Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans confirmed he will not run for chair of the D.C. Council during Tuesday night’s Foggy Bottom Association meeting.
Evans was asked by an audience member about running for the seat, but he said his decision was firm not to run.
“I’ve made a decision not to run. So you’re stuck with me,” Evans told FBA members.
Though he said he thinks he would do well as chair of the D.C. Council, Evans said he would be getting married in September and noted that his children – triplets – are just 13 years old.
“I certainly looked at it very carefully,” Evans said. “Again, I would love to do it but it’s just not the right time in my life to do it.”
Evans will remain on the Council as his seat is not up for re-election this year.
Evans told the audience that council member Kwame Brown and former Ward 5 council member Vincent Orange are in the running for the chairman position. Orange resigned from his job as a vice president for Pepco Tuesday, The Washington Post reported.
As for the mayor’s race – in which GW alumnus and current chairman of the D.C. Council, Vincent Gray, is running against incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty – Evans said he thinks it will be a “very competitive race.”
Evans also addressed budget issues and the city’s development of Stevens Elementary School, like he did at last week’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting.
“My advice is pull the plug, because we’re not ever going to agree to Equity building there,” Evans said, referring to the Stevens project.
Evans said his advice to the Fenty administration was to re-bid the project, saying that three of the five members of the Council – Evans, Kwame Brown and Marion Barry – would vote down the decision to approve Equity.
During the meeting residents also brought up issues concerning GW, specifically about the University’s construction in the neighborhood and how students are counted on campus.
Britany Waddell, director of community relations for GW’s Office of Government, International, and Community Relations responded to FBA members who were concerned about GW’s record number of applications and the pressure of expanding to house more students.
“We are under an enrollment cap, so the University cannot expand from the current cap we’re under, a 20,000 student cap,” Waddell said.
She explained that under the campus plan, property purchased off campus has to be used for its current purpose. Though in the past, hotels were bought by the University and converted in to residence halls, GW can no longer do this under the current campus plan, she said. Any hotel bought would have to operate as a hotel, for example.
“The only development we can do to grow has to be on our campus in our already established boundaries,” Waddell said.
Previously the FBA sued the Zoning Commission because, resident Barbara Kahlow said, “GW changed the way it counted the people. And they decided to exclude the people in Mount Vernon from the headcount, exclude the people who were overseas on a semester.”
FBA President Asher Corson said the issue wasn’t completely settled yet, but the FBA won in the appeals court on the issue, and the case was remanded to the Zoning Commission.
“It’s still currently in remand,” Corson said. “The headcount issue is still very much in play.”
Applause erupted at the meeting when Evans told about 25 FBA members in attendance that stadium lighting in Francis Field would be taken down.
“I went in on Tuesday as I said I would and met with the mayor and the city administrator and the head of the Department of Parks and Rec, and they have committed to me that they are going to take the lights down and not put any new lights up,” Evans said.
The bright lights that have been the cause of complaints by neighbors of Francis Field are expected to be removed by the end of June.
Evans said Ximena Hartsock – a GW graduate – was helpful to him in getting the Francis Field lights down. Hartsock is the former interim head of the Department of Parks and Recreation.
“She really understood the issue,” Evans said of Hartsock.
“The next thing is we have to make sure it gets done, and I will stay on it…and hopefully these things will be gone for good,” Evans told FBA members about the lighting.