The sponsors of the Oct. 12th debate between Republication Michael Bekesha and incumbent, Democratic nominee, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen promised to put any questions unanswered during the event in written form to the candidates and publish the results. Here are Bekesha’s responses. (Note: all answers were limited to 50 words.)
State your views on non-compete agreements for skilled and unskilled?
As our private sector grows, we need to ensure our new and growing companies have the ability to hire our best residents. The District should ban all non-compete agreements because they lead to lower wages, to less job mobility, to difficulty recruiting top talent and to a reduction in entrepreneurship.
How can the District effectively enforce traffic laws related to moving violations and parking?
We need to actually enforce all laws and fines.
Parking: Enforcement 24/7/365. 1000 miles of road, only 34 tow-trucks. Each only tows one vehicle every three days.
Moving violations: Cameras in specific places don’t lead to behavioral change. Better way would be decreased fines but prompt, automatic payments by violators.
What is the single major issue facing Metro? How would you address it? Would you modify the governing board?
Rider confidence. Residents do not believe Metro is safe or reliable. Because of this, ridership is down. We need Metro running safely, efficiently, more frequently, and for more hours. To do this, Metro needs additional funding. The Council should work with Maryland and Virginia to put conditions on dedicated funding.
How can the DC Council advance the cause of DC voting rights?
The Council should work to develop a bipartisan strategy to successfully advocate Congress. It also should focus on advocating for voting rights instead of Statehood. In addition, we should be advocating for no taxation without representation. Congress would prefer to give us voting rights than lose our tax dollars.
What does the District need to do to create a strong and sustained workforce housing program?
First, we need to focus on our first responders and teachers. We should follow Newark, NJ’s Teachers Village model. Second, we must ensure we continue creating housing in mixed use areas. This means not only building new housing but also ensuring our current housing fits the needs of DC residents.
Do you support a local alternative for housing DC’s incarnated citizens? Should the District build a local prison?
No, but we must build a new jail because the current facility is simply unacceptable. Instead of building a local prison, we must work with the Bureau of Prisons and our returning citizens to ensure they are being provided the community support during incarceration and, more importantly, once they return.
How should the District ensure bikes, scooters (non and motorized), Segways and mini bikes are operated safely?
We need more dedicated lanes and to make sure cars do not travel in or block these lanes. We must create parking spaces for dockless bikes/scooters so they do not block sidewalks. We must ensure our laws concerning the use of sidewalks and following traffic laws are enforced.
Do you support a raise for DC substitute teachers?
Yes. A shortage of substitute teachers can prevent teachers from taking leave. When leave is taken, a shortage of substitute teachers causes disruptions in the classroom and harms our students’ education.
What steps can be taken to strengthen the Eastern Market?
DC law requires Eastern Market to be managed by a nonprofit organization experienced in operating an historic urban fresh food market. For the past ten years, the DC government has been running the market. To ensure survival of the market and its longtime vendors, we must comply with the law.
What is the greatest transportation problem facing Ward 6?
The lack of a grand vision. Do we want to be a walkable city? A bikeable city? A public transit city? Instead of deciding what we want to be and designing our roads and the lack of a grand vision. Do we want to be a walkable city? A bikeable city? A public transit city? Instead of deciding what we want to be and designing our roads and infrastructure accordingly, we are fixing one problem and one intersection at a time. This doesn’t work.
For more information on Michael Bekesha, visit www.bekesha2018.com.