All posts by Tom


Washington, D.C. is divided into eight Wards. The Wards are further carved into lettered divisions, and then numbered subdivisions, until one arrives at tiny parcels of territory comprised of roughly 2,000 people apiece. Each of these single member districts (SMDs) is represented by an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner who belongs to the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC). My little subdivision of Paradise is called ANC 6D02, and this year there is a three-way race going on for the nonpartisan, uncompensated privilege of representing our humble constituency.

 What puzzles me about each of the candidates is that nowhere in their campaign materials do they say what they do for a living, if anything, or how long they have lived in the District (much less the little slice of Heaven that is ANC 6D02). Maybe I am being picky here, but I would think some attention could be paid to the enumeration of the aforementioned bona fide occupational qualifications. Perhaps, however, what matters most are the issues.

The top issue for candidate and law-school graduate Damon C. Patton is to “[e]nsure that all proposed development plans that increases retail, grocery store options and entertainment are conducive to the family type atmosphere that is blossoming in our neighborhood.”  I take issue with Mr. Patton’s grasp of subject-verb agreement. I also take serious issue with Mr. Patton asking for donations on his Web-site. Read any newspaper, listen to or watch any broadcast of the local news, and it should be patently clear to Mr. Patton that the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics has better things to do and bigger fish to fry than the oversight of campaign contributions to every wannabe ANC Commissioner. What a can of worms has been opened here, Mr. Patton!

Candidate Ed Kaminski begins his video (posted on You Tube) with the assertion that ANC 6D02 is the only SMD with constituents in both the Southwest and Southeast quadrants of the city. Kaminski’s claim should come as a surprise to the neighboring residents in ANC 6D07–on both sides of South Capitol Street! Mr. Kaminski calls Randall Park “the heart” of ANC 6D02 (but, upon gross inspection, it’s closer to being a belly button and functions more as an appendix). In the one sheet of campaign literature you personally handed to me, Mr. Kaminski, you misspell it as “RANDAL Park” (and the block capital letters are all yours!).

Incumbent Cara Shockley returns to the race as a write-in candidate. I profess no knowledge nor do I feign any interest in how it became that her name will not appear on the ballot. Her campaign has been so low key that had I not opened a copy of the November 2012 edition of The Southwester, I would have been unaware of Shockley’s interest in another term.  Without fear of contradiction, I will say that for the past term Shockley has been an improvement over her predecessor.

I was hoping that by reducing to writing my impressions about the candidates in this year’s race for ANC Commissioner of the wee patch of Eden that is ANC 6D02, I might be able to formulate a preference that I could express at the polls.  I want to endorse somebody. But in the words of Charlie Brown, “I don’t know….I just don’t know.” I am undecided.