Councilmember Charles Allen on Fencing, Tax Increase on the Wealthy & Redistricting
by Larry Janezich
Last night, CM Charles Allen joined a virtual meeting of ANC6D to talk about Ward 6 issues. He said the 3-4 mile fence around the US Capitol complex impacts everybody in Ward 6 and called it “absolutely ludicrous”. He said that pressure for change should be focused on the Congressional Leadership – Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer – and the Architect of the Capitol as being those who will make a final decision on removing the fence. Allen is working the Representative Norton and Mayor Bowser to fight hard and push back. He says the city must speak with one unanimous voice saying, “this has got to end”.
(Yesterday, a report on a review of Capitol security by retired Army Lt. Gen Russel Honore recommended among other measures, installation of “retractable fencing” which would allow public access to the Capitol Grounds. On Saturday, March 13, a peaceful protest against the fence is being planned for 10:00am – see The Hill Is Home article here: http://bit.ly/3rBDbEs)
On another matter, Allen is going to try again to raise the income tax on DC’s wealthy. He says that the pandemic has hit the city so unequally – if you have a job or are in the stock market you’re doing fine – but some DC residents are still hurting and “feeling deep deep pain”. Allen says he will push to ask something from high income earners – $45 a month from people making $500,000 or over, with those funds redirected to needs such as affordable housing and child care. In July of 2020, the City Council voted 8 to 5 to reject an Allen proposal for a modest tax increase on incomes higher than $250,000.
Things have changed since Allen’s last comments on redistricting in February. Redistricting was to have begun with receipt of data from the Census Bureau at end of March, but this year, that has been pushed off until the end of September. Afterward, the City Council will have 90 days to approve new Ward Boundaries – probably in mid-December.
The city’s total population will be divided by 8 to establish an average. Regulations require that each ward be plus or minus 5% of the average number. The City Council’s Redistricting Subcommittee (comprised of at-large members – Bonds, Henderson, Silverman) will hold public hearings about which boundaries need to move to achieve the population goals.
During January, February and March of 2022, ANC boundaries within each ward will be redrawn by a committee selected by the Councilmember for the Ward. Allen said he would likely follow the lead of his predecessor, Tommy Wells, in not appointing sitting ANC Commissioners to the committee. Those ANC boundaries will then be ratified by the City Council. Allen said he would welcome input from the ANCs in his ward.