Borderstan is focusing primarily on what look to be contested races for your local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, or ANCs, on November 6. ANCs can have a lot of sway in how your city and neighborhood work for you, or don’t. We’ll know for certain who’s running for ANC (and who is not) today or tomorrow. Yesterday, August 8, was the deadline for candidates to have submitted their petitions to get on the ballot.
However, one uncontested ANC candidate caught our eye: Marc Morgan. You might recall Morgan ran as the Republican challenger in 2010 against incumbent Jim Graham for the Ward 1 Council seat. Morgan is now running for the seat held by longtime 1B-01 Commissioner Myla Moss, who is not seeking another term; she is also the current chairperson of ANC 1B.
An experienced community figure, Marc Morgan, is running in a seat in a district that encompasses the LeDroit Park neighborhood and the very northeastern edge of Borderstan. Morgan has twice been elected president of the LeDroit Park Civic Association, and serves on two committees for ANC 1B01 — Grants, and Alcoholic Beverage Control. He also serves on the Boards of Adams Morgan Mainstreet, D.C. Black Pride, and Log Cabin Republicans.
As head of the LeDroit Park Civic Association, Morgan established BADGE: Business and Domicile Geographic Enforcement). A crime-fighting initiative, BADGE advocated for more walking police patrols in LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale. Morgan plans to continue his work in crime reduction if elected to the ANC this fall. “I plan to work closely with residents and business owners on prevention efforts, as well as with MPD on increasing their presence in the neighborhood,” said Morgan, who has lived in DC for 12 years and LeDroit Park for four years.
As for constituent services and development, Morgan said he plans to promote small business development and to become a stronger advocate for residents when dealing with DC agencies.
Morgan is also father to a son, who graduated from Cardozo High School, and is now a U.S. Marine. On the matter of ANCs and DC Public Schools, some ANCs are becoming more involved with the schools within their boundaries — something Morgan supports.
“I believe the ANC’s should be more actively involved with DCPS! First, by supporting a strategic school reform program that consist of more emphasis on the arts and technology. I also see the ANC as a platform to promote STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) — something that has been lacking in our public school system. When my son was at Cardozo, I was a strong advocate for a STEM curriculum. It’s one of things we can promote to help make our youth more competitive in a global marketplace,” said Morgan.
As for his day job, Morgan is director of Development and Strategic Partnerships for the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), a non-profit that supports the scale up of renewable energy projects and policies.
Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B holds its monthly meeting tonight, February 2, and the planned development on Florida Avenue NW between 7th and 9t Streets NW will be at the center of the agenda. The plans for consideration come from JBG, the influential development group with “more control over the future of U Street than any other property holder,” according to The Washington Post.
JBG has already presented its residential/retail concept to the various ANC design committees, and now the firm seeks ANC approval on issues before the Historic Preservation Board. These issues will most likely have to do with the fates of historic facades currently on the properties.
The design, covering two buildings on three parcels, comes from the Seattle firm Miller Hull Architects. JBG principal Kai Reynolds told Washington City Paper that their aesthetic will be aimed at “transforming the warehouse vernacular into housing.” In short this means lots of metal, lots of glass and perhaps an affinity for exposed staircases. (Slides from the ANC1B design committee presentation in December are available here.)
JBG bought the three parcels from Metro last summer after they had been on the market for nearly a decade. Though the lots appear vacant, they are home to a lively and at times controversial weekend flea market. (Some neighbors have complained of vendors selling stolen goods.) Michael Sussman, who runs the flea market, had a lease with Metro due to run to October 2012. When JBG purchased the property, the company made overtures to end the lease early, by the end of January.
At the last ANC 1B meeting on January 5 (which I attended), approximately 25 vendors showed up to protest the end of the lease. Sussman told the commissioners that 40 vendors and their families earn a living at the flea market, and requested that the ANC ask JBG to continue the lease.
In an email message to several neighborhood groups sent on January 13, ANC 1B Chair Myla Moss (ANC 1B-01) said that an agreement had been reached between JBG and Sussman. JBG will continue offering a month-to-month lease until October, as long as the flea market accepts a list of terms meant to eliminate traffic, trash and the sale of stolen goods.
It will be interesting to see if this issue arises again at Thursday’s meeting. I will be there and will post an update on any developments.