Monday, November 3, 2014

Vote tomorrow! Read interviews with local ANC candidates

As you hopefully know, election day is tomorrow! And even if you aren't registered in DC, or not at your current address, you can vote at your polling place if you bring your DC drivers license with your current address or other valid proof of residence: a current government photo ID, government check or payment, utility bill or other government document with your current name and address.

A couple of weeks ago I published interviews with four of the five candidates for Ward 1 Board of Education: Scott Simpson, David Do, Lillian Perdomo, and Laura Wilson Phelan. The fifth, E. Gail Anderson Holness, did not respond to multiple emails. 

There are also many Advisory Neighborhood Commission seats up for election, some of which are contested. The Advisory Neighborhood Commission serves to advise the DC Council on local issues, help constituents with problems, and also has de facto power over liquor licenses: they can oppose them or force businesses to cutrail their hours or other operations -- for example, mandating no live music, no patio use after a certain time and so on. So they impact a lot of local businesses. The folks over at Short Articles about Long Meetings have done a number of those interviews already, so I figured why reinvent the wheel? So if you live in ANCs 1A02, 1A12, 1B02, 1B03, 1B04, 1B07, or 1B12, check them out. (Here's the map of those ANCs -- ANC1A and ANC1B are northern and southern Columbia Heights respectively.)

That said, two separate ANC candidates reached out to me about their campaign, and I admire that proactive attitude: Keith Dokho of ANC1A09 and Jessica Laura Smith of ANC1B07. So if you live in those two ANCs, read on! (And stay tuned for the rest of my endorsements in another post today. I already endorsed David Catania for mayor.)

First up is Keith Dokho, who is up against Bobby Holmes, a longtime commissioner.

When and where do I vote?
For residents of ANC 1A09 voting is November 4th at:
Cesar Chavez Prep Middle School
770 Kenyon Street NW
Washington, DC 20010
7:00 AM – 8 PM EST

Who are you and why should somebody vote for you?
My name is Keith Dokho. I am a proud DC resident and active member of our community who is both excited and concerned about the new developments facing our neighborhood. If elected to the ANC, I will encourage interested neighbors to get more involved by gathering valuable feedback regarding important local issues and advocating on their behalf.  In addition to disseminating relevant information and being accessible at community gatherings and ANC meetings, I intend on using a combination of communication methods such as email, internet surveys, and website utilization in order maximize my reach to residents and neighboring ANCs.

I bring over a decade of experience working on initiatives where I have represented and negotiated the interests of local communities to encourage sustainable growth and social well-being. I will utilize my experience and dedication to help our community continue to move forward but not at the expense of losing our celebrated past.

What are your main priorities?
There are many challenges facing ANC 1A09 and the surrounding ANCs of Columbia Heights and Park View in the upcoming years. My ANC has a particularly high concentration of large real estate developments that will directly impact a majority of the constituents in some way (i.e. parking, construction noise, litter, types of businesses, etc…).  I intend to focus on these developments with special attention given to the Park Morton site redevelopment which has been recently rebid by DCHA and the development of the Alsco/ Linens of the Week property which takes up almost the entire 700 block of Lamont Street.

Georgia Avenue is central to my ANC, so I will do my best to encourage the success of exisiting businesses operating along the corridor and will work to fill the empty storefronts with new viable businesses that serve the entire community.

How does someone reach you?
I can be reached at or in the ‘contact me’ section on I will also be available face-to-face at upcoming community events and ANC meetings.

And up next is Jessica Laura Smith, who's running against Juan Lopez.

ANC 1B07 (14th to 16th St. NW; Euclid to Girard NW)
ANC 1B07 is one of the smallest Single Member Districts (SMD) and lacks the number of restaurants, bars, and business that many other SMD’s have. While it can be a generally quiet area, it is still a vibrant, fun, and diverse neighborhood. After canvassing our area and talking with constituents, I’ve learned one of 1B07’s biggest setbacks is our lack of community engagement and connection. As the new commissioner, I want to be accessible to every resident regardless of how they prefer to connect. That’s why I’m going to produce and distribute monthly community newsletters, host quarterly SMD meetings, and create and maintain an active “News and Needs” online listserv. This will give me a chance to reach residents on multiples levels and will also create a better sense of connection within the community.

When and Where Do I Vote?
Election day is November 4th! Residents of ANC 1B07 vote at the Latin American Youth Center (1419 Columbia Rd. NW). Polls are open from 7:00 am-8:00 pm. If you are a first-time voter who registered by mail and did not provide proof of residence when registering, you will need to show proof of residence in order to cast a regular ballot (i.e. utility bill, photo ID, bank statement, paycheck).

Who are you and why should someone vote for you?
Jessica Laura Smith brings a hands-on, grassroots, person-centered approach to leadership and representation. As a candidate for ANC, she sees herself as a liaison between the people and their governing bodies. She will give all community members a voice and represent the needs of the diverse individuals and families all across Columbia Heights. Jessica is a passionate community leader and is confident that she can make ANC 1B a stronger neighborhood for everyone.
A social worker and community organizer, Ms. Smith knows the importance of fellowship and community outreach. She demonstrates her commitment to Columbia Heights by attending community events and forums, delivering meals to ill community members, attending local political training programs, shopping and eating locally, attending a local community-centered church, and engaging in meaningful relationships with neighbors.
Ms. Smith earned a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan, where she focused on evaluating social policy that have a direct effect on communities and how they function within the larger social system. Throughout her career she has gained a wide depth of experience engaging stakeholders, advocating for local change, identifying the needs of communities, and working with diverse groups of people. She works at a health care nonprofit in DC where she focuses her attention on Medicaid and the uninsured.

What are your main priorities?
-Connecting the greater community and raising awareness through monthly newsletters, quarterly Single Member District meetings, and an active community “News and Needs” online listserv.
-Creating partnerships with local police officers and community coalitions to keep residents safe and crime rates down.
-Communicating residents needs and concerns to the entire commission and higher governing bodies.  

How does someone reach you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, concerns, suggestions! You can find out more and message me through my website at, call me directly at (202) 627-0724 and follow me on Twitter @JessicaLSmith07.

1 comment:

  1. I support anyone running against Juan Lopez - he's been in that position for years, I used to live in that SMD, and his presence was never felt/no one knew who he was


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