Two AU students dive into local politics
Two AU students are running for commissioner of two districts in the Advisory Neighborhood Commission.
School of International Service sophomore Rory Slatko and School of Public Affairs junior Joe Wisniewski are two of eight students in the D.C. area running for ANC positions this fall, according to citywide student advocacy group D.C. Students Speak.
ANCs are local residential groups that advise the local government and neighbors on a variety of issues, ranging from parking to noise complaints.
Slatko is running to represent ANC 3D07, which includes students living in Anderson, Centennial, Letts, Leonard, Hughes and McDowell Halls. It is an all-student and single-member district. SPA junior Deon Jones currently holds this title, but does not represent the same constituents since he was elected before the redistricting in 2011. Jones represents Southside residents.
Wisniewski is running to represent ANC 3D10, which includes the Avalon, Berkshire and Greenbriar Apartments. It also represents Nebraska Hall and the Ward Circle Condos.
Ward 3D was redistricted in 2011 to include an all-student district. It also placed Roper and Clark Halls in 3D02 along with parts of Spring Valley. Incumbent and former ANC 3D Chair Tom Smith is the only registered candidate for 3D02.
Students wishing to participate in these elections must be registered to vote in D.C.
Meet the Candidates
Rory Slatko - 3D07
Slatko said he will try to increase the variety of modes of transportation for students if voted into office.
Adding bike lanes and bolstering the AU shuttle service are all parts of his plan to alleviate the neighborhood’s parking conundrum, he said.
Slatko served in Student Government as the SIS senator last year, where he helped to pass legislation calling for gender-neutral housing on campus.
The 19-year-old is running largely unopposed as a write-in candidate for ANC 3D07. While 25 signatures are required to be placed on the ballot, Slatko chose to take the write-in path instead.
Slatko said mediating conflict between neighbors and students will be tricky because of his all-student constituency. However, having both groups participate in community service may resolve some of the tension.
Slatko said he felt locals’ perceptions of the student community are largely based off a small portion of individuals who choose to be loud, litter and violate the law.
“That’s where the core of the neighbor experience has been with AU students, and I think that’s what is most detrimental [to neighbor relations],” he said.
Slatko said he opposes the recent Residential Parking Protection Act (RPPA), which required AU students to register their cars in D.C.
Students who live off campus should have the right to their respective parking spots, he said. However, he said the University shared some of the blame for the situation since it charges high on-campus parking fees.
“[RPPA] was a desperate move to fix a pretty desperate situation,” he said.
Joe Wisniewski - 3D10
Wisniewski said he wants to enhance the Zipcar program, lower on-campus parking prices and increase shuttle accessibility to reduce neighborhood parking issues.
Wisniewski said he understood students’ hesitancy to park within the University, given the steep prices for parking permits.
“Now I don’t know about you or me, but I don’t have an extra $1,000 lying around, especially when I go to one of the most expensive schools in the country,” he said.
The 20-year-old Indiana native is running against Silvia Lucero, a neighbor who lives on Massachusetts Avenue. Wisniewski acquired 25 signatures and is on the official ballot. Wisiniewski currently serves as the speaker of the SG Senate.
Unlike Slatko, Wisniewski is running in an area that has both student and non-student residents.
Wisniewski said he plans to host events such as choral concerts, where students and neighbors can meet to improve their relationship.
Wisniewski’s biggest regret is not registering to vote in D.C. sooner. He said he was cynical of D.C. politics at first but soon changed his perspective.
“I realized that the issues that come up in front of the commissions, in front of the city hall, have a direct impact on our everyday lives,” he said. “It’s something you only find in local government.”