The fiscal liberalism that swept through the District in the late 1970s with the ascension of Marion Barry theoretically lasted as long as it could - 16 years before the hiring of 40,000 employees, ultra-high taxes, outrageous spending, sparse oversight and corruption bankrupted the city.
The D.C. Council that emerged from that dark fiscal chasm turned things around, and moved the city in a more conservative financial direction. Jack Evans is the lone member left from that council whose name will be on the ballot on Election Day. The next council will need Mr. Evans and Michael A. Brown, the self-proclaimed “Independent Democrat,” who remembers the dark days and is bent on moving the city toward a more business-friendly climate.
As chairman of the council’s finance committee, Mr. Evans’ Wharton-School-of-Business approach helped deliver lower taxes, secure business support in helping pay for the new baseball stadium (although we opposed the idea of public financing) and he has been - at times - one of the only council members to defend residents’ pocketbooks and wallets against the onslaught of mayors trying to “fee their way out of deficits.” The city’s major economic centers - Georgetown, Downtown, Dupont Circle and K Street - are booming in his ward.
We’ll be very candid: The “independent” Mr. Brown refers to in his moniker includes the words “of the mayor” - and that is sorely needed on the council.
For the first two years of the Fenty administration, the council’s prostrate position to the mayor’s spend-now, spend-more, spend-quickly agenda for public schools, coupled with his ask-no-questions political style, has been difficult to watch. The council only began rising to the challenge this summer, when it refused to approve several school construction contracts after the Fenty administration declined to provide the necessary information to lawmakers. Mr. Brown also has an added bonus: He has some very good relationships on Capitol Hill.
Not often can change, institutional knowledge and solid experience all be voted on in one election. These two candidates are as close to fiscal conservatism as D.C. stakeholders will probably get. The Washington Times endorses Jack Evans and Michael A. Brown.