ANC6B Charges Violation of Process in Ward 6 Task Force Redistricting

Residents of ANC6B Turn Out For Tuesday Night ANC6B Meeting

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.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “ANC6B Charges Violation of Process in Ward 6 Task Force Redistricting

  1. Guest

    You missed the part about 6B discussing and voting on a redistricting resolution that was not circulated to the community before the meeting, or even available in hard copy at the meeting.

  2. Kathleen

    I was disappointed by that as well. The ANC spent over an hour discussing–and then finally passed–a document that we could not see in advance or obtain at the meeting.
    As to the larger procedural problems of the Taskforce, it really seems to me that any fair-minded response to ANC 6C’s “problem” of too few commissioners would include proposals for them to expand in the direction of ANC 6A as well. There would be just as much, if not more, reason to expand 6C down H street so as to connect Union Station to the businesses and retail along that corridor.

  3. David Holmes

    To Kathleen.

    ANC 6A has already had four blocks taken away to donate to 6C. They have a population of 446 people. ANC 6A wishes to retain one of those blocks (with a population of 53 people).

    6A, in other words, has already donated to the cause.

    David Holmes

  4. B. Pate

    Guest and Kathleen,

    You are right in your assertion that the resolution should have been circulated beforehand, and we need, desperately, to figure out an easy way to get materials to the public so that they can better follow (and engage in) the conduct of business during the actual meeting.

    It’s not a good excuse, but we crafted the subject resolution quickly, and thinking about posting the resolution for comment simply slipped our collective minds. There was nothing conspiritorial or malicious behind the failure to post the resolution prior to meeting, rather I would take it as a reflection of our general suprise at being put in a defensive position by a process we thought we understood.

    As for making materials available to the public, our plan, once we establish a permanent meeting space, is to project work products as we review and deliberate them. This should provide the context you are seeking, make it much easier to follow along and enable more robust participation.

  5. Brian, Kathleen and “Guest”,

    It is a fair point that we did not have materials to distribute but it is also a reflection of why the process jam we were put in is a problem. I apologize.

    I would like to provide a little more background though on the timeline we were dealing with.

    As of a couple of weeks back we had a draft resolution that could have been refined and put out prior to the meeting through email or paper at the meeting.

    The problem in this instance was that late last week (Friday) we were presented informally with the SMD drafts in response to 6C and over the weekend (Saturday) I got word from Chairman Fengler about what his reasons and expectations were for the late revision of the Task Force process.

    That left us about three days for commissioners to start re-drafting and sharing options with each other and generally trying to think through what the appropriate response was. The reality of the drafting process was that it was not complete until right before the meeting. I visited kinko’s (in my SMD) right before the meeting to incorporate the last wave of feedback from commissioners in order to even have a starting place for the evening’s discussion.

    It was not the ideal process from our end, so I am certainly sympathetic that it was not perfect from the community’s perspective. Beyond Brian’s aforementioned commitment to some of the technological advances that will help with this in the future my only defense is to declare that this is a case of sausage in and sausage out. We have been dealt less than ideal cards in this situation and so the scramble to respond resulted in our own process being put at a disadvantage.