Interviews with candidates for ANC 4C and 4D

Maps for ANC 4C and 4D

The Advisory Neighborhood Commissions are the first layer of political bodies in the District, with residents elected in non-partisan positions to represent approximately 2,000 other residents in a Single Member District.

Some ANCs are really contentious, others work hard, and some others don’t do much. While some Commissioners who serve also fit the same descriptions, serving is one of the best ways to be involved in the community. Petworth News reached out to every one running for an ANC 4C and 4D seat in 2018, but only some responded. Take from that what you will — note that most of the seats up for election are running unopposed, a few are contested, and one only has a write-in candidate (updated 10/28/18).

Greater Greater Washington did a survey of 4C and 4D candidates, looking at their perspectives on urban planning and transportation issues, and then making endorsements of the candidates. You can see the article on GGWash, and read the full responses by the candidates in a PDF. Both are worthwhile.

(Note: Petworth News does not generally offer candidate endorsements.)

Hey, the election is Tuesday, November 6th. Make sure you vote.


Candidate List for ANC 4C

4C01
Charlotte Nugent
Salina P. Waddy (No response)

4C02
Maria Barry (No response)

4C03
Ashik Siddique (No response)
Ulysses E. Campbell (No response)

4C04
Nora Simon (write-in candidate)

4C05
Debbie Matties
Benjamin Underwood

4C06
Bennett Hilley

4C07
Kim Varzi
Kreig Rajaram (Withdrew on 10/26/18)

4C08
Timothy A. Jones (No response)
Leah Anderson (write-in candidate)

4C09
Steven Feingold
Tearsa Coates

4C10
Jonah Goodman

Candidate List for ANC 4D

4D01
Peter Tabor

4D02
Renée L. Bowser (No response)

4D03
Aaron Polkey

4D04
Jamie Barden

4D05
Krystal Branton (No response)

4D06
Jonathan Nobil


Candidates for Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4C

4C01

Charlotte Nugent

Best way for constituents to contact: CharlotteNugentforANC@gmail.com

I began my career teaching at an international school in Khartoum, Sudan, where I worked with students and families from over 40 countries. I also taught K-5 special education for two years on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico with Teach For America. I live with my husband Ben in the 16th Street Heights neighborhood.

Priorities while serving on the ANC
I admit the ANC can be time-consuming! I also serve as board member with For Love of Children (FLOC), a DC nonprofit that provides educational services beyond the classroom, such as tutoring and college access programs, to help DC students succeed. And I try to read, exercise, travel, and keep up with our neighborhood restaurants.

  • Increase our access to affordable housing and accessible transit that help residents live securely and access high-quality job opportunities

  • Address root causes of the public health problems of gun violence, homelessness, and drug addiction, such as limited access to jobs, workforce training, and substance abuse and mental health treatment for our neighbors in crisis. I will encourage leaders to move beyond approaches that do not address these root causes, and those that unjustly target our youth and people of color and increasing their involvement in the criminal justice system

  • Maintain a vibrant neighborhood with a high quality of life by addressing problems that impact our well-being, such as vacant properties, sanitation violations, and illegal construction

  • Advocate for increased equity, quality and access to neighborhood educational programs—including daycare, after-school and summer programs badly needed in Ward 4—so that all children have a chance to thrive

As a former teacher and community advocate, I am a relationship-builder who respects and listens to all people. I pledge to work respectfully with all residents and other commissioners to solve problems and put the needs of our neighborhood first!


4C05

Debbie Matties

Best way for constituents to contact: deb@debbiematties.com and Debbiematties.com

I am the President of Herd on the Hill, a DC-based non-profit progressive advocacy group that helps amplify voices of constituents from across the country with their reps and senators. We may not have representation in Congress, but we have proximity to the offices. Our group also educates those around the country who we help about our plight. I'm also working on getting out the vote for November through the progressive turnout app VoteWithMe. Check it out!

I've lived in the neighborhood for five years and in DC for 24 years. I volunteer on political campaigns and teach ESL. I love to travel and enjoy photography. I swim and hope to get the Roosevelt High School pool opened to the public.

Priorities while serving on the ANC
Cleaner streets, improved commercial services, preserving resident parking, traffic calming and pedestrian safety. I'd be thrilled to represent our little patch of DC!

4C05

Benjamin Underwood 

Best way for constituents to contact: I have a simple website with some information, https://ben4anc.com  I can also be reached by email at ben4ancdc@gmail.com or by text at 202.615.3694.

I have lived in DC for 12 years and in our SMD since 2016. I am passionate about our neighborhood and our city and believe that everyone should have a voice in what happens here. I have been with my partner for eight years and married for the last year.  Professionally, I work in the commercial real estate business.

I enjoy being outside working in my yard and gardening, I really like to watch things grow.  I have a particular obsession with green grass... I also serve on the board of directors for the local chapter and the headquarters of an international professional real estate association.  I'm usually shamelessly over caffeinated and enjoy reading the paper (yes in paper form, please), books and magazines.  I often have more than I can keep up with, but I try as time allows.  In my perfect world, you would find me on a beach.  I also enjoy running through Rock Creek Park and going to the gym when I can get up early enough. 

Priorities while serving on the ANC
If chosen to serve on the ANC I hope to continue to promote a feeling of community and connectedness by facilitating opportunities for people to get to know one another. I would like to improve communication between the city and its residents so that residents have the opportunity to have their voices be heard and responded to. I also believe that our neighborhood should feel safe and be clean for residents, business and visitors alike and will work to make this a priority. Our neighborhood should be a place that people want to be.

I grew up in a very rural area in central Virginia and appreciate the way that living in a city brings people together. I hope that serving on the ANC gives me the opportunity to deepen my relationships in the community and increase neighbors connectedness and sense of pride.


4C06

Bennett Hilley

Best way for constituents to contact: My ANC email at 4c06@anc.dc.govor call or text me at 202-750-0481.

I am educated as an urban planner, but I spend my days working in community and economic development finance at a federal agency. My work is focused on financing large housing, infrastructure, or job-creating projects that benefit low- and moderate-income communities nationwide.

Outside of work, I am typically enjoying DC’s restaurants or going to concerts or plays with friends.  On weekends, my neighbors will likely find me outside in my yard or working on some home improvement project in paint-splattered clothes.  I also am part of a figure-drawing group that meets every few weeks.

Priorities while serving on the ANC
My top priority while serving on the ANC is to make sure my constituents have someone to help them interface with DC agencies. Often-times, it just takes finding the right person at an agency to help solve a problem or get an answer; it is my goal to help make that process easier for neighbors.

My other priorities are:

  • support existing or new small businesses in our neighborhood to help ensure they are able to thrive while being good neighbors to the community

  • ensure that developers coming into our neighborhood understand that they must be accountable to those of us already living here—whether it be working with neighbors to ensure the design fits the character of the neighborhood, seeking additional affordable housing opportunities,  or making sure they install permeable pavers to help with stormwater runoff.

As the current ANC Chair, my priority is to also to make sure that ANC is a high-functioning commission in accomplishing the shared goals of the Petworth and 16th Street Heights neighborhoods. 

I hope you will give me the opportunity to continue serving you for another term.


4C07

Kim Varzi

Best way for constituents to contact: Email will be best in the future and I will set up a Facebook page.

Kim is a Photographer, Stay at Home Mom,  Married with one dog and one child. We love going to Rock Creek and hanging out in Sherman Circle. And we always take advantage of the wonderful free things to do in DC!

Priorities while serving on the ANC
Community and Communication.  I really want to engage community members in what their needs are as well as developments happening around us directly and in the vicinity. I aim to start community cleanups that would also provide an opportunity for people to get to know their neighbors as well as discuss any concerns they may have. Some people have said they feel a loss of community in their block as it had been.  I hope it can be restored with community clean ups. I also want to be sure that renters and Condo owners feel integrated in the community. 

Communication is truly important in this area as it develops and as DDOT plans to make changes on several of the streets. We are lucky that Petworth News posts the minutes and notes of ANC meetings, and I aim to make sure community members are informed of what is happening around them.  

My motto in life has always been that People are more important than paper (and I guess technology these days) I will always be available to hear concerns of members as well as walking through the neighborhood to see how everyone is doing. 


4C09

Tearsa Coates

Best way for constituents to contact: tearsa4anc@gmail.com

My first job is co-chair of the home I've shared for 10 years with my two kids and husband. For my second shift, I work as a digital marketer for technology organizations and start-ups. My personal passion is advocating for high quality education for all kids in every ward. I serve on the board of DC Prep, I was a founding member of Ward 4's Parent Leaders in Education, and I frequent school budget hearings and OSSE events. I love Petworth; our culture, our restaurants, our architecture, our shops, our dogs, and our neighbors.  

