Responses of Linda W. Cropp to GLAA 2002 Questionnaire
for DC Council Candidates
1. Will you support funding for mandatory gay male, lesbian, bisexual and transgender sensitivity and diversity training including gay and transgender community representatives as a continuing part of the training for all members of the Metropolitan Police Department and the Fire/EMS Department?
Yes, I support funding for mandatory gay male, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender sensitivity training including community representatives as a continuing part of the training for all members of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and Fire/EMS Department. Because members of the MPD and Fire/EMS Department come into contact with District residents, workers and tourists of all backgrounds in the performance of their public safety duties, it is important that they are culturally sensitive to all communities.
2. Metropolitan Police Officers are barred from moonlighting only at bars and sexually oriented establishments. Officers are not barred from working at any other establishments. Will you support legislation that will reverse the Council's ban on moonlighting at bars and sexually oriented establishments?
I support a review of the legislation which prohibits off-duty employment of MPD officers at bars and at sexually oriented establishments. This legislation was enacted by the Council, at the request of the Chief of Police, because of conflict of interest concerns regarding MPD officers who were ignoring violations of District laws which they are sworn to uphold. However, I recognize that some establishments catering to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community are located in out of the way areas due to the historic discrimination, and that these off-duty MPD officers provide needed security. A review of the implementation of this legislation to determine if the safety of customers has been compromised is appropriate. Discussion must include the sworn responsibility of police officers.
3. A few years ago the District enacted a version of Megan's Law that refuses to allow sex offenders to keep themselves off the public registry of sex offenders by demonstrating that they are no longer a danger to the community. A federal judge struck down this provision of the D.C. law as unconstitutional last September. Similar provisions have been struck down by many other federal courts. Will you support a change in Megan's Law to ensure that the registry of sex offenders only includes those who are still dangerous?
I will support amending the Megan statue to ensure that it is constitutional and does not violate the due process rights of individuals. The Council did attempt to balance the rights of convicted sex offenders with the public safety of all District residents, which includes gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender persons. To the extent provisions of the District's Megan statute can not withstand legal challenges, it should be amended.
Public Health & AIDS
4. The rate of HIV infections in DC is the highest in the United States, rivaling levels in sub-Saharan Africa. The last time that The DC Council held an oversight hearing on the HIV/AIDS Administration was June 18, 1998. If elected or re-elected to the Council, will you ensure that the Council holds an annual performance oversight hearing on the HIV/AIDS Administration?
During my tenure as Chairman, the Council has instituted annual budget and performance public hearings of every agency and government program as part of our oversight responsibility. As former Chairperson of the Committee on Human Services, I held numerous public hearings, averaging more than one per year, on the operation and management of the District's HIV/AIDS program to ensure the District government was doing all that was necessary to address the District's alarming HIV/AIDS rate. I stand ready to work with the community in ensuring the Council continues our oversight of the HIV/AIDS Administration.
5. The Director of the HIV/AIDS Administration, Ron Lewis, is his own boss, also serving as a deputy Health Director. Will you demand that the HIV/AIDS Administration have a full-time Director?
Yes, the importance of addressing HIV/AIDS in the District requires a full-time Director for the HIV/AIDS administration.
6. The current HIV epidemiological surveillance system discourages people-especially immigrants-from getting tested by requiring both their partial social security number and their country of origin. This potentially threatens their ability to stay in this country. The HIV Unique Identifier System Amendment Act of 2001, B14-0326, would eliminate the partial social security system. Will you vote for the bill and seek a speedy passage?
Yes, I will vote for Bill 14-326, "HIV Unique Identifier System Amendment Act of 2001", and seek a speedy passage. In 1999, I recommended to the Mayor that a unique identifier system be established in the District to protect the confidentiality of persons who have tested positive for HIV and for persons who are not being tested for fear of exposing themselves to possible discrimination. Testing for HIV should be encouraged. This is done by establishing free and anonymous testing sites convenient for all residents. With improved medical treatment of HIV, early detection is important. The anonymous tracking of incidences of HIV can and will assist public health officials in their prevention and outreach efforts.
7. Recognizing the significant improvements made in the operations of the Office of Human Rights under then-Director Charles Holman, the Williams Administration granted OHR a significant addition to its FY 2003 budget to increase the number of investigators and other staff so that the case backlog will continue to drop. Will you support such increases in funding for future years as well until complaints are routinely processed within 120 days?
I support timely consideration of discrimination complaints and the reduction of the case backlog by the Office of Human Rights. I supported the increase in this Office's budget for FY 2003, as well as, other reform measures, such as reestablishment as an independent agency, mandatory mediation, and the establishment of performance goals and measures. In addition as Chairman, I recommended the establishment of the Council's Subcommittee on Human Rights, Latino Affairs, and Property Management, which has elevated the Council oversight of this agency. I will give favorable consideration to future funding increases for this Office based upon need and availability.
