City Paper Widget

Friday, October 31, 2014

ANC1B District 12 Candidates Hand in Their Homework

Matt Abbruzzese and John Green, candidates for district 12 of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street, have turned in their homework.

There was not enough time at an October 16 ANC Candidates' Forum for all of the questions that were submitted in writing. So the sponsors, the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance and the Meridian Hill Neighborhood Association, sent the candidates home with some of the questions that went unanswered. Below are the responses from Abbruzzese and Green.

-- There are a lot of people moving into DC but do not change the registration of their cars. How do you address neighbors who avoid paying DC taxes by failing to register their cars in DC?

Abbruzzese: The specific District of Columbia government agency responsible for Registration of Out-of-State Automobiles (ROSA) enforcement is the Department of Public Works (DPW).  As a city, we must first step up our ROSA patrols.  DC could give $100 fines to those who try to swindle DC law. Otherwise, a potentially effective way to address this issue is by telling the person who hasn't transferred yet that you know about it.  Using positive peer pressure in these types of situations can be quite effective.

Green: More than likely, individuals who do not register their cars in DC will get ticketed frequently or rent private parking spaces to avoid these fines. We all can agree that the Department of Public Works (DPW) does a fine job of ticketing, towing, and booting non-registered and registered cars. If elected to the ANC, I would work closely with DPW enforce the District’s parking regulations.

-- How have you/will you promote unity within our community?

Green: This is a great question. I will work with community leaders, churches and civic associations in our community to build more unity. I would like to see the ANC sponsor an annual block party to benefit a local charity and work to plan, promote and seek community assistance for such an event. I will be a leader that promotes community involvement at the grass-roots level.

As my campaign flyer states: “The U Street Corridor is more than a place where people go for entertainment. It is a community.” I stand by my statement 110%!

Abbruzzese: Bringing community and people together is my forte. As Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner 1B12, I will continue to promote unity within our neighborhood by hosting single member district 1B12 (SMD 1B12) meetings on a quarterly basis. There is a lot of tension between residents of the U Street Corridor that isn't addressed by our local community leaders. Fights aren't breaking out frequently between neighbors; however, there's a certain silence that blankets over much of our community. With roughly 1,000-1,200 people moving into the District every month, many of them are attracted to the increasingly densely populated neighborhoods around 14th and U. I love living in a diverse urban environment where the number of new transplants versus long-term and native Washingtonians, and its cultural and socio economic diversity is vast. But still silence between neighbors on the streets prevails. We need a leader who can and will work hard to turn that around. A leader who values unity and understands that face to face communication is key to achieving a better corridor for more Washingtonians.

My vision is one in which more community engagement achieves more. 1B12 neighborhood meetings should absolutely take place at the very start of 2015. Ideally, meetings will be hosted in locations more conducive to a higher turnout of attendance from residents and local business owners. The day and time in which these meetings take place is certainly a critical factor to high attendance, as well. For example, meetings to discuss and inform on the issues and opportunities affecting our neighborhood and all other community events might take place in the morning to early afternoon hours on a Saturday in the community room at the Paul Laurence Dunbar Apartments or in the community areas at other residential properties within SMD 1B12. Face to face communication between more neighbors will bring us closer. I know that a closer, friendlier community can lead to a more informed, safer environment for those who live and work within it. And it might make for a more effective local government, too!

--  Do you favor mandatory restrictions not allowing residential parking permits for new condos and rentals?

Abbruzzese: I favor strict enforcement of the mandatory restrictions not allowing residential parking permits for new condos and rentals that already have those restrictions in agreements already in place.  I do not favor mandatory restrictions for future development projects, because we don't yet have enough proof on record that this city (i.e. - DMV, MPD) has the capabilities to effectively enforcing them.  I need to see a better organized operation that uses more advanced technologies to centralize information between agencies in order to feel comfortable enough to favor proposed project plans that include this type of restriction.  As a Commissioner, I'll advocate for real "smart growth".  It isn't smart to a strike deal with a developer on a deal that favors high density living without enough space allocated for parking.  More people = more cars.  Let's not be fooled and finally elect the most experienced candidate with a backbone to lead an effective fight to maintain our good neighborhood quality of life.

Green: Yes, for developments that do not provide parking for residents or obtain parking variances from the city. This is a thorny issue that will only get worse if we as a community do not address it head-on. The ANC can lead on finding a solution for parking, but we need a strong voice to advocate for 1B12. I am that strong voice.

-- ANC 1B fails to have quorum at many of its meetings, and therefore no decisions can get made. What can the ANC itself do to improve? What should the City Council do to improve them?  Should ANCs be abolished or defunded?

Green: The ANCs should not be abolished or defunded. The ANC as a whole should amend their by-laws to address commissioners who chronically miss meetings. It is a travesty certain elected officials cannot satisfy the basic function they were elected to preform. We need to hold them accountable.

I am the only ANC candidate who has publicly pledged the following: “If elected ANC 1B12 Commissioner, I will not miss a single monthly ANC 1B meeting during my term. In the event that I do miss a meeting, I will not seek reelection. That is my promise to voters, residents of 1B12, and the community, period.”

Abbruzzese: ANC 1B Commissioners need to collaborate more to work more like a team and in a much better fashion than ever before.  One of the top reasons I'm running is because I'm deeply afraid of the next 2 years playing out like the last 2.  All 12 of ANC 1B's Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners need to know each other better and trust each other more.  The DC Council could work closer with ANC bodies across all 8 wards to learn more about what works and what doesn't.  More resources need to be leveraged and in much smarter ways to begin resolving our government's operational issues.  We must also be informed voters when we cast our ballots on election day!  Putting the right person in the right job will make a difference.  And no, ANCs should not be abolished.

End of candidate responses.

ANC1B, in addition to U Street, includes all or part of the following neighborhoods: Columbia Heights, LeDroit Park, Pleasant Plains, Shaw, University Heights, and lower Georgia Avenue.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 4, but early voting centers in nine neighborhood areas opened on October 25. There is also early voting downtown at Judiciary Square. Today (October 31) is the last day of early voting.

Don't know your ANC district? There are two search tools: one by the DC government, the other by Code for DC.

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