On March 17, the Ward 7 Redistricting Task Force convened for a fifth meeting to discuss prospective Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) maps drafts. Announced only that morning, the meeting was planned as a breakout session. Instead it evolved into a two-hour large group discussion of four maps. The task force is required to submit a final map and accompanying report to the DC Council on April 2.
Any ANC map must conform to a set of rules. Single Member Districts (SMDs) must contain between 1,900 and 2,100 residents by DC statute. Boundaries must avoid splitting census blocks. They also must maintain neighborhood cohesiveness, not dilute minority voting power, respect natural boundaries and roughly balance the ward’s population.
The task force focused its attention on equal representation, minority voting power dissolution, compactness, continuity and not dividing communities of interest. Four proposed maps were discussed and evaluated. Task force members voted to approve, partially approve or decline each. Maps 1 and 2 met with unanimous rejection. Majorities also rejected Maps 3 and 4.
Task Force Member Francis Campbell, who resides in the Hill East neighborhood, authored Map 3, which envisioned a standalone commission on the western side of the Anacostia River. Campbell plans to revise it and present at the next scheduled Task Force meeting.
“Whether or not it will be accepted or approved I don’t know,” Campbell said. “I have a feeling that it won’t be but it’s still my (understanding) that it is a map that meets all of the criteria and that there is no rational realistic reason to deny it.”
The Task Force encourages community members submit feedback on proposed maps or submit a map of their own devising by 6 p.m. on March 19. The maps are available at DCredistricting.esriemcs.com. The meeting can be watched on YouTube.
The next meeting of the Ward 7 Task Force is scheduled for March 21 at 5 p.m.
Sarah Payne is a general assignment reporter for The Hill Rag and East of the River Newspapers. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.