It’s time for “Better Know a Commissioner!”, my blatant rip-off of Stephen Colbert’s series (and for which I am duly sorry). In my version, it’s an opportunity to get to know the ANC commissioners who represent you, even if you didn’t vote for them. You’re their constituents, and you should know who they are, what they do and how they support the community.
That's why I’m happy to introduce David Sheon, ANC 4D Commissioner for Single Member District (SMD) 4D04, bounded by Georgia Ave and 7th Street NW, between Emerson and Jefferson, with the exception of the 900 block of Jefferson. While I've been able to get know David better this past year, I've been impressed with his passion and dedication for the neighborhood.
I first really met David before he was an ANC commissioner, at a meeting for the North Petworth Citizens Association, a group that David helped create to bring together concerned residents intent on helping their neighborhood be safe and thrive. His energy was obvious, as was his desire to help make a difference.
In David’s own words, he is “a proud Petworth resident who moved to the community with my young twins 14 years ago. I chose Petworth because I love the diversity of our neighborhood.”
"I'm a huge US soccer fan,” David admits. “I've been fortunate to see our national team play in Jamaica, Mexico, Germany, and Brazil. I also love gardening. If we have a good year I'm happy to share our Petworth Pickles with neighbors!”
When David isn’t being active in the community, he runs his own public relations firm for the past 16 years. “Our clients are non-profits and businesses who are improving our world through better medicine, science, and technology.”
As an ANC Commissioner, “My first priority is to be an active listener so that I can help my neighbors address issues that concern them,” he said. “Anyone who lives in our neighborhood will always have my ear and my desire to help.”
“I view the challenge of activating our city’s services as a puzzle,” David said. “Why aren’t city-owned tree branches that hang over our houses getting cut when we request them? Should they be? What can I do to help the city communicate better with my neighbors? By facing these challenges I get things done quickly and unemotionally.”
In talking about the 4D neighborhood, David said there are bigger issues that concern him as well. “Our community is united in the desire to fight a common enemy that’s too rarely discussed -- poverty. From my discussions with teens and young adults who grew up in the neighborhood, it’s clear that jobs training and supportive resources to help our residents build life-long skills are essential but lacking. I’d like to work with others to change that and bring more opportunities to people who would like to stay and contribute to our neighborhood.”
David is often proposing ABRA resolutions and presenting new businesses at ANC4D meetings, and is very involved in the business landscape in ANC 4D. “My discussions with neighbors has also made clear to me that we need to attract a wider range of businesses to Georgia Avenue that better serve the needs of our residents. How many liquor stores and tire shops do we really need? Why don’t we have more family restaurants, an ice cream shop, or garden stores?”
David said that he wants to find ways that helps residents send a clear message to business owners that “if they invest here, we’ll support them.”
The recent upswing in crime in the area is also a high priority. “While I’m all for offering educational and job opportunities, I also believe that those who commit crimes that affect our residents should be punished. We have seniors who are afraid to go outside, and that’s unacceptable. Also, it’s time for some of our younger residents to step up and take over the work that some of our seniors have been putting in to clean up litter, help the weak and poor, and look in on others.”
Meeting with constituents and residents is important to David, and he takes efforts to connect. “I knock on the doors and regularly supply my contact information to the 615 homes in my Single Member District. I respond to 100 percent of calls and emails, usually within a day or two. I walk every block of the SMD with our dog and I stop to talk to all residents I see.”
When I asked about SMD meetings, David’s answer was similar to other ANC commissioners: “I tried holding regular monthly office hours,” David said. “but no one showed up. So, I feel like going out to the community is a better way to connect.”
David also tries to attend the monthly MPD Patrol Service Area (PSA) meetings to get to know our police better and share resident concerns.
“I look forward to helping my neighbors in any way I can.”
ANC 4D meets at Truesdell Elementary, every third Tuesday of the month at 7pm.