Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 8B met Feb. 23 at the Seventh District Metropolitan Police Station (2455 Alabama Ave. SE). Present were Khadijah Watson (8B01, vice chair and treasurer), Paul Trantham (8B02, chair and secretary), Kimberly Little (8B04), Alyce McFarland (8B06) and Joseph Johnson (8B05).
Discussion of Executive Roles
After a heated discussion over the rules governing the election of the commission’s executive, commissioners voted to approve the January minutes.
Two commissioners hold the four executive offices, elected at the Jan. 17 meeting of the commission. Watson was elected both vice chair and treasurer; Trantham was elected both chair and secretary.
That election took place according to the 2016 bylaws, which state that a commissioner must have been in office at least one year prior to holding an executive position. As all other commissioners were newly elected, only Trantham and Watson qualified.
However, Trantham said he had received an email on Feb. 24 outlining subsequent changes that had been made to the bylaws, apparently during a virtual meeting of the previous commission held in 2021. At that meeting, the commissioners voted to remove the one-year requirement, but the change to the bylaws had not been filed with the District’s Office of ANCs until late January 2023. Trantham proposed the ANC continue to operate under the 2016 bylaws until the matter was clarified.
Others strongly objected. Johnson argued that the video of the March 2021 Zoom meeting where the decision was made shows the intent of the commission was for newly elected commissioners to have the opportunity to become officers. Former 8B04 Kevin Coleman, attending the meeting in his role with Constituent Services for Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White Sr. (D), said that the rules change neither expressly forbade nor disallowed the election of new commissions as executives.
While debate grew heated when the issue was raised again at the end of the meeting, the commissioners did not determine next steps on the matter.
A discussion on terminating the rental contract for ANC 8B offices was tabled to the executive meeting. ANC 8B pays monthly rental fees on offices at 1809 Savannah St. SE. Trantham said the offices have not been occupied in some time and the facilities are in need of upgrade. He proposed that the commission look into terminating that arrangement and meet in District buildings, which he said were free for elected officials. McFarland said she would like to inspect the offices and look into the contract prior to voting on the decision.
Commissioners voted unanimously to pay two months of outstanding bills with AT&T, despite a lack of clarity on the amount owed. The previous commission, which left office in December 2022, had left two months’ unpaid invoices with AT&T, Trantham said. Those fees covered mobile phones, but Trantham said that the current ANC lacked the information needed for determining what was owed. Furthermore, two of the phones on the contract were not returned to the commission. One is missing after the death of a former commissioner; another commissioner informed Trantham that the phone was lost.
Johnson moved to purchase equipment necessary for ANC 8B’s administration and communications, including one laptop, one notebook and a smart phone. The commissioners unanimously voted in support.
Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Seventh District Commander John Branch appeared to introduce himself to the commission and provide a safety update. He said that the Seventh District has the second highest decrease in violent crime, right behind the Second District, which includes Georgetown.
The biggest issue is motor vehicle theft, especially of Kias and Hyundais due to a recent TikTok challenge, a social media craze resulting from a viral video which purports to show how to quickly steal those vehicles. MPD has reached out to Kia’s corporate headquarters, which indicated it would recall the vehicles to address the issue. In the meantime, Kia owners could get theft deterrent devices free of charge from the 7D station.
ANC 8B will hold the next full meeting Tuesday, March 21, at the Seventh District Metropolitan Police Station, 2455 Alabama Ave. SE. Learn more by visiting www.anc.dc.gov.