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"Jackmandered" redistricting puts self-interest over sense

Last week, the DC Council redistricting committee issued its proposed boundaries, which included a strange and surprising line between Ward 2 and 6 which moves territory based on the personal and political self-interest of one person, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans.

At-large members Michael Brown and Phil Mendelson have let themselves be complicit in this clear conflict of interest by unquestioningly accepting this line, which has been dubbed a "Jackmander." They should look for objective ways to draw the line fairly rather than letting one colleague pick and choose his own boundaries.

Proposed redistricting changes in NW and SW DC.
Image by Geoff Hatchard.

In the above map, thick yellow lines represent current ward boundaries. Medium burgundy lines represent tract boundaries. Wards are colored red (1), green (2), purple (5), and blue (6). Areas moved are dark blue (from 2 to 6), dark green (from 6 to 2), and dark purple (from 6 to 5).

To address population changes since the 2000 Census, wards 7 and 8 both had to grow and 2 had to shrink. The most logical change to Ward 8 reunited the Fairlawn neighborhood, and the committee chose that. To grow Ward 7, they made the widely-anticipated yet very unpopular choice to move much of Hill East from Ward 6 to 7. Residents of that area fought against the idea hard, and are expected to continue doing so at a hearing tomorrow.

The bigger surprise came in the boundary between Ward 2 and 6. To make Ward 2 smaller, moving Mount Vernon Square and/or Shaw to Ward 6 was the most logical change. But the committee also made substantial other changes, moving big chunks of the Penn Quarter and Judiciary Square areas from Ward 6 to Ward 2 and the southwest federal buildings from 2 to 6.

This is particularly odd since most of the changes directly contradict principles in the committee report. The report rejects the option of moving Carver-Langston from Ward 5 to 7 because it "draws new neighborhoods into redistricting" and is "not as compact" as the other option.

However, the proposed change draws many new neighborhoods into redistricting and is not as compact. Had the committee only moved the tracts east of 7th Street to Ward 6 and left downtown alone, they would have ended up with a more compact map. Likewise, they could have moved the western Shaw tract and just the Penn Quarter area west of 5th Street and again ended up with a more compact map that affected fewer neighborhoods.


Two alternate Ward 2/6 lines. Left: most compact, affecting fewest neighborhoods. Right: Unifies more Census tracts.

The committee report pats itself on the back for several changes that reunite some split Census tracts. Moving the southwest federal buildings to Ward 6 does make sense, since those are in the same Census tracts as the neighboring parts of Southwest Waterfront and are in ANC 6D. Likewise, the plan moves the small piece of Ward 6's "chimney" northeast of New York and New Jersey Avenues to Ward 5. That also reunifies a Census tract and makes geographic sense.

Why do Census tracts matter? For one, the law requires redistricting to try to keep Census tracts together. The current committee seems to have ignored that dictate. Also, a great deal of data is reported on the Census tract level. When government agencies compute statistics for wards, they save time and money if ward boundaries primarily conform to tracts.

Yet the plan leaves 3 blocks from 9th to 11th between P and O in Ward 2 while moving the rest of tract 49.01 to Ward 6. It moves 2 other blocks from 7th to 9th between N and O into Ward 6 despite not moving any more of tract 49.02. And it grabs an arbitrary-seeming half of tract 59, around Judiciary Square, excluding the small triangle between 5th, H, and Massachusetts.

Jack Evans represents Ward 2, and was the only ward-specific member on the 3-person committee. He always has coveted having downtown in his ward, because of the many businesses in the area. Representing the region gives him fundraising power and some authority over more of the city's activity out of proportion to his ward's size.

Evans even admitted much of this at the markup on Thursday. The boundaries move most of ANC 2C and the Mt. Vernon Square Neighborhood Association (MVSNA) to Ward 6, but circumnavigate the Convention Center. Jack Evans said at the markup, "Nobody has done more for the Convention Center than me."

Convention Center Community Association head Martin Moulton posted this picture, advocating for the Convention Center to be kept with the Shaw neighborhood as it moves to Ward 6:


Image by CCCAPrez on Twitpic.

It seems that the other two members of the committee, at-large councilmembers Michael Brown and Phil Mendelson, simply let Evans draw his own lines. Evans even introduced two amendments during the markup the day after the map was released. Brown and Mendelson simply let them through without discussion or debate, even though one of the amendments as Evans explained it on the dais mistakenly moved part of Ward 1 into Ward 6. Mendelson is usually the most attentive to detail, but that day, he seemed to be napping.

On committees I serve on, such as the WMATA Riders' Advisory Council, many members are extremely careful to avoid doing anything that benefits one member in any way. Members have even been reluctant to do things that might benefit this blog, even though I get no remuneration from the blog and its goals are aligned with those of the RAC. There's just a strong aversion to even allowing an appearance of a conflict.

Having a ward member on the redistricting committee is already a dicey proposition. Members justified it because Evans is the longest-serving member of the Council and has participated in two redistrictings. But it should have been obvious to Brown and Mendelson that they must avoid an appearance, let alone the reality, of letting Evans manipulate the decisions for his own gain.

They should have identified some objective criteria for choosing the 2/6 boundary, whether that's keeping Census tracts whole, or neighborhood associations whole, or changing the fewest blocks, or maximizing the happiness of residents using the metrics in our own Redistricting Game analysis (which they used in the report to justify some changes while making other changes directly contrary to the data).

They should have kept Evans out of that part of it, and decided on the Ward 2 boundaries without giving him an extra voice. Instead, they apparently outsourced all decisions about the 2/6 boundary to Evans himself, oblivious or uncaring about the clear conflict of interest.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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It would seem a conflict of interest to let any ward representing CMs in the committee to redraw the ward lines. This should be a task for the at-large CMs.

by Jasper on May 31, 2011 1:04 pm • linkreport

I agree with everything except the tone of surprised outrage. After all, what CM is not going to try and further his/her own political career and who best to do it than a Council veteran like Evans?

Sure, there is a clear conflict of interest, but it's pretty much an American tradition for politicians to use their seniority and influence to make redistricting as self-serving as possible.

As for the content of the post, it's all spot on. Thanks for shining a light on what CM Evans is up to. Splitting the Convention Center from the people who live right around it fails the most basic smell test for rationality and fairness.

by Ward 1 Guy on May 31, 2011 1:05 pm • linkreport

It sort of seems to me that the Ward 2 & 6 dividing lines came down to two things: 1) Downtown BID wanted all their major assets in one Ward and Jack was happy to oblige 1) Jack wanted to get rid of the higher crime Shaw area that instigates nothing but headaches for him

by Paul on May 31, 2011 1:12 pm • linkreport

Interesting. David - do you think that Evans is also trying to choose his voters? I can't help but notice that Judiciary House, a low-income high rise on H between 3rd and 4th Streets, one that is predominately African American, has been moved out of Ward 2 (along with 400 Mass Ave- full of yuppies who probably don't vote much). Do you think there's anything to that, or am I just seeing things?

by DY on May 31, 2011 1:25 pm • linkreport

@DY - I think you're reading too much into it. Ward 2 isn't one of the wards where race decides the election. I think that Jack wouldn't be taking that block because there is a limit to how much population he can grab - remember his Ward was too big - rather than anything to do with the demographics of the two hi-rises.

by Paul on May 31, 2011 1:40 pm • linkreport

Hey David, these maps might be even CLOSE to functional if they listed some of the letter streets that run east/west. I live in the "disputed" territory, and I honestly can't tell which of these maps puts me where. Can that be added in?

by Hill_guy on May 31, 2011 1:45 pm • linkreport

No Ward Council member should ever sit on the redistricting committee.

