Ward 6 Council Candidates Engage Residents in First Public Forum
by Larry Janezich
Last night, some 140 Ward 6 residents heard from city council candidates Charles Allen (D), Pranav Badhwar (L), and Darrel Thompson (D) in the first of a series of forums between now and the April 1st Democratic primary. Badhwar, the Libertarian Party candidate, will not be on the ballot in the primary.
Allen and Thompson agreed on most of the issues brought up last night: a preference for supporting public vs. charter schools, how to negotiate enrollment for neighborhood schools, the need to address the homeless issue and create more affordable housing, moving development of Reservation 13 forward, and opposition to the CSX tunnel and the current DDOT plans for the Southeast Boulevard.
Allen made much of his experience gained in years working as current councilmember Tommy Wells’ staff director, citing issues he has worked on and experience he gained. Thompson focused on a need for new leadership, his commitment to the community, and casting a broader net in defining community and sharing the benefits of urban development.
Otherwise, Allen had some good moments in answering a question on how to deal with drug related gang violence in Shaw, demonstrating knowledge in how to respond to crime trends, and in addressing the growing disparity between the city’s rich and the poor, citing the increase in minimum wage and the standard deduction.
Thompson’s best moments came in response to a question about corruption in government pointing out that a candidate’s policy of not accepting corporate contributions can be in appearances only, and also in response to a question about community input on the Hine project when he said that “the decision should not be made before you walk into the room.”
Badhwar will not be on the ballot until the general election and many of his responses incorporated advocacy for protecting citizen rights and alleviating the burden government places on them. He seemed to charm many in the audience with his candor and humor, though his response of “I’m not familiar with the issue” separated him from the other two candidates, both of whom were well-versed in the issues facing Ward 6.
Last night’s forum took place at the Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church and was sponsored by Capitol Hill Group Ministry, Capitol Hill Public School Parent Organization, and Eastern Market Metro Community Organization. Last night’s Forum Moderator was former Councilmember Kathy Patterson.
The Hill Rag is sponsoring three additional forums for the candidates of the Ward 6 DC Council Race:
The Hill Center – Friday, February 28 from 7 to 9 pm.
Westminster Presbyterian Church – March 4 from 7 to 9 pm.
The Shaw Library — March 11 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm.