Tag Archives: Tommy Wells

Ward Six Candidates – Round Two – Hill Center

Ward Six Council Candidates Darrel Thompson, Charles Allen and Moderator Andrew Lightman

Ward Six Council Candidates Darrel Thompson, Charles Allen and Moderator Andrew Lightman

Candidates Thompson and Allen Responded to Questions from the Audience Posed by Lightman

Candidates Thompson and Allen Responded to Questions from the Audience Posed by Lightman


Residents and Supporters Crowded into the Hill Center's Lincoln Room

Residents and Supporters Crowded into the Hill Center’s Lincoln Room


Standing Room Only

Standing Room Only


Councilmember Tommy Wells Attended Part of the Forum

Councilmember Tommy Wells Attended Part of the Forum

Ward Six Candidates – Round Two – Hill Center

by Larry Janezich

Ward Six Council candidates Charles Allen and Darrel Thompson met at the Hill Center Friday night in a 90 minute forum attended by about 130 Capitol Hill residents.  The audience seemed weighted in favor of Allen with current Councilmember Tommy Wells, former Councilmember Sharon Ambrose, and half a dozen ANC6A and 6B commissioners in attendance.  Allen’s finance co-chairs Steve and Nicky Cymrot, founders of the Capitol Hill Foundation and the Hill Center, sat in the front row and wore Allen stickers, as did Ambrose and several ANC commissioners.

Moderator Andrew Lightman, managing editor of East of the River, Hill Rag and Mid City DC publications, posed a series of questions submitted by the audience. Some of these were so technical that they went over the heads of both candidates, and well as much of the audience, and seemed, perhaps, to be contrived as “gotcha questions,” rendering parts of the forum more like a quiz show than an attempt to elicit the candidates’ positions.   For example, a detailed question about historic preservation had both candidates providing answers which demonstrated that neither one was particularly well-versed in preservation process.  Other more relevant questions which might have been asked about whether the candidates supported expansion of the Capitol Hill Historic District or whether Capitol Hill had enough density, or what could be done to encourage a better retail mix for commercial strips, or how to bring accountability to the frequently unresponsive DDOT, were not asked and remained unaddressed.

The forum revealed few major policy differences between the candidates.  The range of questions was broad, including such categories as Eastern Market governance, charter schools, campaign contributions, outside employment for Councilmembers, affordability of housing, transportation, income disparity, the new soccer stadium, crime, and the proposed change in zoning regulations.  One area where the candidates sharply differed concerned charter schools, with Thompson hedging on whether there should be neighborhood preference for charter schools, and Allen saying he was opposed.  Another area of disagreement was whether the city council should approve contracts, with Allen saying they should not, and Thompson saying they should, but with greater oversight.

The highly specific questions favored by the moderator allowed Allen to demonstrate his experience in knowledge of how the city council operates and a greater familiarity with details of some of the issues which concern Ward Six.  Thompson fell back frequently on the device of saying he would reach out to and engage the affected parties and residents of Ward Six – whether they be parents of school children, or Eastern Market vendors – for input on determining  policy, and appeared as the more outgoing, engaging personality with a more inclusive vision of moving Ward Six forward.  After two forums, neither candidate has distinguished himself as a clear favorite, perhaps because of the lack of major policy differences between them, but partly because although neither is weak, neither is strong.  It this pattern holds, debate performance will likely not be the determining factor in the race.

The Hill Rag is sponsoring two additional forums for the candidates of the Ward 6 DC Council Race:

Westminster Presbyterian Church – Tuesday, March 4, from 7 to 9 pm.

The Shaw Library – Tuesday, March 11 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm.

A forum focusing on education will be held on Thursday, March 6, at Stuart-Hobson Middle School, 410 E Street, NE, from  6:30 – 8:00 pm.  The moderator will be Emma Brown, education columnist for the Washington Post.  The forum will be sponsored by CHPSPO (Capitol Hill Public School Parent Organization), Future Civic Leaders, and the DC Urban Debate League.

For the CHC posting on the previous candidate’s forum go here:  http://bit.ly/1l5kROp




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Worksheet on Tommy Wells Campaign Contributions

Worksheet on Tommy Wells Campaign Contributions

Note: Exploratory contributions are noted for items 1 and 2a, 2b; elsewhere “+” indicates a split contribution, whereas “,” separates two people who can be seen as representing one entity. Exclusively exploratory contributions for categories beyond 2b (like that of the Cymrots) are not specifically noted as such; those who are curious can consult the original documents in the Library.)

1)  Tommy Wells

$10,000 exploratory




$15,747.27 total

2)  Developers and related interests

a)  Hine Development

Kitty Kaupp $2,000 ($1,000 exploratory + $1,000)

Ken Golding $2,000 exploratory

Coldwell Banker 605 Pennsylvania Ave

Phyllis Jane Young $2,000 exploratory

John Parker $750 ($500 exploratory + $250)

Catherin Held $500

Angela Grimmer $250

Don Denton $250

$7750 total

 b) Restaurateur/Developer Xavier Cervera & Associates

Xavier Cervera $2,000 exploratory

Barracks Row Entertainment employees:     $2,000 exploratory

$2,000 exploratory

$6,000 total

c) Other Developers/Related Interests

Charles Asmar, lawyer for developers: $1,500 + $1000 ($500 returned as over limit)

William Lansing, Valor Development: $2,000

Phillip Coffey, SVP, Gaylord Entertainment, National Harbor: $2,000

Stephen Pugh, COO, Rappaport Companies: $2,000

Mera Rubell, art collector/developer: $2,000

Robert Cohen, CEO, Perseus Realty: $2,000

Scott Olson, Olson Advocacy Group: $2,000

Benjamin Miller, WestMill and Fundrise: $2,000

Maurice Kreinder, local CVS developer: $750 + $500

Fred Greene, FLGA LLC: $1,000

Matthew Weiss and Joseph Englert: $1,000, $500

Jack Mahoney, Title company: $500, $500

PI Corps, FL, employees: $2,000, $2,000

Pascal Nardelli, Castlebrook $500

Michael Nardelli, policy advisor at Nelson and Mullins: $2,000

Norman Glasgow, lawyer for developers: $500

Jair Lynch, eponymous developer: $500

Judi Seiden, Prudential: $1,000 + $500

Margo Kelly, realtor: $1,000

$29,750 total

($29,750 + $6,000 + $7,750= $43,500)

3) Miscellaneous Large Donors

Nicky and Steve Cymrot: $2,000, $2,000

Local CTO officer, GGW columnist Ken Archer: $2,000

Maygene Daniels $2,000

Timothy Temple, Splash Car Wash, activist against living wage: $2,000

Kent Amos, local public charter founder: $2,000

Todd Degarmo, architect: $2,000

Catherine Ramsdell, Jan’s Tutoring: $2,000

James Loots and Barbara Dougherty Loots: $2,000, $2,000

Ellen McElroy, Pepper Hamilton Law: $2,000

Robert Kosinski, CFO, Scitor Corporations: $2,000

Dan Macy, Editor, Thompson Publishing: $2,000

James Thompson, adoption lawyer: $2,000

Davis Buckley, architect: $2,000

Charles Parsons, retired: $1,000 + $1,000

Mary Lappatto, Cozen and O’Conner: $2,000 (+$1,200 more with same last name)

$35,200 total

4)  Other Large Donors, by Categories:

a) Local Business Barracks Row

$2,000 Constance Tipton, related to Tip Tipton

$3,500 David and Danette Sheldon

$4,000 (possibly more) from Yes! Organic Market and family

$2,000 Bart Vandaele

$2,000 Leah Daniels, Hills Kitchen

b) Local Business outside of Barracks Row

$2,000 Spike Mendehslon

National Capitol Bank

Richard Didden (recently deceased): $2,000

James Didden: $500

$18,000 total

5)  Lobbyists, Political Consultants/Services

a)  With known ties to Wells Campaign*

Winning Connections*

John Jameson: $2,000

Wells’ campaign pays “office rent”

Face to Face Strategies*

Paul Cooper $775 + $1025 (+ $2,000 from person with same home address)

Lists Wells as a client on website

b)  Other Lobbyists, Political Consultants/Services

Bernie Robinson, Livingston Group: $500 + $1,500

Ware Adams, Dean and Co., and wife Ellen: $2,000 + $2,000

Philip Lepanto, Connections Media and owner of Old School Hardware: $2,000

Michael Coscia, printer of campaign material: $1,000 + $1,000

Adam Clampitt, District Communications Group: $500 + $1000

$17,300 total


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Charles Allen Launches Bid for Ward Six Council Seat from Hill East

Charles Allen Announces Candidacy for City Council, October 15, 2013

Charles Allen Announces Candidacy for City Council, October 15, 2013

Host Francis Campbell Greets Allen at the Campaign Kick-off

Host Francis Campbell Greets Allen at the Campaign Kick-off

Allen Confers with Campaign Finance Chairs Steve and Nicky Cymrot (left) and Donna Scheeder of EMCAC

Allen Confers with Campaign Finance Chairs Steve and Nicky Cymrot (left) and Donna Scheeder of EMCAC

More than 50 Supporters Join Allen to Launch His Campaign

More than 50 Supporters Join Allen to Launch His Campaign

Charles Allen Launches  Bid for Ward Six Council Seat from Hill East

by Larry Janezich

Charles Allen chose Hill East to launch his bid to succeed his boss, current Ward Six Councilmember Tommy Wells who is running for Mayor. More than fifty supporters turned out for the event which was hosted by ANC6B Commissioner Francis Campbell.  Allen was introduced by ANC6B Commissioner Nicole Opkins.  ANC6B Commissioners Dave Garrison and Kirsten Oldenburg also attended the event.

In announcing his candidacy, Allen cited his long service working in health care, the non-profit Bread for the City, Howard Dean, DC for Democracy, and his seven years as Chief of Staff for Wells.

His number one issue throughout the campaign, he said, would be schools and education.  Additional issues he will focus on include aging in place, with health care for seniors being a priority; infrastructure and the way we move around the city; affordable housing beyond the mushrooming stock of studio apartments; neighbor-based development – particularly Reservation 13 and Hill East – to make sure other neighborhoods are served by retail; and safety and security issues.

Allen announced that the well-connected Steve and Nicky Cymrot will head up his finance team.  The Cymrots have been active in the Capitol Hill real estate business and were founders of Riverby Books and the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.  They were also the prime movers behind the restoration of the Old Naval Hospital, now the Hill Center.

Also attending the event were Donna Scheeder, Chair of Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee, Wells’ Ward Six campaign coordinator, Chuck Burger, who is active in numerous Hill civic organizations,  ACN6A Chair David Holmes, and ANC6A Commissioners Nick Alberti and Omar Mahmud.


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Tommy Wells: New Police Contract “the highest priority for me”

Tommy Wells:  New Police Contract “the highest priority for me”

by Larry Janezich

Friday afternoon, Councilmember, DC Council Public Safety Chair, and prospective mayoral candidate TommyWells told listeners of NPR’s Kojo Nnamdi program that “every day there’s not a new contract with police officers, I think it’s a day we’re less safe.” 

When asked if he is pushing for a new contract to be signed, Wells replied, “Absolutely, that’s the highest priority for me.”  Wells took over as chair of the City Council’s Judiciary and Public Safety Committee with oversight of the MPD in January. 

Wells’ comments came amid a spike in crime on Capitol Hill and a deep morale problem on a police force which has not had a raise in 7 years.  Wells did not address the question put to him by NBC Tom Sherwood as to whether the failure to sign a contract was the result of a personal dispute between Chief Lanier and Kris Baumann, Chair of the Executive Committee of the Fraternal Order of Police.  The Executive Committee is empowered to act on behalf of the police union’s Labor Committee.  Council Chair Mendelson stated on January 10 that a contract had not yet been agreed upon because “management and the FOP don’t get along.”

Wells also announced on the program that he will launch an exploratory committee and listening tour to determine whether he should run for mayor, saying that he will make a decision in mid-spring.  Tom Sherwood observed on the program that it has been obvious that Wells has been looking to run for mayor for some time.  The official kick-off of Wells’ forthcoming listening tour is Monday (tomorrow) night in Ward 8, at the Big Chair Coffee and Grill in Anacostia.  The primary purpose of the exploratory committee is to hire people to organize a campaign. 

Wells has told several sources that it is “likely” he’ll run.

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Tommy Wells to Ask DC General Counsel for Legal Opinion on Whether Stanton/Eastbanc’s Expansion of Hine Project Constitutes Violation of Contract with City

200 of the Capitol Hill Community Turn Out for Meeting with Tommy Wells on Hine Project

ANC6B Commissioner and Vice Chair of ANC6B Hine Subcommittee Brian Pate Listens to Debate on the Hine Development at Tuesday Night Community Meeting

Tommy Wells to Ask DC General Counsel for Legal Opinion on Whether Stanton/Eastbanc’s Expansion of Hine Project Constitutes Violation of Contract with City – ANC Negotiates Height Reduction

by Larry Janezich

At Tuesday night’s community meeting on Hine project with Councilmember Tommy Wells, Well’s agreed to ask DC General Counsel for a legal opinion whether developer Stanton/Eastbanc’s 15% increase over the project’s square footage beyond what they agreed to in the contract with the city constituted a breach of contract.  Ordinarily, developers have a 5% margin of flexibility in the square footage requirement specified in the agreement with the city council.  Increases in mass and height added since the bid was awarded to Stanton/Eastbanc would seem to violate that standard, triggering a possible renegotiation of contract, or even a new bidding process.

At the same time, ANC6B Commissioner Brian Pate, one of the ANC’s negotiators charged with wringing concessions from the developer on behalf of the community, announced a preliminary agreement with the developer including a reduction in height of the project’s 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue office building amounting to some 17,000 square feet.  It was unclear whether this height reduction would bring the project within the 5% margin of flexibility.

Approximately 200 members of the community turned out for an hour and a half of what proved to be a contentious exchange between Wells and representatives of the community who expressed concerns regarding the height, mass, and design of the Hine project; the future of the weekend flea markets; moving the garage entrance to Pennsylvania Avenue; and the privatization and future control of the programming of the to-be-reopened C Street.  In addition to Wells, the main participants in the discussion were Jonathan Welch, representing the community, and moderator Mark Seagraves, of WUSA and WJLA News.

The issue of accountability dominated the meeting, with residents voicing their expectation that Wells should be held accountable for righting a project many find unacceptable, and Wells repeating his previously announced position that the ANC has legal party status in the Zoning Commission PUD proceedings and that he will stand behind the ANC, but not get between them and the Zoning Commission.

Brian Pate, Vice Chair of ANC6B’s Hine Subcommittee, in addition to the height reduction, also announced that although the negotiations with the developer have not been finalized, the developer had agreed to subsidize a child care center in the development to the tune of $160,000 as well as provide $50,000 in improvements to Eastern Market Metro Plaza.  Pate and ANC6B Commissioner Ivan Frishberg, who chairs the Hine Subcommittee, have been the lead negotiators regarding benefits, amenities, and mitigations with Stanton/Eastbanc.  Wells hinted that DDOT would find the amount of parking provided in the project excessive, contributing to additional traffic in the neighborhood.  That is a ruling the developer’s might welcome, since below ground parking is expensive and has little payoff.

The final report of the ANC negotiators and additional developer concessions will be revealed at this Thursday night’s ANC6B Hine Subcommittee meeting at 7:00pm in Hill Center. Wells, perhaps reading the degree of unhappiness among his constituency at the heart of Capitol Hill where his political career began as an ANC6B Commissioner, suggested that the ANC might have to go back to the developer for further concessions.  Pate suggested that one option for the Subcommittee would to send the negotiators back to the developers with specific instructions.

The Zoning Commission will hold the first of several PUD hearings to consider Stanton/Eastbanc’s request for a zoning change to accommodate the project’s greater height and density on June 14, at 6:30 pm.  The hearing will be in Room 220, 1 Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street, NW.


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Councilmember Wells To Answer the Community’s Questions on Hine, Eastern Market, and the Weekend Flea Markets

Councilmember Wells To Answer the Community’s Questions on Hine, Eastern Market, and the Weekend Flea Markets

by Larry Janezich

On Tuesday, May 22, Councilmember Tommy Wells meets the community to answer questions about the Hine Re-Development, Eastern Market, and the future of the weekend flea markets.  The meeting will be hosted by EMMCA from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at Brent School, 3rd and North Carolina Avenue, SE.  Community volunteers have been staffing an information table at Eastern Market on weekends and handing out leaflets urging a large turnout of Capitol Hill residents with concerns or questions on these issues.   EMMCA is asking residents to send their top three concerns or questions to Barbara Riehle:  barbara@erols.com.

