Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Better Know Your ANC Candidates: ANC 1A12

The seventh in our Better Know Your ANC Candidates series is fightin' ANC 1A12, 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 1A12 is a new district and thus doesn't have an incumbent. The candidates are Rosalind Gilliam and Zach Teutsch. Here are their responses, first from Gilliam, then from Teutsch.
Rosalind Gilliam:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Rosalind M. Gilliam. I've been a resident in Columbia Heights for more than 30 years. I hold a degree in Public Administration from the University of DC. I am recently retired from our city's government. I am also very athletic. I like being in touch with what's going on in our city and community. I want more young and older residents in 1A-12 to get involved, know one another and work together for the good of the community.

2. Why are you running for ANC?
I am running for ANC 1A-12 because we have no representation. This area has a great deal of residents over the age of 50 and their voices need to be heard. There are needs to be met. There are not enough older residents included in the decision making of improvements going on in our area. I believe I am the one who can help.

3. What are the biggest issues confronting your district?
Affordable housing, crime, lack of interest in seniors, and older adults.

4. What do you think the ANC can do better?
Find out what their issues, needs and desires are and act accordingly, as they relate to improvements for them as well as the area.

5. What do you think the area needs more of?
The area needs more affordable housing; more housing for seniors (55+); more fitness facilities; a Medical Supply store in the DCUSA Mall, a Crafting(Joann's or Michael's) store in the DCUSA Mall; a Costume/Party store in the DCUSA Mall - NO MORE restaurants are needed at this particular time.

6. One of the ANC's jobs is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these
Right now, in my district, that situation seems to be under control and I'm very glad about that. Less is better in this area and throughout the District. It's okay for the restaurants to have a license as long as they adhere to the age law and know when to stop serving a customer. This curtails the violence and other bad behavior from citizens and visitors. We don't need any more liquor stores or places that sell alcoholic beverages in this area.

Zach Teutsch:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have been invovled in community activism for many years, beginning with my work on behalf on increasing affordable housing with inclusionary zoning in 2005. More recently, I have worked to protect social services and create a fairer, more progressive tax system in DC. In 2011, I, along with other leaders in the Progressive Budget Coalition, helped reverse tens of millions of dollars in cuts to housing, emergency assistance, and other essential DC programs. 

I have worked on behalf of Initiative 70, which will help reduce corruption in DC politics by banning direct corporate donations to DC election campaigns--these donations are already banned in federal campaigns. In the neighborhood, I have helped make sure that our roads are in good repair as a frequent user of 311, that our sidewalks are shoveled and safe for all (working with CM Graham and Mayor Gray, to get the major property owners to follow the law). I've also requested and watered trees to help beatify our neighborhood. 

My day job is as an educator and activist for the AFL-CIO. I have been working on economic justice for my whole career. When I am not focusing on my professional commitments or community affairs, I like to play and watch football, bake bread, play ultimate frisbee, and enjoy classic movies. I often use metro/metrobus, bike, and also drive so I am personally familiar with all the transit issues we face in our community. 

2. Why are you running for ANC?
It should be easier for people to be invovled in the ANC's process. I am excited to help us broaden the conversation so that people's opinions are heard even if they can't make it to ANC meetings. I'd like to periodically have open meetings in our part of the neighborhood. As important issues arise we should discuss them via community listservs as well as through in-person discussions. 

I take a specific, practical approach to the main ANC issues, since taking the same position all the time (either for or against new things) rarely gets us the best outcomes. I'd work with the other ANC members to carefully consider the implications of a lot of changes in our neighborhood, to facilitate positive change, but also to make sure that those changes are positive to us existing residents--not just folks who will move in later. 

3. What are the biggest issues confronting your district?
Our district has been changing very quickly. It'll be very important to stay on top of which businesses are coming in and make sure that they are structured in a way that benefits the neighborhood. We have a lot of diversity in our district and I'd like to see more public events designed to bring people together such as the Columbia Heights Tournament of Games which is organized annually by Mack Thompson III. 

4. What do you think the ANC can do better?
The ANC has been good at addressing local concerns. I think it can do a more effective job at soliciting input electronically and in writing so that people can weigh in on important issues, even if they can't be present at the meetings. This sort of e-input has been more common of late and we should build on that trend.  

5. What do you think the area needs more of?
We could use a better parking policy. Here's an example, only one side of the street is available for parking on many blocks in Columbia Heights during rush hour (such as Harvard, Irving, and parts of Columbia Road) and because of street cleaning that side changes, as a result when people park during rush hour on their blocks, they then have to move the car again to avoid getting ticketed the next morning at 7am. That's silly, we should be able to park on either side of our streets starting earlier than 8pm after street cleaning has finished for the day. We could also use more service on the 52, 53, and 54 buses. They are nearly always full in the morning and afternoon rush and yet they are less frequent than they used to be. We can always use a more diverse mix of locally owned restaurants.

6. One of the ANC's jobs is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
On the one hand, if we are too lenient it creates noise and nuisance problems for neighbors. If we are too strict, then new restaurants, expensive and cheap alike, will not be viable (it's hard to compete with competitors who have valuable liquor licenses without one) and we'll all lose out. I'd like to see us focus on allowing for innovation and new businesses in the neighborhood so long as they are adding to the life of the neighborhood rather than creating a nuisance. We should be open to experimentation but tough on businesses that create problems. We should be very careful to avoid the sort of system that involves a set number of licenses. That system seems like a good idea at first but it doesn't create much benefit for the community and just makes liquor licenses more valuable and leads to higher prices for consumers. We certainly don't need our neighborhood to involve paying *more* for things than we do already.

Here's Zach's campaign website

1 comment:

  1. I like how Zach Teutsch is going to beatify the neighborhood. That first step towards sainthood is always the toughest. :)


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