Greater Greater Washington

Politics


Live chat with Vincent Orange

Vincent Orange, former Ward 5 Councilmember and candidate for the at-large seat in the April special election, joins us today for a live chat.

 Live chat with Vincent Orange(02/17/2011) 
12:48
David Alpert: 
Welcome! Vincent Orange will be joining us in a few minutes. In the meantime, please enter questions you'd like to ask him. We'll try to ask as many as we can, and ones that go in early have the best chance.
Thursday February 17, 2011 12:48 David Alpert
12:49
Vincent Orange: 
David its Vincent Orange
Thursday February 17, 2011 12:49 Vincent Orange
12:50
David Alpert: 
Welcome! Since we're all here, let's get started.
Thursday February 17, 2011 12:50 David Alpert
12:50
David Alpert: 
First, we've started out most of these chats by asking: If you are successful in your bid for the seat, what are the top 3 things you want to accomplish?
Thursday February 17, 2011 12:50 David Alpert
12:52
Vincent Orange: 
Assisting in balancing the budget. Create a Job Czar and enforce living wages legislation I got passed in 2006.
Thursday February 17, 2011 12:52 Vincent Orange
12:53
David Alpert: 
A lot of people are interested in the budget.
Thursday February 17, 2011 12:53 David Alpert
12:53
[Comment From EricEric: ] 
To close the budget gap, what specific programs would you consider eliminating or sharply reducing? Which taxes would you raise?
Thursday February 17, 2011 12:53 Eric
12:58
Vincent Orange: 
There has to be a comprehensive approach to balancing the budget. Step number 1 will be the Mayor sending a balanced budget to the Council on or before April 1. Then, the real work will start. Some of my input would include looking at Medicaid reimbursement (we have lost $347.7 M because we have not requested the reimbursement); making sure we have the regulations in place to get the $22M from combined reporting; selling our real property tax liens which can generate in excess of $100M; and generating revenue from leasing our DC Net fiber optic network.
Thursday February 17, 2011 12:58 Vincent Orange
12:58
David Alpert: 
What is your position on tax increases? Is that part of the solution this year or not?
Thursday February 17, 2011 12:58 David Alpert
1:01
Vincent Orange: 
I'm not inclined to raise taxes. When I was on the Council from 199 to 2007, we commenced serving with a $518 M deficit. In 2007, we had a surplus in excess of $1.6 B. We did not achieve that suceess through raising taxes.
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:01 Vincent Orange
1:01
David Alpert: 
Thanks. Let's talk about the job czar next.
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:01 David Alpert
1:01
[Comment From oboeoboe: ] 
What exactly would this "Job Czar" be doing? Can you give us three examples? Two?
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:01 oboe
1:06
Vincent Orange: 
Yes. Generate an inventory of all economic development projects and when they will be realized. Ascertain the jobs that will be needed for construction phrase and when the project is operational. Ascertain in our community where the inventory of jobs can be filled or training to preparing people to take those jobs. Present quarterly reports on who is working on projects, what the wages are, etc. Conduct semi annual hearings with developers to see if they are in compliance with our first source and living wage requirements.
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:06 Vincent Orange
1:07
David Alpert: 
Finally, the third topic you mentioned is living wage legislation. On the DCist article about the recent forum (http://dcist.com/2011/02/classiest_councilmember-to-be_josh.php), a commenter wrote this:
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:07 David Alpert
1:07
David Alpert: 
"Vincent Orange touting passage of the Living Wage bill. I remember Orange refusing to hold committee meetings, scheduling them on Saturdays at 4PM when he thought nobody would be there, and adjourning committee meetings 5 minutes after calling them to orderall to ensure that no vote would be taken. The Living Wage legislation passed in spite of Vincent Orange, not because of him."
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:07 David Alpert
1:08
David Alpert: 
Is that true, or not? Can you set the record straight?
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:08 David Alpert
1:11
Vincent Orange: 
Not true. The Living Wage legislation came through my Committee on Government Operations. I worked with Josh Williams from Labor and Barbara Lang, DC Chamber to get this legislation passed. I was very surprised during the last campaign to learned the legislation was never implemented. The DC Auditor, Ms. Nichols has documented that the living wages was not implemented and we lost 361 jobs through lack of enforcement of the first source law.
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:11 Vincent Orange
1:12
David Alpert: 
Someone else wanted to ask more about employment:
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:12 David Alpert
1:12
[Comment From EricEric: ] 
Other than enforcing first-source requirements, how will you address unemployment?
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:12 Eric
1:16
Vincent Orange: 
The key on this subject matter is connecting education to employment to economic development. For example, once I was able to get the deal executed that brought Home Depot and Giant to Ward 5, my first stop with community leaders was to visit the HR Depts of Giant and Home Depot. We found out what jobs would be available. Then, I charged my community to find me people with resumes that could pass the drug test, could write, add, subtract, multiply and divide. Because the jobs avaiable were for cashiers, stockers, store managers etc. We were not going to be put in the position to be told "your community does not have anyone who qualifies to work here." . . . .
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:16 Vincent Orange
1:22
Vincent Orange: 
As Councilmember, I held 5 Economic Development Summits, 5 Job Fairs and created my own Hire-One-Save-One jobs program (which created in excess of 105 jobs for college students). I've created jobs at the entire Brentwood Shopping Center, re-opened Mckinley Tech as the premire Mckinley Technology High School (creating jobs and providing quality education on that campus); and I brough Public Access Television to Brooks Mansion ( creating jobs and providing opportunities to get involved in mass communications, programming, TV production etc.). I also secured 10,000 summer jobs to be funded on an annual basis. Had no ideal that Fenty would increase it bto 22,000 summer jobs and bust the budget. I will do the same city-wide, that is create jobs by connecting education, to employment to economic development.
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:22 Vincent Orange
1:23
[Comment From oboeoboe: ] 
As far as "first source" goes, many, many affected industries have complained that it's not possible to fill entry-level construction jobs with DC residents at market rates. What is the solution to this?
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:23 oboe
1:28
Vincent Orange: 
There will always be compliants. However, there will always be an entity that can get the job done. I will go after the entities that want to get the job done and be rewarded in the process. When I was CM in charge of Gov't Operations, agency heads told me that they could not comply with the law that states they must spend at least 50% of their budgets with LSDBEs. I held hearing and put the spotlight on them. When I started only one agency was in compliance with the law. The next it went to 37 agencies being in compliance and after three years, 54 agencies came into compliance. What does that mean to the LSDBE community? Spending in their community went fronm$98 M to $567 M. Numbers certified by CFO. Developers need this same kind of spotlight on a semi-annual basis.
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:28 Vincent Orange
1:29
David Alpert: 
Let's move on to some other subjects. A lot of readers submitted the same question:
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:29 David Alpert
1:29
[Comment From EWEW: ] 
Why have you left your campaign signs up all across the city for months after the election?
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:29 EW
1:29
[Comment From SamSam: ] 
Tell me why I should trust you as a competent manager if you can't even take down your election signs from last September? Unless I'm mistaken they have to come within weeks of the election date. They're still littering the city today.
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:29 Sam
1:29
David Alpert: 
There were several others who suggested a similar question via Twitter. Can you address this sign concern?
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:29 David Alpert
1:34
Vincent Orange: 
I had 10,000 signs. We may have missed a few. I apologize. If you provide the location where we missed a sign or two, we will go take them down. I recently took down signs for other candidates as well.

