Eastern Market area, in Ward 6. Image by DC Duxbury used with permission.

Ward 6 covers a lot of ground and a wide swath of DC neighborhoods. On one end, you can be standing in Navy Yard, outside of Nationals Park, while on the other you’re in Shaw. Many of Ward 6’s neighborhoods have been the epicenter of DC’s growth, and its Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC) are at the center of that discussion. In November, voters in Ward 6 have 10 competitive races to consider, and in those we found five candidates to endorse.

These are our Ward 6 endorsements:

What are ANCs, and why should I care?

Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, or ANCs, are neighborhood councils of unpaid, elected representatives who meet monthly to weigh in with the District government about issues that are important to their community. ANCs play a very important role in housing and transportation decisions.

An ANC’s opposition to new housing, retail, a bike lane, bus improvements, etc. can stymie or significantly delay valuable projects. On the other hand, proactive and forward-thinking ANCs offer the government valuable suggestions for ways to improve the neighborhood and rally resident support.

Each ANC is divided into a number of Single Member Districts (SMDs), averaging about 2,000 voters each. Races often hinge on a small handful of votes. Your vote — every vote — really counts.

Here are our endorsements

In Ward 6 there are five ANCs: 6A, 6B, 6C, 6D and 6E. Altogether, those ANCs encompass 38 Single Member Districts (SMDs). This fall, 28 of those SMDs have only one candidate running, so we did not analyze those races. In the remaining 10 competitive races, GGWash is endorsing five candidates. This year, we received completed questionnaires from 27 Ward 6 candidates (some in contested races, others in uncontested races). You can read everyone’s positions and responses here.

Not sure which SMD you live in? It’s easy to find in our interactive ANC Voter Guide! Simply search your address to find your ANC/SMD, compare your candidates’ responses to our questionnaire side-by-side, and take a look at our ultimate endorsements.

GGWash 2018 ANC Voter Guide

Map of Ward 6 ANCs and SMDs. Image by Office of ANCs.

In ANC 6A we endorse Ramin Taheri

ANC 6A is the northeastern corner of Ward 6, including the neighborhoods east of 8th Street between East Capitol Street and Florida Avenue/Benning Road. Sections of the H Street Corridor and Lincoln Park are part of this commission. The future of the RFK stadium and surrounding area is top of mind for many in these adjacent neighborhoods (though the stadium itself is actually in Ward 7), as are the plans and improvements for the Maryland Avenue corridor and the Starburst Plaza. While Kingman Park is in neighboring ANC 7D, the new historic district there was a topic of debate in 6A this last year as earlier proposals had their boundaries include pieces of the ANC.

For ANC 6A03, the neighborhood just northwest of Lincoln Park, we endorse Ramin Taheri. Taheri clearly believes in some core urbanist arguments. On zoning he writes: “Recent zoning changes reflect a growing recognition in DC that our zoning laws tend to be too exclusionary. I think this is a positive development, but only if we see real action at the neighborhood level – more development and use of accessory dwelling units, for example.” He is supportive a more housing both in a mixed use plan at RFK at near the Starburst Plaza. His broadly supportive of more bike lanes, and thinks “we need to do a better job of explaining that neighborhood issues are not decided in a vacuum and are not part of a zero-sum game” when it comes to, say, sacrificing parking for transit improvements.

On the other hand, Taheri’s opponent and incumbent Mike Soderberg is less willing to engage on the parking issue: “I don't think we need to reduce or remove on street parking for residence to improve Bus or Bike flow.” Soderberg has good views on many of our issues, is obviously knowledgeable and experienced, and says he has strongly advocated for more affordable housing in the ANC during time there. However, we were won over by Taheri’s urbanist policies and vision, and encourage voters in the neighborhood to give him your vote.

There are two other competitive races in 6A, but we aren’t endorsing in either of them. In the center of the ANC is 6A05, where Ruth Hudson and Alan Chargin are competing for an open seat. Chargin didn’t complete our questionnaire, and we liked some of what Hudson had to say, but also had concerns. Her take on pop-ups and historic preservations, not bad! “I’m not the biggest fan of pop-ups, but I can live with them if it means more families are committing to this neighborhood and can stay here for the long-haul. Historic preservation makes that option difficult.” Her take on sacrificing parking for transit improvements, not as great: ““I think it’s unfair to pit public transportation and parking against each other.” Overall, we just didn’t have enough information here to make a clear endorsement.

Just north is 6A06. Here, incumbent Stephanie Zimny is challenged by H.J. Ammons, who did not complete our questionnaire. We endorsed Zimny in 2016, but this year she had underdeveloped answers on our questionnaire, some of which raised concerns for us. She helped with 6A’s efforts to make Maryland Avenue and C Street safer for bikers and pedestrians during her tenure, but also seems more defensive around parking, writing “Parking is very limited in our area and we try very hard to not remove on-street parking.” Without knowing more about Ammons, we aren’t making an endorsement in this race this year.

Maryland Avenue NE, where it crosses both 7th and D Streets. A cab driver ran over a pedestrian here in June 2014. Image by Susan Balding.

In ANC 6B we endorse Taylor Kuether

Many ANCs in Ward 6 are known for being positive, productive, and reasonable, as many have spent years deftly negotiating important developments across the ward. 6B in particular has proven home to strong neighborhood leaders over the years. Currently the neighborhoods here are negotiating how to handle the redevelopments of the Southeast Boulevard and Barney Circle areas, and have front row seats to whatever happens at RFK. They have also watched closely to the controversial historic designation in nearby Kingman Park, and recently published a letter of concern about what happened there.

There is only one contested race in 6B: Steve Holtzman and Taylor Kuether in 6B05, which encompasses the neighborhood just south of Lincoln Park. We endorse Kuether. Kuether is clear on her priorities for Barney Circle: “An environmentally sound transit facility, developable land that could (and absolutely must) support affordable housing… Bike and pedestrian traffic should also be considered and included in all decisions made about the redesign.”

On historic districts, Kuether supports many of the reforms GGWash has been advocating for: “diverse designation levels, balancing preservation needs with the needs of residents, and most importantly, educating the community and soliciting input.” She does not take a strong stance on the parking vs transit trade-off, but at least starts from a good place: “I am personally supportive of protective bike lanes and/or designated bus lanes at the expense of on-street parking, but if elected to the ANC it is my job to hear and amplify constituent concerns and make a decision reflective of the community.”

Holtzman is also not great on parking, and spends a lot of ink addressing the issue: “I think it is fair and essential for the health of the neighborhood that residents’ ability to find predictable parking remains a paramount consideration.” He does have decent answers on many core issues, but in general is less willing to take firm stances. For example, when asked about his top Vision Zero prioritize, Holtzman says “I am favor, again selectively, of finding ways to increase bike lanes where possible. At the same time, my personal experience is that there is a great need to disseminate and drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists all internalize rules of the road (and sidewalks) for bicyclists, rights of way, safe behavior, etc.” Overall, we favor Kuether in this race.

Rendering of possible Southeast Boulevard design and connection to the street grid, with potentially developable land in yellow. Image by DDOT.

In ANC 6C we like both candidates

ANC 6C includes much the area surrounding Union Station and NoMA and is also home to many talented commissioners. We asked candidates here about how they will continue to manage the fast moving growth in this area, and how they would handle the proposed K Street bike lane that might remove some parking. We also asked them how they would respond to the homeless encampments that often appear in the neighborhood.

This November only one race is contested in 6C: 6C05, which lies east of Union Station generally between 8th Street NE and 5th or 3rd Street NE. There are two quality candidates running for this seat, and we couldn’t decide on a clear winner of our endorsement.

Chad Ernst is a relative newcomer to the ANC, but had strong answers on our questionnaire. His goal is “to be the advocate for our neighborhood’s vision of smart growth,” and he promises to be “an advocate for additional residential units throughout our city. In recent times DC has become a more attractive place to live. In order to sustain that, we need an increase in available housing.” Ernst is also clear that he will support affordable housing as part of that growth: “Our area of the city is experiencing a lot of growth, part of that growth should also be in affordable housing development.” He is sympathetic to the concerns of neighbors who would lose on-street parking for the proposed bike lane, but also sees “what the city is trying to accomplish… My approach to this situation will be to fully explain what the city is trying to do, show what alternate higher density arteries cars will be pushed to use.”

Ernst is running against Joel Kelty, who has been a valuable member of the ANC’s volunteer zoning committee for some time. His experience shows in his answers to our questionnaire: “Additional residential density, properly located and thoughtfully integrated into the existing urban fabric, is a good thing. The population of our country continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. We need to ensure cities are vibrant, exciting and affordable places to live with good transportation infrastructure and functional schools. The alternative is widespread sprawl and its attendant environmental destruction.”

Kelty is a bit more cautious in his views on our questionnaire when compared to Ernst, but also reveals a depth of knowledge and experience that is valuable. We wish he would take stronger stances on our core issues, but also respect his tenure and thoughtful approaches. Ultimately, both candidates would make for fine commissioners, and we encourage voters to vote for their preference — not a bad option here.

