Posted tagged ‘Jeff Smith’

Ward 1 Council Election Heating Up

June 2, 2010

According to the City Paper, the debate among Ward 1 Council contenders hosted by the Kalorama Citizens Association at Goodwill Baptist Church on May 20th got a little heated. Not surprisingly, the paper reports that hopefuls Jeff Smith and Bryan Weaver were on the offensive against incumbent Jim Graham. Smith has been particularly vocal in questioning Graham’s  relationships with developers. Graham has responded that his dealings with developers has been appropriate and he has been able to bring development to Ward 1 while preserving the Ward’s diversity and social fabric.

So with about 4 months to go, what do you think? Among these candidates, do you know who you’ll be voting for? If you could ask each of them just one question, what would that be?


Political Profile: Ward 1 Candidate Jeff Smith

April 21, 2010

Campaign sign on the 600 block of Princeton Place

During the last few months I’ve seen more and more signs supporting Ward 1 Council candidate Jeff Smith spring up in Park View. This year, their presence in area front yards seems to have indicated the onset of spring – and the political season – much like the tulips and daffodils. Yard placards are not the only visible indication that Smith has tossed his hat in the ring, you can also find him at Metro stations serving Ward 1 on any given night as commuters rush home from work and he has attended many intimate Meet and Greet meetings sprinkled throughout the Ward. While time will tell if this strategy allows him to prevail in his race against such a formidable opponent as Councilmember Jim Graham, it is clear that Smith understands the playing field and is in this race to win it, not merely place.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with Smith at the U Street Café on the week of April 12th. Over the course of an hour and a half we were able to discuss some of his priorities, the needs of the community, and a few of the challenges he’s facing.

While his Web site lists his stance on a litany of issues, it quickly became clear that two of Smith’s priorities were public education and the revitalization of Georgia Avenue. It is no mistake that these issues would be key to Smith. Having been elected to the DC School Board, and then taking on the role of Executive Director of DC Voice in 2007 which is involved in building a collaborative approach to school reform underscores his commitment to public education. Also, with Smith and his family living just off of Georgia Avenue, it would be shocking if this were not an important issue for him. I decided that I wanted to focus on these two issues more so than others since both are critical to Park View.

Support for the development and wellbeing of Georgia Avenue, asserts Smith, has had a lot of shortcoming over the years. While it’s true that the thoroughfare has received more attention in the last year, it is still woefully short of the commitment it deserves. With the numerous plans that have been developed over the years to return the Avenue to its former vibrancy, he contends that the only explanation for its continual stagnation is an ignorance and negligence from the City that has permitted it to languish. Georgia Avenue has little economic viability and has not seen the same commitment from the District to beautify the area or provide small business grants that have been available for other parts of the City.

In asking Smith what could be done to draw the City’s attention to Georgia Avenue, he replies that the community needs to be organized and vocal in reacting to what is proposed for the strip. He points out that the recently formed Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force is a good start, but furthers that there needs to be a series of town hall meeting s between the community and the DC Government. (more…)

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