My Testimony on Redistricting

Today I testified on behalf of ANC 6B at a hearing of the Subcommittee on Redistricting. Below is my official testimony and a copy of a resolution approved unanimously by the ANC 6B Executive Committee.

Testimony

Good morning Chairman Brown, Chairman Evans, Councilmember Mendelson. Thank you for this opportunity to testify. My name is Brian Flahaven, and I am the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for 6B09. My single member district lies in Hill East and includes Barney Circle, the Historic Congressional Cemetery, and the Eastern Branch Boys & Girls Club Building.

 I am testifying today on behalf of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B. This testimony has been authorized by a unanimous 7-0 vote of the ANC 6B Executive Committee. I’ve also attached a copy of a resolution also unanimously adopted by the ANC 6B Executive Committee.  

ANC 6B strongly urges the Subcommittee to keep all of Hill East united in the same ward – Ward 6.

Hill East is a part of Capitol Hill. When we shop, we go to Eastern Market. When we dine, we go to Barracks Row. For groceries, we and other residents of Capitol Hill visit Safeway and Harris Teeter, grocery stores both located in Hill East. For recreation, we visit the Anacostia River waterfront, attend Nationals games and walk through historic Congressional Cemetery, a real treasure in my neighborhood.

Our educational organizations, such as the Capitol Hill Public Schools Parents Organization, are tied together. Our religious institutions are tied together. Business organizations in Hill East belong to CHAMPS – the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce.  Even city agencies recognize that we belong together. The Capitol Hill Transportation Study, produced by DDOT, includes our neighborhood, all the way to the Anacostia River. In every way, Hill East residents are Capitol Hill residents.

Since we are so connected, we benefit by being in the same ward and having the same representation as our neighbors. Because our residents patronize Barracks Row and Eastern Market, it helps that we have say in how they are run and serve residents. It also makes sense that, given our proximity to these establishments, we should have the flexibility that a Ward 6 parking permit provides.

My Hill East colleagues and I on ANC 6B work closely together to make sure that the city is responsive to our needs. It is great to be a part of an informal coalition of commissioners that work together to ensure that our commission is focused on all of Capitol Hill. Just recently, we worked together to alert the Washington Convention and Sports Authority about concerns with noisy events at the DC Armory. We also frequently band together to tackle speeding and public safety issues in Hill East.

Most importantly, Hill East is a strong and vibrant part of Capitol Hill. We have passionate residents who have worked for years to reduce crime and build community. We have a wonderful mix and diversity of residents, all of whom care about the success and future of our neighborhood.

By redistricting portions of Hill East into another ward, this subcommittee would effectively divide our neighborhood and hurt our collective representation. A portion of Hill East would be represented by a Councilmember on the other side of the river whom has no history with nor connection to our neighborhood. The interests of Hill East would not be a priority for a Councilmember or an advisory neighborhood commissioner where 98 percent of his or her voting residents live on the eastern side of the river. Hill East residents placed in another ward would also lose their ability to weigh in on issues affecting Capitol Hill and their freedom and flexibility to park in the neighborhood.

ANC 6B is most disturbed by discussion of moving the future site of the Hill East Waterfront development, also known as Reservation 13, to a different ward. For more than a decade, many residents of Hill East have worked tirelessly to see this development become a reality. We have been promised by the city and by many administrations that this development will happen, that it will finally connect our neighborhood to the Anacostia River waterfront. When completed, and I emphasize when, it will be a fitting gateway to the eastern side of Capitol Hill and is envisioned to include a large number of retail and residential buildings.

Unfortunately, despite promises by the city that a developer will be chosen, the Hill East Waterfront remains stalled. Instead, the site consists of crumbling infrastructure and dilapidated buildings and has become a social services hub for the entire District of Columbia. Our neighborhood has had to deal with the increased crime that comes with concentrating so many services and people in one small area.  

Placing the waterfront in another ward would be a serious blow to the residents of Hill East who have been patiently waiting for the city to keep its word. By doing so, the Council would be legitimizing what we have been trying to fight for years – the separation of our neighborhood from the Anacostia River waterfront.

The Council would also be separating the residents most affected by the proposed development – or lack thereof – from the site. When development begins, the trucks and construction materials will travel through our neighborhood streets to get to the waterfront. And when the project is complete, new residents and businesses at the site are going to have more of a connection to Capitol Hill and Hill East then the eastern side of the Anacostia River. Placing the Hill East Waterfront in Ward 7 would be akin to having the Georgetown waterfront represented by Rosslyn. It just doesn’t make sense.  

Again, ANC 6B encourages the Subcommittee to keep Hill East and the Hill East waterfront united in Ward 6. Thank you for consideration and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.  

ANC 6B REDISTRICTING RESOLUTION

WHEREAS Hill East is historically and geographically connected to the rest of Capitol Hill;

WHEREAS Hill East educational, religious, business and community organizations are all tied to Capitol Hill;

WHEREAS ANC 6B benefits by including representation and diverse viewpoints from all points of southeast Capitol Hill, from the Anacostia River to the Capitol Building;

WHEREAS placing any portion of Hill East into another ward would divide Capitol Hill and effectively hurt the representation of the eastern half of Capitol Hill;

WHEREAS ANC 6B has been a strong proponent of the Hill East Waterfront Development, also known as Reservation 13, a mixed use retail and residential project that will be a gateway to Capitol Hill from the East;

WHEREAS ANC 6B and the residents of Hill East have been waiting for the city to announce a developer for the Hill East Waterfront and for the project to begin;

WHEREAS placing the Hill East Waterfront in another ward would effectively separate the site from the Hill East residents who have worked for years on the project and will be most impacted by its development;

NOW IT THEREFORE BE RESOLVED that ANC 6B strongly opposes placing any portion of Hill East in another ward and urges the Subcommittee on Redistricting to keep all of Capitol Hill united in Ward 6.

By an ANC 6B Executive Committee vote of 7-0.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: