Ward 8 Redistricting Task Force Nears Final Draft

Cross Ward Navy Yard ANC Discussed

Photo: Ward 8 Redistricting Task Force Chair Brian Thompson.

The Ward 8 Redistricting Task Force met on March 16 to discuss the draft maps contributed by task force and community members. In particular, the Navy Yard “Notch” garnered attention. The Notch is the section of Ward 6 bounded by South Capitol, I-695, M Street and New Jersey Avenues.

The Notch.

According to Taskforce Member Troy Prestwood, Ward 6 Council Member Charles Allen (D) and Ward 8 Council Member Trayon White (D) have agreed to create an Advisory Neighborhood Commission spanning both wards that incorporates the Notch.

“As you know we want to work with the Notch,” Prestwood said. “Both Council Members, Council Member White and Council Member Allen have agreed to have an ANC that spans the notch there…and we’ve been playing around with the numbers there trying to make it all fit into a single member district or two.”

In the March 15 meeting of the Ward 6 Redistricting Taskforce, Chair Ivan Frishberg stated, “both council members are in support” of the cross-ward ANC.

Ward 8 Redistricting Task Force Chair Brian Thompson explained the logistics of the arrangement. An Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) would span two wards. Residents within Ward 8’s boundaries would continue to be ward 8 residents, and residents on the ward 6 side continuing to be ward 6 residents. The current maps include two Single Member Districts (SMDs) in the notch portion of the Navy Yard.

“The Navy Yard notch looks like it will consist of two additional commissioners who would integrate into whatever form of a commission that includes the ward eight portion of Navy Yard, and in that they will be commissioners for issues in their area,” Thompson said. “Because our effort is related to ANC boundaries and how neighborhoods function within the ward, the notch was carved out of the ward six boundary residents.”

Thompson acknowledged however that the two SMDs in the Notch are not within the population guidelines for redistricting.

“We did have to exceed the plus or minus 5 percent by a small number, but this is not an easy task to try to keep within 1900 to 2100 residents in all of these maps.”

Thompson emphasized the importance of selecting a map from the meeting to use as a “starting point to get across the finish line.” The final is due on April 1. The task force discussed and debated four alternatives. A majority voted in favor of the Chairman’s proposed map. Thompson characterized it as a starting point for further discussion.

“This map is based on the feedback we’ve gotten either through the redistricting inbox (email) or through our comments in the last four meetings,” Thompson said.

“Thanks everyone,” Thompson said. “The goal here was for us to solicit feedback, have solid community engagement, be open and engaged and abide by the redistricting effort at the city level that occurred last fall in the spirit of it. I think we’ve all done our best so we will move forward to the next meeting, we will present the final map and we will definitely have time to discuss it.”

The task force will convene again on March 30 at 6 p.m. to finalize the map for submission. The public can email comments redistrictward8anc@gmail.com.

Sarah Payne is a general assignment reporter for the East of the River and Hill Rag Newspapers. She can be reached at sarahp@hillrag.com.