOMETHING TO ANNOUNCE IN THE
EARLY PART OF THE YEAR. MORE DIFFICULT ISSUE IS SENIOR
RENTERS WHO SEE INCREASES, YOU KNOW, RENTS GO UP EVERY YEAR.
IT IS NOMINAL BUT WHEN YOU HAVE A FIXED INCOME, YOU KNOW, EVERY
INCREASE IS BITING INTO A WAY THAT YOU CAN SUPPORT YOURSELF.
SO WE’RE STILL WORKING VERY HARD ON THOSE SOLUTIONS.
WE ALSO HAVE 8,000 UNITS OF PUBLIC HOUSING IN WASHINGTON,
D.C., THAT IS IN VARIOUS STATES OF REPAIR AND DIS REPAIR.
SO WE HAVE A NEW COMMUNITIES PROGRAM, FOUR COMMUNITIES THERE.
THE HOUSING AUTHORITY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL OF THE
PUBLIC HOUSING UNITS BUT I DON’T THINK WE HAVE YET PUT IN PLACE
THE PLAN THAT WE NEED FOR OUR LOCAL INVESTMENT AND PUBLIC
HOUSING. BECAUSE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
IS BASICALLY WASHED ITS HAND OF PUBLIC HOUSING, AND IF WE ARE TO
MAINTAIN THOSE UNITS WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT A WAY TO MAKE THE
PHYSICAL INVESTMENTS THAT THEY NEED BEFORE THEY GET INTO THE
SHAPE THAT SOME OF THE UNITS ARE IN WHERE WE’RE TRYING TO DECIDE
WHETHER WE INVEST IN THEM OR WHETHER WE HAVE TO COMPLETELY
RENOVATE THEM. AND THAT HASN’T BEEN ADEQUATELY
ADDRESSED. LOCALLY.
SO I GAVE YOU A LOT OF THINGS THAT WE ARE STILL CHEWING ON BUT
WE HAVE A SIGNIFICANT FOCUS THERE.
THE LAST THING I WILL SAY IS THIS AND THE FEDERATION CAN BE
HELPFUL HERE. WE HAVE A DEDICATED REVENUE
STREAM FOR THE HOUSING PRODUCTION TRUST FUND AND SO
WHEN YOU GO TO BUY A PROPERTY YOU PAY A DEED OF RECORDATION
CHECKS AS THE PORTION GOES TO THE HOUSING PRODUCTION TRUST
FUND. LAST YEAR THAT STREAM CREATED
ABOUT $50 MILLION, 55 MILLION DOLLARS.
SO IN ORDER TO GET TO THE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS THAT I
PROMISED WE HAD TO FIND $45 MILLION IN EVERYTHING ELSE.
WE WON’T HAVE AS MUCH EVERYTHING ELSE TO PULL FROM THIS YEAR
BECAUSE OF THE TAX CHANGES THAT WE MADE.
SO IT IS GOING TO BE VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE ALL
COMMUNICATE TO MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO
MAINTAIN A HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS.
NOW, THE COUNCILMEMBERS WERE RIGHT TO ASK IF WE WOULD BE ABLE
TO SPEND IT ALL. AND I AM PROUD TO SAY THAT WE
ARE ON TRACK TO BE ABLE TO SPEND $100 MILLION IN A YEAR AND
MAINTAIN THAT LEVEL OF COMMITMENT.
>>THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOCATIONAL EDUCATION INITIATIVES.
WHAT ARE THE IMMEDIATE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR
POST SECONDARY 18 TO 25-YEAR-OLD UNDER EDUCATED AND UNSKILLED
YOUNG PEOPLE INCLUDING THE RETURNING CITIZENS OF ALL AGES.
WE SEE SO MANY PEOPLE IDLE PEOPLE WHO WOULD LOVE TO BE AT
WORK.>>MAYOR: YES, AND SO I THINK
YOU ARE RIGHT TO SAY THAT MOST PEOPLE WOULD RATHER BE WORKING.
UNFORTUNATELY THEY DON’T ALWAYS KNOW HOW TO GET THERE, RIGHT?
