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Kathy Henderson, the subject of a recent City Paper cover story who’s caused quite the stir among residents in her Advisory Neighborhood Commission, will no longer chair ANC 5D after a relatively functional gathering Tuesday night.
At the group’s first meeting of 2016, held at the 5th District Police Headquarters on Bladensburg Road NE, Henderson did not nominate herself (and was not nominated by another commissioner on the seven-person panel) for reelection as chair. The commissioner, who’s presided over several chaotic meetings during her tenure—including one at which she called on Metropolitan Police Department officers to remove a man who was recording the session, yelling at a second for allegedly being “a white supreme-ist”—has caused consternation among certain local businesses for trying to keep them out of her community, as well as among her colleagues for failing to provide them access to “key documentation.”
“I hope everyone came here tonight for business and not necessarily political theater,” Henderson said at the beginning of the meeting, which ran only 20 minutes past its scheduled time of 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. “I look forward to continuing to serve my constituents—I love my constituents…[no longer being chair] will give me an opportunity to move forward.”
Commissioner Adam Roberts succeeds Henderson as chair of the body. With one year of ANC 5D experience under his belt, Roberts secured the position with four “yes” votes, one abstention, and a “no” from Henderson, who also voted “no” against Roberts’ sole challenger, Clarence Lee. For the next year, Bernice Blacknell will serve as vice chair, Keisha Shropshire as treasurer, and Yvonne Buggs as secretary; with the exception of Blacknell, these commissioners just finished their inaugural year on the ANC at the end of 2015.
Henderson targeted the sophomore cohort at one point during the meeting, when she attributed the difficulty of running the ANC last year to “four new commissioners, who really didn’t know the community,” nor Robert’s Rules of Order—the guidebook for conducting official meetings and votes.
In a brief nomination speech, Roberts said he wants ANC 5D sessions to be “informative, fun, and accessible,” with agendas shared one week in advance. On Monday, he launched the first-ever website for the commission, which is hoped to be a resource for 5D residents, showing various public documents.
Much of the rest of the session proceeded like a standard ANC meeting might be expected to: with presentations from developers on upcoming projects in the community and a safety report from MPD officers. Still, when an unpaid cell-phone bill whose legitimacy is disputed by the commission came up, the panelists couldn’t come to an agreement about it, tabling it for a later meeting; they’ve debated whether a T-Mobile contract was indeed authorized.
As for Henderson’s future on the recently dysfunctional ANC? “I have always voted in the best interest of the public and that will not change,” she said.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery