Get to Know Your ANC Candidates: ANC 3E-05

ANC Election 2014

This week we present our fifth and final installment of candidate profiles for the upcoming Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 3E elections. Three AU Park residents are vying to fill current commissioner Sam Serebin’s seat in ANC 3E-05, a position he has held since 2008. Serebin declined to seek a fourth term in this election. Profiles of Ed McAllister, Jonathan McHugh, and Joan Silver are based upon answers received from the candidates to questionnaires that were designed to provide voters with more information about their backgrounds, involvement in our community, and vision for it moving forward.

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

ANC 3E-05

ANC3E-05The district features fairly jagged borders, but is roughly bounded by 47th Street to the west, Massachusetts Avenue to the southwest, Nebraska Avenue to the southeast up to Van Ness Street, 38th Street to the east, and progresses from Alton Place down to Yuma Street and then Windom Place to the north. For a more complete outline of the boundaries, click the map image for a larger version.

The southern half of the Wisconsin Avenue corridor from Tenley Circle down to Van Ness Street falls within ANC 3E-05. This includes the American University’s Tenley Campus, which is the future home of the Washington College of Law. Friendship (Turtle) Park and the Friendship Community Garden are also within the district’s boundaries, along with the residential streets and single family homes that characterize AU Park.

Candidates for ANC 3E-05

Ed McAllisterThomas Edwin (Ed) McAllister
4230 44th Street, NW

Ed McAllister moved to AU Park in the summer of 2002 from his hometown in rural upstate South Carolina. Growing up in a very small town, McAllister says his family instilled a strong sense of public service, civic responsibility, and obligation to neighbors.

He served on local soil and water conservation boards, the state Coastal Commission, and county zoning and planning boards; led a variety of community development and historic preservation initiatives; and played a variety of roles in managing the family timber, cattle, and land interests as well as the family-owned general store in operation since 1888. McAllister’s efforts on behalf of historic preservation, the local rural telephone cooperative, and a planned retirement community brought him into regular contact with state and federal officials. He also served on the Board of Visitors of Clemson University and the board of the Ronald McDonald House in Columbia, South Carolina.

McAllister’s years in Washington have focused on building a new career outside the family business and settling into D.C.’s urban environment. He worked at the Washington Design Center as a sales representative for two interior furnishing firms and is currently an agent for W.C. and A.N. Miller Realtors. He attends All Souls Memorial Church, and is an avid gardener, cook, and world traveler.

McAllister holds a B.S. in agricultural economics and rural sociology from Clemson University. He lives with his partner Paul and Welsh corgi Isabelle. His son Thomas is a junior at the University of South Carolina and a frequent visitor to D.C.

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

Ed McAllister: From a young age I’ve been actively involved in a wide range of community development, historic preservation, and environmental quality efforts. Through that experience I developed an ability to build effective coalitions of diverse constituencies and advocate community interests successfully across intergovernmental entities. Having lived in the neighborhood for over 12 years, I think I have a good enough perspective now on AU Park, Ward 3, and the District government to be of real service to the community.

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

Ed McAllister: Overall, I think our ANC has done a very creditable job addressing issues within the limited span of influence and authority they hold. What makes sense to me from a process standpoint would be to increase the two-way flow of ideas between the ANC and residents. The current method of communicating ANC agendas and decisions isn’t as effective as it could be. Residents should understand not only what issues are on the table but also why the ANC has acted as it has.

As for specific changes, I’d like to see the ANC play a more proactive role in commercial, district, federal, and AU initiatives that effect the neighborhood before these reach the approval stage. The more we residents know and the earlier we know it, the better the outcome for all concerned. I believe the District and Army Corps, for example, should be more transparent regarding projects that affect the neighborhood’s streetscape. I’d imagine that few of us know why the “mini traffic circles” were installed on 42nd Street, what criteria are in place to decide whether they’re effective, and how negative impacts are being evaluated.

I also think we should build better working relationships within the ANC to insure balance between the greater needs of the community and the concerns of an immediate neighborhood. The final resolution of the Secret Safeway expansion at 42nd and Davenport is an example of why the ANC should take a more holistic approach to the neighborhood’s welfare especially given the closure of the A&P/Superfresh/Fresh Fields grocery.

