Anthony Williams: responses to GLAA questionnaire

Responses of Anthony Williams to
GLAA 1998 Questionnaire for Mayoral Candidates

Part I. Conduct of Office

1. What lessons have you drawn from your own mistakes and the mistakes of others that will help you facilitate a speedy return of home rule powers if you are elected Mayor?

As Mayor I will work to re-establish Washington's image through hard work and by setting an example of fiscal responsibility combined with a compassion for those who need the services of government the most.

I have made a good start as CFO of the District in working to get a speedy return to home rule. I have worked hard to balance the budget two years ahead of time. As an appointed official, I met with over 150 community groups to insure that the budget was balanced in the most equitable way possible and that no one group would have to suffer undue hardship. Sacrifices were made by all the residents of the City so that the City will once again be on a firm financial footing allowing us to meet all of our needs. I will continue the work I have done and will insist that we continue to balance the DC budget and set up the infrastructure that will allow us, through our demonstrated actions, to take back home rule for the City.

I will work closely with members of Congress, the City Council, and the Control Board to shape policies which will be both fiscally sound and allow us to meet the needs of the residents of the District. I will fight for a tax code that is fair to both business and residents and enable us to meet our responsibilities. We will build a government that will allow the citizens of the District of Columbia to control our own destiny.

2. As Mayor, will you actively lobby the Control Board for reforms in management, oversight, and budgets, even for agencies and departments over which you will have no formal control for much of your term?

As Mayor I will actively lobby the Control Board to make the needed reforms in management, oversight and budget in all agencies and departments. We will take back control of the City agencies and departments and we will not allow a return to the status quo. The future health of the city and our citizens depend on that.

3. Gay and lesbian community leaders were heavily involved in the recent search process that led to the selection of a new Police Chief. Will you ensure that lesbians and gay men will be similarly involved in any search for new heads for the police department, health department, the Agency for HIV-AIDS, and other agencies of particular interest to our community?

I believe strongly that we are one city and one government. I will assure the Gay and Lesbian community -- as I will for every segment of our society -- that they will be involved in setting the criteria for the decision making process of selecting key employees to run our government. I will commit that Gays and Lesbians will be part of commissions and boards as well as search and review committees.

Part II. Public Safety

4. What will you do to improve the often-strained relations between the various public safety agencies (police, fire department, corrections) and the District's gay and lesbian community?

I will insist that the Gay and Lesbian community have the opportunity to meet regularly with the heads of the Police, Fire, and Corrections departments and that there concerns are heard and responded to. I will work to insure that the City's Human Rights Act applies to these agencies and that sensitivity training with regard to particular gay and lesbian issues continue within each of these agencies. Though the Mayor does not control these agencies at this time the power of the Mayor is still such to accomplish these goals.

5. The federalization and privatization of the functions of the Department of Corrections have often resulted in the placement of D.C. prisoners in facilities that have no condom availability programs. To the extent possible, do you favor requiring private contractors to provide condom availability programs similar to those that have been in effect in D.C. facilities, and will you lobby federal and state prison officials to adopt similar programs in facilities where D.C. prisoners are housed?

The realities of prison life require that we promote the use of condoms in prisons as a protection not only for prisoners but for their families once they are released. As Mayor, I will lobby federal and state prison officials to adopt similar programs in facilities where D.C. prisoners are housed.

6. Do you support passage and full funding for the new civilian complaint review system to be established by Bill 12-521, the "Office of Citizen Complaint Review Establishment Act of 1998"?

Yes, I support a reconstituted civilian complaint review system. Any civilian review system must have investigative powers, must meet certain strict deadlines, and be staffed with professionals.

7. Do you support Bill 12-612, the "Opened Alcoholic Beverage Containers Amendment Act of 1998" (a.k.a. the "Chardonnay Lady Bill"), that would allow people to drink alcoholic beverages on their own porches without fear of arrest?

I support the Opened Alcoholic Beverage Containers Amendment Act of 1998.

8. Will you veto any legislation similar to the recently-defeated Bill 12-279, the "Arrest Without Warrant by Law Enforcement Officers Amendment Act of 1997," that would expand the right of police officers to arrest people for "quality of life" offenses on mere hearsay and without warrants?

I will veto any legislation that would impinge upon District residents' civil rights our due process rights.

Part III. AIDS and Other Public Health Issues

9. Do you support Initiative 59 (or similar legislation) to legalize the use of medical marijuana when patient's doctor recommends it as a means to combat some of the effects of AIDS, cancer, and other diseases?

I support use of medical marijuana when a patients doctor recommends it.

10. What will you do to combat the persistent failure of District health agencies to spend their fully appropriated local funds to combat AIDS? Do you agree that these agencies should be required to monitor all their grant funding?

I was responsible for having AIDS funds released from the City to local agencies that were intended for AIDS patients and broke the roadblock that was preventing that from happening. I will continue to monitor the spending of these funds to insure that all funds available through City and Federal sources are received by local agencies and that each dollar available to the City each year is spent on the education and services and research for which it is intended. Agencies should be required to monitor all of their grant funding.

11. What will you propose as strategies for promoting AIDS-related education and services for under served and high-risk populations?

