Policy Positions

Affordable Housing

Gordon For Ward 5 DC Council

Problem Statement:

The lack of affordable housing in the District of Columbia results in the displacement of long time residents and exacerbates housing insecurity. One of our priorities is to put an end to housing practices that disadvantage the working class, seniors, persons with disabilities and persons of color. The housing and development infrastructure must be reimagined, so it puts affordability, existing residents, and the historic and cultural preservation of the community first.

Positions

1. Allow fixed and low-income seniors to remain in their homes by forgiving a portion of the property taxes that are due. In some cases seniors may qualify for a property tax freeze which locks the amount of tax they pay in place, without the worry of an increase.

2. Expand rent control by applying the law to newer buildings (currently properties built after 1975 are exempt). Also, request developers build larger units (e.g., three and four bedrooms), so seniors could have the option of aging in place with their immediate and extended family.

3. Focus on housing for working class families and increase the supply of affordable housing by investing local government funds in building new units, and where possible preserving existing units.

4. Require the DC Housing Authority to inspect and repair all existing units within a set period of time, so they are up to current building code. If the unit is beyond repair, require DCHA to relocate existing tenants to homes in the Ward where they currently live.

5. Expand, and increase access to housing vouchers to curtail homelessness and housing displacement.

6. Ensure greater housing availability for all residents by placing a two-year limit on vacant, and abandoned properties, for the purpose of facilitating more affordable housing options.

7. Create more affordable housing, and allow for greater housing density, particularly around within a one mile radius Metro stations.

8. Expand mortgage and utility assistance programs, such as STAY DC, to include homeowners who have been affected by COVID.

9. Expand DCHA by providing more financial resources and staff and improve the efficiency of the homebuying process.

10. Ensure that DCHA provides comprehensive education to all DC homeowners regarding estate planning and the costs of ownership, with a special emphasis on seniors, communities of color and their heirs.

Economic Policy

Gordon For Ward 5 DC Council

Problem Statement:

Economic Segregation (the degree to which people in different social classes live mostly among other people of their class) is a prevalent issue in the District. Ward 5 had the third highest unemployment rate across all Wards in 2020. Action must be taken to ensure that economic growth encompasses economic equity, job creation opportunities and financial assistance resources for all residents of Ward 5.

Positions

1. Require developers to give first priority to hires from within the Ward, so residents can benefit directly from projects in their neighborhood.

2. To create more opportunities for employment, incentivize small businesses located in Ward 5 to hire from within the Ward.

3. Prioritize preserving small businesses by expanding programs, such as the DC Main Streets Program.

4. Improve the Department of Employment Services (DOES) infrastructure ensuring that DOES is accountable, properly staffed to eliminate backlogs, and data is secure.

5. Improve working conditions in organizations that contract with the DC Government by facilitating the ability of those employees to form unions.

6. Improve the financial standing within underrepresented communities by raising the minimum wage for tipped workers (currently $5.05). Establish, and enforce, equity-in- hiring measures to impede discriminatory hiring practices.

Education

Gordon For Ward 5 DC Council

Problem Statement:

Of the four DCPS high schools based in Ward 5 only one – Dunbar High School – is of-right; one – Luke C. Moore High School – is an opportunity academy; and two – McKinley Tech and Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering –are selective (application) high schools. The lack of options means students must travel outside the Ward 5 to obtain a quality education. We strive to improve education quality and access (at every grade level) in Ward 5 so your local school can be a student’s best option, not a last resort.
Positions
1. Fully fund birth-to-three initiatives that expand access to the education, health and social services families need, using in-home visits, phone and web-based contact methods.

2. We support a wage increase for childcare providers. At the same time, families must have access to quality childcare – regardless of income – so every District resident has the opportunity to enter, re-enter, or remain in the workforce.

3. Give every student the right to go to the DC Public School, or public charter school, closest to their home.

4. Assure that DC public schools and public charter schools help students and families access the health and social services they need.

5. To make DC Public Schools more responsive to the students, parents, teachers and the community, we must evaluate the Mayoral control model to assess its effectiveness. In addition we must look at alternative school governance models that may better suit the needs of the school community.

