Statement on ANC Redistricting in Ward 3
If it Ain't Broke Don't Fix it
The Ward 3 Redistricting Task Force should start over. There is no need to add a seventh ANC to Ward 3. The unelected Task Force has worked very hard at a thankless job. Unfortunately, it is basing its recommendations on incorrect premises corresponding to an agenda that should not be addressed via ANCs.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Unlike other Wards in DC, our population in Ward 3 has not changed significantly in the last decade. There is no need to create a seventh ANC in our Ward. Indeed, DC has a history of making new administrative bodies when taken as a whole grow our ineffective bureaucracy, disenfranchise residents, and drive costs up. The map below is our current ANC Map. We should keep it.
Advisory Neighborhood Commissions should not be based on corridors. If the Ward 3 Redistricting Task Force gets its way, then we should change the name of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions to Advisory Corridor Commissions.
Residents of apartment houses are appropriately represented in their existing ANCs. ANCs are made up Single Member Districts ("SMDs"). Every SMD has roughly 2,000 residents in them by law. This same point relates to citizens living east of Wisconsin Avenue between Tenley Circle and the National Cathedral. They are already appropriately represented as well. Additionally, American University students are welcome to register to vote in the District of Columbia and participate in our democracy. It should be noted however, that most do not, and the University is a major landowning non-profit that does not pay Real Estate taxes.
Above all, the need to create a seventh ANC in Ward 3 does not exist. Creating a new ANC harms neighborhood cohesiveness. ANCs do not have to be equivalent in population although the Task Force has stated this is one of their goals. Regardless, if the Ward 3 Redistricting Task Force wishes to make the ANCs in our Ward more equivalent in population, they may simply suggest moving SMD(s) from the larger ANC(s) and adding them to an adjacent smaller ANC. Indeed, this exact point has been made at their meetings but not in connection with the existing six ANCs but only after a seventh was envisioned.
The Task Force should not attempt to enfranchise citizens that are already enfranchised by disenfranchising others. They should not cut the neighborhoods of Cleveland Park, McLean Gardens, and AU park in half. American University must not be separated from ANC 3D which represents the neighborhoods most impacted by the University, namely Westley Heights and Spring Valley.
I strongly suggest the Task Force take a step back and re-examine their mission with an emphasis on neighborhoods, stability, and reinforcing our residents in Ward 3 for the rest of their lives as well as bringing in business and smart growth. Start over. Lastly, if still committed to making all 6 ANCs in Ward 3 closer in population, attempt to make SMD adjustments that would help equalize the ANCs. Do not send the proposed map to Council for the District of Columbia to be debated, contested, and rejected. The Council, the District of Columbia, and our Ward do not need to endure this misguided attempt at drastically redistricting Ward 3's ANCs.