DCNorthstar has been covering uptown meetings and events for nearly two years. During that time, we’ve learned a lot about how our local elected officials work. We’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Being an effective representative requires an array of skills and talents. Citizens are charged with electing a neighbor to be their interface with the vast city government. Yet, there’s never been an effective mechanism to learn about the candidates for these local elections before we step into the voting booth. Until now.
We invited all the candidates for Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 4A and 4B and for the special election for the Ward 4 seat on the State Board of Education to meet us for an interview to share their plans and ideas with the community. Twelve of them graciously agreed.
The interviews took place on October 13th at the Shepherd Park Library. The candidates were thoughtful and passionate about serving their community. The interviews were conducted by Jennell Alexander and filmed and edited by Christopher Alexander. Talent management was performed by our children Savannah and Xavier and their friend.
This interview is with Alison Brooks, candidate for ANC 4B08 commissioner. We hope that you enjoy this series.
Here is the transcription of the interview. Jennell’s questions are in bold and the candidate’s responses make up the paragraph text.
Election Day is coming. Do you know who is running to be your Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner? My name is Jennell Alexander from DCNorthstar and we interviewed several candidates and they’re going to tell you a little bit about what their platforms are. Take a look.
- Jennell Alexander
Hi, my name is Alison Brooks and I’m running for ANC 4B08.
- Alison Brooks
What is the most important issue facing your Single Member District and how do you intend to address it?
Right now in 4B08, we are faced with traffic concerns, traffic safety concerns as well as crime, and we’re bordered by 4B09 which has had a lot of shootings and crime and so we need to work together on that border. So I’ll incorporate that into my answer as well. So from a traffic perspective, we’ve already begun to work with DDOT. We’ve had various surveys. We’re waiting for a response now and how to address the intersection of North Capital and Longfellow where there is a daily accident at this point. So we’re hoping to do something almost immediately whether I’m elected or not to combat the problems there. Also, the rush hour traffic on New Hampshire Avenue, Riggs Road… It’s a quality of life issue for some of the residents who are fortunate enough not to have to go to work every day. So, we’re working on that.
As far as crime is concerned. I’m involved in a public safety meeting that meets monthly. We’re making the police department aware of the neighbors’ concerns. We’re advocating that every neighbor participate in the camera program that the city is offering so that we’ll have camera footage to help combat some of the current problems that we’re facing. Hopefully that will be successful.
What are your thoughts on the pace of the city’s development? You can answer this in regards to Walter Reed development or the city’s comprehensive plan.
With regards to development, we’re growing, right? We need to keep up with that growth, not only from a housing perspective but from an overall infrastructure perspective and services perspective. So growth is a good thing as we grow from a people perspective. We also grow financially and in vibrancy in neighborhood activities. You would think you’d want there to be more restaurants in your community. More services surrounding recreation, all of that.
In that aspect, my thought is right now we have outpaced our services, so we’re growing, but from a service perspective have not kept up with that growth. So we need to talk about what we’re going to do from an infrastructure perspective: roads, traffic, city services to make sure that the growth is an enjoyable experience for everyone.
This commission struggles to work together at times. How will you work with the residents and other commissioners when there is a contentious issue?
As far as working with neighbors is concerned, I’ve worked with neighbors for the 17 years that I’ve lived in South Manor. I’m a native Washingtonian, I’ve lived here in DC all my life, but in the South Manor neighborhood, I’ve been here for 17 years and so I already have a history of working with neighbors and helping them resolve whatever concerns or issues that they have at that time.
I’m just going to continue to do that in the way that I’ve been doing it. Some of the stories or experiences at ANC meetings are…there is a challenge, but I think that I can be a very calming force and I’m neutral in the sense that I would be new to the ANC, so my perspectives and my behavior would be different than that has already been displayed. But there needs to be a certain civility. I think that has been lost and hopefully with a new election, that’ll bring some new behavior.
How do you plan to keep residents informed about issues?
I live in a very unique area because not everyone in my neighborhood blogs or is on the internet or emails and so there’s gonna have to be many streams of notification. There is going to have to be face to face meetings, there’s going to have to be Internet communication, there’s going to have to be a mailings for some people that don’t get out. And so I have already started to do those kinds of things. We’ll just have to continue to do them.
Why are you the best person for the job? Why should your neighbors vote for you?
I care about my community. I’ve already been working in my community and will continue to work in my community whether I’m elected or not. Hopefully I’m elected and they vote for me and they appreciate the efforts that I’ve made over the last 17 years and will appreciate what I can bring to an ANC.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and enjoy yourself in Ward 4?
I’m a football fan and my husband’s a basketball coach, so I guess in Ward 4 what we do is we go to basketball games. I was at Emory (Rec) yesterday for a basketball game and I’ll be out and about this weekend at some of the Rec doing stuff with my husband and my children.