The deadline for filing to run for a seat on DC’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) is past, and election time is right around the corner.
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/Dupont, 2F/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 provide follow-up interviews with the candidates on specific issues related to their areas.
Erling Bailey is running for ANC commissioner in 1B-12, a new seat that was carved out of SMD 1B-02, due to rapid population growth in the area in the last decade. A total of four candidates are running for this seat, including John Carlos Green, Zahra Jilani, Dan Wittels and Bailey.
This seat is currently held by Alexandra Lewin-Zwerdling who won a special election late in 2011 after Aaron Spencer resigned. Lewin-Zwerdling is not seeking a full term. The SMD includes the much discussed 14th Street and Wallach Place NW residential building and the JBG hotel-turned-apartment project on the Rite-Aid site at 13th and U Streets.
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?
Bailey: I am participating in Election 2012 because I feel that with my knowledge and abilities, I can make a positive difference in my neighborhood’s growth and development. I possess the vision, capabilities, life experiences and time required to drive growth in compliance with the neighborhood’s desired path for the future. As a longtime resident, I have a considerable interest in the impact of government policies, public programs and urban development as they relate to economic growth and residents’ quality of life.
Our neighborhood is fortunate to be in the midst of powerful growth and development, as evidenced by increasing property values, vigorous development activity and an influx of new businesses. While this situation is good for businesses and developers, I stand with my neighbors in being concerned that these changes may have a long term negative impact on the community that compromises the quality of life our current residents appreciate. I aspire to ensure that current and future change initiatives are aligned with the desires of, and seen as beneficial to, our community. Realizing this aspiration of community growth aligned with neighborhood desire will require transforming residents into a unified entity that will collaboratively steer and manage neighborhood growth. I have never run for nor held an ANC position or any public office.
Borderstan: How many years have you lived in your [ANC] neighborhood? How long have you been in DC?
Bailey: This month I celebrate my 20th year of owning and living in my T Street neighborhood home. I moved to DC from Norfolk, VA in 1989, which makes me a DC resident for 23 years.
Borderstan: How are you currently involved in your community?
Bailey: I believe that a safe and clean community is fundamental to having residents feel comfortable in their homes and demonstrate a sense of pride in their property. Therefore, throughout 20 years of residing in the 1B-12 neighborhood, I have consistently focused on enhancing the neighborhood’s safety and cleanliness. During multiple daily dog walks, I take note of Department of Public Works related safety issues in order to notify the agency of problems to address. My daily walks and long time residency have resulted in a keen sense of awareness; I know what is normal and quickly notice irregularities. I report and track concerns such as malfunctioning street lights, pot holes, buckling sidewalks, bulk trash and fallen trees. My lengthy DC residency has resulted in a wealth of knowledge concerning DC bureaucracy and related processes, procedures and points of contacts.
Borderstan: If elected to the ANC, what will be your main areas of focus/concern – and why?
Bailey: As commissioner, my main focus will be to facilitate growth. I will work with all sectors of the community to maintain a high quality of life and facilitate sustainable growth for a vibrant, greener, and safe neighborhood. Facilitating growth is my primary area of focus because the rapid pace of neighborhood growth is drastically impacting our resident’s quality of life. We need to increase our involvement to ensure our interests are heard, addressed and incorporated into community change.
Borderstan: What do you hope to contribute to your community while on the ANC?
Bailey: I have a vision of a 1B-12 neighborhood with well informed residences, a profitable diverse business base and a nurturing assortment of community services and facilities. I envision a “Transformational 1B-12 Resident Group,” organized and acting as a single entity, governing growth on behalf of the best interests of 1B-12 residents. This unified entity will spearhead the direction of our neighborhood growth and change.
I also hope to foster a diverse group of businesses that provide services needed within the community. These businesses will operate utilizing a Business Improvement District-type infrastructure to augment specific community requirements not provided within the city budget. And finally, sustainability.
Borderstan: What do you think gives you an edge over other candidate(s) running in your district?
Bailey: I am a long-term resident in the 1B-12 neighborhood. I know the people within the community and understand the residents’ issues and concerns. Also, as a manager within a top-tier government contracting company, I’ve lead various Department of Defense projects, have implemented corporate best practices and have been assigned various leadership roles throughout the life cycle of numerous projects (23 years). I earned a Master’s in Business Administration from George Mason University; a Masters in Science Information Systems from American University and a Certificate of Completion from Darden Executive Education Leadership. I’ve also had exposure to urban revitalization. Through my family’s business in Southern Virginia, I’ve had experience as a developer and contractor, I’ve managed several restoration projects in my personal portfolio of properties and, as a DC resident since 1989, I’ve lived in the midst of constant changes in DC’s Adams Morgan, Petworth and U Street Cardozo neighborhoods.
Borderstan: What is your day job and is there a connection to how your day job would assist you in being a commissioner?
Bailey: I am an independent management consultant and personal investment manager. In my current role, I consistently use the knowledge gained during my previous senior management position, applying 28-plus years of work experience to my current business. New flexibly in my professional schedule as a result of becoming an independent consultant will greatly contribute to my ability to fulfill what I envision will be a time consuming role with the ANC. I expect that the skills I learned, developed and fine-tuned through my quality higher education and leadership of challenging projects as a senior manager with a government contracting company will be instrumental to my success as an ANC Commissioner. I will utilize my expertise in strategic planning, customer liaison and relationship building, business development, solicitation development, proposal writing, teaming agreements, team development, contract negotiations and project management in making a valuable contribution to the ANC.