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Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans might be returning to his roots as an advisory neighborhood commissioner.

For the past two months, the rancor that’s come to characterize the Shaw ANC since the beginning of the year has paralyzed the group’s operations. Scheduled public meetings in March and April were cancelled by Chair Doris Brooks—-the first for no stated reason, the second because a community member started taping the proceedings—-leaving ANC business, such as event permits and liquor-license applications, to Evans’ office.

On April 30, Evans finally had enough, calling an emergency meeting to broker peace between the four commissioners. At the meeting, according to Commissioner Kevin Chapple (pictured), Evans promised to run the ANC meetings himself if things didn’t improve. Chapple says his main complaint was Brooks’ refusal to make important documents—-agendas and quarterly reports, for instance—-available for review before meetings. With Evans present, he says Brooks agreed to make the reports available and to even hold a special officers’ election to make Chapple secretary at the May ANC meeting.

But at the meeting a few days later, Brooks declined to hold the election, saying there wasn’t enough time on the agenda. Says Brooks: “That’s gone and past, and I don’t want to deal with it, really.”

Evans says he’s not concerned with how the ANC members treat each other, just that they take care of business. “The commissioners are working better together,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The fact that they don’t agree is not my issue. My concern was that they weren’t meeting at all.”

“I don’t know what he means by that,” says Chapple, who describes the May ANC meeting as anything but civil. “If he means that we had a meeting and it wasn’t cancelled then that’s one assessment. But I can’t imagine that he…would think the ANC is working well. It was melee; it was a meltdown….I thought people might come to blows at one point. This is not a functional ANC.”

Photo by Charles Steck