“Robert White believes that the District deserves a government that is fully transparent, accountable, and efficient. It should be easy for citizens to keep an eye on their government, for businesses to register and comply with regulations, and for residents to see how to get the help and services they need.”
On Transparency in Regulations: There are many business owners who would like to operate in the District, but I regularly hear from them that dealing with local government agencies is difficult at best. Without an “insider,” approvals, permits, and filings become challenges. This is an outdated model, especially for a world-class city; it’s what we expect in corrupt overseas markets, not in the United States.
City government needs to move into the 21st Century. Businesses should be able to get permits, complete and track their filings, and manage compliance issues digitally. Customer service needs to meet expectations and become a selling point. If that requires an investment in new technology and training, then let’s make the investment. We have to compete with Maryland and Virginia, and while we hold certain advantages, a lack of improvement will sink our chances at incubating the next Google or Facebook.
On Transparency at the Council and in City Government: Many consider D.C. to be an insider’s town, and not because of federal politics. It is because self-styled insiders on local politics have created barriers to getting things done. We have too many examples of corruption, malfeasance, and gross negligence. It’s not a surprise that many in Congress stand against giving the District more independence, as we haven’t consistently demonstrated that we can operate the city efficiently and transparently. All democratic governments have trouble with efficiency, but it is transparency where the most harm is done. The lack of transparency leads elected officials and appointed office holders to be tempted, and our city’s record in that respect speaks for itself. It’s a short fall from a lack of transparency to behavior that rings of corruption.
I am committed to letting sunshine into the room and into my dealings on the Council by setting a much higher standard. I know that a number of the current Council members would appreciate a change in this At-Large seat. As a Council member I will be here to serve the residents of the District in a way that is 100% equitable and transparent.