This is a challenging and transitional time in the District. You don’t have to run for the DC Council to be in a position to do something about it.
At the neighborhood level are elected representatives who meet monthly about issues of the day. These volunteer bodies are called advisory neighborhood commissions, or ANCs.
The commissioners serve two-year terms. And ANC 3F could see significant turnover when their current term ends in December. Monika Nemeth, the commission chair and 3F06 representative, and David Cristeal, who has served 3F01 since April, will be on the November general election ballot. But Naomi Rutenberg (3F03) and Andrea Molod (3F05) are not seeking re-election. Leah Frelinghuysen (3F04) and Carolinn Kuebler (3F02) are undecided.
All seats are up for election, however, so anyone who is interested in running should throw their hat in the ring.
How much impact can a volunteer commission have?
DC agencies are required by law to give “great weight” to the positions of ANCs, and will often reach out to the commissions for direction. For example, DDOT is requesting input from ANCs on a list of proposed “slow streets,” one of the ways the agency is responding to changing transportation needs due to Covid-19. ANC commissioners are also serving on the DDOT advisory committee for the agency’s study of the Connecticut Avenue reversible lanes. ANC 3F and others along the avenue will vote at some point on the study’s recommendations and submit their resolutions to DDOT for consideration.
Some of the other local issues in which ANCs will play an important role:
- Affordable housing in Ward 3
- The homeless residents of Van Ness
- The Connecticut Avenue Streetscape Project
- The Soapstone Valley sewer rehabilitation project
- The UDC Campus Plan
So if you want to help the city grapple with its challenges, you can make a real difference by starting in your own neighborhood.
What to do when you decide to run for ANC
Now’s the time to start the process of getting your name on the ballot for the November 3rd general election. The deadline for picking up and submitting completed nominating petitions is August 5th.
This year, the DC Board of Elections has made some accommodations for Covid-19. It’s now possible to pick up and file the required paperwork without going to the BOE office in person. Your nominating petition needs ten signatures from neighbors in your single member district instead of 25. The notary requirement has been waived.
Let your neighbors know you are running
Old-fashioned flyers are a great way to let your neighbors know you are running for ANC. Slip them under doors, post them on telephone poles, and leave some in apartment building lobbies. Include your contact information. Instead of meet and greets, you could schedule Zoom chats.
And we at Forest Hills Connection stand ready to help you spread the word. We will publish your statement and publicize your virtual chats. Just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s it really like to be on the ANC?
You can contact three former ANC 3F commissioners and find out. Mary Beth Ray served two terms ending in 2016. Marlene Berlin, the Forest Hills Connection editor, served in the early 1990s. You can reach out to either or both of them at email@example.com.
And you can contact former commissioner and chair Adam Tope at firstname.lastname@example.org.