Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Better Know Your ANC Candidates: ANC 1A06

The eighth 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.

ANC 1A06 is currently represented by William "Bill" Brown Jr., who is running again but did not respond to a few emails about this questionnaire. His opponents are Patrick W. Flynn and Kevin Clinesmith, both of whom did respond. 

First is Clinsemith:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
After living in Arlington since 2008, I finally became a true Washingtonian and moved to Columbia Heights (Park Triangle Apartments, 1375 Kenyon St NW) in November 2011 and could not be happier with my neighborhood choice.  Everything from our local farmer’s markets to our culture and diverse options in local businesses creates a small community feeling within our large metropolitan region and has made me feel incredibly welcome.

I was born and raised in a small farming town in rural Michigan, and have degrees from Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan State University College of Law, and the Georgetown University Law Center.   I came to the DC area in 2008 to work for the U.S. Department of Energy, where I have worked in various areas for almost five years.  Previously, I worked in state government in Michigan, primarily in the Governor’s office and Attorney General’s office.   I am an avid college sports fan and marathon runner—in fact, if you see a tall guy with glasses running around the neighborhood in MSU gear, feel free to stop me and say hello or just yell “Go Green!”

2. Why are you running for ANC?
I have always held a strong desire to give back to the communities in which I reside in and make a difference in the lives of others; this feeling is especially strong since moving to the Columbia Heights area because of our exciting, rapid development and numerous opportunities to be locally involved.  I believe that the ANC office is an ideal opportunity for individuals who want embrace their community and have a chance to begin or continue lifelong commitments to public service and help raise the concerns and needs of our neighborhoods to the District government.  Win or lose, I know that the 1A06 Single Member District (SMD) is a community that I will be proud to be an active resident of for many years to come as I continue to find ways to be more involved.

3. What are the biggest issues confronting your district?
The Columbia Heights area has grown rapidly over the past few years, which has drastically increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic and changed the landscape of 1A06 quite substantially.  The increase in population has largely created foreseeable headaches associated with a vibrantly developing commercial district, which in turn may cause local residents to have a hard time feeling a sense of community with so many non-residents present at all times.  Nevertheless, 1A06 remains a vibrant area that contains one of the central icons of our community’s culture—the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza—which allows us the opportunity to welcome everyone to our community in a central location while maintaining our own connection through local events which bring us all together.

4. What do you think the ANC can do better?
In my view, it would be beneficial for the ANC to expand its efforts to bring in more voices from the local communities.  For instance, many individuals—especially residents who are not registered to vote in the District—have little understanding about what the ANC is, what it can do for them, and how they can be more involved in our local government.  I always appreciate the efforts of local ANCs to send out communications via local email listservs, but even that is limited to people who proactively join such forums.  A simple quarterly mailing to residents informing them of issues and how to participate, or even meet and greets at local events, may increase resident interaction which, in turn, will enhance our community’s success.  Sometimes the best way to bridge our community is to return to our offline roots, which requires us to exit our comfort zones and actually introduce ourselves to our neighbors and our community or engage in grassroots movements.

5. What do you think the area needs more of?
We need to build a sense of a welcoming culture and community within SMD, not just for visitors to the area, but also for ourselves.  Our area would greatly benefit from a series of seemingly small changes.  Culturally, I would like to see more support for events in the Civic Plaza to encourage local citizens to come out and meet one another, such as public concerts or art shows, and also encourage the continued use of art murals to beautify the locality and instill local pride, as has been done so well at Tubman Elementary School. A greater effort to clean up our neighborhood is needed, perhaps through the installation of more public trash bins—especially on the corners of 13th and Park/Kenyon; or providing increased support for the Ward 1 Clean Team—ideally through partnerships with local businesses that rely on our public spaces to attract customers; and requiring more vermin control around construction areas.  There is also room for improvement to our local dog park, and it would also be beneficial to work in partnership with neighboring SMD’s to promote local cooperation and participation in greater community projects such as Wengari Gardens, which is quickly turning into a successful community garden.

6. One of the ANC's jobs is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
 While it is important to ensure that careful consideration is made before expanding liquor licenses or changing existing rules, we must ensure that we do not needlessly prevent new, existing, and expanding local businesses from being successful, especially because of the positive impact they have on our local communities in terms of job creation, etc.  So, we should make every effort to responsibly support these local businesses and give due consideration to their requests so long as they do not harm our communities, which in turn requires a careful, case-by-case analysis complimented by a diligent effort to understand public opinion to make a determination. 

