SIMMONS: Pre-New Year’s resolutions show Brown priorities

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Mr. Brown also said a Costco coming to the District “is just the first of many exciting” economic development projects.

“Getting the ball across the finish line was overdue,” said Mr. Brown, who became chairman of the council’s Committee on Economic Development after then-Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Council member Vincent B. Orange began trying to lure businesses and big-box retailers to the District.

Back in those days, the District was pound-foolish and hardly considered a business-friendly climate — wicked, liberal ways that led to frighteningly high unemployment and poverty rates.

City officials and developers announced last week that an agreement finally had been reached to build a Costco at the Shops at Dakota Crossing in Fort Lincoln, the mostly residential community at South Dakota Avenue and Bladensburg Road Northeast. Although a date for the groundbreaking will be announced any day, Mr. Brown said the council and the administration of Mayor Vincent C. Gray worked closely as dealmakers. It also helped that Clint Jackson, who used to be on Mr. Gray’s team, is now working for Mr. Brown.

While the council-executive marriage appears to be a match made in City Hall when it comes to economic development, the city’s employment and poverty prospects remain gloomy.

Council member Michael A. Brown, an independent, needs to answer some tough questions, such as “Is the city getting the best bang for its buck on job-training programs, which are sneaking their hands into the till but failing to deliver surefire results?”

As chairman of the Committee on Housing and Workforce Development, Mr. Brown will have his feet held to the fire.

After all, income-tax revenues are a driving force when it comes to “safeguarding” the city’s finances, as Mr. Brown put it.

c Deborah Simmons can be reached at

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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