I believe that we must involve all of our communities in the battle to educate our citizens on the need for education on AIDS and the services needs by those with AIDS or HIV. I will use the Mayor's Office as a bully pulpit to speak to every community, particularly the African American community in DC which has been so hard hit by this epidemic. I will work closely with Congresswoman Norton to see that federal education programs are directed to high risk and underserved communities in our City.

12. The New York State Legislature recently passed legislation saying that: (1) doctors must report the names of people who test positive for HIV to public health officials; and that (2) health workers must attempt to have infected patients identify their sex or drug-use partners and then must notify those partners of possible exposure. Such measures are invariably counter-productive and discourage those most at risk from being tested and treated for HIV. Will you oppose any such legislation in the District, vetoing it if necessary?

I oppose such legislation in DC and would veto it if necessary. I am not yet convinced that the protections are in place to safeguard those persons with HIV/AIDS from discrimination.

13. Do you support an increase in District government funding to combat AIDS in line with the continuing increase in the caseload?

I support increasing funding for AIDS in line with the increased service needs of our citizens. I will work closely with Congress to see that DC receives its fair share of all funds available to deal with this crisis.

14. Do you support continued District government funding for the needle exchange program to combat the spread of AIDS? Will you actively resist Congressional efforts to end such funding?

I support a needle exchange program and will work to resist Congress's effort to interfere in DC's efforts in this regard.

Part IV. Curbing Regulatory Abuse

15. In an apparent effort to bolster his standing with some segments of the District community, the recently-ousted chief of the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs, David Watts, instituted a zoning regulation earlier this year barring video stores from deriving more than 15% of their revenues from sexually-oriented videos. Do you agree that this attack on the rights of adult consumers is utterly unwarranted and that there should be no limits on the proportion of video store revenues derived from adult videos?

Zoning should deal with where stores are allowed to locate and public safety issues should deal with the safety of residents. If zoning allows for a video store and the public safety is not impeded, we should not be counting sales receipts of video stores.

16. Will you support legislation to reauthorize and regulate the issuance of liquor licenses to establishments (in designated nonresidential commercial districts) that want to offer nude dancing as entertainment?

I believe that community groups have a right to voice their opinion as to these types of establishments. I believe that we should look at what regulations could be developed for these establishments in designated non-residential commercial districts and would be willing to look into this issue in more depth.

Part V. Defending Our Families

17. Do you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?

I believe that a civil marriage should not be the purview of the government to prohibit. If a bill on same sex marriage were to come to me as Mayor to sign, I would sign it.

18. Will you lobby Congress to overturn the current Congressional restrictions on the District's funding of the D.C. Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992?

Yes, I will lobby Congress to overturn the current Congressional restrictions on expansion of DC Health Care benefits.

19. Do you support the current District policy, sanctioned by a court ruling, of allowing adoptions by unmarried couples? Will you actively resist Congressional efforts to outlaw such adoptions in the District?

Yes, I support allowing adoption by unmarried couples. The issue must always be the best placement of the child and this can be in a home where the couple is not married. I will actively resist efforts by Congress to outlaw such adoptions.

Part VI. Upholding the D.C. Human Rights Law

20. Will you propose the re-establishment of the Office of Human Rights (OHR) as an independent, Cabinet-level agency whose Director has direct access to the Mayor? If the Control Board fails to act on this proposal, will you submit an appropriate reorganization plan for Council approval when your powers are restored?

Yes, I believe that the Office of Human Rights should be independent and at Cabinet level and its director should have access to the Mayor. I will work with the control board to see that this happens, but will submit my own plan to the council if this isn't accomplished.

21. Do you favor an increased budget for OHR so that its heavy case backlog can be eliminated?

Yes, we must fund the Office of Human Rights at a level that will allow them to do the work of the agency. The current backlog, which has reached unacceptable levels, allows discrimination to continue unchecked.

22. Will you propose legislation that would codify OHR's current practice of granting top priority to discrimination complaints from those afflicted with AIDS or other imminently life-shortening conditions?

Yes. We cannot ever allow the return to a policy that settles cases with the death of the claimant.

23. Do you agree that District government agencies are indeed covered by the D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977?

Yes, all DC agencies and departments are covered by the DC Human Rights Act of 1977. All government employees are required to respect the rigths of all D.C. residents as stated in the D.C. Human Rights Act. Discrimination will not be tolerated by D.C. government employees.

Part VII. Education & Youth

24. Proposals for establishing a system of vouchers for private schools, whether here or elsewhere around the country, would funnel taxpayer dollars to religious schools controlled by denominations that frequently are aggressively homophobic. Will you oppose any legislation authorizing vouchers for religious schools?

I oppose vouchers using public money for any private schools, religious or otherwise. Public money should be used for public education, including charter schools.

25. How do you propose to improve District government services for gay and lesbian youth?

I believe that we must educate the school system to the needs of Gay and Lesbian youth. I would also ask them to help me as Mayor determine what other agencies, such as the health department, recreation department, police department etc. could and should be involved in providing needed services. I would then bring together representatives of these agencies and departments to develop a comprehensive plan of services.