Hill East Bid for Its Own ANC Gets Chilly Reception from Ward 7 Task Force
by Larry Janezich
Posted March 4, 2022
It would be hard to imagine a better case for creating a new standalone Ward 7 ANC west of the Anacostia River than that presented at last night’s virtual Ward 7 Redistricting Taskforce “listening session.” Brian Alcorn, Ward 7 Taskforce Member and current ANC6A Commissioner – and former ANC6B Commissioner Francis Campbell presented a compelling logical argument supported by facts, figures, history, resident testimony, the presence of natural boundaries and civic and community groups – and a map. The idea was not received with enthusiasm by members of the Task Force.
The proposal would create ANC7A with 8 single member districts including one for the residents of DC Jail. (See above) Supporters argue this new ANC would be better suited to represent residents west of the river and oversee development west of the river because these residents are most affected.
But a well-reasoned argument may not be enough to stand against the realpolitik of redistricting.
If adopted, the proposal would mean that two current Ward 7 ANCs (ANC7D and ANC7F) would give up jurisdiction over the RFK Campus and Reservation 13 respectively. It’s likely no accident that the co-chairs of the Ward 7 Redistricting Taskforce are commissioners from those two ANCs. (In Ward 6, CM Allen decided that no sitting commissioner or anyone who intended to run for the ANC should sit on the Ward 6 Redistricting Committee.)
Former Chair of ANC6B Chander Jayaraman lobbied for a cross boundary Ward 7 ANC west of the river, which would function as a Ward 6 ANC. Under redistricting guidelines, “An ANC may cross a ward boundary, but according to District law, each ANC must, ‘to the greatest extent possible,’ be located within one ward.” The arrangement would require agreement by both councilmembers, however, and though CM Charles Allen supports the idea Councilmember Vincent Gray has shown no interest.
Campbell told Capitol Hill Corner that he has not considered a standalone ANC west of the river that does not include the RFK campus or Reservation 13.
If no new ANC made up of the pieces of ANCs west of the river comes into being, those pieces of ANC6A and ANC6B which recently became part of Ward 7 through redistricting will have to be absorbed into Ward 7’s ANC7D and ANC7F.
In the final analysis, it probably doesn’t matter what the Ward 6 Redistricting Committee recommends – their role is advisory – because the final ANC and single member boundary lines will be drawn by Councilmember Gray. If he has no interest in a cross boundary ANC, it is all but certain he would not sign off on a plan which would surrender the opportunity for existing Ward 7 ANC’s to bring the “great weight” of their opinion to any future development of the RFK Campus and Reservation 13.
The Ward 7 Taskforce is up against an April 1st deadline and has yet to produce a draft map for resident and ANC input. There are two more meetings of the Ward 7 Task Force before then, dates and times to be announced.