We should also increase the Council: 8 ward seats, 8 at large seats. 1 chair. Full-time work for full-time pay (NO outside jobs). Now off I go pretending it matters.

by greent on May 31, 2011 2:01 pm • linkreport

Since Ward 5 needs to grow so much and 2 & 6 shrink it would seem this whole area should go to 5 and maybe leave Capitol Hill South in 6. Then 8 could grow into 7 and 7 into 5.

Mendleson chaired redistricting last time and handled the 3/4 feud fairly, even against his own interests. An At-Large should always do this.

There's been an understanding that the area between S and U east of 14th NW would get it's turn to join Ward 2 this time around and I'm sure people there are disappointed. 14th to 16th went 10 years ago and 16th to 18th went 20 years ago.

by Tom Coumaris on May 31, 2011 2:34 pm • linkreport

Tom: Ward 5 doesn't need to change whatsoever.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on May 31, 2011 2:36 pm • linkreport

@Tom

Ward 2 needs to shrink. Wards 7&8 needed to grow. All other wards were within the alloted targets.

by Alex B. on May 31, 2011 2:45 pm • linkreport

@ Alex B: All other wards were within the alloted targets.

Which does not mean they can not be changed. In fact, there is no reason so keep anything resembling the old wards, other than tradition, as far as I understand.

by Jasper on May 31, 2011 2:51 pm • linkreport

As a resident of the redistricted "eastern Chimney" area and an active Ward 6 resident, I see no reason that our 65 houses and less than 200 residents need to be moved over to Ward 5. Although the move keeps the census tract together - it goes against the criteria of impacting as few residents as possible and keeping existing neighborhoods intact. The residents of the "eastern Chimney" are also directly across the street from other Ward 6 residents but physically blocked from any Ward 5 neighbors by Dunbar High School and the New York Avenue Playground and Park. Why try to fix what's not broken? (and hasn't been broken for 10 years).

by Rob A on May 31, 2011 4:16 pm • linkreport

Can we just get rid of Evans already? Is anyone (David?) up to the task?

by Jake on May 31, 2011 4:18 pm • linkreport

Exactly RobA, there was good reason the chimney was separated before. Plus it is part of the Mount Vernon Square Historic District and should stay unified.

by Si Kailian on May 31, 2011 4:42 pm • linkreport

It's not just about getting more downtown space in his district: Evans has really disliked having to deal with Shaw and its dysfunctional ANC and feels distracted by having to deal with his constituents complaints about crime. These are issues he doesn't want to deal with, and he used the redistricting process to hand off those problems to someone else.

And you know what? I think this is sort of a win for Shaw-- Evans hasn't wanted to deal with Shaw's issues, and Shaw's voters don't have enough clout to replace him, so they might be better off with a more responsive CM.

by JustMe on May 31, 2011 4:43 pm • linkreport

Alpert - change your blog name already, will ya?

GREATER GREATER WELLS

by redrocks on May 31, 2011 5:20 pm • linkreport

Actually, Evans' plan makes perfect sense and keeps 2 distinct neighborhoods together - Shaw and Penn Quarter. He did a great service to those residents by keeping them together. What's with the constant pissing all over Evans around these parts?

As for Ward 6, its position in between 2 and 7 puts it on the chopping block. That, coupled with the fact Wells didn't participate in this process until the end or offer any alternatives (are great disservice to his constituents), I'd say they came out all right.

Alpert versus Evans? Ha. No offense David, but you're a little short and pip-squeeky for elected office.

by Ward 3 Rezzie on May 31, 2011 6:48 pm • linkreport

@Ward 3 Rezzie No offense David, but you're a little short and pip-squeeky for elected office.

