Why I'm Running for ANC in Lower Georgetown

Photo by Rebecca Zeller
Lisa Palmer
Lisa Palmer

(Photo by: KaBOOM!)

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. 

(Photo by: KaBOOM!)


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.

(Photo by: KaBOOM!)


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.

(Photo by: Lindsay Rafayko)


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: georgetownpalmer@gmail.com. Most importantly, please remember to vote on November 8th - your voice matters!

3 Comments For This Article


FINALLY! someone who is willing to challenge the status quo of our ANC! I'm so pleased that even when it seems like the deck is stacked against new ideas and new people, there are folks willing to throw their hats into this race to point Georgetown forward. The ANC has become so obtuse - I'm happy to see someone who promises to communicate and work transparently running to represent my neighbors. Kudos to Ms Palmer. You have my support!


Lisa Palmer is exactly what the residents of 2E05 need! I am the resident who witnessed four people being struck by cars at the intersection of 35th and Prospect. I reached out to Bill Starrels and CC'd other people who I thought may be able help with this. Many people including Georgetown University and MPD responded and many emails were traded and Mr. Starrels was included in every one of those emails, not once did he respond to a single one. To me this lack of response while one of his constituents was laying in a hospital for over a month is egrarious!
This was the tip of the iceberg when it came to getting responses from Bill Starrels

Full disclosure he has returned some of my emails. When I was practicing real estate and I sent an email with a concern from my real estate email it always came back with "I'm sorry I can't help you but if you have anyone looking for a mortgage please have them call me!"

This is one of the many reasons why it's time for a change and I look forward to working with Lisa!


The community couldn't have asked for a better candidate to bring fresh perspectives to the ANC. I've had the pleasure of knowing Lisa for more than 20 years. She is brilliant, hard-working, ethical, thoughtful, and dedicated to community service. I'm thrilled to see someone of her character and caliber running for election.