- The Washington Times - Friday, January 3, 2003

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, who won the Democratic primary in September as a write-in candidate, yesterday proclaimed himself the "servant of all" and promised to put city residents first as he was sworn in for his second term.
"Three priorities for the next four years: Educate our children, expand opportunity for all and keep our neighborhoods safe," Mr. Williams said.
The mayor and seven incumbent members of the D.C. Council were sworn in during a two-hour ceremony at the Warner Theatre, which was nearly filled to its 1,800-seat capacity.
Mr. Williams took the oath of office at 12:09 p.m., nine minutes after the deadline set by the Home Rule Act, raising concerns about the validity of the ceremony. But mayoral spokesman Tony Bullock said Mr. Williams had been officially sworn in earlier yesterday, after an interfaith breakfast.
The mayor, whose first term was marred by ethics scandals, said he would not tolerate government waste, fraud and abuse, stressing his goals to improve the lives of needy city residents.
"It is not acceptable for one in five of our residents to live in poverty," Mr. Williams said. "It is not our destiny to be a city of rich and poor."
Mr. Williams cited apprenticeships and vocational training, adult literacy and affordable housing as top priorities, as well as improving the District's primary health care system.
He said the 37 percent of adults in the city who cannot read is "a human tragedy" and pledged to find funds for a team of 20 "literacy leaders." The District's $323 million budget shortfall has prompted city officials to stop funding literacy and basic adult-education programs, among other cuts in services.
The mayor, whose first term was widely regarded as successful, also set a goal to build at least 15,000 new homes in the District as part of his goal of bringing 100,000 new residents to the city in the next 10 years.
"We must lure back residents who fled the city in the past, but not at the expense of those who today call the District home," he told the audience, which included former Mayors Walter Washington, Sharon Pratt Kelly and Marion Barry.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat and the District's nonvoting representative in Congress, also attended. The White House was represented by Mel Martinez, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
D.C. Council members sworn in yesterday included council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, at-large Democrat; Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat; David A. Catania, at-large Republican; Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat; Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat; Vincent Orange, Ward 5 Democrat; and Sharon Ambrose, Ward 6 Democrat.
Mr. Williams spent little time noting his achievements and instead spoke about how his "mistakes" most notably the thousands of forgeries among his nominating petitions that eventually forced him to run a write-in primary campaign taught him to value the concerns of all residents.
Mr. Bullock said the mayor's second-term policy on ethical behavior is based in large part "on what he heard people say throughout the long summer and fall campaign."
Mr. Williams was introduced by 17-year-old Youth Mayor Michael Clark, who said the Williams administration allowed him to be proud to tell others he is a D.C. resident.
Council members expressed approval of the mayor's speech, but said they are waiting for results.
"I just hope he'll put it into action," said council member Carol Schwartz, the at-large Republican who ran against Mr. Williams in the general election, her third unsuccessful try for the mayor's office.
"Sometimes we hear about these things in the speeches, but when the budget comes in, that's when you're putting your money where your mouth is."
"I'm delighted to see an emphasis on homeownership and skill enhancements for our citizens," said Mr. Catania. "It's absolutely essential that we couple human development with economic development.
"With regards to the ethics issue, I'm awaiting some specifics," Mr. Catania said. "The business-as-usual attitude has produced one of the most scandalous administrations in the history of District government, let's be honest."

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