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