I love to travel! I went to Cuba this year with Lighthouse Yoga. I studied Spanish in Guatemala. I've visited 45 states -- I only have ID, IA, OK, NM, and AK left to see. Despite all this travel, I am shockingly and shamefully terrible at geography.

Priorities while serving on the ANC
I moved to Petworth in 2008 and as I walk the neighborhood and look around, I am so proud of everything that we've accomplished together over the decade. I want to ensure that as our community continues to thrive, so too will our spirit of inclusion, access, and opportunity for all!

  1. Affordable housing is a priority for me because it's fair and it keeps our neighborhood economically and racially diverse. 

  2. Protecting our elderly neighbors is a priority for me; from eliminating predatory lending and identifying scams to connecting seniors with the services they deserve so they can age in place.

  3. I want to foster a sense of belonging for both legacy neighbors and new residents. It's important to me that all voices are considered in community-building — not just the voices of the boldest, wealthiest, and most influential. I will leverage my role as Commissioner to promote low tech, old-fashioned, unspoken, random acts of neighborliness!  

As Commissioner, my job is to represent the desires of the residents, not just my personal priorities. This summer, I launched a survey asking neighbors about their greatest wishes and concerns for Petworth. Affordable housing, preserving neighborhood character, productive discourse on the impact of gentrification, and crime reduction were hot topics for respondents. Therefore, these will be hot topics for me. You can count on me to be collaborative, creative, and eager to seek your feedback to solve problems. I am running out of a desire to give back to the everyday people of 4c09 who make me feel at home.

4C09

Steven Feingold

Best way for constituents to contact: I can be reached at steven4anc@gmail.com or facebook.com/steven4anc. You can text me at (202) 854-1944. 

I'm originally from North Carolina and followed my (now) wife to DC in 2013.  We ended up renting a basement in Petworth, and have stayed in the neighborhood through 2 additional moves. I studied biomedical engineering and now work for a mid-size biotech company.  No kids (yet) but we have 3 wonderful cats, two of which we adopted out of our alley.

 I'm a huge gardener, and love spending time down in the dirt or just walking around enjoying what other people have done (see my Petworth Blooming posts). I have over 250 different kinds of plants in my yard — I had to make a spreadsheet to keep track! After a couple of years, I've run out of gardening space in my own yard and have recently expanded to planting flowers in the triangle park at 4th, Buchanan and New Hampshire. I also spend plenty of time hiking and biking in Rock Creek and Anacostia Parks.

Priorities while serving on the ANC
My biggest priority for the ANC is improving pedestrian safety.  DDOT has made some beneficial changes to Grant and Sherman Circles, but as a neighborhood we must continue pressuring them to make sure the temporary bollards and paint are replaced with real permanent fixes.  DDOT has made other pedestrian safety suggestions as part of the Rock Creek East Livability study but without focus from the neighborhood, these improvements will not be quickly realized. Specifically, I would like to see a lot more curb bumpouts along Upshur and New Hampshire.

I'm also very interested in improving our public spaces.  I helped bring benches to Sherman Circle and to organize the tree planting at Grant and Sherman Circles last year. Our neighborhood has great parks including Upshur and Petworth Parks plus lots of playgrounds at our schools.  I want to make sure these spaces stay clean and continue to serve our community as fully as possible.

You can usually catch me at the Sherman Circle Socials or find me playing soccer at E.L. Haynes on Saturday mornings. 


4C10

Jonah Goodman

Best way for constituents to contact: Find me on Twitter as @ancjonah or email at 4C10@anc.dc.gov.

I am a user experience designer, which means I design websites and test how real-world users interact with them. My wife Karen and I live at 4th and Upshur. We have semi-adopted a neighborhood cat. We help run a block listserv, annual block party, and other activities to keep our block close knit and welcoming.

When I am not mapping data or building spreadsheets for various ANC matters I am often running. I run marathons periodically and I am usually training for one at least once a year. 

Priorities while serving on the ANC
My primary goal is I want to demystify both the ANC and District government in order to make it work better for residents. Within the ANC that often means adding transparency to how we operate. From posting our agenda and documents in near real time for public viewing to drafting policies to make representation equitable across our different districts within ANC 4C. My next big piece of this is presenting the Commission, and really the community, with a draft proposal to set zoning and density decisions. My hope is that with this we will start to look more holistically at housing density issues, affordability and inclusiveness, and vacant retail properties. A draft is online that you can view.

