Dogpatch Neighborhood Association to Elect Officers

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The Dogpatch Neighborhood Association (DNA) is set to approve an uncontested slate of candidates.  DNA members who’ve paid this year’s dues can vote on November 9 at a virtual meeting.

The association has roughly 800 members, who pay $25 dues for individuals, $35 for families, though fees are waved for “anyone without capacity to pay,” according to Katherine Doumani, DNA president, who added that membership is open to anyone who lives or works in Dogpatch, or who “has shown a dedication to the community and has demonstrated that. In an organization like ours we’re always looking for people to run,”

Doumani was first elected in 2019 to a two-year term and is running for her second tenure as president. The positions of vice president and secretary are also up this year, but not treasurer and two members-at-large.  Which seats are on the ballot alternates every other year.

Two members-at-large positions are being added this election. Secretary Vanessa Aquino plans to fill one of those spots, leaving her current role open.  Two newbies – Alexandra Lindsay and Emma Shales – have yet decided who will run for secretary and who for the remaining member-at-large position.

DNA was launched in 1998. The 2010s tech boom and the pandemic have led to changes in the association’s membership and engagement.

“When I moved here a decade ago there were 800 to 900 residents registered as living in the Dogpatch,” said DNA Vice President Donovan Lacy, who is also running for re-election. “Now, it’s 3,000 to 4,000. So, our job is to get as many of those people involved as possible. We’ve done a lot more outreach, but it’s very challenging with the pandemic.”

Lacy said that during the public health crises some members moved from Dogpatch or San Francisco entirely; others, who hadn’t attended in-person meetings, joined virtual ones.

According to Lacy, DNA sponsored the “spooky slow street” during Halloween on Minnesota Street, and is “flyering, putting out postcards, actual physical posters. Getting more folks involved in the neighborhood association is one of the biggest things that Katherine and myself have been trying to do.”

Doumani described the role of officers in the DNA as “civics 101.”

“How do you effect change and advocate for the best for your community?” she asked. “That’s – bottom line – what the DNA does. The everyday stuff, like dealing with our unhoused community and how best to help them.”

Board members commit three hours weekly to the group, Doumani said, attending monthly membership and board meetings. Some, like Lacy, who focuses on liveable streets, do more. He often goes to San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority gatherings and consults with the Bicycle Coalition.

Doumani focuses on real estate development issues, and often speaks to the Planning Commission.

DNA’s goal is to foster amicable relations between community members and preserve “the unique character of the Dogpatch.” It previously helped create the Dogpatch Historic District.