John Beverly, the president of Concerned Citizens of Brightwood East and the man who has spearheaded the effort to recall ANC4B04 commissioner Doug Smith, says that he initiated the effort due to Smith's "lack of communication with residents" and "lack of involvement" in community issues. Smith serves as treasurer of ANC4B; he also created and co-chaired the Large Tract Review committee which examined Walmart's development proposal for the Curtis Chevrolet site.
When asked for specifics, Beverly said that Smith left 4B04 residents in the dark about issues surrounding that development. I told Beverly that, as a 4B04 resident myself, I've attended quite a few meetings on that very topic. When asked if he had attended any of the meetings, he said he had not, because he didn't know about them. He blamed Smith for not informing his constituents that the meetings were being planned.
The strange thing is this: Doug Smith is a contributing member of Concerned Citizens of Brightwood East. Smith told me that he joined the group around the same time he began campaigning. Smith said that since he was elected, he's communicated with the group regularly, even bringing flyers announcing his special 4B04 meetings to their meetings.
I thought this might be a digital divide issue, as older residents often don't make use of email, and 4B04 has a sizable number of senior citizens. One of the biggest topics of discussion at the Large Tract Review committee meetings was how to reach out to those community members who don’t have access to email and therefore may not be aware of the development’s progress. But when I asked Beverly how past ANC4B04 commissioner James Sydnor used to disseminate information to constituents, he said that it was mostly by email, and that he was satisfied with Sydnor's level of communication. (One thing Smith hasn't done is establish a list of his constituents' email addresses in order to disseminate information through email blasts; Smith told me this is something he will work on.)
I told Mr. Beverly that there have been questions about the recall effort posted on the Brightwood listserv and asked if he had seen them. He said that he was not a member of the listserv. "Other ANCs want to support him, and that's fine," he said, "but this is a 4B04 issue."
The recall election will be held on February 28 at MPD's Fourth District Headquarters (6001 Georgia Avenue NW).
By the way, I had been wanting to track down Concerned Citizens of Brightwood East for quite a while, and was happy to have reached Mr. Beverly. He informed me the the organization formed a little under two years ago, and generally meets on the second Wednesday of each month, though they're now in recess until March. A website is under construction; til it goes live, if you're interested in being alerted about Concerned Citizens of Brightwood East meetings, drop me an email and I'll make sure you get onto Mr. Beverly's notification list.