Redistricting Taskforce Votes No on Annexing Near Southeast to Capitol Hill ANC – Votes Nixes Creating “Ward Within A Ward”
by Larry Janezich
The Ward Six Taskforce on Redistricting, appointed by Councilmember Tommy Wells, and chaired by former ANC6A Chair, Joe Fengler, voted against annexing Near Southeast south of the freeway to ANC6B, thus increasing the number of commissioners from 10 to 12 and the ANC district from 20,000 to 24,000 residents. Instead, they opted for a “status quo” plan which makes minimal changes to ANC6B.
The vote was 4 – 3 in favor of the status quo plan, with Taskforce members Fengler, Marge Francese, Antoinette Russell, and Skip Coburn voting for the status quo. Ken Jarboe (Councilmember Tommy Wells’ political organizer for Ward Six), Donna Scheeder, and Tyler Merkeley voted for the expansion. Taskforce Members Cody Rice, Raphael Marshall and Gene Fisher were absent.
The failed proposal would have annexed the portion of Near Southeast on the south side of the Southeast/Southwest Freeway lying between South Capitol and 11th Street. ANC6D Commissioner David Garber, whose constituents say they are oriented toward Eastern Market and Barracks Row and wish to have a voice in ANC6B, urged ANC6B “to continue to listen to us.”
There seemed to be considerable support among the ANC6B Commissioners to incorporate Near Southeast into ANC6B, even though it would put Commissioners Frishberg and Metzger in the same single member district and pit them against each other in the next election.
The Taskforce was evenly divided on the question, and Fengler’s vote proved decisive. Fengler stated his reasons for supporting the status quo option. He cited former Councilmember Sharon Ambrose’s advice against creating a “ward within a ward.” He stated his own belief, as a former ANC chair, that ANC’s should be about the same size. He noted that the decisions of such a large ANC as proposed would “impact ANC’s 6D, 6A, and 6C.” Finally, he wondered how much an ANC6B, oriented toward Eastern Market and Barrack’s Row, would care about liquor licenses and zoning decisions in Near Southeast.
Before the final vote, the Taskforce agreed to a motion by Ken Jarboe to post both proposals on the Taskforce website for comment. Jarboe’s motion was agreed to 7 – 0.
Most of the changes to ANC6B single member districts were minor. One of the more notable adjustments divided control of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza among the single member districts of Commissioner Frishberg, Metzger, Oldenberg, and Pate. Previously, it had been totally within Frishberg’s single member district. In addition, the new plan split responsibility for Barrack’s Row between Commissioner Metzger and Oldenburg, both of whom previously supported a moratorium on Barracks Row liquor licenses. Until now, the west side of the 500 block of 8th Street where Chiptole’s Mexican Grill will open – which Frishberg supported – had been Frishberg’s responsibility.
The preliminary plans agreed to tonight will go to their respective ANCs for consideration and input. Taskforce Members will attend the ANC meetings in September to answer questions. ANCs will have the opportunity to weigh in during the first two weeks of September. By September 18th, the plans will be made public. The Taskforce will have two meetings in September to hear recommendations and finalize the map, which will then go to Councilmember Wells on September 27th or 28th.