The DC Zoning Commission has announced a zoning change hearing on the project for June 14, and EMMCA will join other community groups in testifying before the Commission.  ANC6B has been conducting on-going negotiations with the developer based on the community concerns as determined by deliberations of its special subcommittee established  to consider the developer’s request to change the zoning.

The developer’s schedule and other important dates for the project are as follows:

June 14, 2012 – Planned Unit Development (PUD) Hearing

Jan – Oct 2012 – Construction Drawings Completed

Sept 2012 – Submit request for Building Permits

April 2013 – Start Building Construction

Spring 2015 – Completion


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Residents Direct Anger At Tommy Wells Over Redistricting Report – Boundaries In Councilmembers’ Home District At Issue

Councilmember Wells Addresses 50 ANC6B Residents on Redistricting Wednesday Night

Residents Direct Anger At Tommy Wells Over Redistricting Report – Boundaries In Councilmembers’ Home District At Issue

by Larry Janezich

Fifty unhappy residents and ANC6B commissioners turned out at St. Peter’s Church Tuesday night to tell Councilmember Tommy Wells just how unhappy they were with the redistricting proposal that would move 1275 6B residents into ANC6C.  The meeting was called by ANC Commissioner Ivan Frishberg, who is coordinating a response by concerned citizens to the proposed realignment of boundaries in ANC6B.  The history of how that came about has been reported previously on emmcablog.

Residents argued first, the area to be excised from 6B has more in common with neighborhoods to the east and south than to the north; second, residents want to vote for commissioners who have a voice in the neighborhood issues which concern them most – especially Eastern Market, Hine Development, and Eastern Market Metro Plaza – and these issues currently fall under the exclusive purview of ANC 6B.

In response, Councilmember Wells defended the process which the Taskforce followed in reaching its conclusions, and stated he will have to start with the presumption in favor of the Task Force Report.  Wells said there would have to be reasons for overturning aspects of the report, and he did not see anything nefarious or any evidence of racial or demographic gerrymandering.  Acknowledging that he had not yet seen the Task Force Report, Wells also said that he was not in a position to defend it and would meet with Task Force members to hear their rationale.

Wells admitted that the “presumption is you guys [in 6B] are my neighbors and I’m going to defer to your wishes.  I have to show I can bring impartiality, because the presumption is that I won’t.”  He went on to say that he had already “probably inappropriately tried to influence the vote of the Task Force” by asking them prior to the vote on the boundary change: “do you really want to do this?”

During the meeting, ANC 6B commissioners added to the objections of the gathered residents by pointing out that the boundary shift would have enormous consequences in their single member district (SMD) boundaries, pitting six commissioners against each other and creating four new SMDs with no incumbents.  They also objected to the stated motives of ANC6C, saying the real motive behind the boundary change was to be more involved in Eastern Market and the Hine development.  They faulted the Task Force for a flawed process (reported earlier on emmcablog), and Task Force Chair Joe Fengler with having an “overriding zeal” for creating equal sized ANCs when there is no requirement for that in the DC Charter.

Wells acknowledged that the Redistricting Task Force Report was “problematic in so far as it broke up ANC6B” and admitted that SMD boundaries requiring six sitting commissioners to vie for three seats was “a little unnerving.”  One resident, Wally Mylniec, noted that Wells was accepting a false binary in giving preference to a Task Force recommendation in favor of the move that was adopted on a 5-4 vote.  He said that this was not the Supreme Court, but an advisory committee, and a “recommendation based on a 5-4 vote deserves consideration, but not preference.”  That view was also backed by Task Force member Ken Jarboe, who dissented from the majority position of the Task Force on the 6eB question, along with fellow Task Force member Donna Scheeder, (both positions will be available shortly on http://w6tf.blogspot.com/, along with the Task Force’s final report).

Late in the meeting, Wells raised an issue which many ANC6B commissioners feel lies at the heart of ANC6C’s effort to acquire another SMD at 6B’s expense, and the willingness of other ANCs to support that move.  Wells said that “there is a presumption that 6B is more powerful, has more people, more commissioners, and that their influence is greater than other ANCs,” implying that this was driving the Task Force in prioritizing the principle that ANCs should be closer in size.  Wells went on to suggest the validity of more parity among the ANCs, though he acknowledged that, since he comes from 6B, he might be misreading this as a motivation behind the Taskforce Report.

