Well Georgetown, Election Day has come and gone. All of the hype and excitement about political campaigns, large and small, has faded away, and the newly elected are beginning their terms. This past January, I became one of those newly elected. With the help of the Georgetown community, I was elected to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission on Nov. 7, 2000 and was sworn into office on Jan. 2, 2001. For the next two years, I will be the commissioner for most of upper West Georgetown, which includes students living in Copley and Harbin Hall, as well as some off-campus endowment houses.

I want to begin by thanking the general Georgetown community, both on-campus and off. My victory would never have been possible without the constant help of my supporters and those who worked on my campaign. In addition, I would like to thank Campaign Georgetown for its tireless efforts in the organization and mobilization of students. Each voice that participated on Election Day was a testament to our great democracy.

Now is the time to get to work on our community. Over the past month or so, I have been working hard to learn some of the concerns of Georgetown residents and how to deal with them.

One of the biggest problems with off-campus student housing is the upkeep of houses. While I urge all Georgetown students living off campus to do their best to maintain their houses, some things are the responsibility of the landlord. Some landlords are not doing their part. I hope to establish a forum to open lines of communication among students, as well as between students and landlords. Students living off campus will have an opportunity to evaluate their landlords and share that information with other students. This would give students choices, while at the same time giving landlords constructive criticism. When this system is in place, students would be living in safer houses, and there would be pressure on absentee landlords to clean up their acts.

Another issue that I would like to address as the ANC’s chair of the parking and traffic committee is street safety in Georgetown. I will be working with the rest of the ANC, as well as city agencies, to improve the parking situation in Georgetown. I will also be working to get proper signage for some of the more dangerous intersections in Georgetown. As these projects begin to develop, Georgetown will hopefully become a safer place for all.

The ANC is the most grassroots form of government in the District of Columbia. As a result, my most important project is to be a voice for my constituency. I was elected to help all residents of Georgetown to live happily. This must include students. The ANC usually meets at 6:45 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month at Georgetown Visitation. I encourage students to come to meetings, learn about some of the issues that our community is dealing with and give their input on important decisions.

As your representative, it is only with your thoughts, concerns and ideas that I can do my job effectively. If there is ever anything I can do or if there is something that I can help with, from a negligent landlord to problematic neighbor relations, please let me know when I can be your voice.

Working together, we can make Georgetown a better place.

Justin Kopa is a sophomore in the College and the ANC 2E04 Commissioner.

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