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

  1. If you want to see the view of ANC6B click here:

    If you want to sign the petition to the Task Force and Tommy Wells, click here:

  2. Thom Riehle

    The Task Force made this change, snatching more than half of a single member district from ANC 6B, based on a special call meeting ANC 6C held *after* the Task Force had completed most of its public comment period. One Task Force member last night even said, “None of the affected residents even know they are being moved from 6B to 6C.” Good point! I am confident the Task Force and CM Wells will recognize the danger of the path they are on with these affected neighbors, and change their procedures on Thursday night to hear from affected neighbors as to whether they prefer remain in 6B or not. Having heard from affected neighbors, it seems likely the 5-4-1 vote that imposed this unwelcome change may be reversed and reflect the Task Force’s earlier vote in support of the status quo. Failing that, I hope CM Wells will reject this effort to move our neighbors from 6B to 6C when he reviews the Task Force’s recommendations.

  3. Andrea Harles

    This comes under the heading of “What were they thinking?” The concept behind ANeighborCs is the neighborhood. I am half a block from Eastern Market. My issues are here, not around Union Station and North. It would be asking a lot of a commissioner to be conversant with issues in such a wide area. In fact I would still go to the commissioner who represents Eastern Market and the surrounding area. The size of the geographic area needs to be considered as much as the numbers of people

  4. To make sure that everyone understands the outrageousness of this decision, ANC6C testified last night that they voluntarily gave up 3 commission seats during the original boundary setting exercise and then only AFTER the task force unanimously approved its draft plan did they turn around and start the effort to take part of ANC6B, claiming that they needed more commission seats.

    No. Doesn’t make sense to me either.

  5. Jim Rowland

    Eastern Market is often called the heart and soul of Capitol Hill. Removing some neighbors immediately adjacent to Eastern Market from ANC 6B, while leaving other neighbors immediately adjacent to Eastern Market in ANC6B is contrary to the entire concept and purpose of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. The majority of issues that affect these neighbors are centered around Eastern Market itself, the Eastern Market Metro plaza, Barracks Row, the Hine School redevelopment site, etc. — whether it be an issue before the ANC6B ABC Committee, Planning and Zoning Committee, Transportation Committee, etc. These neighbors will have lost their individual ability to participate in the debate on the major issues directly affecting their own neighborhood, and will have lost the voice of their ANC representatives. The result is disenfranchisement. Its now up to Councilman Wells to make sure common sense prevails on Capitol Hill.

  6. Jeff Harrell

    I am highly disappointed to see that section of of the this group to move 1275 ANC6B residents (of which I am one) into ANC6C. My home is on the door step of Eastern Market at the intersection of 7th and Independence. It is heavily used by visitors to Eastern Market. The market impacts my daily life from the visitors to the market and restaurants who use parking take up all the parking spaces and various events held at the market. As a member of the proposed moved, I will work with my new ANC to restrict weekday parking and enforce parking on weekends.