Evans launches Ward 2 ANC redistricting

Yesterday, Georgetown’s Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) held a meeting at the John A. Wilson Building to kick off the Advisory Neighborhood Commission redistricting process.

Mayor Vincent Gray signed the bill redrawing the city’s eight electoral wards last week. Ward 2 will lose Shaw and gain the area containing the Convention Center.

Now the effort turns to redrawing the single-member districts and boundaries of the ANC’s, local councils that provide official community input on everything from liquor licenses to campus plans.

ANC single-member districts are supposed to represent about 2,000 people. The ANC containing most of Georgetown University has over 3,000 people, and the rest of the dorms are split into two three different single-member districts.

Evans has appointed Georgetown ANC 2E Commissioner Tom Birch to chair the effort in Ward 2. Anyone that expresses interest in serving on the redistricting task force will be allowed to join the task force.

Unlike most wards, the task force will not decide the ANC and single-member district boundaries in plenary, but will divide up into subcommittees based on ANC. Chairs of the respective ANC’s will lead each subcommittee, and the citizen association leaders will serve as co-chairs.

In Georgetown, Commissioner Ron Lewis of ANC 2E will chair the subcommittee, and Jennifer Altemus of the Citizen’s Association of Georgetown and Lenore Rubino of the Burleith Citizen’s Association will co-chair. All three have serious misgivings about the University’s 2010 Campus Plan.

“If disputes start to occur, I would like the three chairs of that area to resolve that,” said Evans. “If you cannot resolve that, that’s there Mr. Birch comes in.”

As far as universities are concerned, Evans told the task force that there’s no “right way” to split up the dorms. Georgetown has a student-only ANC district and several split districts, whereas GW has student dorms scattered throughout ANC 5A.

Barbara Kahlow, an representative from the West End Citizen’s Association who is known for launching a challenge to GW grocery store FoBoGro, suggested inviting representatives of GW and other universities to weigh in on the redistricting plans.

Finally, Charles Richman of the Office of Planning outlined how the task force must legally use data from census blocks and tracts. Often these blocks block groups are too large to make legally-sized ANC districts, so OP will have to provide guidance on splitting the blocks.

Evans expressed relief that this level of detail would prevent community activists such as David Alpert from making tools that allow people to draw the districts themselves. Alpert’s “redistricting game” caused a controversy when it came time for the council to redraw wards.

“[This time] you won’t have constituents second-guessing you,” said Evans.

By law, the task force must complete the redistricting by the week of October 10.

10 Comments on “Evans launches Ward 2 ANC redistricting

  1. A few things:
    –Evans already had the convention center. Now he’s gained Penn Quarter.
    –There’s a student-only SMD and then three, not two, that include 2+ dorms.
    –This process will be trying.

  2. Yes, the Convention Center has been in Ward 2 since its construction. Hopefully Mr Evans will do a better job of making sure small business retail on the perimeter and around the facility (at least on the 9th St side) doesn’t struggle or die over the next 10 years while retail corridors in other Wards flourish. The famed first African American President of the United States of America has been to the Convention Center for fabulous events on numerous occasions, one would think that would be an awesome selling point, among many others, to help spur small business growth.

    Other Councilmembers chose not to appoint current ANCs on redistricting committees b/c they have an inherent conflict of interest in preserving their control over current single member districts. But the status quo has usually been good enough for Evans.

  3. It’s also too bad that although the District already contracted and paid for the software to assist committees with mapping the ANC/SMD redistricting, as of last week, the software had not been installed on gov’t servers and the opportunity has now passed for Council to approve using the software. In ten years, this software will be useless, so chalk this up to another DC Gov’t #fail and #wa$te especially from those members who have worked closely on this process before,. Excel sheets are fun way to interpret maps anyway, aren’t they?

    I wise person would have inserted into any contract terms and conditions that required that the software would to be installed, tested and up an running before the process began — or the District gets its money back.

  4. Couple more things:
    It’s “block groups” not “blocks” that are too large. A block group is about 4-6 city blocks, and they are, indeed, too large to be the sole basis for SMD borders. A census block is what we think of when we think of city blocks.

    But that data is available too. It’s just tedious to work through. There’s no reason a redistricting program for SMDs like David did for wards couldn’t be done. It just would take a little while longer. (And I already have done the leg work for ANC2E, I just don’t know how to write a program like David’s).

    And seriously, I hope Evans was kidding when he said he was glad constituents couldn’t second guess him. Sounds like a dare to me!

  5. Thanks for the corrections. I was a a little confused that any census block would be too big, save for Georgetown’s 3,000+ block. Also, I linked to a place where you can get the block info pretty easily. I have a Google Map up with the blocks and their populations mapped. Unfortunately, Google Maps split the information onto two pages at the last minute!

  6. Great, in an ANC with thousands of students, put in charge of enfranchising residents through the vote three people who are public supporters of disenfranchising students. I think it’s time to target Jack Evans.

  7. @CCCA Prez:

    Now that your savior Tommy Wells has come along, perhaps you can pursue gainful employment (ie get a life).

    Just a thought! =)

  8. That map is fairly useful, John (Google’s attempts to ruin it aside).

    Might we have our own Georgetown Voice ANC 2E redistricting game for the wonkish amongst us?

  9. Pingback: The Morning Metropolitan | The Georgetown Metropolitan

  10. Pingback: Vox Populi » GUSA Roundup: “Let’s remind everyone that the consitution mandates equal representation.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>