ANC6C01 Candidate Questions – Part 1

Updated (10/26/10 1:30pm): Mr Silver has provided his responses and I have updated the post to reflect them. Responses from both candidates are published completely intact grammar wise as I feel written communication competency is a qualification for the job. Some responses that went far beyond the requested paragraph/word limit were edited. In these cases I have only removed superfluous paragraphs that were either tangential or redundant considering information included in other responses. In these cases the theme of the given response was not impacted.

As promised after I published the ANC 6C01 candidate bios for challenger Marge Maceda and incumbent Keith Silver I have expanded coverage of this election race. The 6C01 single member district is the most critical to residents of the Mount Vernon Triangle as all the residential hi-rises within our borders, with the exception of Golden Rule Plaza, fall within this district (boundary map).

Both candidates embraced my plan for using the blog as a forum to spread word of their candidacy and agreed to participate. I issued a set of questions to the candidates  on October 14th and requested that the responses be submitted within 10 days. While my intention was to publish the responses from each candidate side by side Mr Silver is several days past due with his content. With the election less than a week away I feel the need to begin publishing without him.

Describe how you view the role of an ANC Commissioner.

Maceda:  As a commissioner, your first loyalty is of course to listen to the members of your single member district and what they feel are compelling issues. For example at 555 Mass Ave, they are being charged unexpected taxes for there vault underground parking spaces. A good commissioner would be helping that owner group to negotiate the system and to perhaps get those taxes lowered or eliminated. Valet parking during the rush hour at Buddha Bar should also be addressed, instead of jamming traffic up, they could be doing the valet parking from I Street. As a whole, your representative should look at the “big picture” of things happening and work together to address both good and bad. For example, noise/restaurant items are  happening throughout 6C and we should jointly work to solve these problems.

Silver: ANCs were intended to be an independent body that should voice the concerns of residents, give a community voice to ensure Developers, DC Government, and other Stakeholders to encourage them to recognize the concerns of the electorate, and Residents of our Single Member District 6c01. I further view, the main requisite to being an ANC Commissioner is one who is very, very passionate about the Single Member District they are fortunate enough to represent. That most certainly is my common denominator. An effective ANC Commissioner as a catalysis to ensure the DC Government works for “ALL” the residents in our Single Member District, 6C01. Our Single Member District 6C-01 is unique in the sense we are exact microcosm of the City, …we have the high-income District, 5 Star Restaurants, booming local businesses, however at the same time have Residents languishing in poverty and massive unemployment, lack of jobs and job training in the shadows of Development Projects, …yet this development projects are mandated by DC Law, to hire these same residents in question. ANCs were intended to be an independent body that could voice the concerns of residents.

As ANC Commissioner I have continuously, advocate for and implement solutions to the difficult issues that affect the lives of its residents. Throughout my career, I have led and worked collaboratively with others to make available programs and services to improve life for D.C. residents. I also spend a great deal of time simply ensuring that lines of communication between neighbors, residents, businesses and the government remain open and positive.

What is 6C01’s greatest Strength?

Maceda: The leadership in each of these residential condominiums and apartments are hard workers who work tirelessly to make things happen in their buildings. As a growing neighborhood, we should leverage the strength of these folks to become a network to make things happen and be successful. Right now, many of the HOA’s have band together and formed a group to share solutions to problems they have already faced and won. The group has also shared feedback on vendors and contractors who have performed work in their buildings that they are satisfied with and which in fact does a terrible job. This working together allows us to avoid unnecessary spending on businesses who are low achievers.

Silver: Simply Stated: PUBLIC SAFETY. Immediately, right off the bat, I knew something had to be immediately done about Public Safety. I first came to office Public Safety was a major concern I have worked with DC Leaders, Existing Civic Associations, and Neighborhood Res dents to ensure Crime and pedestrian safety got the attention they deserve.

We can all walk up and down the street in comfort. This was not necessarily the case 4 years ago. Also. The two Retail Anchors of the City Vista Complex: Safeway hired 17% of its employees from residents living within walking distance and 35% from the 20001, 20002, and 20003 zip codes. And Busboys and Poets hired 24% of its workforce from the 20001 zip code.

Previously vacant sites have started to fill in as new condos, apartments including affordable units, and offices are completed. We have seen massive development yet at the same time we have been fortunate and successful in the area losing not losing its character.

What is 6C01 most in need of?

Maceda: I believe there are 3 areas that our next commissioner should address: 1.) Better communication to all members of 6C01 perhaps through a newsletter. Sharing information with other community groups to help us all realize goals we have. 2.) A dog park is needed in our community 3.) A play area for our children

Silver: On the local level collectively we need to work a little harder “embracing diversity, We have those with high income level and those with no income… we have those you have been here 3 Generations or and some daily moving in within the past 3 weeks. I strongly feel “the great and valued diversity of our Single Member District includes the economic diversity of its citizens. …with our prosperity comes new challenges. Some longtime residents feel and the reality is they are being squeezed out by rapidly escalating real estate assessments and rents. Over the past 4 years I have worked to advance this new prosperity …at the time time, collectively we need to come together to ensure that who hung in with us during the bad times to be forced out now. As we work to maintain financial health, , we must also maintain our economic diversity.”

District families must have a sense that their children will do better than their parents. That is why I work every day to bring business and jobs to the city and make job training available to our residents. I know what it is like to grow up in a working family; those are the values that were instilled in me and guide me every day.”

It’s often said that DC is a transient town, that people don’t stay long or make investments in their neighborhoods.The ANC system was designed to be a voice for all residents, in a democracy you don’t get extra votes for having lived here longer, we are all in this together!

ANC6C has several committees including ones focused on Zoning/Planning, Public Space/Transportation, Youth/Education, Grants, and Alcohol Beverage Licensing. Which committee(s) would you seek to be an active part of and why?

Maceda: I have opinions about each committee but I think where my talents can best serve the community would be my answer. My choices might be:

  • Grants: Each ANC meeting I have attended our community members are requesting money to help with great local projects. We need to raise money through grants to support these undertakings.
  • Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee: Many of the complaints I am hearing about concern licensing issues . Although we have all chosen to live in a mixed use area there should be a great deal of cooperation with how we show respect to both residents and businesses. For example, a local area club is asking for a restaurant license, and if you go on to the website of the establishment, they do not mention serving food at all. Another establishment held a special event on its patio going on late into the night with out regard for the residents above them. As far as I know, they did not even bring to the ANC its need for a special liquor license for that occasion or get support for t he event from community organizations.
  • Youth/Education: While I was the Chief of Educational Services for a DC Government agency, a group of parents in our neighborhood approached me and asked how we could provide a play group at the Kennedy Rec Center for the youngest of our residents. I worked with the parents and within a month we had a playgroup at that center. The teaching of our children to be “green” and to fight obesity is one of my passions I have reached out to the Principal of Walker Jones School to train teachers on a great curriculum on health and nutrition called Color Me Healthy, where our young children can discover good and healthy foods by learning about good food by using color such as good red foods would be apples strawberries and beets while expanding their wonderful garden.

Silver: ANCs and ANC Committees are most effectives when supported by citizens willing to become involved by attending ANC Meetings and participating on Committees

I will continue to I FOCUS ON QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUES: Public Safety, Jobs & Job Training, Pro-Green Enviroment, Health Care, Income, Education, Housing, Increased Services for Senior Citizens….we all have the same needs and problems: affordable housing, efficient government services, economic opportunities, safety needs and good education opportunities.

Regarding ANC Committees, I will this term work closer with YOUTH / EDUCATION COMMITTEE because of all our 6C Commission Committees this has the least number of volunteer. Also we really must do more for those in the dawn of life…(while working similtaneously for those of us in the twilight of our years) Our Youth / Education Committee wll Protecting k-12 education and expanding pre-K so that every DC Child learns the skills to compete in this economy

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