ANC supports loosening requirements for commissioners to run for office

Media Credit: Jace Knie | Hatchet Photographer

Patrick Kennedy, the chairman of the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission, speaks at an ANC meeting Wednesday.

Updated: Nov. 17, 2017 at 4:35 p.m.

A local governing group unanimously supported testimony Wednesday opposing a proposal that would toughen the requirements to run for local government.

Eve Zhurbinskiy, a Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood commissioner and senior, voiced opposition to a pending D.C. Council bill requiring a candidate to show two documents proving D.C. residency to be eligible to run for an ANC position. She said the proposed requirements discourage students from getting involved in community leadership.

“GW only provides me with one proof of residency, and it has everywhere you’ve lived on campus since you’ve been here,” she said. “The easiest way to get a second form of ID and a second proof of residency would be going to the doctor and getting a medical bill sent to their address, which no one should need to run for office.”

Zhurbinskiy added that the proposed requirements are unfair to ANC commissioners, because no other District offices require two profs of residency from potential candidates. Backed by the ANC, she will deliver the testimony at a D.C. Council hearing next month to urge council members to change the requirements.

At the meeting Wednesday, commissioners also discussed the D.C. Council’s proposal to create incentives for businesses to open their restrooms to the public and erect standalone public restrooms.

ANC Chair Patrick Kennedy said the bill will benefit the District’s homeless population and that a lack of public restrooms creates sanitation problems in homeless encampments, like the one on E Street that was cleared by D.C. authorities earlier this month.

“Those people have to use the restrooms somewhere,” he said. “Wishing away the problem does not mean that there won’t be hygienic considerations if they are deprived of such access.”

A D.C. Council hearing – where residents can testify against or support the bill – is scheduled for December.

The ANC also discussed preliminary legislation that would limit noise from street performers, proposing a group to identify “hotspots” of street buskers and fine offenders $50.

Marina Streznewski, the president of the Foggy Bottom Association, said a $10 fine is more suitable and that an “outrageous” fine might violate the District’s Human Rights Act.

Kennedy said the ANC didn’t feel comfortable endorsing a project that commissioners don’t fully understand, but that working out reasonable guidelines with performers would be beneficial.

Commissioners said the idea was vague and declined to take a position on the proposal, but Commissioner Florence Harmon said noise from neighborhood street performers has a major impact on nearby residential areas.

“When you can’t live in your home because there is a whole brass band outside, with amplification, that’s an issue,” she said.

Editor’s note:
Due to misinformation from a source, The Hatchet incorrectly reported that current requirements to run for an ANC position require two documents proving residency in the District. These requirements are not currently in place, but are being considered by the D.C. Council.

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