Get to Know Your ANC Candidates: ANC 3E-04

ANC Election 2014

Our series on the upcoming Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 3E elections continues this week with the race in the fourth single member district. Incumbent Tom Quinn is seeking reelection to a third term, but faces challenger Sandy Shapiro. Profiles of each candidate are based upon answers to questionnaires sent to the candidates, which were designed to provide voters with more information about the candidates’ backgrounds, involvement in our community, and vision for it moving forward.

If you missed the profiles of candidates in the first, second, and third districts representing the AU Park, Friendship Heights, and Tenleytown neighborhoods, you can find them here, here and here. Don’t know in which SMD you reside? Visit the DC government’s website to find out.

ANC 3E-04

ANC3E-04The district is bounded by Western Avenue to the northwest and Wisconsin Avenue down to Garrison Street to the we, stair steps over to Chesapeake Street which forms the southern border, and then follows Reno Road along the eastern side of the district. For a more complete outline of the boundaries, click the map image for a larger version.

ANC 3E-04 incorporates the Friendship Heights business district, including the Chevy Chase Pavilion and Friendship Center across from Mazza Gallerie. It is also home to Fort Reno Park, which is maintained by the National Park Service, neighboring Alice Deal Middle School, and the Chevy Chase Recreation Center. Like most of ANC 3E, the fourth district is comprised predominantly of residential streets and single family homes.

Candidates for ANC 3E-04

Tom Quinn
5322 41st Street, NW

A resident of the Friendship Heights neighborhood for the past 12 years, Tom Quinn has dedicated much of that time to community activism and volunteerism.

He is a founding member of Ward 3 Vision, and has been a participant in Move DC, a District Department of Transportation initiative to develop a new vision for transportation in the District, and in the Neighborhood Sustainability Indicators Pilot Project (NSIPP), a project initiated by the District Office of Planning in 2009 that convened residents in the North Cleveland Park, Forest Hills, and Tenleytown neighborhoods to develop a vision and goals for sustainability in their area.

Quinn has testified before the DC Council, DC Zoning Commission, and at Environmental Protection Agency hearings. He has also been a regular participant in American University Community Liaison Committee meetings and Friendship Heights Transportation Management District (TMD) Advisory Committee meetings.

He is a volunteer with Casey Trees, the DC Chapter of the Sierra Club, and All Walks, a pedestrian safety advocacy group. Quinn has also volunteered at the Friendship Children’s Center and Janney Elementary School, where he is also a parent.

For the past four years, he has served as an ANC 3E commissioner, holding the position of treasurer throughout his tenure.

Quinn holds a B.A. in history and political science from the University of Delaware.

Tenleytown, D.C.: Why are you running for office?

Tom Quinn: Because I believe in better things for our neighborhood and city and I have unfinished work to do as an ANC Commissioner. I also believe I have ably and actively represented my single member district for the last four years and have helped find solutions and compromises on many complicated issues. During that time, I have accomplished the following:

  • I played a lead role in pressing American University to make design changes to the Tenley Campus, which resulted in building massing better suited and scaled to the most adjacent single family homes, as well as a more pedestrian friendly and accessible front lawn and better connectivity to the Wisconsin Avenue corridor. Also as part of this effort American University agreed to spend up to $400,000 on traffic calming and safety measures around the new law school in Tenleytown.
  • I was very active in the PUD [planned unit development] process with Douglas Development when the plans for Babe’s [current Tenley View project] were being discussed. Our ANC insisted on and negotiated a deal with Douglas Development that requires them to underground the utilities around the site, among many other streetscape improvements. The ANC settlement also precludes future residents of the building from getting RPP [residential parking permit] stickers and created a mechanism to collect damages in case any do.
  • I’ve been very active on pedestrian safety, engaging with MPD on traffic cameras and with DDOT on a number of problematic intersections, pressing for more police enforcement of traffic violations, particularly those that threaten pedestrians and other vulnerable populations. I pushed for an upgraded stop light at Wisconsin Avenue and Fessenden Street, turn restrictions at Wisconsin Avenue and the Whole Foods alley, and improvements at 43rd Street and Military Road. I’ve also worked to replace missing parking signs and improve stop sign visibility, and secured a commitment from DDOT to install curbs and repave the 4100 block of Livingston Street. I’ve also been engaged with Pepco about plans and impacts from utility work in the neighborhood.
  • I organized an effort in which several Ward 3 ANCs requested additional Capital Bikeshare (CABI) stations in Ward 3, resulting in additional stations installed at 39th and Veazey Streets and Wisconsin Avenue and Fessenden Street; additional stations are supposed to be installed at Massachusetts Avenue and 48th Street and Wisconsin Avenue and Jenifer Streets. American University has agreed to include a CABI station on the Tenley Campus, and Douglas Development will add a CABI station at Wisconsin Avenue and 41st Street. My leadership has also resulted in a pledge from DDOT to install bike lanes on Van Ness Street between Wisconsin Avenue and 42nd Street and to build the first neighborhood bikeways in DC on 41st Street between Wisconsin and Western avenues and on Jenifer Street between Western and Nebraska avenues.
  • Upon learning that the Department of Parks and Recreation had decided not to install a dog park at Chevy Chase Park, despite previous pledges to include one, I secured a meeting with Councilmember Mary Cheh and DPR which resulted in the reinstatement of a dog park. My efforts also resulted in additional benches at Livingston Park and the installation of trash cans, which were not included in the original park redesign. As a result of my activism DPR has pruned trees in the park and refilled the sandbox each spring.
  • Through negotiation, I was able to get one restaurant in my district to agree to redesign its ventilation system to vent restaurant odors away from adjacent single family homes and a cigar bar to spend a considerable amount of money re-designing its exhaust system – a fix which has resolved a significant quality of life issue for the immediate neighbors. I’ve had a role in supporting additional outdoor seating options at several restaurants, which I believe will add to the vitality of our commercial areas, and supported ANC efforts to organize some Tenleytown businesses into a business association to work on cooperative efforts to improve the community.
  • I’ve been a regular participant and activist on several cross border issues. An active participant in meetings of the Friendship Heights Transportation Management District, I have also been in touch with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to improve coordination between DDOT and MCDOT on bike lanes, as well as cross border bus routes between DC and Montgomery County.
  • I’ve taken a leadership role in authoring resolutions on citywide issues and legislation such as the Renewable Portfolio Standards, Coal Fired Power Plant Legislation, Community Renewable Energy Act, Traffic Camera Fines and the Zoning Re-write, and supported the ANC 3E resolution opposing citywide lotteries and clusters as part of the DCPS Boundary Revision Process.
  • I authored resolutions in opposition to what I considered frivolous Historic Preservation Applications on the Western Bus Garage and the entirety of American University’s Tenley Campus.
  • I’ve served as the ANC 3E treasurer for the last three and a half years during which time our reports have been filed on time and none of our payments have been found by the DC Auditors office to have been made fraudulently or inappropriately.

Tenleytown, D.C.: What changes would you like to see during the next ANC 3E term?

Tom Quinn: I would like to see a greater focus on pedestrian safety and traffic enforcement.

Tenleytown, D.C.: What is your vision for this community over the next 5 years?

Tom Quinn: For upper NW to share in some of the positive changes happening in the rest of DC – safer, more vibrant and walkable streets, high quality in-fill development, improved public transportation and bicycle facilities and a public outdoor swimming pool.

Sandy Shapiro picture

Sandy Shapiro
3901 Harrison Street, NW

Before living in DC, Sandy Shapiro was a magazine editor in New York City where she also worked for a New York State Assemblyman. When she and her husband moved to Friendship Heights in 1999, she was pursuing a master’s degree in public administration from NYU’s Graduate School of Public Service. Despite her plans to continue her studies at Georgetown University, she decided to stay at home when her daughter was born. She now has two teenage children.

When Shapiro first arrived in DC, she volunteered frequently in the office of the now defunct HandsOn Greater DC Cares, an organization that connected some 40,000 Washington area volunteers with more than 700 nonprofits. That experience provided her with an immediate overview of the many needs and resources of this city. Over the years, Shapiro and her family have enjoyed connecting with the broader DC community through participation in various service projects throughout the region, ranging from school beautifications to work in soup kitchens. She has spent considerable time tutoring at the Ross Elementary School in Dupont Circle and at the Washington English Center. More locally, she has been a Friend of the Chevy Chase Park, where she helped with the planning of the park renovation and participated in various park clean-ups and improvements. She is also a Friend of the Chevy Chase Library and of the Avalon.

Shapiro holds a degree from Princeton University.

Tenleytown, D.C.: Why are you running for office?

Sandy Shapiro: I feel strongly about civic involvement and have always been very interested in local policy issues.

I will add value to the ANC because I am a 15-year resident who will bring a practical and open-minded approach, not a strictly ideological one, to the issues facing our community. I think it is vital for the ANC to be receptive to diverse concerns and perspectives, even when those views conflict with the commissioners’ preconceived ideas. Without an overriding agenda or a big ego, I will bring a measured and thoughtful approach to the position that I think has often been lacking with our current ANC.

Tenleytown, D.C.: What changes would you like to see during the next ANC 3E term?

Sandy Shapiro: I would like to see the ANC be more receptive to input from the community, so that it can be a better advocate and conduit for its constituents’ concerns.  As a commissioner, I hope to make the ANC meetings more accessible by keeping the meetings to a reasonable length and by having the pre-circulated agendas contain more detail so people can tell in advance whether an issue that is important to them will be covered.

Furthermore, development politics have become needlessly divisive. Instead of arguing between growth versus no growth, I would like future development discussions to focus on understanding the balance and trade-offs associated with issues: How much impact? What kind? Where?

Tenleytown, D.C.: What is your vision for this community over the next 5 years?

Sandy Shapiro: The same – just better!  We are a diverse and engaged community that is open to all ages and that values both the small town and big city aspects of life in DC.

I would like to see our community’s public assets (schools, parks, libraries, aquatic center, etc.) properly maintained and strengthened. I would also like to see our community build upon and expand its options for aging in place. Finally, I would like to see residences, local businesses and private institutions thrive and grow in a welcoming and hospitable climate. For this to happen, it is critical to build a strong infrastructure, which emphasizes things like accessibility, timing of lights, parking and public safety, and to have zoning decisions that keep in mind the larger impacts and implications that the construction/development will have on our community. Multi-modal transportation changes that ease traffic congestion and increase pedestrian safety need to be thoughtfully made to improve energy efficiency and modern mobility.

Over the next five years, our community will be faced with ample opportunities and challenges to keep what is good and to also improve upon itself, such as with the redevelopment of the Steak ‘n Egg Kitchen, the expansion plans of Georgetown Day School (Safeway/Martens), the Tenleytown-AU Metrorail Station Access Improvement Study and the DC Office of Planning’s Zoning Rewrite proposal. If elected, I will work hard in trying to ensure that our community will maintain its character while becoming an even more vibrant and attractive place to live.


  • I’ll be supporting Mr. Quinn. He is accessible and has been a great help on issues where commercial interests have conflicted with residents, and has resolved them to the residents favor. The new bike stencils have been added and that is a step in the right direction to make alternatives to cars viable in the community. In this regard, a single ANC member has made a difference and deserves to return to office.

  • Quinn’s been dire. He’s abusive in public meetings. He disregards the views of his constituents. And he is very selectively accessible — people who share his point of view are given advance notice of what’s proposed; people who disagree get blown off when they ask to see copies of the resolution before the meeting.

    As for pedestrian safety, this is a guy who opposed the retention of the stop sign at 43rd and Military. And, as a “founder” of Ward 3 Vision, he supported a public-private partnership that would have covered Janney Elementary School’s soccer field with an apartment building.

    I’d love to have a Commissioner who will, once again, work with the community rather pursue his own agenda. Shapiro seems to have a much better understanding of what the job entails.

  • How refreshing to hear Sandy’s point of view. After Mr. Quinn’s record of being deaf to constituents and rude to all those who disagree with him, it’s great to hear from Ms. Shapiro who promises to be open minded and respectful. Good luck, Ms. Shapiro!

  • So funny. A grudge match by proxy. Former ANC commissioner Anne Sullivan, how many ANC meetings have you been to where Tom Quinn was serving as a commissioner? So you’re experience with Quinn’s supposed “rudeness” at meetings is what, you heard about it from a “friend?” Was the friend Sue Hemberger, who collected signatures for Tom’s opponent? Somebody could get the feeling that the handful of people who reflexively object to every development project in Tenleytown found a proxy candidate for their rigid views in Sandy Shapiro.

    Tom Quinn has a four year record of moderate leadership and concrete achievement. He’s helped constituents across his district on a multitude of issues.

    If Tom Quinn’s opponent had concerns about his leadership, has she attended many or any ANC meetings this ANC term? Has she tried to contact Tom about supposed concerns and, if so, with what result?

  • Editor’s Note: We encourage readers to share their thoughts and debate in the comments section, and hope that they will do so respectfully. We ask that commenters refrain from personal attacks, and that if they choose to address a fellow commenter, they include their real name. Thank you, and we look forward to more comments and opinions!

  • I am curious to know about this abusiveness. I have been the many ANC meetings and seen firsthand how they work. I have never seen Ms. Shapiro at a meeting and have never seen Mr. Quinn being abusive or dismissive. As i said in my first post, I have seen him to be a problem solver and positively engaged on behalf of the community.

  • I attend virtually all ANC 3E meetings, and would offer that this ANC bends over backwards to hear every person who decides to attend the meeting. Yes, the meetings take a lot of time, but this is because of a conscious effort from all the commissioners to hear from every point of view. For the record, I have not seen MS. Shapiro attend any of these meetings.

    The allegation that people in ANC 3E are not heard is simply not true. This is quite different from other ANCs, and is the exact opposite from what used to happen at this ANC before the current slate was in place. Under the old regime, most every contentious issue was decided behind closed doors subject to little public debate, much to the detriment of an open dialogue.

    I cannot imagine Tom’s opponent being any more receptive to community input than he has been – he often takes positions I disagree with after hearing from all parties. And am dismayed to see comments being made about a person’s character without any particular examples being stated. I find it insulting to see a suggestion in this comment section that Tom would have supported any actions that would have taken away a playing field from a school where he sends his children. That is just mud slinging.

    If the supporters of Ms. Shapiro feel this is helpful to her cause, I would suggest that voters would find it easy to decline to support her.

  • If Ms. Sullivan and Ms. Hemberger are supporting Ms. Shapiro, then there isn’t much more that needs to be said. We don’t need to return to the way the ANC was.

    Can someone confirm that Ms. Hemberger collected signatures for the challanger?

  • I can confirm that Ms. Hemberger was collecting signatures for Ms. Shapiro – I saw her going door to door and then spoke with one my neighbors whose home she visited.

    Steve Seelig

  • I resent the accusation of mud-slinging. Quinn cited his role as a founder of Ward 3 Vision. I pointed out a position he (and that group) took on the Janney public-private partnership. Here is Quinn’s own statement on that project, written after the Janney parents and Janney SIT had voted to reject the proposal:

    “So no residential development on the edge of the Janney campus but the anti growth folks are just fine with a large surface parking lot smack in the middle of that same campus and the kids and cars comingling in that same space?

    Here is the secret that the newly converted “public facilities” activists in this debate did a good job of obscuring and that is that Janney is going to net out with less usable public space without a PPP.

    Why? Because Janney’s parking lot, which is already not big enough nor is up to code, is going to have to be expanded to accommodate the larger school. And since undergrounding parking is extraordinarily expensive and parking has to go on level land that means that the expanded parking is going to come out of Janney’s most usable level play space.

    Oh and by the way the anti growth folks who led the charge against the PPP are big advocates for mandatory parking requirements for all types of buildings so if what they advocate for were to actually be applied to Janney (and it could be) the parking lot would need to be substantially increased in size.

    Of course we could have put all of that parking underground (and eliminated not one but two environmentally bad surface parking lots – please look it up if you are a typical poorly informed anti growt activist and no a green building does not compensate) and separated the kids from the cars.

    The opposite of smart growth really can be stupid growth and that is what we are getting on this prominent corner and this library will long be a reminder of the lack of leadership and competence displayed by a variety of people in the Mayor’s office and probably the DC City Council (who presumably had something to do with the meddling that made this process such a mess) but it will also serve as a reminder of what happens when you listen to the voices of fear.

    A future Janney parent…..

    Posted by: TomQuinn | March 17, 2009 2:36 PM”

  • Having attended a number of ANC meetings over the last two years, I can say that Tom Quinn and the other 3E Commissioners take it upon themselves to include anyone who wishes to address the Commission. I have never seen Mr. Quinn be abusive or dismissive to anyone. Quite the contrary I have been impressed with Mr. Quinn’s sensitivity and thoughtfulness to all who have addressed the Commission and his ability to consider issues from all sides before rendering an opinion. Some of the meetings were extended well into the night to allow everyone a chance to speak and have their voices heard. Mr. Quinn works tirelessly outside the meetings following up on action items. From what I have observed and personally experienced, Mr. Quinn is committed to our community and works hard to make it a better and safer place for all of us. I applaud Mr. Quinn’s efforts and would very much like to see him reelected to the Commission.

  • Here’s an example:

    “[T]he tensions boiled over when commissioner Tom Quinn got fed up with the accusations from chronic naysayer Marilyn Simon.

    “That’s your crazy philosophy,” Quinn told Simon.

    “I don’t think you listened to me,” Simon said.

    “I try not to,” Quinn replied, provoking a plea from Sklover to behave like adults.”

  • Having now read the Washington City Paper article cited in Lisa’s post, I was struck with how disrespectful and unruly some of the participants were acting towards the Commission. The article mentions participants yelling out and making personal insults, for example, “What is the matter with you? Do you not have a brain?” It sounds like things got overheated and emotions ran high.

  • Jim Bonham is right on the mark about the description in the City Paper. Let’s be clear about that, quoting the article author, Marilyn Simon is a “chronic naysayer,” who was part and parcel of a meeting with abusive (non-commissioner) attendees. Mr. Bonham, by contrast, appears to be an ordinary citizen who came to Commissioner Quinn with ordinary concerns.

    With reference to the earlier claim that Commissioner Quinn supported a plan that would have reduced open space at Janney Elementary School, the very language cited by “Lisa” makes clear that Mr. Quinn believed the plan would increase the amount of open space available. The charge of mudslinging against Lisa sticks.

  • I would like to point out that at the ANC meeting described in the City Paper article, I was describing what census statistics tell us about parking demand in the area. However, Mr. Quinn was shouting over me, including his characterization of Census data as my “crazy philosophy,” making it difficult for anyone to hear my statement. Even if the reporter could not hear my statement, the fact remains that Quinn refused to allow me to speak at the meeting, and admitted that he tries not to listen to anything that I, a resident in SMD 3E04, say.

    As another example, in a liquor license application, residents within a block of the restaurant got together to discuss our concerns about the application, and what conditions in a voluntary agreement would address those concerns. We were in contact with both Tom Quinn, our ANC representative, and the restaurant owners and their attorneys. On November 1, 2011, Tom Quinn wrote to the owners and their attorneys, without copying any of the neighbors, mischaracterizing what the neighbors were seeking, but indicating that they can ignore the neighbors and work directly with him on a voluntary agreement. The Applicant’s attorney patched me in, copying me on a response where he indicated that he was working directly with the nearby residents.

  • More from the article about the meeting:

    “the meeting seemed to descend into a parody of NIMBYism.

    When commissioner Beverly Sklover mentioned the environmentally friendly nature of the project and called it a “pilot program,” one woman murmured, “Why’s it have to be in our neighborhood?”

    Another woman raised her voice as she interjected: “It’s my neighborhood, and you’re imposing green on us. Do this where you live, not where I live.”

    As the tensions rose, ANC chair Matthew Frumin said, “I feel like we’re trying to hold the dam and it’s not going to succeed.” A woman in the audience shouted: “Good!”

    Another woman stood up to complain that the occasional repairmen working on the building would have no place to park. “The emperor has no clothes!” she yelled.”

    Marilyn Simon, Sue Hemberger, and Anne Sullivan are names Ive seen together a lot over the years on the listservs in opposition to various development projects. The characterization above of this as a grudge match by proxy is on the mark.

  • Actually, Jim, I think your actions mattered more than Quinn’s. He missed the meeting and sacrificed party standing for the ANC. By contrast, you and other neighbors were there and had done your homework. ANC was lucky to be reinstated subsequently (Historically, ABRA has been a stickler on this issue and may have reinstated the ANC because your presence kept the protest “live” even without ANC involvement. Otherwise the case would have ended there and then.)

    And we’re still left with a situation in which there’s no ongoing agreement. Good behavior/negotiation was inspired by the fact that the license was pending. What will happen next time there’s a problem and Civil isn’t going to be coming before ABRA any time soon? The ANC withdrew its protest without requesting that any conditions be included in the order granting the license. As a result, none were included.

  • Wow, I haven’t visited this site for a while, and now I am reading these comments vilifying the former ANC (pre-Quinn) and shaking my head. I have personally witnessed Mr. Quinn shouting down people at a peaceful demonstration in front of the DC Council building, and of course, I have witnessed his behavior and attitude at ANC meetings during the 4 years I was a commissioner. I believe that at one time, Mr. Quinn was banned from posting on the Tenleytown listserv (or perhaps it was another listserv) for his vicious attacks on Mr. David Frankel, a person who was unfailingly polite in his posts but happened to hold a different view on development than Mr. Quinn did. Mr. Quinn is a member of Ward 3 Vision, which is a group that supports development projects that are out of line with current zoning laws and which often threaten to overwhelm the surrounding areas of residential housing. The common tactic of the so-called Smart Growth group, Mr. Quinn included, is just to label anyone who argues for the zoning laws to be respected a “nimby”.

    I do not respect posts where the writers don’t have the courage or honesty to use their real names on this site.