|Government of the District of
Executive Office of the Mayor
Office of Communications
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 17, 2003
|CONTACT: TONY BULLOCK
Mayor Highlights 2003 Accomplishments
Priorities Include Public Safety, Education and Economic
(Washington, D.C.) During his weekly press briefing today, Mayor
Anthony A. Williams highlighted the city’s accomplishments for the year.
The text of his remarks, as prepared, follows.
Press Briefing Remarks December 17, 2003
2003 Year in Review
In January, I outlined an agenda for the District at my Inaugural
Address. At that time, I laid out goals and objectives in three priority
areas - public safety, education, and opportunity for all.
Using these priorities as a framework, my administration began to
develop specific goals and objectives for this calendar year and for the
near term as well as action plans to meet those goals. I am pleased to say
that we have made significant progress in all of these areas.
I want to review some of those highlights in greater detail.
First, we’ve made solid progress in public safety. Homicides, which
were up by more than 25 percent over last year in early May, are now down
by more than 6 percent. Overall crime is down 2 percent so far this year.
Much of the turnaround in crime has occurred since August, when Chief
Ramsey declared a crime emergency and implemented his "Crime
Initiative." Overall crime is now down by almost 15 percent since
then; homicides are down more than 30 percent.
We have dramatically reduced the call pickup time in our 911 center. We
have hired 59 additional police call takers and 15 Fire/EMS call takers.
We secured funding in the budget for 120 additional firefighters in Fiscal
Year 2004. We have completed a comprehensive upgrade of our emergency
radio system that now provides our first responders with the most complete
and reliable public safety radio coverage in the nation.
MPD launched "Operation Fight Backs" in 48 persistent problem
areas throughout the District this year. Through Operation Fight Back, MPD
coordinates with other District agencies to fight crime and increase
quality of life in targeted high-crime neighborhoods. In January, working
with the Council, we will implement the proposed changes to our PSA system
which will provide greater efficiencies and result in increased police
presence in our neighborhoods.
As of last month, we have launched wrap-around social services in 15
schools in the District. Coordinating the delivery of such services in the
schools, enables students and families to access resources in a familiar,
central location. Agencies can now assess the needs of clients and share
information that can and will provide a more holistic approach to some of
the most persistent social problems affecting many of our young people.
In January, I talked about how we must turn around our literacy
problem in the District. In July, as part of my Literacy Initiative, we
hired 20 lifelong learning coaches. These 20 instructors help connect
residents with jobs and opportunities. Among their many duties, the
coaches provide adult basic education and English as a second language
And, we expect the Senate to approve my plan for school choice in the
District of Columbia. This program will bring $40 million of new federal
funding to our public education system. $13 million for roughly 1800
certificates, 13 million for DCPS and $13 million for charter schools.
OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL:
Over the past year, we worked hard to provide opportunities for our
residents — in housing, jobs, health care and economic development. As a
city, we have come a long way from where we stood just a few years ago.
To get a sense of how we’re making progress in housing, consider that
in Fiscal Year 2000, we helped finance 1,900 affordable housing
units. In Fiscal Year 2003, we helped finance more than 2,700
affordable units. To date, we have helped finance more than 12,000 units
of affordable housing in every ward of the city. That’s a total of $1.1
billion in affordable housing development. And this figure includes
more than $650 million in affordable housing east of the Anacostia River.
We launched the City Living, DC Style campaign this year and held an
expo to advance our goal of bringing 100,000 new residents to our city
over the next decade. More than 5,800 people attended the expo in October.
Every day, we are helping residents find jobs. In June we opened a
One-Stop Career Center for Veterans. In September, we opened a mobile
one-stop career center that brings career experts into our communities to
help ink residents to jobs.
And we’re providing residents with quality health care in record
numbers. We have renegotiated contract terms with the Health Care Alliance
hospital partners and we are ready to invest millions to renovate primary
care facilities across the District. Earlier this year, the Kaiser
Foundation recognized the District as the city with the lowest number of
uninsured persons per capita in the nation. We are succeeding to a large
degree in transforming our healthcare program for the poor and working
poor to one based on emergency care to one based on primary and preventive
In September, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
awarded the District $20 million for achieving one of the nation’s
largest decreases in out-of-wedlock births between 1998 and 2001. This is
a huge achievement. We also completed work on the first Citywide
Comprehensive Substance Abuse Strategy for the District.
