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. Recently we introduced you to the candidates, including Howard Marks (see Know the Candidates in Contested ANC Races). He will face Matt Connolly for the 2F-08 seat on election day.
Now, it’s Question and Answer Time on the issues.
Borderstan: What will be your first priority/new initiative if you are elected to ANC 2F and why?
Marks: Aggressive rodent control will be my first priority once elected. A coach house in the back of an abandoned residence has become a rodent breeding grounds. The property needs to be condemned so immediate remediation efforts can be started by the city. Working with Councilman Jack Evans, we successfully controlled the Franklin School rodent problem by closing down the temporary shelter and moving the homeless men to permanent housing.
Borderstan: How will you engage your constituents on issues so that your decisions reflect that of the majority of your Single Member District?
Marks: As a communications professional, there is nothing to substitute for face-to-face meetings. I would meet with neighborhood residents on a regular basis to solicit their views. Attending condo board and apartment resident association meetings would be a top priority. I would encourage my constituents to comment on neighborhood issues on my Facebook page and use email to stay in touch with me.
Borderstan: Becoming “the next Adams Morgan” is a consistent fear expressed in ANC 2F meetings. Would you support a liquor license moratorium for the 14th and U corridor? If so, why? If not, why?
Marks: I would take a balanced approach before voting in favor of recommending a license. I would need to know how if the liquor license applicant will go the extra mile to respect the residential nature of the neighborhood. For example, are they going to be a full service restaurant or just serve alcohol, maintain reasonable operating hours and control noise. The 50 percent zoning restriction for the amount of building frontage for bars and restaurants Uptown Arts Overlay District should be maintained.
Borderstan: Do you believe the voluntary agreement process for liquor license applicants needs to be changed? If so, how?
Marks: The voluntary agreement process is good but need some tweaking. The Advisory Neighborhood Commission should assert its authority as the only locally elected body in the voluntary agreement process. It needs to exert leadership and stand behind the 400 foot radius that is part of the ABC reform bill now before the Council. We have to balance the legitimate concerns of those most immediately impacted by sleep-disturbing noise issues, for example, and the rights of citizens to establish small businesses that create jobs in the Logan Circle area.
Borderstan: Logan Circle and the 14th and U corridor area is now a destination spot for people throughout the DC Metro area, especially on weekends. Do you believe that the police presence, particularly on the 14th Street corridor, is adequate, especially on weekends?
Marks: I am great fan of Chief Cathy Lanier and the job done by the entire Metropolitan Police. However, even one assault is one crime too many. I am strong proponent of community policing. We need more police on the sidewalks where the serious crime takes place. I would allocate more foot patrols and police on bicycles and Segways, especially on weekends, to the Logan Circle area and adjacent busy corridors. We also need better lighting so criminals cannot hide in the shadows.
Borderstan: The pace of development is rapid in the area, especially along 14th Street NW. Do you think more commercial buildings would be good for the area, as opposed to more residential buildings?
Marks: I still believe in the late Jane Jacobs who wrote “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” was possibly the most influential American book on urban planning and cities. Jacobs was a strong proponent of mixed-use urban development. Namely, combining residential, retail and offices in one building. We see a lot of mixed-use development in Europe, Toronto and now here in DC. City Vista, with apartments, condos, restaurants, retail and a major food store, is another good example of what I would like to see along 14th Street corridor.
Borderstan: Do you support the new restricted Residential Park Permit pilot program implemented through ANC 2F in late summer/early fall 2012? Tell us why or why not.
Marks: I definitely support the Residential Parking Permit pilot program. Residents who pay substantial property taxes deserve the right to park reasonably close to their residences if returning home late on a Friday or Saturday evening.
Borderstan: Of the many possibilities being discussed to alleviate parking constraints in ANC 2F is the construction of parking garages along or near the 14th Street corridor. Do you support these efforts?
Marks: I support the construction of commercial garages. First, the garage would free up parking spaces on side streets for neighborhood residents. Secondly, it would ease parking worries for those coming from the suburbs to enjoy a play at the Studio Theater, shop or dine in our neighborhood.
Borderstan: Are there types of business in our neighborhood that stands out as something we need more of in the area? If so, can you name three?
Marks: (1) Contemporary furniture stores such as Urban Essentials where we bought a handcrafted couch made in Los Angeles–and we love it. (2) Clothing and outdoor recreational stores. We have the demographics to support stores like Jos. A. Bank, the Gap, and REI. (3) Graphics and social media design firms such as LookThink.com which just opened and 13th and M Streets. Information Technology companies which must operate around-the-clock can locate here without worrying about power outages because our electrical lines are buried underground.