Around 250-300 people attended last night’s Ward 6 Democrats Public Forum on Redistricting at Friendship Charter School. Of the three members on the DC Council’s Subcommittee on Redistricting, only one – Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) – was able to attend. Councilmember Michael Brown (I-At Large), one of the co-chairs of the subcommittee, did send a staff member. Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells was also present and re-iterated his intention to fight to keep all of Ward 6 intact.
I presented our Hill East petitions (756 signatures so far) to Councilmember Mendelson and Councilmember Brown’s staff. Thanks again to all who signed the petition and were able to attend the forum!
Here are my three takeaways from last night’s events and conversations:
- The Redistricting Subcommittee is focused on Ward 6 – Councilmember Mendelson, who took the bulk of audience questions, repeatedly focused on moving parts of Ward 6 in his remarks. While Ward 7 could gain the population it needs by taking portions of Ward 5, Mendelson was more interested in the Ward 6 options. And while he mentioned that cohesive neighborhoods should be respected in redistricting, he also said getting ward populations to be as close to 75,000 was his preference.
- Hill East is Extremely Vulnerable – If the subcommittee is focused on Ward 6, we are the primary target. Instead of viewing the Kingman Park experience as a mistake, it seems the subcommittee is leaning towards adding more of Hill East to Ward 7.
- Residential Blocks Beyond the Waterfront are In Play – While a lot of discussion has been focused on moving Reservation 13, DC Jail and Congressional Cemetery, residential blocks west of 19th St. SE are also in play.
To have any chance of keeping our neighborhood united in Ward 6, we need to call and e-mail the redistricting subcommittee members and tell them that dividing Hill East is unacceptable. Subcommittee members should also be reminded that there are better redistricting options, like shifting the northeastern border of Ward 5, that would keep Hill East whole and allow Ward 7 to gain the population it needs. Once again, here are the three redistricting subcommittee members:
- Councilmember Michael Brown (I-At-Large) – firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-724-8105
- Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) – email@example.com, 202-724-8058
- Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) – firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-724-8064
In addition, we need to call and e-mail our other At-Large Councilmembers – Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D) and Councilmember David Catania (I-At-Large).
- Chairman Kwame Brown (D) – email@example.com, 202-724-8032
- Councilmember David Catania (I-At-Large) – firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-724-7772
Please share this information with your neighbors and encourage them to weigh in. I plan on continuing to seek signatures for our hard copy petition. You can also sign the e-petition if you have not already done so.
Please help us keep Hill East united in Ward 6!