Councilmember Wells said the timeline for redistricting was as follows:  he will officially receive the report Wednesday night and will forward it to the City Council on Friday.  Wells said he would continue to refine the boundaries but stated that he was not saying he was going to rewrite the boundaries at this time.  He promised to “continue talk with members of the community and members of the Taskforce” before he made a final recommendation to his colleagues on the council.

Wells added that his overall consideration in reviewing the work of the Taskforce Report would be, what is the greater good for Ward 6?  What ward 6 gains from the Task Force Report, Wells noted, is apportionment in Ward 6: each ANC gets no less than six commissioners.  “We have to look at what’s in the whole Ward’s interest,” Wells argued, and “see what the greater good is, and give the Task Force a chance.  That’s where I’m at.”

The City Council will hold a hearing devoted to Ward 6 redistricting, and the ANC’s will apparently have an opportunity to present their case to the council before it finalizes the redistricting plan.  Frishberg told the group that the process is not going to be decided in the next two days, and advised the group to “let the process work and try to bring Tommy around to our position.”


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Neighbors Organize to Overturn ANC6B Boundary Change – Issue Goes to Tommy Wells

Task Force Member Ken Jarboe Opposes ANC6B Boundary Change at Monday Night Meeting. At Left, Task Force Chair Joe Fengler.

SMD Boundary Changes for ANC6B Approved by Ward Six Redistricting Task Force

Neighbors Organize to Overturn ANC6B Boundary Change – Councilmember Wells To Make Final Decision This Week

by Larry Janezich and Barbara Riehle

A group of 17 concerned Capitol Hill residents attended an “emergency meeting” called by ANC6B Vice Chair Ivan Frishberg on Saturday morning at South East Library.  The purpose was to discuss ways to stop the change in ANC6B’s boundary proposed by neighboring ANC6C and endorsed on a narrow 5-4 vote by the Ward Six Task Force on Redistricting.  The change would move 1275 residents from ANC6B to ANC6C in the area bounded by East Capitol and Independence and 3rd Street and 7th Street, SE.

Those attending the meeting were strongly opposed to the move.  Especially outspoken was former ANC6B Chair Peter Waldron who stated that under the DC Home Rule Act, the preservation of neighborhoods is a critical factor when ANC boundaries are being redrawn.  “This neighborhood is being ripped away,” he went on, “and pulled into an ANC with its own NoMA (north of Massachusetts Avene) issues.”  In addition, he said residents would lose effective representation on neighborhood issues affecting them most, including Eastern Market and the Hine Development.  Finally, “[t]his neighborhood is facing substantial change and the residents have a right to cohesive representation.”

The Redistricting Task Force will present its report to Councilmember Tommy Wells on Monday, September 26.  Wells will have the final say on boundary changes, and the neighbors hope to persuade him to reject the proposed extension of ANC 6C into what is currently ANC6B territory.  On Friday, September 30, Wells is scheduled to submit Ward 6 Redistricting recommendations to DC City Council.

The Redistricting Task Force move to reaffirm its endorsement of the boundary change came on Wednesday night at a contentious six hour meeting.  The Task Force position is that the move is necessary because ANC6C has given up three single member ANC districts (SMDs) to the newly formed ANC6E in Shaw.  The Task Force wants to make the ANCs in Ward Six as near the same size as possible, and sees granting 6C’s request for an additional single member district at 6B’s expense as moving toward that goal.  Commissioners on ANC6C have also noted that an additional SMD will give them a more desirable seven member commission.

Wednesday night’s ratification of the Task Force’s earlier position came despite the presentation by 6B Commissioner Frishberg of a petition opposing the move signed by more than 200 residents.  When the Task Force addressed the new boundaries for SMDs within 6B, Frishberg called the plan drawn by Task Force member Cody Rice an “abomination.”  Frishberg offered an alternative which had been informally endorsed by a majority of 6B commissioners.  His proposal was rebuffed by the Task Force with little discussion of the details.

