Friday question of the day

All this talk about the Ward 4 council election has got me thinking. Since many of the candidates are using their ANC service as a springboard to the council I figured it may be worth investigating. ANC Representatives: Do you know what they do? Are they visible in your neighborhoods? I remember when I was a renter I could not care less but now that I am landed it seems like I should know what they are up to. A few months ago I was very pleased about my ANC SMD 4C10 Commissioner. In January he handed out a newsletter with lots of great information and then…nothing. I haven’t heard a peep since. Now, I know that the chair is supposed to be fantastic because I hear people talking about his good work all the time. I’m talking about our local reps. Yeah, I know I should go to the meetings but neither do you so stop judging me. Now, back to judging our local ANC reps and the Friday question of the day – Do you know what they do, and if so are you pleased with your local ANC rep?

24 Comment

  • Well, your guy is tryinng to organize a Ward 4 candidates forum, and I think is planning to hold a community meeting for 4c10 soon (I *did* go to the meeting on Tuesday)

  • Follow up question. Are Ward 4 candidates forum useful? There are 15-20 folks up there giving two minute answers. Steele from ward4specialelection web site has done a terrific job updating us on the forums that have already taken place.

    I’d rather “my guy” work on trash, crime, alley, development issues. Just for the record.

  • I am in the ANC 4B area with Muriel Bowser serves….I am one of her residents…she was not known by me when she was running last November…I stated to another commissioner out there that the only time you see these people are during the election well more than a few people who were out their couldn’t believe my statement and Cherita who came over to me and said that she is very active and was the chair of 4B asked where do I live and I told her so then she informed me that my commissioner was Muriel Bowser, she then introduced me and I told Muriel Bowser I would not be voting for her because I had lived in my house for 9 years and had never seen her in her 2 year term as ANC. So do I know all that they do maybe/maybe not. but in 2 years I should have known who she was…I live around the corner from her.

  • If muriel Bowsers record of an anc commissioner means anything about her being elected, then the other candidates have nothing to worry about. she is so out of touch in her “own” area.

  • Prince, did you see the responses from last Friday…one states that Muriel Bowser doesn’t even hold single member district meetings for her residents….this is not good…it stated that Judi Jones is has held meetings every month for 3 years for her reisdents….

  • I think the person who represents my single member district passed away, and I’m not sure if there’s been a new person appointed (4C06 — maybe that’s technically Columbia Heights and not Petworth, but I’m so close to the Metro I just think of myself as Petworth.)

    If anyone knows what’s happening in 4C06, I’d be glad to know. I do agree that the chairman does fine work.

  • Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners get elected for reasons that range from ego, to desire to serve, to having an agenda to push — and may include all of the above. They get no pay, but are expected by their constituents to be on call 24/7.

    Those who put in the most time and energy may be divisive. Those who are calm and clear-headed may not do much to fight for their constituents.

    Some Commissions are well-run and accomplish a lot, some are totally dysfunctional. They are the minor leagues of DC politics that give future mayors a place to learn politics.

  • For the past 10 years, my ANC has been comprised of commissioners who represent ALL of the attributes cited in the previous posting.

  • I live in 4C08 and almost never get to meetings because they occur in the evening when I’m often working. I have been to some meetings for 4C and once to a meeting for SMD 4C08. My commisioner was re-elected in November by a slim 10 votes. I’m not happy at all with my commisioner and don’t see the point of ever returning to a meeting until this person is replaced.

  • I wish that ANCs didn’t have members of the city council or mayoral staff holding seats. That has been, and still is the case in Ward 4. The same can probably be said about ANCs across the city. The ANCs serve as a NON-partisan grass roots advisors to elected representatives of higher office, yet those who they advise are allowed to have their own employees seated on the ANC.

  • ANC’s take on a thankless role. Some residents are expecting far too much from ANC’s. For the ANC’s who hold regular meetings, their meetings are probably not well-attended. Attending ANC meetings and contacting (e.g., email, phone or regular mail) ANC’s are ways to get to know your ANC, and influence government.

    As for the Ward 4 City Council race, I believe an old-fashioned debate would be useful. It would force candidates to articulate a vision for Ward 4, and how it would be executed. This may help clearly identify weak candidates.

  • Right. But how do you have a debate between 15-20 people without limiting responses to 30 seconds or having it last 12 hours?

