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”
The deadline for filing to run for a seat on DC’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission is past. 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 who are campaigning to represent you on the local ANCs. Closer to the election, we will have follow-up interviews with the candidates on specific issues related to their areas.
Walt Cain is running for ANC 2F-02, the Logan Circle ANC that has seen significant growth in recent years, in both residents and new businesses. SMD 02 runs from Logan Circle to 15th Street NW and from Q Street south to Rhode Island Avenue. Here’s a little bit more about Cain who is facing James Baker and Adam Stempel on the ballot.
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?
Cain: ANC 2F-02 is a perfect microcosm of the rapid growth that the city as a whole has seen over the past several years, and it offers an excellent opportunity for neighborhood residents to actively influence how they want their community to develop. I am running for Commissioner because I want to help facilitate that involvement through the promotion of smart growth, safe streets and strong community.
Because we are home to an impressive variety of stores and restaurants, ANC 2F-02 sees an incredible amount of outside traffic coming into the neighborhood on a round-the-clock basis. These establishments are a key component of our community’s vibrant atmosphere, and are one of the reasons many people choose to live in our area. Indeed, 2F-02 is one of the geographically smallest SMDs in ANC 2F, which is a result of the significant residential footprint in our neighborhood.
This mixed-use atmosphere, paired with the continued growth our area is experiencing, creates unique challenges and opportunities for our residents. Though I have never run for or been an ANC commissioner before, I believe the commission is perfectly positioned to help residents address those challenges and opportunities. My goal as commissioner will be to serve as a conduit between residents, businesses and the city government to produce a Logan Circle that residents are proud to call home.
Borderstan: How many years have you lived in your ANC neighborhood? How long have you been in DC?
Cain: I have been in DC for three years and have lived in ANC 2F the entire time.
Borderstan: How are you currently involved in your community?
Cain: I am a member of the Logan Circle Community Association and have been a member of the Washington Chorus for the past two years. I am also on the board of the Washington, DC Mississippi Society.
Borderstan: If elected to the ANC, what will be your main areas of focus/concern – and why?
Cain: My priorities as commissioner will be to promote smart growth, safe streets and a strong community. ANC 2F-02 has seen a significant amount of commercial and residential growth in recent years, which has helped to make it one of the most vibrant areas of the city. As Commissioner, I will encourage and support continued growth that respects ANC 2F-02 as a community of residents and not just a destination. The main way to accomplish this is through a strong voluntary agreement process that incorporates the interests of residents into the operational practices of new and existing businesses.
Safe streets are good for both businesses and residents, and the best way to accomplish this is by maintaining and promoting the strong relationship that ANC 2F already has with MPD. Awareness and communication are key elements to reducing and preventing crime. As commissioner I will maintain a close working relationship with MPD in order to serve as a direct link for specific resident concerns, as well as keeping residents aware of patterns that MPD is seeing in our area and ways to help reduce criminal activity.
ANC 2F-02 is home to renters, home owners, people who are here for just a little while and people who have lived here for years. Regardless of the category, this is our home. As Commissioner my overarching aim will be to promote a sense of pride and ownership among our residents in the growth of our community. I will encourage people to shape their neighborhood by investing their time and energy close to home. My role as commissioner is to serve as an advocate for my community and neighbors. I will do so by encouraging residents to express their concerns and thoughts in order to help me make ANC 2F-02 a better home for all of us.
Borderstan: What do you hope to contribute to your community while on the ANC?
Cain: In addition to the specific goals outlined above, my primary objective will be to encourage a sense of ownership and involvement among the residents of ANC 2F-02. I want the residents of 2F-02 to see themselves as active partners in the growth and development of their community. As Commissioner I will be their advocate and will depend on and welcome frequent communication on issues of concern.
Borderstan: What do you think gives you an edge over other candidate(s) running in your district?
Cain: I have lived in ANC 2F for the entire time I have lived in DC, and have witnessed first-hand the growth and associated growing pains; I’ve experienced the up-tick in smash-and-grabs that our neighborhood has seen. I believe that the residents of our neighborhood should be in the driver’s seat of how our community develops and that the ANC should be their front line advocate for specific issues of concern. I will bring these experiences and perspectives to the role of Commissioner and believe that they will give me an edge in representing 2F-02.
Borderstan: What is your day job and is there a connection to how your day job would assist you in being a commissioner?
Cain: I am an attorney with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. On a daily basis my job requires me to solve problems by taking into account a variety of stakeholders and interests and produce a solution that is agreeable to all parties. These skills would be indispensable as a commissioner in considering the competing interests of residents, businesses, and the city government and formulating an outcome that is in the best interest of the residents of 2F-02.