Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One more chance to change this and get it right

Posted at the request of Ivan Frishberg, Commissioner, ANC6B02

At its September 19th meeting the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force voted to revise its previously adopted plan and remove more than 1200 residents from the ANC that has represented the area for 35 years.

Ostensibly the rationale was to allow a neighboring ANC to have an odd number of commissioners (not something that is a guideline or objective of the Task Force) and more commissioners – even though in the words of their chair they ‘voluntarily gave up’ three SMDs.

What was not considered in the Task Force debate was the immediate impact on the neighbors.  Since the vote, nearly 100 residents have signed a petition asking the Task Force to reverse its decision.  What is more important than the number is the fundamental rationale behind their concerns. 

Neighborhoods are created around commons and a core that draw people together, and give them a sense of identity and community.  Representative democracy allows the people in that community to be represented in the decision making process that helps to define how that neighborhood is shaped and governed.  

The blocks that were taken from 6B are not just blocks on a map.  They are not just numbers to allow a Commission to have an odd number.  They are the immediate neighbors and residents of a cultural and economic center that defines everything from their playground, their parking, their daily routines and the institutions that create the neighborhood around them.

Look at the picture below.  This is taken from the front yard of what would be ANC6C looking across the street where you can see the Hine School, Eastern Market and the evolving market place of 7th Street.

Now hear the words from the residents who spoke out today and are asking you to return to them the basic right of having an elected official who has jurisdiction over their own neighborhood.  This is DC.  We fight for representation, we don’t take it away.

- I can see Eastern Market out my front window, to think that I could be removed from the district that oversees it is just ridiculous. Mr. Well, and Redistricting Task Force, please see sense and ensure that representative democracy is maintained in our district. Thank you for meeting our communities needs.

- I find it ridiculous that I no longer have any say in the neighborhood in which I live - my daily commute is via 7th Street SE by Eastern Market, and I rarely even go north of East Capitol. This redistricting makes no sense.

- I'm sorry to be so blunt and inarticulate, but to remove those who live next to Hine and Eastern Market from being heard on related issues is downright stupid. How is it that DC advocates for voting rights yet then takes away the limited rights we have?!

- Since I live 2 blocks from Eastern market - and have lived in the community for over 20 years...this is ridiculous for my 5th street residence to have to be in another jurisdiction.

- I live 2 blocks from Eastern Market. I do not live by Union Station. I am adamantly opposed to being redistricted to ANC6C. That is NOT my immediate neighborhood.

- To decide that those in the immediate neighborhood of Eastern Market should not be a part of the ANC that has the most direct oversight on issues impacting the market and its immediate neighborhood is indefensible.

- It makes no sense. We are half a block away from EM, and a very long way from Union Station and NoMa.

- We should be in the ANC which includes Eastern Market. It is literally across the street from us.

- Please do not split us off from ANC6B. We are part of the Eastern Market neighborhood. Changes affecting the Eastern Market neighborhood have a direct impact on us. For example, on weekends we generally cannot park on our block because of individuals (often from MD or VA) visiting the market who take up all the spots. Our neighborhood needs to have a say in the new Hine development.

The Task Force has one more meeting.  One more chance to change this and get it right.


  1. Perhaps it's time to split 6B at Pennsylvania Ave to accomodate additional growth to the south while maintaining effective representation.

  2. That is an absurd idea. The point is not to break up neighborhoods. Neighborhoods (especially when it comes to ANC business) are built around economic corridors or in the case of 7th street, the spur.

    Splitting a neighborhood doesn't "accomodate" growth. It just splits a neighborhood.

  3. Why would "right" be that only 6B goes through redistricting unchanged? A fifth ANC will be added to Ward 6, which means that other ANCs need to shrink. 6C has already lost Penn Quarter (to Ward 2) and its NW SMDs to the new 6E. 6A has lost a few blocks North of H NE.

    Why would 6B be immune to change?