- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 15, 2014


If you live, work or play on Capitol Hill, or perhaps own a business there, start paying close attention.

The lawmaker who has represented the Hill and its adjoining neighborhoods might not be around after December.

Tommy Wells of Ward 6 is all in, as the saying goes.

As one of several Democrats trying to unseat Mayor Vincent C. Gray in the April 1 primary, Mr. Wells could himself be unseated by voters if he doesn’t rein victorious.

None of the other sitting D.C. Council members in the race faces such a win-loss situation, and if Mr. Wells is going to set himself apart from the pack, he’s got to exhibit some chutzpah.

In the meantime, here’s a short take on Mr. Wells‘ key initiatives, which he outlined at a breakfast with entrepreneurs, and religious- and civic-minded stakeholders on Tuesday.

No. 1: Youths. Mr. Wells, a social worker by any measure, vowed to make a “substantial investment” in the District’s young people.

Education, of course, is the most obvious government vehicle to pull that off. Some of the program changes he wants to implement are senior-youth walking clubs, to help “change the culture” of youths.

To be sure, both demographics could benefit from the physical exercise and a new cultural perspective of each other.

Me thinks, however, that such dynamics are better left in the hands of private institutions, such as nonprofits and houses of worship.

If government becomes involved, any such program is likely to turn Uncle Sam into Aunt Samantha mimicking first lady Michelle Obama and her “Let’s Move” campaign.

The bottom line: Mr. Wells would reprogram $100 million in the public coffers.

No. 2: Education. This is always a tricky subject. Generally speaking, politicians think and finance public schools — not public education — because that is the way unions and their like-minded backers think, speak and write.

To that end, Mr. Wells said he wants all children to have good “neighborhood” schools, and a key reason why is because Capitol Hill has an old-fashioned cluster program.

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