  • Prince of Petworth, you make a good point about the efficacy of having 19 candidates in a debate forum. No doubt about it, a debate would need to have a limited number of participants. Somewhere between 5 and 10 particpants may be reasonable. Here’s an idea on weeding out potential debate participants. A qualifying requirement could be the number of donations from individual Ward 4 residents reported to board of elections. A minimum dollar contribution ($25, maybe), may be set to show true support for a candidate. The top candidates (cutoff to be determined) would be invited to the debate.

    I am just brainstorming. Others may have some thoughts on this and other approaches to developing criteria for debate participation. Diversity of ideas is good!

  • well looks like ANC4B is having a meeting on Thurs, so maybe you can go see what Muriel Bowser is all about, or not. that is, if she shows up.

  • Anyone can show up at an ANC meeting and boast the alphabets in front of their name. The proof is in what the representative does to address the concerns of the residents whom they were elected to represent. Some ANCs are dilligent and hard=working, and others aren’t.

    ANC4B has some of the longest and frequently, non-productive meetings due to bickering among commissioners. The community is usually given less than 15 minutes to take the floor and present their concerns.

  • Prince…you are Sooooo wrong in your statement to say showup to Thursday’s meeting to see what Muriel is all about….THAT WILL SHOW NOTHING….You me or anyone can showup to a meeting and do good…hell the meeting is what 2 hours…but for the last 2 years she has done NOTHING!….She may or may not show to a meeting…her track record for her residents is not showing up to their homes and not returning their phone calls. So to say showup at a meeting and see is not good…Hell her own ANC didn’t even make her chair or vice chair because they have no faith in her ability since as treasurer she didn’t do a good job.

  • “Prince…you are Sooooo wrong in your statement to say showup to Thursday’s meeting to see what Muriel is all about”

    Just for the record I didn’t say that, that was posted by an anonymous commenter.

  • Well, Muriel has always responded to my emails. So, maybe she doesn’t like you anonymous, maybe you’re the kind of person who calls all the time about minor stuff or stuff she can’t do a thing about like a bullet hole in a window and she decided to put you on ignore so she could stay sane. Just some thoughts. Reflect on them….

  • In case any of you decide to come to Thursday’s 4B meeting, here are some comments:
    1. You can see the agenda (plus time and location) at
    2. There are TWO candidates, Muriel Bowser and Judi Jones, on 4B.
    3. By coincidence, one of the topics is a grant for Berean Baptist Church, whose pastor, Robert Childs, is ALSO a candidate, but he probably will not be there.
    4. The DC Auditor’s Office is on the agenda. This may touch on Muriel’s stint as treasurer.
    5. The fate of a great old theater will be discussed. Muriel and Judi were among five commissioners who toured the theater this week.

  • One problem that the 4C ANC has experienced is how to get their message out. Some use e-mail / Yahoo groups which has been wonderful; however, that is only good for those that are online (which obviously you are).

    That said, coming soon there will hopefully be a new medium for the ANC4C to update the area.

    The Grant Circular is a bi-monthly publication (you may have even seen a copy when you were eating some grilled cheese at Temperanace Hall 😉 or even read the review about Temperance Hall in one of the issues).

    The 4C and the Grant Circular magazine ( are working through the details of a contract in which the Grant Circular Editorial Board will provide space for the officers and employees of the ANC 4C to submit their information of interest to their constituents. If all goes well, instead of the magazine being delivered to a few local spots, it will now be mailed to every household in 4C.

    I also do recommend people show up for the monthly meetings. They can be long and very process-driven, but great information is discussed…

  • Have the monthly meetings on Saturday mornings and I’ll come to every single one!

  • I just want to comment to the person who said that Muriel didn’t have to showup to see a bullet hole in one of her residents window…how dare you….If that person voted for her and she is who represents them and they requested a meeting, it is her duty to show up….I recall it be stated on another blog that the person waited for six months which shows she is not responsive to her residents and since you are backing this then you must know that she did ignore them so she and you have helped me decide to take my vote where people are not ignored! That could have been my house or even your own house.

  • The previous anonymous poster is expectng way too much from ANCs. Advisory Neighborhood Commissions are grass-roots advisory bodies. I emphasize “ADVISORY.” Constituent or resident services are provided by City Councilmembers and other government agencies. Below is an excerpt about ANC’s from the DC government website:

    “The Advisory Neighborhood Commissions consider a wide range of policies and programs affecting their neighborhoods, including traffic, parking, recreation, street improvements, liquor licenses, zoning, economic development, police protection, sanitation and trash collection, and the District’s annual budget.”

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