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.
The deadline for filing to run for a seat on DC’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission is past, and election time is right around the corner.
In the Borderstan area, 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.
So now it is time to meet your candidates. Here at Borderstan.com, we will introduce you to your neighbors, campaigning to represent you on the local ANCs. Closer to the election, we will provide follow-up interviews with the candidates on specific issues related to their areas.
John Green is running for ANC commissioner in 1B-12, a new seat that was carved out of SMD 1B-02, due to rapid population growth in the area in the last decade. A total of four candidates are running for this seat, including Erling Bailey, Zahra Jilani and Dan Wittels and Green.
This seat is currently held by Alexandra Lewin-Zwerdling who won a special election late in 2011 after Aaron Spencer resigned. Lewin-Zwerdling is not seeking a full term. The SMD includes the much discussed 14th and Wallach residential building and the JBG hotel-turned-apartment project on the Rite-Aid site at 13th and U Streets, NW.
Borderstan: Why did you decide to run in your neighborhood’s ANC race this year? Also, have you run before and/or been an ANC commissioner before?
Green: My motivation is simple: I am passionate about our community and I believe I can be an effective public servant who can help improve and make the 1B-12 neighborhood even greater than it is today. I offer solid leadership, new ideas and relentless advocacy for everyone who has a stake in our neighborhood. I’ve held numerous leadership roles throughout my life. This is my first time running for ANC commissioner and I bring the same dedication and enthusiasm to this race. I was the first candidate to file my intent, and enlisted at least one resident from every street in my single-member district to sign a petition nominating me. I am grateful for the tremendous support I’ve received and humbled by how strongly my neighbors care about the issues our community faces.
Borderstan: How many years have you lived in your [ANC] neighborhood? How long have you been in DC?
Green: The U Street NW Corridor has been my home for almost three years. Before that, I lived in the nearby Shaw neighborhood for more than five years. The DC metro area has nurtured me since I was a toddler. It defines me today. Hail to the Redskins!
Borderstan: How are you currently involved in your community?
Green: One way I’ve been involved in my community is through volunteering and raising money for a local non-profit that assists children living with HIV/AIDS. I find this kind of hands-on helping extremely rewarding and beneficial. As your next ANC commissioner, I would work to promote volunteering opportunities and make sure everyone has a chance to participate in activities that improve peoples’ lives and strengthen our community.
Borderstan: If elected to the ANC, what will be your main areas of focus/concern – and why?
Green: An effective ANC commissioner must hear the concerns of the residents in our district – not political elites and developers, or the loudest voice in the room. U Street is going through a period of unprecedented economic growth. My candidacy supports a growth strategy that balances the needs of our growing city and the aspirations of businesses, while respecting the integrity of our community and the desires of the people who live and work in our neighborhood. It will be my goal to make U Street the best place in the city to live, raise a family, work and be entertained.
Borderstan: What do you hope to contribute to your community while on the ANC?
Green: I will work to reduce violent crime and property damage, ensuring that U Street is a safe and enjoyable environment for for all. I also support initiatives to improve the appearance of our streets and will aggressively hold the city’s sanitation and maintenance authorities accountable. Furthermore, I will look for ways to bring more public art and green space to our neighborhood for us to enjoy. Together we can do better.
Borderstan: What do you think gives you an edge over other candidate(s) running in your district?
Green: I am uniquely qualified to represent the needs of the diverse constituency that calls U Street home. I hold a master’s degree in public policy, with a focus on regional economic development, which helps me understand and navigate the zoning, commercial and legislative issues facing our residents and businesses.
I have also worked as an Equal Opportunity Employment specialist for five years and am sensitive to the plight of our community members who struggle to find an equal voice and fair representation in government. Most importantly, from being an active, attentive and outgoing member of the neighborhood, I understand the specific challenges and concerns of the community. Together, we made this a thriving place to live and work, and we need to make sure that community participation always shapes the decisions affecting us.
Borderstan: What is your day job and is there a connection to how your day job would assist you in being a commissioner?
Green: I work for American Bridge 21st Century as a political content manager. The knowledge and experience I have gained throughout my professional and academic careers, along with my passion for community involvement in the democratic system, make me a strong candidate to serve as our next ANC commissioner. I will do so with know-how, dignity and an open ear.