News

Will D.C. decriminalize prostitution?

May 31
 – 
Lou Chibbaro Jr., Washington Blade

Longtime community activist Ed Lazere (D), who’s running against Mendelson in the primary, also expressed support for the Grosso bill.

“We should not jail people who have turned to sex work, especially because discrimination and exclusion have prevented many from supporting themselves in the formal economy,” he said.
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Bowser, Most D.C. Council Members Oppose Doing Away With Tipped Wage For Restaurant Workers

May 17
 – 
Martin Austermuhle, WAMU

Ed Lazere, who has mounted a challenge from the left against Council chairman Mendelson, came out early in support of Initiative 77, saying it would ensure that all restaurant workers are paid the same and help cut down on sexual harassment in the industry. A poll conducted by Lazere’s campaign found that 70 percent of respondents supported doing away with the tipped wage, while 15 percent were opposed and 15 percent said they were unsure.
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Tenants’ rights group invites candidates to debate housing at the local and national levels

May 16
 – 
KJ Ward, Street Sense

Another challenge to incumbent leadership came from Ed Lazere, who hopes to unseat Phil Mendelson as chair of D.C. Council. Lazere linked affordable housing to school success, positive health outcomes and employment. As evidence of his commitment to affordable housing in D.C., he pointed to his work helping establish the Housing Production Trust Fund 20 years ago and his work with the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute. “I am committed to doubling the city’s investments in its affordable housing programs,” Lazere said. He asserted that had he been on the council, he would have voted against the TOPA exemption — an amendment that exempts single-family homes from legislation requiring landlords to present tenants with an offer on a property they are planning to sell.
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Ballot measure to end ‘tipped wage’ in D.C. opposed by mayor, majority of Council

May 16
 – 
Fenit Nirappil, The Washington Post

Several of the lawmakers opposed to Initiative 77 are facing challengers in June who support the ballot measure, including Mendelson’s opponent, Ed Lazere, and Bonds’s challenger, Jeremiah Lowery.
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Bowser and Mendelson Oppose Tipped Minimum Wage Ballot Initiative

May 14
 – 
Andrew Giambrone, City Paper

Although Bowser is unopposed by any viable candidate in the June Democratic primary, Mendelson faces a notable challenger from the left, longtime policy advocate Ed Lazere, who supports the initiative. In an interview with City Paper last Friday, Lazere said tipped workers should be brought into parity with other workers and that the restaurant industry could likely absorb the expected increases in labor costs. Distinguishing between "high-end" and "low-end" restaurants, he said the status quo does not equally benefit all servers. Lazere also cited the debate over whether smoking should be banned in D.C. restaurants and bars—a measure that passed in 2006—despite concerns from some businesses.
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D.C.'s Biggest Homeless Shelter Is About to Close. Will Amazon Take Its Place?

May 11
 – 
Emma Roller, Splinter

Ed Lazere is a city council candidate as well as a longtime advocate around housing issues in Washington. He said that while the Amazon bid is not unprecedented in D.C. history, it’s much more blatant than past development deals. He called the Amazon bid the “Hunger Games of economic development.”

“They’re laying bare this practice that everyone knows happens, but has not happened as much in the open in the past,” he said. “In the end, they’re pitting cities and states against each other in a game that’s impossible for cities and states to win.”
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La Necesidad de Acceso Lingüístico (editorial de opinión)

May 9
 – 
Ed Lazere, El Tiempo Latino

Las acciones hablan más que las palabras. Si el Consejo Municipal de DC toma en serio apoyar a nuestros residentes que no hablan inglés y permitir que la diversidad lingüística de nuestros vecindarios prospere, debe de enmendar y asignar fondos de la “Ley de Acceso Lingüístico (DC Language Access Act, por su nombre en inglés)”. Actualmente, esta legislación se mantiene estancada en el Consejo y por su presidente.
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D.C. trans group endorses challengers in key races

May 9
 – 
Lou Chibbaro Jr., Washington Blade

“On the one hand are Ed Lazere and Jeremiah Lowery, who want to ensure D.C. is a safe place where not just trans communities but people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ folks, low-income families, longtime residents, and workers can live and thrive,” said Trans United Fund co-founder Hayden Mora.
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Mora said Lazere and Lowery “represent a transformative vision” that includes, among other positions, support for decriminalization of sex work that trans women often are forced to engage in for economic survival. Mendelson has spoken out against a sex worker decriminalization bill introduced last year by Council member David Grosso (I-At-Large). Grosso is not up for re-election this year.
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Mendelson vs. Lazere: DC’s marquee political contest

