Ward 7 Task Force Moves Redistricting Map Forward – Final Vote Next Week
by Larry Janezich
Posted March 24, 2022
The Ward 7 Redistricting Task Force met Wednesday night and began the tweaking Keith Hasan-Towery of ANC7E’s discussion map setting new boundaries for Ward 7ANCs and single member districts (SMDs). Despite the protests of west of the river Task Force members Francis Campbell and Brian Alcorn there was no inclination to further consider a standalone ANC for Hill East.
Task Force member Mandla Deskins said that what he was hearing was similar to what he heard when the Task Force was looking at the ANC 6A and ANC6B area in a previous meeting and sounded like a re-litigation of the cross river ANC proposals. At that meeting, he noted, there were a lot of negative comments from Hill East residents, adding “We have a map in front of us that we are supposed to be tightening up – not re-litigating … we have already voted on this map.” He asked that the conversation be about how to make this map work
As the map stands, the former ANCs of 6A now part of Ward 7 will be incorporated into ANC7A in a 4:4 split with four SMDs on each side of the river. ANC7A has RFK within its boundaries.
On the south side of Hill East, the former ANCs of 6B or parts of them which are now part of Ward 7 will be incorporated into ANC7F. The number of SMDs is not settled yet but it appears that there will be 6 SMDs on the east side of the river and either two or three on the west side.
There is considerable tension within the Task Force over what many members see as an attempt by Hill East to assert control over development of Reservation 13. There is concern among residents of Hill East that commissioners from east of the river will not care about the issues (homeless encampments, traffic issues, bike lanes, etc.) that Hill East residents deal with on a day to day basis.
Underlying these tensions are suspicions that the real issues concern race and class. Dr. Marla Dean spoke eloquently of how those issues have played out in her own ANC on the east side and their “unwillingness to send a message that 7B01 does not want people of a certain means in our community.” She said, “You cannot pretend that issues of race and class are not playing out in front of us, because they are.”
The meeting adjourned without making progress on the configuration of 7F single member districts west of the river around Reservation 13. There is uncertainty about the number of residents in the area and growing awareness that it may not be possible to meet all of the criteria regulating the setting of boundaries in these SMDs. Keith Hasan-Towery invited the stakeholders in Hill East SMDs to “have a real conversation about how this can be done.”
The Task Force will convene again on Monday, March 28, at 6:00pm for final consideration of and vote on the map. Following the meeting the co-chairs and select Task Force members will write the report to accompany the map which must be submitted on April 1 to the City Council Subcommittee on Redistricting.