- The Washington Times - Monday, March 21, 2005

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams outlined plans in his State of the District address last night to rebuild the city’s most neglected communities, improve its infrastructure and cut taxes for city residents.

The address, delivered to an invitation-only audience at the Lincoln Theatre in Northwest, focused on the accomplishments of the mayor’s administration during the past year and his upcoming legislative proposals.

Mr. Williams, a Democrat whose second term runs though 2006, did not say whether he would seek re-election, though he sounded like a candidate at times.

“We are not done. And, no, I am not done,” he said.

Mr. Williams told reporters afterward that he was speaking only of the remaining time in this term, but he did not rule out a re-election bid.

“As long as I’m mayor, I’m going to be working full time for this city,” he said.

The phrase caught the attention of at least one potential candidate to succeed him.

“I think it was an interesting play on words,” said D.C. Council member Adrian Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat, whose exploratory committee is conducting fund-raisers. “I legitimately do not know, and I’m not sure if he gave any indication.”

In his speech, Mr. Williams proposed spending $50 million on revitalizing the city’s most run-down neighborhoods, including improvements for schools and libraries and other community projects. He also promised to replace public housing with subsidized units.

The mayor also pledged to announce a plan within 60 days to build more than 17,000 units of affordable housing throughout the city.

Mr. Williams proposed spending $20 million for new homeless shelters, subsidized housing and services such as treatment for substance abuse and mental illness.

The mayor also said he would push for a living wage in the city of $9.50 an hour for jobs with health care benefits and $10.50 for jobs without benefits.

Mr. Williams’ decision to deliver his speech to an invitation-only audience did not stop dissenters from interrupting him.

His speech was interrupted twice by hecklers, including one who yelled out after Mr. Williams called for a moment of silence in honor of Wanda R. Alston, a Cabinet member who was killed last week in her home.

Both protesters were removed from the building.

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