April 23
 – 
Mark Rodeffer, Greater Greater Washington

With DC Mayor Muriel Bowser facing no serious opposition, the most important and most competitive race in the District's June 19 primary is the contest for DC Council chairman between incumbent Phil Mendelson and challenger Ed Lazere.
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Lazere said he wants to tackle income inequality by "eliminating the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers," "scheduling requirements for restaurants and retail stores to help part-time workers plan their lives," and "more strategic and rigorous enforcement of DC's labor laws."
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A Digital Probe

April 19
 – 
Jeffrey Anderson, District Dig

Even if lawmakers are not concerned, one candidate hoping to oversee the Council this time next year is not about to stand down. Ed Lazere, the former executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute who is challenging Council Chairman Phil Mendelson for his seat, says that, “When a councilmember solicits gifts from a company and then works to help that company… it undermines faith that our leaders are fighting for D.C. residents. It feeds the notion that government is there just for the powerful, and it threatens the integrity of the entire D.C. Council.”
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True Believer

April 12
 – 
Jeffrey Anderson, District Dig

Politicians’ talking points about homelessness, lack of affordable housing and educational disparity are easy to come by, but Lazere wants action. “It bothers me that we’re not living up to our values as a progressive city. We’re not seeing [city leaders] respond with enough urgency to the exponential pace of gentrification. Whether it’s intentional or not, I think our leaders are watching people get pushed out of the city, and that’s wrong.”
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Poll: D.C. Dems Say Equity in Education and Housing Are Their Top Concerns

April 10
 – 
Andrew Giambrone, City Paper

Lazere adds that, if elected, his "north star will be to fully implement the city's plan to end homelessness" and that he has committed to doubling the District's annual investment in affordable housing. He says the Council should hold a hearing on the incentives Mayor Muriel Bowser's administration has pitched to Amazon so residents can evaluate any subsidy deal. He also supports the tipped-wage ballot initiative.
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D.C. Lawmakers Mull Amazon HQ2

April 9
 – 
Andrew Giambrone, Morgan Baskin, City Paper

"Amazon HQ2 is really about the future of our city," Lazere said in a statement last Wednesday. "Will we focus on fair development that puts the needs of residents first, or will we give anything to major corporations, without asking for anything in return?" A variety of groups, including the Fair Budget Coalition, Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America, and Generation Opportunity (a conservative organization linked with the Koch brothers) say they are against subsidizing Amazon.
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Candidates for D.C. Council chair face off on Metro funding, HQ2 incentives

April 4
 – 
Katie Arcieri, Washington Business Journal

Asked whether he supports financial incentives for Amazon's second headquarters, for which D.C. is competing, Lazere said he "really does not think it's appropriate for corporations to hold cities and states hostage to tax incentives."

"Local businesses don't get subsidies to open up their businesses," he said. "They have to find a way to do it on their own. And then to have Amazon in a very transparent way say 'We might go here, we might go here, we might go here based on who gives us money,' in the end, often that is a zero sum game."

The winners, Lazere continued, are these large corporations that get tax breaks and "go to places that they would have gone anyway and the losers are the communities that lose the tax resources." He also reiterated his call for the council to hold a hearing on HQ2 incentives.

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Candidate for D.C. Council chairman calls for hearing on Amazon HQ2 incentives

April 3
 – 
Drew Hansen, Washington Business Journal

Ed Lazere, a candidate for D.C. Council chairman, made calls Monday for a hearing on how much the District is offering in incentives in its attempt to lure Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters.
“When we have critically unmet needs, do we really need to offer billions to Amazon? Obviously not,” Lazere tweeted.
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Expect Crowds at Tuesday’s Hearing on Proposed Amendments to D.C.’s Comprehensive Plan

March 19
 – 
Cuneyt Dil, City Paper

"Meanwhile, Ed Lazere, who is running against Mendelson this year, says: “If I were chair, I would make sure the Comp Plan update is really clear about preservation and creation of affordable housing.” Lazere is on leave as the head of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute.
“The current leadership, as reflected in the Comp Plan,” Lazere says, “it prioritizes the wishes of big developers over the needs of hardworking families.”
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Meet Your Next Mayor

March 8, 2018
 – 
Andrew Giambrone, City Paper

“Elections should be about big ideas and holding elected officials accountable,” says Ed Lazere, a candidate for D.C. Council chairman and longtime policy advocate. “And that’s hard to make happen when you don’t have a challenger. … Without a challenger, [Bowser] doesn’t have to have a bold vision for the next four years, and clearly the city needs one.”
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D.C. voters to decide in June if tipped workers should get same minimum wage

