Petworth News ANC Candidate Interviews
Greater Greater Washington Endorsement & ANC Candidate Questionnaire
Petworth News has published its Q&As with ANC candidates in 4D and 4C. My responses (in 200 words or less!) are below and more information can be found here.
I've had two decades of experience to prepare me for this community role including interning in DC Mayor Anthony Williams' administration, organizing citywide and community events, facilitating state economic development, liaising with stakeholders on nationwide policy issues, and creating opportunities for international cultural exchange.
I'm also a wife, mother and communications professional, and I want to raise the voices of residents in my Petworth community on matters of importance.
· I am resourceful: Through my policy, political and communications experience, I will help you navigate the complexity that is DC government.
· I am reliable: I will show up for our community at meetings, be accessible and do what I say I'm going to do.
· l am a connector: I will listen to the needs of our community and reflect them back to the government and others, from real estate developers to community organizations to MPD to the snow removal crew.
· I am a convener: I will host meet-and-greets and gatherings in Sherman Circle, providing regular opportunities for conversation and support.
· I am forward-looking: I will keep an eye on trends affecting other areas to prepare for what's next in our community from crime trends to pop-backs/ups.
Why are you running?
I am running for three overarching reasons:
1. I love Petworth and I want to give back by fostering a more connected community, collaboratively solving problems and increasing access to opportunities.
2. There is room for improvement in Petworth and I believe my experience can keep us moving in the right direction.
3. Both new and long-time residents have expressed a need for a proactive commissioner to connect them to information, services and one another.
Many have said, “That’s great, but what is motivating you?” To be honest, it’s my neighbors. My family has thoroughly enjoyed living in Petworth, particularly in our little nook on Sherman Circle. It’s both fun and comforting to be surrounded by good people.
We have had a lot of discussions about the good, the bad and the ugly in our neighborhood. We share new ideas and solutions to problems, and when we learn about a cool opportunity, we tell each other. If our broader community connected this way, it’d be even more vibrant. And that’s what I want to inspire.
I look at this as just the beginning of my Petworth community involvement. And so does Greater Greater Washington, which has endorsed me.
Visiting with neighbors has reinforced my belief that ANC commissioners should play a meaningful role in improving the quality of life of people in our community. I have seen many opportunities to share information and take action – and so far, I have done so by:
· Knocking on residents’ doors and hosting events on Sherman Circle Social
· Introducing myself to Georgia Avenue business owners
· Taking a “block-by-block” approach to public safety by cataloguing vacant properties, broken street lights and alley trash issues, among others
· Discussing crime, paid family leave, Sherman Circle beautification and economic development with Councilmember Brandon Todd and other commissioners
· Engaging with MPD to prioritize our concerns and doing a ride-along
· Delivering fliers to 600+ households
· Connecting on Facebook and through my website
I am very enthusiastic about continuing my outreach and being your representative. People deserve a visible, helpful and community-oriented commissioner and that’s what I intend to be.
Learn more at www.ancamy.com, email me at ancamy4D06@gmail.com and connect with me at www.facebook.com/ANCAmy4D06, where I post regularly.
Better yet, meet me at the Sherman Circle Halloween Parade on October 30, starting at 4pm or at the Sherman Circle Social on November 2, starting at 5:30pm. Thank you!
I am honored to share that Greater Greater Washington endorsed me for ANC Commissioner of 4D06. Thanks, GGW! See their endorsements here.
Greater Greater Washington surveyed ANC candidates across the city this year. Below you will find my answers to their questions.
How will you help the neighborhood deal with vacant and blighted properties?
In ANC 4D06, we have just five vacant properties and no blighted properties, according to DCRA's list (though these properties are likely woefully under-reported). In my discussions thus far, most people aren't concerned unless it's next to their house. I believe all of us should be aware of the issue, if not concerned. The condition of these properties have trickle effects throughout the neighborhood – from crime to sanitation issues. (10/5 update - having walked the entire 06 area over the last few days, I have counted at least double the number listed on DCRA's website.)