SO THAT’S WHY WE ARE SO HEAVILY INVESTED IN OUR DEPARTMENT OF
EMPLOYMENT SERVICES. WE’VE DONE A NUMBER OF THINGS
AROUND EMPLOYMENT FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED A SECOND CHANCE OR NEED TO
GET BACK IN THE WORKFORCE SO FREQUENTLY WHEN I’M ASKED ABOUT
AFFORDABILITY AND GENTRIFICATION I TALK ABOUT THE THINGS THAT THE
GOVERNMENT CAN DO BUT THE BIG PART OF THAT EQUATION IS HELPING
PEOPLE AFFORD TO LIVE HERE. AND YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO LIVE
HERE IF YOU DON’T HAVE A GOOD-PAYING JOB SO WE’RE REALLY
FOCUSED ON THAT. SO THERE ARE A FEW THINGS THAT
WE HAVE DONE AND A FEW THINGS THAT WE CAN LOOK FORWARD TO IN
EMPLOYMENT SERVICES. FIRST THING IS THAT WE EXPANDED
THE SUMMER YOUTH PROGRAM UP TO AGE 24.
USED TO END AT AGE 21. AND THAT WAS HELPFUL FOR US THIS
SUMMER TO GET OVER 900 PEOPLE SOME JOB EXPERIENCE, WHICH WAS
IMPORTANT. WE EXPANDED AND WE CREATED A
PROGRAM FOR AT-RISK YOUTH UP TO AGE 24 THAT IS GOING TO BE
YEAR-AROUND AND IT WAS ACTUALLY PART OF MY SAFER AND STRONGER
SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET. SO 400 PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE
ABLE TO BE PLACED IN A YEAR-AROUND PROGRAM AND WE’RE
GOING TO ASK THE COUNCIL FOR IT AGAIN THIS YEAR WHO ARE AT-RISK
FOR ANY NUMBER OF REASONS. SO WE’RE WORKING WITH OUR SUMMER
YOUTH EMPLOYMENT PARTNERS TO SAY WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE A
SUBSIDIZED EMPLOYEE YEAR-AROUND AND WE WILL WORK 400 YOUTH
THERE. I ALSO CREATED A PROGRAM CALLED
L.E.A.P. AND IN A 30,000 PERSON GOVERNMENT THERE ARE VACANCIES
EVERY DAY, EVERY DAY, AND WHY SHOULDN’T D.C. RESIDENTS FILL
THOSE VACANCIES? SO WHAT THE L.E.A.P. PROGRAM
SAYS IS THAT FOR EXISTING VACANCIES, AGENCY DIRECTOR,
WOULD YOU TAKE A D.C. RESIDENT WHO HAS BEEN A PART OF THIS
L.E.A.P. PROGRAM WHO NEEDS A SECOND CHANCE SO THEY COULD BE
RETURNING CITIZENS, THEY COULD BE A YOUNG MOTHER WHO IS EXITING
TANF AND WE HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT ARE GOING TO EXIT FROM OUR
TANF PROGRAM AND IT COULD BE ANY NUMBER OF REASONS WHY A PERSON
HAS BEEN SEPARATED FROM WORK AND IS HARD TO EMPLOY SO THEY GO
INTO THIS PROGRAM, THE AGENCY DIRECTOR INTERVIEWS THEM AND
HIRES THEM AND IF THEY AFTER SIX MONTHS IF IT WORKED OUT THEY CAN
PUT THEM IN THAT JOB THAT EXISTS.
THE NEXT THING THAT WE’RE DOING, IS WE WILL BE FOCUSED ON USING
THE PROCUREMENT POWER OF THE GOVERNMENT TO GET MORE HARD TO
EMPLOY PEOPLE HIRED. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
WE’RE GOING TO SPEND $15 BILLION THIS YEAR, 15 BILLION.
THAT’S A LOT OF MONEY. AND WE’VE CONTRACTED WITH A LOT
OF PEOPLE TO HELP US WITH THAT WORK.