March 7, 2018
 – 
Fenit Nirappil, The Washington Post

“Many low-paid servers are women and put up with harassment from patrons because they depend so much on tips. Eliminating the low tipped minimum wage reduces harassment,” tweeted Ed Lazere, a progressive activist challenging council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) in the primary.
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D.C. Residents Set to Fight High Water Bills

March 7, 2018
 – 
James Wright, The Afro

A number of leaders pledged at the meeting to work together to create an ad hoc civic and political engagement organization that will fight the exorbitant water bills. Some of the members it include the Rev. Graylan Hagler of the Plymouth Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ, Rev. Keith Byrd of Zion Baptist Church, health care activist Ambrose Lane, Ed Lazere, candidate for chairman of the D.C. Council, and solar power activist Robert Robinson.
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D.C. bill would allow homeowners to sell houses without giving tenants first bite

March 6, 2018
 – 
Fenit Nirappil, The Washington Post

Ed Lazere, who is challenging Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) from the left, released a statement hours after the vote needling the incumbent for supporting the bill.

“Unfortunately, at a time when we are facing an affordable housing crisis, when residents are demanding greater action, he used his political capital to advance legislation that will only make life harder for renters in D.C.,” said Lazere, who is on leave as executive director of the left-leaning D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute.
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A fix or a setback? DC may strip tenant purchase rights from all single-family homes

March 5, 2018
 – 
By Carolyn Gallaher, Greater Greater Washington

Ed Lazere, who is challenging council chairman Phil Mendelson in the Democratic primary, also weighed in. He said that the working group established by Bonds had been making progress on problems with TOPA in single-family homes with ADUs, and claims, “Mendelson upended this progress by introducing and pushing a proposal that is far more harmful to tenants.” ​​​​​​
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Tenant Advocates Warn Of ‘Rollback’ Of Affordable Housing Law As D.C. Council Debates Changes

March 5, 2018
 – 
Martin Austermuhle, WAMU

The upcoming Council vote on the bill to change TOPA has also been thrust into one of the year’s marquee electoral matchups between Mendelson and Ed Lazere.

“Unfortunately, at a time when we should be working to help more residents stay in their homes, [Mendelson] is working to help real estate interests, by leading an effort to weaken D.C.’s strong tenant protections,” said Lazere in a statement last week.
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Neighborhood governing group moves to end dispute with local grocery store

February 21, 2018
 – 
Andara Katong, GW Hatchet

The meeting also included an appearance by Ed Lazere, the former executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute who is running for D.C. Council chairman in an upcoming election. Lazere spoke to commissioners and constituents at the meeting about his platform and his motivation to enter the race.

Lazere said if elected he would focus on addressing and improving the District-wide homelessness problems, seek to raise the minimum wage, provide more resources for public schools and improve overall living conditions.
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Lazere seeks D.C. Council’s top spot

February 21, 2018
 – 
Dan Schere, Washington Jewish Week

He said he is challenging two-term incumbent chair Phil Mendelson, 65, in the Democratic primary on June 19 because Mendelson isn’t doing enough to advocate for better pay for lower income workers, affordable housing and more accountability from developers. This is Lazere’s first bid for elective office.
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D.C. schools chancellor bats away calls for resignation after he sought special treatment

February 19, 2018
 – 
Perry Stein and Peter Jamison, The Washington Post

The new scandal, coming near the peak of the 2018 election season, also appeared to be developing into a citywide litmus test for political candidates. There have been multiple calls for Wilson’s resignation from challengers to sitting council members, including Ward 6 Republican Michael Bekesha, who is running against Allen, and Democrat Ed Lazere, the chief executive of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, who is seeking to replace Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D-At Large).
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Ed Lazere Wants to Be Your Chairman

February 15, 2018
 – 
Hayden Higgins, 730 DC

A Q&A with the longtime advocate looking to upend the DC Council

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Business proposals to overhaul D.C. paid family leave law are dead — for now

February 9, 2018
 – 
Fenit Nirappil, The Washington Post

But Lazere, executive director of the left-leaning D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, is blasting Mendelson, taking credit for the shift and accusing him of showing “poor leadership.”

