Monthly Archives: September 2011

Councilmember Wells to Unveil Eastern Market Governance Legislation Next Wednesday

Councilmember Wells to Unveil Eastern Market Governance Legislation Next Wednesday

by Larry Janezich

Last Wednesday night at the regular meeting of the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) Eastern Market’s North Hall, Chair Donna Scheeder announced Councilmember Wells will hold a public meeting next Wednesday to unveil his legislation on revamping the Market’s governing structure.  Wells will outline and review his proposed legislation, as well as solicit initial feedback on changes to the Eastern Market management and governance. The Councilmember said last week that he hopes to introduce the measure before the City Council next Tuesday. 

Scheeder told EMCAC that discussions with Wells gave her confidence that the things EMCAC cares most about will be addressed in the proposal.  These include the ability for the governing structure to operate the Market more independently, to be free of the issues associated with being an agent of the city – including the avoidance of having to participate in government shutdowns, and to have the flexibility to respond quickly to developing issues and opportunities.  The new board, she suggested, will be based on home grown expertise and will include representation for the Market’s merchants and vendors.

According to ANC6B’s representative to EMCAC, Brian Pate, ANC6B and EMCAC are discussing the possibility of cosponsoring a community meeting on the legislation beyond the community meeting next Wednesday. 

The Wells-hosted meeting next week will be held Wednesday night, October 5, 2011 in the North Hall of Eastern Market, from 6:00 – 8:00pm.

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Residents Direct Anger At Tommy Wells Over Redistricting Report – Boundaries In Councilmembers’ Home District At Issue

Councilmember Wells Addresses 50 ANC6B Residents on Redistricting Wednesday Night

Residents Direct Anger At Tommy Wells Over Redistricting Report – Boundaries In Councilmembers’ Home District At Issue

by Larry Janezich

Fifty unhappy residents and ANC6B commissioners turned out at St. Peter’s Church Tuesday night to tell Councilmember Tommy Wells just how unhappy they were with the redistricting proposal that would move 1275 6B residents into ANC6C.  The meeting was called by ANC Commissioner Ivan Frishberg, who is coordinating a response by concerned citizens to the proposed realignment of boundaries in ANC6B.  The history of how that came about has been reported previously on emmcablog.

Residents argued first, the area to be excised from 6B has more in common with neighborhoods to the east and south than to the north; second, residents want to vote for commissioners who have a voice in the neighborhood issues which concern them most – especially Eastern Market, Hine Development, and Eastern Market Metro Plaza – and these issues currently fall under the exclusive purview of ANC 6B.

In response, Councilmember Wells defended the process which the Taskforce followed in reaching its conclusions, and stated he will have to start with the presumption in favor of the Task Force Report.  Wells said there would have to be reasons for overturning aspects of the report, and he did not see anything nefarious or any evidence of racial or demographic gerrymandering.  Acknowledging that he had not yet seen the Task Force Report, Wells also said that he was not in a position to defend it and would meet with Task Force members to hear their rationale.

Wells admitted that the “presumption is you guys [in 6B] are my neighbors and I’m going to defer to your wishes.  I have to show I can bring impartiality, because the presumption is that I won’t.”  He went on to say that he had already “probably inappropriately tried to influence the vote of the Task Force” by asking them prior to the vote on the boundary change: “do you really want to do this?”

During the meeting, ANC 6B commissioners added to the objections of the gathered residents by pointing out that the boundary shift would have enormous consequences in their single member district (SMD) boundaries, pitting six commissioners against each other and creating four new SMDs with no incumbents.  They also objected to the stated motives of ANC6C, saying the real motive behind the boundary change was to be more involved in Eastern Market and the Hine development.  They faulted the Task Force for a flawed process (reported earlier on emmcablog), and Task Force Chair Joe Fengler with having an “overriding zeal” for creating equal sized ANCs when there is no requirement for that in the DC Charter.