Not only is that an ad homenin attack ... it's also false. Look around at the councilmembers ... you won't have to look to hard to find at least one who's short and pip-squeeky ... I can think of 2 off hand ... without trying ...

by Lance on May 31, 2011 6:58 pm • linkreport

Last re-districting we found that main commercial streets work best for boundries. In this case a straight division all the way down on 7th or 9th NW makes sense.

by Tom Coumaris on May 31, 2011 9:24 pm • linkreport

Evans as co-chair of the redistricting committee is a stunning conflict of interest--one that advocates of good government should have collectively protested from the beginning of the process. His actions demonstrate that not only does the perception of a conflict exist, but indeed he has used his position to further his own interests. At best, the sub-committee should have consisted solely of at-large CMs (Catania, Brown, Mendelson). They could have also pared an unimpacted CM with two at-large CMs, or alternatively and even more interesting, the Chair could have tried to structure a zero-sum game by appointing both Wells and Thomas JR to the Committee.

How did Evans appointment happen? Reputable sources tell me that after the Council Chair stripped Evans of his largely ceremonial position as Chair Pro Tempore, giving it to CM Cheh, Evans threw a fit. Appointment as the redistricting co-chair is his consolation prize. He certainly took full advantage of the sop, eh?

For me, this one aspect of the process renders meaningless all of the claims in the redistricting report that they used "principles" and "standards" to guide the drawing of new lines on the map. The process lacks integrity, which makes the massive shift of people out of Ward 6 (approximately 9,000 residents) all the more bitter a pill to swallow. I would rather an unbiased judiciary redraw the lines using measurable criteria.

David-I'm curious how you feel about the role the redistricting game has played in the process. It seems like a great example of "no good deed goes unpunished." The GGW redistricting game brilliantly blended politics, demographics, GIS and civics, engaging a whole new set of people in the redistricting process while educating along the way. And while I think the net benefit of the game has been incredibly positive (witness the number of activated and engaged residents in Ward 6, for example), the political class has twisted and contorted the various results of the game to justify their own ends. That's just too bad.

We shouldn't be shocked by any of this, and the situation won't change until we demand better.

by B Pate on May 31, 2011 10:19 pm • linkreport

I still say that if we strengthened our ANCs by letting them represent neighborhoods (as the name implies and the Home Rule Charter that created them says), and didnt. try to get them to conform to the Ward boundaries, the importance of Ward boundaries would diminish in importance because the ability of ward councilmembers to get neighborhoods to follow councilmember policy would be diluted.

by Lance on May 31, 2011 10:25 pm • linkreport

Tom Coumaris,

Two of your statements are not very accurate:

1. 2:34 "There's been an understanding that the area between S and U east of 14th NW would get it's turn to join Ward 2 this time around and I'm sure people there are disappointed. 14th to 16th went 10 years ago and 16th to 18th went 20 years ago."

2. 9:24 Last re-districting we found that main commercial streets work best for boundries. In this case a straight division all the way down on 7th or 9th NW makes sense.

The old northern Ward 2 boundary was not U Street. I believe it was Florida Avenue. There is also a strong community that is centered on U Street and there has never been an understanding that would split U Street and that community between Wards.

Quite to the contrary re:down the middle of the commercial district. The annexation of the southwest corner of 14th & U to Ward 2 and then to Dupont Circle in the last redistricting has greatly stunted the coordination of commercial district. Something that has been frequently mentioned on several blogs.

It's time to at the very least consider moving the SW corner of 14th & U back into ANC 1B from a jurisdictional basis as has been done in areas like Woodley Park and it would make the most sense to move it back to Ward 1 now instead of some of the other changes proposed to the east.

by LongtimeDC on Jun 1, 2011 6:25 am • linkreport

I think adding more at-large councilmen is a horrific idea. Look at the at large elections (including the elections for at large offices like mayor): Gray, Kwame, Mendolson, Orange and you have a group beholden to a single constituency (EOTR). Adding more at-large positions dilutes the power of the more focused constituencies i.e. the individual wards and gives way to much power east of the river.

by ahk on Jun 1, 2011 9:23 am • linkreport

Redistricting is difficult. However, we few residents of Wiltberger Street lose (again). Shaw, or at the very least the northern tip, should stay in Ward 2. The issues regarding major construction projects that surround us, the closing of streets and alleys, dealing with ongoing crime, etc. will now be split amongst three different wards (Progression Place, Howard Theatre, Wonderbread Factory, "hot dog vendor wharehouse"). It's challenge enough to overcome these problems when we're all in one ward. Lack of continuity makes these issues inherently complex and further disrupts the progress in our fast growing and rapidly changing corner of Shaw. Few parts of the District are dealing with as much drastic change in such a small area as the northern tip of Shaw.
Changing horses in the middle of the stream is an error.

by 202marc on Jun 1, 2011 10:11 am • linkreport

@Longtime DC

The old boundary was S Street. People on each side were in different wards. It was awful. As the ANC to 1B for many years I can assure you we had no connection with Ward 1 and disliked 3D. Plus most of the recent DCCA officers lived next to us. In the redistricting in 2000 I did a survey petition and of 2000 SMD residents over 1000 signed that they wanted to shift to Ward 2 and only 3 people wanted to stay in Ward 1. Even though it split my old Precinct 22 where I could influence 1000 votes, it was the obvious thing to do.

U Street has been a better boundary street for residents.
The same argument was made then that businesses would be divided. But are voters or businesses more important?

by Tom Coumaris on Jun 1, 2011 11:43 am • linkreport

@DY and David is Jack going for a whiter wealthier ward 2? I wouldn't dismiss DY s' comment so quickly. It is irritating to see this blatant gerrymandering. Jack deems to think that he is entitled to the Convention Center which is sick. He takes the Convention Center but leaves the people who live east and north of it to ward 6. I hate to see this end in court cases but.

by Dan Maceda on Jun 1, 2011 12:09 pm • linkreport

While it may be swapping rich people for poor or white people for dark, what it's really about is--buildings! jack likes being able to say "I represent the...(fill in the blank). The White House? Ward 2l. The Jefferson Memorial? Ward 2. Right now, in fact, Ward 6 wraps around the Mall--North of Independence. South of Constitution--all Ward 2. And if this new plan goes through--well, Ward 6 is no longer north of the Mall, and the Building Museum, the Newseum, One Judiciary Square, the federal and local courts--all moved to Ward 2. The humongous development planned for the air rights over the 395 tunnel at 3rd and Massachusetts--why it's been moved to Ward 2. And then there's my fave. At the east end of the Mall there's a large white building that is contiguous to, compact with and part of the community of Capitol Hill. In fact the building, which sits on a hill, is called the Capitol. AND, you guessed it--it's in Ward 2!

Keep in mind that there's no population involved in these moves--nobody actually LIVES in these buildings, but if it has a name, Mr. Evans covets it. I went to Brandeis University in its youth and we had a President who was much involved in raising funds to build facilities that, of course, we students felt we could do without. He was accused of having an Edifice Complex--now, all these years later I have found someone deserving of the sobriequet!

by robw on Jun 1, 2011 12:37 pm • linkreport

Jack cut Mt Vernon Square out of the Mt Vernon Square Neigbhorhood Association's area and the Convention Center out of The Convention Center Community Association's area. Nice.

by CCCA Prez on Jun 1, 2011 1:00 pm • linkreport

robw:

wrong, there are a lot of residents on the northeast corner of the block at 7th & N in an apartment complex that shares the block with the WEWCC.

pic: http://www.ccca-online.org/sites/default/files/map7thStapts.gif

by CCCA Prez on Jun 1, 2011 1:04 pm • linkreport

This is BEYOND stupid. Nuff said.

by Tom A. on Jun 1, 2011 1:10 pm • linkreport

Tom Coumaris,

S Street was the boundary in 2000. At one time however the northern boundary of Ward 2 was either Florida or W St. You also have not been an ANC commissioner for what, nearly two decades? The dynamics of the communities and the ANC's have dramatically changed since you served. And any polls are only as good as the context in which they were taken.