8. Will you support legislation that will codify the Office of Human Rights' former practice of giving top priority to discrimination complaints filed by people with AIDS or other major life-threatening diseases?
I support legislation which codifies giving top priority to discrimination complaints filed by person with AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. I would have grave concern if this Office was not operating under the written policy, a 1986 Director's order, which gave priority to complaints from persons with AIDS and other life-shortening conditions.
9. The Council recently confirmed the reappointment of Pierpont Mobley to the D.C. Commission on Human Rights, despite Mr. Mobley's statements during his confirmation hearing indicating a lack of support or understanding of the Commission's ruling against the Boy Scouts' policy of excluding gay men from participating either as Scouts or as leaders. Will you vote against the confirmation of any other nominee to the Human Rights Commission who displays a similar lack of commitment to enforcement of the D.C. Human Rights Law?
I will not support the nomination of any nominee to the Human Rights Commission who does not demonstrate a commitment to enforce the District's Human Rights law.
10. Will you block ceremonial resolutions saluting individuals or organizations that promote any sort of bigotry, including but not limited to the Nation of Islam and the Boy Scouts of America?
Yes, I will not support and will block any ceremonial resolutions to an individual or organization which promotes bigotry.
Defending Our Families
11. Will you support legal recognition of marriages between partners of the same sex?
Although I am not at the point where I would support the legal recognition of marriage between partners of the same sex, I remain open to explore the issue further. During my tenure on the Council, I have consistently supported domestic partnership and other legislation and public policies that extended the same rights and benefits to same sex couples and their families as enjoyed by married couples. I recognize the benefit to society of stable loving partnerships and will continue to seek ways to extend equal rights and benefits for same sex couples. In addition, I oppose anti-gay marriage legislation and efforts that would prohibit the District from recognizing civil same sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.
12. Will you support legislation in the District similar to Vermont's civil unions law?
I am open to consideration of District legislation similar to Vermont's civil union laws, that would extend the same rights and benefits to same sex couples and their families as enjoyed by married couples. However, any such legislation must be considered in the context of the current political climate. We must not jeopardize the recent gains in the District's Home Rule, particularly to the gay and lesbian community - including the domestic partnership and needle exchange program - by inviting Congressional intervention.
13. Will you support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize the more than 100 couples who registered under Mayor Kelly's September 30, 1992 Directive?
Yes, I support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize the couples who had previously registered under Mayor's Kelly's September 30, 1992 directive. I am concerned that these documents are no longer accessible, however there are processes to establish that these registration occurred and they should be recognized.
14. Will you support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions established in other jurisdictions?
Yes, I support amending the domestic partnership regulations to recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions in other jurisdictions. In addition to the merits of the issue, I want and expect the laws of the District to be recognized in other jurisdictions.
15. Will you vote for the "Elimination of Outdated Crimes Amendment Act of 2002," Bill 14-636, which eliminates archaic criminal laws including fornication, adultery and others?
Yes, I support and will vote for Bill 14-636, "Elimination of Outdated Crimes Amendment Act of 2002", which I co-sponsored. Although these statutes are not enforced it is important to repeal these outdated statues.
16. Will you oppose legislation designed to end nude dancing at any establishment holding a D.C. liquor license or prohibiting such establishments from transferring their nude dancing licenses to different establishments or otherwise further limiting nude dancing in ABC-licensed establishments?
I supported the recently enacted ABC reform legislation. Yes, I will oppose legislation which will prohibit nude dancing at those establishments which have existing licenses which permit such entertainment, will limit the transfer of such licenses, or future limit such licenses as long as those establishments are in compliance with the District's ABC laws and regulations.
17. Will you vote against "The Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs Act of 2002," Bill 14-719, which would undermine citizen advocacy by creating official gay advocates under the direction of the Mayor?
I am proud that the District government reflects the backgrounds of all District residents, including two openly gay Councilmembers, openly gay and lesbian employees and Board and Commission members. I understand the arguments for and against the Bill 14-719, "Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs Act of 2002", including that the office is not needed and money could be spend more effectively elsewhere, and that this only institutionalizes the existing role of the Mayor's Special Assistant for GLBT Affairs. I believe it is important that I hear from all members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community before making a decision on whether or not to support this legislation.
Your record is part of your rating. Please list any actions that you have taken that may help illustrate your record on behalf of lesbians and gay men.
A strong record on the protection of human and civil rights is my history as a member of the Council. My record includes consistent and strong human rights statements to the Senate and the House during my many testimonies and meetings. The answers to several questions in this questionnaire include many issues that I have supported over the years.