Friday, October 19, 2012

Better Know Your ANC Candidates: ANC 1A04 (UPDATED)

The ninth in our Better Know Your ANC Candidates series is fightin' ANC 1A06, which you can see at right.

The idea with these posts is that you can learn about who is running for the ANC in your area and if you'd like, be able to learn more about them via their websites or emails. The ANC advises the city council on local issues and also can issue grants, hold events, and approve or deny liquor licenses.

There's a map of all the ANCs here.

Laina Aquiline is the current (and very active) commissioner of ANC 1A04, and she's running against Sentamu Kiremerwa, who did not respond to emails who just responded on Tuesday. Here are Laina's and Sentamu's answers: 


1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have lived in Washington, DC for 14 years – the last six in our home on Meridian Place in Columbia Heights and the two years prior to that in Park View.  I am the wife of Matthew Aquiline and mother of twin three-year-old sons and Tubman Elementary School students, Michael and Mason, and one-year-old daughter, Hiatt.  I am a graduate of American University, have had a career in presidential campaign politics and lobbying for union construction, most recently in my current role as the Director of Advocacy for the Int’l Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.   I am the current Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for Single Member District 1A05 and an active member of Shrine of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church at 16th St. and Park Rd. NW.

2. Why are you running for ANC?
I am running for ANC re-election to improve neighbor-to-neighbor relationships and community pride in Columbia Heights by striving to 1) clean-up the trash and rats in our streets and alleys, 2) improve our parks and playgrounds, 3) encourage local business development that enhances and respects the community and 4) make Tubman Elementary School the premier DC Public School east of Rock Creek Park.

3. What are the biggest issues confronting your district?
Our alleys and streets are littered with trash and rats – it’s the number one concern expressed to me by constituents.  The fast paced gentrification of Columbia Heights also poses particular challenges in regard to encouraging new residents to make and improve their homes here while also respecting the long-time residents who have seen this neighborhood through its destruction and recovery.   After that, it’s the confusion and lack of strong school choice for our children, and the absence of good, safe green space to play in.  The renovation of Trolley Park at 11th and Monroe is a success story, as is the renovation and preservation of the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza and the triangle park at 14th, Oak and Ogden.  I worked with DPR and DDOT to see those project plans finalized and brought to completion.  We are now in the early stages of beginning the work at 16th St and Park Rd to make it the play space the community deserves.

4. What do you think the ANC can do better?
The ANC should be more transparent and have better outreach.  The better we know our constituencies and the more engaged the community becomes, the more effective the ANC will be.    

5. What do you think the area needs more of?
The area needs more community participation.  We need to know our neighbors, look out for each other, communicate with our commissioners, and express our ideas and concerns in constructive ways by attending public meetings and forums.  We have to show-up and take ownership of our neighborhood.  We need more safe green space where we can gather and our children can play.  We need more of our residents put their faith in and make their contribution to Tubman Elementary School’s continued progress by sending their children there and getting involved in a school with a lot of promise. In short, we need to treat Columbia Heights as it is depicted in my campaign slogan, “Our Home, Our Heights.” 

6. One of the ANC's jobs is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
I believe liquor licenses are essential and I support voluntary agreements.  I feel there should be as much uniformity as possible, especially within corridors.  What is right for alcohol selling establishment s on 14th St. is not necessarily right for establishments on 11th St.  There are an increasing number of families with young children in our neighborhood and peace and order in late night hours needs to be respected and maintained.

Find my campaign website online at and on Facebook at
Follow the Events tab on my website for activities coming up in October.


1. Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born in Uganda, but grew up in Boston MA. I have lived in the District for a year and I am proud to call Columbia Heights home. I currently reside on 13th st in Columbia Heights. Prior to DC, I studied Amherst College, where I pursued a B.A. in Political Science and Black Studies. I currently work in the Antitrust Division at the United States Department of Justice, and also serve on the Board of directors at Peace of Mind Project, a nonprofit that augments community-driven development initiatives in developing countries.

2. Why are you running for ANC?
I am running because I believe the challenges our community faces call for a candidate with a strong grasp of local concerns, a fresh perspective and approach to local issues, tangible solutions to neighborhood problems, and a strong commitment to smart growth. Most importantly, these challenges call for a commissioner who will proactively garner input and feedback from residents, local businesses, and civic organizations. If elected, I plan to do just that.

3. What are the biggest issues confronting your district?
Dirty, pest infested alleyways and streets are a concern for most residents in SMD1a04. Though like all other issues, this particular issue is directly tied to a general lack of understanding among many residents regarding the role and responsibility of ANCs as intermediaries between district agencies and residents. Clearly this is something the ANC needs to work more to address.

4. What do you think the ANC can do better?
Advisory neighborhood commissioners need to work better to more effectively disseminate information within their respective district. As a candidate one of the ways I have addressed this issue is by creating a website ( that informs residents of ongoing developments within the district and also allows them to give feedback through community surveys that are updated bi-monthly and issued prior to every ANC meeting. If elected, I plan to continue to employ the site to more effectively disseminate information and garner feedback from residents.

5. What do you think the area needs more of?
The majority of SMD1a04 residents I spoke with expressed the need for more community events, and cleaner and safer streets. As commissioner I will ensure these issues remain a priority for the commission.

6. One of the ANC's jobs is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
I support a case-by-case approach to liquor license regulation.

For more information: [take time to feel out community survey!!]
Thank you for your time. I hope I can count on your support this

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