City Paper Widget

Monday, March 10, 2014

ANC1B Again Fails to Have a Quorum

For the second time in four months, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street failed to have a quorum for its regular monthly meeting. Only five of 11 sitting Commissioners attended the meeting on Thursday, March 6. Six were necessary to have a quorum.

About 45 developers, architects, homeowners, businesspeople, and members of the community were left waiting, hoping an absent Commissioner would show up so the Commission could take binding votes on the matters on the agenda. The meeting, which began at seven, eventually broke up at 9pm.

Not enough for a quorum
The following Commissioners attended the meeting: Marc Morgan (district 01), Deborah Thomas (district 04), Ricardo Reinoso (district 05), James Turner (district 09), and Zahra Jilani (district 12).

The following Commissioners did not attend: Jeremy Leffler (district 02), Sedrick Muhammed (district 03), Dyana Forester (district 06), Juan Lopez (district 07), Tony Norman (district 10), E. Gail Anderson Holness (district 11)

Commissioner Emily Washington (district 08) announced her resignation at last month's meeting. She is moving out of her ANC district.

In December 2013, ANC1B also failed to have a quorum when a meeting was held on the same day as a Christmas party for ANC Commissioners -- see SALM blog post for December 9, 2013.

Recent attendance record of ANC1B Commissioners

Below is record of ANC Commissioners' attendance record for the last four monthly meetings, based on my observation. Just like airlines, I define "late" as arriving more than 15 minutes behind schedule. Meetings usually last between two and three hours.
  • Morgan (01): Three present, one absent
  • Leffler (02): Two present, two absent
  • Muhammed (03): One present, three absent
  • Thomas (04): One present, three absent
  • Reinoso (05): Four present
  • Forester (06): One present, two absent, one late*
  • Lopez (07): Two present, one absent, one late**
  • Washington (resigned, 08): Two present, one absent
  • Turner (09): Three present, one absent
  • Norman (10): Three present, one absent
  • Anderson Holness (11): Two absent, two late***
  • Zilani (12): Four present
* arrived 20 minutes late, left same meeting after 90 minutes
** arrived 25 minutes late
*** arrived 90 minutes late twice

March meeting: making the best of it

To productively fill the time while hoping in vain that another Commissioner would eventually arrive, ANC1B Chair James Turner asked newly-appointed ANC1B committee chairs to speak and take questions from the audience about their work. Alcohol-policy committee Chair Nick Baumann, Transportation Committee Chair Ben Klemens, and Design Review Committee Chair Lela Winston spoke.

This turned out to be a surprisingly effective use of time. The committee chairs outlined the responsibilities and current concerns of their committees. Members of the community spoke up to ask questions about how the process worked. Several people who seemed somewhat baffled by the proceedings received clarification. One urged the committee and community members to use fewer abbreviations and jargon, so novice members of the audience could more easily understand.

After that, several members of the community who had hoped to get ANC endorsement on various projects spoke up. The longest presentation was by the developers of Portner Place (1450 V Street NW), who sought ANC endorsement for their appearance before D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) later this month. The ANC Commissioners in attendance asked about the concerns raised when the developers presented before the Design Review Committee on February 26 -- see SALM blog post of March 3.

Members of the current tenants' committee of Portner Place spoke up in favor of the design and plans to move families out while construction went on. The commissioners in attendance seemed to approve of the development.

In addition, the aspiring proprietor of Peace Lounge (2632 Georgia Avenue) and a homeowner from the 1300 block of S Street also wished to tell the committee they needed ANC endorsement this month for their projects, because they would soon be appearing before various DC government bodies. Commissioner Turner suggested they could get letters from their ANC district representatives praising their projects and explaining why the ANC failed to vote. While this would not carry the "great weight" of a conventional ANC decision, Turner said, it might help.

At the end of the meeting, Commissioner Turner announced there would be a special election to fill the place of Commissioner Washington, and urged interested members of the public to pick up nomination papers from the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. No date for the special election has been set.


  1. and Holness wanted to be on the Council? pfffft.

  2. and awesome that Thomas was there -- first time in about a year for her.

  3. Thank god we have Zahra Jilani. Definitely voting for her again.