His websites: https://www.facebook.com/ClinesmithForANC and https://twitter.com/Clinesmith1A06 

Next is Flynn:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Patrick W. Flynn and I am a resident of Kenyon Street, a real estate agent with Long and Foster, and a civic-minded person who hopes to improve my Columbia Heights neighborhood. I came to the District of Columbia in 2005 to attend Georgetown University with every intention to return to Boston after earning my dual degrees in Government and Theater and Performance Studies. But from the moment I moved to our vibrant neighborhood, I knew I wanted to make DC, and Columbia Heights, my permanent home. I love this neighborhood and I would like to utilize my drive and team building skills to be a leader for the community and address the important issues specific to Columbia Heights and ANC 1A06. 

2. Why are you running for ANC?
I want to improve neighborhood safety, reform parking regulations, and foster a sense of community for all who live, work, and go to school in ANC 1A06. Every day as I walk around our single member district 1A06, whether it be to the Metro station for work, or to the park with my rescue dog Rosie, or to preview a new property that’s come on the market, I see an area that has so much potential. But I’m tired of seeing empty beer cans haphazardly tossed in a garden that my neighbor works so hard to maintain; I’m tired of seeing newly planted trees left to wither away without water; I’m tired of not being able to find parking on my street after work; and I’m tired of seeing the red and blue lights in the neighborhood at night and wondering if it’s safe for my elderly mother to come visit me. It’s not in my nature to wait for someone else to fix a problem so I formulated a plan and decided to run for ANC.

3. What are the biggest issues confronting your district?
I think some of the big issues are: 1) Neighborhood safety 2) Lack of clear and adequate parking regulation and signage 3) Litter, graffiti and improper disposal of trash 4) Rodents 5) The need to improve property maintenance and upkeep

4. What do you think the ANC can do better?
I think the ANC should be building a better community through education and outreach. Many public resources exist that, when combined with the efforts of private citizens, could make Columbia Heights truly great, if only the residents knew about them. For example, I wonder how many people knew that in the days following the June 30 “Derecho” wind storm that the city offered free tree removal. I wonder how many people know that they can call the department of transportation and get a free parking pass to allow their guests to park on zoned city streets without fear of ticketing. I wonder how many people know they can adopt the baby street tree of their choice and become a “canopy keeper” and the city will come out and put a 10 gallon cistern around it for them to fill and keep the city and the neighborhood green. I wonder how many people know that when it’s forecasted to be above 90 degrees trash collection begins an hour earlier. I wonder how many people know when and where the ANC holds its meetings? I wonder who knows what’s proposed for the vacant lot at 1368-1370 Kenyon Street? It’s the ANC’s responsibility to make people aware of these things and so much more and I would like to make sure we get this information to our neighbors.

5. What do you think the area needs more of?
Consistent police patrols and promotion of neighborhood watch training opportunities
Parking regulation reform
Community-based commitment to responsible rodent and trash control in combination with more public trash cans and recycling bins as well as grants for senior citizens and the poor to buy them
An active attitude toward green space enhancement, beautification, and graffiti removal
Enhanced opportunities for relationship building between local business owners, the patrons of their businesses and the residents of our community
Community organized “meet your neighbor” and “block clean up” parties
Registered voters and opportunities for civic participation
Sidewalk, pavement and street light upgrade/repairs
More mail boxes
Upgrades to and publicizing the existence of online neighborhood message boards and blogs
More listening and more doing -- your suggestions are most welcome and you may reach me at PatrickWarnerFlynn@gmail.com, by phone at 202-747-4633, on twitter @CoHiPat, or at www.facebook.com/votepatflynn 

6. One of the ANC's jobs is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
I think community input is imperative. There should be well publicized and open meetings to discuss every change in liquor licensing. The ANC must put the needs of the whole community first but we also need to be supportive and communicative to our business owners as a community. The only effective way to regulate liquor licenses is to make it a community dialogue between those who desire them, and those who do not.


  1. As a former Michigander, resident of the Thumb, and Spartan, I'm rooting for Clinesmith!

  2. I spent several years working in the neighborhood and building close relationships with the people who live there. I'm happy to learn someone with Patrick Flynn's talent, judgment, and compassion is stepping up to serve this unique, and truly special community.

  3. I've emailed Bill Brown a couple of times over the past few years, and he never once even replied back. He doesn't seem to have much interest in doing his job, so I'm not surprised he didn't respond to this blog, either.


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