On the Issues
The District of Columbia's unemployment rate is 10.4 percent. However, east of the river, the unemployment rates are double digits and growing. In ward 8 the unemployment rate is 30 percent and in Ward 7 in excess of 20 percent unemployment. These unemployment rates are not only alarming, but also when one realizes that the government of the District of Columbia is funding city projects that require its residents to be hired, it’s disturbing. District residents are losing jobs to non-District residents simply because our government is not enforcing the law. There is a lack of government oversight.
Washington Examiner reporter Alan Sunderman recently wrote an article entitled "Audit: DC skirts own laws, costing residents jobs." The article indicates that the District has failed to enforce its own law requiring local hires for taxpayer-funded developments. DC Auditor Deborah Nichols indicates that approximately 361 jobs have been lost to non-DC residents or $14 million in lost wages because the District government is not enforcing the law. Under the District of Columbia's First Source Program, developers with District taxpayer-funded projects are required to fill 51% of newly created jobs with District residents. Not only are the developers not following the law, but also the District government is not looking out for its residents – a lack of oversight and enforcement.
DC Auditor Deborah Nichols also revealed that the District's Living Wage Act of 2006, which requires city contractors to pay workers at least $12.10 per hour is being ignored. Once again, there is a lack of government oversight.
What has been described above is a clear example of a lack of oversight by the Council of the District of Columbia. At the very least, the DC Council Committee on Economic Development and the Committee on Housing and Workforce Development should have been engaged on these issues. With aggressive oversight by both of these committees, 361 residents would be gainfully employed and receiving the living wage, thus reducing the overall unemployment rate in the nation’s capital.
AGGRESSIVE OVERSIGHT AND ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAW
As a councilmember At-Large of the D.C. Council, Vincent Orange will provide aggressive oversight and enforcement of the laws. In addition, Vincent will ensure that the other 12 DC Councilmembers do not fall short in providing aggressive oversight and enforcement of the laws. The lack of jobs, high illiteracy rates, minimal job training and a rollback in social services have created neighborhoods of poverty in a city of wealth. The lack of opportunities and resources for many residents in the District of Columbia has reached a level, which constitutes a domestic threat to our City. We must alleviate this threat.
It will be Vincent Orange's mission and the mission of the residents of the District of Columbia to connect education to employment and economic development. The District government will continue to engage in public/private partnerships with taxpayer dollars. Using taxpayer dollars requires developers to fill 51% of newly created jobs with District residents and provide a living wage of at least $12.10 per hour. It is the job of elected officials to make sure this happens. The following developments must provide employment and living wages for our District residents:
- The Anacostia and Southwest Waterfronts;
- The Capitol Riverfront;
- The Baseball Stadium District and its economic spin-off;
- The Convention Center hotel;
- The Old Convention Center site;
- Poplar Point;
- St. Elizabeth’s development featuring the Department of Homeland Security;
- New Town at Capital City Market;
- McMillan Reservoir; and
- Walter Reed Medical Center Site, etc.
These development projects and others, and the increased marketing efforts on tourism in the District, will generate employment, living wages and business opportunities for District of Columbia residents, if, we provide aggressive oversight and enforcement. We must also train our residents so they are prepared for employment, living wages and business opportunities.
Another opportunity for our residents is the green revolution in the District of Columbia and the development of green-collar jobs. Approved by the Council and Mayor, Smart Grid technology, which is a two-way communication system between the utility and the customer, will produce hundreds of jobs, reduce the cost of energy and protect the environment with the installation of 288,000 smart meters and smart thermostats in the District of Columbia.
Goodwill Industries is currently training DC residents for these green-collar job opportunities and are seeking other residents to train.
The Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU), scheduled to be operational in FY 2012, will also produce green-collar jobs. The SEU's stated goals are:
- Reduce DC's per-capita energy consumption;
- Increase renewable energy generating capacity in the District;
- Reduce the growth of peak electricity demand;
- Improve the energy efficiency of low-income housing in the District;
- Reduce the growth of the energy demand of the District’s largest energy users; and
- Increase the number of green-collar jobs in the District of Columbia.
As councilmember At-Large of the DC Council, Vincent Orange will provide the leadership, maturity and accountability to successfully implement these initiatives and make them work for the benefit of the residents of the District of Columbia. Vincent will fight every day to put our residents back to work, improve our schools and our neighborhoods and, tackle the tough financial challenges facing our City.
When Vincent served as a DC Councilmember from 1999 to 2007, his credits included the following:
- Negotiating the arrival and development of Home Depot;
- Building a modern Giant supermarket in Brentwood;
- Bringing AJ Wright, Anna's Linen, Radio Shack, Shoe City, Bank of America, Citibank, Footlocker, etc. to Ward 5;
- Reopening and creating McKinley Technology High School;
- Playing a major role in the Rhode Island Ave Metro Station Development;
- Ensuring textbooks are provided to DC Public School children by the second week of school;
- Increasing Local, Small and Disadvantaged Businesses contractual opportunities from $68 million to $567 million;
- Securing 10,000 summer jobs for DC’s youth with a manageable budget of $20 million;
- Establishing a living wage of $11.75;
- Reviving Public Access Television in the newly renovated Brooks Mansion;
- Developing three new recreation centers – Turkey Thicket, North Michigan Park and Brentwood Recreational Center;
- Creating the first and only District of Columbia public holiday - DC Emancipation Day; and
- Improving the Office of Inspector General.
Vincent has the fresh ideas to meet the diverse needs of our city and the experience to deliver results.
The Orange Vision
Vincent's vision for Washington, DC, is that of a world-class city operating at its fullest potential. An extremely vibrant city that continues to beckon individuals, couples and families to live in, visit and experience its culture, arts, restaurants, retail, entertainment, sports venues, neighborhoods and tourism. More
Get to Know Vincent
As an attorney and certifiedpublic accountant, Vincent Orange has the skillset DC needs to make the citygreat again. In his earlier tenure on the DC Council, Vincent helped the cityturn a $518 million deficit into a $1.6 billion surplus reserve. Sincere-joining the DC Council last year, he has been at the forefront of efforts torestore ethical integrity to the Council, root out government waste, providejobs and continue education reform.More