ANC6B Charges Violation of Process in Ward 6 Task Force Redistricting – Passes Resolution Opposing Transfer of 6B Residents to Adjoining ANC6C
by Larry Janezich
Tuesday night, ANC6B commissioners strongly criticized the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force charging that the Task Force violated the process presented at its public meetings by sending formal positions to Ward 6 ANCs for response then using an informal process to make subsequent recommendations based on actions by some ANCs before others have had a chance to consider the original task force recommendations.
Consequently, ANC6B commissioners refused a Task Force request to vote on new boundaries for single member districts proposed by Task Force members if a proposal to transfer residents to ANC6C is approved by the Task Force. The consensus of the commission seemed to be that doing so would tacitly put ANC6B in the position of acceding before the fact to a boundary change that they adamantly opposed.
Commissioner Ivan Frishberg noted that if ANC 6B is presented “with a plan, we can react. It’s different if we are presented with a redrawing of the overall plan and asked to react to contingencies if the redrawing is adopted.” Like other commissioners, Frishberg stated that he could not support any of the four Single Member District (SMD) maps put forward by the Task Force for remapping ANC 6B in the wake of ANC 6C’s proposal to expand its boundaries.
Commissioner Brian Pate said that up until now, the Task Force had conducted a transparent process, but now 6B found itself in the awkward position of responding to a late recommendation of one ANC. Commissioner Dave Garrison, whose single member district is most at risk under the ANC 6C proposal, and who personally resides within the area proposed to be transferred, characterized 6C’s move to absorb part of 6B as a “dumb idea.” Commissioner Norm Metzger acknowledged that 6C had good reasons for this recommendation, but noted, “the reasons are theirs, not ours,” and went on to say ANC6B was prepared to argue strongly against changing the status quo.
The Commission subsequently voted 8-1 to oppose ANC6C’s recommendation that would transfer 1275 residents currently in 6B to ANC6C. The one vote against the passage of the resolution cast by Commissioner Oldenburg appeared to be related to the failure of the Commission to adopt her amendment providing that Eastern Market Metro Plaza be under the jurisdiction of the several ANCs abutting the Plaza, rather than a single commissioner. The Oldenburg Amendment failed on a 2 – 7 vote, with Commissioner Garrison joining Oldenburg. Garrison went on to support the resolution.
Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force Chair Joe Fengler, present to observe the meeting and answer questions, defended the process, saying that after the Task Force passed its preliminary map on August 18, it was the choice of each ANC whether and when to react. Moreover, Fengler emphasized that every recommendation forwarded to the Task Force by the ANCs will be voted on by the Task Force, and that part of the challenge will be to resolve competing recommendations. “If you recommend preserving the status quo – if you choose to adopt one of the revisions of single member districts – then the Task Force will vote on that recommendation, Fengler said. He went on to note, “[t]he process was designed to allow each ANC to weigh in.”
Commissioners will have an opportunity to present their case for holding 6B together when the Task Force meets on Monday, September 19th to consider all ANC recommendations. That public meeting to propose a second draft of ANC/SMD boundaries will be from 6:30pm until 8:30pm at the Sherwood Recreation Center located at 640 10th Street, NE.