On January 2, 2021, eight newly elected representatives will be sworn in for the four Hill-based Ward 6 Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs). The ceremony, like much of the campaign, will take place virtually, with Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D) administering the oath of office.
The commissioners serve two-year terms without pay. All commissioners in all wards are up for election this year. Each commissioner represents a Single Member District (SMD) of approximately 2,000 residents. The ANCs’ main role in the District is to be their neighborhood’s official voice in advising the District government (and federal agencies) on issues that affect their neighborhoods.
ANC 6A and 6B each welcome three new commissioners in January. ANC 6D in Southwest will welcome two. All six commissioners representing ANC 6C were reelected, making it the only commission to seat a slate of incumbents.
Meet your newly elected representatives below. Learn more about ANCs by visiting anc.dc.gov. Watch them take the oath of office at the ceremony beginning at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2 online or on Channel 13.
Where’s the other Ward 6 ANC? We’ll profile the four new ANC 6E commissioners for MidCity DC News, online and out in print Jan. 9!
ANC 6A (anc6a.org)
Keya Chatterjee (6A01) lives on the eastern edge of her SMD with her husband Andrew, their fifth grader and a 80-pound black dog, Asher, who she said “is very sweet despite his size.” he family moved north of H St NE about four years ago after 16 years in ANC 6D.
Chatterjee is passionate about walkable and bikeable streets. At the end of 2020, she stepped down after seven years on the board of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), having reached her term limit. Together with neighbors, WABA helped secure a street mural at Eighth and K Sts. NE and bike lanes that will soon be one of the only connections between NE and NW in the neighborhood, she said.
“My purpose is to advance climate justice, racial justice, and economic justice for our community,” she said, pointing to the increase in the economic and health impact on the community due to COVID-19.
“I believe that the ANC is one place where we can push for justice and equity, and I will strive to serve the interests of those most vulnerable in our community, rather than the interests of corporations,” she said, pointing to a need to expand bus service even as public transit faces unprecedented cuts.
She plans to take steps to protect local businesses, in part by increasing foot traffic on H Street NE to encourage more customers to visit those establishments. “Losing small businesses means losing jobs and pieces of our community,” she said pointing to the shuttering of businesses in her SMD, including Cusbah restaurant and Dio Wine Bar.
Chatterjee said that actions by the ANC can mitigate the impacts of climate change. “Data show that the rodent population and the mosquito population are increasing because of climate change, as is basement and street flooding from heavy downpours,” she noted. The ANC can help by encouraging good water drainage, and reducing food trash from establishments spread throughout the neighborhood.
Finally, she said one of her key priorities is to ensure that the community has equitable access to city services and that members truly form a community together, with neighbors helping one another in any way they can.
“Many neighbors are hurting and need help, and others are in a position to help and want to help,” Chatterjee said.
You can learn more about Chatterjee on her website www.keyachatterjeeforanc6a01.com.
Laura Gentile (6A05) knows what she’s getting into. Before running for commissioner, she served as an ANC committee member for over six years, starting in 2011 with the ANC 6A Economic Development and Zoning Committee, and last year on the Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee. In those roles, Gentile had the opportunity to listen to the concerns and interests of neighbors, work with local agencies and organizations and weigh in on decisions about proposed development projects and alcohol licenses in the community.
It was that experience on committees that interested Gentile in taking on the role of commissioner as a way to further serve the community where she lives. “I have worked in public service at the Federal level for over 20 years,” she said, “and I am very excited about the chance to serve my neighbors and community at the local level.”
Gentile has more than 25 years of experience working with issues that relate to businesses, communities and local governments. During her campaign, she advocated for smart development, street safety and a clean and healthy environment for all residents.
She said her priorities have enlarged a bit since the campaign. During and since the campaign, she said, many have raised concerns about traffic safety, especially about speeding on certain “cut-through” streets in the neighborhoods and intersections that pose dangers to residents due to lack of stop signs, crosswalks and other traffic controls. “As such, traffic safety is now at the top of my priority list,” Gentile said.
The new 6A05 commissioner is interested in hearing from neighbors on how to best serve the community. “The pandemic has made it challenging to connect with each other but, for anyone interested, I would be happy to swing by for a socially distanced conversation or a virtual chat through Zoom,” she said. Until her official ANC email address is activated, she can be reached by email ([email protected]), phone 202-596-9205, or on Twitter (@LauraGentileANC).
Robb Dooling (6A06) is a Nebraska native who has lived in DC for six years. Dooling loves his neighborhood and wants to ensure that everybody in it has a voice in its future.
In 2019, Dooling served as an ANC representative for 6C06 in NoMa, where he helped fight for and win the new park at Eighth and K St NE near J.O. Wilson Elementary School, the new Florida Ave NE bike lanes, and a future park at North Capitol and N St NE. Dooling also successfully negotiated with developers seeking to build in NoMa and DC agencies to require affordability and sustainability in new construction and establish more public green spaces.
