Ward 1 is DC’s densest, and gentrifying row house neighborhoods make up the majority of the ward. Retail, parking, and transit are all key issues in its numerous commercial corridors, and local ANCs play a big role.
ANC 1B will be losing one of the city’s best ANC commissioners, Brianne Nadeau, who turned a commission that faced financial irregularities into a solid neighborhood organization. Plus, she pushed hard to extend the 15th Street bike lane northward into her Meridian Hill Park district of 1B05, one of many great examples of how an ANC can be a very positive force in its community instead of either obstructing or doing nothing.
1B02 covers the east side of 14th Street above and below U. Incumbent Peter Raia has worked very hard for the neighborhood, but has been too obstructionist on business growth in the area. While Aaron Spencer seems like a good candidate, we prefer Tucker Gallagher, who lives car-free and talked about promoting a neighborhood that’s lively 18 hours a day.
Incumbent Deborah Thomas has strong respect from her constituents in 1B04, centered around 14th and W. She has worked hard to represent the many residents of her district, including families, seniors, and lower income people, who are able to stay in the community despite the economic pressures toward displacement.
She is a single mother, and gives a voice to groups who are underrepresented in traditional community structures. ANC 1B and the residents of the neighborhood benefit from participation. Her opponent, William Girardo, would probably also make a fine commissioner but has few neighborhood accomplishments on his resume.
We support Brittany Kademian in her challenge to Juan Lopez for 1B07 northeast of Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park. Residents and even the manager of a condo building association in the district say they were unfamiliar with Lopez. His partner also filed a challenge to Kademian’s nominating petition.
Meanwhile, Kademian herself wants to raise the accessibility of the ANC in the area, tutors local students, bicycles and supports a bike lane on 14th north of U, wants improved lighting to reduce crime, is passionate about the environment, and more. Plus, she has gotten the greatest number of commenters to vouch for her in our discussion threads.
To the east, RT Akinmboni (1B08) has been a positive influence on the ANC; her opponent, Ahnna Smith, is a Teach for America alum new to the neighborhood who we hope to see get more involved in local advocacy.
We support Lauren McKenzie in the open seat in Pleasant Plains’ 1B09; the other candidate, Shahrzad Rastegar, does not seem to have any email address listed or any information online.
Bill Brown, the commissioner of 1A06 east of the Columbia Heights Metro, is excellent, serving on the DC Pedestrian Advisory Council and bringing his strong passion for pedestrian issues as well as his expert grasp of other topics to his role on the staff of presumptive Council Chairman Kwame Brown.
We are very excited that contributor Kent Boese is running (unopposed) in northern Park View’s 1A08. In the central Park View 1A09, Sam Moore is challenging incumbent LaKeisha Thomas. While Thomas is not ANC 1A’s best most thoughtful commissioner, her experience going to school in and living in the neighborhood is valuable, and she wants what’s best for the neighborhood.
Moore seems very promising and supports transit and smart growth, but we’re a little nervous about the way he said he’d fight a Starbucks on Georgia Avenue when Georgia needs whatever successful coffee shops it can attract and ANC commissioners need to avoid the temptation to micromanage their commercial corridors too much. We hope Moore stays involved as well.
In Park View’s southernmost district, 1A10, Howard student Jonathan Madison deserves the seat over longtime incumbent Lenwood “Lenny” Johnson. Madison has shown a tremendous amount of energy in this race by attending block parties and knocking on doors. Johnson, meanwhile, has often been divisive and is seen as something of a loose cannon. He forwards private disputes to the Columbia Heights listserv and long refused to register a firearm.
We’ve heard good things about both Jose Sueiro and Olivier Kamanda, vying to succeed Bryan Weaver in the central Adams Morgan district 1C03. Kamanda, a former Hillary Clinton speechwriter and journalist, has Weaver and ally Mindy Moretti’s support, while some other 1C Comissioners are behind Sueiro. Sueiro has been a good problem solver in his role as head of the Association of Park Road Businesses, but made some troublesome comments about parking at a Columbia Heights performance parking meeting. Therefore, we give the edge to Kamanda.
In Mount Pleasant, a number of commissioners are not running for reelection. Phil Lepanto, an excellent commissioner who is very supportive of non-automobile options, is sadly not running again, but supports Ben West as a write-in in his district, 1D01. China Terrell, a staffer for Tommy Wells, also will be a promising addition to the commission, replacing outgoing Commissioner Dave Bosserman in 1D05.
Laura Phelan is the only name on the ballot in 1D02, a small district at the northeast corner of the neighborhood. Phelan is well-liked and will make a good commissioner to replace Oliver Tunda, who is also not running again. Phelan faces a write-in from Adam Hoey of Mount Pleasant Main Street, but we think Hoey can best serve the neighborhood by continuing in that role.
In 1D06, along the neighborhood’s southeastern edge, John Craig is running as a write-in against incumbent Angelia Scott, who rarely attends meetings and is not often reachable. She served briefly as chair but gave up because it was too much of a time commitment. Craig, who wants to reform the ANC’s transparency and work better with business, would do better.
Gregg Edwards (1D04) is an extremely smart person who has a number of very clever ideas to address neighborhood problems. However, sometimes he lets the value of his particular idea interfere with the pragmatic need to build consensus and community. He and fellow Commissioner Jack McKay promoted a great “pedestrian encounter zone” plan for Mount Pleasant Street, but which in practice mostly served to threaten progress on other street improvements for which Mount Pleasant Main Street had already secured grant money.
Edwards also stands up strongly for the proper role of the ANC, which by law deserves “great weight” from city agencies. That is usually interpreted to mean that, at the very least, agencies must respond in writing to points made by the ANC, though often they do not. Edwards is right about the proper role, but his zeal to push this process often again interferes with moving issues forward in the neighborhood, and has often led to tension when other groups take the initiative.
Phil Grenier, who has worked with Mount Pleasant Main Street, would be more pragmatic and we support him. It’s too bad this race has gotten framed as businesses versus residents and especially lower income residents, since a thriving business corridor in Mount Pleasant would benefit all residents.