Chaos erupted at the February ANC 4B meeting last evening, as the commissioners tried and failed to complete an election of officers for the second time in as many meetings.
The Election That Wasn’t
Each year, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions are required to hold elections to select officers for various positions like Chairperson, Vice-Chair, and Treasurer. After failing to reach a consensus on several positions at the January meeting, the expectation was that that election would take place on Monday night.
That did not happen.
Instead, when I arrived in the meeting room a little after 7:00 pm, the Commissioners were locked in a circular and, frankly, indecipherable discussion about internal ANC processes and “affidavits”. After about ten minutes of back and forth, it looked like the election was going to be held.
And just then, three commissioners stood up and walked out of the room, not to return.
The audience sat in confused silence because none of the commissioners explained what was really going on. Because of those three commissioners walking out (Andre Carley – 4B01, Tanya Topolewski – 4B02 and Scot Knickerbocker – 4B03), there was not a quorum of six present, so the election could not be legally held.
After taking a few moments to reorganize, the remaining commissioners (Brenda Parks – 4B04, Yolanda Hughes – 4B05, Natalee Snider – 4B06, Judi Jones – 4B07 and Tischa Cockrell – 4B09) continued with the meeting, with Commissioner Parks serving as Chair Pro Tempore. Commissioner Barbara Rogers – 4B08 was absent.
UPDATE: The issue that caused the election to boil over is that apparently there is some question about whether one of the commissioners actually lives in her single member district. The affidavits mentioned above supposedly support that notion. The commissioners could not agree on the validity affidavits, which precipitated the walk out.
After those fireworks, the rest of the meeting was a fairly normal affair. Some highlights include:
Breakthrough Montessori School
A representative from Breakthrough Montessori School came to share information about their new location, right in the heart of the Takoma business district. The school will eventually serve children in grades PK3 through 6th at 6856 Eastern Avenue, NW. This new site will include approximately 41,000 square feet of indoor space, which, when fully built-out, will accommodate Breakthrough’s planned full enrollment of 405 children ages 3 through 12. A traffic study has already been completed. Learn more about the school and its planned relocation at their web site, BreakthroughMontessori.org
Solar United Neighbors
Mr. Frank Mitchell came to present information on a new Solar Power co-op effort for the District. Solar United Neighbors is a non-profit organization dedicated to representing the needs and interests of solar owners and supporters. Learn more at SolarUnitedNeighbors.org/dc
Historic Preservation 101 Seminar
There will be a seminar on Historic Preservation on Saturday March 10th at Shepherd Library at 10 am. This event is sponsored by the Manor Park Citizens Association, Concerned Neighbors, Inc., and the Shepherd Park Citizens Association.
Mayor Barry Statue Unveiling
Phillip McAuley from the Mayor’s office shared that the unveiling of the Marion Barry Statue will take place this coming Saturday at 11:30 am at the Wilson Building.
Metropolitan Police Report
Captain Brian Ray shared the latest crime statistics and news. Year to date, total violent crime is down 12% from last year and total property crime is down 4%. However, there has been a big spike is theft from auto, which includes the 47 cars that were broken into on one night in Shepherd Park just a few weeks ago. A suspect has been arrested in that case.
Walter Reed Update
Caroline Kenney from Urban Atlantic presented the latest update on the Walter Reed project. You can read more about her presentation from my notes from the ANC 4A meeting from earlier in the month.
The commission passed three resolutions before I left the meeting at 9:22 pm:
- Resolution #4B-18-0202 recommends that the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board grant a stipulated (temporary) liquor license to Culture Coffee Too at their new location in the Fort Totten neighborhood.
- Resolution #4B-18-0203 on the Comprehensive Plan, recommends that before the City Council takes any action on the Office of Planning (OP) Framework element amendments, OP should actively present their proposed framework changes to ANCs and civic groups throughout the city and incorporate the feedback received.
- Resolution#4B-18-0201 recommends that the Council pass a resolution that Urges the Reassessment of the city’s relationship with Wells Fargo bank.