And, together with the Council, we are moving forward
with Howard University to establish a privately run, 110-bed hospital on
District-owned land to meet the future in-patient needs of our citizens.
The new hospital will supplement Howard’s existing facility on Georgia
Through our economic development efforts, we are creating opportunity
for residents while at the same time, increasing our tax base.
Five years ago, the District was an economic desert. Today, everywhere
you look, you see cranes cutting through our skyline. Since I became
mayor, we have brought $27 billion in real estate investment and
development across our city. We are currently building – or planning to
build – 154 retail projects, 171 office projects, nearly 7,000 hotel
rooms and more than 32,000 residential units, for current renters and new
In The Milken Institute’s June 2003 report on economic performance of
US cities, Washington, D.C., ranked 19 – up from 28 the year before. And
the District has the top-ranked office market in the country, according to
the Marcus & Millichap 2004 National Office Index.
In January, Washington DC rose from the third best global city for
foreign real estate investment in 2001 to the Number One city for foreign
real estate investment in 2002. DC was followed by London, Paris, New York
and Milan. This is a survey from the Association of Foreign Investors in
Real Estate. The District is also No. 1 nationally.
In March, we opened the new Washington Convention Center. It will bring
three million people annually, generating an estimated $656 million into
our economy and $776 million into the metropolitan region annually.
Bookings at the center now extend through 2013.
We’re bringing sit-down restaurants, stores, jobs and local
businesses to Columbia Heights, Georgia Avenue, Shaw, New York Avenue, H
Street, Pennsylvania Avenue East and Anacostia.
We’re using reSTORE DC, which we launched last year, to help
revitalize our city’s commercial zones and provide opportunity for
residents. This year, we helped bring a Best Buy store to Tenleytown and
two H&M stores to the District. A Container Store is on the way to
Tenleytown and a new Joseph Banks clothing store has opened downtown.
Investor confidence in our hotel market is on the upswing, according to
a March study by the New York-based Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels. The study
said investor interest is largely due to our reasonably strong hotel
occupancy, stable room rates and steady demand base.
And in November, I designated Hines/Smith/Georgetown to redevelop the
former Washington Convention Center. This massive project will create jobs
for our citizens, revenue for our city, and housing for our residents.
My administration has placed a great deal of emphasis on economic
development and for good reason. This is where we will generate the
resources to tackle the other priority areas of the District government.
Without a growing tax base and a stable budget, the District cannot
continue to make the investments in education, healthcare, social services
and public safety.
Last but not least, we launched the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative
Framework Plan this month. This plan outlines our vision for a revitalized
Anacostia waterfront. The AWI project area encompasses 2,800 acres and
will ultimately involve development of more than 4,500 residential housing
units, 600,000 square feet of retail development, and 3 million square
feet of commercial office space.
BEYOND THE THREE PRIORITIES
Beyond the three priorities I have laid out, we have made other
accomplishments. This year, our website, DC.gov, was named one of the top
government websites in the United States by the Center for Digital
Also this year, the number of pages on the DC.gov portal reached
100,000. Our site offers residents online services such as driver’s
license renewal and vehicle registration renewal. So we’re bringing
opportunity and efficiency online. We have moved a government that only a
few years ago functioned like it was in the 16th Century and
brought it into the 21st Century.
In September, our emergency response plan received full accreditation
under the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) administered
by the National Emergency Management Association. We are among the first
two jurisdictions in the nation to earn this designation. That is huge
progress for a city that only 2 years ago was accused on the floor of the
House of Representatives as not having an emergency response plan.
In March, Moody’s Investors Service improved our bond rating from
"stable" to "positive." The positive outlook stems
from the financial results shown in the 2002 Annual Audit and our strong
response to a large projected budget gap in FY 2003. In June, Dr. Gandhi
and I announced that Fitch Ratings and Standard and Poor's upgraded our
General Obligation Bonds to A- from BBB+. This shows that we continue to
receive the confidence of Wall Street analysts.
And just last week, I was elected vice president of the National League
of Cities. This puts me in line to become president in 2004. I will
continue to use the position to enlighten thousands of city officials
about the District’s efforts for autonomy from the federal government
and voting rights in the U.S. Congress.
