Hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!
With the new ward boundaries officially approved by the DC Council, the next phase of redistricting – redrawing ANC boundaries – is set to begin. Next Monday, July 11, the Ward 6 ANC Redistricting Task Force will hold its first meeting on redrawing of the ANC single member district (SMD) boundaries for our ward. During the meeting, which will take place at 6:30 pm at Miner Elementary School (601 15th Street NE), task force members will hear from the Board of Elections and Ethics and the Office of Planning on the data to be used in the Ward 6 ANC redistricting process. The first meeting is open to the public, though the task force will not seek comments from the community.
A little background. The Subcommittee on Redistricting (whom we know well) has asked each Ward Councilmember to assemble a task force to draw new boundaries for ANCs and ANC SMDs. At-Large Councilmembers, including Council Chairman Kwame Brown, can also select one task force member in each ward. Each task force must draw SMD boundaries that are roughly equal to 2,000 residents. As with the ward redistricting process, SMDs are allowed a deviation of + or – 5 precent above or below 2,000 – 1,900 on the low end and 2,100 on the high end.
Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells has asked Joe Fengler, former chair of ANC 6A, to chair the Redistricting Task Force. In addition to former Commissioner Fengler, Councilmember Wells has selected the following individuals to serve on the task force:
- Antonette Russell (former commissioner for my current SMD, ANC 6B09)
- Marge Francese
- Tyler Merkley
- Cody Rice
- Raphael Marshall
- Ken Jarboe
- Donna Scheeder
- Skip Coburn
Note that no sitting ANC commissioners have been asked by Wells to serve on the task force, an attempt to avoid conflicts of interest. Councilmember Wells has also asked that all task force proceedings and meetings be transparent and open to the public.
Currently, I represent SMD 6B09 and serve as one of ten commissioners on ANC 6B (SMD 6B11, which represents the DC Jail, is vacant). While I’m not a member of the task force, I will urge task force members to keep the following two principles in mind during the redistricting process:
- The East-West orientation of Ward 6 SMDs should be preserved. Currently, all Ward 6 ANCs – 6A, 6B, 6C and 6D – have an east-west orientation. For example, ANC 6B represents southeast Capitol Hill and stretches from the Capitol Building to the Anacostia River. Since Hill East residents view Barracks Row and Eastern Market as their “Main Street,” Hill East residents should continue to be in a commission area with their primary commercial corridor.
- Hill East SMDs should be united the in same commission – It is important that Hill East have a strong, collective voice on the same commission. I have a great, collaborative working relationship with my Hill East colleagues on ANC 6B. Together, we ensure that issues affecting Hill East are on the commission’s agenda. Splitting Hill East SMDs between commissions would dilute our collective voice.
I encourage you to attend the public meetings and to make your voices heard during this process. If you can’t make Monday’s meeting, be sure to attend one of the task force’s community listening sessions, including the Monday, Aug. 1 listening session in ANC 6B (location to be determined).
Please post any thoughts and comments on the ANC redistricting process below.