Wells acknowledged that the Redistricting Task Force Report was “problematic in so far as it broke up ANC6B” and admitted that SMD boundaries requiring six sitting commissioners to vie for three seats was “a little unnerving.”  One resident, Wally Mylniec, noted that Wells was accepting a false binary in giving preference to a Task Force recommendation in favor of the move that was adopted on a 5-4 vote.  He said that this was not the Supreme Court, but an advisory committee, and a “recommendation based on a 5-4 vote deserves consideration, but not preference.”  That view was also backed by Task Force member Ken Jarboe, who dissented from the majority position of the Task Force on the 6eB question, along with fellow Task Force member Donna Scheeder, (both positions will be available shortly on, along with the Task Force’s final report).

Late in the meeting, Wells raised an issue which many ANC6B commissioners feel lies at the heart of ANC6C’s effort to acquire another SMD at 6B’s expense, and the willingness of other ANCs to support that move.  Wells said that “there is a presumption that 6B is more powerful, has more people, more commissioners, and that their influence is greater than other ANCs,” implying that this was driving the Task Force in prioritizing the principle that ANCs should be closer in size.  Wells went on to suggest the validity of more parity among the ANCs, though he acknowledged that, since he comes from 6B, he might be misreading this as a motivation behind the Taskforce Report.

Councilmember Wells said the timeline for redistricting was as follows:  he will officially receive the report Wednesday night and will forward it to the City Council on Friday.  Wells said he would continue to refine the boundaries but stated that he was not saying he was going to rewrite the boundaries at this time.  He promised to “continue talk with members of the community and members of the Taskforce” before he made a final recommendation to his colleagues on the council.

Wells added that his overall consideration in reviewing the work of the Taskforce Report would be, what is the greater good for Ward 6?  What ward 6 gains from the Task Force Report, Wells noted, is apportionment in Ward 6: each ANC gets no less than six commissioners.  “We have to look at what’s in the whole Ward’s interest,” Wells argued, and “see what the greater good is, and give the Task Force a chance.  That’s where I’m at.”

The City Council will hold a hearing devoted to Ward 6 redistricting, and the ANC’s will apparently have an opportunity to present their case to the council before it finalizes the redistricting plan.  Frishberg told the group that the process is not going to be decided in the next two days, and advised the group to “let the process work and try to bring Tommy around to our position.”


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This Week’s Community Events …….

This Week’s Community Events …….

by Larry Janezich


27 Tuesday, 7:00pm

ANC6B Executive Committee sets agenda for October 11 meeting.

703 D Street, SE

27 Tuesday, 8:00pm

Community Meeting to overturn Ward Six Redistricting Task Force Decision to Move 1275 ANC6B residents to ANC6C.

St. Peter’s Church, 2nd and C street SE

28 Wednesday, 6:30pm (Postponed until October 5)

ANC 6B Hill East Task Force Meeting.  Update on the status of the Eastern Branch Boys & Girls Club Building. (Postponed until October 5)

Payne Elementary School, 1445 C Street SE

28 Wednesday, 7:00pm

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee.  Update on status of legislation for new governing structure for Eastern Market.

North Hall, Eastern Market

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Capitol Architect Says Prospects for Reopening Capitol’s West Front Are “Slim”

Capitol Architect Says Prospects for Reopening Capitol’s West Front Are “Slim”

by Larry Janezich

Architect of the Capitol Steven Ayers told the Capitol Hill Restoration Society (CHRS) last Wednesday night that chances for reopening the Upper Terrace of the West Front of the Capitol to the public are “slim.”  Asked by ANC6B Commissioner Norm Metzger at the fall CHRS membership meeting at Hill Center if a more imaginative way could not be found to govern access to points viewed as vulnerable in the wake of the September 11th attacks, Ayers replied that “we live in a dangerous world,” and though visitors are “still welcome” at the Capitol, “there are limitations.”

For several years now, Capitol Hill residents have had no opportunity to enjoy the vista from the West Front of the Capitol Building.  Security recommendations for the Capitol are made by the Capitol Police Board, comprised of House Sergeant at Arms Bill Livingood, Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer, and Ayers.  It is only in recent years that individuals with security backgrounds (Livingood was formerly a Secret Service agent, Gainer comes from DC Metropolitan Police) have been appointed to the Capitol’s top administrative posts.  Before September 11th, these posts were filled from the Congressional staff of the Congressional leadership.

