Respose to Metro DSA Questionnaire

As part of their 2018 General Election Coverage, Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America sent out a questionnaire to all ANC candidate. Unfortunately, the questionnaire only allowed for Yes or No answers. I gave the “wrong” answer in their eyes a couple of times, but I’m taking the time to give details here.

Though not a member of Metro DC DSA, I agree with a vast majority of their positions and think the work they and other DSA chapters are doing is going to pay dividends in 2018 and beyond. I do think the following questions

Public investment for the public.
The District must focus on dramatically increased public investments, both by bringing in increased tax revenue from the wealthy and by creating a public bank to fund investments in our communities (instead of doing business with Wells Fargo).

Yes. I don’t know much about public banking, but any steps to counteract the predatory nature of national banks is a great idea. Raising tax marginal tax rates, of course, is a great idea at both the federal and DC level. In tax season, I volunteer for Community Tax Aid to prepare returns for low- and moderate-income families and individuals. Seeing these returns really drives home the regressive nature of the DC tax code. Things have improved dramatically since the recommendations of the DC Tax Revision Commission have been implemented, but marginal rates raise too fast, the rates are too high at low incomes, credits phase out too quickly, and medium and top marginal tax rates are too high. I am encouraged, however, at the recent decoupling of the DC Estate Tax exemption from the federal estate tax exemption and the DC health care penalty.

Public investment for the public 2
We should not be offering public money to Amazon to construct HQ2 in DC, and I will oppose any attempt to site HQ2 in my neighborhood.

No. This is complicated. I don’t believe DC should offer any public money to Amazon, but I would wholeheartedly support Amazon HQ2 moving to Reservation 13. Of course, the first part is the bigger part of the questions but I couldn’t say no. DC or any community would be better off with HQ2, as long as the Comprehensive Plan adjusted for the increase demand for housing for high-income neigbhbors.

Sanctuary for all
All immigrants are welcome and an integral part of our city. I support a robust sanctuary policy in DC and will work to keep Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) out of my neighborhood. We must provide legal aid and defense against deportation to immigrants in our community.

Yes, obviously.

Black lives matter
I support policy to dismantle systemic racism and its effects, including mass incarceration, militarized policing, overpolicing and surveillance of Black spaces, and residential and school re-segregation. I will hold the Metropolitan Police Department, Metro Transit Police Department, and other special police forces publicly accountable when they violate the civil rights of our residents, and advocate alternatives to policing wherever possible. I support the construction of truly affordable, integrated social housing in wealthier and whiter neighborhoods. I will work to ensure businesses in my neighborhood do not violate the city’s Ban the Box legislation, and will defend the rights of our returning citizens.

Yes. This one speaks to me, especially the creation of housing in wealthier and whiter neighborhoods. The DC Fiscal Policy Institute recently showed that less than 1% of dedicated affordable housing in being built in Ward 3. This can’t stand. However, that doesn’t mean ward 6 or ANC 6B is doing enough. At any opportunity, I will fight for private developments to include more dedicated affordable housing. And any development on public land, like Southeast Boulevard in ANC 6B06, will have a huge hurdle to clear before I support land disposition.

Healthcare for all
Universal healthcare is a right. Reproductive healthcare is healthcare, and I support the operation of and free access to clinics that provide abortion and medically accurate sexual health and education services in my neighborhood.

Yes, obviously.

Support the working class
Support the working class. We must make DC a city that works for the working class by supporting higher wages, equitable development without displacement, and increased protection for tenants. I support a living wage for all, and will work to defend renters’ right to safe, properly maintained, and affordable housing in my neighborhood.

Yes. And though it wasn’t asked, I’m an enthusiastic supporter of Initiative 77 and believe two classes of workers is anathema to a just society.

Commit to climate justice
Our planet is facing climate catastrophe. I will support policies for a just and equitable transition to a zero-emissions local economy as soon as possible, including 100% renewable energy in the District by 2035. I support taking cars off the road by building human-scale public transit, safe bike lanes, and walkable neighborhoods that make the city accessible for all residents. I will work to fully implement the Vision Zero plan to eliminate road deaths in my neighborhood.

Yes

Support for sex workers
Sex work is work, and I support the right of all workers to make a living in a safe workplace, free from wage theft, and without fear of harassment or stigma. I will work to decriminalize sex work in the District and ensure sex workers cannot be turned away from city services or housing in my neighborhood.

Yes.

Education for everyone
All students have the right to a good education in a safe environment. We must end the school-to-prison pipeline, so I will work to ban out-of-school suspensions and to remove police from campuses in my neighborhood. A healthy school environment includes the well-being of educators and staff, so I support unionization and will defend collective action to secure a living wage for all workers at schools in my neighborhood. I support making admission to the University of the District of Columbia’s undergraduate and graduate programs free of charge to all District residents.

Yes, especially the right to unionization and collective action and free UDC tuition.

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