Joan Silver – Candidate for ANC 3E-05

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.
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