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 Adam Stempel (see Know the Candidates in Contested ANC Races). He faces Walt Cain and James Baker for the ANC 2F-02 seat. You can contact Stempel at adam.l.stempel[AT]gmail.com or visit his website for more information..
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?
Stempel: My first priority will be to get more residents involved — or at least aware — of what the ANC does. It’s much easier for us to serve our neighbors if they understand who we are and what we can do for them and the rest of the community. ANC-2F needs to improve its media presence, continue to partner with community associations and other neighborhood institutions (churches, businesses, apartment buildings) and even do a little door-to-door engagement.
Borderstan: How will you engage your constituents on issues so that your decisions reflect that of the majority of your Single Member District?
Stempel: As I said above, we need to work on building relationships with organizations that residents already trust. I will reach out to leaders of condo associations, neighborhood associations, business associations and all the other institutions that do a great job of representing their members already. I’d love for more residents to attend ANC meetings, but it isn’t just about getting people to come to us — the ANC should send representatives to other organizations’ meetings to share our work and get community input. This proactive approach, coupled with better use of Facebook, Twitter and occasional physical posters, will help engage more of the neighborhood.
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?
Stempel: First of all, declaring a moratorium on liquor licenses isn’t something the ANC is really authorized to do. In order to be listened to by ABRA (the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration), we need to take a reasoned approach to license applicants. I believe the ANC can maintain the high quality of life in our neighborhood by building strong relationships with new restaurants and encouraging them to see themselves as part of the community. We should make their success our success. We do, however, need to make sure we enforce the rules of the ARTS overlay that clearly state that no more than 50 percent of the building frontage along 14th Street can be used for eating or drinking establishments.
Borderstan: Do you believe the voluntary agreement process for liquor license applicants needs to be changed? If so, how?
Stempel: Voluntary agreements are an important part of ANC-2F’s role in the community. We should continue the practice of forming voluntary agreements, but we should try to make the process more proactive and transparent. In the interest of forming strong relationships with applicants, the ANC should try to complete the voluntary agreement process prior to the statutory “protest” date to save everyone time, money, and inconvenience. We should also try to standardize the agreements as much as makes sense so the process moves more quickly and applicants have an idea of what to expect. At the end of the day, however, VAs exist to maintain the community feel of the neighborhood, and they need to have that effect.
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?
Stempel: I would love to have more police in lots of places in the city, including that one, but I also trust the MPD to go where they determine they are most needed. I do think that the police could work on being more visible along the 14th Street corridor (especially on weekends). We can do our part by reporting illegal activity and other tip-offs to the MPD as soon as we see it — it really helps.
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?
Stempel: I don’t think there’s some magic ratio of commercial to residential buildings we should be shooting for. Personally, I think mixed-use buildings make sense in densely populated areas, with useful retail on the ground floor and residential above. But again, the key role of the ANC here is to make sure that everyone who comes here — be they a business or a resident — feels like they are part of the neighborhood community, and acts accordingly.
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.
Stempel: This is the program where, on many blocks, one side of the street is restricted to residential parking at almost all times. It’s still a little early to say definitively whether it’s an effective program or not, but most of the feedback I’ve heard from residents has been positive, so I’m optimistic. It’s important for residents to feel welcome in their own neighborhood. I think the ANC should encourage DDOT to closely monitor the program and regularly collect input from residents so they can make a fair evaluation.
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?
Stempel: I do. My understanding is that there is a tentative proposal to construct a parking garage in the space currently occupied by the bus parking lot on S Street between 13th and 14th Streets. I think that so long as the 14th and U Street area remains a destination for people outside the neighborhood, it would be beneficial to add a parking garage, in the same way there are many garages downtown. Clearly there are concerns about induced demand and disagreements about pricing that would have to be addressed, but the principle seems sound.
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?
Stempel: I honestly think we’re pretty close to having it all in Logan Circle. We have local essentials, destination spots, household and fashion choices… I really can’t complain much, but if you have any ideas please let me know!