Much has changed within 6B and it was reflected in the January meeting. The Commission now includes 4 new Commissioners who were elected on campaign promises to open up the Commission and make it more transparent and efficient. Elected to 6B leadership positions for 2011 on Tuesday January 11 were: Commissioner Neil Glick (6B09), Chair; Commissioner Ivan Frishberg (6B02), Vice Chair; Commissioner Jared Critchfield (6B06), Secretary; Commissioner Carol Green (6B07), Treasurer; and Commissioner Brian Flahaven (6B09), Parliamentarian. Only two of these slots are held by “hold over” Commissioners.
Since my re-election in November 2010 (with 61% of the vote), I had planned to run for Chair. But I discovered that I was unable to garner the necessary 6 votes because of suspicions that I am resistant to change. That’s the rough and tumble world of politics for you. The upside of losing is that without any 6B management responsibility (not even those monthly Minutes I produced for 2 years), I am freed up to focus on my single member district. A very good outcome because I do thoroughly enjoy working closely with all the residents in 6B04.
But I digress … what else happened at the meeting? We approved a Voluntary Agreement for the Bavarian Beer Garden to be located at the corner of 8th & L Streets SE. I have been opposed to this new tavern (i.e., bar) license for a number of reasons not the least of which is that most of the patrons will be drinking beer and listening to oompah music in an open air “summer garden”. Granted there are only a handful of residents living in the immediate area of this pending noise maker but expectations are that their numbers will increase in the future. I pushed for earlier closing hours and fewer live entertainment hours and days. But, in the end, I voted for the VA, reluctantly, as I did not think that the Protest with ABRA was going to generate more concessions. To me, this process clearly illustrates the limits of the powers of the ANC when it comes to liquor licenses.
The ANC spent a considerable amount of time debating sending a letter to DCPS, supporting the reopening of Van Ness Elementary School. I am not necessarily opposed to the idea but abstained because (1) Van Ness is not located in 6B, and (2) advance notice was not given to the community that this matter would be voted on at the meeting. The issue was brought to the Commission by new Commissioner Frishberg. I do not know if there are those who oppose reopening Van Ness but, if there are, I would have liked to hear their views. Also, not present to inform us was anyone from the charter school community. Advance notice of this matter could have generated a more balanced debate.
The meeting finished up with unanimous votes on historic preservation and zoning issues and a number of 6B financial matters. Stay tuned, though, as who knows the direction the new ANC6B will take. At the February meeting, the new Chair will appoint Chairs for the two Standing Committees (Planning & Zoning and ABC) and, I suspect, set up a number of new task forces.