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Meet Walt Cain: Candidate for ANC 2F-02

by Borderstan.com August 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm 1,097 3 Comments

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

The deadline for filing to run for a seat on DC’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission is past.  In the Borderstan area, there are 21 Single Member District (SMD) seats up for grabs on the November 6 ballot in three different local ANCs: 2B/Dupont2F/Logan and 1B, which includes most of the U Street corridor.

So now, it is time to meet your candidates. Here at Borderstan.com, we will introduce you to your neighbors who are campaigning to represent you on the local ANCs. Closer to the election, we will have follow-up interviews with the candidates on specific issues related to their areas.

Walt Cain is  running for ANC 2F-02, the Logan Circle ANC that has seen significant growth in recent years, in both residents and new businesses. SMD 02 runs from Logan Circle to 15th Street NW and from Q Street south to Rhode Island Avenue. Here’s a little bit more about Cain who is facing James Baker and Adam Stempel on the ballot.

"Walt Cain ANC 2F"

Walt Cain, candidate for ANC 2F-02 (Courtesy Walt Cain)

Borderstan: Why did you decide to run in your neighborhood’s ANC race this year? Also, have you run before and/or been an ANC commissioner before?

Cain: ANC 2F-02 is a perfect microcosm of the rapid growth that the city as a whole has seen over the past several years, and it offers an excellent opportunity for neighborhood residents to actively influence how they want their community to develop. I am running for Commissioner because I want to help facilitate that involvement through the promotion of smart growth, safe streets and strong community.

Because we are home to an impressive variety of stores and restaurants, ANC 2F-02 sees an incredible amount of outside traffic coming into the neighborhood on a round-the-clock basis. These establishments are a key component of our community’s vibrant atmosphere, and are one of the reasons many people choose to live in our area. Indeed, 2F-02 is one of the geographically smallest SMDs in ANC 2F, which is a result of the significant residential footprint in our neighborhood.

This mixed-use atmosphere, paired with the continued growth our area is experiencing, creates unique challenges and opportunities for our residents. Though I have never run for or been an ANC commissioner before, I believe the commission is perfectly positioned to help residents address those challenges and opportunities. My goal as commissioner will be to serve as a conduit between residents, businesses and the city government to produce a Logan Circle that residents are proud to call home.

Borderstan: How many years have you lived in your ANC neighborhood? How long have you been in DC?

Cain: I have been in DC for three years and have lived in ANC 2F the entire time.

Borderstan: How are you currently involved in your community?

Cain: I am a member of the Logan Circle Community Association and have been a member of the Washington Chorus for the past two years. I am also on the board of the Washington, DC Mississippi Society.

Borderstan: If elected to the ANC, what will be your main areas of focus/concern – and why?

Cain: My priorities as commissioner will be to promote smart growth, safe streets and a strong community. ANC 2F-02 has seen a significant amount of commercial and residential growth in recent years, which has helped to make it one of the most vibrant areas of the city. As Commissioner, I will encourage and support continued growth that respects ANC 2F-02 as a community of residents and not just a destination. The main way to accomplish this is through a strong voluntary agreement process that incorporates the interests of residents into the operational practices of new and existing businesses.

Safe streets are good for both businesses and residents, and the best way to accomplish this is by maintaining and promoting the strong relationship that ANC 2F already has with MPD. Awareness and communication are key elements to reducing and preventing crime. As commissioner I will maintain a close working relationship with MPD in order to serve as a direct link for specific resident concerns, as well as keeping residents aware of patterns that MPD is seeing in our area and ways to help reduce criminal activity.

ANC 2F-02 is home to renters, home owners, people who are here for just a little while and people who have lived here for years. Regardless of the category, this is our home. As Commissioner my overarching aim will be to promote a sense of pride and ownership among our residents in the growth of our community. I will encourage people to shape their neighborhood by investing their time and energy close to home. My role as commissioner is to serve as an advocate for my community and neighbors. I will do so by encouraging residents to express their concerns and thoughts in order to help me make ANC 2F-02 a better home for all of us.


