Recall Election Set for Ward 4 ANC Commissioner
James Wright | , WI Staff Writer | 2/22/2012, 5:37 p.m.
As some residents in the District are working to recall the mayor, the council chairman and two members of the D.C. Council, there is a recall election set later this month for an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Ward 4.
Douglas Smith, a first-term advisory neighborhood commissioner in single member district 4B04, will be on the ballot in his district on Tuesday, Feb. 28 to see if he can continue to represent his neighbors. Smith, 57, said he has done nothing to merit a recall despite constituent complaints of inaccessibility and overt favoritism toward a Walmart in the immediate vicinity.
"I believe that the recall is wrong and it is not a fair effort," Smith said. "The reasoning behind it is not sound. I have done nothing to justify a recall."
John Beverly, president of the Concerned Citizens of Brightwood East, who is leading the effort to unseat Smith, disagrees.
"We have had a lack of representation from our ANC," Beverly said. "We have not had any response from him. We have not had any communications with him. He does not report to us what is going on in the ANC."
Single-member district 4B04 is located in the eastern part of Ward 4, bounded by Nicholson Street to the South, Van Buren to the North, and Georgia Avenue to the West and Fourth Street to the East. It is largely an area consisting of single-family homes and is populated largely by senior citizens.
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners were created in 1974 through a District referendum and are considered the grassroots representatives of the people to the D.C. government. Commissioners consider a wide range of policies and programs affecting their areas, including parking, recreation, street improvements, liquor licenses, zoning, economic development, police protection, sanitation, trash collection and the city budget.
Commissioners present their positions and recommendation to various District agencies and the Council and their testimony must be given "great weight" or strong consideration. Commissioners serve two-year terms and receive no salary.
Former ANC Commissioners that have moved on in politics include D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty. Many ANC Commissioners have run for the D.C. Council either as ward representatives or at-large members.
Beverly said he has tried numerous times to communicate with Smith but has not been able to get through. He said that is a problem in the District.
"We have a lot of citizens who are seniors and retirees and they do not have access to the Internet," he said. "Smith does not print flyers to inform us of anything that is going on and we need more professional responsiveness to our needs."
There have been only four successful recalls since 1992, according to D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics records. They were Theodore Jacobs of 2E03 in 1993; Raymond Dickey of 5A04 in 1999; Paul Montague of 4B07 in 2003 and Charles E. Matiella of 1A08 in 2003.
Residents must gather the signatures of at least ten percent of the registered voters of that district, which generally comes out to 200. After the petitions are successfully verified, the Board of Elections holds a hearing and sets the date for recall.