SO WE’RE GOING TO SAY TO THOSE PEOPLE BEYOND FIRST SOURCE,
WHICH WE TELL THEM YOU HAVE TO HIRE A D.C. RESIDENT, WE’RE
GOING TO SAY YOU’RE ALSO GOING TO BE A PLACEMENT SITE FOR ANY
OF OUR HARDEST TO EMPLOY FOLKS WHO ARE ALREADY GETTING
SUBSIDIZED EMPLOYMENT FROM US. SO THAT WILL GIVE THOSE FOLKS
ANOTHER ROUND OF OPPORTUNITY TO GET SOME EXPERIENCE.
THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE. WE CAN HELP PEOPLE WHO HAVE
CHALLENGED BACKGROUNDS GET EXPERIENCE AND IF THEY WORK HARD
AND TAKE IT SERIOUSLY THAT JOB EXPERIENCE WILL HELP THEM GO AT
IT ON THEIR OWN.>>THANK YOU.
>>TIME FOR TWO MORE QUESTIONS.>>MAYOR, THANK YOU FOR YOUR
SERVICE AND YOUR LEADERSHIP. I JUST HAD A QUESTION RELATING
TO THE SOCCER STADIUM. IN SOUTHWEST.
AND MY QUESTION IS TO SEE — [INAUDIBLE] RESOURCES AND
ASSISTANCE FOR THE COMMUNITY BECAUSE PARTICULARLY MY CONCERNS
ARE FOR THE IMPACT ON THE RESIDENTS BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, OUR
RESIDENTS PRIMARILY ARE LOW INCOME RESIDENTS ARE GOING TO BE
VERY CLOSE TO THE REMEDIATION OF BUZZARD POINT SO WE’RE GOING TO
BE CLOSE TO A LOT OF CONTAMINATION WHICH WE ARE NOW
AND WE ARE NEAR THE SITE OF TWO MAJOR SUBSTATIONS, ONE OF THE
LARGER SUBSTATIONS IN THE CITY WILL BE CONSTRUCTED RIGHT NEXT
TO US SO MY RESIDENTS AND MY CONSTITUENTS AND MY ANC
COMMISSIONER ARE CONCERNED FOR THE OVERALL IMPACT IT WILL HAVE
ON THEIR HEALTH AND ESPECIALLY THEIR CHILDREN AND THEY ARE
SCARED. WE ARE SEEING A LOT OF RATS AND
RODENTS AND A LOT OF DUST AND CONTAMINATION WE ARE BREATHING
NOW AND NOW IT IS GOING TO BE DUG UP.
>>MAYOR: I THINK YOU ASKED ME THIS QUESTION BEFORE IN
SOUTHWEST, AND I DIDN’T HAVE A GOOD ANSWER FOR YOU THEN.
SO LET’S FIX THAT. WHY DON’T WE SCHEDULE IF YOU CAN
PULL TOGETHER A GROUP OF YOUR NEIGHBORS AND WE WILL PULL
TOGETHER A MEETING WHERE I WILL HAVE ALL OF THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN
THE ROOM SO THAT WE CAN ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS.
BECAUSE I NEED TO GIVE YOU THE ACCURATE ANSWERS.
SO, KAYLEN, MAKE SURE WE GET THAT SET UP.
OKAY.>>LAST QUESTION.
>>MAYOR: YES?>>YOU DID MENTION THIS BUT I
WOULD LIKE TO KNOW EXACTLY IF YOU COULD GIVE US AN IDEA AS TO
HOW THIS IS GOING TO BE ADDRESSED AND THAT IS FOR THE
ELDERLY WHO SIMPLY WANT TO REMAIN IN THEIR HOMES BUT DON’T
HAVE THE MEANS TO PAY THE PROPERTY TAXES FOR INSTANCE AND
THEN THEY GET OUSTED WE ARE SEEING STILL AND ARE YOU
ENVISIONING A COMMITTEE TO ADDRESS THIS?
WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING TO DO FOR THIS?
>>MAYOR: WELL, WE HAVE MOVED PRETTY AGGRESSIVELY AROUND
SENIOR PROPERTY TAXES, AND WE PROBABLY HAVE ONE OF THE MOST
GENEROUS PROGRAMS ANYWHERE THAT I’M AWARE OF.