In many ways, antiquated law is the problem, which, as another commissioner put it, hasn’t kept up with the creativity of owners/developers to circumvent it. Thus, I will support the Vacant and Blighted Buildings Enforcement Amendment Act of 2015, and the complementary 2016 bill. They "aim to deter owners from neglecting their properties and encourage them to bring their properties into compliance with the District’s vacant property law." Both bills are necessary to adequately address the issues and enable change at the Department of Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). I will open a dialogue with the agency, as well as developers and owners, to assert the voice of directly impacted residents. In some cases, that will mean arming residents with a roadmap for success, and in others it will mean representing residents at hearings. When needed, I will assist in bringing media attention to the issue and determine other tactics for solving the issue.
Vacant and blighted properties have serious related and underlying issues, including affordable housing. Ultimately, I am in favor of redevelopment of vacant properties to transform the neighborhood. That said, many homeowners who live in neighborhoods that are “changing” don’t want to move from their homes. They’d rather their current homes be made safe and habitable for the long term.
Thus, I am in favor of affordable housing that grows the middle class, and strategies that allow people, especially the most vulnerable, to keep their homes. This includes programs that provide weatherization and home improvement financing. I am very interested in working on neighborhood policy best practices so that Petworth remains a choice for working families.
Notably, other commissioners before me have tackled this issue, such as David Sheon in 4D. I would seek their guidance so we don’t miss opportunities or re-create the wheel.
What more can be done to encourage new businesses and support existing businesses on Georgia Ave?
As the saying goes, if you build it, they will come. While often true, it is not an economic development strategy. ANC 4D06 has just a handful of businesses on Georgia Avenue, and there could be more.
I believe the ANC can play an important role in reconciling what residents and existing businesses want and what the city already has planned. Even if I am not elected, local economic development is a passion of mine. I plan to learn the current status of economic developments plans (including those of the city and current 4D commission), and if applicable, recommend this topic for a future ANC 4D meeting agenda to hear what residents want. To encourage new businesses and support existing businesses, I would join Councilman Todd’s Economic Development advisory committee and participate in Georgia Avenue walk-throughs and meetings as appropriate.
What can you do to reduce violent crime around Georgia Ave?
Violent crime threatens the vibrancy of our neighborhood and has direct consequences, such as good people moving out of the neighborhood because of the crime, as a friend recently decided to do. We need to stem the tide, fast, because now is the time for Petworth to move forward, not backward.
Since the premise of ANCs is a hyperlocal focus, if elected, I’d like to propose our ANC take a “block by block” approach to crime prevention and public safety. As a graduate student, through a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, I worked on precisely this type of program. Having been assigned blocks within the City of Philadelphia’s West Philadelphia neighborhood, we catalogued issues and opportunities in those blocks related to crime – from vacant buildings to lack of lighting to alley activity. Unfortunately, we did not have the resources to partner with the right groups to make an impact. This would include resident-led community groups and businesses, as well as MPD.
In my upcoming MPD ride-along, through a block-by-block lens, I’ll learn the key problem areas and sources of crime on Georgia Avenue. If elected, I’ll work toward consensus on this approach with ANC 4D and other key stakeholders. (10/5 update: learn more about DC's security camera rebate program here.)
How would you like your neighborhood to look in 20 years? How will you help bring that about?
I’d like to see the Petworth neighborhood at large as vibrant, clean and safe. More specifically:
- Vibrant: I’d like to see a stabilized community of middle income residents, with high homeownership rates and acceptable education levels. Drawing on Sherman Circle’s historical significance, I’d like it to be an important anchor of our future community, one that is not commercial like Dupont Circle but more vibrant than it is now.
- Clean: I’d like Petworth to be a key part of the larger “smart city” that I expect DC to be. One that is not green for green’s sake, but because it makes economic sense and enhances our quality of life. This applies to sanitation, electricity, and water usage, among other things.
- Safe: I’d like to see a neighborhood that has made significant progress in addressing systemic issues contributing to crime and public safety like poverty, mental health and education.
I’d like to start by charting a neighborhood policy, with the support of Councilman Todd and other local authorities. This policy would include near-term and future initiatives and be informed by interested residents. It should be a creative process, because no one knows what the future will look like, but we can certainly draw on our imaginations to build it!
Assume your ANC will definitely be adding more housing. Where would be the best place for it?
In my view, any plan to add more housing to ANC 4D, or Ward 4 in general, must include an assessment of Georgia Avenue. This should be an integrated plan to enhance existing business and attract new businesses, complemented by new, affordable housing along the corridor.
