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 Ramon Estrada, the four-term incumbent in ANC 2B09. He is being challenged by Sunit Talapatra (see interview).
After serving almost eight years as an ANC commissioner, Estrada is a known figure in the area for his efforts related to nightlife venues and establishments with liquor licenses. He has been elected four times (terms are two years) by voters in his district; in 2008 Doug Rogers ran against Estrada and got 40% of the vote. This is the only district in 2B that borders on 14th Street, and it straddles the Dupont-U Street-Logan Circle neighborhoods.
In April he was one of two ANC commissioners who asked the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) to enforce the limitations on bars and restaurants in the Arts Overlay District along the 14th and U Street corridor. Several residents along with Peter Raia, ANC 1B-02 and Estrada asked the commission to enforce the 25% limit on storefront frontage for bars and restaurants; this limitation has since been raised to 50%.
ANC 2B09 is the northeastern panhandle district of ANC 2B, running from New Hampshire Ave. NW eastward to 14th St. along U St. with the southern boundary being S St. for most of the way (see map below the fold). You can learn more about the district at DC Citizen Atlas. ANC 2B covers most of the Dupont Circle neighborhood and has nine commissioners.
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 D.C. and ANC district.
Estrada: My name is Ramon Estrada and I am a retired CEO of several non-profit trade associations. My background is in business management and economics and I have an MBA degree. I have served as the CEO of a think tank here in D.C. that has advised the White House on how to spend federal government dollars to assist small businesses. I have resided in 2B-09 for 30 years and I have represented the district for eight years as its ANC Commissioner.
Borderstan: How – and how often – would you reach out to constituents, both residential and business?
Estrada: As a 30-year resident, I know and speak with my neighbors, both residential and business, all the time. As a retiree I will have time to set up block meetings in the evening in constituent homes. I attend meetings of Dupont Circle Citizens Association and U Street Neighborhood Association where I am an active member. I attend the Caroline Street “get togethers.” My website shares neighborhood news and I have an email list of constituents that I maintain for communication.
Borderstan: What do you see as the most important three functions of an ANC commissioner, in order of priority?
Estrada: (1) Representation of the neighborhood before District Government agencies, boards, Council and the Federal Government on issues that affect the neighborhood and the city at large. This includes testifying before them, usually under the rules of procedure specific to those entities. (2) Improve constituent services by District officials and agencies. (3) Develop guidelines with community input regarding public space usage, liquor licenses, zoning, and historic preservation.
Borderstan: What is your vision for the 14th & U corridor?
Estrada: My vision has been realized with balanced diverse retail and service businesses and a vibrant nightlife. When I moved here the storefronts were all boarded up… no Reeves Center and no Metro. I have volunteered over the years and helped guide many improvements. I have helped to shape the Utopia and the Whitman Walker [development] projects, providing over 400 units of housing. I fought hard to keep the Source Theatre and want to see more arts venues.
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?
Estrada: Sak Pollert, owner of DC Noodles and Rice; Carlos Buruca, owner of El Paraiso Restaurant; Marvin Jawer, owner of the properties that make up the southwest corner of 14th and U; and Eric Colbert, architect for Room and Board, and Utopia. Moreover, I know the business owners in my district because they opened after I moved here. As ANC chair I also worked with Dupont Main Streets and DC Merchants And Professionals (DCMAP).
Borderstan: What is the most important thing voters should know about you prior to the election?
Estrada: I have a proven track record of experience, commitment, leadership and history. I currently hold the title of Chairman Emeritus of the Dupont Circle ANC and have supported and advanced many improvements to our neighborhood. I have excellent working relationships with the police department, regulatory boards, DC government agencies and the DC Council. I will continue my efforts to improve our quality of life. We live, work and play in a wonderful neighborhood!
ANC Candidate Interview Series
- Know a Candidate: William Girardo, ANC 1B04 (Oct. 24, 2010)
- Know a Candidate: Mike Benardo, ANC 2F06 (Oct. 23, 2010)
- 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)