Photo by ImaginaryGirl on Flickr.

While DC’s ANC races garnered relatively little press coverage compared to Congress and local governors or councilmembers, voters in DC make important decisions when they cast their ballots yesterday in these local races. Overall, our ANCs are going to get better, thanks to involvement by the voters of DC.

For example, we’re very excited that David Garber decisively won his race to represent Near Southeast. Tom Quinn struck a blow for smart growth on Wisconsin Avenue. Lisa White beat Kingman Park community garden critic Veronica Ranglin.

A lot of good challengers didn’t win, but a lot did. A lot of good incumbents kept their seats, and few seats are going to get worse as a result.

Along with coverage of ANC races has come the periodic introspection of whether ANCs are doing good or ill.

Matt Yglesias suggested giving them more of a stake in the economic success of their neighborhood, and Lydia DePillis followed with a bunch of great ideas, including requiring ANCs to reach out to the public in the ways the better ANCs already do.

Good ideas aside, as DePillis points out, the best way to fix ANCs is to get involved:

But the most critical way in which ANCs can be made more useful—and I’m sorry if this sounds trite—is simply to find ways to increase participation. It’s not like structure is the only reason ANCs tend to be anti-stuff, after all. There are plenty of anti people in every community, and when they’re the loudest voices, even the most perfectly designed institution will bend to their will. You really have no right to complain about an ANC’s activities if you’re not involved in the first place.

We illuminated a number of problems with current ANCs, most notably the conduct of ANC 6D in Southwest and Near Southeast toward potential retailers. That’s naturally generated a lot of calls to simply abolish ANCs entirely, but hopefully it also stirred some energy to go vote or tell your friends to vote.

Now, that problem with ANC 6D is largely fixed. The commissioner representing the area with all these new buildings and retail (at least until redistricting makes the district smaller) is now supportive of lively streets.

Likewise, ANC 5C got copious bad press for its shameful treatment of Big Bear, but now, the commission has at least two more Big Bear supporters than they did before. Barrie Daneker, the Bloomingdale commissioner who opposed Big Bear and a member of the DC Democratic State Committee with support from many entrenched pols, lost to challenger James Fournier, and J. Jioni Palmer is replacing Marshall Phillips. Once again, reform accomplished, at least on this issue.

Capital Bikeshare cheerleader Brian Pate unseated longtime incumbent Kenan “Ken” Jarboe on Capitol Hill, who opposed the Capital Bikeshare station on the southeast corner of Lincoln Park. Rachelle Nigro took out Theresa Sule in Shaw, and assuming Nigro won’t pull the same strange betrayal of her supporters that Sule did, this heralds a long-sought end to the deadlock on ANC 2C.

ANC 5C will also be less hostile to businesses, 6B more friendly toward bike sharing, 7D less suspicious of community gardens, 3E more favorable to smart growth, and so forth.

We could have reformed the ANCs structurally, and perhaps some changes are still appropriate, but we’ve also quickly reformed that particular one in the simplest possible way: with an election.

Of course, even the best commissioners need constant feedback from us residents to make good choices outside election season. So few people show up to most ANC meetings or lobby most ANC commissioners that even one engaged resident can persuade an ANC on many issues. It’s just important for supporters of retail and smart growth to be some of those engaged residents.

How did Greater Greater Washington fare overall?

In 13 of 38 races where we endorsed a challenger over an incumbent, the challenger won:

  • Rachelle Nigro took out Theresa Sule despite a crowded field with some spoilers in Shaw’s 2C04
  • Jioni Palmer beat Marshall Phillips in 5C08 in Edgewood. Phillips failed to qualify for the ballot but tried to keep his seat in a write-in.
  • James Fournier unseated Barrie Daneker in 5C07, covering northern Bloomingdale and Stronghold
  • Vaughn Bennett surpassed Rayseen Woodland for southern Brookland’s 5B04
  • Brian Pate beat Kenan Jarboe for 6B05 south of Lincoln Park
  • Brian Flahaven won in Barney Circle’s 6B09, site of the recent and ongoing historic district debate
  • David Garber will be the new commissioner for Near Southeast’s 6D07
  • Lisa White ousted Veronica Ranglin in Kingman Park’s 7D01
  • Robert Jordan beat absentee commissioner and Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Council appointee Richard Evans for 7B06, which includes Fairfax Village.
  • Liz Pecot bested Rick Tingling-Clemons in 7D05 around Benning Road Metro
  • Louise Thorne defeated Von Pariss to represent 8B07, Shipley Terrace and Douglass
  • Brenda Shields took out Cardell Shelton in Southern Congress Heights’ 8C07
  • Angela Hooker displaced Karlene Armstead for the 8E06 district spanning Congress Heights and Washington Highlands.

In one race, a different challenger won:

  • Aaron Spencer edged out Tucker Gallagher to take the U Street 1B02 seat held by Peter Raia. We liked both but gave the edge to Gallagher; Spencer will likely be a good step forward for the ANC as well.