Why should you trust me? Because I have a record of achievement and success in the areas of fiscal responsibility, education reform, economic development, job creation and being transparent. The Orange administration produced and produced well.
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:34 Vincent Orange
1:35
David Alpert: 
Earlier you mentioned the Home Depot and Giant project.
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:35 David Alpert
1:35
David Alpert: 
Here's a question about the other retailers in Ward 5:
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:35 David Alpert
1:35
[Comment From JaimeJaime: ] 
When asked about your economic development successes as a former Ward 5 Councilmember, you often tout bringing Home Depot to the District, the future Costco to Ft. Lincoln/New Town, or pushing to demolish the Florida Avenue Market. What did you do concerning the once thriving and now oft-neglected main streets in your community (i.e. Rhode Island Avenue NE in Woodridge/Langdon, 12 St. NE in Brookland, Florida Avenue in Trinidad, 1st St. NW in Bloomingdale, N. Capitol St., etc.)?
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:35 Jaime
1:41
Vincent Orange: 
I have highlighted and work in all these areas. I worked with the community and created a plan for McMillan Reservoir; I live, shop and support very aggressively Brookland/Michigan Park area. I helped open Windows at the corner of !st and Rhode Island Ave. I worked closely with and suport the activities of Pat Mitchell and Vickie leonard Chambers. We still have work to do. But working with the community, we were able to bring and/or lay the foundation for shopping, banking, learning, living and enjoying all of Ward 5 and the nation's capital. I would like to continue the work.
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:41 Vincent Orange
1:42
David Alpert: 
If DC is giving tax breaks to large retailers to locate in Ward 5, will that interfere with the ability of smaller businesses and main streets to compete, given that they don't have the lobbying muscle to get tax breaks themselves?
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:42 David Alpert
1:50
Vincent Orange: 
I think we need to re-evalute giving tax breaks. In 1999 through 2007, we were begging developers to come to DC. We provide incentives. Today, they want to be in DC. The world has finally discovered that there is "real disposable income" in the nation's capital. We need to get with Alice Rivilin, Charlene Drew Jarvis, Former Mayor Anthony Williams, etc. to examine the District's publication "The Economic Resurgence of Washington, DC, Citizens Plan for Prosperity". This is the plan that was created in 1998 and what we have been implementing. I was co-chair of the NY Ave Metro Site creation. Under the plan, we convinced the private sector to put up $33M, the Feds $33 M and DC $33M to create the NY Metro which would jump start development, jobs, education and contractual opportunities in NoMa. It worked. Without a plan, we plan to fail. Now, we need to re-examine our plan, make modifications and moved forward. . . .
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:50 Vincent Orange
1:54
Vincent Orange: 
We did well in the Williams/Cropp era because "we planned well", "implemented well" and "brought our projects to fruition well". We predicted the future well, that is the ecomony would change and we would be ready. Remember, Evans, Catania, Cropp and Orange werte the "Tax Parity" crew. Reduces taxes by generating revenue.
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:54 Vincent Orange
1:54
David Alpert: 
Finally, on to another topic:
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:54 David Alpert
1:54
[Comment From DouglasDouglas: ] 
Do you use public transit and would you support an increase in new limited stop Metrobus service in the city?
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:54 Douglas
1:59
Vincent Orange: 
I do often. My daughter uses public transportation to get to school and my son uses Metro to get to work. I would need more information on "an increase in new limited stop Metrobus service" to provide a position. I support public transportation. I was glad to see President Obama retain the $150 M allocation for Metro. We need to improve the operations of WMATA. These improvements are critical to our future.
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:59 Vincent Orange
1:59
David Alpert: 
Well, unfortunately we are out of time. Maybe we can find some future opportunities to continue the conversation and discuss some of the issues about livability and transportation.
Thursday February 17, 2011 1:59 David Alpert
2:00
David Alpert: 
Thanks so much for joining us, and also to all of the people who submitted questions.
Thursday February 17, 2011 2:00 David Alpert
2:00
Vincent Orange: 
Thank you very much for the chat. I really enjoyed it! Vote VINCENT ORANGE on April 26, 2011.
Thursday February 17, 2011 2:00 Vincent Orange
2:01
David Alpert: 
Please continue the conversation in the comments. What did you think of what Mr. Orange said? Are you considering voting for him? What else would you like to know to make a decision?
Thursday February 17, 2011 2:01 David Alpert
2:01
 

