Principled Decision Making

The Current Newspapers

By Jeffrey James Higgins

Published on Wednesday, September 28, 2016


The District’s advisory neighborhood commissions are routinely asked to support various license applications for both new and existing businesses. The principles commissioners use when deciding whether to support or oppose a business are critical. The government’s evaluation of a business needs to be consistently and fairly applied, and it should align with our country’s core ideals. Unfortunately, this is often not the case.

For example, my own commission — ANC 2C — was asked to support a new burlesque lounge in downtown D.C. After some initial public dissent expressed at one of our meetings, the project was canceled. The commission was then asked to consider supporting the establishment of a cigar bar at the same location. The ANC voted 2-1 to oppose the business, and based on that decision the cigar bar did not pursue its license. Support or opposition by an ANC carries “great weight” when government agencies decide whether to issue licenses or permits.

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