A senior is running against an incumbent for a seat on the Foggy Bottom/West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission, a group of residents that advises D.C. government on development issues.
L. Asher Corson is running against current ANC Commissioner Anne Savage, who represents district 2A03 – defined as the area between Pennsylvania Avenue and N Street from 20th to 27th streets. A GW student has not been represented on the commission since 2006 alumnus Graham Long declined to run for reelection in 2005.
The ANC recently voted to oppose GW’s 20-year Campus Plan and has testified against the University’s development proposals at D.C. Zoning Commission hearings.
Corson said Savage could do a better job establishing relationships with fellow ANC commissioners and community leaders, but said he has no hostility toward her.
“She has been serving for two years, and it is pretty clear that she hasn’t worked well with other ANC commissioners,” Corson said. “(I) could give a unique perspective to the table as a property owner and student.”
He said while he saw the benefits of the Campus Plan under consideration to replace the current plan, he was unsure of GW’s commitment to the plan for all 20 years.
“I do have some concerns with the fact that we are proposing a 20-year plan while in the middle of 10-year plan,” Corson said.
His decision to run for the commissioner position was influenced by Foggy Bottom community leaders, specifically Foggy Bottom Association President Joy Howell. She has been one of the most vocal opponents to GW’s growth in Foggy Bottom and has suggested the University expand in Anacostia instead of Foggy Bottom.
Corson said he has also received advice and learned about development issues from current ANC Commissioners Dorothy Miller and Michael Thomas. Miller, who prides herself as GW’s strongest opponent on the ANC, said Corson is smarter than she is and is worthy of the position.
“I think he’ll be a very good commissioner, and I think he’ll profit from … (the) experience as a commissioner,” Miller said.
Savage moved to Foggy Bottom three years ago and joined the ANC during fall 2004. At the age of 36, Savage is one of the youngest members of the commission.
The stubborn behavior of some ANC commissioners and Foggy Bottom Association members has been a detriment to the community, Savage said.
“If we just dig our holes in the ground and don’t compromise, very little is going to get done,” she said. “The University is bigger and will probably be around for much longer.”
Savage estimated her dedication to the ANC lasts over 40 hours a week. She said she has done the most for the Foggy Bottom ANC on transportation issues, meeting with District Department of Transportation several times to repave roads. She added that her efforts resulted in fixing the sinkhole at 26th and I streets.
Savage said she has been open to discussion with the University because communication is a key component of a good relationship with GW.
“I am certainly concerned about the protection of the historic district of Foggy Bottom,” she said, “but the communication between residents and institutions in the area is necessary to working through issues.”
Savage said rules are necessary for keeping students from being overly disruptive, but she appreciates GW students’ making the neighborhood a safer place.
“Over Christmas break, the neighborhood was scarier because we didn’t have students out on the streets late at night.”