Gray, Fenty debate highlights Georgetown parking

Photo by RJSmith
Candates Gray, fenty and Alexander
Candates Gray, fenty and Alexander

Billed as the last debate in the 2010 D.C. mayoral race, last Friday’s debate at Georgetown’s Tony & Joe's showcased the major style and policy differences of incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty and his opponent Council chair Vincent Gray

Carol Joynt explains debate rules (Photo by: RJSmith) Carol Joynt explains debate rules
Moderator Carol Joynt, valiantly fighting to keep a focus on Georgetown issues, managed to get the candidates, including candidate Leo Alexander, to talk about parking pressures and fees and support of small businesses (as well as major parts of their stump speeches).

Parking and parking fees

 Alexander declared parking fees in Georgetown “predatory,” while Fenty explained that the parking fee structure is important to keeping the District’s budget afloat.  Both Fenty and Gray outlined a future in which bike lanes, mass transit and streetcars help Georgetown shoppers leave their cars home.  Gray also repeated his Tuesday statement to The Washington Examinerthat, if elected, he’d consider eliminating the late evening charge altogether.

Small business survival

Alexander proposed that a government campus be constructed so that current developers renting to the D.C. government would be required to lower their rental rates to attract new businesses, thus making these businesses more profitable. Fenty said that he would not directly tamper with rent or rent subsidies, but continue strong transportation and public safety services that support and protect small businesses.  Gray noted that he had introduced laws that raised personal tax exemptions from $50,000 to $225,000 and he intends to overhaul the “byzantine” regulatory system that currently hampers small businesses.

The debate was organized by Sonya Bernhardt of The Georgetowner newspaper and sponsored by Eagle Bank, the Citizens Association of Georgetown, the Georgetown Business and Professional Association and Georgetown Cupcake. It was held at Tony & Joe's Seafood House.  The Georgetowner  taped these candidate responses: