Candidates running for commissioner on Advisory Neighborhood Council (ANC) 2E spoke at the ANC Candidates Forum on Oct. 24, hosted by the Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG) at the Dumbarton House. The list of speakers included Greg Miller (SFS ‘14), an employee of Georgetown University’s Office of Sustainability, and Zachary Schroepfer (MSB ‘19) and Mara Goldman (SFS ‘19), students at the university.
Miller, the candidate from Single Member District (SMD) 03 was asked in a question submitted anonymously by an audience member about the potential conflict of interest that would arise from working for the university and sitting on the ANC. According to Miller, this would inherently be a conflict of interest, but would not prevent him from serving on the ANC. “I reached out to the board of ethics and government accountability already about this, talked to their staff lawyers. I have talked to the general counsel at the university,” he said. “At any matter before the ANC that involved consideration of the university, I would just have to recuse myself from this discussions and those votes.” he said.
Miller added that by his estimation in the last year only 2 percent of issues discussed by the ANC directly involved the university, so the effect of the conflict of interest would be minimal. “98 percent of the time, I would be able to do my job serving the community,” he said.
Rick Murphy, Miller’s opponent for the seat, highlighted in his speech the potential conflict of interest Miller would face as both ANC commissioner and an employee of the university. Murphy has served the past two years as pro bono counsel to ANC2E, and has represented the ANC on Georgetown Community Partnership’s Environmental and Landlord Initiative (ELI). “It’s fair to say that in that capacity I often sit across the table from [Miller’s] boss,” Murphy said.
Miller explained his decision to run for office as an effort to balance the interests reflected on the ANC. “When I look at our community today, I also see a community that is in greater need of balance in its dialogue and development,” he said. “We need a community that balances the interests of homeowners, renters, students, and business owners.”
He also laid out in general terms his vision for the future of ANC2E in this speech. “When I consider what our community could be, I see a community … with a strong sense of place, diverse and convenient transportation options, vibrant public spaces, and a healthy environment.”
Zachary Schroepfer, a Georgetown student running for commissioner of SMD 08, detailed in his speech his thoughts on the importance of local government, and his reasons for running. “You can’t passively sit by in the community and just watch things go by,” he said. “What’s important for citizens is that they’re actively involved in the community that they’re in. And this is why I decided to try to be an ANC commissioner.”
Schroepfer also emphasized the role he hoped to play in continuing the positive relationship between the university and the surrounding neighborhood. “What this really entails… is most importantly to improve the relationships between the students and the neighbors. So ultimately, our goal here is to create a Georgetown for all,” he said.
Mara Goldman, the unopposed student candidate for SMD 04, stressed her attachment to the Georgetown neighborhood in her speech, though she is not originally from the area. “I am not a transient member of this community, as so many students are. I really consider myself a member of this community. This is home for me,” said Goldman.
Goldman outlined certain goals for her upcoming term, with a focus on developing and maintaining relations between the ANC and the university. “My focus in my next term would be working further with the Georgetown Community Partnership and advancing University community relations,” she said.
Ed Solomon, running unopposed for reelection to be commissioner of SMD 01, explained in his speech his decision to run again as one of the longest-serving members of the ANC. According to Solomon, the support shown to him by his constituents and family influenced him to continue with this service. “My two most important constituents, my daughter and my wife… said, ‘You have a passion to make the community’s quality of life better, and you have the fire in your belly, go for it.’ That’s why I’m here tonight,” said Solomon.
The Voice previously reported on the candidates and races in SMDs nearest to the university this month. Elections for ANC2E will be held on Nov. 8 for residents of Washington, D.C.