2012 ANC 6D02 Candidate Questionnaire:
Damon Patton

6D02: Ed Kaminski | Damon Patton | Cara Shockley
6D07: David Garber

1. How long have you lived in your ANC? And how long have you lived in DC, or the DC area?

In 2006, I moved from Cleveland, Ohio to the DC Metropolitan area. Three years later, I began looking for an area of DC to call home. In 2010, I found that place: the newly created ANC 6D02. This past March, I signed my second Lease Agreement for 18 months and will continue to do the same indefinitely.

2. What made you decide to run for ANC?

My desire to help people is the sole reason why I made the conscious decision to run for the ANC. To serve as the people's Commissioner creates the perfect opportunity to give back to my community while I champion the residents' interests. As an attorney, I am trained to anticipate issues and resolve problems to achieve a client's desired end. This background, coupled with my genuine concern for people, qualifies and positions me to serve the people of 6D02 with the requisite commitment necessary to promote and institutionalize sustainable change.

3. What do you see as the role of an ANC commissioner?

The role of the ANC Commissioner is a position of service. Since 1974 when DC residents voted to create the ANC, the Commissioner's charge has remained the same: to serve as the voice for the residents who reside in the designated Single Member District (SMD). When an ANC Commissioner accepts this responsibility, this individual makes a commitment to the residents and begins an ongoing dialogue with the same. To maintain communication, and thus serve as the people's voice, the Commissioner must be accessible to the constituents. The Commissioner must also provide the residents with information, news, updates and the like that occur in the SMD, the Ward and the City.

Additionally, an ANC Commissioner should not only work on the issues that affect the District's current residents, but also future residents. The community's legacy will ultimately be a reflection of the decisions made by the Commissioner and the ANC. Thus, the Commissioner must have a strong sense of perspective. Finally, while an ANC Commissioner duty is to the constituents of the Single Member District, the Commissioner must be receptive to the needs of the entire Ward. Given the close proximity of each Single Member District, no one SMD is an island. Instead, we must appreciate the concerns and interests of many to create a great Ward and City for all.

4. Near Southeast will now have two commissioners. How will you work with your east-of-South-Capitol compatriot on issues specific to the neighborhood?

Before the redistricting, David Garber represented people who reside at the Velocity, Capitol Hill Tower and 909 at Capitol Yards. Now that these constituents are part of the new SMD 6D02, to continue the excellent service they received under Mr. Garber's leadership, it is imperative that I take full advantage of Mr. Garber's invaluable institutional knowledge. Such is the conversation I began with Mr. Garber when exploring the decision to run for the ANC. If elected to serve the people of SMD 6D02, I will continue this conversation with Mr. Garber about his former SMD. Given the proximity of 6D02 and 6D07, they share a border, I will also work with Mr. Garber in his new capacity as Commissioner of 6D07. Undoubtedly, the residents that reside in the SE part of SMD 6D02 have issues in common with the residents of 6D07. So it's imperative that Mr. Garber and I work together to promote the interests of our constituents. Regardless of whether we agree or disagree, I believe a two- pronged approach towards resolution not only benefits both our SMD but ultimately, Ward 6.

5. Both districts are home to public housing residents. Are their interests being forgotten in the push for and emphasis on redevelopment in these areas? How do you serve them as commissioner?

Undoubtedly, economic development is on the rise in Southwest and Southeast DC. Thus, consistent with the cliché, the more precise question before both Commissioners is how do we work together so that this “rising tide raises all ships” in our area. In other words, as the community becomes more economically developed, it is imperative that elected officials work together so that everyone benefits from this success. I recognize that I represent all the people in my SMD. Notwithstanding this fact, I know I need to make sure that residents who are on the lower end of the economic spectrum are intimately involved in conversations about SW and SE. These residents were here first when this area of the City was deemed undesirable. So now that it is an up and coming neighborhood, we should not and cannot relegate them to the sideline. I refuse.

Recently, I had a conversation with a single grandmother who is raising her granddaughter. Because she wants to provide her granddaughter with exposure and opportunities, we talked about my plans to work with youth who reside in our neighborhood. These include seasonal employment opportunities at the baseball stadium and part time work at the new business scheduled to open in this area, partnering with Arena Stage to offer programs for youth in our area, working with DC Parks and Recreation to offer programs at Randall Park and giving people in the area opportunities to mentor young people who live in the neighborhood.

