For the past five years, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A, serving the neighborhoods north of Lincoln Park, has been a model of how the District’s lowest form of electoral government is supposed to work. Meetings start and end on time. Financial reports are frequent and accurate. Commissioner ramblings are kept to a minimum. And the transparency is top-notch: All meeting attendees are free to grab from a pile of thick packets containing the commission’s agenda, all its correspondence, financial reports, and virtually all other documentation of its business. 6A also has one of the best ANC Web sites around, frequently updated and chock-full of information for neighborhood busybodies. Oh, and get this: 6A has committees, which often include non-commissioners—you know, honest-to-God concerned citizens actually working to better their neighborhoods.
All of this would be impressive enough out, say, in Ward 3, with its wealth, relatively low-stakes conflicts, and disproportionate numbers of do-gooders, but 6A’s smack in the middle of one of the city’s gentrification battlegrounds; it encompasses, for instance, the eastern portion of the H Street NE corridor. While the commissioners have had their tussles over whatever it is they do—liquor licenses, building permits, etc.—they always get it done.