This definitely is not a business versus resident issue. While many residents in this area in 2000, did associate more closely with 17th street and Dupont Circle since that was where the services, social, and other amenities existed. U Street also did not have the Ellington, Langston Lofts, Union Row and all of the associated activity that exists now.

However, now, that dynamic has completely shifted. The metro stop, those aforementioned developments and all the related business growth has far more impacts upon the daily lives of those residents today than does activity on 17th or in Dupont.

I don't see how you can say the split on U Street was better for residents. 14th & U being split among multiple Wards, ANCs, and Police Districts has stunted the management of the commercial areas, which impacts all of the residents negatively. With the growth that is underway and planned for the area now would be a good time to enable all the residents around 14th & U to have an equal an united voice moving forward by reuniting them now.

LongtimeDC

by LongtimeDC on Jun 1, 2011 9:28 pm • linkreport

Longtime DC, it's clear that you hitch your ride to business interests and don't comprehend the aim of redistricting. Businesses are free to form associations and lobby groups no matter where the lines are drawn. The lines aren't drawn for businesses, nor do or have they inhibited development of business on the U Street corridor.

by Mark on Jun 3, 2011 11:31 am • linkreport

Mark,

Redistricting is about balancing residential population by census tracts and is supposed to be about communities. Communities are based upon their center of activities and in dense urban areas those are usually the commercial districts, as those have the most impact upon daily lives of surrounding residents. Most people don't care if they are in Ward this or ANC that. They care about their community. That community in this case is U Street.

Please do stop trying to make this about business interests. My concerns are centered around the commercial district, everyones front yard, and the need for coordinated advocacy around public safety, cleanliness, street scapes, and other areas that require city funding and interaction. These issues impact residents, visitors, and businesses alike regardless of which side of the block is this ward or that ward.

My early comments also referred to the milestones as the development of the Ellington, Langston Lofts and Union Row since the 2001 redistricting. All residential projects with mixed use ground floor retail, that have changed the dynamics of 14th & U by bringing in more residents and creating the infill to form a community that did not exist in 2001.

You are deluding yourself if you believe that the quality of business development hasn't been inhibited by lack of coordination created by the boundaries. The commercial brokers are selling the neighborhood to the highest bidder with no plan for what the community needs because the community hasn't given them one to follow.

by LongtimeDC on Jun 3, 2011 5:27 pm • linkreport

Longtime,

Zoning determines the use of property and landlords decide to whom they'll lease. The community can work with landlords and potential lessees to strike a balance and to attract community serving retail. They can try to convey their concerns, negotiate agreements, use legal procedures. The Ward 2 portion of 14th and U has been effective working with developers and business owners and it shows with major developments underway. When these projects are finished, the commercial corridor will be completely changed. This is market driven, community guided. Neighbors have a say in the various approval processes, whether HPRB, Zoning, ABRA, etc. Not all positions are unanimous, but the system allows for everyone to be heard.

The Ward 1 portion seems too wrapped up in its anger and false perceptions to be effective. Your posts suggest that you're stuck perpetuating a false story that the boundaries have stopped progress.

The police say the boundaries do not create enforcement problems; the street scape improvements will happen when the funds are available and should be coordinated with all of the new construction. The boundaries do not stop people or groups from working together.

by Mark on Jun 3, 2011 11:18 pm • linkreport

Mark,

You bury this in your comments, but you state "the street scape improvements will happen when the funds are available." Wish this were so, however DDOT announced that construction on the U Street street scape project would begin in May 2008, and yet it is June 2011 and we are not even in the 2012 budget.

Adams Morgan(18th Street), Dupont(17th Street) and Columbia Heights(14th Street) all have been funded, when they were originally behind U Street, which started the design process in 1998. Those areas were advocated for by their respective ANC's which all come together on U Street.