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

Ed McAllister: My vision would be that the community itself has a five-year vision so that specific issues that require decision are dealt with in a coherent way. Three areas in particular come to mind:

  • design and siting of AU dorms, offices, athletic fields, and classroom buildings that respect adjoining neighborhoods and minimize negative impacts on the community.
  • resident-friendly development of the Tenleytown corridor of Wisconsin Avenue that attracts quality shops and restaurants while protecting the character and livability of the surrounding neighborhoods. By the same token, enhancement of the Friendship Recreation Center (Turtle Park), Tennis Courts, Athletic Fields, and Community Garden as well as existing green spaces such as the Nebraska Avenue/Van Ness Street intersection and the Van Ness Reservoir fence lines.
  • coordination of infrastructure improvements such as underground utility lines, street alterations (e.g., sidewalk renewal, curb cuts, crossings, and speed bumps), alley resurfacing, and parking access to achieve the best results while minimizing noise and traffic disruptions.

Jonathan McHughJonathan McHugh
4524 Van Ness Street, NW

During his 14 years living in AU Park, Jonathan McHugh describes his community involvement as focused on crafting a number of visions for reasonable development around the community, including public facilities, mixed-use development, reasonable traffic management, and a holistic approach for community members of all ages.

McHugh has served as co-president and a member of the Janney Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association. He worked with Janney staff to implement an enrichment program and established a diversity group to craft a diversity vision for the school community. As a member of the Janney School Improvement Team, McHugh fought for funding of a renovation and an addition for the school.

As a member of the board of the Friends of Friendship Park for 13 years, McHugh helped craft a vision for the future of Turtle Park, including the park’s forthcoming renovation and new community center. He also worked with city agencies to fix long-standing drainage problems on the park’s fields that had caused flooding on adjacent properties.

McHugh is the owner of Roark Design, Inc. He attended the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the University of Maryland, College Park. He previously ran for ANC in 2010.

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

Jonathan McHugh: I’m running for ANC to continue the work I started 13 years ago, working with community members and D.C. to build a safe, strong, and vibrant community. I believe my extensive experience working with my neighbors and the city to tackle tough issues and meet complex challenges along with a holistic vision that provides organizing principles for lending community context to that work, make me the most qualified to represent my SMD. I will bring a thoughtful, balanced and open-minded approach to the commission that should yield optimum results for the community.

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

Jonathan McHugh: I would like to see the ANC take a more balanced approach to development; pursue a more holistic approach to traffic management, one that looks at the community as a whole and examines the root drivers of traffic issues when implementing solutions; and maximize the use of public amenities in a transparent and equitable manner.

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

Jonathan McHugh: In the next five years, I would like to see the community finish the final stages of upgrading amenities, such as schools, recreation, safe sidewalks and streets; encourage a wealth of community activities using our facilities, including dances, socials, afternoon teas, and concerts; encourage the most efficient use of our facilities through better government execution; and pursue a reasonable, balanced approach to development within and around our community.

Joan SilverJoan Silver
4234 42nd Street, NW

Born and raised in Hollywood, California, Joan Silver moved to Friendship Heights in 1974. She and her husband then moved to 42nd Street four years later, and continued to reside there for the last four decades. The daughter of British parents, Silver grew up with an international focus, leading her to join the Foreign Service and a career within the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Closer to home, Silver is a member of the Northwest Neighbors Village, the Friends of Tenley-Friendship Library, the Potomac-Appalachian Trail Club, and the Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area.

Silver holds a B.A. in political science and economics from the University of Southern California, an M.A. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley, and an M.B.A. from the Sloan School of Management at MIT.

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

Joan Silver: I have spent most of my working life fostering the principles of responsible governance in countries around the world; designing and managing programs and projects to promote social and economic progress; and evaluating the impacts of these activities on people and communities. This work provided the opportunity to become familiar with activities ranging from infrastructure such as water and sewerage, clean energy and sustainable energy, and roads; to anti-corruption and judicial reform; banking and financial sector development; basic education; community health services; disaster relief; and the elections process. It also honed my ability to work as part of a cross-cutting team: with policy-makers and planners, technical specialists, public sector officials and representatives of private business and non-governmental organizations, and with our clients/end-users.

Since retiring and returning to the Tenley-Friendship Heights community from my last overseas tour-of-duty (Cambodia) four years ago, I have followed both community and city-wide issues with interest and regularly attended ANC meetings. I have been impressed by the degree of influence the ANC exerts over the lives of all who live, work, study, and play in this community, through its statutory role in making recommendations to the D.C. government. Such influence is good as we in D.C. need a bottom-up voice in our affairs. But, I also see opportunities to substantially improve the way our ANC manages communications and relationships with constituents; conflicting views within the community; decision-making; and administrative matters. I have itched to get in there and make a contribution.

Once I thought about running for the office of ANC Commissioner, I was struck by how well my experience and skills fit with the role and responsibilities of a commissioner, and how energized I was by the prospect of going back to work for the benefit of my own community.