He stepped down from his role as commissioner when he purchased a home located outside his 6C SMD. At the time, he said that he was “enthusiastic to remain an advocate for housing everywhere as a human right.”
“I did not plan to run again when I moved out of 6C06, but current events called me back,” Dooling said. He decided to run as representative in his current SMD, Dooling said, because he felt a moral responsibility to make DC more affordable and make politics more accessible, noting that many of his close friends had moved away from the District, citing its unaffordability. “I feel an imperative to help end displacement, especially by making civic engagement easier,” he said.
Dooling hopes to do the same for the H Street Corridor. He is passionate about safe streets, housing as a human right, and climate action. He has already helped create a new Google Group for ANC 6A that anyone can join at https://groups.google.com/g/anc-6a. There, commissioners will post meeting announcements and minutes. You can also join his monthly newsletter at http://robbdooling.com/subscribe.
ANC 6B (anc6b.org)
Edward Ryder (6B07) made several new beginnings this year. On March 21, he and his wife, Andrea, were married in Lincoln Park at a wedding attended by a few close friends and the couple’s dog, Ember. “It wasn’t the wedding we planned for, obviously,” he said.
At the beginning of this year, he made a different sort of commitment, taking the oath as commissioner for 6B07 after winning the office as a write-in candidate. Ryder, a financial analyst for Barracks Row creative agency Taoti, came to 6B07 from Southwest two years ago. Since then, he has enjoyed ANC committee meetings and chiming in on matters of interest to him, but said it was actually Andrea who convinced him that it was time to put his passion for hyperlocal politics to use after learning that Kelly Waud would not be seeking re-election.
He said that he has worked with Waud to get insight into the key issues facing his SMD. Concerns with public safety are prominent, and he said he wants to engage with the community to better understand their concerns. “As the area continue to get developed, I want to make sure that long-term residents are not pushed out,” he said.
Ryder is also passionate about transit and cycling infrastructure. He wants to work for pedestrians and cyclist feel safe throughout the community, and for better traffic control within 6B07. Noting that the SE Boulevard has been a point of discussion for years, he said that changes are needed. However, he wants to avoid any development that leads to more traffic coming and going in the neighborhood. “Cars already pass through at dangerous speeds for a residential neighborhood,” he said. “I’d also want any development of it to effectively support bike and pedestrian traffic.”
Ryder wants to ensure that constituents know that he is accessible and interested in their questions and thoughts about matters in 6B07. “We have a very diverse SMD in many different ways,” he said, “and I want to make sure that everyone knows that I am open and listening and I want to hear everyone’s concerns.”
You can reach Edward Ryder at [email protected]
Peter Wright (6B08) and his wife moved into 6B08 in April 2020, with their 8-year old beagle mutt rescue, Ernie. As 2020 drew to a close, they prepared to welcome their first child, a baby boy.
Wright is an attorney who came to the District about three years ago from Cincinnati, spending a few years in Kentucky on the way. Currently working in a small law office, he represents people in criminal defense, personal injury and consumer protection cases. Wright said his work puts him on the front lines of residents’ interactions with District law and allows him to understand how policies impact the community.
Wright wants fight to ensure that the diverse history of this area is protected. Part of that, he said, is ensuring that continued development serves to enhance the lives of community members. He said one of the main reasons his family chose the home is the neighborhood —the quiet, tree-lined streets and community feel alongside close and easy access to the best of what DC has to offer. “I think that ties a lot into what I think will be the biggest focal point facing our area,” he said, “finding the right balance between growth and respect for the existing community and its history. “
As DC continues to develop and as new large complexes, condo conversions and large developments are constructed, Wright said there is a risk that the dynamic of the area will be completely changed. “The development at Reservation 13 and along the SE waterfront needs to complement rather than directly compete with the offerings at Barracks Row, Eastern Market, along Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said.
“Additional housing, particularly affordable housing, is a definite need in the area right now,” he added. “But that doesn’t mean it needs to come at the cost of losing the communities that were already here.”
Wright said he knows that succeeding long-time Commissioner Chander Jayaraman gives him big shoes to fill, and he is thankful for Jayaraman’s kindness and helpfulness during the transition.
“I also hope to bring my own fresh, unique perspective to the issues facing ANC 6B,” he said. “I’m honored to have been elected to serve my neighbors and look forward to getting to work to make our community even better.”
Contact Peter Wright at [email protected]
Alison Horn (6B09) is a 10-year Ward 6 resident who moved to 6B09 in 2015. She shares her home with Cooper, a 12-year-old Chihuahua-mix, once a rescue dog and now the “elder statesman of the house.”
