Stanton Park Advisory Neighborhood Commission
Henry Atkinson, 37, lobbyist vs. Marc Borbely, 31, law student, publisher of the Corner Forum
•Intimidation of law-abiding citizens by local toughs
•Renovation of the old firehouse at 1341 Maryland Ave. NE
Both candidates claim extensive involvement with their prospective constituents. Borbely seems to have his finger on the proverbial pulse of the 75 neighborhood citizens who subscribe to his newsletter. But he doesn’t just work from home; Borbely stays busy with ANC 6A’s Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee—of which he’s been a vocal member since September. “If you ask the ANC people,” he says, “[they’ll say] I’m one of the top, most involved citizens.” For his part, Atkinson may not have much, if any, publishing experience, but the veteran-Hill-staffer-turned-lobbyist claims to be familiar with a big city’s creaky political machinery: “The two members of the Senate that I worked for were from Illinois,” he says, “and Chicago is in Illinois.”
Though Atkinson appreciates Borbely’s hard work on the ANC’s liquor committee, he says his opponent’s approach might prove too single-minded should Borbely be elected. Right now, says Atkinson, their neighborhood has “got three commissioners focused on this [liquor] thing. Let’s do some other things.” But Borbely insists that his official legacy will not be limited to simple booze-watchdogging. In addition to an effort to turn an abandoned firehouse into a more community-friendly place and his Internet activism through FixOurSchools.net, Borbely would like to extend a civic hand to the elderly. “There are a lot of seniors in the neighborhood,” he says, putting forth the idea of “some kind of a…program to help them go shopping.”
Though neither candidate is willing to claim the other as a friend, both insist that they maintain a respectful relationship, free of negative campaigning. That, of course, doesn’t keep the rumors from flyin’. Borbely maintains that Atkinson has been in the neighborhood for only two years, compared with his five. Though that fact might be strictly true, Atkinson points out that he has actually lived in the Capitol Hill area for 14 years—indeed, some of that time spent just seven blocks from his current address. For his part, Atkinson claims that despite Borbely’s six-block swath of newsletter delivery, “everyone I’ve talked to as I’ve gone door to door has never heard of him.”
In the six-block area where he holds court with his Forum, Borbely should do well. As for Atkinson, any residents of the 1400 block of F Street NE who witnessed his run-in with a neighbor’s bullying son a little over a year ago will know how he’ll stand up for the people.