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 Michael Benardo, a one-term incumbent in ANC 2F06. He is being by Kate McMahon; her interview will run Wednesday.
ANC 2F06 is the area at the east side of ANC 2F, roughly between 9th and 11th Streets south of Logan Circle to I Street NW, and between 11th and 13th Streets north of the Logan Circle to R Street NW (see the map below the fold). You can learn more about the district at the DC Citizen Atlas. ANC 2F has six commissioners and includes Logan Circle, Thomas Circle and areas to the east.
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 ANC district.
Benardo: Mike Benardo, age 44. I have been a resident of Logan Circle for 13 years. I have lived on both sides of the Circle, in both a condo and a townhouse. I am the chairman of the ANC’s Community Development Committee, which advises the ANC on construction, zoning and transportation plans. I have also served on the board of the Logan Circle Community Association. Professionally, I manage the Cyber Fraud & Financial Crimes Section of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). My experience includes positions as a banker, bank examiner, and banking policy analyst, with skills are in organizational management. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Borderstan: How – and how often – would you reach out to constituents, both residential and business?
Benardo: I reach out as needed. My primary channel of communication has been through e-mail and in person; to be added, email me at [email protected]. I regularly attend monthly meetings of local community and citizens associations. I also attend meetings of the Washington Convention Center Advisory Committee and its newly formed Convention Center Headquarters Hotel Ad Hoc Subcommittee. Folks can always find me at monthly and special meetings of the ANC and its Community Development Committee.
Borderstan: What do you see as the most important three functions of an ANC commissioner, in order of priority?
Benardo: (1) Representing constituents: As residents, our opinions must be heard. In the next few years, ANC 2F will consider a wide range of policies. I want to make sure the residents of SMD 2F06 have a voice in these matters. (2) Shaping change: Residents and area businesses must guide changes in our neighborhood. As a resident for 13 years, I have seen a tremendous amount of change and it will continue. My goal is to ensure growth occurs in the right way and that transitions are fluid. (3) Communication: Residents should know about plans being developed, new businesses, pending laws and regulations, grants, and information from the police department.
Borderstan: What is your vision for 9th Street corridor?
Benardo: Our ANC must be proactive in dealing with development along 9th Street. This is especially important as the Convention Center, O Street Market area and the Old Convention Center sites are developed. My personal vision is a vibrant yet relaxed 9th Street, with successful businesses of interest to both local residents and visitors. These include businesses such as restaurants, retail shops, and service oriented businesses. I can’t imagine a 9th Street that is all restaurants, or all bars.
Borderstan: Who are the three owners of three local businesses in your district (or the entire ANC) that you turn to for advice on business-related issues?
Benardo: Drew Porterfield, gallery director, Long View Gallery, 1234 9th St. NW; Tom Bell, manager, DC Guesthouse Bed and Breakfast, 1337 10th St. NW; and Elsayed Mansour, chef/co-owner, 1409 Playbill Café, 1409 14th St. NW.
Borderstan: What is the most important thing voters should know about you prior to the election?
Benardo: I am a strong advocate for the community! Encouraging residents to take an active role in our neighborhood is a top priority. As an ANC commissioner, I am happy to be a spokesperson for the community in any and all decision making processes. I will do my best to articulate everyone’s opinions.
ANC Candidate Interview Series
- Know a Candidate: Peter Raia, ANC 1B02 (Oct. 22, 2010)
- 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)