At the District level I hope that we can create some change with how agencies operate. I want to see SLA's implemented to address frequent neglect of resident requests, public meetings that are accessible to working families, and make neighbors believe their government works.

If you ever want to do a trash cleanup on your block or alley, I'll probably join you if you invite me.


Candidates for Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4D

4D01

Peter Tabor

Best way for constituents to contact: If elected, I'll have an ANC (dc.gov) email address. For now, I am engaging with Brightwood Park residents on nextdoor.com.

My wife Maria and I moved to Brightwood Park from Alexandria two and a half years ago. We love it here and now have a new baby boy we are excited to raise in this great part of DC. Maria and I are both former US government officials, now working in the private sector representing various agriculture interests.

I'm a native Californian and a fluent Spanish speaker — my Mom is from Chile — but I have lived in the DC area since 2002, so this is home.

My new hobby is hanging out with my son, Nicolas. If time permits I enjoy cycling, basketball, working in the yard, cooking, reading (non-fiction) and playing golf (on the rare occasion my schedule permits it).

Priorities while serving on the ANC
I view myself as a sounding board and conduit for my neighbors' concerns and priorities. That said, I see safety as a high priority, making sure our neighborhood is a place we all feel proud calling home and working with Ward 4 Councilman Todd and the Mayor's office to ensure Brightwood Park growth and development meets all our needs, from longtime residents (who understand the neighborhood's history) to residential (and commercial) newcomers. And I want to make sure everyone's voice is heard - quiero servir a todos los habitantes de nuestro barrio.

I want to thank outgoing ANC 4D01 Commissioner Nancy Roth for her support and tutelage the past month or so, helping me learn about the issues facing our neighborhood and introducing me to some key people. I look forward to serving our community.


4D03

Aaron Polkey

Best way for constituents to contact: polkeyanc@gmail.com, www.polkeyanc.com, facebook.com/PolkeyANC

I'm originally from Charleston, South Carolina, and first moved to the District of Columbia in 1996 to serve as a Page for the United States House of Representatives during my junior year of high school. I returned to Washington in 1998 to attend Georgetown University, where I double majored in government and history. After attending law school, practicing law, and serving as a county park and recreation commissioner for a few years in my hometown, I returned to Washington for a third time in 2008 to pursue a career in public interest law and advocacy. I currently reside in Petworth with my husband and our two dogs.

As a public interest attorney, I advocated for voting rights with Advancement Project and stood up for DC tenants’ rights to safe and affordable housing with the DC Office of the Tenant Advocate. I currently work to end gender-based violence and harassment as a Staff Attorney with Futures Without Violence. 

I have completed two Marine Corp Marathons, and have at least one more in my future!

 Priorities while serving on the ANC

  1. Continue departing 4D03 Commissioner Lisa Colbert's community service efforts, such as coat drives and outreach to the new Kennedy Street transitional housing center.

  2. Traffic calming, especially along the 5th Street and Kansas Avenue commuting corridors between Kennedy Street and Sherman/Grant Circles.

  3. Enhance of triangle parks within SMD 4D03.

 I plan on publishing a monthly electronic newsletter. Please subscribe at polkeyanc.com/newsletter


4D04 

Jamie Barden

Best way for constituents to contact: jamieANC4D04@gmail.com

My wife and I just welcomed our first child in August.  I have been a Professor at Howard University since 2004. I enjoy walking the neighborhood with my daughter in the carrier and my dog on a leash talking to whoever we run into or who is hanging out on their porches.

Priorities while serving on the ANC
Public safety, supporting seniors, protecting affordable housing, addressing vacant properties, protecting family paid leave, addressing poverty, and working with local businesses.

 I have served as ANC since October 2017 and as Treasurer of ANC4D since January 2018.


4D06 

Jonathan Nobil

Best way for constituents to contact: Jon@NobilDC.com

Born and raised in DC, and started my own insurance business after a career in finance. My wife (also from DC) and I moved to Petworth almost four years ago and love the community.

I’m a third-generation Redskins fan and enjoy spending time with my rescue dog.

Priorities while serving on the ANC
Advocating for those who may feel underrepresented in our community, particularly as respects large institutions - for example my work with DC Water that was well-covered by Petworth News. Bringing more fiscal accountability and transparency, and also making residents aware of city programs they can utilize.

I love Ethiopian food!

Editor’s Note: All photos provided (or not) by the candidates.