CPSG Endorses Keith Mantel for 3C08

CPSG enthusiastically endorses Keith Mantel for ANC 3C08. Mantel represents a new generation of community leaders in a race that presents perhaps the clearest contrast between the past and the future.

A common tactic used to hobble positive community change is presenting incremental criticisms, while refraining from wholesale opposition. When taken together, these nicks can gut or even prevent a given project. The long-term effect of this dissuades others from investing in businesses or developing housing in the area. This is a game that has been played for years in Cleveland Park, and few have been doing it longer than Rick Nash, the other candidate for ANC 3C08.

As many will recall, the Wisconsin Newark Neighborhood Coalition, a group that included Rick Nash as a leader, tied up the Wisconsin Ave Giant redevelopment with objections to a variety of issues, ultimately taking it to the courts (unsuccessfully), making the Cathedral Commons project painfully longer than it needed to be. 

More recently, Nash used historic preservation concerns to attempt to reduce the size of the Macklin project, even though the resulting retail and housing would be unrentable. He then lobbied the Board of Zoning Adjustment to require on-site parking for a project that neither needed nor could accommodate it, knowing that if the requirement were upheld, the project would be dead. Fortunately for the community, the project is moving forward, albeit with far less housing than would have otherwise been allowed.

Nash also opposed increasing density around the Cleveland Park Metro and shops when the District’s Comprehensive Plan was recently updated, calling the changes overwhelming, unfair, unnecessary and a threat to neighborhood character. Fortunately the Council passed these changes unanimously.

On transportation Nash also opposes DDOT’s “Concept C” compromise for Connecticut Ave, which would bring protected bike lanes, safety improvements and parking and loading for commercial areas and multi-unit buildings.  His objection that “it would create significant impacts along Connecticut Avenue and on other neighborhood streets, which have not been fully assessed and mitigated,” is simply false. There exists an entire body of traffic and modeling studies that the DDOT team presented and explained to the community and the Mayor. Meanwhile, detailed block-by block planning to improve safety and mitigate parking and loading issues are happening as we speak. 

After more than two decades of this flavor of representation, this area deserves a new generation of leaders who have a stake in the long term future of the community. 

Enter Keith Mantel, Army veteran, realtor, and single dad to young kids, who is committed to making positive changes in the place where his family will grow up. Mantel’s campaign has prioritized safer sidewalks and streets for pedestrians and cyclists, easing the way for more solar on houses and making sure our parks and recreation centers are well maintained.

Mantel’s focus is on the future when he talks about addressing school overcrowding by expanding neighborhood pre-K opportunities, stating, “we need to start thinking about how else we can get our youngest students into the public education system now without waiting for a new elementary school to be built.”

In his response to our candidate survey, his commitment to increased transit-oriented development was clear and without layers of conditions, “I think there should be more density added along commercial corridors, near metro and/or transportation hubs.”

Mantel addresses the concerns of many homeowners when it comes to historic preservation restrictions, plainly stating, “I appreciate the historic districts and enjoy the varied sizes and styles of homes in ANC3C. However, I believe strongly that homeowners should be allowed to make modifications to their property as they see fit as long as it falls within safety code requirements.”

For his clarity of positions and his unconditional approach to inclusion and urbanism, Cleveland Park Smart Growth endorses Keith Mantel for ANC and urges the voters of 3C08 in Mass Ave Heights, Woodley Park and Cleveland Park to vote for him.

Learn more about Keith Mantel and how to get involved and support his campaign on his website. His email is keithforanc@gmail.com and his twitter handle is @anc3c08.

Keith has also been endorsed by Ward 3 Bike Advocates and Greater Greater Washington. You can read all of the candidates’ responses to the CPSG candidate questionnaire here.

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