Redistricting update: Where’s a Bastille when you need one?
The vote for reconsideration followed the same lines as the original vote for the co-chair’s proposal, with all 5 students on the working group along with ANC Commissioner Charlie Eason voting for reconsideration and the other 10 members voting against.
The working group’s recommendation will be presented to Tom Birch (a Commissioner on ANC2E who is the appointed chair for Ward 2’s redistricting), who will make a recommendation to Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans. It will eventually go to the redistricting committee.
Last week, Jake Sticka (COL ’13), with the input of an unofficial “student working-group,” presented a new alternative to the working-group for consideration. The alternative would have been a compromise between the co-chairs’ proposal and the Planagan, whereby some districts would deviate from the prescribed size by 24% (instead of 40%). According to Sticka’s post on DC Student Speak, his proposal was only acknowledged after the deadline for voting to reconsider.
Charlie Eason, ANC2E Commissioner and member of the working group, has also been vocal in his opposition to the co-chair’s proposal, and he sees the problem as going past ANC2E.
“From the beginning, I believe the Council failed in setting forth a fair and clear process for redistricting ANC SMDs,” Eason wrote in an email.
He went on to write that although Evans said he appointed representatives of community groups as co-chairs of the working group, he neglected the largest community organization in Georgetown: The Georgetown University Student Association.
But this does not exonerate the working group. Eason wrote that the group missed an opportunity to solicit public feedback before making their decisions. Besides, the whole ordeal didn’t pass the “smell test,” according to Eason.
“It was clearly gerrymandered to attempt to dilute the representation of GU students, who represent almost half of the residents of the ANC. I don’t need to imagine this; I was expressly told that was the objective.”
Sticka wrote in an email that he and the other members of the unofficial student working group plan to challenge the co-chair’s proposal at every level up to the Council as a whole, should redistricting be given a hearing. Additionally, a Court of Appeals can issue a ruling as to the legality of the proposal.
According to Scott Stirret (SFS ’13) of DC Student Speak, they plan to contact Counselmembers-at-large, as they are most likely to oppose the co-chair’s proposal. In fact, Councilmember Phil Mendelson has already come out in opposition to the plan.
Going forward, Eason wrote that he would favor closure brought by the Court of Appeals as Birch will most likely defer directly to C.M. Evans because of a conflict of interest. And Stirret doubts Evans will object because of conflict of interests. We must all remember that court hearings, although unprecedented in ANC2E redistricting matters, are no stranger to Georgetown’s town-gown relationship.