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, 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.
Howard Marks is running for ANC 2F-08, a new district on the ANC 2F map. District 2F-08 runs along M Street, between 13th Street and 11th Street, down 11th Street until I Street NW, and then north on 14th Street, east on L Street and then north on 13th Street. This fall, Marks will face Matt Connolly for the 2F-08 seat on election day. (Connolly was appointed as an ANC 2F-05 commissioner, but the new district lines qualify him for the 08 district and he is running for a full term.)
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?
Marks: I enjoy living in downtown DC and I want to solve the problems of pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, cell phone theft and prostitution. ANC Commissioner Rachelle Nigro encouraged me to run. The explosive growth in the area needs to be carefully managed. One of the 24 most dangerous intersections in the city is at 12th and Massachusetts, plus 13th and Massachusetts Avenue NW, and at 12th and L Streets NW. I saw a young woman get hit by a motorist at 12th and Massachusetts Avenue NW and called an ambulance. I walk to work everyday and know first-hand the dangers faced by pedestrians.
Borderstan: How many years have you lived in your [ANC] neighborhood? How long have you been in DC?
Marks: I’ve lived in the Franklin Square area for seven years, and I’ve worked downtown and on Capitol Hill for almost 37 years. I am proud to live in the Federal City.
Borderstan: How are you currently involved in your community?
Marks: I serve on the Residential Advisory Committee to the CenterCityDC project. The $950 million project will improve the quality of life to neighborhood residents by offering first-class affordable shopping, great restaurants and a new community park. I am active in the Downtown Neighborhood Association and the Convention Center Advisory Committee. I worked with Councilman Evans to close the Franklin Shelter and move homeless men to smaller-sized residential housing.
Borderstan: If elected to the ANC, what will be your main areas of focus/concern – and why?
Marks: My main areas of focus/concern will be pedestrian safety, strengthening ties to the downtown BID, playgrounds and amenities, crime, bike lanes and community.
- Pedestrian safety: The District is second only to Boston in having the largest share of commuters who walk to work (12 percent). In 2010, more than half of people who died in DC traffic accidents were pedestrians. In 2011, 942 pedestrians were struck by vehicles, up from 753 the previous year. I pledge to work with the DC Pedestrian Advisory Council to include Massachusetts Avenue from 9th to 13th Streets NW in the Pedestrian Master Plan. We need to restore pavement markings — on crosswalks and stop lines for vehicles — which are faded across the neighborhood.
- Strengthen ties to Downtown Business Improvement District (BID): The BID’s territory extends to Massachusetts Avenue and can be of great help as partners in addressing homelessness, rodents, prostitution, congestion, public safety and other problems as well as improving amenities for our ANC’s residents and visitors. We can also enlist the K Street hotels, trade associations and small businesses.
- Playgrounds and other amenities to improve the quality of life for downtown DC families: Neighborhood youngsters have no nearby place to play. I would join forces with other groups, like downtowndckids.org, to bring playgrounds and other quality-of-life enhancements to our neighborhood in places like Burke Park and Franklin Square.
- Crime: Encourage more Metropolitan Police bike patrols in our neighborhood to deter the theft of smart phones. Commissioner Lanier has taken the first step by urging manufacturers to provide the technology to shut down stolen phones. Use of surveillance cameras like those used to enforce traffic laws, as well as better lighting, could help enforce laws on prostitution around 12th and M Streets NW.
- More bike lanes: We need dedicated lanes from our neighborhood to Dupont Circle.
- Creating a sense of community: Organize volunteer opportunities, such as mentors to help the K-5 students at the Thomson Elementary School at 12th and L Street NW.
Borderstan: What do you hope to contribute to your community while on the ANC?
Marks: Each day, I see scores of homeless men and women on the street. I hope to work with established organizations like DC Central Kitchen and the downtown Business Improvement District to resolve this problem. I am working with the leadership of the City Center Residential Advisory Committee to get more District residents hired at local construction projects and hired at the retail businesses once the construction is completed.
Borderstan: What do you think gives you an edge over other candidate(s) running in your district?
Marks: Promoting public safety has been a priority. I worked with former First District Police Commander David Kamperin to stop prostitution across the street from our building on K Street. I served as Safety Committee Chairman for the Friends of the Washington & Old Dominion Regional Railroad Park. Working with Fairfax County we successfully protected bicyclists and joggers from speeding drivers.
Borderstan: What is your day job and is there a connection to how your day job would assist you in being a commissioner?
Marks: I work at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the US Department of Energy. In our own building, we avoided a condo fee increase by installing a new energy management system. I want a greener and more energy efficient neighborhood.