Revered and reviled, Sandra Seegars is a brusque voice for Ward 8

Ward 8 Advisory Neighborhood Commission member Sandra Seegars.
Ward 8 Advisory Neighborhood Commission member Sandra Seegars. (Evy Mages - For The Washington Post)
By DeNeen Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A dictator of sorts with a short 'fro and a gavel nods to recognize the woman sitting in the audience at a Ward 8 Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting: "You can ask a question, only if you have a question about another issue."

"But . . . " the young woman says in faint protest.

"We already moved on from that topic," Sandra Seegars, chairman of the commission, says sternly.

"But . . . " the woman says again, trying to squeeze in one last comment about a housing program proposed for at-risk youth on Congress Street SE, a project that Seegars in recent weeks has turned her full wrath against.

Seegars eyes the woman suspiciously. "Is it a question on another topic?"

"No," says the woman, still trying to make a point, any point.

Bam! Seegars slams down her gavel. "Meeting adjourned!"

The room falls into a shocked but brief silence.

A woman in the back yells, "I wanted to hear what you had to say, baby."

But the matter has been decided by Seegars, who, as one of several ANC chairmen for Ward 8, advises the D.C. government on social services, police presence, zoning and other matters for her neighborhood, known as 8E. (It encompasses Congress Street SE to Bruce Place SE and 15th Place SE to 11th Place SE.)

Seegars, 59, elected an ANC commissioner in 2004, has been called abrupt, brash, fearless.

Either you are going to love her, people say, or you are really, really not going to like her.

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