Mirroring a broader trend, security personnel have become far more influential in the Capitol’s operations, and once security restrictions are imposed, they are seldom relaxed.  Prior to WWII, for example, visitors to the Capitol Building would climb to the lower interior balcony around the Rotunda of the Capitol.  Closed during the war for security reasons, it has never been reopened to the public.

In response to another question from CHRS members about the future of the former House Page’s Residence at Second and E Streets, SE, Ayers said that is up to the Speaker’s office and no decision has been made.  Among the options he noted were to “sell, refurbish, or do nothing.”

Ayers was the featured speaker at the CHRSs fall membership meeting.  It was held in the as-of-yet unfinished Carriage House at Hill Center.  The Center is in the process of getting a certificate of occupancy for the main building.

Highlights of Ayer’s PowerPoint presentation to the group:

A bust of Rosa Parks would be placed in the Capitol in December

The building in the Capitol complex suffering the most damage from the recent earthquake was the Rayburn House Office Building

The restoration of the Bartholdi Fountain West of the Rayburn Building is now complete and the park is open to the public

A tour of Hill Center for those attending the meeting followed the presentation.

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Neighbors Organize to Overturn ANC6B Boundary Change – Issue Goes to Tommy Wells

Task Force Member Ken Jarboe Opposes ANC6B Boundary Change at Monday Night Meeting. At Left, Task Force Chair Joe Fengler.

SMD Boundary Changes for ANC6B Approved by Ward Six Redistricting Task Force

Neighbors Organize to Overturn ANC6B Boundary Change – Councilmember Wells To Make Final Decision This Week

by Larry Janezich and Barbara Riehle

A group of 17 concerned Capitol Hill residents attended an “emergency meeting” called by ANC6B Vice Chair Ivan Frishberg on Saturday morning at South East Library.  The purpose was to discuss ways to stop the change in ANC6B’s boundary proposed by neighboring ANC6C and endorsed on a narrow 5-4 vote by the Ward Six Task Force on Redistricting.  The change would move 1275 residents from ANC6B to ANC6C in the area bounded by East Capitol and Independence and 3rd Street and 7th Street, SE.

Those attending the meeting were strongly opposed to the move.  Especially outspoken was former ANC6B Chair Peter Waldron who stated that under the DC Home Rule Act, the preservation of neighborhoods is a critical factor when ANC boundaries are being redrawn.  “This neighborhood is being ripped away,” he went on, “and pulled into an ANC with its own NoMA (north of Massachusetts Avene) issues.”  In addition, he said residents would lose effective representation on neighborhood issues affecting them most, including Eastern Market and the Hine Development.  Finally, “[t]his neighborhood is facing substantial change and the residents have a right to cohesive representation.”

The Redistricting Task Force will present its report to Councilmember Tommy Wells on Monday, September 26.  Wells will have the final say on boundary changes, and the neighbors hope to persuade him to reject the proposed extension of ANC 6C into what is currently ANC6B territory.  On Friday, September 30, Wells is scheduled to submit Ward 6 Redistricting recommendations to DC City Council.

The Redistricting Task Force move to reaffirm its endorsement of the boundary change came on Wednesday night at a contentious six hour meeting.  The Task Force position is that the move is necessary because ANC6C has given up three single member ANC districts (SMDs) to the newly formed ANC6E in Shaw.  The Task Force wants to make the ANCs in Ward Six as near the same size as possible, and sees granting 6C’s request for an additional single member district at 6B’s expense as moving toward that goal.  Commissioners on ANC6C have also noted that an additional SMD will give them a more desirable seven member commission.

Wednesday night’s ratification of the Task Force’s earlier position came despite the presentation by 6B Commissioner Frishberg of a petition opposing the move signed by more than 200 residents.  When the Task Force addressed the new boundaries for SMDs within 6B, Frishberg called the plan drawn by Task Force member Cody Rice an “abomination.”  Frishberg offered an alternative which had been informally endorsed by a majority of 6B commissioners.  His proposal was rebuffed by the Task Force with little discussion of the details.

