24 Oct 2012

Meet the Candidates: Randy Steer, ANC 6B-03

We have offered to post brief statements from all of the ANC candidates running for seats on Capitol Hill and the surrounding neighborhoods that we cover here on The Hill is Home.  These statements are not endorsements and have been posted exactly as submitted by the candidates.

Photo courtesy of Randy Steer

Five years ago, before the Hine School redevelopment process had begun, the Eastern Market/Barracks Row neighborhood was named one of the “10 Best Urban Neighborhoods in America” by the American Planning Association.  Up to then we had succeeded in balancing development with the human-scale “urban village” feel of the historic district, and that was something the APA commended.  That is now seriously endangered due to the current ANC’s inability to persuade the Hine School developers to stick to their originally proposed and approved size and massing.

I am running for the ANC because I believe it needs Commissioners who will take a strong stand to put residents’ interests first, ahead of developers and “destination” visitors who drive here from other areas.  I have lived near Barracks Row for 14 years; before that, I lived in Adams Morgan for 14 years, so I do know what can happen to a neighborhood if the ANC lets it simply turn into a “destination” without focusing on the residents.

We have a “sidewalk culture” that is unique to our neighborhood in DC, and which is rare in urban areas anywhere in the U.S.  The people who live here enjoy the fact that our neighborhood has many characteristics of a small town, where you run into neighbors and friends while shopping or dining out, and where the neighborhood has a real sense of community.  These are the defining characteristics of our community that we should focus on preserving.

My approach to the issues that come before the ANC is analytic, pragmatic, non-ideological, and common-sense.  I listen to all sides of issues, and try to avoid one-size-fits-all policies.  You can find more details about my approach and positions on my website: http://randysteer-anc.org.  If you e-mail me questions (anc-6b03@randysteer.com) I will post the questions and answers on my website.  I look forward to working with my fellow 6B-03 residents to address their neighborhood concerns and ensure that Capitol Hill remains a unique and enjoyable “hometown”.

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  • Wes C


    Are you the same Randy Steer than is selling http://www.adamsmorganday.com for thousands of dollars on ebay. I am not interested in buying it, but it seems like an odd qualification for someone who wants to serve the community to be taking advantage of a community event like this and to be doing it for personal gain.

    I hope this is not you or that you can provide some better explanation if it is.


    • rsteer

      No, I’m not selling that domain, nor do I own it. I just looked up adamsmorganday.com, and it is currently owned by a Rob Richards. I do hold the registration for adamsmorganday.org, but have never advertised it for sale — I created the original website for Adams Morgan Day using that domain and hosted and maintained it for several years. I think I earned a total of $300; most of the work was pro bono.

      The”ownership” of the festival has changed hands numerous times over the years, and I didn’t want to give control of the domain to a promoter who might not be involved in the festival a year or two later, so I just held onto it, and haven’t followed ownership of the festival in recent years.

    • M Lane

      I have to take issue with your implication about Randy’s character. I worked with Randy during my nine years as a commissioner for ANC 3B. Randy developed, maintained and hosted our web site for my entire tenure on a pro bono basis. Never did he ask for payment nor buy/sell domain. I think Randy would make an excellent commissioner and a wonderful representative of ANC 6B03.

  • Randy, on your website and in the flyer you sent to the homes of your constituents, you indicated that you support restricting liquor licenses on Barracks Row. Several of your neighbors, including me, sat on a committee formed by the ANC to determine if this was really the right approach. Our findings — based on hours of meetings with local business owners and Commissioners from Adams Morgan and other neighborhoods that have tried this — were that such a move will hurt, not help. Will you just ignore those recommendations?

    • rsteer

      No, I wouldn’t ignore the recommendations, but I would want to look to see if they’re still sound. Since the time the ANC looked at that, we’ve continued to become more of a dining and drinking “destination” like Adams Morgan, and have gained liquor licenses while losing retail.

      When the ANC started holding meetings on that topic two or three years ago, I attended a meeting in which the Adams Morgan ANC Commissioner said that he often brought his family to our neighborhood and that he thought (back then, a number of licenses ago) that we had the “perfect balance” of retail/services and liquor-license establishments.

      In that meeting it appeared that some ANCs have found “soft” limits on licenses useful (allowing, for example, 2 or 3 new licenses over 2 or 3 years, with the limit being applied just to a few blocks where existing licenses are concentrated), while others preferred different approaches. The Adams Morgan Commissioner wished that his neighborhood had found a way to put the brakes on its transformation before it got quite to where it is now. (I lived there during much of that transformation.)

      The currently unlimited supply of liquor licenses puts significant upward pressure on retail rents in the 3 blocks of 8th St. where license applications have been concentrated, encouraging landlords to push out retail tenants in favor of pubs and restaurants with large bar capacities. At the same time, other commercial areas in the neighborhood (lower 8th St., 11th St., Pennsylvania Ave. east of 8th St., etc.) could really use some of the vitality that new restaurants would bring.

      I believe the issue is worth revisiting, and a number of constituents in my SMD (which has 8th St. as its eastern edge) have raised the issue of liquor licenses and loss of retail as a major concern.

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