Thursday, September 22, 2011
Task Force decision on 6B/6C boundary makes sense
Posted at the request of Bill Crews, Commissioner, ANC6C07
Ward 6 Task Force decision makes sense,
knits neighborhoods together, &
increases citizens’ voices both individually & collectively.
Ward 6 Task Force decision makes sense:
Redistricting by its nature must involve changes. Redistricting adjusts political boundaries in response to population shifts as enumerated by the 2010 census. The City Council adjusted Ward boundaries and the Ward 6 Task Force is responding to that.
The Task Force is recommending creation of a whole new ANC this time to incorporate the 7,000+ residents in the current ANC 2C now in Ward 6. (Ten years ago ANC 6C was created after Ward boundaries changed & some residents howled). The proposed ANC 6E takes 3 6C Single Member Districts (SMD) west of North Capitol to combine with the current 4 2C SMDs.
ANC 6C did not gleefully, nor without thought, recommend having 6C01, 6C02, & 6C03 join with the 4 2C SMDs.
“We recognize the opportunity to bring together the northwest communities from the current ANC 2C to our north with the northernmost ANC 6C communities because of constituents’ similar interests and issues as NoMa and North Capitol corridor development continue to move through their neighborhood. We believe that ANC experience in dealing with developers in ANC 6C01, 02, and 03 will provide guidance as this development proceeds. Thus we recommend that 6C01, 02, and 03 join with the four current 2C SMDs to form a new ANC 6E” (ANC 6C Official Comments)
6C Commissioners recognize the tradeoff is that we lose two great Commissioners, which saddens us, but we know they and the 2C Commissioners will form a strong, effective ANC for these NW neighborhoods.
In addition this gives these neighborhoods a larger ANC with 7 Commissioners.
It is appropriate under Guideline #3 to create ANCs with a ‘critical mass’ of 7-9 Commissioners. Not only does this help with workloads and resources as stated by the Task Force, but it gives the ANCs the necessary ‘clout’ of having enough voters to make the Council, the Mayor, and District departments, boards and commissions pay attention to the ANC’s advice.
This same principle applies to the Task Force’s decision to extend 6C’s boundaries west to the freeway, and south to Independence Ave – in order to give 6C the necessary population to have 7 Commissioners.
Keeping the residents south of Massachusetts Ave. NW and west of North Capitol St. and adding 1200+ residents south of East Capitol St. to 6C helps make 6C a viable ANC under Guideline #3. It gives 6C similar ‘critical mass.’
It’s unreasonable to argue that in redistricting there will be no changes. And it’s unfair for one ANC to have a position that change must occur elsewhere and not in its ANC. One ANC, no matter how powerful its political connections are, should not be able to isolate themselves from changes to the detriment of other ANCs.
Knits neighborhoods together:
The Task Force’s recommendation knits neighborhoods together, fostering better mutual aid and representation.
In the new 6E recommendation, neighbors in near NW and Shaw face neighborhood development and livability issues together bound through the H St, K ST & New York Ave. corridors. 6C has also been willing to support 6E’s desire to be involved in the I-395 air rights project. While the Task Force did not approve 6E’s proposal strengthening 6E’s standing, 6E is still adjacent to the project with its Massachusetts Ave. NW southern boundary. The Task Force might consider dropping the boundary down the G ST west of New Jersey Ave NW to further assure 6E representation without affecting population numbers.
Likewise the Task Forces decision to extend 6C boundaries south knits the neighborhoods north of Eastern market together. Residents north of E. Capitol are equally concerned about the ‘center’ of Capitol Hill. Residents north of E. Capitol are a part of the ‘commons’ and the ‘core’ that draws us together. Eastern Market gives us a sense of identity and community, too! We deserve to be part of representational democracy that allows us to be represented in the decision making process that defines how the Eastern Market neighborhood is shaped and governed.. We share the similar if not the same concerns about parks, parking, our daily routines, and the institutions that create our neighborhoods.
Since the Task Force’s July 14 6C listening session, we have expressed our desire to have a greater say in Eastern Market, related development and the core of the Capitol Hill Historic District. That’s hardly unreasonable in that the current 6C has over 2,600 residents closer to Eastern Market (within the oval on the accompanying map) than over 10,000 6B residents.
The TF map has many opportunities for ANCs to better work together in knitting communities together. It is necessary to draw lines on maps to delineate representation, but that is all they need to be – lines on a map. The reality is that we can and must work across those lines. There is no need to demonize people on the other side or hurl unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks on others. It is not helpful.
Increases citizens’ voices both individually and collectively:
The Task Force’s recommendation doubles the ANCs with ability to provide advice on Eastern Market and related development. It provides an opportunity for increasing the number of voters speaking to the Mayor, District departments, boards and commissions, and the Council on these central neighborhood issues. And it gives thousands more residents a collective voice in the Hill’s premier asset.
The revised 6C SMD map better integrates the new blocks into 6C and provides two SMDs to boarder on Independence Ave. helping knit north and south together. This allows 6C to have two Commissioners to work with our 6B colleagues on Penn Ave SE and Eastern Market issues.
As our neighbors north of Independence look towards Eastern Market and worry about the future, we have your back. Literally we stand behind you, metaphorically and in reality, looking towards Eastern Market. Standing together to protect what is good and work together to address all issues for improvement. I and/or my successor will work hard to ensure all voices are heard and issues addressed.
The discussion on Lincoln Park at Monday’s meeting indicates a need for ANCs to work closer together on greater issues and special important locations that affect more than 1 ANC. ANCs 6C and 6A held the first joint ANCs meeting to effectively work on H Street development and the zoning overlay district.
6C’s intent is not to move what 6B apparently considers it’s ‘E. Capitol St. wall’ down to Independence, 6C’s intent is to tear down that wall and ensure all Eastern Market neighbors have the opportunity to advise on the critical issues before our community.
The Task Force’s recommendations on redistricting can bind us together on the Hill and foster connections throughout our Ward. One City is not just a slogan, it is what we need to achieve for all of us and the city to thrive.
The proposed new ANC boundaries will strengthen efforts to realize our communal Goal – a healthy, walkable, sustainable neighborhood – the greatest neighborhood in the country.
Again, my thanks to all the folks involved in this and especially the Task Force members.
Bill Crews, Commissioner, ANC 6C07