 
 
 
David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

Comments

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Beating a dead horse, I know, but my third question on "first source" was:

"Shouldn't we be concentrating on educating and training a corps of DC workers that can compete with workers from MD and VA rather than on forcing employers to hire DC workers who *can't* compete with workers from MD and VA?"

by oboe on Feb 17, 2011 1:40 pm • linkreport

I'm a little shocked he cited the Ward 5 Home Depot as a success story. Did he know who he was talking to? Is he even aware that the urbanist crowd has never been happy with that project?

by BeyondDC on Feb 17, 2011 2:11 pm • linkreport

@BeyondDC Ward 5 Home Depot brings a lot of suburban hell into DC, but it also brought a huge benefit as well. Yes, it could have been configured better, but you cannot minimize the incredible boon this has been to homeowners and everyone involved in construction in that part of the city. My own life is marked by pre- and post-Home Depot in the city, and the pre- period was really really really inconvenient. I put a lot of miles on my car driving to suburban hardware stores.

I thought Mr. Orange did a decent job with this chat, especially given that this was not his home turf.

by Ward 1 Guy on Feb 17, 2011 2:58 pm • linkreport

I thought Mr. Orange did a decent job with this chat, especially given that this was not his home turf.

Although I would rather scoop my own brains out, cover them in Hershey's Chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and a marischino cherry, and eat them than vote for Orange, I respect that he took questions from GGW.

by oboe on Feb 17, 2011 5:17 pm • linkreport

Oboe: I couldn't think of another way to reach you other than this...are you in NE?

by thump on Feb 17, 2011 8:52 pm • linkreport

@BeyondDC - seriously? That's your complaint? Vincent Orange has to be on top of many, many issues in this city, not whether or not it fits your narrow urbanist concerns. Also, considering how long others of us have been here, it was a miracle at that time that we were able to get that type of retail into the city, regardless of urban form.

(For the record, I find that Home Depot horrible land use as well), but it also did a great job of providing a lot of retail (and transit accessible jobs, even if the form isnt great) in an area that had pretty much been barren since Metro opened. A great opportunity for working class Ward 5 residents.

by AA on Feb 17, 2011 11:00 pm • linkreport

@thump:

Only Lance knows my true identity, and has been given an envelope to send to David Alpert in the event of my demise. But yes, currently I'm secure in an undisclosed location in NE.

by oboe on Feb 18, 2011 11:12 am • linkreport

@oboe: If you had scooped out your brains for a self-canabalistic dessert, how would you actually eat it without the brain allowing for the motor skills?

And I am with you on having no intent to vote for Orange. His still-standing signs all over the place royally piss me off, as does the lack of enforcement by the city for issuing tickets for each of those signs. It's not like we need the money or anything....

by Fritz on Feb 18, 2011 12:10 pm • linkreport

I hadn't heard Orange speak/write before. I was little shocked to say it nicely. He didn't really seem to have a grasp of the responsibilities he's hoping to be handed. It was more like he knows the rote actions that normally get taken, but isn't even bothering to ask 'why?' and, more importantly, 'is there a better way'. More shocking was his bringing up of the Medicare money that is going unclaimed. Do you know how many times I heard this brought up by various politicians running for office? I think I first heard it back in '98. Please don't tell me they still haven't figured out how to process the forms. And this is what he expects to do for us? .... It's peanuts compared to the bigger picture that needs to be attended to ...

by Lance on Feb 18, 2011 10:37 pm • linkreport

Orange is a Lemon

by John on Feb 19, 2011 1:28 am • linkreport

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