[Even with Erik Gaull (GRD ’95, MBA ’98), Garrett Rasmussen and Barbara Zartman running for Georgetown’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) District 2E04 position](http://www.thehoya.com/news/anc-hopefuls-square-off-in-forum/), the community is still ridden with opinions and memories of the district’s last officer, Westy Byrd. A commissioner since 1990, Byrd was known most widely on the Georgetown campus for leading efforts to restrict student voting, for placing anti-student voting fliers on campus and for her support for last year’s zoning overlay, which, had it been successful, would have reduced the number of unrelated people living in a house from six to three. Over the summer, Byrd announced her resignation and moved out of District 2E04, which includes Henle Village and Darnall Hall, as well as the area between P St. and Reservoir Road over to Wisconsin Ave. Byrd is now seeking a position on the Ward 2 D.C. Board of Education. Still, the community seems divided between pro- and anti-Byrd residents. Both Gaull and Rasmussen said they were “tired of Westy” and her approach to solving problems in the ANC. Gaull, a teacher of strategic planning at George Washington University, received his master’s degree in public policy in 1995 and his master’s of business administration in 1998 from Georgetown. According to Gaull, Byrd supported Zartman in her letter announcing her resignation. “If Westy likes Barbara, there’s a really good chance that my policies are going to be radically different from Barbara’s,” Gaull said in an interview Tuesday. “[Barbara] is Westy all over again.” Though Zartman admittedly shares some of Byrd’s opinions, she said that she and Byrd “are very different people with different approaches. We often disagree on issues and we have different styles. We both care.” Despite the fact that he is a Georgetown graduate and he is interested in having students’ votes, Gaull said that he is not going to be a university puppet. “The university knows it’s not going to be a free ride with me, but they know that I’m going to be fair and I’m going to listen to the university in a way that Barbara Zartman is simply not going to,” Gaull said. “If the university says black, [Zartman] will say white, and if the university says white, she’ll say black.” Gaull said he wants to be an ANC version of an ombudsman, which, in Sweden, is an elected official who takes care of citizens’ problems through the government. With experience in working for local governments across the country and in the District, as a private consultant and a volunteer reserve officer for the D.C. Police Department, Gaull said he has the necessary skills to be on the ANC. Gaull added that he would also like to run for City Council in Jack Evans’ local seat in two years. In addition to re-paving 33rd Street, repainting the lines on the crosswalks, keeping the pool at Volta Park open longer both daily and seasonally and working with the university for more “constructive engagement,” Gaull said that he wants to keep communication lines open within the local government. “Westy Byrd knew who was whom in the city government and she was able to put all the pieces together and say who you needed to talk to and she did a great job with that,” Gaull said, “and I think I can do that.” In terms of student voting, Gaull and Rasmussen also said they agree that students should have the same rights as permanent residents. “When you talk about disenfranchising somebody and taking away their right to vote, that’s a very scary thing,” Gaull said. “Some people don’t think students have the same long-term interests as the permanent residents, but that’s not a reason to take away a vote. You just don’t take that stuff away.” Rasmussen added that “the students should be represented, and they ought to be able to vote.” Rasmussen, a 23-year resident of Georgetown and lawyer for Pat & Boggs Law Firm in D.C., said he decided last year to run in order to give voters an alternative to Byrd. When Byrd dropped out of the race, he said he still wanted “to mend relations with Georgetown University and the business community. I think it’s wrong to oppose any changes the business community wants to make and anything the students bring up.” Rasmussen said he is disturbed by divisiveness in the ANC and the commission’s lack of a broad perspective. “The ANC should be responsive to what all the residents want, not just to what a few of them want,” he said. “It could be a really important body if we could get more people who worked together.” As far as his platform, Rasmussen said that he had fewer specific ideas for town reformation than a general hope for a change in the ANC and the relations between the community and the university. “The most important thing that I’m standing up for is a change in style and approach to a more conciliatory than confrontational organization. I don’t want an ANC of community activists with their own agendas; I want an ANC of people who can work together and I think that’s what makes me stand out. I want to ease tensions, not create them.” Zartman also said she wanted to mend relations between the university and the community. “I think that’s something we can work with the student leadership about,” she said. “I would hope we could find creative ways to link the university and the community to make it a more positive experience for everyone, and I think we are all interested in seeing how we can make this relationship work better.” Zartman said that she agrees with Byrd on the necessity of the zoning overlay, a plan to limit the number of students in off-campus housing that failed in the D.C. Zoning Board. “The current arrangements where six students crowd into a house is not safe, and I think we need to make that stop; and voting should be restricted to people who live in the area,” she said. Other issues on Zartman’s platform include preserving the historical character of the community, policy changes which affect the stabilization of the community, and “the mechanical things that really affect the day-to-day quality of life” such as potholes, graffiti, missing signs and messy streets and sidewalks, she said. “I have less particular of a platform than a need for a strengthening of the ANC,” Zartman said. “Georgetown should have the best ANC it can have, and if there’s a contribution I can make I would like to bring it to the ANC. That is an asset for everyone-students and nons alike.” Since 1996, Zartman has been the president of the District-wide Federation of Citizens Association, and she has also worked with the House and Senate District subcommittees, the Appropriations subcommittees, the City Council, the Zoning Commission and the Board of Zoning Adjustment, she said. She added that she has also worked with numerous other District and local Committees and Boards. “I thought a number of the experiences I have had would be useful to the community,” Zartman said. “Since six of the eight [ANC] positions will be filled with new members, I thought it would be helpful to have someone who’s been to the vast majority if the ANC meetings and someone who understands how the District works.

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