From Michelle Lancaster
Borderstan is covering four contested Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) races in the three local ANCs: ANC 1B02, 1B04, 2B09 and 2F06. The general election is Nov. 2.
Today’s interview is with Peter Raiai, the one-term incumbent in ANC 1B02. He is being challenged by Tucker Gallagher (see Borderstan interview) and Aaron Spencer (interview will run next week).
ANC 1B02 is in the heart of the U St. neighborhood and this district runs along U St. from 14th St. east to 9th St., and from S St. on the south to as far north as Florida Ave. in some places. You can learn more about 1B02 at the DC Citizen Atlas. ANC 1B has 11 commissioners and covers a large geographic area.
In an unexpected twist, Raia told Borderstan that he may be moving from ANC 1B02 in the near future. See the final question below the fold — and Raia’s answer.
ANC commissioners are elected from Single Member Districts (SMDs) in the city’s 37 ANCs. While the number of commissioners in each ANC varies, each SMD has approximately 2,000 residents. (See links to related posts at bottom.)
Borderstan: Please provide your name, age and a brief biography, including number of years residing in DC and your ANC district.
Raia: Peter J. Raia Sr., age 43. I served this country as a Marine for 22 years and retired to my current place on Wallach Place NW. I have lived at my current house on Wallach since January 2004. My wife and I decided to retire here since this area was so rich in diversity of people and has so much to offer.
Borderstan: How – and how often – and would you reach out to constituents, both residential and business?
Raia: This is a 24/7 job. It seems like not a day goes by that I am not talking to a resident or a business on something that might concern them.
Borderstan: What do you see as the most important three functions of an ANC commissioner, in order of priority?
Raia: The most important is to listen to what the people need and want. That includes all the people from residents and business owners in my SMD to others that might have influence, such as the the council and DC city services. (2) Accomplish what the people are asking for. It does no good if we don’t find resolutions to what a resident or business might need. (3) Represent the voice of the people in my SMD to the larger governing bodies in D.C. — the council, mayor’s office, ABRA, DDOT, etc.
Borderstan: What is your vision for the 14th & U corridor?
Raia: I believe we are growing in the right direction. I would like to see streets that are cleaner, with fewer crimes being committed, and I would like to see the police start to enforce the nuisance crimes that plague our residents. I believe we still have room for more businesses and residents are telling me they would like to see more retail and service-oriented stores so they can shop locally for their needs.
Borderstan: Who are the three owners of three local businesses in your district (or the entire ANC) that your turn to for advice on business-related issues?
Raia: I have worked many owners on issues they might have had with their landlords, what the community might be looking for from their business or a new business plan. I help businesses get the proper permits and licenses they need. A few of the businesses I’ve helped include U-lah Bistro, Marvin, Shear Movement, U St Nails, Dekka, Café Society, Alero, Café Collage, The Dickson, Little Ethiopia, Aroma Café, Kindred, American Ice House, Angelico Pizza, U Street Ice Cream and more.
Borderstan: What is the most important thing voters should know about you prior to the election?
Raia: I am always honest and direct. So in that spirit, I want to announce here that my wife and I have placed an offer on another property in the city and, if everything goes through we will be leaving Wallach Place and ANC 1B02. I have already informed many of my constituents. If re-elected, I would be honored to continue to serve and help assist in finding a qualified candidate to replace me if our move goes through.
ANC Candidate Interview Series
- Know a Candidate: Sunit Talapatra, ANC 2B09 (Oct. 21, 2010)
- Know a Candidate: Deborah Thomas, ANC 1B04 (Oct. 20, 2010)
- Know a Candidate: Tucker Gallagher, ANC 1B02 (Oct. 19, 2010)