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by Andrew Ramonas — August 11, 2016 at 5:30 pm 1 Comment

Vote Here sign(Updated at 5:55 p.m. Aug. 21) The 2016 ballot for the lowest level of elected office in the D.C. government is now almost final.

More than 100 locals who live in or near the Borderstan coverage area have submitted nominating petitions to serve as members of the District’s Advisory Neighborhood commissions. They had until yesterday to collect the signatures of 25 of their neighbors in their single member districts and bring the paperwork to the D.C. Board of Elections.

But before the ANC candidates officially can get on the ballot, they must make it through a petition challenge period, which lasts until Aug. 22.

The candidates for the Nov. 8 general election for now include:

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by Tim Regan — July 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

ANC 2B chair Noah Smith (left) and Commissioner Abigail Nichols

The former chair of Dupont Circle’s advisory neighborhood commission announced today he won’t seek another term.

ANC 2B Commissioner Noah Smith said this morning he plans to step away from his neighborhood commissioner post at the end of his term in January.

“I’m sorry to announce that this November I will not be seeking re-election as your neighborhood commissioner in 2B09,” Smith wrote. “In the end, my growing career responsibilities and travel schedule make it difficult for me to commit to two more years as Commissioner.”

Smith, who passed his responsibilities as chair to commissioner Nicole Mann earlier this year, said he will back Dupont resident Scott Davies as his replacement.

“When I think about who I want to represent me to the city, I think of someone who is level-headed, patient, experienced in dealing with government and interested in making a positive difference without a personal agenda; that is Scott Davies,” Smith wrote. “You can look forward to getting to know Scott and some issues important to him when he goes door-to-door this fall to hear from each of you.”

Read Smith’s full statement below:

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by Alyse Mier — July 14, 2016 at 12:00 pm 2 Comments

Christine Miller (Photo courtesy of Christine Miller)(Updated at 4:19 p.m.) A community activist has succeeded Thu Nguyen on the Columbia Heights Advisory Neighborhood Commission.

Christine Miller yesterday secured “decisively more” votes for Nguyen’s ANC 1A05 seat than her opponent, Oliver Barham, according to commission Chairman Kent Boese. But it wasn’t immediately clear exactly how many votes she received in the special election.

Nguyen stepped down in May to move to Philadelphia, triggering a race for the ANC single member district, which is bounded roughly by Newton and Irving, roughly 16th and 14 streets NW.

“I am very excited,” said the 41-year-old Miller.

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by Borderstan.com — July 12, 2016 at 2:50 pm 6 Comments

"I Voted" sticker(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) The race to enter (or stay in) the lowest level of elected office in the D.C. government officially has begun.

More than 20 locals who live in or near the Borderstan coverage area yesterday picked up nominating petitions to serve as members of District’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.

Monday was the first day prospective candidates could get the nominating materials. They have until Aug. 10 to collect the signatures of 25 of their neighbors in their single member districts to get on the Nov. 8 ballot.

So far, the candidates include:

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by Andrew Ramonas — December 18, 2015 at 2:15 pm 0

Councilmember Brianne Nadeau of Ward 1 swears in Richard DuBeshter as the commissioner of ANC 1A06

A real estate agent has succeeded a dog walker on the Columbia Heights Advisory Neighborhood Commission.

Realtor Richard DuBeshter, who ran unopposed for the ANC 1A06 seat vacated by pet care company owner Patrick W. Flynn, officially took office during a swearing in ceremony today. Flynn resigned from the commission last month to devote more attention to his business.

DuBeshter said he’s seen the “good, bad and very ugly” of Columbia Heights since he came to the neighborhood in 2000. Since his arrival, DuBeshter said he has served on the North Columbia Civic Association, and has strived to make his neighborhood a better place by participating in community clean-ups, safety walks and work to create the Trolley Park at 11th and Monroe streets NW.

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by Tim Regan — November 18, 2015 at 10:30 am 2 Comments

David Garber, photo courtesy of David GarberD.C. Council at-large candidate David Garber had some strong words for Councilmember Vincent Orange over his proposed bill to regulate the way D.C. residents can rent out their homes, apartments and condos on Airbnb.

