ANC6B Elects Holman Chair – Police Funding Flash Point Turns Meeting Factious
by Larry Janezich
At their January meeting last night, ANC6B elected new officers last and Commissioner Corey Holman, ANC6B06, was elected Chair of the Commission for a one year term (officers are limited to serving two successive terms in ANC6B). The vote was 8 – 2. Also elected were Commissioner Alison Horn, Vice Chair; Commissioner Jerry Sroufe, Secretary; Commissioner Edward Ryder, Treasurer; and Commissioner Peter Wright, Parliamentarian.
After his election, Colman said, “I know we disagree on a lot of things but as chair I promise this to all of my nine colleagues – to practice very radical fairness and equity in decisions in what little power the Chair has…I will never treat anyone inequitably or unfairly in terms of running meetings within our bylaws and standing rules.”
The two votes against Holman came from Commissioners Samolyk and Krepp, who earlier in the meeting were incensed when Holman moved to delay for a month consideration of a letter to the Mayor and City Council the two commissioners had co-written in support of increasing police funding levels. ANC6B rules forbid last minute additions to the agenda without a majority vote of the committee.
A majority of the commission opposed Holman’s motion for the delay, but not before tempers flared and the debate became both personal and unseemly. The vote to add the letter to the agenda was 6 – 4, with commissioners Samolyk, Krepp, Ready, Holtzman, Sroufe and Wright voting aye. Commissioners Oldenburg, Holman, Horn, and Ryder voted nay.
The letter was still being put in its final form after the meeting, but the gist of it was support for more community policing and more funding for hiring police. The letter cited a litany of crimes on Capitol Hill over the last 3 and a half months, including three homicides in October; the unprovoked afternoon assault of a woman walking with her five year old daughter in the 600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, in December, resulting in broken teeth; the December 19 morning assault on a father and his baby on the 600 block of E Street, SE; the afternoon armed robbery on January 9 when a woman was robbed of her purse, cell phone, and wedding ring; and an alleged early evening shooting in the 500 block of 11th Street, SE, on January 9. (A victim of gunshots took himself to the hospital and later told police the shooting happened at this location.)
Two of the most disturbing assaults – those of the father with a baby and the mother with a five year old daughter, may have been victims of persons suffering from mental illness. According to news reports, arrests have been made in both cases. And according to the husband of the female victim with the five year old daughter during a television news interview, there were police officers across the street from where she was assaulted but “didn’t cross the street and said they thought he’d (the assailant) be back here later.”
The motion to send the letter was agreed to 6 – 4, with commissioners voting as they had on the motion to add consideration to the agenda, as above. Oldenburg and Holman announced their opposition was based on procedural issues.
The final language on the letter was being tweaked on Wednesday, after Commissioner Steve Holtzman suggested the letter stress asking what MPD and the city could do in the interim period of one or two years before any increased funding could put more police on the streets.
A spate of crimes often results in alarmed residents demanding their local elected officials to put more police on the streets. The Mayor supports increased funding, for police but the city council has pared back her budget requests to direct more money to community services such as violence interruption programs.
During consideration of the letter on Tuesday night, no one questioned whether more police is the best answer to reducing crime and no one appeared prepared to discuss the merits or advocate other crime reducing measures.