In the end, the Task Force approved an SMD plan proffered by Task Force member Ken Jarboe which divides the new 6B into ten smaller single member districts.  That plan was also strongly opposed by 6B Commissioners, who noted that it would create three new single member districts with no incumbents and pit two sitting commissioners against each other in two of the other single member districts.

The group of protesting neighbors agreed to gather support and mobilize their neighbors.  They will to meet again on Tuesday night at 8:00pm at a place to be determined.


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Hill Center to Open “Within Three Weeks” – Delay Caused by Sale of Tax Credits

Hill Center's South Entrance. This Was the Business Entrance When the Building Was The Naval Hospital, Since Most Traffic Came From 8th Street and the Navy Yard

Board Member Gary Peterson (white shirt) Explains the Operation of the Ground Floor Reception Area

One of the Medium Sized Rooms on the Second Floor. ANC6B Used to Meet in This One Before the Restoration.

The Teaching Kitchen for Cooking Classes on the Ground Floor.

The Center's Largest Room Can Seat 100, and Is Equipped for Multi Media.

Third Floor Conference Room for Community Organizations

Typical Low Clearance Third Floor Community Organization Office Space. This One Was Eyed by ANC6B.

One of Two Original Radiator Restored and Placed in the Third Floor Hallway

Hill Center to Open “Within Three Weeks” – Delay Caused by Sale of Tax Credits

by Larry Janezich

Nicky Cymrot, Chair of The Hill Center Foundation, said Thursday night that the long awaited opening of the Hill Center would be “within three weeks.”  The opening, originally scheduled for the summer, has been delayed by the sale of tax credits.  The Hill Center’s renovation qualifies for receipt of $2 million in tax credits which the Center cannot use since it is operated by a charitable organization.  The credits can be sold to investors, however, and according to Board Member Gary Peterson, the process has taken longer than anticipated.  He said closing on the sale could take place this coming week.  The tax credits must be sold prior to getting a certificate of occupancy, according to Peterson.  Since closing the deal will cost approximately half of the total credit, Hill Center anticipates receiving roughly $1 million as the result of the deal.  It has long been the opinion of the Board that the Center needed a reserve fund in excess of $1 million before opening.  It is not clear how close contributions have brought the Center to that goal.

A tour of the facility revealed that it is ready to receive tenants.  There are nine offices for community organizations on the facility’s third floor and of these six have been rented, according to Peterson. The Carriage House where a café/restaurant will be established has been put up for lease to the restaurateurs on 8th Street, SE, and H Street, NE, but has yet to find an investor/operator.

The Center’s annual operating budget is $750,000.  There are four revenue streams anticipated by the Hill Center:  rental of the Carriage House (about $50,000 annually) to a café vendor and rental of office space (about $62,000 annually) to non-profit organizations together will cover 15 percent ($112,500) of the operating costs.  Among the organizations which have contracted for office space in Hill Center are ANC6b and Capitol Hill Village.  One anticipated tenant, the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, voted in July to stay in its present location.

Third party program providers who will rent additional space to expand their programming will provide 60 percent of the funding ($450,000).  These will include organizations like CHAW and the Folger Library, as well as other independent operators offering classes in the arts and technology, or physical training classes such as yoga.  No contracts have been signed yet; that must wait for Hill Center to obtain a certificate of occupancy.

Rental of space for special events will account for the remaining 25 percent ($187,500), about $15,000 a month.  A conference room can be rented for half a weekday for $350, but the largest spaces, such as the entire second floor, will cost $1500 for half a weekday and $5000 for a full day and evening on weekends. The garden will rent for $500 for half a weekday and $1250 for a full day on weekends.

From the business plan sketched by Hill Center representatives, it seems clear that to the extent that the Hill Center is not successful in obtaining the desired number of tenants or programming, the organization will have to rely upon special events more, or charge more for its space.

The prospect of late hours, noise, and parking has generated concern among nearby neighbors.  Last summer, a group of neighborhood protestants filed a formal protest with the Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABRA), opposing the Center’s application for a liquor license.