As Greater Greater Washington’s David Alpert wrote, Orange’s bill would “make it illegal to rent a unit on Airbnb except for renting out a room inside one’s own house, in a single-family (detached or row) house, with a special permit, and after notifying all nearby neighbors and the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission.”

D.C. has more Airbnb listings per capita than New York and Los Angeles, according to a recent Washingtonian article, and many of those listings are in Dupont Circle, Shaw and Adams Morgan.

In a press release sent out yesterday evening, Garber said Orange’s bill was “closely tailored to industry special interests” and would have “a broad, negative impact on local homeowners and visitors” in D.C.

The candidate also accused Orange of appeasing “industry stakeholders” instead of representing his constituents.

“As Mr. Orange plays politics from the Wilson Building, residents in neighborhoods across every ward of the District of Columbia could face the harmful consequences of a bill that curtails their rights and ability to earn extra income as homeowners, and restricts consumer choice,” Garber said in the release.

“We need to continue the momentum for fresh leadership on Council that puts the priorities of District residents ahead of the priorities of special interests,” Garber added.

 Photo courtesy of David Garber

by Tim Regan — October 15, 2015 at 10:55 am 0

Dupont Circle residents, meet your newest ANC Commissioner.

Locals overwhelmingly voted in favor of candidate John Kupcinski during a special election at ANC 2B’s general meeting at the Brookings Institution (1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW) last night.

The meeting started with a ceremonial ballot box unveiling from Director of the Office of ANCs, Gottlieb Simon. The director, with help from Mike Silverstein, 2B-06, then sealed the box with tape and officially opened the voting period. Neighbors who live in the ANC’s 2B-07 single member district — including Greater Greater Washington’s David Alpert — filed in throughout the night to cast their votes.

In the end, Kupcinski won 31 votes. His opponent, Holly Biglow, received seven. In the hallway after the election, defeated candidate Biglow was all smiles.

“I’m really happy to have been apart of this process,” she said. “This is my very first time running for something. I was glad to be apart of it.”

Moving forward, Kupcinski said the St. Thomas Church renovation, traffic issues and local development will be at the top of his agenda after he’s sworn in.

“I would need to sit down with the other ANC commissioners first, but … the traffic situation at 18th and P [streets NW] is just horrendous,” he said. “There’s also a lot of development that’s going on, especially at the Patterson Mansion … and Dupont Underground is going to be more and more important as we move forward with that project.”

by Tim Regan — October 14, 2015 at 12:10 pm 0

2B Special Election

Some Dupont Circle residents will have the chance to elect a new ANC commissioner tonight.

ANC 2B will tally votes tonight during a special election for former commissioner Justine Underhill’s 2B-07 seat, which was vacated in August when Underhill moved to New York City. Voting takes place between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. during tonight’s ANC 2B meeting at the Brookings Institution (1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW) near Dupont Circle.

Dupont residents Holly Biglow and John Kupcinski have entered into the race for the 2B-07 seat. In previous interviews with Borderstan, both candidates have said weighing in on the planned St. Thomas Church development is at the top of their agenda if elected.

“First and foremost, … I’d like to try to [figure out] how the construction is going to happen [at the St. Thomas’ Parish], how the operations will work, how the pre-construction, construction will work,” said Kupcinski. “Just make sure there aren’t any misunderstandings. It’s going to be one of the biggest developments happening in 2B-07.”

“I know the St. Thomas Church project is a very large project,” Biglow told us. “It’s very important to the community, so that will be the number one issue that will have to be addressed.”

According to ANC 2B chair Noah Smith, 2B-09, ballots will be available in the back of the ANC meeting room. D.C. Director of the Office of ANCs, Gottlieb Simon, will check in voters as they arrive. Locals do not need to stay for the entire meeting to cast a vote, added Smith.

by Tim Regan — October 2, 2015 at 2:15 pm 0

Amanda Bonam

ANC 1B has a another new commissioner.