And with the focus and energy of our new City Administrator Robert Bobb,
we are working to reform some of our more challenged agencies — such as
the Office of Property Management, the Youth Services Administration and
DMV. We will demand nothing less than success in these areas.
And in Congress, the full Senate voted unanimously to approve a budget
autonomy bill for the District. The legislation seeks to give the District
control over the local funds portion of our budget and remove that portion
of the budget from inclusion in the annual DC Appropriation Act. And the
full House passed our spending bill last month. When the Senate passes the
DC spending plan in an omnibus bill, it will include the largest
appropriation for the District of Columbia in history. None of this would
have happened without the renewed respect and confidence we now enjoy from
the Congress and the federal government.
It is through the hard work of my administration, the Council and the
many independent agencies that make up the District government that we
have been able to make such strides. Perhaps we don’t take the time to
recognize how much improvement has been made in so many areas. But at year’s
end, it is appropriate to take a look a back and reflect on what we have
done and focus on the work ahead.
Happy Holidays to all!
Back to top of page
Williams Administration 2003 Accomplishments
which were up by more than 25 percent in early May, are now down by
more than 6 percent. Overall crime is down 2 percent so far this
year. Much of the turnaround in crime has occurred since August,
when Chief Ramsey declared the "Crime Initiative." Overall
crime is down by almost 15 percent since then; homicides are down
more than 30 percent.
with restructured PSA system and staffing up to 3,800 police
officers. Also launch reform of YSA.
call pickup time
the call pickup time in our 911 center. We hired 59 police call
takers and 15 Fire/EMS call takers. We secured it in our budget for
an extra 120 firefighters in Fiscal Year 2004. We upgraded our radio
system used by police, fire and emergency medical services. This
will provide us with the most complete and reliable public safety
radio coverage in the country.
||Hire a new
director of 911 services to coordinate full deployment of new staff
and cross-training for "universal call takers"
community preparedness plans, one for each cluster. Completed
construction of state of the art radio infrastructure for all first
responders to ensure radio communications for all scenarios:
·1 Installed 10 radio towers,
vehicle repeaters on all fire apparatus, encrypted and digitized MPD
·2 Obtained federal funding
for Unified Communications Center
emergency plans and expand coordination with regional jurisdictions
and federal agencies.
Expand network of volunteers to ensure community preparedness
among neighborhoods and seniors.
support services provided to public school children
||As of last
month, we launched wrap-around social services in 15 schools in the
District. Having these services placed at these schools enables
students and families to access needed resources in a familiar
neighborhood place. This speaks to my vision that schools
should be heart of our neighborhoods.
wrap-around services to additional schools, particularly at the high
choices for quality education
federal support for a $40 million investment in DC schools, to
include $13 million for at least 1,700 residents to attend private
or parochial schools. In return, D.C. public schools would receive
an extra $13 million in federal funds, as would DC public charter
passage of this initiative and implement new program
||In July, as
part of my Literacy Initiative, we hired 20 lifelong learning
coaches. These 20 people help connect residents with jobs and with
other opportunities. Among their many duties, the coaches provide
adult basic education and English as a second language instruction.
services and identify resources for expansion.
Opportunity for All
Year 2003, we helped finance more than 2,700 affordable
units. To date, we’ve helped finance more than 12,000 units of
affordable housing in every ward of the city. That’s a total of $1.1
billion in development. And our city’s housing agencies have
invested more than $650 million in producing affordable housing east
of the Anacostia River.
We launched the City Living, DC Style campaign this year and held
an expo to begin our huge push to bring 100,000 new residents to our
city over the next decade. More than 5,800 people attended the expo
development opportunities to provide the next generation of for
affordable housing and market rate housing.
In June we opened a One-Stop Career Center for Veterans. In
September, we opened a mobile one-stop career center that brings
experts into our communities to link residents to jobs.
We’ve also enrolled hundreds of residents in pre-apprenticeship
programs with various trade unions. Upon successful completion they
are guaranteed acceptance in regular registered Apprenticeship
And finally, we’ve completed an agreement for a corporate
sponsored automotive technician training facility, which will enroll
150 students annually.
Further expand job opportunities by developing linkages between
growth industries and job training.
to quality health care.
new contract with the Health Care Alliance the District now has one
of the lowest number of uninsured residents in the nation.
support for the Alliance and develop plans to ensure the operation
of fully functional hospital operations in Southeast DC.