David Garber's campaign web site is at voteGARBER.com.
1. Describe how you view of the role of ANC commissioner.
The ANC commissioner should be considered the default mediary between residents, business owners, and users of the community and the District government. When people ask me what the commissioner is, I tell them that it is essentially the "neighborhood-level representative" of Near Southeast. So, whether a new building is being planned, a streetscape is being redesigned, a new eatery is seeking outdoor seating, or the ballpark wants to add its name to the Metro map, the ANC Commissioner is there to be the neighborhood's voice of approval or for asking the right questions that will leave us with the best looking, safest, and most lovable neighborhood possible.
2. What do you see as the biggest issue in 6D07 that needs addressing?
The biggest issue facing 6D07 is shaping it into a neighborhood that people will want to live in for a long time. Kind of a political answer, I know. But in order for this to be a place people are exciting about living in for the long term, we need a neighborhood school that is safe to walk to, more retail and food amenities (emphasis on local and unique), and a built environment that is designed to engage the sidewalks and the people walking on them.
3. What do you think 6D07's greatest strength is?
6D07's greatest strength is its proximity to both city and nature. The most exciting and successful neighborhoods worldwide strike a balance between green design, big sky, big buildings, walkable living, and awe-inspiring vistas. Our neighborhood is framed by the Anacostia River and parks on one side, and the Capitol dome and one of the most charming historic districts anywhere on the other.
4. How do you view the potential impact of the Marines' search for a new barracks location on the neighborhood?
This neighborhood has always been very connected with the military, so I think it is important that we respect their history and place here. The search for a site will likely take some toll on the neighborhood because unless certain sites go off the table (Virginia Avenue Park, future community center land) then the search will feel like an "us v. them" project, especially to those who have personally invested in adjacent homes based on what is planned or there now.
5. Do you have a location you would prefer the Marines to choose?
Two of the main possible sites are actually outside of 6D07: Virginia Avenue Park / Exxon, and Squares 929/930: Quiznos, etc. Unless they choose to build at the old Exxon site at 11th & M without annexing all of the surrounding private property, I'd like to see the Marines tear down their parking structure on L Street and preserve the adjacent land for the long-promised Capper community & recreation center.
I do believe that good design can solve a lot of potential woes with whichever site is eventually selected, but I don't want to see neighborhood amenities like the sports fields and the community garden completely taken away or disrupted in the process.
6. How do you feel about Nationals Park in terms of its impacts on the neighborhood?
I'm thrilled to have the ballpark in our neighborhood. It's the magnet that draws thousands of people to this part of DC when they might not look for an excuse otherwise - their loss. Love the fireworks, love hearing the cheers even when I'm not at the game.
One specific area of concern, however, is the lack of zoned parking in the residential blocks north of the ballpark that forces neighborhood residents to abide by the same strict street parking rules as out-of-town fans. Besides that, I'm still appalled by the two above-ground parking garages in front of Nats Park and hope they eventually meet the wrecking ball.
7. What is Near Southeast most in need of?
1. Grocery stores (the Harris Teeter, Trader Joes, Whole Foods trifecta)
2. An elementary school
3. More restaurants & retail
4. More dog-friendly open spaces
5. Implementation of the M Street SE redesign
8. As a commissioner, what will you be looking for from developers who are wanting to build in Near Southeast?
My background is in real estate and design. I am a LEED-accredited professional (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, United States Green Building Council), and have worked with some of the leading thinkers and doers on New Urbanism and smart development practices. I will be looking for nothing short of complete design excellence from developers wanting to build in Near Southeast.
We already have some offending blocks (the backside of 909 New Jersey and the wall of curb cuts and garage doors across from the Marriott immediately come to mind), and I will work to make sure that what is built from here on out makes our streets some of the most attractive places to live, work, and shop in the city. Why accept anything less?
9. What do you feel the city should be doing to support the neighborhood and its residents? Is it doing enough, too much, too little?
The city is doing a good job supporting the neighborhood. We are all eager to see everything built and the amenities arrive, but most residents are aware of the down economy and lack of commercial lending. In other words, there is only so much the city can do on the development front, and residents generally understand that.
The city has also been responsive to the neighborhood's desire for a new elementary school in the existing Van Ness school building at 5th and M Streets. With a change of guard in the school system, I do not want to see any lag in progress on this extremely important initiative.
If we are counting the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District (BID) as part of the "city", I'll add that they are doing a great job with event programming, neighborhood cleanliness, and representing our hood to builders, retailers, and city agencies.
10. How long have you lived in 6D07? And how long have you lived in DC, or the DC area?
I have lived in 6D07 since July, I have lived in Southeast DC since the summer of 2007, and I have lived (save for a few breaks) in the DC area since 1989. I am very famliar with this area and neighborhood ... imagine me as a 3rd grader taking Metro to Capitol South then walking a mile by myself to art lessons. And those were the Barry years.
11. Who did you support in the DC mayoral primary?
I supported Mayor Fenty. I wasn't voting based on personality, but rather on his excellent hiring choices (Michelle Rhee - schools, Harriet Tregoning - planning, Gabe Klein - transportation) and his interest in seeing the city shake the status quo. Now that the primary is over and changes in administation are beginning to take place, I am eager to learn how Chairman Gray will raise the bar and seek excellence for the District.
12. What do you want voters to remember about you as they fill out their ballot?
I will fight hard for more amenities. I will shape this community so it looks great and functions well. I will be a like-minded voice on the Commission.
(and if you still aren't registered to vote or haven't updated your registration since moving from another neighborhood, remember to bring proof of residency to the polls to register on November 2!)