She has spent her career serving the DC community at the Public Defender Service, and at local nonprofits Free Minds Book Club and Civil Rights Corps. Horn says that helping her clients navigate DC’s agencies has required her to be organized and hard-working, to be a good listener, and to be in communication with a wide array of diverse DC residents, skills she hopes translate well to her new ANC role.
Horn fills a seat vacated by Kasie Clark in March 2020. There is a lot going on in the area: the renovation of the Boys and Girls Club is back before DC Council in January. In neighboring ANC 7F07, redevelopment continues on Reservation 13 and a candidate is fighting to be seated as ANC Commissioner at the DC Jail.
Horn said that the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) needs to do a better job of communicating with 6B in the future. “I understand the concerns of 6B commissioners and neighbors about the lack of transparency from DMPED on the Reservation 13 development,” Horn said. “But I would hate to see that history prevent progress at the Boys and Girls Club, which would add much-needed affordable senior housing.”
Horn said that as a new commissioner, she hopes to focus on traffic safety, housing affordability, and public safety, which she sees as closely linked to providing a strong social safety net.
However, to Horn, the most important role of an ANC is to listen, keep neighbors informed, and advocate for their needs when making decisions impacting their daily lives. She is eager to share information, connect with constituents and bring them into the process. You can email her at [email protected]
ANC 6D (anc6d.org)
Andrew Bossi (6D01) says he is “wonkishly into local governance,” so much so that he began live-tweeting ANC meetings when he moved into Southwest, well before declaring his intention to run as a write-in candidate for the SMD formerly represented by Gail Fast.
Bossi works as a transportation engineer and planner, so it is unsurprising that transportation and land use are two of his major interests. He believes that ANC 6D needs a comprehensive transportation plan that takes into account the massive growth Southwest is experiencing and the impact of construction.
The new commissioner said the ANC needs to ensure that development benefits the community, and to mitigate negative impacts like increased traffic and impacts to roadway safety and parking. “I’d like to see that new growth does everything it can to promote non-auto travel and to reduce traffic in the first place,” Bossi said, “and that our streets be designed to be slow and safe for everyone to navigate.”
The growth Southwest is experiencing is both its greatest opportunity and greatest threat, he said. “The threats of gentrification and rising costs must be central to our ANC’s thinking,” Bossi said, “and I am glad that there appears to be universal attention across our 2021 commissioners on affordable housing.”
ANC 6D should press every development to not just meet but exceed Affordable Housing goals. Threats of gentrification should be central in ANC deliberations, he added, especially the impact on tenants most at risk of displacement. “I want growth that doesn’t turn us into something like a gated community, but provides a variety of homes and a variety of businesses, for the variety of us calling Southwest home,” he said.
More immediately, Bossi said he wants more regular and continuous COVID testing accessible to residents throughout Southwest. He encourages residents who are able to patronize local businesses, “all of whom are also struggling through this pandemic, and their employees are taking some of the biggest risks among us simply by showing up for work every day.”
Email Andrew Bossi at [email protected]
Jared Weiss (6D02) has lived in DC for fifteen years, the last five of them in SMD 6D02. A trained economist, for the past nine years Weiss has worked for AARP as the director of data science.
Weiss said the seeds for his desire to represent 6D02 were planted when he first heard Commissioner Anna Forgie would not seek re-election. With support from the board of the Velocity Condominium, where he lives, he stepped up to fill the role.
The biggest issue in 6D02 is responsible building, Weiss said. Acknowledging that his is a rapidly developing district, he said that construction and its side effects such as noise and debris are inevitable. However, ways can be found to maximize the safety, sleep, and general well-being of those living next door to development sites.
The community also needs to work together for responsible building, making sure new projects balance the concerns of current neighbors with those of newer arrivals. That means working to ensure that in ten years 6D02 is the robust, diverse, and welcoming neighborhood residents want it to be. “We aren’t going to solve DC’s housing problems on our own, but we can help be part of the solution,” he said.
That also means supporting buildings that from aesthetic and practical perspectives are good fits for the neighborhood, reflecting neighborhood history and projecting a shared future, he added.
Weiss has roots all over Ward 6: one sibling lives in NoMA, and another in Capitol Hill. An avid baseball fan, thanks to his father’s season tickets for the Nats, prior to COVID Weiss would take an annual baseball road trip. “So, I’ve seen all the MLB stadiums, a good chunk of the minor league ones, and have visited weird museums in and eaten my way through most of the country,” he said.
Weiss is looking forward to taking on his role as commissioner. “I really do love 6D02, and all its quirky charms,” he said. “To me, it showcases the best of DC past, present, and future. I think it is pretty great, but if there’s anything I can do to make it better, I want to.”
ed-weiss-All photos courtesy the commissioner pictured.