Above all, I am committed to taking an objective and analytical approach to issues. I believe that it is the role of the ANC to respect and to learn from the diverse views of the community, and to represent these fairly and accurately. A seat on the ANC should not be a platform for pursuing one’s personal agenda or ideology, or for advancing one’s professional interests. I am equally committed to ensuring that constituents are kept better informed, and well in advance, of issues that may affect them; to take the initiative to seek out their input; and to work unflaggingly to find constructive ways to resolve situations where there are disparate or conflicting views.

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

Joan Silver: I would like to see our ANC be more directly engaged with and relevant to all members of our community by helping it to:

  • become pro-active in reaching out to the community to ensure residents and concerned others are alerted early-on to issues which may concern them, and soliciting their input;
  • promote transparent and informed decision-making by analyzing issues objectively and sharing information widely regarding the background, points of view, and pros and cons, and share it well in advance of voting on any ANC resolution;
  • where there are conflicting views or competing interests, provide leadership and coordinate within the community, and with the D.C. government and potential investors to come up with mutually agreeable solutions;
  • tap resources within the community and engage them in supporting the work of the ANC – there is a lot expertise and interest within our community, and people have indicated a willingness to help in ways such as analyzing and advising on issues or helping to coordinate responses or solutions to these;
  • work more cooperatively with adjacent ANCs – activities in ANC3E can impact neighboring areas, and vice-versa, e.g. the pending sale and development of the nearby Fannie Mae property; traffic issues such as routing of construction vehicles and traffic control and calming initiatives; and the future of the Fresh and Green supermarket site in Spring Valley; and
  • organize and manage ANC business so as to make information more easily available and community input easier – make the ANC website more useful and up-to-date; set agendas more realistically, and don’t issue and/or change them at the last minute; plan and run ANC meetings so as to conclude within a reasonable length of time, and on schedule; and make meetings more accessible by recording or streaming them.

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

Joan Silver: What makes this area so desirable is that we have easy access to the world class business, cultural and culinary offerings of a major city, yet enjoy a peaceful residential setting and close contact with nature; local access to a wide variety of shops, services, and amenities; a reasonable degree of security; and a sense of belonging – of being part of a community.

Our identity as a community revolves around not only our immediate neighbors, but focal points that bring us together and that, by their nature and diversity, define the character of the community. These include neighborhood schools; parks and recreation centers; library; senior center; shops and services, places for dining and entertainment; and places of worship. Many of these focal points are clustered along the Wisconsin Avenue corridor and transit facilities, and some along Massachusetts Avenue.

Over the next five years, we can expect to see proposals for new development along the Wisconsin Avenue corridor in particular, and what is decided over the next five years will set the tone for years to come. I believe that most of us appreciate the benefits that more amenities and residential options have to offer, but want growth that is consistent with the character of the neighborhood and our identity as a community – not reinvention as another “concrete canyon”.

Some of the priorities for achieving this goal are:

  • Demographic Diversity: new residential options cater to all ages and stages of life;
  • Stability: new residential options include not only rentals but ownership opportunities; public institutions and services – schools, libraries, parks, recreation centers, etc. –receive continued strong support; growth and development preserve the integrity of existing residential areas;
  • Accessibility: expanded public transport locally and throughout the metro area; safe walking and cycling; and parking solutions that respect the varied transportation needs of a diverse community and a community which is spread out over a broad area; and
  • Protecting the Green: parks and other open spaces are maintained and protected; residential green areas are encouraged; and environmentally sound practices promoted.


  • The ANC recently re-did the website and is arguably one of the best ANC websites in the city. The ANC has been as proactive as an ANC can be in terms of getting out in front of issues rather than being reactive. In fact, I would challenge anyone to find an ANC in town that has been more proactive than this one.

    All of these candidates sound great, but the one who has done the most in THIS community is McHugh. If there were ten seats available, I wish all 4 of them could be on this body, but with only one choice, the answer here is easy.

  • Frank you are too generous. There are only 3 of them to start.

    All 3 have matching vaguely stated obvious goals like making Turtle Park and the schools better. The only difference, and its a big one, is that McHugh has worked for years to improve Turtle Park and the schools, including a presidency of the school PTA. I agree that McHugh is the obvious choice, but disagree that the others have shown themselves worthy, since they lived here for years and have done almost nothing in the community.

  • Joan Silver is the most thoughtful and intelligent candidate who will work very hard for the ANC and neighborhood. She’s got my vote!

  • There is a difference between saying someone is thoughtful and will work hard for the community and actually having a candidate who IS thoughtful and HAS BEEN working hard for the community already.