For ANC in southern Ward 6
Ward 6 has more contested ANC seats than in any other ward, and between streetcars on H Street NE, development around Union Station, bike lanes on M SE/SW, and bike sharing at Lincoln Park, there are plenty of transportation and development debates to go around as well as issues around retail, development and more.
Starting in the south, we're most excited about the candidacy of blogger David Garber, who recently crossed the river to Near Southeast and is running in ANC 6D07 against longtime commissioner Bob Siegel. When Five Guys wanted to open a patio on an empty sidewalk in an area with vacant lots across the street, Siegel opposed the idea unless Five Guys would make a donation to other community initiatives.
This exemplifies a common problem with ANC 6D as well as some others around the city, which don't see new retail and sidewalk cafes as a benefit on themselves but demand contributions to other projects in exchange for permission to exist. Garber would bring a breath of fresh air to this ANC and we endorse his candidacy.
The main street in ANC 6D is M Street SE/SW, where neighbors fought Tommy Wells' efforts to change the high-speed traffic sewer into a boulevard with better pedestrian and bicycle amenities. Several commissioners haven't been the leaders on walking and biking issues we might hope for, but their challengers are far worse. For example, current chair Ron McBee (6D03, north side of M between 4th and South Capitol) faces staunch anti-bicycle challenger Mary Williams. McBee has also worked hard to help the young people in public housing in his district.
At the M Street community meeting, one woman called neighbors "irresponsible parents" who dared to take their children to school or buy groceries by bicycle. That was Grace Daughtridge, who is challenging incumbent Roger Moffatt in 6D05. The district contains the southeast corner of 4th and M and then skips across Fort McNair to the southern tip of Buzzard Point. We endorse Moffatt.
Rhonda Hamilton (6D06), who represents the rest of Buzzard Point up to 1st and M SW, deserves reelection; she has done substantial work with at-risk youth and on public housing issues, which comprise much of her district, and she served on the campaign committee for Councilmember Tommy Wells.
Across the Southeast Freeway in southern Capitol Hill is ANC 6B. The Eastern Market Metro Community Association (EMMCA), led by a pair of residents who live at Eastern Market Metro, Thomas and Barbara Riehle, is trying to unseat most of the current ANC.
The ANC has some real problems, such as a less than stellar record of transparency and inclusiveness toward non-commissioner residents. At the same time, EMMCA and the Riehles are particularly upset by the development choices at Hine Junior High School and the suggestion of making Pennsylvania Avenue into an oval or square at Eastern Market.
At community meetings on the Pennsylvania Avenue project, called Capitol Hill Town Square, it was extremely disturbing the way project opponents tried to drown out the project team, rudely applauded every hostile comment, and made absolute declarations of opposition to any change whatsoever even before the team had developed any options. Clearly any project at this spot needs to consider the needs of the immediate residents, but when those residents assume that no conceivable approach could possibly gain their acceptance, sight unseen, no constructive discussion can take place.
At Hine, meanwhile, the developers conducted a very open process to solicit community input, but EMMCA continues to allege a lack of transparency because they are not pleased with the outcome. We don't like having a huge parking lot under Hine either, but otherwise look forward to seeing the project built.
While we would like to see a fresher perspective in the often staid ANC 6B, having two factions with absolute views on neighborhood issues battling for a majority on the ANC is not the best thing for southern Capitol Hill.
We do endorse Brian Pate in 6B05, south of Lincoln Park and extending to Hine. Pate has taken a clear pro-bicycling stance while his opponent, incumbent Ken Jarboe, was behind DDOT scuttling a Capital Bikeshare station on the southeast corner of Lincoln Park, according to neighboring commissioner Nicholas Alberti.
Jarboe was also one of the few residents who testified in favor of keeping parking minimums which force property owners to build more parking than they think is appropriate. We appreciate Jarboe's role as chair of Tommy Wells' campaign committee, but feel Pate would do more to build consensus in this district.
The other challenger we endorse is Brian Flahaven, running in Barney Circle's 6B09 against incumbent Michael Patterson. A proposed historic district designation recently roiled Barney Circle, with many residents feeling that they weren't approached about the proposal and that the primary proponents came from outside the area.
There are arguments for and against a historic district, but people on both sides agree that Commissioner Patterson fell far short in informing his constituents about the issue, pro or con, and bringing their concerns to the table.
For 6B08 southeast of Lincoln Park, incumbent Neil Glick is facing two strong candidates, DC school teacher Laura McSorley and Michael McCamman. Glick has been an excellent Commissioner, and we endorse him for another term, but we encourage his challengers to stay active and continue to contribute. The community could benefit from both of them.
In the other 6B races, we have not heard convincing arguments to favor the challengers over incumbents Mary Wright (6B02), Norman Metzger (6B03), Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04), and Carol Green (6B07). All have worked hard for their districts and made positive contributions to the neighborhood. While complaints about ANC 6B's openness to other ideas are valid, the commission might be most open to ideas, participation and debate if its members represent a diversity of different views instead of a solid bloc from any specific faction.
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