ANC 2E Contests: Opposing Views on Georgetowner Endorsements, Criticism on Reportage

*In its Oct. 26 issue, The Georgetowner endorsed candidates in the national and local campaigns. After endorsing Hillary Clinton and several District Council members, the newspaper turned to the Georgetown-Burleith-Hillandale Advisory Neighborhood Commission. The ANCs are D.C.’s own version of hyperlocal democracy. The Georgetowner endorsed those candidates running unopposed in their particular districts and then chose from the two contested districts: Greg Miller (ANC 2E03) and Lisa Palmer (ANC 2E05).*

*With election day Nov. 8 and the publication date of the next Georgetowner Newspaper on Nov. 9 , the editors have decided to put two letters to the editor online now for the sake of fairness.*

**Bill Starrels: ‘We Can Count on Him Time and Again’**

To the editor:

Many of us were greatly dismayed by The Georgetowner’s endorsements for ANC2E. As many others feel, I must say that Bill Starrels and Rick Murphy are the strongest candidates for the two contested races. This is an election where experience really does matter. Our ANC is set to lose 30 years of collective experience with the retirement of three commissioners. Yet you endorsed one candidate who has a clear conflict of interest with his employer, Georgetown University, and another who has not fulfilled her most basic civic duty — to vote — in the past eight years.

As a past president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown, I have chosen to help Bill Starrels get re-elected. I think it is that important.

Look at Bill’s achievements over the past 16 years: implementation of the Georgetown Circulator Bus; bringing the DMV to Georgetown Park not once but twice; realization of the Georgetown Waterfront Park; and finalizing the 20-year Georgetown University Campus Plan. He did none of these things alone, naturally, but was instrumental to the success of each in the collaborative way Bill has of working well with others.

Our ANC works collectively. All three retiring ANC commissioners have endorsed Bill Starrels they think so highly of him. The current president of CAG has endorsed Bill, as have four past presidents. We all know that Bill cares greatly about Georgetown, residents’ concerns and our collective future. We know he is tied into the city – he has a vast network of contacts and uses them to our advantage. Bill gets things done, and we can count on him time and again.

Let me give but one of many examples I have been involved with working with Bill over 12 years. About 18 months ago, CAG’s Historic Preservation and Zoning Committee was struggling with the proposal for a new commercial building on the Doggetts parking lot on Prospect Street across from Café Milano. We were very concerned about loading. Where could truck loading be located on the street that it would not further add to already severe congestion? I asked Bill Starrels to help. He organized a meeting with our representatives, the developer, and five people from the District Department of Transportation. We walked the site, and DDOT promised, and did, provide suggested options. Bill got the developer to agree to go along with its recommendation. Problem resolved to our satisfaction.

This is the Bill Starrels that so many of us know and support. He deserves your vote Nov. 8. And so does Rick Murphy.

*— Victoria Rixey, 34th Street*

**Rick Murphy: ‘No Conflicts of Interest’**

To the editor:

The Oct. 26 Georgetowner covered an Oct. 24 public forum I attended which featured presentations by each of the candidates seeking election to Georgetown’s Advisory Neighhorhood Commission. Unfortunately, as it related to the Single-Member District 2E03 contest between Rick Murphy and Greg Miller, the coverage was inaccurate and incomplete.  District 3 is especially significant since it borders Georgetown University on the west between N and Volta Streets.

At the meeting,  it was revealed that six months ago that Greg moved from Virginia to a Georgetown rental unit and is now employed by Georgetown University. As an university employee, Greg conceded, he would be prohibited from voting on any Georgetown University-related issues arising at the ANC, thus depriving the residents like us  living nearest the university of a voice on student housing and many other important university-related issues which the ANC must address. 

By contrast, although your article suggested otherwise, Rick Murphy is a retiree who has no conflicts of interest barring his active participation in any ANC matter. The article also failed to mention that ANC members attending the meeting—including Jeff Jones, District 3’s retiring incumbent—strongly endorsed Rick, while none has endorsed his opponent. 

Finally, although your editorial page lauded the “environmental expertise” of Ricks’s opponent, nothing said at the meeting supported that characterization. The article also failed to mention Rick Murphy’s role as pro bono counsel to the ANC or his work on  Clean Water issues impacting Georgetown —both of which were discussed at the meeting.

While the editors are free to endorse any candidate of their choice, of course, they hopefully also recognize that Georgetowner readers rely on its factual reporting about the election to be accurate and complete.

*— Keith and Susan Watson, N Street*

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