NoMa Metro stop. Image by Aimee Custis Photography licensed under Creative Commons.

In ANC 6D, we endorse Anna Forgie and Brant Miller

If you live anywhere in the growing areas around Navy Yard, Waterfront Metro station, Buzzard Point, and the Wharf, you probably live in 6D. The ongoing development at Buzzard Point is an important issue for neighbors here, as is the new homeless shelter which at first received some community pushback. Ultimately, a huge challenge for the neighborhood is ensuring that lower-income neighbors are not displaced and lower-cost homes and rentals are available as the neighborhood continues to welcome scores of new units.

There a number of contested races in this area this fall. 6D02 is the area surrounding South Capitol Street along the center of the ANC. Here we endorse Anna Forgie over incumbent Cara Lea Shockley. On Buzzard Point, Forgie sees the redevelopment as “an incredible opportunity to encourage all modes of transportation, including water transport, cycling, and pedestrian walkways.” The proposed 11th Street Bridge Park project is also something she is excited for that promotes “growth for all populations, not just high-income residents in the area. Economic growth and development must be made accessible to all groups, regardless of income or demographic identification, and the ANC has to promote these opportunities for everyone’s benefit.“ Forgie is committed to future mixed use development ”that incorporates retail, affordable housing, green space, and public space.” She says she will be an advocate of public transit and cycling, and believes the homeless shelter is a good example of the greater good outweighing narrow interests. Overall, her responses are well-thought out and she looks like a promising candidate.

Incumbent Shockley is less inspiring this year in her answers to our questionnaire. Shockley’s concerns for the 11th Street Bridge Park are primarily about traffic, which is disappointing given the broad intent and equitable goals of the project. Perhaps most worrisome is Shockley’s view that her neighborhood has “contributed its fair share” of affordable housing. “Contribute?” she writes, “We've had nearly a third of all the residential development in the last few years and we're due to have six more major projects that I can think of just off the top of my head. We've contributed our fair share.” We think Forgie is the best option this year.

Directly east and south in the Navy Yard area is 6D07, an open seat that is hotly contested by three different candidates. Here we enthusiastically endorse GGWash volunteer Brant Miller. Miller is open to growth but wary on the impact to existing community. He writes “We must ensure that our wonderful new neighbors are from varying backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses. Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) and Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) are two tools that can be utilized to ensure this happens.” He supports “transit infrastructure that improved mobility for bikes and buses even at the expense of on-street parking.” It’s clear Miller understands that greater policy goals need to overcome narrow opposition and uses the local emergency shelter which he lives near as an example. We’re excited to support one of our own as he moves into public leadership. He carries our community’s values forward well!

Both of Miller’s opponents returned our questionnaire. Patrick Witte clearly agrees with GGWash’s values on many issues, but did not have very well-developed responses. Edward Daniels had much higher quality responses, but we also found him a bit defensive, especially when it came to parking. He is wary of the parking/bike infrastructure trade-off, and “would suggest that more bike spaces would be homed in our parks instead of removing on-street parking,” admitting elsewhere that he is “very biased when it comes to on-street parking.”

We appreciate his genuine focus is on affordable housing, but Daniels again gets defensive when it comes to things like scooters: “Also, these motorized scooters that we are seeing pop up all over town need to remain OFF of our sidewalks. Period.” We hope voters in this area go to the polls for Miller.

Construction outside of Nationals Stadium. Image by Tim Brown used with permission.

The last contested race in the ANC is 6D05, and it is a hard call for us. After much debate, we have decided to not make an endorsement here. Both candidates have strengths and weaknesses, and we don’t have a clear recommendation.

Anthony Dale is a newcomer to the ANC, and there is a lot to like here. He has clear ideas where bike infrastructure and dedicated bus lanes can improve safety and livability. He clearly supports deeply affordable housing, but also says “affordability is not only confined to low income families; it impacts middle-class residents as well. We must ensure that we are adding reasonably priced family dwellings to our housing landscape.” Dale seems balanced and firm on many issues, even if it means frustrating parochial interests: “My approach will always bend towards finding solutions that grow the entire city and region, and not just a small conclave.”