6. To create an educational environment that is welcoming and unthreatening, encourage schools to avoid the presence of armed security personnel.

7. Because all work has merit, assure that children value and appreciate all work, including jobs in the trades. As early as middle school, introduce opportunities for vocational education. Assure that all vocational education courses are effective and can lead to in-demand jobs.

8. Increase mentorship opportunities, sport and enrichment programs (i.e., art, chess, pottery) to develop varied interests within the next generation.

Environment

Gordon For Ward 5 DC Council

Problem Statement:

Nearly half the land zoned for industrial use in Washington, DC is in Ward 5. It is critical to protect residents from the particulate matter pollution these industrial sites produce and lead to asthma, respiratory, lung and heart disease.

Positions

1. To promote better air quality, press Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA), Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to transition to electric buses in Ward 5, through the Zero-Emission Bus Program.

2. Enforce The Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act of 2018, by reducing the District’s dependence on fossil fuels, and require better enforcement of Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) in all new construction in the city. To incentivize energy efficiency in public housing, call for an increase in the financial aid allocation available under the Clean Energy Law from $3 million to $5 million.

3. Continue to support the Green New Deal, advocating for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the worst consequences of climate change, while also addressing societal problems like economic inequality and racial injustice.

4. Ward 5 has the highest level of LUSTs (Leaking underground storage tanks) in the District. Those 36 active tanks constitute approximately 30% of the total active tanks in DC. To decrease that number, request that the DOEE (Department of Energy & Environment) assess each tank and develop a plan for making existing LUSTs safe.

5. Bring parties involved in the McMillan Sand Filtration Site discussion together to discuss the project’s future uses. At the same time, ensure the process is transparent, residents are well informed and the health of Ward 1 and 5 residents is taken into account during the construction process.

Public Safety

Gordon For Ward 5 DC Council

Problem Statement:

During the pandemic, property and violent crime rates have spiked. Ward 5 currently has the third highest crime rate in the District (January 1 to November 29, 2021). To reduce crime, the campaign will focus on bringing back community-led neighborhood patrols, and increasing police officer foot patrols.

Positions

1. To reduce gun violence, educate children and youth on the consequences of carrying guns through mentorship programs in conjunction with non-profits and educational institutions. Enhance the infrastructure of the Pathways for Young Adults Program (PYAP) to include life skills such as conflict mediation and trade programs, to help diversify young adult’s options.

2. To promote safer neighborhoods, and enhance police-community relations, restore funding for community-led patrols, such as the “Orange Hat Patrols.” Also, encourage policing tactics that get officers out of their vehicles and interacting with neighborhood residents and business owners.

3. Ninety-two percent of school-based arrests during the 2019-2020 school year were of Black students. To foster a safe environment for our students, invest in expanded school-based mental health programs, and the use of community violence interrupters within schools.

4. In 2019 approximately half of the hate crimes in the District of Columbia were committed against members of the LGBTQ+ community. To protect the LGBTQ community from assaults: utilize public awareness and education, prevention (including safe gathering spaces) and rapid enforcement (including a hotline to report threats). As well as expanding the DC Anti-Violence Project, by creating resource centers across the Ward.

5. Assign certain Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) functions to other agencies such as the Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). Mental health crises, traffic control and traffic accident investigation, and responding to noise complaints are examples of some of the functions that can be addressed outside MPD.. This will allow police to focus on preventing and solving crime.

6. To provide returning citizens with employment opportunities in our Ward, support the Clean Hands Certification Equity Amendment Act. The Act allows individuals who owe less than $5,000 to the government to still qualify for government-issued professional licenses and permits.

7. Ensure the NEAR Act is properly enforced and obtain regular data from MPD about “stop and frisk” and other similar practices.

8. In light of the potential for acts of violence on school grounds, assess the possibility of developing and installing a rapid response button system in DC Public Schools. Using technology similar to that found in financial institutions, it connects directly to MPD in the event of an emergency.

