Had you sent a reporter to the Oct. 8 meeting of the Sheridan-Kalorama ANC (City Desk, 10/18), you would have discovered that your description of shock at the “appalling” conduct of the participants was totally misplaced. Albanian Ambassador Lublin Dilja should have felt right at home. After all, the presiding advisory neighborhood commissioner, knowing full well how exercised the neighborhood has been over the transfer of still another Kalorama property to chancery use:
•waited until the last minute to announce the meeting
•booked too small a room for what promised to be a jam-packed gathering
•arrived on the scene with a prepared five-page “finding” in favor of the Albanian purchase of the residential property for chancery (office) use
•announced that, as the sole representative of a two-person ANC, he constituted the ANC and the Corporation Counsel had the authority to elevate him to this stature (the other commissioner moved in August), thus he could be a “quorum of one”
•told 70 irate citizens crammed into an airless room designed to hold 30 that they could not vote on the issue
•called a recess, then returned to decree that the meeting was closed to questions or comments from all residents except those who had submitted written comments or had signed up to speak before the meeting
•allowed a 10-minute oration by a real estate broker, who was a resident of the ANC and formerly represented the property, enthusiastically praising a written statement by the Albanian ambassador that said that the new owners would “try” to accommodate neighborhood concerns about scarce parking spaces.
Your report was right about what happened next: “People were on the chairs, screaming.”
At issue here is more than the dictatorial behavior of ANC Commissioner Bob Hirshberg. The District government is opposed to the transfer of this property for diplomatic use because it includes public space now used as off-the-street parking by the sellers.
The good news is that we have two new, enthusiastic candidates who have stepped forward to fill the two seats of this ANC with fresh ideas and commitment. Further, we had residents call from long distances throwing their support to a revitalized neighborhood spirit, and finally, we got energized to do a block-by-block survey of all the transgressions of the diplomatic corps in this neighborhood. Remember, diplomats pay no property, income, or sales taxes and claim immunity to many of our laws, which we are understaffed to enforce and challenge.
Judith St. Aubin
directly across the Street from the property
Former Chairman, SKANC
one block from the property