The commission applauded Amanda Bonam, 1B-10, as she took her new seat during a general meeting at the Reeves Center last night.

Bonam, a 19-year-old student at Howard University, said she’s glad to take over for previous 1B-10 commissioner and Howard alum Allyson Carpenter.

“[Allyson and I] came to ANC meetings, we checked it out and it was something I was really interested in,” Bonam said. “Once I realized Allyson was on her way out, I thought that would be a natural step up, to run for the seat.”

Bonam added that she hopes to use her seat to connect the university and surrounding residents.

“As the newest commissioner, something that I think is absolutely important is connecting Howard University back with he community,” Bonam said. “I represent most of the Howard dormitories, so making sure that Howard and the community are connected is really important to me.”

 

by Tim Regan — September 28, 2015 at 12:15 pm 0

Candidate Holly Biglow touched upon the St. Thomas Church development project in her speech

Dupont Circle’s ANC 2B is getting ready for a special election.

Residents Holly Biglow and John Kupcinski have entered into a race for former commissioner Justine Underhill’s 2B-07 seat, which was vacated in August when Underhill moved to New York City. Earlier this month, you heard from Kupcinski. Now, here’s your chance to hear from Biglow:

Borderstan: Tell me a little bit about why you decided to run for the 2B-07 seat.

I’ve been in the neighborhood for six years. I love the neighborhood. I love my community. I love the diversity. I love what my neighborhood stands for. I want to be apart of it. I am apart of my condominium association, so I do like being involved however I can, especially regarding where I live.

You previously thought about running for this seat, didn’t you?

When Justine [Underhill] ran, I was also interested, but I met and I spoke to her and I didn’t go through with getting signatures or anything like that.

So you didn’t run, but you were thinking about it.

Exactly. I was just interested, but I met with her and she was very passionate about it, so I sort of stepped back.

If you are elected, what will be one of your first priorities?

I know the St. Thomas Church project is a very large project. It’s very important to the community, so that will be the number one issue that will have to be addressed.

After that, I would like to work closely or continue to work with the surrounding businesses, such as the restaurants. I know there’s a lot more competition in D.C., which is driving a lot of patrons to go to different parts of D.C. I want to try to keep our area vibrant and as active as it currently it. I would definitely like to work more to try to keep the businesses in our area.

I think congestion will be addressed eventually. Traffic congestion. I’m not sure about people congestion, but I know that is a concern, especially considering the St. Thomas street project and some of the other condos that are being developed in the neighborhood, such as the Patterson House. That’s one of the things I would definitely like to keep an eye out on.

In what ways would you work with the businesses to keep patrons here?

I know that normally the businesses come to the ANC to get approval on their patios or what they can and can’t do in terms of their liquor license, or can they play music or not? I think just sort of working in that regard and being open-minded and looking in a business sense to make sure that I’m helping them to thrive and keep customers coming into our neighborhood.

I do know that the ANC scope is limited, but when they approach the ANC with things they might want to do to boost their business, instead of saying no, [I want to] look at it more like, we do want to keep people coming into the neighborhood, how can we work together and keep the neighborhood thriving?

How do you plan to interact with other neighborhood associations, if elected?

Like I said in my speech at the last ANC meeting, I’m a very open-minded person. I like working with different organizations and coalitions. That would continue with any association if I were elected to the ANC.

How would you use social media to engage with your potential future constituents?

I’m a Facebook user. I would probably use Facebook and keep people updated through Facebook. That would be my route.

Is there anything you’d want to change in the way ANC 2B operates?

Nothing that I can pinpoint right now. But I feel like the commissioners are easy to work with and they’re very nice people. I’m sure if something did come about, they would probably consider my suggestions if there’s anything that I think would need to be changed. The meetings run pretty smoothly.

Residents of the 2B-07 single member district can cast their ballots next month at the Brookings Institution on Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Click here for more information regarding voter eligibility and the voting process.

This interview was edited for length and clarity

by Tim Regan — September 22, 2015 at 1:20 pm 0

Brianne_NadeauWatch out, frequently absent ANC commissioners.

