Thanks to Those Who Helped in Redistricting, a Thankless Job
I co-chaired a meeting on the District Council’s Subcommittee on Redistricting on proposed changes to the advisory neighborhood commission (ANC) and single-member district (SMD) boundaries on March16. According to federal law, the District must perform a redistricting of its eight wards within 90 days of the council’s receipt of the U.S. Census report, which happens every ten years. After completion of the ward redistricting process, which took place last summer, the council reviews and makes adjustments to the boundaries of the ANCs and SMDs. As I have said before, in my 20 years on the council, there is no issue I have encountered that evokes a stronger emotional reaction than redistricting. To co-chair the committee overseeing redistricting is a thankless job. No one ever compliments us on preparing a “great” redistricting map, but many folks find aspects of any plan that they don’t like. There is no way to make everyone happy in the redistricting process, but my goal in the ward and ANC/SMD redistricting processes was to maintain and reunite neighborhoods wherever possible, while making use of census tract lines, natural boundaries and major traffic arteries to create logical borders within the framework imposed on us by federal law.
Under § 1-1041.01 of the D.C. Code, the Council of the District of Columbia is required to appoint ward task forces to recommend adjustment of the boundaries of the ANC area and Single Member Districts. In practice, deference is given to each ward member to appoint a task force chair and membership. I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank Tom Birch for agreeing to serve as chair of the Ward 2 Task Force on Redistricting. Another thankless job, the task force chair is responsible for being an arbiter in the process if any major disagreements arise. My subcommittee sent instructions to all councilmembers recommending appointment of a broadly-based task force for each ward. The method that seems to work best in Ward 2 is to create a task force subcommittee for each neighborhood, and I want to thank all of the ANC chairs and citizen association heads or designees that co-chaired the neighborhood groups.
I think we can be proud of the outcome of these meetings in Ward 2 and across the city. Where the boundaries are working and population remained relatively constant, such as in Kalorama, it makes sense to leave boundaries as they are, which is what our task force recommended. Where significant Ward 2 boundary changes have been made, such as the welcome reuniting of Penn Quarter, significant changes are required to create ANC and SMD boundaries that make sense. Thanks for your patience and participation in the process.