Last Wednesday, those protesting the Center’s application for a liquor license withdrew their protest.  According to one neighborhood representative, “The main reason for our withdrawal was that our motions were rejected by the board, making it impossible for us to proceed.  [other reasons were] that it became obvious at the mediation meeting that the board was extremely hostile to our protest and that the Hill Center was totally unwilling to budge.”  The group is exploring other options to lessen adverse effects of the Center’s operation on the neighborhood.


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Representatives of Neighbor’s Group Withdraw Protest of Hill Center Liquor License – Absence of ANC 6B Support Cited As Critical Factor

Representatives of Neighbor’s Group Withdraw Protest of Hill Center Liquor License – Absence of ANC 6B Support Cited As Critical Factor

Larry Janezich

Wednesday morning, the group of neighbors protesting the Hill Center Liquor license filed a motion to withdraw their liquor license protest before the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration (ABRA).  The action came after the group had failed to win any concessions from the Hill Center and after two procedural setbacks on September 14, when ABRA denied the petition of Frank Young for reinstatement as a formal protestant and denied the protestor’s motion to quash the submission into evidence of a private email between protestants which had been obtained by the Hill Center.  The first was denied on the matter of finding no cause, and the second was denied on the grounds of the lack of jurisdiction to enforce privacy laws and failure of the petitioners to submit the email in question to the Board in order to determine its relevance.

According to representatives of the neighbor’s group, they have decided to pursue other options to curb the noise and late hours of nighttime parties at the Old Naval Hospital.  In an email to the members of the neighbors’ group, representatives acknowledged that, “[g]iven the intransigence of the Hill Center, the lack of support from the ANC6B Commission, the rejection by the ABCB of all of the motions submitted by neighbors, and the high probability of achieving nothing at the ABCB hearing, our judgment is that further opposition through the alcohol licensing process is futile. Other options may prove more fruitful. Therefore, we have decided to pursue those options instead.”

Those other options are still being discussed, but will probably involve individual neighbors taking action when and if late night/early morning noise and related disturbances reach high levels on specific occasions. Group representatives are seeking suggestions from all concerned neighbors as to what kinds of actions are appropriate and effective to reduce noise from late night events at the Center.

According to one protestant, a Hill Center representative indicated that had the ANC given more support to protesting neighbors, the Hill Center would have had to consider accommodating some of their demands.  The statement reinforces the apparent conviction of the protestors that ABRA is not a good venue for independent groups of neighbors without ANC backing.

In related news, the Capitol Hill Restoration Society Board of Directors narrowly defeated a motion to move its offices into the Hill Center, voting instead to renew their lease for a year at Kirby House, their current location.  The vote came at the Board’s July 19th meeting.  Both the vote and the discussion were held in a closed session of the Board, so additional details – including the reasons why the Restoration Society opted not to move into the Hill Center – were unavailable.

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North East Library Slated for $10 Million Renovation

North East Library

North East Library Slated for $10 Million Renovation

by Larry Janezich

At Tuesday night’s Capitol Hill Restoration Society Board meeting, Vince Morris, President, Friends of North East Library, outlined the city’s plans for a $10 million one year renovation of the building.

Morris told the Board that the project anticipates returning the interior of the library to the way it was built in the 1930’s.  DC Public Libraries, he said, has committed to making the library’s appearance consistent with the original library.  The Georgian Revival Style Building was built in 1931.

Most of the budget will be used for critical upgrades of systems, including replacing the elevator, wiring, lighting, plumbing, bathrooms, and heating and cooling systems.  In addition, a fire suppression system will be installed and the building brought up to code for ADA Compliance.  An exterior improvement project featuring landscaping, brick and stonework, and new windows was completed in the summer of 2010.

While the renovation is underway, the building will likely be closed.  The budget provides for interim space during this period, though details were not immediately available.

The Library is seizing this opportunity reach out to the community, with the Friends of the Library as the nexus for distribution of information.  Morris is hoping people who want to be involved will attend meetings sponsored by the library this fall, where input will be solicited regarding what the community would like to see in the new facility.