D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau today introduced a bill that would ax commissioners who miss meetings for three months in a row.

The bill, called the Advisory Neighborhood Commission Absenteeism Penalty Amendment Act of 2015, was co-introduced by councilmembers Anita Bonds and Elissa Silverman and aims to “make it easier for ANCs to reliably have the quorum required to conduct official business.”

“Like several of my colleagues, I was an ANC Commissioner,” said Nadeau, who served on ANC 1B from 2006 to 2010, from the podium. “I found, as many commissioners can relate to, it can be difficult to enforce attendance among a group of volunteer leaders.”

As written in the bill, any commissioner who fails to attend official public meetings for three months will “be considered resigned from the position.”

“District residents and business leaders should not be penalized for poor attendance of their representatives,” Nadeau added from the dais.

Nadeau said that the legislation was requested in a resolution from Columbia Heights and Park View ANC 1A, and that it “mirrors similar language already in the procedures governing ANC 1B.”

Photo courtesy of Brianne Nadeau

by Tim Regan — September 16, 2015 at 1:30 pm 4 Comments

John Kupcinski at anc2b meeting

Dupont Circle’s ANC 2B is getting ready for a special election.

Residents Holly Biglow and John Kupcinski have entered into a race for former commissioner Justine Underhill’s 2B-07 seat, which was vacated last month when Underhill moved to New York City. Now, here’s your chance to hear from one of them.

We spoke with Kupcinski about some of the local issues he feels strongly about:

Borderstan: Tell me a little bit about why you decided to run for the 2B-07 seat.

John Kupcinski: I’ve been involved in neighborhood politics, I purchased my property about a year and a half ago or so. I made a fairly big investment. It’s the biggest purchase I’ll probably ever make in my entire life So I wanted to make a big investment in the community as well. I got involved with Church Street Neighbors. Meeting the people who are my neighbors, I’m a proponent of trying to make things better. I felt like this is one of the ways I could contribute to the community.

If you are elected, what will be one of your first priorities?

First and foremost, … I’d like to try to [figure out] how the construction is going to happen [at the St. Thomas’ Parish], how the operations will work, how the pre-construction, construction will work. Just make sure there aren’t any misunderstandings. It’s going to be one of the biggest developments happening in 2B-07.

How do you plan to interact with other neighborhood associations, if elected?

It’s important to have people’s voices heard. One of the things we’re blessed with in 2B-07 is that we have a lot of very active and engaged community members who have decided to participate in the political process. So that, I think, is a fantastic benefit and also something that can help whoever the ANC commissioner is in October. I would see those organizations as a conduit for ideas and to help out with initiatives and to be able to provide communication back and forth between constituent groups within the neighborhood.

Is there anything you’d want to change in the way ANC 2B operates?

This is kind of a non-answer, but my perception has been on the other side of the microphone. So, I would need to get in and see the workings of how things are happening. I don’t know yet. But I am looking forward to working with everybody. I think that everybody in the ANC has a significant amount to give and contribute. They’ve made the neighborhood a better place to live in. I’m excited about working with everybody.

You said previously that, even if you don’t win the election, you’ll still be involved in the community. Are there specific things you’d undertake?

I’ve been very fortunate to, through this process, to meet a number of the different neighbors and develop a lot of close friendships. I would get involved in [Dupont Circle Citizens Association] or Church Street Neighbors or even work with a message board that people are active on within the community.

How will you use social media to engage with your potential future constituents?

My Twitter is very professional. Mostly articles that I think are interesting with respect to information security. One of the things that I would like to do is find a way to engage people on social media, whether that be on Twitter, create a 2B-07 media account. Using other blogs. I know the ANC has a blog. But I’d try to find as many ways to reach out to people.

Residents of the 2B-07 single member district can cast their ballots next month at the Brookings Institution on Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Click here for more information regarding voter eligibility and the voting process.

by Tim Regan — September 10, 2015 at 10:30 am 0

Dupont Circle’s ANC 2B is getting ready for a special election.

