The GW community is still without representation on the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission three months after a seat that represents most of the Foggy Bottom campus went vacant.
D.C. is made up of 87 ANCs, which make decisions on issues such as zoning plans, social service programs, health, police protection and sanitation. The local ANC, 2A, encompasses most of the Foggy Bottom area. The vacant seat represents a portion of 2A, between E Street and Washington Circle from 20th to 24th streets.
In the last five years, three GW students have served on the commission in that seat.
GW graduate and former commissioner Josh Singer, whose move to New York in August created the vacancy, said his experiences on the commission were unforgettable.
“Being a member of the ANC provided me with one of the best educational forums I participated in at GW,” he said. “You learn a lot because you actually become a politician on a local level. At a young age you can become an elected official of D.C.”
Dameon Bradus, a voter services specialist at the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, said that since students make up a large part of ANC Ward 2A, a student should definitely apply for the vacant seat.
Bradus noted that some seats remain vacant for years because it is hard to find dedicated people.
“Because it’s a voluntary position you have to get someone who wants to be committed to the commission without getting paid,” he said. “Also, ANC members are responsible for being the spokesperson of their community to the city council, so they have to be concerned with community issues and ultimately try to do the right thing.”
Students interested in being a commissioner can pick up a nomination petition from the Board of Elections and Ethics office, located at 441 4th St. N.W.
Prospective candidates must be registered voters in D.C. and residents of their community for 60 days, Bradus said. They must obtain 25 signatures of registered voters in their ANC district before filing the application with the District.
If more than one person fills out the forms and obtains the necessary signatures, current ANC members, who were unavailable for comment, will choose which candidate will occupy the seat.
The Student Association is encouraging students to fill the vacancy, said SA President Kris Hart, adding that he already knows of three students who are interested in running.
“Besides informing students and giving them information on how to run, the SA has been telling them why we think it is so important (for a student to try and fill that vacant seat),” he said. “We should have representation because we are 100 percent a part of the D.C. community.”
With the vacancy, there are only four members of the local ANC, which can be detrimental to students since their voices are not represented, Singer said.
“It’s important for the ANC members to see that students are a large part of the community and, considering there are only six voters on the entire board, your vote really counts,” he said.
“The ANC’s goal is to put power in the hands of the community since they are the people that actually have to live with the kind of the decisions that the board makes,” GW graduate student and former ANC member Steven Mandelbaum said. “Students bring an unbelievable contribution to the board because they have innovative ways of thinking.”
Mandelbaum said students should be willing to devote a lot of time to community issues, in addition to those that affect the University.
“Students should be aware that the Foggy Bottom community is a large area, and I would caution anyone who is only interested in strictly University issues not to be a part of this forum,” he said. “You have to be willing to spend the time to vamp up on local issues and spend the first couple of months learning the ropes. There is a lot to learn, believe me