However, some of his answers set off warning bells when push comes to shove. For example, he writes about a particular development at 4th Street SE & I Street SE where nearly 70% of the building is slated to be studios or one bedroom apartments. Dale: “This development, along with numerous others, are not helping build communities, but are only adding to the transient nature this area.” While we sympathize with the need to build larger units in the city (though some would say we actually have enough, it’s just occupied by older couples or lots of roommates), we actually see studios or one-bedrooms as important additions that in fact can help relieve the pressure on the existing family-sized homes we have. More importantly, we definitely see people who choose to live in such homes as integral and important to the community.

Dale is running against 22-year incumbent Roger Moffat. Some in our community have been frustrated with Moffat’s tenure, saying that he is not easily available to constituents (perhaps why numerous readers used our feedback tool to give high ratings and glowing recommandations for Dale!). However, Moffat is clearly an experienced and smart commissioner and his answers to our questionnaire are good. He offers many examples of how he has been a leader in pushing for more inclusive development during his tenure, both in terms of lower cost homes and in terms of family sized ones. He shares a letter he wrote to prospective developers at Buzzard Point: “ANC 6D is diverse, and economics plays a huge part in that diversity. We want to maintain that diversity. Consequently, we want to make sure the stock of housing is diverse as well. However, if all new housing units are priced at market, we will lose that diversity. With that in mind, we ask developers to include low income or affordable units in the mix, even those who are not required to do so.” Moffat is willing to make some deals to support bike lanes, saying that “being so over parked I would rather lose a lane of traffic to accommodate the necessary bike lanes…. The future is back to the bike. They need a safe place to be ridden.”

Voters in 6D07 face an interesting choice this fall: a newcomer who is obviously campaigning hard, is in touch with the community, and has solid ideas and principles; or a seasoned veteran with technical expertise and knowledge, but perhaps is not directly engaging as much with residents. Both are solid options, and we wish both well.

The Wharf. Image by Ted Eytan licensed under Creative Commons.

In ANC6E, we endorse Alexander Padro

This northwestern arm of the ward stretches narrowly out into Mount Vernon Triangle and Shaw. A large portion of this area is called Northwest One, the former site of a collection of low-income housing developments that was demolished to make room for mixed-income housing, though over a decade later it is still mostly parking lots. Recently, plans were filed to finally get this redevelopment moving again. ANC 6E is also home to many debates about bike lanes. Currently the proposed bike lane on K Street affects this area, but perhaps more famously was the debate about bike lanes on 6th Street NW.

In the far northwest of the ANC, 6E01 covers the neighborhoods surrounding Rhode Island Avenue between 11th and 7th Street NW. Incumbent Alexander Padro again has earned our endorsement year.

Padro is strong on our issues and experienced. He explains that through his “leadership, the development along 7th and 9th Street, NW in central Shaw has been able to balance retention of existing affordable housing and construction of new affordable and workforce housing along with a significant amount of new market rate residential and retail.” He has clear priorities for DDOT when it comes to Vision Zero and stopping pedestrian cyclist deaths. Padro has long been a supporter of sacrificing some parking for bike lanes, and he has “supported the [proposed 6th or 9th Street NW] cycle track since it was initially proposed, despite the associated loss of parking. Padro’s experience and balance shines through in many of his responses. His opponent did not return our questionnaire, but we continue to be confident of our pick here.

The other contested race in this ANC is 6E02, directly east of Padro’s SMD in the area north of Dunbar High School. Here incumbent Anthony Brown is facing a challenge by Eugene Sims, but we are not making an endorsement in this race. Brown is not very convincing on many of GGWash’s core issues. For example, he is unwilling to suggest any areas where bike lanes could go in his SMD because “my SMD has such high traffic volume, its difficult to make that determination.“ In general, he tends to focus a lot on dialogue and process, which are of course important to the work of ANCs! But it was hard for us to pin him down on urbanist issues and priorities. His opponent did not complete our questionnaire, and without more information we aren’t able to recommend a particular candidate for this race.

Dunbar High School. Image by DC Public Schools.

Want to read the responses of all of the Ward 6 ANC candidates who responded to our questionnaire and judge for yourself? Check out the full PDF for Ward 6. You can also explore our ANC Voter Guide, which allows you to compare candidates in your neighborhood side-by-side. Over the next few weeks, our endorsements for competitive 2018 ANC races will be updated regularly at our ANC Endorsements Page as we continue publish our detailed rationale for each decision in upcoming posts. Stay tuned!

These are official endorsements of Greater Greater Washington. To determine this year’s endorsements, we sent a reader-generated candidate questionnaire to all ANC candidates . We then published candidate responses and collected feedback. Our volunteer elections committee then evaluated all candidate responses and feedback for contested races and with staff came to our final decisions.