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 Geoff Bromaghim, candidate for ANC 4B07 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. I’m Geoff Bromaghim. I’m running for commissioner for ANC 4B07 commissioner.
What is the most important issue facing your Single Member District and how do you intend to address it?
Great question. I don’t know if it’s what other people would consider to be the most important issue for our district, but what’s most important to me in 4B07 and maybe it’s important to just back up a little bit and say, 4B07 is a relatively long, relatively narrow ANC district that spans from Cedar Avenue where the Tacoma Metro is between the border around between Blair and Eastern Avenue and it runs down to New Hampshire. And so within that we have sort of two different neighborhoods. I think I’m on the North End where people tend to think that they live in Takoma. In the south end, they live in Lamond. They’re two great neighborhoods, but I do think the people within them feel like they’re one or the other.
For me the most important thing is making sure that those are connected and talking to one another. Anything I can do to get those people to know one another better. We’re at a time nationally where politics are sort of gross. One of the reasons for me running is because I don’t know what else to do other than to reach out and get to know my neighbor a little bit better and start building those bridges on the most local level. One of my missions will be to try to reach out and get to know everyone in the district. And I’m doing my best to keep them all informed and to represent all of them.
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.
Yeah. It’s a definite fact that the city is developing. There’s a building happening where I live on Aspen Street. There are a couple of developments that have occurred in the last few years. There’s another one that’s proposed on Vine Street. There’s a building just up the street from where I live, a half block away. It’s a house that’s going to be torn down and made into eight condo units. I live across the street from a parking lot that’s owned by a development company. And so it’s sort of like how long is it going to be, you know, we can take in bets on whether it’s one year or ten, but at some point it’s going to turn over and that’s really important because when these things turnover, it’s like that’s our one opportunity to have a say on what it looks like and what is contained there.
And so, you know, there, there are certain things that an ANC can do and certain things an ANC can’t do, but, but it is our one shot to have an opinion. And so I think that’s really critical and I think people that aren’t right next to it might not care as much, but everyone should have an opportunity to say, “Okay, we may not be able to stop this, but we want it to look like this. We want to make sure that it has affordable housing options. We want to make sure it fits with the style of our community.” That’s important to me. That’s critical.
This commission struggles to work together at times. How will you work with the residents and other commissioners when there is a contentious issue?
Yeah, it’s my understanding that it has been contentious. ANC 4B hasn’t gotten along real well.
I think that’s one of the ways where having a fresh face, someone who’s not familiar with all the history, is a positive thing. I can look at that with fresh eyes and just have a new approach. And I don’t have a lot of history with the other commissioners. I think people would find me to be a very good listener. That is how I start off interacting with people: It’s “Tell me what do you think”. And giving them the opportunity to let you know. And that’s what the ANC is for. I’ve been very clear in my literature and my campaign, whenever I interact with someone, they always say, “What’s your platform?”
I don’t have a platform. I’m not sure that an ANC commissioner is really supposed to have a platform. It’s just you’re supposed be accessible and you’re supposed to represent your folks and see what they have to say and then funnel that up.
How do you plan to keep residents informed about issues?
Great question. and that’s something that I’m not sure that I have the one answer to right now. One obvious thing is the listservs and a technology like NextDoor.com. So you can always be posting to your community there. I’m starting to build a more robust mail list of neighbors and I hope to continue building that.
If I win, I’ll have to give this more thought because I know that there are some people that don’t go to my website to look for updates, who don’t go to my Facebook page to look for updates who won’t maybe check the list serves or at least not on a regular basis to, to find that. I know that the incumbent in my district has block captains who distribute flyers. That works well, when you have a block captain on a block. This is a problem that I’m still working through and I will need to figure it out if I win. But I know there are some people that aren’t gonna hit the listservs and I need to have a strategy for how to make sure that they’re informed and connected and I intend to do that.
Why are you the best person for the job? Why should your neighbors vote for you?
Great question. You know, I don’t know if am I the best person for the job. But I think that if, if people get to know me, they will find that, as an ANC commissioner, I want everyone to know whether they vote for me or not. I don’t care if you vote for me, but I want you to know who I am, how to get a hold of me and know that I’m an accessible person. To know that I’m someone who cares about all of the residents in my district and I will take the time. That I’m dedicated. I think I can be a good advocate for our community and I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t want to represent everyone, and if I didn’t think I could be an effective advocate. I’m trying to reach all of our residents in the next two weeks and I’m going to try to reach everyone else who I haven’t talked to yet and let them know and that that’s the kind of person that I am and the type of commissioner I would be.