We’re all guilty of it. “I can’t believe the city hasn’t fixed this street yet!” or “My child needs a playground in the area, there are no safe outdoor places for kids to play anymore.” Whether we like it or not, we are all active complainers when it comes to neighborhood (and city) politics and government.
While some complaining is fun now and then, there is a more proactive approach: running for a seat on one of the city’s 38 Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) with a total of 300 Single Member District (SMD) seats citywide. The role of an ANC is advisory and they cannot actually pass laws or set regulations. However, DC government agencies are required to give consideration and weight to the resolutions that ANCs pass.
ANCs Represent Neighborhood Interests
Each ANC has about eight to 10 commissioners, and one commissioner represents a SMD with approximately 2,000 residents. When drawing boundaries for ANCs an effort is made to draw lines that take recognized neighborhoods into account.
ANCs work with community members, District government agencies, the City Council and some Federal agencies on a range of issues including traffic, parking, recreation, street improvements, liquor licenses, zoning, economic development, police protection, sanitation and the District’s annual budget.
Local ANCs in Borderstan
Locally, the following ANCs serve the Borderstan area:
- ANC 2B covers the Dupont Circle area and has nine seats.
- ANC 2F covers the Logan Circle area and is growing from six to eight seats due to population growth in the area.
- ANC 1B includes most of the U Street corridor and a swath of 14th Street NW. It is also growing from 11 to 12 seats due to population growth.
- Also, ANC 2C shifts from being Shaw-centric to a new downtown-Chinatown ANC. After redistricting following the 2010 Census, most of the Shaw neighborhood went to Ward 6 from Ward 2.
Getting on the Ballot, Raising ANC Campaign Money
In fact, you could begin picking up nominating petitions on July 9 from the DC Board of Elections (DCBE) — you only need the signatures of 25 registered voters in your SMD. The deadline for turning in petitions is August 8 in order to qualify for the November 6 general election ballot; the races are non-partisan with no party labels attached to candidate names. The DCBE regularly updates the list of people of who have picked up petitions for ANC seats.
Worried about raising money? Campaign contributions are capped at $25, but you can give as much as you like to your own campaign.
Do You Have What it Takes to Serve?
If you think you have what it takes to fight for your neighborhood’s needs and concerns, then consider running for commissioner on your local ANC. If you are committed to the job, it can be time-consuming and commissioners are not paid (see ANC 2F-02 Commissioner Barron Not Seeking Full Term for a first-hand account of the duties of an ANC commissioner).
So let’s all slow down the complaining, stop making excuses, and find a way to better serve our community, one way or another.
Related Posts on ANCs
- ANCs Part 2: What Do Commissioners Do?
- What Exactly Do ANCs Do?
- Population Gains Add 2 Seats to Logan Circle ANC 2F