“He spent a year holding up paid family leave in response to big-business pressure when clearly the law that passed was the best,” said Lazere in an interview. “He lost a year when we could have been making progress on other issues.”
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The first DC Council candidate debate brings affordable housing, and candidates’ experience levels, to the fore

February 9, 2018
 – 
David Alpert, Greater Greater Washington

Lazere made a passionate appeal to do more for housing affordability, homelessness, and similar issues. "We are not doing enough as a city to address the impacts of gentrification and loss of affordable housing," he said. "I'm concerned that black and brown residents that have shaped city's history and culture are being pushed out and left behind. Residents worry each month about how to pay rent, or only have a tent to call home. We are a prosperous city, and we can do better than that. We need to act with urgency because DC residents can't wait."
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Challenged from the left, D.C. Council Chairman defends progressive record

February 7, 2018
 – 
Fenit Nirappil, The Washington Post

Lazere said the city needs bolder leadership to address an affordable housing crisis and racial inequality.
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“We just aren’t doing enough as a city to address the impacts of gentrification and the loss of affordable housing,” Lazere said to applause. “Black and brown residents who have shaped the city’s history and culture are being pushed out and left behind.”

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Anita Bonds is a No-Show and Perennial Candidate Calvin Gurley Crashes First Council Candidate Forum

February 7, 2018
 – 
Matt Cohen, City Paper

In the race for Council Chairman, it was clear last night that Mendelson has a formidable opponent in Ed Lazere, whose poised and thoughtful responses drew considerable reactions from the at-capacity crowd.

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Candidates for the top job on the DC Council spar over the city’s budget surplus

February 6, 2018
 – 
Mark Rodeffer, Greater Greater Washington

Lazere, who will face Mendelson in the June 19 Democratic primary, says $1.2 billion for 54 days of reserve spending “is plenty.” Lazere proposes spending an extra $100 million to double the size of the Housing Production Trust Fund to $200 million a year.
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"At a time when the city is so prosperous and the needs are so great in part because of our prosperity — [such as] the loss of affordable housing — it's wrong or immoral to save every penny you’ve got rather than spend it on people who need help," Lazere said.
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DC Law Offers Public Money to Candidates Seeking Elected Office

February 6, 2018
 – 
Mark Segraves, NBC 4

“[Fair Elections] is going to mean more people choosing to run and more voters want to donate to campaigns, because they’ll know their money will make a difference and not be outspent by big corporate donors,” Lazeer said.
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DC’s 2018 primary matters, though the action isn’t the race for mayor

February 2, 2018
 – 
Mark Rodeffer, Greater Greater Washington

Lazere says he's running because of income inequality in DC and its impact on affordable housing and homelessness. Progressives are frustrated with Mendelson for supporting a paid family leave law but then seeking to change it after it was enacted, and for blocking other workplace-related measures like a ban on last-minute scheduling for hourly employees.
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Bowser’s war-chest keeps growing; Mendelson outraised by surprise challenger

February 1, 2018
 – 
Fenit Nirappil, The Washington Post

Ed Lazere, executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, reported raising $64,000 from 226 people since Jan. 20. Lazere, who has taken a leave of absence from the think tank to campaign, is running to Mendelson’s left, arguing the city has not done enough to combat poverty and the dearth of affordable housing.
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A Contest for D.C. Council Chair Takes Shape

February 1, 2018
 – 
J.F. Meils, City Paper

When Ed Lazere, former executive director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, announced last week that he will challenge Phil Mendelson, chairman of the D.C. Council, the race became the de facto title fight in this year’s local elections.
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The Politics Hour

January 26, 2018
 – 
Kojo Nnamdi and Tom Sherwood, The Kojo Nnamdi Show

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Head of influential think tank to challenge D.C. Council chairman

January 24, 2018
 – 
Peter Jamison, The Washington Post

The leader of an influential D.C. think tank has announced that he will run for D.C. Council chairman, arguing that the District needs new leaders who will more effectively tackle income inequality, homelessness and gentrification.
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“We’re not, as a city, rising adequately to meet the real problems of gentrification and development,” he said. “We all see it. We all know it. Every day I’m walking by more people who live in a tent.”
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Fiscal Policy Expert Ed Lazere Is Running for D.C. Council Chairman

January 24, 2018
 – 
Andrew Giambrone, City Paper

Longtime local advocacy leader and policy wonk Ed Lazere is launching a campaign for D.C. Council Chairman. Lazere is filing his election papers with D.C. on Wednesday and is the first opponent to established incumbent Phil Mendelson.
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"I'm really concerned that we're just not responding at the right level to the challenges of gentrification," Lazere explains. "We have this incredible prosperity, but for black and Latinx families—it feels like they're being shut out of this economy. And with the vast inequality in wealth, many are spending their days worrying about how they're going to pay their rent."
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