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 Walt Cain (see Know the Candidates in Contested ANC Races). He faces Adam Stempel and James Baker for the ANC 2F-02 seat.
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?
Cain: My priorities as commissioner will be to promote smart growth, safe streets, and a strong community. I will be an advocate for growth that respects Logan Circle as a community of residents, and not simply a destination. This means prioritizing growth that is geared toward the everyday needs of those living within ANC 2F. I will leverage the existing positive relationship that ANC 2F has with MPD to identify patterns of criminal activity and to increase resident alertness.
The goal of this will be to make residents more aware of specific crime patterns in our area and to pass along advice on how to avoid becoming a target. I want the residents of Logan Circle to be directly and actively engaged in the development of their neighborhood. To that end, I will partner with community and resident associations within 2F-02 to maximize my accessibility and effectiveness as an advocate and liaison for their interests.
Borderstan: How will you engage your constituents on issues so that your decisions reflect that of the majority of your Single Member District.
Cain: In an effort to make residents aware of issues facing our neighborhood and how the ANC can serve them, I will regularly engage the community through the use of traditional and social media platforms, like:
- Posting flyers on community boards in 2F-02 businesses and residential buildings.
- Proactively reaching out to community and residential associations.
- Maintaining Facebook and Twitter accounts for 2F-02 so that residents can remain aware of community developments and contact me directly with concerns.
- Partnering with neighborhood blogs to establish myself as a guest contributor to keep 2F-02 readers aware of issues in the neighborhood and ways the ANC can better serve them.
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?
Cain: Given the number of establishments with liquor licenses already on 14th Street and the large number of similar businesses in the pipeline to arrive in the next year, controlling the flow of liquor licenses is one of several tools the ANC should use to tailor and safeguard the neighborhood’s atmosphere. Limiting the number of bars and restaurants on the 14th Street Corridor will open up space for other local businesses to serve the needs of our residents, not just visitors to our neighborhood.
Borderstan: Do you believe the voluntary agreement process for liquor license applicants needs to be changed? If so, how?
Cain: Yes. One detail in need of revision is the provision that allows only five residents to protest a liquor license and block business development. Increasing the number of residents required to trigger the voluntary agreement process to reflect a broader community consensus is one part of the current process that needs to be changed.
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?
Cain: A stronger police presence is not only needed along 14th Street, but also the streets that surround and branch off from the main corridor. Muggings, assaults, and smash-and-grabs have been occurring far more frequently on side-streets less trafficked than 14th Street itself. The police presence is needed at all times, not just the weekends.
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?
Cain: Yes, I think diversity in development is one of the keys to making 2F-02, and 14th Street more broadly, a great place to live, work, and play. I would like to see more development that offers space for entrepreneurs, non-profits, and professional groups on upper floors and retail space ideal for local small businesses at street level. Exclusively expanding residential growth means our existing restaurants, shops, and services will become even more overloaded with customers, so a balance of commercial space is critical.
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.
Cain: I think the program has been a great first step toward developing a long-term solution to ANC 2F’s parking problem. I think people who live in our ANC should have priority to convenient parking over those who are coming in for a short period of time.
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?
Cain: I think there are a number of smaller, more readily achievable steps that can be taken to alleviate parking constraints and that this is where the majority of the ANC’s efforts should be focused. Specifically, formalizing the parking pilot program for residents, and encouraging visitors to make broader use of existing transportation options like Metro, the Circulator, and Capital Bikeshare.
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?
Cain: I would like to see more businesses run by neighborhood residents, and more businesses that cater to the everyday life of people who live in our community. Examples include an affordable neighborhood deli for a quick bite to eat, a local coffee shop offering space for residents to work or relax, and a bookstore with mixed-use space to bring neighbors together.
“For more information visit Walt Cain”