Meeting Saturday Will Take Another Look at Ward 7 Redistricting

Gathering at Capitol View Library One More Opportunity to Give Views on New ANCs

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The ‘Ward 7 Stronger Together' Map was tweaked and advanced to DC Council. Screenshot: Youtube, March 28

The DC Council Subcommittee is going to take a look at redistricting in Ward 7 one more time.

In a somewhat unusual move, the DC Council Subcommittee on Redistricting is hosting an informal meeting about Redistricting in Ward 7 on Saturday, May 7 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at Capitol View Library (5001 Central Ave. SE). The meeting is an informal opportunity for face-to-covered-face discussion about ANC redistricting in Ward 7.

On April 1, the Ward 7 Redistricting Task Force submitted a map and report outlining recommendations for redrawn Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANCs) and Single Member Districts (SMDs). However, the submitted map remains controversial, said the representative. Many residents feel they have spoken but not been heard.

The map and report submitted to the subcommittee by the task force calls for two cross-river ANCs, ANC 7A and 7F.  Supporters say the map promotes equity and unites the new and established residents of the redrawn ward. Detractors say it cripples the hyperlocal function of ANCs and contradicts principals of redistricting, which call for “compact and contiguous” commissions.

A minority report written by former ANC 6B09 Commissioner Francis Campbell and current 6A08 Commissioner Brian Alcorn proposed a Ward 7 ANC located solely on the west side of the river. It would encompass the portions of ANCs 6A, 6B and 7D —Hill East, Rosedale and Kingman Park— that were redistricted into Ward 7. That proposal was endorsed by the representatives of that area, but shot down by the task force.

The hope for the meeting is that, although it may not be possible to give everyone their preferred redistricting map, residents will continue conversation despite their disagreements.

“It’s a good idea that Councilmember Silverman and the Redistricting Committee continue to engage Ward 7 and offering a chance for folks to engage is awesome,” said Ward 7 Taskforce member Keith Hassan-Towery, noting that Silverman is holding a similar session in Ward 3, where redistricting is also controversial.

But Hasan-Towery said he had some concerns about the ability of many residents to attend on such short notice. He said that he hoped that, in evaluating the maps, DC Council would account for the passion of residents that could not make a physical meeting as well as those who will be there Saturday.

It’s not clear what compromise might be accepted. Ward 7 Task Force Members indicated in an April 28 hearing before the subcommittee that they were willing to revisit the map to balance the SMDs in the cross-river commissions, ANCs 7A and 7F, so that an equal number are located on either side of the river.

But Hill East representatives are not confident that anything will be acheived at the meeting. “I don’t know how there’s a way of fixing, let alone of addressing the animosity that west of the river feels,” said Campbell, the former commissioner. Nonetheless, he will attend.

The Saturday meeting is more a gathering than a hearing. There will not be any microphones or fixed agenda. People can are free to come and go, mingle about, speak with Councilmember Silverman and others in attendance and take look at posted maps.