So the thousands of people that daily use the metro, or visit the theatres, or dine out and then walk in all directions to their homes, must travel on sidewalks that in some places are to narrow to meet ADA standards and that have multiple tripping hazards, long crosswalks, and other pedestrian safety issues. At night the new street lights will be sidewalk oriented, improving pedestrian safety, as opposed to the current street oriented lights.

Yet I can't get you to stop trying to make this about Ward this or that. Both sides of the street have weighed in on every project regardless of which side it is on, they just did so at dozens of extra meetings, without the benefit of hearing all the varying opinions. No the boundaries don't stop progress, market forces continue to press forward, but the boundaries do affect the quality of that progress.

The next decade will see a constant series of construction projects, street scape construction, possibly a streetcar, and a half dozen new developments centered around 14th & U that will impact everyone and particularly city services. Trying to manage the required communications through the two Ward based structures, means talking to different people in the same agencies, depending on which side of the street you are, not very efficient.

Right now, I believe we need to be actively lobbying our respective council members and ANC's to commit to the timing and prioritization of the U Street and then the 14th Street street scape projects, with immediate funding to fix the missing bricks and other tripping hazards. Are you on board?

by LongtimeDC on Jun 4, 2011 9:01 am • linkreport

I don't think it makes sense to redo the street scape until the construction projects are completed, otherwise there will be too much double work and potential waste. Perhaps the city can encourage or require some of the developers to contribute to the improvements. Also, following many discussions with people (residents and business owners) in the Ward 1 portion of 14th & U, the consensus seems to be that Jim Graham is the major obstacle to progress. If this is true, your preference to redraw the lines is akin to 'misery likes company.'

by Mark on Jun 16, 2011 11:53 pm • linkreport

Just to set the record straight in print here. I testified at two hearings, bringing with me a map of the Penn Quarter Neighborhood Association's boundaries at the first hearing and giving it to Jack at his request at that hearing. I requested that the area within the PQNA boundaries either be entirely in one ward or evenly divided between Ward 6 and Ward 2, making a point that we did not want most of the population in one ward and a large chunk of land with little population in the other ward. The reason I did that was to ensure that we would have representation on a single ANC in each ward. At the second hearing when a couple of the blocks within our Penn Quarter boundaries remained in Ward 6, I asked that they be added to Ward 2. I have no doubt that Jack acceded to my request and relinquished one or more blocks in Shaw so that all of Penn Quarter could be in his ward, as I requested. We will have a single ANC, and finally will be the masters (more than currently) of our own destiny, which delights us all.

To refresh people's memories, all of this area was in Ward 2 until the redistricting following the 2000 Census results. An active community member requested of the redistricting chairman that the area south of E Street be moved to Ward 6 because of the dysfunctional ANC that at the time ignored us, acting as if we counted for naught. This ANC, many of you will realize, was known to be the most dysfunctional ANC in the city. Sharon Ambrose represented Ward 6 at the time.

Some of us love having two councilmembers represent us, others think our voice is diluted. Our voice has been diluted for years at the Ward 2 ANC level. Having Penn Quarter broken into three ANCs is also a problem that is also very time consuming as Penn Quarter has no voice in two ANCs that cover its territory, and only a single voice in the third ANC. I find that some months I need to go to three ANC meetings to address often the same issue. It becomes difficult as two ANCs meet the same evening.

Personally, I think we have benefited by having both Sharon, then Tommy and Jack represent us. I also think at the ANC level, we were at a huge disadvantage. Thus, I thought we could live comfortably if we were equally divided (in terms of population, not geography) into two wards, and that we could be represented on one ANC in each ward, unlike today. We would be pleased if we were entirely in Ward 2 as we were prior to 2001. And now that we will have our own ANC, I am delighted with the results.

by Jo-Ann on Feb 28, 2012 11:48 pm • linkreport

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