Click for a larger image: The new ANC 2F/Logan map for the 2012 election. (DC Board of Elections)

Borderstan: What do you hope to contribute to your community while on the ANC?

Cain: In addition to the specific goals outlined above, my primary objective will be to encourage a sense of ownership and involvement among the residents of ANC 2F-02. I want the residents of 2F-02 to see themselves as active partners in the growth and development of their community. As Commissioner I will be their advocate and will depend on and welcome frequent communication on issues of concern.

Borderstan: What do you think gives you an edge over other candidate(s) running in your district?

Cain: I have lived in ANC 2F for the entire time I have lived in DC, and have witnessed first-hand the growth and associated growing pains; I’ve experienced the up-tick in smash-and-grabs that our neighborhood has seen. I believe that the residents of our neighborhood should be in the driver’s seat of how our community develops and that the ANC should be their front line advocate for specific issues of concern. I will bring these experiences and perspectives to the role of Commissioner and believe that they will give me an edge in representing 2F-02.

Borderstan: What is your day job and is there a connection to how your day job would assist you in being a commissioner?

Cain: I am an attorney with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. On a daily basis my job requires me to solve problems by taking into account a variety of stakeholders and interests and produce a solution that is agreeable to all parties. These skills would be indispensable as a commissioner in considering the competing interests of residents, businesses, and the city government and formulating an outcome that is in the best interest of the residents of 2F-02.

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  • Won’t Get My Vote in 2F02

    REALLY? Cain says: “The main way to accomplish this is through a strong voluntary agreement process that incorporates the interests of residents into the operational practices of new and existing businesses.” IF YOU WANT TO OPERATE A BUSINESS, WHY DON’T YOU OPEN ONE?! We don’t need czars running around dictating the “operational practices” of community small businesses — as long as they are in compliance with D.C. law it really is outside your desire for control.

    Hoping the 3 other candidate profiles I assume will come will provide choices with a little bit more of a sense of fairness to local businesses.

    • Spencer

      I think what he’s saying is that residents and business owners need to be on the same page about the type of community in which we live/work/operate. “Voluntary agreement” implies that there is cooperation between the parties involved, and not a forcible mandate that will ultimately inhibit development. I’d rather see an agreement between residents and a new bar/restaurant that sets expectations (i.e. not having crazy parties till late into the evening, taking care of the public sidewalk space fronting property, not calling 311 every time recycling bins are overflowing, etc.) than the ANC trying to block a new business just because there’s a fear that Logan Circle is turning into the new Adams Morgan.

      It’s too bad you won’t be voting for someone who seems to be taking a pretty reasonable approach (which, at this point, seems more substantive than other 2F-02 candidates…). Though I’m curious, since it appears you’re actually a resident of 2F-02, which local business is it that you own/run that is within our ANC? Feel like there aren’t enough people who live and work in the same neighborhood, so I’m glad to see you’re setting the example here.

  • Mark

    The mere fact that the candidate appears not to understand that there is nothing “voluntary” about a ‘Voluntary’ Agreement undermines his credibility. Instead, business licensing protests are used by ad hoc “gangs of 5” or so-called citizens groups to delay the licensing process and force alcohol-licensed businesses into financial capitulation and the signing of a VA. Same with the ANC, except that they now also have a “cookie cutter” agreement they toss at license applicants accompanied with a demand for signature. Otherwise, it’s protest time, and the threat of the significant cost of extensive licensing delays and attorney costs. All to extract special concessions from neighborhood businesses outside the parameters of DC regulations.

    Neighborhood residents have grown tired of these juvenile antics directed at local small business owners who bring popularly-desired amenities to our community. It’s why the DC Council will be voting on reforms to restrict these licensing protests this fall.

    I also live in ANC 2F-02, and like the first commenter, I’ll be looking elsewhere for a candidate to support.


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