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David Tumblin: Lots of Responsibility, Little Time (by Tony Lizza)

by Prince Of Petworth September 8, 2010 at 11:00 am 15 Comments

PoP contributor Tony Lizza has taken on the mission of interviewing some Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) reps and this is the second in a small series. You can read the first installment ‘Oliver Tunda: The mayor of Mt. Pleasant’ here. If you know of a particularly interesting ANC member please email me.

David Tumblin is an incredibly busy man. Between his full-time job as a director with the Transportation Security Administration, his duties as an ANC member (4C), and his family, David barely had time for an interview. When we finally got time to sit down last week to talk, we didn’t get a chance to talk in person. We had a dilatory afternoon phone call, a testament to just how dedicated he is to all three of his roles.

David was raised in Tennessee, and attended the University of Tennessee, where among other things, he was a drummer in a rock band. Mercifully, he says, there are no pictures of his rock band years available on the Internet. After college, David moved to Washington to attend graduate school at Georgetown. He received his masters’ degree in Foreign Service and his government job took him from DC to San Francisco, and finally brought him back to DC. A note of regret in his voice suggests he might have liked, at least at the time, to remain in San Francisco. He now works for the Transportation Security Administration as the director of workforce analysis in the Office of Human Capital.

David first became interested in running for the ANC by reading Prince of Petworth. Ed. Note: I had no idea, sweet! After a heated discussion on the website, the chair of ANC 4C directly appealed to readers to get involved and run for seats on the ANC. David took the chairperson up on that request, ran for ANC, and will now have been serving for two years at the end of the year. He cites the example of a previous ANC member, Peron Williams, who he says, “knew everyone”, although he admits that he’s better at problem solving than community outreach.

Continues after the jump.

ANC 4C is a panoply of different neighborhoods shoehorned into one commission. David’s ANC district, similarly drawn from a diversity of neighborhoods, is in his words, “an appendage of Petworth,” and he feels more of a connection to Petworth than he does to 16th Street Heights. When he gets a chance, he patronizes local establishments like the Red Derby.

When he’s not busy with work or ANC duties, David loves to read and is a big fan of the Slow Food movement, often lamenting the fact that there’s no good way to get goose liver. His particular passion is local food, specifically the new farmers’ market that recently opened in Petworth. David believes that the organizers of Petworth’s
farmers’ market have proved that there is unmet demand for food vendors in the area.

When I asked about his greatest achievement as an ANC member, David set me straight. He sees success as a more collaborative process and is slow to claim credit by himself, stating that ANC members do not achieve success because of their roles. “All successes are equally rewarding because they prove [that] when neighbors come
together, great things happen,” he says.

When talking with David, you get a real and palpable sense of the pride that he has in the neighborhood that he represents. He says that he’s really lucky to have an established neighborhood with many longtime residents. As a result, there’s a high level of agreement on issues facing his district. His immediate neighborhood is also incredibly
close-knit. “If you are just a little extroverted,” he says, “you will meet people.” He cites examples of neighbors helping one another out–picking up mail, helping out with yard work, creating care packages for seniors, and buying school supplies for students.

Education is one of David’s priorities for the neighborhood and he sees charter schools like the Bridges Public Charter School in Petworth as one of the keys to that goal. Bridges Public Charter School is a pre-school program for children between the ages of three and five. According to David, Bridges has a powerful program for special needs students, but the school has developed an excellent reputation, which means that any special needs students may now be locked out by the lottery, something David finds troubling.

As for his future on the ANC, David is undecided. With eleven hour workdays and two kids, his schedule is tight. But he’s certain that he’ll run for one more term, and then “we’ll see how it flies after that.” Either way, David is upbeat about the prospects for his district and the neighborhood. “It’s coming together in a wonderful way,” he says.

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