Transportation & Traffic

Gordon For Ward 5 DC Council

Problem Statement:

Ward 5 has the highest number of crashes (399) for the quarter starting October 1, 2021. This year 38 lives have been lost citywide, a 13 year high. Our goal is to have stricter enforcement of traffic safety and bring Vision Zero objectives closer to fruition. Our campaign will aim to address transportation inequities, such as access to car-free transportation for vulnerable communities, and ensure transportation development accounts for the needs of all members of our community, especially seniors, persons with disabilities, youth and low-income residents.

Positions

1. To enhance communication and transparency, hold agencies such as the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) accountable for sufficient and consistent community engagement, through community meetings, disseminating information to ANCs, as well as surveys and mailers conderning projects directly affecting Ward 5 residents.

2. To lessen traffic related injuries and deaths, lower the speed limit on residential streets by assessing and reestablishing the Slow Streets program. Identify areas where speed bumps, speed humps, and raised crosswalks would be appropriate. Also make sure sidewalks are accessible to all pedestrians, and utilize traffic HAWK (High-Intensity Activated CrossWalk) signals to allow people to safely cross busy streets.

3. Streamline the process to request and install traffic signs, lights and other traffic-calming solutions.

4. To reduce traffic accidents, and protect pedestrians, build and require cyclists to use protected bike lanes and obey all vehicular traffic laws. Build connected, protected bike lanes to provide pathways for children to access neighborhood schools, libraries and public parts. Require DDOT to enforce the wearing of helmets by cyclists, regardless of age.

5. To reduce congestion in major traffic corridors in Ward 5, offer free or low-cost bikeshare options to residents age 18 and under.

6. To address transportation inequity (accessibility to safe, efficient, affordable, and diverse means of transportation) make sure car-free transportation options such as bikeshare, and metro bus routes are available to people at all income levels.

7. Recognize Lincoln Road NE as a major transportation route for educational and recreational institutions. Assess and increase protected bike lane routes on Lincoln Road to promote safer bicycle travel for students and residents alike.

8. Require developers to submit transportation plans that take into account pedestrians, bike lanes, disabled commuters.

Senior Policy

Gordon For Ward 5 DC Council

Problem Statement:

Ward 5 is a very diverse community. Our seniors are a cornerstone of it. Persons over age 65 account for 12.4% (over 85,500 people) of the population of the District. Advances in healthcare mean we can expect our senior population to increase locally and nationally. We must make sure seniors in Ward 5 can age in place, and have access to a full array of services to ensure a high quality of life.

Positions
1. Ward 5 has among the highest concentration of seniors in public housing. We need to ensure that public housing buildings such as Fort Lincoln, Edgewood, and Delta Towers have proper, routine maintenance. We must rid these buildings of rodents, pests, and other conditions that will render living in the community unhealthy or unsafe. Our seniors should not live in conditions we would not tolerate for ourselves.

2. Seniors may not have access to the technology or the internet in order to obtain vital information that is available online. The District must provide for a dedicated Senior Services Hotline to meet the unique needs of this community. Available for those 65 years of age and older, it would offer pertinent information from major city DC agencies such as DC Housing Authority (DCHA) and the Department of Employment Services (DOES).

3. To mitigate seniors paying increased rents or having their rental agreements convert to month-to-month, we must expedite the process for seniors to obtain their housing vouchers well before they expire.

4. Seniors on a fixed income are uniquely susceptible to the District’s volatile housing market. Often fixed incomes cannot keep pace with increasing property taxes, as home values in Ward 5 rise. We must freeze property taxes for seniors on a fixed income in order to allow them to age in place and stay in their community.

5. We need to ensure that contractors in senior public housing facilities provide service to all residents. For example, in one Ward 5 senior home the contracting agency for the building does not allow anyone under the age of 65 on the buses that take seniors to get groceries and other essential supplies. Many senior buildings also include residents with disabilities under the age of 65, who are not able to utilize the transportation services. If a resident of a senior building has a legal right to reside there, they must be entitled to the same services as those aged 65 and over.

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Paid for by the Gordon for Ward 5 Campaign

4803 7th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017 | (202) 440-2159

Ruth Pagani, Treasurer

A copy of our report is filed with the Director of Campaign Finance of the District of Columbia Board of Elections.

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