6. If you could wave a wand and get something done in Near Southeast tomorrow, what would it be, and why?

With my wand, all the commercial buildings in Near Southeast would have tenants. This increase of commercial businesses during the day would mean an influx of people patronizing the small businesses and retail in our area. Additionally, it would also create a demand for more eating options, a gym, entertainment and the like in Near Southeast. As residents, we then could remain in our neighborhood to eat, shop and for entertainment.

7. What do you want voters to remember about you as they fill out their ballot?

As the voters fill out their ballot, I want them to remember four words about me: accessibility and problem solver. To fulfill my charge as ANC Commissioner, to be voice of the people who elected me, I must make myself available to the residents of 6D02. Through weekly “coffee hours” where we can talk and discuss issues, electronic communication, social media and the like, I vow to stay connected to the people, my neighbors. Additionally, both my professional and personal experiences trained me to recognize and then solve problems. Whether the issue appears simple or is complex in nature, I engage my clients, my constituents, and together we work towards a favorable resolution.

8. 6D02 is a new ANC, with boundaries that run from just south of the Mall in Southwest down to Nationals Park in SE west of 1st Street (along with Capitol Hill Tower and 909 New Jersey). What do you see as the most pressing issue(s) for this particular area?

While there are many pressing issues in 6D02, based on my conversations with residents in 602, parking is the unanimous pressing issue. Whether the individual resides in one of the high rise buildings in SE, or on G Street SW, ask any resident and this individual will have an opinion on the subject matter.

9. Do you see any difficulties inherent in representing portions of both SE and SW, which sometimes have very different goals and interests? How will you handle this?

Just as the residents of SE and SW have common issues like parking, they each deal with matters that are specific to each space. But nothing about these differences gives rise to inherent difficulties. In fact the residents of 6D02 are no different than the residents of any other SMD. The interests of residents of any SMD can be as diverse as the people that that inhabit it. The key to navigating the diverse areas of the SMD is to engage the residents and collaborate with the same to devise a plan to meet their needs.

Since I've only lived in the SE section of the SMD, before I decided to run for the ANC, I set out to learn about SW. I walked the SW neighborhood to engage the residents in conversation and to learn about the area they call home. Just as I met with David Garber to learn about the constituents he formerly represented in SE, I did the same with Cara Shockley. Again, before the redistricting, Ms. Shockley's former SMD included the area in SW that is now part of the newly created 6D02. To learn about the constituents and issues in SW, I tapped into Ms. Shockley's institutional knowledge about SW DC.

10. There is great concern from residents east of South Capitol about parking, specifically on-street parking for residents who are ineligible for RPP stickers thanks to living in large multi-unit buildings. What will be your approach to this?

To deny residents who pay the City taxes access to a Residential Parking Permit (RPP) is simply wrong and unfair. Therefore, the time has come to reexamine and then redesigned the City's Zone parking system. I believe that if the ANC, City Council and the Department of Transportation work together, we can devise a new Residential Permit Parking system that benefits all residents. I am of the opinion that the RPP should be link to a specific neighborhood in the City. In other words, a RPP for Ward 6 should not give a resident carte blank right to parking anywhere in the Ward. Under a revised plan, I would like to see the RPP limit the holder's parking to streets closest to their dwelling. Such a proposal would create additional parking spaces and allow all residents to obtain a RPP.

11. It looks like development south of M Street may soon start ramping up again. How do you approach both the interest in getting that area activated with what will probably be increased crowds and noise that may make established residents north of M unhappy?

The important issue here is balance. While there is a need to economically improve the area, it is necessary to strike a balance between economic development that uplifts the area with the concerns of the residents who live North of M Street. To reach such an accord, the business developers must work with the residents from planning to completion of the project. We must all realize that even the best intentions for M Street may require trial and error. In other words, ideas that are drawn on paper may not work well in practice. But these ongoing conversations between the developers and residents will convene the two groups whereby collectively they can anticipate issues, discuss the same and work to resolve them.

12. Should Drew Storen have been pulled in the bottom of the 9th in the 5th game of the NLCS after he gave up the first hit?

Unfortunately, it is easy to “Monday Morning Quarterback” any decision when one has full knowledge of the game's outcome. While I did not see the game in question, as a sports fan, I know every decision presents an opportunity for a team to succeed. With the information the Coach had at the time, the Coach made a decision he thought was best for the team. Thus, I cannot and will not fault the Coach for the Nationals' loss.

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