Why I'm Running for ANC in Lower Georgetown
Written by Lisa Palmer
Georgetown is a unique gem within DC, encompassing all that is wonderful about a small urban community: it’s walkable, business friendly, and beautiful, among many other things. However, I have spoken with many neighbors over the years and they, like me, have grown increasingly frustrated by worsening suffocating traffic congestion, rats the size of cats and a lack of communication between residents and their ANC.
Folks have asked me why I decided to run for ANC and here is my response: neighbors who knew my passion and skill for facilitating community change encouraged me to do so! As I commiserated with my neighbors about taking 10 minutes to get half a block, they called upon my experience as a creative problem solver and change agent to make a difference for our neighbors by serving on the ANC. I have lived and worked in NYC, and in 2002 I moved to DC. In DC I professionally became immersed in the movement to make real change happen via civic engagement.
Through serving as a community advocate and fundraiser, raising $25mm/year at a DC based child facing nonprofit, and while sitting on three nonprofit Boards, I have honed my experience by creating hundreds of meaningful partnerships between residents, corporate partners and municipal entities. (Just think about what we could do to the traffic situation if our ANC could broker this type of an authentic partnership here in Georgetown!) Furthermore, as a mother to two young children, I believe it is time for the ANC to respect the voice of families and ensure our perspective is represented as we envision Georgetown’s future. ANCs were established to bring government closer to the people, and to bring the people closer to government - I intend to do just that through transparency and accessibility.
The encouragement and support from my neighbors around our campaign for change has been overwhelming. Agencies and organizations like CAG, GBID and MPD have also been generous with their time and perspectives; I continue to hear that a new and creative approach could yield real results as we think through our shared challenges; I have the experience and the will to do just that.
As an elected official, I will make sure that my vote on the ANC truly represents the voice and opinion of my constituents - we are all in this together. Here are a few specific examples of how I would advocate for our neighbors on the ANC.
Traffic continues to worsen – along Water Street, up Wisconsin Avenue and west towards 35th Street. One neighbor shared that she had seen 4 people hit by a car on her own corner and no longer allows her teenage son to cross the street by her home! Another expressed great concern that emergency vehicles would not be able to reach her home because of backups south of M Street. This MUST be corrected – and we need a representative who will work with all of the neighborhood stakeholders to develop a strategic and coordinated solution on this issue. I have experience building creative and impactful partnerships between city agencies and residents. If elected, I WILL convene a strategic traffic task force that will aim to consider traffic exiting Georgetown Park, address synchronizing the signalization along Wisconsin and M, review those corners where drivers making right turns are holding up through traffic, review bus patterns/stops which inhibit cars from turning around busses and secure additional traffic control officers to enforce our existing laws during key bottleneck times. Alongside our partners at the GBID, DDOT and MPD, we can improve the traffic situation - and I will not quit until it is improved.
At the October ANC Meeting, the Commissioners discussed a DDOT issued parking plan which would affect every resident in Georgetown. Despite the challenges to our daily lives that this proposal would have brought to our neighborhood, this conversation happened without any prior communication with or input of residents. The majority of current Commissioners rightly voted the proposal down: not enough time was provided to socialize the proposal amongst residents and it would have caused additional traffic and parking challenges, particularly in my SMD. Despite this lack of transparency, my opponent cast a vote to support DDOT's proposal. If elected, I will ensure that my constituents are well informed on the issues and have ample time to voice their concerns or support before I cast the vote meant to represent our neighbors.
Finally, I am proud to support the notion of democracy by entering this race. I believe everyone has a responsibility to think about how they can best serve their community and I am confident that serving as an ANC commissioner would harness my passion for and skill in creating innovative partnerships. Members of our community were deeply disappointed to hear that I had received an email from my opponent’s treasurer imploring me to drop out of the race. The full email can be read here. By definition, democracy requires people to choose their leaders. Our neighbors WANT to make a choice about who will best advocate for them. I am proud to participate in this election and I surely will not be bullied into dropping out; rather, I remain laser focused on winning this election so that I may advocate for our neighborhood with transparency, fairness and purpose.
To learn more about me and how I hope to work with our neighbors, please visit my website or reach out to me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org. Most importantly, please remember to vote on November 8th - your voice matters!