Residents Holly Biglow and John Kupcinski have entered into a race for former commissioner Justine Underhill’s 2B-07 seat, which was vacated last month when Underhill moved to New York City.

The two candidates introduced themselves and touched upon community issues during “stump speeches” at last night’s ANC 2B meeting at the Brookings Institution (1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW) near Dupont Circle.

Holly Biglow, who said she’s lived in P Street NW for six years, touched upon the hotly debated issue of the St. Thomas Church development project.

“I am aware of the St. Thomas Church development project, which I know has been a major issue. I’m also aware that a neighborhood group has developed work on some of the issues they have regarding this project,” Biglow said. “I definitely commend them on all the work that they’ve done and all the things that they’ve accomplished.”

“I really look forward to working with the group if possible to continue to address the neighbor’s needs,” she added.

“This neighborhood has various issues that need to be addressed,” Biglow concluded. “I’m a very open-minded person. I really look forward to working on a vast number of issues that ANC 2B-07 and the rest of the ANC will be working on.”

Kupcinski, who owns a consulting firm in the area, then stepped in front of the microphone to introduce himself.

“I’ve been involved in the community ever since I purchased [my home] about a year and a half ago,” said Kupcinski. “I got involved in the Church Street neighbors. I got to meet lots of our wonderful neighbors and our ANC.”

“I’ve been to a lot of ANC meetings,” he added. “I’m excited about Dupont, both what it was and what it’s growing into be. I think that we’re at a very interesting point in terms of the changing dynamics and shifts as other parts of the city continue to develop.”

“Regardless of the outcome of the election, I’m still going to be involved,” he said. “You’ll still see my face on a monthly basis. You’ll still see me walking my dog around the neighborhood.”

Newly revived ANC blog Short Articles About Long Meetings recorded both speeches and uploaded them to Youtube earlier this morning.

Residents of the 2B-07 single member district can cast their ballots next month at the Brookings Institution on Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Click here for more information regarding voter eligibility and the voting process.

by Tim Regan — September 4, 2015 at 1:00 pm 0

LaKisha Brown

ANC 1B has a new commissioner.

The commission welcomed LaKisha Brown, 1B-04, to her new seat with a round of applause during a general meeting at Howard University’s Founders Library last night.

Brown, who quietly participated in the meeting, said she’s excited to learn the ropes and start participating in the process. “It’s a lot of information to take in, but I think I’ll learn a lot more about it. I’m interested in a lot of these issues,” she said.

“I’ve always had a passion for helping my community, so I think this is something that will help fulfill that passion,” she explained.

Brown added she hopes to take up issues of parking, affordable housing, zoning and noise complaints in the future.

Above all else, Brown says she wants to act as a representative for her neighbors to voice concerns.

“It’s great interacting with people and learning about [their issues],” she said. “At least I’m another voice.”

by Tim Regan — August 17, 2015 at 2:35 pm 0

David Garber, photo courtesy of David Garber

David Garber has a strategy: Hit incumbent at-large D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange where he’s vulnerable. In a campaign announcement video, Garber grabbed the attention of some voters by scolding Orange’s ethics. “We simply deserve better,” Garber said. But Garber acknowledges it takes more than shaming an incumbent to win an election.

Borderstan spoke with the challenger and former Navy Yard ANC commissioner about his upcoming campaign:

Borderstan: Tell me why you’re running for Vincent Orange’s at-large D.C. Councilmember seat.

David Garber: I’m running for this seat because I want to be the advocate for communities across the District. What that’s meant for me in the past, both as an engaged citizen and as a two-term elected ANC Commissioner, has been a lot about learning the value of listening to residents as anything is happening within neighborhoods and District-wide. Making sure that, in the way the city grows and in the decisions that are being made and what’s being prioritized across the District, we’re taking a lot of our feedback from the people in these actual communities.

What will be your first priority or new initiative, and why?

The three top issues for me right now are education, public safety, and housing. I’ve had a fair amount of experience within the education sphere, whether as a substitute teacher or advocating for a new public elementary school in the neighborhood where I was ANC commissioner. That school is opening this fall.

