Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) for Single Member District (SMD) 5B03 Tiffany Bridge recently stepped down from her ANC Post. SMD 5B03 boundaries are Monroe Street NE to the North, 13th Street NE to the West, Rhode Island Avenue to the South, and 19th and 18th Street NE to the East. We reached out to her to inquire why she stepped down, and she provided us with the following statement:
The short version is, I have a very different opinion from the other commissioners about what, at a practical level, constitutes openness and transparency in local government. Which wouldn’t be a problem by itself (we’re all accountable at the ballot box for the kind of elected official we are, after all, and I don’t believe in telling other elected officials how to represent their districts), but the practical upshot had turned out to be: a lawsuit filed against the ANC for not honoring a FOIA request that should have been a no-brainer, to which I am a party simply because I was on the ANC at the time; my total lack of confidence that I wouldn’t get dragged into those kinds of shenanigans again by continuing to be part of that body; and personal abusiveness leveled at me from other commissioners because of my belief that our constituents are entitled to know what we’re up to and why.I’m sorry to not complete my term- I hate being a quitter more than almost anything- but I could no longer ignore that being confident in the principles guiding my own behavior wasn’t going to be enough to keep me from getting dragged into nonsense I don’t want to be associated with. Not to mention that there can be real consequences for that kind of thing- While criminal penalties for FOIA violation are rarely applied, contempt of court is not uncommon, for example. It was no longer a risk I was comfortable taking.
The FOIA case Ms. Bridge is referring to is the one we covered here yesterday. So what happens next? Ms. Bridge tells us:
Once the seat is officially certified vacant, there will be a special election process. Candidates may collect signatures for an election, but if only one candidate returns a valid petition, he or she will automatically be awarded the seat. The person ending up with the seat will have to run for reelection (if they so choose) next year along with all other ANCs.
We assume this process is already underway as a DC Board of Elections ANC vacancy announcement was posted on August 23rd on the Brookland bulletin board at the corner of 12th and Newton Street, NE. We would like to thank Ms. Bridge for her service to the community.