Where would you like to see new bicycle lanes, sidewalks, or other infrastructure to make it safer for residents, families, and seniors to walk and bike?
After initial review, I am supportive of DDOT’s proposed Rock Creek East II Livability Study, which includes adding a bike lane around Sherman Circle, while removing a traffic lane to improve pedestrian safety. I am currently speaking to ANC 4D, as well as Sherman Circle and area residents, about this to further inform my thinking on the topic. (10/5 update: the study's final recommendations can be found here.)
If there were a way to improve bus transit in your neighborhood, but it required removing on street parking, how would you approach the situation?
Stakeholder engagement and historical perspective are both key to successfully creating a workable solution. First, I would map the key stakeholders in the affected areas as well as their positions on the matter. This could include churches, business, schools, and residents. I’d work toward building consensus on a solution through in-person meetings. Ultimately, this may require compromise where everyone gives a little to hopefully get a lot. At the same time, I’d look to lessons learned from other experiences to establish best practices to guide our collective thinking.
What is the biggest controversy in your neighborhood not already listed on this questionnaire, and what is your position on it?
Pop-backs and pop-ups. They may not be a controversy in 4D now, but I do believe the issue is moving north in the city and I want 4D to be ready for it. Based on my conversations and review of news coverage, this is an area where DCRA and developers have been challenging to worth with. Simply put, DCRA has not been following the law, and developers are exploiting that. I am in favor of having reasonable laws to begin with and agencies and developers abiding by them. If elected, I would dig into this one more to understand the nuances and stakeholders’ positions before determining my own.
Why do you think you are the best person to represent your SMD?
I'm a wife, mother and communications professional, and I want to raise the voices of residents in my Petworth community on matters of importance. Why should you vote for me on November 8?
- I am resourceful: Through my policy, political and communications experience, I will help you navigate the complexity that is DC government – sometimes by arming you with information to handle issues and sometimes by testifying on your behalf.
- I am reliable: I will show up for our community at meetings, be accessible and do what I say I'm going to do.
- l am a connector: I will listen to the needs of our community and reflect them back to the government and other stakeholders, from real estate developers to community organizations to MPD to the snow removal crew.
- I am a convener: I will host meet-and-greets quarterly as well as gatherings in Sherman Circle, providing regular opportunities for conversation and support.
- I am forward-looking: I will keep an eye on trends affecting other areas to prepare for what's next in our community – especially on crime, educational and community initiatives, and housing. I'll also look for what's not there – do we have opportunities to bring more business to Georgia Avenue, for instance?
I've had two decades of work experience to prepare me for this community role, including interning in DC Mayor Anthony Williams' administration, organizing citywide and community events, facilitating state economic development, liaising with multiple stakeholders on nationwide policy issues, and creating opportunities for international cultural exchange.
I do hope that ANC 4D06 residents will get to know me so they can vote for me on November 8.
League of Women Voters of D.C. Voter Guide Questionnaire
The League of Women Voters surveyed ANC candidates for their Voter Guide. Below you will find my answers to their questions (in 700 characters or less!).
What is the most important issue facing your Single Member District and how do you intend to address it?
Public safety is the most important issue. According to MPD, there have been 296 crimes in 4D this year. Violent and property crimes threaten the vibrancy of our neighborhood and have direct consequences, such as good people leaving. We need to move forward, not backward.
Firstly, I will encourage residents to participate in DC’s security camera rebate program. My family did this and it was an easy process. Additionally, since ANCs focus hyper-locally, I’d ask 4D to take a “block by block” approach to public safety. This means cataloguing issues – from vacant buildings to lack of lighting to alley activity – on a block-by-block basis. If elected, I’d work toward consensus for this approach.
How will you engage with residents, business and neighboring ANCs to be an effective Commissioner?
I believe that ANC commissioners should play a proactive role in improving peoples’ quality of life. To that end, I plan to engage with people both online and in person: I will post regular updates to Facebook (www.facebook.com/ANCAmy4D06) and long-form content to my website Features page (www.ancamy.com/features); I will print and distribute hard copies of very important updates to reach those not active online; I will host quarterly gatherings at a local business in my SMD; and I will co-host Sherman Circle events with 4C since we share the space. People will also find me at the monthly ANC meetings. Finally, I already engage directly with nearby commissioners and will continue to do so.