The tentative project time line is as follows:

October 2011 – Awarding of the construction contract

November 2011 – May 2012 – Design Phase

May 2012 – May 2013 – Construction Phase

June 2013 – Reopening of the Library

Following the meeting, Morris issued a strong appeal to members of the community to contribute time and energy to the Friends of North East Library, noting the importance of the library to the community.  He attributed his own involvement to the frequency with which his three young children use the library and said it is especially important for parents, such as himself, to participate in and support the activities of the library.

The Friends of the Library associations are comprised of neighborhood volunteers.  The organization promotes the library and its programs, serves as a liaison to the community, and raises funds through sale of donated books.  The funds are used to support library programs and expenses for the library which fall outside of the city’s budget.

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Closely Divided Redistricting Task Force Votes to Move 1275 ANC6B Residents to ANC6C – Final Decision Up to Councilmember Wells

Task Force Chair Joe Fengler Calls for Vote on Moving ANC6B Residents

Closely Divided Redistricting Task Force Votes to Move 1275 ANC6B Residents to ANC6C – Final Decision Up to Councilmember Wells

by Larry Janezich

Monday night, a closely divided Ward Six Task Force on Redistricting voted 5 – 4 with 1 abstention to move 1275 ANC6B residents into ANC6C.  The vote moved the 6C boundary from East Capitol – a boundary existing for some 35 years, according to Task Force member Ken Jarboe – to Independence Avenue, encompassing the blocks from 3rd Street to 7th Street.  Prior to the vote, the Task Force exempted the nonresidential areas – the southeast quadrant of the Capitol Grounds, the Library of Congress’ Jefferson and Madison Buildings, and the Folger Library – from the move.

Those voting for the motion were Chair Joe Fengler, Cody Rice, Antonette Russell, Marge Francese, and Skip Coburn.

Those opposed:  Ken Jarboe, Donna Scheeder, Tyler Merkeley, and Gene Fisher.

Raphael Marshall abstained.  Had he voted against the motion it would have failed on a tie vote.  Asked about the vote afterward, Marshall said, “I didn’t feel comfortable voting on that issue.”

The motion was strongly opposed by Task Force members Donna Scheeder and Ken Jarboe.  Scheeder said the Task Force was proceeding on the basis of a faulty presumption that ANCs should be equal in size – an assumption not in keeping with the Capital Charter.  “It’s tearing a neighborhood apart, when the most important thing is keeping a neighborhood together,” she said before casting her vote.  Jarboe agreed, saying the Task Force recommendation to transfer the blocks to ANC6C was not creating neighborhood cohesiveness, but destroying it.  In addition, Jarboe said, reorienting a neighborhood which looks south and taking away their vote on neighborhood liquor licenses on 7th Street was a “grievous violation of Task Force guidelines.”

It seems procedurally possible for the Task Force to reverse the vote on moving the residents.  In reality, it is likely that such a change could only be brought about by Councilmember Tommy Wells, who will have the final say on the boundaries before they go to the City Council for enactment.

Following the meeting, ANC6B Vice Chair Ivan Frishberg said, “This decision by the Task Force strips the residents who look at Eastern Market and are just a few hundred feet from the Hine School site from ANC representation on those issues and instead puts them in an ANC that is focused on the issues around Union Station and NoMa.  The task force replaced a plan they adopted unanimously with a highly controversial plan that was adopted on a very split vote.  This is bad process and bad policy.”

In other business, the Task Force also denied ANC6A’s recommendation that it be allowed to retain all of Lincoln Park, which the Task Force had recommended splitting between ANC6A and ANC6B in its map released at the end of August.  As a result, ANC 6B will now preside over governance of half of Lincoln Park, a move that received support from 6B Commissioner Brian Pate.

In all, the Task Force was able to consider only half the items on its agenda Monday night, agreeing to postpone consideration of recommendations for single member districts until Thursday night.  This meeting will include consideration of the proposal to split Eastern Market Metro Plaza among four different ANC Commissioners.

