I picked up my petitions this week to run for ANC. After years of sitting on the sidelines chirping, I owe it to the people I criticize, who put a ton of their time into serving the neighborhood, to put up or, well, you know.
When I’ve mentioned this to friends, the question invariably is, “Why do you want to do this?” The answer is easy. Cleveland Park is a great place to live. But it can be better, and we are running the risk of falling behind.
DC is experiencing a renaissance that is drawing in new residents in droves. Lifestyles are changing. The way we work, move our selves around, shop, enjoy entertainment — all of this is in flux, and in some cases irrevocably changed.
Forty years ago, when the ANC system was quite new, residents came together to form “Citizen for City Living” which drafted a comprehensive plan for the neighborhood entitled, “A Plan for Cleveland Park.” It’s an interesting document, and I’ll try to scan it share it online. But the point is, great thought went into what residents wanted Cleveland Park to become. I don’t agree with everything they came up with. But soon thereafter the historic district was formed and then in 1989 the commercial overlay.
For the next almost 30 years, the elected leadership of Cleveland Park vigorously defend this vision of the neighborhood. They were pushed multiple times: Sam’s Park & Shop, Tregaron, Rosedale, Giant, NCS. But each time they circled the wagons, lawyer-ed up and beat back change. There is a lot to be admired in what was accomplished. But in hindsight, there were also missed opportunities to better our community.
They way we live today is not at all they way families lived in 1989. Our expectations and desired for city living have evolved. I’m running because I believe its past time to rethink the guidelines under which our neighborhood operates – the Comprehensive Plan, the Neighborhood Mixed Use zoning for our commercial corridors – and begin a “visioning” conversation about what the next 20-30 years of Cleveland Park should look like. I don’t see anyone in elected leadership that has that on their radar, including the current incumbent of SMD 3C09. That’s why I’m running.
Email me and let me know if you want to sign my petition this weekend!