From Michelle Lancaster
Communication emerged as the primary campaign issue with candidates in local ANC races at Thursday’s U Street Neighborhood Association Meeting. The area has a surprising number of contested races this year and each candidate stressed the need for improved and expanded communication with residents, differing mainly in the method of delivery rather than the messages themselves.
Challengers raised concerns over the frequency, style and reach of communication from current ANC members. In ANC 1B04, William Girardo called for “more communication to residents,” specifically to newer condo residents through attendance of building board meetings.
Sunit Talapatra, running in ANC 2B09, said that in his conversations with local residents, the majority were unaware of the role of the ANC and who their representative was. More effective and proactive communication is necessary, he argued, to ensure the residents’ priorities are adequately represented. In ANC 1B02, both challengers Tucker Gallagher and Aaron Spencer spoke of the need for more frequent dialogue with the district and to facilitate discussions with all constituents, including business owners.
Incumbents used their time primarily to share an extensive list of accomplishments while in office. Ramon Estrada, ANC 2B09, outlined his successes in bringing businesses, retailers and new residential construction while preserving historic landmarks. Peter Raia, serving ANC 1B02, talked about the delicate balance of keeping both businesses and residents satisfied. Among his accomplishments, he noted the number of voluntary agreements with establishments to curb noise while still attracting new businesses into the area. ANC 1B04 incumbent Deborah Thomas noted her outreach to the community through block parties, daily interactions with residents and experience as a small business owner.
The candidate forum did not offer stark differences or disagreements between the majority of candidates. What it did offer was a preview of how the rapid growth and changing demographics may impact the future policies and priorities of the ANC. The extent of the desire for change will become clearer after the November 2 election.
Candidate Interview Series
In an effort to ensure residents have all the information at hand to make an informed decision on Election Day, Borderstan has issued questionnaires to candidates running in four ANC districts where there are contested races – ANC 1B02, ANC 1B04, ANC 2B09 and ANC 2F06. ANC 2F02 is no longer a contested race, with Emily Barton now the only active candidate on the ballot.
Beginning Tuesday, the responses from candidates who chose to participate will be printed verbatim on a daily basis. Do you have other questions about the candidates or positions you’d like to see answered? Let us know in the comments below.