In Washington, D.C. the lowest level of elected government are the city’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. Created in the 1970s, they were designed to connect the city’s neighborhoods to city government. These bodies are notorious for their NIMBY tendances and colorful personalities. I’ve long wondered why it seemed like the ANC in my neighborhood never seemed to do anything. My old local ANC in Glover Park, 3b, had an email list, website, and the meetings I attended seemed to be moderated more or less effectively of tedious, even if I didn’t always agree with their opinions. In Shaw I have heard nothing about ANC 2C, no meeting location is posted on the city website, and the chair doesn’t even have an email address or phone number listed. This week’s City Paper explains why: the ANC chair Al Hajj Mahdi Leroy Joseph Thorpe Jr. is famous for his abrasive personality. While he is praised for personally shutting down crack houses with a megaphone, his manners improve little when it comes to dealing with neighborhood concerns:
At an ANC meeting a couple of months ago, Chapple witnessed Thorpe humiliate Felicia Sullivan, who was trying to get community support to improve a park near her home. Although Sullivan, who is black, has lived in Shaw her whole life, Thorpe didn’t know her and, because she had been working with the Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association, he accused her of being a spy. She left the meeting in tears.
That Chapple is 6-year Shaw resident and attorney Kevin Chapple, who is running against Thorpe in the election this November. In his campaign literature and slick campaign website, he promises to “serve all residents of our area — from residents who grew up in Shaw and have raised their children here to new arrivals who consider Shaw their home as well.” Sounds good, right? If you live in the tiny district pictured here be sure to give him your vote on November 7th.
> City Paper: “Incoming Fire: Shaw resident takes on legendary civic troublemaker”
> Kevin Chapple for ANC 2c02
> Not sure where you live? The DCBOEE has maps.