In the end, the Task Force approved an SMD plan proffered by Task Force member Ken Jarboe which divides the new 6B into ten smaller single member districts.  That plan was also strongly opposed by 6B Commissioners, who noted that it would create three new single member districts with no incumbents and pit two sitting commissioners against each other in two of the other single member districts.

The group of protesting neighbors agreed to gather support and mobilize their neighbors.  They will to meet again on Tuesday night at 8:00pm at a place to be determined.


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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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Redistricting Taskforce Votes No on Annexing Near Southeast to Capitol Hill ANC – Votes Nixes Creating “Ward Within A Ward

New ANC6B Single Member Districts Proposed by Taskforce: (6B01 David Garrison, 6B02 Ivan Frishberg (Vice Chair), 6B03 Norman Metzger, 6B04 Kirsten Oldenburg, 6B05 Brian Pate, 6B06 Jared Critchfield (Secretary), 6B07 Carol J. Green (Treasurer), 6B08 Neil Glick (Chair), 6B09 Brian Flahaven (Parliamentarian), 6B10 Francis Campbell)

Redistricting Taskforce Votes In Favor of Status Quo

Redistricting Taskforce Votes No on Annexing Near Southeast to Capitol Hill ANC – Votes Nixes Creating “Ward Within A Ward”

by Larry Janezich

The Ward Six Taskforce on Redistricting, appointed by Councilmember Tommy Wells, and chaired by former ANC6A Chair, Joe Fengler, voted against annexing Near Southeast south of the freeway to ANC6B, thus increasing the number of commissioners from 10 to 12 and the ANC district from 20,000 to 24,000 residents.  Instead, they opted for a “status quo” plan which makes minimal changes to ANC6B.

The vote was 4 – 3 in favor of the status quo plan, with Taskforce members Fengler, Marge Francese, Antoinette Russell, and Skip Coburn voting for the status quo.  Ken Jarboe (Councilmember Tommy Wells’ political organizer for Ward Six), Donna Scheeder, and Tyler Merkeley voted for the expansion.  Taskforce Members Cody Rice, Raphael Marshall and Gene Fisher were absent.

The failed proposal would have annexed the portion of Near Southeast on the south side of the Southeast/Southwest Freeway lying between South Capitol and 11th Street.  ANC6D Commissioner David Garber, whose constituents say they are oriented toward Eastern Market and Barracks Row and wish to have a voice in ANC6B, urged ANC6B  “to continue to listen to us.”

There seemed to be considerable support among the ANC6B Commissioners to incorporate Near Southeast into ANC6B, even though it would put Commissioners Frishberg and Metzger in the same single member district and pit them against each other in the next election.

The Taskforce was evenly divided on the question, and Fengler’s vote proved decisive.  Fengler stated his reasons for supporting the status quo option.  He cited former Councilmember Sharon Ambrose’s advice against creating a “ward within a ward.”  He stated his own belief, as a former ANC chair, that ANC’s should be about the same size.  He noted that the decisions of such a large ANC as proposed would “impact ANC’s 6D, 6A, and 6C.”  Finally, he wondered how much an ANC6B, oriented toward Eastern Market and Barrack’s Row, would care about liquor licenses and zoning decisions in Near Southeast.

Before the final vote, the Taskforce agreed to a motion by Ken Jarboe to post both proposals on the Taskforce website for comment.  Jarboe’s motion was agreed to 7 – 0.

Most of the changes to ANC6B single member districts were minor.  One of the more notable adjustments divided control of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza among the single member districts of Commissioner Frishberg, Metzger, Oldenberg, and Pate.  Previously, it had been totally within Frishberg’s single member district.  In addition, the new plan split responsibility for Barrack’s Row between Commissioner Metzger and Oldenburg, both of whom previously supported a moratorium on Barracks Row liquor licenses.  Until now, the west side of the 500 block of 8th Street where Chiptole’s Mexican Grill will open – which Frishberg supported – had been Frishberg’s responsibility.

The preliminary plans agreed to tonight will go to their respective ANCs for consideration and input.  Taskforce Members will attend the ANC meetings in September to answer questions.  ANCs will have the opportunity to weigh in during the first two weeks of September.  By September 18th, the plans will be made public. The Taskforce will have two meetings in September to hear recommendations and finalize the map, which will then go to Councilmember Wells on September 27th or 28th.

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