I met with candidate Douglass Sloan last week at Domku. Straight off the bat he said "I may not have all the answers but I know where to get them." He explained that he had been on a listening tour in Ward 4 of which we will get into more detail later.
Sloan went to St. John's Military High School and is a "homegrown" Washingtonian. He grew up in Shepherd Park but technically it was in Colonial Village. Interesting note: he grew up around the corner from candidate Michael Brown. After attending St. Joseph's college in Philadelphia for a few years he came back to DC and got a degree in Political Science from American University. Currently he lives in Lamont Riggs and he is a former vice chair of ANC 4A. He recieved an early introduction to local politics as both his mother and father were also ANC commisioners. Sloan has previously worked on local campaigns such as Bill Lightfoot's and Harold Brazil's. He also worked on Mayor's Fenty first race for Ward 4 council. He was also Ward 4 outreach coordinator for former Mayor Williams. Currently he owns a small public relations firm for such clients as Safeway and CVS. On the side he has founded a Political Action Committee (PAC) three years ago that seeks to get out the healthy eating/healthy living message.
"I have always been involved and I've always wanted to help people who need help," said Sloan.
Sloan does not support Mayor Fenty's plan. "The mayor doesn't address boosting student performance, just governance and that is not the problem," explained Sloan. Sloan told me that certain schools in the city excel at testing and certains schools fare less well and that is not a governance issue. He went on "the issue we need to focus on is parental involvement." Sloan has a lot of faith in Dr. Janney and Robert Bobb and their master education plan. Together, Sloan feels, they can implement the master education plan.
Sloan also told me that we need to help the kids that fall through the cracks. He believes that adult education centers for vocational training can help address that problem. He cited a few examples of how well plumbers do financially.
Sloan expained to me that during his listening tour he spoke with a retired Detective from MPD and a ten year officer and they are all for community policing where officers walk the beat. They told him that "nothing beats it." Sloan said that Chief Lanier does have more officers on the beat but they are in cars and they need to be walking the streets. Sloan was emphatic that "we need soldiers on the ground."
Sloan does believe that crime cameras work and they can serve as a deterrent especially if the crime prone areas are well lit.
"Litter is huge", said Sloan, "I embrass the environment and green space." He said that it would be one of his top priorities if elected. He would like to see police enforce litter laws to help combat the problem. He also would like to see officers writing tickets for illegal dumping. "Everyone should have the right to live in a clean environment", Sloan summed up.
Old Soldiers Home
Sloan would like to see the community drive development at the Old Soldiers Home. He also would like to see affordable housing and preservation of green space. "We want economic development consistent with existing community development", said Sloan.
Georgia Avenue Development
Sloan explained that Georgia Avenue currently lacks curb appeal. In order to properly build it up, it first requires building up the side streets such as Upshur Street. Sloan further explained that you need space for people to talk and walk", said Sloan. He continued "this can be a problem on Georgia Avenue where there are a lot of single family homes close to the side walk which also may make parking difficult. If you build the side street first then you will be able to build up Georgia Ave. Sloan believes that the government should be more proactive in reaching out to local businesses, perhaps providing tax incentives. He believes that the government should also make it easier for businesses to set up shop and establish themselves. "We need to reach out to business owners and developer and make sure that they are aware of all the programs available to them," said Sloan.
Central Mission Homeless Shelter
If it is going to move to Georgia Ave, we need to make sure it is the best possible homeless shelter, said Sloan. He believes it shouldn't just be a place to sleep but should also offer drug rehabilitation and vocational training. When pressed if he would support the move, he replied that he would rather see it somewhere else but if it has to move then we'll just have to make it the best homeless shelter in the city.
Sloan believes that Mayor Fenty supporting a particular candidate is "undermining the very foundation of our democracy."
Sloan is reading the Citywide comprehensive plan. The last novel he read was the Divinci Code.
Last great movie he saw was The Departed.
Last CD he bought was Jay Z but also listens to Coltrane, other Jazz, and old school like the Parliament Funkadelics.
I liked Douglass Sloan very much. He seemed like he could be a friend of mine. He was a very nice guy and enjoyed a Jever beer during our interview. I was very impressed by all he learned during his listening tour. He was a very affable candidate who seemed to genuinely care about the community. My only concern was that I felt that he might be pandering to me a bit. Nevertheless, I would be very happy to have Douglass Sloan representing Ward 4 in the Council.
You can learn more at his website: www.dougsloan4ward4.com