At their Jan. 11th meeting, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B supported a letter requesting additional funding for District police.
The meeting started with a heated disagreement about whether the item should appear on the agenda and was punctuated by tense moments that lasted though the meeting and into the election of ANC officers.
The letter, addressed to Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and DC Council, was written by Commissioners Jennifer Samolyk (6B01) and Denise Krepp (6B10). It requests additional funding for MPD to hire and train additional officers, citing an increase in violent crime.
As the meeting began, Chair Brian Ready (6B03) asked if consideration of the letter could be delayed for month to allow commissioners to read it thoroughly. Krepp objected, citing recent incidents, including three murders over eleven days in October 2021, a brick attack on a father and young child just before Christmas and a shoot-out on 11th Street SE, saying additional police resources were needed now.
Commissioner Corey Holman (6B06) spoke against including the letter, which had been circulated that day, on procedural grounds. He cited ANC 6B by-laws that prescribe these items be added due to exterior time constraints, such an upcoming council vote. Holman noted as he objected that he was aware had also introduced items circulated that same day at prior meetings.
The discussion on whether to include the letter on the agenda led to name-calling and criticism of officer candidacies. “You are a fraud, Corey,” Samolyk said in response to Holman’s motion. “This is the guy you want to vote to chair our ANC?” she asked Ready. “The person who pushes his own personal agenda every meeting?”
Samolyk said she was “disgusted” at the lack of support for police from the ANC. “The proof is in the pudding,” she told them. “Vote tonight. Let our neighbors know where you stand on this issue.”
Despite the initial rhetoric, there was little discussion on the letter or on funding for the police generally when the item came up on the agenda, other than to modify its language. Commissioner Steve Holtzman (6B05) pushed to include a reference to the shooting that took place hours before the meeting on 11th Street. He also asked that it stress the importance of community policing.
The letter passed by a vote of 6-4, with Kirsten Oldenburg, Corey Holman, Alison Horn and Edward Ryder opposing. Commissioner Gerald Sroufe (6B02) said he voted yes despite not being “fond” of the letter or the acrimony around it. “I think it will make us feel better. I don’t think it will add any impact,” he said. “But I do recognize the sentiment that generated the letter, and I’m going to be supporting that.”
The letter sends a very different message than another put forward by the ANC a year-and-a-half earlier. In June 2020, ANC 6B passed a resolution calling for reductions in MPD budget, the restoration and expansion of funding for violence interrupter programs, and the end to contracts between DC Public Schools and DC MPD. It also called for a commission to shrink the responsibilities of police and update operating procedures that would replace the reform commission created via emergency legislation passed by DC Council June 9.
The disagreements between ANC 6B commissioners evident at the Jan. 11 meeting are not the first. In October, 2021 discussion around a meeting on public safety grew heated when some commissioners questioned the choice of panelists, asking for representation from organizations not affiliated with the police.
But conflict has not been confined to issues of public safety. A Dec. 1 special call meeting on redistricting also grew contentious, with accusations that commissioners were acting for their individual benefit. When one commissioner appeared to question another’s honesty, Vice-Chair Steve Holtzman (6B05) had to ask commissioners to watch their language. These events were also referenced during the January election of the new ANC 6B executive.
The Jan. 11 letter requesting additional funding for MPD will be forwarded under the signature of newly-elected Chair Corey Holman (6B06), who introduced the June 2020 resolution calling for MPD budget reductions. The new Vice-Chair is Alison Horn (6B09); Peter Wright (6B08) is Parliamentarian and Edward Ryder, Treasurer. Gerald Sroufe (6B04) was re-elected as Secretary.
An earlier version of this story mis-identified the SMD represented by Corey Holman as 6C06. It is actually 6B06. The Hill Rag regrets the error.