Monday, November 5, 2018

Know your Advisory Neighborhood Commission candidates: 1B02, Caleb-Michael Files and Dan Orlaskey


Let's meet the candidates in our local ANC races! Next up we are meeting the two candidates in ANC1B02, which is roughly Florida Avenue to S Street and 12th to 8th Streets.

The Advisory Neighborhood Commission is a nonpartisan, elected body that advises city government on neighborhood issues and also has some power over liquor licenses. The ANC is made up of Single Member Districts that cover a few blocks and commissioners for those districts are elected to two-year terms. The opinions on the ANC are supposed to carry "great weight" at government agencies like the Planning Commission, Alcohol Board, Zoning Board and others, who hear applications for permits such as doing something outside of what's allowed (like maybe more square feet or fewer parking spaces for a building.) Commissioners can also help their constituents with city issues, such as missed trash collection or other problems, and can stop or force changes to liquor license applications and renewals as well.

There are two ANCs in our area: ANC1A covers northern Columbia Heights and Park View while ANC1B covers southern Columbia Heights, Pleasant Plains and part of the U Street and Shaw areas, and sadly only four races have more than one candidate -- the rest either have one or no official candidates. I sent the candidates in these contested races a questionnaire. Here is what Dan and Caleb-Michael had to say.

Dan Orlaskey

Tell us about yourself.
I'm an almost 10 year resident of the U Street neighborhood (1B02). I'm an attorney with the Department of Transportation where I work on infrastructure project development, environmental law, and open government law. I also volunteer as a lacrosse coach for School Without Walls and with the DC Arts Center and am the Treasurer for the Ward One Democrats. I'm originally from New York, but spent over a decade in Baltimore before moving to DC in 2009.

Why are you running for ANC?
Put simply, I want to ensure my neighborhood grows in a way that benefits the people that live here. 1B02 is one of the fastest growing districts in DC and I want to ensure that this enormous amount of development doesn't hurt current residents through forced relocation or pricing people out. I want to ensure that new developments are directly beneficial to the community. I also want to help create a greater sense of community through increased community events and help manage the increase in traffic congestion.

What are your main priorities that you plan to work on, if elected?
I will focus on ensuring that residential displacement stops in my district. That affordable housing is actually affordable and accessible and not just a means for developers to get handouts from the city. I will ensure that new developments are in keeping with community character and directly benefit neighborhood residents. Finally, I will work to implement new dedicated bus and bike lanes to help alleviate traffic problems and accidents.

One of the ANC's main duties is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
My neighborhood has quite a few bars and restaurants in it...which may be an understatement. The service industry in the U Street corridor is a major economic driver and employer. That being said, I believe we have reached a "critical mass" and will be careful to thoroughly review new liquor license applications to ensure that we are not encroaching on residential areas more than we already are. I will be taking a balanced approach, weighing each application on its merits to ensure that the community is being served while not unduly restricting small business growth.

How can voters get in touch with you?
Voters can email me directly at dan4anc@gmail.com. They can also visit my facebook page (www.facebook.com/dan4anc) or on Twitter @DanielOrlaskey.


Caleb-Michael Files

Tell us about yourself.
I am Caleb-Michael Files, a senior digital strategist for the AFL-CIO here in D.C., and reside at 8th and U streets with my husband, Gerardo, and our two dogs, Blizzard and Scout.
I have worked in political organizing for the last 10 years of my life and we are excited to be settling down in the district and build my family here.

Why are you running for ANC?

Because our SMD has issues and I believe that my community building efforts and bringing everyone to the table will be the way we solve the issues facing our SMD.

What are your main priorities that you plan to work on, if elected?
Crime and ABRA regulations. We desperately need impact settlement agreements established with a number of our nightclubs and bars and I believe I can help to do that.
We also need to jump on the opportunity that JBG has provided with seed money for a BID and work to keep our community safe and clean.

One of the ANC's main duties is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
We have to do more. As the ABRA commission for 1B recently disbanded from my understanding I will make it my priority to represent our SMD on the ABRA commission.

How can voters get in touch with you?
They can call me, they can text me, they can find me on social media. All of that information is available over at calebforanc.com

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