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We can and should acknowledge the few serious violations of the public trust committed by advisory neighborhood commissioners (Loose Lips, 11/24). The bad apples should be removed from office and prosecuted where appropriate. But because of some blemishes and bruises, should this governmental body be decapitated?
Less than .02 percent of the public weal goes to ANCs. (In fact, about 15 cents of every one thousand dollars of D.C.’s 2001 budget.) When they function, ANCs perform an invaluable role to their communities. Two of the last three ANC 3C meetings were standing-room-only. In each of these, the community was offered an important chance to comment on two huge potential development projects: a vastly expanded Giant and the future of Klingle Road/Klingle Valley. Our neighborhoods are not the only ones in the District facing the challenges of developmental zeal. Without the ANCs, average citizens would be even more disadvantaged in the struggle against dysfunctional agencies and big business as usual.
Furthermore, my ANC just witnessed two hotly contested racesone between two self-selected write-in candidates and one between two people on the ballot. Each was an authentic race, complete with (at times even raucous) campaigning.
To be sure, more needs to be done to promote and strengthen the ANCs as a vibrant forum for local matters. And maybe additional reforms and, yes, even resources are needed. To improve local governance, you don’t eliminate it.
ANC 3C06 Commissioner-Elect