In 22 races, the incumbent won:

  • Juan Lopez kept his seat against a spirited challenge by Brittany Kademian in the Meridian Hill 1B07.
  • Lenwood “Lenny” Johnson fended off Jonathan Madison in southern Park View’s 1A10.
  • Gregg Edwards held onto his Mount Pleasant 1D04 seat, though only with 51% to Phil Grenier’s 45%.
  • Ramon Estrada withstood the challenge from Sunit Talapatra in 2B09 southwest of 14th and U, but by a smaller percentage margin.
  • Doris Brooks, who obviously has a strong base, kept her Penn Quarter seat 2C03, though also by a far smaller percentage than in 2008.
  • Beverly Sklover won in AU Park’s 3E01 against Jonathan McHugh
  • Ann Haas was reelected in 3D09 in Foxhall Village
  • Tom Smith defeated AU write-in Tyler Sadonis in 3D02
  • Mary Farmer-Allen turned back Darin Allen in 5C06 (Eckington/Edgewood)
  • Carolyn Steptoe will continue her controversial representation in Brookland’s 5A07
  • David Hooper turned back Laura Casperson and Arthur Yarbrough in central Trinidad’s 5B07
  • India Henderson won in 5B10 in Carver-Langston
  • Joyce Robinson-Paul was victorious in 5C02 (Eckington and Truxton Circle)
  • Gladys Mack outdid Necothia “Nicki” Bowens in Rosdale’s 6A07
  • Mark Dixon fended off Rob Amos in 6C02 on New Jersey Avenue, with a fairly disappointing (for Amos) 65-33%. All involved members of the neighborhood we spoke to were excited about Amos, who ran originally on the assumption that Dixon wasn’t going for another term.
  • Catherine Woods beat the Capitol View Civic Association’s Ronnie Streff for 7C03
  • Sharita Slayton will get another term in Eastland Gardens’ 7D02
  • Carolyn Bridges-Ward kept her seat for 8A05 in Historic Anacostia
  • Darrell Gaston prevailed in 8B03 (Woodland)
  • Mitchell Hawkins carried the day in 8B06 (Shipley Terrace)
  • Dion Jordan and Mary Cuthbert won in 8C02 and 8C03 (both spanning Barry Farm and Congress Heights)

In 17 of 21 races where we endorsed an incumbent, they won:

  • Deborah Thomas prevailed in 1B04 around 14th and W
  • Bill Brown was victorious in Columbia Heights’ 1A06
  • Kevin Chapple beat back another challenge by Leroy Thorpe in Shaw’s 2C02.
  • Anne-Marie Bairstow will keep representing Woodley Park in 3C03
  • Jackie Blumenthal was reelected in 3B02 in Glover Park
  • Angel Alston got another term in Riggs Park’s 5A03
  • Thalia Wiggins narrowly won her first full term in Trinidad’s 5B06. She gained the seat in a special election during the past cycle.
  • Tina Laskaris gained a more decisive majority in 5B08, farther to the east in Trinidad
  • Norman Metzger, Kirsten Oldenburg, and Carol Green will remain in their seats (6B03, 6B04, and 6B07) in an otherwise significantly changing southern Capitol Hill ANC.
  • Ron McBee, Roger Moffatt, and Rhonda Hamilton will keep representing their Southwest districts 6D03, 6D05, and 6D06.
  • Villareal “VJ” Johnson finished in front in 7A07 on Pennsylvania Avenue
  • Evelyn Hunter Armstrong won in Marshall Heights’ 7E06
  • William Ellis held his seat in 8C01, Barry Farm

In 3 races, the challenger won instead:

  • Ahnna Smith beat RT Akinmboni in 1B08, one where we had nice things to say about both candidates.
  • Bobby Holmes beat LaKeisha Thomas in 1A09; we fell down on this one by missing Holmes on the BOEE list and only evaluating the other challenger, Sam Moore.
  • Ivan Frishberg, one of the EMMCA candidates on Capitol Hill, took out Mary Wright in 6B02.

In 9 of 10 open seats where we endorsed, our choice won:

  • Lauren McKenzie took the prize in Pleasant Plains’ 1B09
  • Olivier Kamanda beat Jose Sueiro in 1C03 in Adams Morgan. Political insiders had said they expected Sueiro to win, but Kamanda got 66% of the vote; we probably can’t take credit for that but it goes to show you can’t always believe the predictions.
  • Laura Phelan won over write-in Adam Hoey in 1D02 in northeastern Mount Pleasant.
  • Tom Quinn surpassed Sally Greenberg in 3E04 in Tenleytown and Friendship Heights. Our endorsement of Quinn in this race generated intense debates on the local listserv about whether Greenberg really was for smart growth as she claimed, or not.
  • Deon Jones will represent AU students in 3D07 as long as Tom Smith’s challenge to his candidacy doesn’t succeed in keeping him from taking office.
  • Corey Griffin emerged victorious in the three-way 5A10 in eastern Brookland.
  • Adam Healy came out on top of the three-candidate field in 6A01 north of H Street.
  • Sharee Lawler will represent 6A05 in eastern Capitol Hill.
  • Kevin Wilsey prevailed in the Penn Quarter’s 6C09

In the other one, another candidate won:

  • Adam Tope took the Van Ness area 3F01. We hadn’t been able to gather much information on Tope when we made the call for Mike Siegel and there was little on Tope’s website, but he followed up with a very nice email and comment explaining his smart growth support. We look forward to working with him.

A few are so close that absentees could swing the balance:

  • Challenger Tim Clark is ahead of Denise Wright by 3 votes in 5C02 in eastern Eckington. We endorsed Clark.
  • Neil Glick, whom we supported, is holding on to a 9-vote lead out of over 650 votes cast to keep his seat in 6B08 southeast of Lincoln Park.
  • Incumbent Keith Silver leads our endorsee Marge Maceda also by only 3 votes in 6C01, with 5 write-ins.
Tagged: anc, dc, politics

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.