SO I CAN TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT AND SEE HOW ELSE WE CAN
REFINE IT. I’M ALSO REALLY CRITICALLY
CONCERNED BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE A GOOD SOLUTION RIGHT NOW FOR
SENIOR CITIZEN RENTERS WHO JUST CANNOT ACCOMMODATE INCREASES
EVERY YEAR SO WE HAVE LOOKED AT TRANSPORTATION COSTS AND UTILITY
COSTS AND ALL OF THE OTHER WAYS WE CAN HELP BUT THAT RENT GOING
UP IS PRETTY SIGNIFICANT. OKAY.
LET’S TALK ABOUT SENIOR CITIZEN PROPERTY TAXES IN THE DISTRICT.
SO ALMOST EVERYBODY IS ENTITLED TO THE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION.
THAT ALREADY IS A BREAK ON YOUR TAXES.
AND EVERY SENIOR CITIZEN OVER THE AGE OF 65 I THINK THERE IS
AN INCOME CAP.>>YES, THERE IS.
>>MAYOR: IS IT A HUNDRED THOUSAND?
I CAN’T BELIEVE I CAN’T REMEMBER THAT.
>>125.>>MAYOR: BECAUSE I RAISED IT.
IT USED TO BE A HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS AND I CHANGED THE LAW TO
MAKE IT $125,000. IT ACTUALLY SHOULD PROBABLY BE
ABOUT 150,000, BUT IF YOU MAKE UNDER $125,000 A YEAR AND YOU
ARE OVER THE AGE OF 65 YOUR PROPERTY TAX BILL IS CUT IN
HALF. YOU DO HAVE TO APPLY, ALL RIGHT?
AND EVERY TIME I SAY THIS THERE IS SOMEBODY IN THE ROOM WHO HAS
NOT GOTTEN THE BENEFIT THAT THEY DESERVE.
SO YOU ARE 65 AND YOU MAKE UNDER 125,000 DOLLARS AND YOU ARE
ENTITLED TO PAY HALF OF YOUR TAX BILL.
THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOUR ASSESSMENT WON’T GO UP THAT JUST
MEANS WHATEVER THE BILL IS YOU PAY HALF.
THE APPLICATION FROM THE OFFICE OF TAX AND REVENUE WAS SIMPLE
LIKE SIX QUESTIONS, AND THEN YOU GET THAT PROPERTY TAX BREAK.
ADDITIONALLY, THE COUNCIL MOVED A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO ON A PIECE
OF LEGISLATION. IT WAS ORIGINALLY PROPOSED TO
ELIMINATE PROPERTY TAXES FOR SENIOR CITIZENS I BELIEVE 70 OR
OLDER. IT WAS REVISED TO DEFER PROPERTY
TAXES FOR SENIORS I BELIEVE 75 OR OLDER.
SO THAT YOU WOULDN’T PAY AS LONG AS YOU LIVED IN THE HOUSE, AND THE AMOUNT OF ACCUMULATED TAXES
WOULD BE DEFERRED UPON THE TRANSFER OF THE PROPERTY.
SO THOSE ARE THE THREE THINGS THAT ARE IN PLACE FOR SENIORS.
WHICH IS PRETTY SIGNIFICANT AND PEOPLE WHO HAVE PROBLEMS PAYING
IN THAT SCENARIO WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE GETTING IN TOUCH
WITH THE TAX OMBUDSMAN BECAUSE THERE ARE PROBABLY OTHER WAYS WE
CAN HELP.>>YES, I THINK THAT THEREIN
LIES THE PROBLEM.>>MAYOR: YES, AND WE HAVE A
TAX OMBUDSMAN AND THERE IS ANOTHER OMBUDSMAN WHO IS TO MAKE
SURE THAT HOUSES AREN’T SOLD FROM UNDER PEOPLE AND A TAX SALE
SO WE HAVE A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT WAYS THAT PEOPLE CAN ASK FOR
HELP AND YOU CAN ALWAYS JUST CALL 311.
SAY YOU ARE HAVING A TAX PROBLEM AND YOU SHOULD GET ONE OF THOSE
TWO OFFICES.>>THANK YOU SO MUCH.
>>MAYOR: THANK YOU. THANK YOU.

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