Fate of Hill East Redistricting May Come Down to Silverman Meeting on Saturday
by Larry Janezich
Posted May 5, 2022
Wednesday night, CM Elissa Silverman, Chair of the City Council’s Redistricting Subcommittee, used Twitter to announce a meeting on Ward 7 ANC redistricting.
!!Attention Ward 7, east and west of the Anacostia River!! Need a fun indoor activity for a rainy Saturday? Like maps? Coffee? The topic of ANC redistricting? Well, then: Come to Capitol View Library this Saturday, between 10:30am and noon to talk Ward 7 redistricting!
The suddenly-called meeting will provide a final opportunity for Hill East residents to express themselves on the Ward 7 Taskforce plan for ANC redistricting. The controversial plan has implications for economic and political power sharing including oversight of the development of Reservation 13. The Subcommittee will vote on the proposed changes to ANC and single member district boundaries on May 17. Next, the City Council of the Whole will vote on the Subcommittee recommendations on May 24, followed by a second and final vote on June 7.
There has been talk of a compromise to make the power sharing among the east of the river-west of the river single member districts in ANC 7F more equitable.
Silverman has been consistent in stressing the importance of the redistricting principles that has guided the Subcommittee’s work. Some indications that her Subcommittee is open to changing the map recommended by the Ward 7 Redistricting Task Force include the fact that on March 28, Silverman made visit to the final meeting of the Task Force. In her remarks, she stated that the Subcommittee was expecting a map that met the principles of redistricting and the statutory requirements.
Among the criteria she stipulated for the evaluating the map drawings:
- Are your boundaries compact and contiguous?
- Are they geographically sensible?
- Are communities of interest kept together?
On April 7, during the first Subcommittee hearing on the map proposals, Silverman said that the proposed ANC7A map was “thoughtful regarding the balance of power and this is about power. [4 SMDs on each side of the river.] This is not the situation in 7F where there are 3 SMDs west of the river and 5 east of the river. I see an imbalance of power…. I am straining to see how the power is balanced in 7F [a cross-river ANC which includes south Hill East and Reservation 13].”
On April 28, at the final Subcommittee meeting on ANC/SMD redistricting, Silverman cautioned at the beginning, “You might not think we make changes in the map, but we do.”
Throughout, she stated more than once that the Subcommittee would consult with CM Gray before making a final recommendation.
Given her remarks, there remains a possibility that the Subcommittee will redraw the ANC7F boundaries in accordance with the Subcommittee’s interpretation of the principles of redistricting. Such a move could result in a more equitable sharing of power between the east and west side of the river in ANC7F.