The schedule for the work of the Task Force is as follows:

September 22, Thursday, 6:30pm.  PUBLIC MEETING #10 – Final Task Force Meeting to approve final draft of ANC/SMD boundaries (100 Fourth Street, SW, DCRA Hearing Room 2nd floor, E200)

September 26, Monday.  Forward final draft to Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells

September 30, Friday.  Ward 6 Councilmember submits Ward 6 Redistricting recommendations to DC Council on September 30


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Ward Six ANCs Present Redistricting Task Force with Sophie’s Choice – Area Between East Capitol, Independence, US Capitol and 8th Street, SE, at Issue

ANC6C Chair Karen Wirt Calls for a Vote at Meeting Thursday Night

Ward Six ANCs Present Redistricting Task Force with Sophie’s Choice – Area Between East Capitol, Independence, US Capitol and 8th Street, SE, at Issue

by Larry Janezich

On Thursday night, at its regular September meeting, ANC6C recommended that the Ward Six Redistricting Task Force redraw the boundary between ANC6C and ANC6B, awarding 6C 1275 residents currently in 6B and creating a new single member district (SMD) for 6C, raising 6C’s total number to seven.  ANC 6C’s 5 votes in favor of the plan, with 2 abstentions, effectively asks the Task Force to choose between the diametrically opposed requests of the two adjacent ANCs.

As previously reported on emmcablog, ANC6B voted last Tuesday night to recommend that the Task Force endorse the status quo, leaving the area bounded by East Capitol, Independence, Second Street, and Seventh Street, SE, in 6B.

6C’s claim on the territory is based on their loss of three single member districts (sometimes referred to as ANC6C West) to help create a new ANC6E district, their desire to have an odd number of commissioners, and a desire of the Task Force to make the ANCs in Ward Six more equal in size.

In its report filed with the Redistricting Taskforce, ANC 6C endorsed the changes to ANC6B single member districts put forward by Task Force Chair Joe Fengler, a proposal that anticipated the approval of ANC 6C’s boundary expansion into 6B.  This appears to be a misreading of a Task Force instruction:

“If the recommendations include boundary changes, a copy of the maps, census count by SMD – as well as the draft text language for the ANC/SMD boundaries – must be included in the package.”

This language would seem to suggest that it is inappropriate for one ANC to recommend changes in the boundaries of another ANC’s single member districts.  If ANC 6C’s assertion of its  right to recommend SMD boundary changes for another ANC were correct, the work of the Taskforce would be much more difficult to accomplish.

Although the Redistricting Taskforce has previously insisted that three SMDs be transferred from 6C to the newly created 6E, prior to that instruction it seemed to be the preference of ANC6C to provide only one.  What was more, signs of unhappiness from those affected by the loss of 6Cs three single member districts emerged during the meeting, with some commissioners stating a preference for that territory to remain a part of 6C.  One resident from the disjointed districts expressed his resentment over ANC6C West being “kicked out” of ANC6C and the resulting loss of a voice in Amtrak and NoMa development.

Some in the audience questioned 6C’s need for a seventh SMD, citing other ANCs with an even number of commissioners that worked well.  Task Force member Ken Jarboe noted after the meeting that he had chaired a 13 member ANC and managed to make it work, countering the ANC6C claim that an ANC comprised of 6C and 6E would be “unworkable.  Another Task Force member, Donna Scheeder, remarked after the meeting that “no matter what the Task Force does, some ANCs are going to be unhappy.”

The Task Force could resolve the issue by adopting the recommendation of either 6C or 6B or by redrawing the boundaries of several ANCs to carve out a new SMD for 6C.  Or it could require 6C to get along with six SMDs.

The final decision will be in the hands of Council Member Tommy Wells, formerly a commissioner of ANC6B.

The schedule for the completion of the redistricting process is as follows:

September 19, Monday, 6:30pm.  PUBLIC MEETING #9 – Task Force Meeting to propose second draft of ANC/SMD boundaries (Sherwood Recreation Center located at 640 10th Street, NE)

September 22, Thursday, 6:30pm.  PUBLIC MEETING #10 – Final Task Force Meeting to approve final draft of ANC/SMD boundaries (100 Fourth Street, SW, DCRA Hearing Room 2nd floor, E200)

September 26, Monday.  Forward final draft to Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells

September 30, Friday.  Ward 6 Councilmember submits Ward 6 Redistricting recommendations to DC Council on September 30

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