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 John Carlos Green (see Know the Candidates in Contested ANC Races). He faces Zahra Jilani, Dan Wittels and Erling Bailey.
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 1B12 and why?
Green: My first priority as ANC Commissioner will be to promote accountability and transparency in how the Advisory Neighborhood Commission is run by offering the residents I represent the basic tools of good governing. I will use my website as a portal to post ANC minutes, newsletters, community events and tallies from ANC votes. I will video-record my committee meetings and post them on YouTube. A representative, transparent and accountable governing body has the power to unite our voices.
One of my opponents is on-the-record saying she is content with the state of our current ANC governing body. I am not. As I go door-to-door listening to the people in our neighborhood, I hear too many stories of our concerns being ignored by the decision-makers. Sometimes residents aren’t even informed of decisions made that are going to affect their lives. We need to be able to efficiently access up-to-date information. We need to be informed. We need to be part of the decision making process.
Borderstan: How will you engage your constituents on issues so that your decisions reflect that of the majority of your Single Member District?
Green: From the work I’ve done in national politics, I have learned how representatives can best engage with constituents. One way is by making sure I am accessible for in-person meetings or by email. My ANC campaign is also actively engaging people on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Both of these approaches will continue and expand if I am elected. Also importantly, my website will incorporate surveys to add another layer of community involvement for crucial decisions that will affect residents in our district. Transparency and feedback will be key to my tenure as ANC 1B12 Commissioner. If I win your vote this November 6th, I will seek to make the Advisory Neighborhood Commission work harder for the people – as it was designed to do.
Borderstan: What value do you think neighborhood associations provide, and how do you plan to interact with them?
Green: Neighborhood associations are assets to communities because they help keep our residents informed and involved. I will reach out, I will listen and I will work to incorporate the best ideas they have that can help improve our community in total.
Borderstan: Becoming “the next Adams Morgan” is a consistent fear expressed in in the neighborhood. Would you support a liquor license moratorium for the 14th and U corridor? If so, why? If not, why?
Green: I do not support a liquor license moratorium on the 14th and U corridor because doing so has the potential to severely dampen economic development in the future and the vibrancy we cherish in our neighborhood. In other neighborhoods where a liquor license moratorium has been imposed, some business and restaurants have been pushed out unfairly and are now unable to return to that area, which also had the negative effect of lowering the tax base and preventing positive developments that would benefit all residents. Yes, there may be some specific businesses that we decide as a community we don’t want – a strip club, for example – but to arbitrarily issue a blanket ban is just not good public policy. Overall, I support a pro-moderate growth strategy in our neighborhood that emphasizes bringing more green space and arts to U Street. While I respect the city’s need to grow and develop, and businesses’ desire to expand and prosper, my foremost concerns will always be the integrity of our community and the residents who call U Street home.
Borderstan: Do you believe the voluntary agreement process for liquor license applicants needs to be changed? If so, how?
Green: The regulating of liquor licenses is an important duty for an ANC. It requires balancing the needs of the residents and businesses. I will always seek community input before registering my vote. That being said, I do not support the Alcohol Omnibus Bill 19-824, which would strip the rights of community groups or individuals seeking to protest a pending license and curtail provisions meant to limit noise. This agreement is a valuable tool at residents’ disposal when an establishment is not playing by the rules and something needs to be done to correct the situation.
Borderstan: Logan Circle and the 14th and U corridor area are now destination spots for people throughout the DC Metro area, especially on weekends. Do you believe that the police presence, particularly on the 14th, U Street and 9th Street corridors, is adequate, especially on weekends?
Green: I do not believe there is an adequate police presence on weekends, especially during late-night hours. I am the only candidate who specifically speaks to this issue directly on my website, because our safety is among my chief concerns. If elected, I will work with the MPDC and the business community to make our streets safer and reduce car break-ins and property damage, especially during late-night hours.
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?
Green: We are a rapidly growing community and there needs to be a balance of commercial businesses and residential buildings along 14th Street NW to support smart economic growth. Commercial buildings provide our residents with jobs and bring in visitors who patronize our businesses. Residential buildings that go through a Planned Unit Development (PUD) process, specifically at the Community Benefits Package stage, would be a great vehicle for our community to come together and advocate for things such as more green space or arts in our district. I worked at the National Low Income Housing Coalition and gained a wide understanding there of ways to improve housing policy and community development. If elected ANC, I will draw on this knowledge.
Borderstan: Are there types of business in the neighborhood that stand out as something we need more of in the area? If so, can you name three?
Green: The half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl can’t be beat, but I also treasure Ben’s as an iconic landmark from the Civil Rights Era. Besides offering great food, it symbolizes the optimism that equality, mutual respect and an appreciation of common interests can bring people together. I also will be looking forward to the Trader Joe’s that’s opening soon. Businesses like this give our residents important amenities within walking distance. A full-service grocery store has been needed in our neighborhood for quite some time. I support Boundless Yoga because of the free community events it holds and because of its innovative work-share program that allows people with a range of financial means to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. I will encourage other businesses with a similarly forward-looking mindset to join our neighborhood. I also support other newly established businesses that give back to the community – such as Cause and the YMCA – and will make sure they want to be here for a long time to come. Lastly, I want to thank Borderstan for serving our community by addressing important issues that don’t always get enough attention from other publications, for helping keep our residents informed and for providing a forum for the candidates of ANC 1B-12.