Other ways to be contacted?
Meredith.Fascett @ gmail.com
Where do you live?
Capitol Quarter Townhomes
When did you move to the neighborhood? Why?
Our neighborhood has the best of city living – a diverse community of residents, beautiful parks, innovative design features, outstanding restaurants, riverfront views, easy access to the rest of the city, and the Nationals! I moved to the neighborhood with my husband in early 2011, first to 909 New Jersey Ave and then to our Capitol Quarter townhouse. Three and a half years and two kids later, we are delighted to raise our family here, establish roots, and give back to the community.
What made you decide to run for the ANC?
I've watched this neighborhood become a home for my family and a destination for people from all over the city. I've also become friends with neighbors who have called this area home for decades. We have an obligation to create a thriving community for all of our residents. I know I can bring people together, across generations, across income levels, and across political lines to build on our neighborhood's strengths and tackle its challenges.
How do you envision the role of an ANC commissioner? And of the ANC in general?
As your ANC Commissioner, I will be a strong advocate for the community. I plan to be a communications link between city agencies and our residents, organizations, and businesses. I want to listen to you and partner with you on community initiatives.
Our neighborhood is in the midst of an extraordinary transformation. I will be not only tracking the details of the neighborhood's new development, but also soliciting and incorporating your input into the ANC's recommendations. I want to ensure that our neighborhood has a mix of residential and commercial properties, public spaces, amenities, restaurants, retail and services, and small and large businesses. I also will be working to promote opportunities that bring people together and build a sense of community.
What sort of experience do you have that would make you a good commissioner?
First, I have a proven track record of collaborating with the community to get results. As President of the Van Ness Elementary School Parent Group (“VNPG”) for 2013/2014 school year, I worked to create an organized community of future Van Ness parents, engaging with more than 75 families and 120 children. This past spring, we led a successful, community-wide lobbying effort to retain $15M in funding for the renovation and modernization of Van Ness Elementary School. This effort ensured that Van Ness will open on-time next Fall with a renovated building – an important victory for neighborhood children! In addition, over the past year, VNPG parents have worked hard to study curriculum options, research fundraising needs, and learn best practices from principals and PTAs of neighboring schools. As we enter the final planning year for the school's reopening, there is much to do. To get involved, email VNPG at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second, I have the professional expertise to serve you well. I have a Master's degree in Public Policy from Harvard University. I have served as a policy analyst at the US Department of Labor and the US Department of Homeland Security. I also have a background in finance, having worked in investment banking at Goldman Sachs and in asset management at Merrill Lynch. I have worked in stakeholder outreach as part of two presidential campaigns. And now, I am most excited about the opportunity to work on your behalf.
Do you have a specific topic area or theme that you would bring a particular focus to?
Collaborative Community Building.
Early in this campaign, I met a resident who said that we needed a way to help people in the community apply for jobs at the new Harris Teeter. Building on his suggestion, I organized a Job Resources event in August to connect residents with job readiness and adult education programs. We had great turnout, and I've followed up with additional events. In September, at my request, United Planning Organization, a leading DC non-profit, hosted a one week training program for our residents, designed specifically to guide people through the (extensive and complicated) Harris Teeter application process. And, in October, Living Classrooms Foundation kicked off a three part career readiness program for our young adults.
During a discussion with another neighbor about ways for Capitol Quarter homeowners to forge positive relationships with teenagers in the neighborhood, the idea for youth mentoring through a basketball team was born. This neighbor then partnered with Results Gym to reserve weekly court time at no cost and recruited two fantastic coaches. I've been actively recruiting neighborhood kids for the team and our first game is this Sunday (10/5)! We are so excited! Let me know if you'd like to join or support the team.
As your ANC Commissioner, I want to hear your ideas for the community. Let's make them happen together!
If you could wave a wand and get something done in the neighborhood tomorrow, what would it be, and why?
If I had a magic wand, I would restore to our community a fishable, swimmable Anacostia River. I believe that the devastation of the Anacostia River is the most insidious, intractable, and expensive challenge that our neighborhood faces.
A clean Anacostia River is an economic driver for our waterfront neighborhood and a right of DC residents as outlined in the Clean Water Act. The status quo is a grave public health risk. Raw sewage, storm water runoff, and trash still flow into the river. The river's sediment is polluted with industrial waste and carcinogens. Fortunately, there are strategies and policies in place to begin to restore the river. The path ahead, however, is long, daunting, and expensive. It will require sustained public commitment, billions of dollars in funding, and engineering innovation. You can support the effort by becoming an active and informed citizen on the issue. Sign up with our neighborhood non-profit the Anacostia Riverkeeper at www.anacostiariverkeeper.org. Learn about opportunities to reduce storm runoff from your home by checking out the DC Department of the Environment's RiverSmart Homes program at http://ddoe.dc.gov/service/riversmart-homes-overview. And if you have a magic wand, put it to work.
How do you reconcile the somewhat different concerns and profiles of apartment dwellers and SFH residents?
My husband and I came to the neighborhood when EYA was still selling the Capitol Quarter homes and we were at a point in life to be able to buy a home. Not everyone in the neighborhood had such fortunate timing. I hear consistently from apartment residents that they are frustrated by the lack of opportunities for home ownership.
The good news is that there are some condo buildings in the pipeline, such as PN Hoffman's building at 4th and Tingey Streets and the proposed condo building on the Chiller site at Half and L streets SE. That said, we need to think creatively about how we can make staying in the community an attractive long-term option for both renters and those looking to purchase homes.
And what about public housing residents versus the more well-off newer arrivals?
Our neighbors in affordable housing deserve an equal seat at the table in community decision-making, respect for their important contributions to the neighborhood, and access to information. I know that neighbors in affordable housing are vital team members as we build our neighborhood. In order for this to happen, we need to make sure they have access to information, recognizing that many do not have computers or smart phones. If elected, I am going to focus on bridging our community's digital divide. If you would like to help, contact me at 202-750-0295.
What do you think residents of your ANC think is/are the most pressing issue(s) in the neighborhood?
A neighborhood school and play areas for our kids
The CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel project
Traffic and parking solutions
A voice in the economic planning and decision-making
A community center that fosters relationship building and provides great programming
Local job opportunities for neighborhood residents
When I talk to neighbors, their most pressing concerns are:
Where do you stand on the CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel project?
I stand with our seniors in 900 5th St. who have grave, unanswered safety concerns about living mere feet from an active construction site with trains passing through its boundaries. I stand with our townhome neighbors who deserve concrete assurances that the mitigation measures for ambient air quality, noise, and vibration will be effective and enforced. I stand with our future Van Ness Elementary School students who deserve a neighborhood free from hazardous materials transport.
DC Councilmembers have allocated $500,000 in Fiscal Year 2015 for the completion of a District Rail Plan that will inform the city's rail infrastructure for the next several decades. The District of Columbia should not permit the District Department of Transportation to allow for a Record of Decision on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel project before the city's comprehensive Rail Plan is completed and its findings are analyzed as they relate to the VAT project.
What do you want voters to remember about you as they fill out their ballot?
A vote for me is a vote for our community's future. I'm already hard at work for you. I view us as a team and I'll be counting on your vote on November 4th. Vote Meredith Fascett for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner!
What do you call the neighborhood?