With regards to the growth of the city, I’ve lived in three very different neighborhoods in my time in the District. I’ve lived in Anacostia, east of the river, I’ve lived in Navy Yard and I’ve lived in the Logan Circle/Shaw neighborhood. I feel like those are all pretty distinct, and have given me a pretty unique perspective for understanding how certain parts of the city have been overlooked and haven’t been served well in the past and wanting to make sure that, as we go forward, we’re being equitable about our development and our investments across the city.

Which parts of the city do you think have been overlooked?

A lot of people, especially east of the river, are concerned that real investment hasn’t been made in a lot of those communities over the years in the way that it has been other places. As a resident there, myself, what I was seeing at the time was that it was coming down to the decisions of political leadership. That was my first crash course in realizing that, if I want to see something change with regards to how the communities were being prioritized I needed to get involved, myself.

But you could point to other communities. Kennedy Street NW in Ward 4. Places in Ward 5. Fortunately, we’re in a time where there is a lot of investment in D.C. and different areas are being brought up in different ways. Hopefully we’re doing that while taking care of all of the existing residents that are in these communities. But I do think that more could still be done.

What did you learn from your time as an ANC commissioner in Navy Yard that you could apply to serving on the D.C. Council?

One of my first lessons was in the absolute importance of listening to residents at every step of the way, both in my decision making and with regard to any issues that were coming through the neighborhood.

I started a citizens’ development advisory committee, for example, that was able to speak into a lot of development that was happening in the Navy Yard ballpark area, and I made sure that I was reaching out to the community both online and in-person on issues there were really important. A lot of these issues did relate to development.

Navy Yard is a neighborhood where a lot of the people there were really excited about a lot of the changes that were happening. … But they wanted to make sure it was done in a right way and in a way that we’re really proud of 10 years from now and 20 years from now.

The other lesson I learned was just about the importance of working with my colleagues to make our work on the ANC as effective as possible. I think it’s easy to come into an elected position feeling very black-and-white on issues and not wanting to work with others who might disagree with you. One of the things that I enjoyed the most during my time on the ANC was working with people who we might not have lined up 100 percent on issues, but we had to work together and we had to find a common solution. As a councilmember, it’s important to be effective.

As you know, crime is a big topic in D.C. right now. Last night, you went on a ride-along with police. What did you learn?

My biggest priority right now is making sure that I’m doing everything I can to learn about what possible changes need to be made or what actions can be taken right now to improve the safety situation around the District.

I live in Shaw, and me and my neighbors feel like there’s a lot of violent crimes taking place almost daily. There has been an uptick in violent crime, it absolutely feels like there has been. I know people are looking to leadership right now to both make changes, whether it’s within the policies of the Metropolitan Police Department or how they’re doing their beats around the District. I’m trying to both listen to as many neighbors as possible, listen to police officers, try to get a sense for what’s working and what’s not working, so that we can move forward in a way that everybody feels safe in their communities, regardless of where they are.

Based on what you saw last night, is there anything that you’d want to change?

One thing that kept coming up was the need for more police officers in the District. There was a hiring boom in the ’80s and ’90s that is now turning into a retirement boom. Unfortunately, the new hires and police academy graduates aren’t catching up to the people leaving the force.

We need to make sure that we are providing the best place for these police officers to be when they’re choosing where to work. Whether that is offering incentives for living within the District or what have you, I think there are absolutely ways to making this a city where officers want to live because they feel supported and they’re able to get their work done.

Orange is the incumbent, so he most likely has an advantage. How do you feel about the upcoming race?

I feel really great about this upcoming race. I’ve felt really humbled over the last couple of weeks by the incredible amount of support that I’ve felt from people around the District, both in the encouragement and in their financial support, which at the end of the day, is going to mean a great deal in this election.

I’ve got an awesome team behind me. … I’m excited to start some of the more visible elements of my campaign, like door-knocking, meet-and-greets and introducing myself to voters and listening to issues that they care about.

This interview has been edited slightly for clarity and length

Image courtesy of David Garber

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