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During a long hearing on Wednesday on the need to redraw the city's ward boundaries as a result of the 2010 census numbers, council member Marion Barry made clear his interest in moving parts of the western side of the Anacostia River out of Ward 6 and into Ward 8 to bring its population to the required level. Tommy Wells's chief of staff Charles Allen live-tweeted the hearing, and you can scroll to read his many (many!) tweets on what Barry and a number of people testifying said on the subject (I retweeted some of them as they came through, but he was lighting the keyboard on fire and I couldn't keep up!).
After mentioning both Near Southeast and the Southwest waterfront during the early part of the hearing, Barry eventually shifted his focus just to Near Southeast, saying (according to Charles) that the move is a "perfect solution" that "won't divide a community." Barry also said (again according to Charles), "Since no one from [Near SE] has come to testify against moving to Ward 8, I guess there's [no] opposition & we should move forward". Some commissioners from Southwest did get to the hearing to testify, but no Near Southeast residents or representatives ended up speaking on behalf of the neighborhood.
In the wake of all of this, some e-mailing and scrambling has commenced (judging by the way my inbox is lighting up, with people asking me if this is already a done deal). One example is that Near Southeast's ANC commissioner David Garber has today created his own Near Southeast Google Groups/mailing list, and redistricting is the inaugural issue being discussed, along with the additional issue of if and where the current ANC boundaries should be redrawn, which is also part of this redistricting process. (The question will also be whether Near Southeast even remains a single district, given that its population of 3,300 is well over the 2,000 mark that is the normal SMD size.)
Also, the group Ward 6 Democrats have scheduled a public meeting to discuss the redistricting plan as it impacts Ward 6. It's on May 5 from 7 to 8:30 pm at Friendship Public Charter School at 1345 Potomac Ave., SE, and the group has invited the three co-chairs of the council's special redistricting committee along with Tommy Wells (who already said a few weeks ago that he "will defend the riverfront").
The record from yesterday's hearing remains open until May 12, so written comments can still be submitted.
UPDATE: Mike DeBonis has a piece about this in Friday's Post.
UPDATE II: From the comments, there is now apparently also a Near Southeast community meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, May 4, at 6:30 pm at the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St., SE.
Comments (50)
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ST says: (4/28/11 4:01 PM)
Hell no do I want Marion Barry representing the Near Southeast. He is a scourge on this city and will only hinder its development and renewal. I generally try to avoid crackheads representing me.

JD says: (4/28/11 4:06 PM)
I'm going to put the hammer down right now, from the start. Name-calling, personal attacks, etc., are not tolerated around here.

Andrew in DC says: (4/28/11 4:16 PM)
Also, for those who wish to organize and coordinate outside of JD's comment threads, David Garber came up with a google group:


JD says: (4/28/11 4:19 PM)
Was my mentioning and linking to David's group in this very post not good enough for you?

Jesse says: (4/28/11 4:23 PM)
While name-calling isn't warranted in any public venue, I do have to agree with ST that Marion Barry hasn't been a model citizen nor an ideal representative. He has a rap sheet and a long record of flouting and exploiting city laws and resources. Failure to pay income taxes, failure to register his cars, leaching city funds for questionable contracts and projects, nepotism, adultery, illicit drug abuse, etc.

Andrew in DC says: (4/28/11 4:33 PM)
... and I now see that's in the blog article itself. Where's that delete button?

Andrew in DC says: (4/28/11 4:40 PM)
I blame it on glazed eyes, dazed after watching three screens all day. You can delete this, and both other comments. Please? :)

JD says: (4/28/11 4:42 PM)
No way, man, your shame remains on display, for all to see and take as a warning! :-)

58Model says: (4/28/11 4:47 PM)
To Jesse I say:
"yeah, but other than that..."

Beth in DC says: (4/28/11 4:59 PM)
I agree with Jesse.

JoeNdc says: (4/28/11 5:22 PM)
As we can already see, there is a visceral reaction to this idea which has struck a deep cord of emotion from concerned residents. Many of us have followed the shameful exploits of Mr. Barry over the many years he has been in the public eye. Without sinking into too much name calling, I too take issue with this “man” representing my ward’s interests. He has failed miserably to provide any significant, beneficial services or economic revitalization for his current ward. He is viewed far and wide by his own misdeeds, which are many, and he deserves his infamy. I have already written the council and expressed my very staunch opposition to being annexed in any form into ward 8. Ward 6 has worked hard to develop a community that suits the needs, concerns, hopes, and wishes of its residents. While David Garber is right, ward 8 does have some redeeming qualities, they have far too many negatives ones which I do not wish to see any part of near southeast saddled with. No to ward 8 and no, no, no to the opportunistic Marion Barry.

Evan says: (4/28/11 5:31 PM)
I agree to all the "gut-level" rejection of Barry's idea, but truthfully folks, we need rational, thought-out talking points as to why his plan is a bad idea. We need to know why it's a bad idea economically for the area with data to back it up if possible. How will it negatively affect the development of the area?

If we're going to win this, we have to have more than just disdain for Barry. That's not a valid reason for rejecting his plan. Once we get that, we're golden.

jwg says: (4/28/11 5:38 PM)
Agree with Beth, Jesse, etc... not interested in having him represent us. Ugh.

KB says: (4/28/11 6:34 PM)
I think the high crime of Ward 8 would reflect negitively on our area. We need to attract new business instead of scaring it away. I think that alone would be a good point. Near SE is a young neighborhood trying to change it's dangerous reputation....need I bring up last years survey where Near SE was voted one of the most dangerous places to live. The city has invested too much money to let Barry run us down. Ward 6 is where we need to stay.

I've sent an email to the council members requesting we remain part of Ward 6.

Jay says: (4/28/11 6:51 PM)
Let me first start out by saying that I'm a Near SE resident, and that I do not want our Ward to become part of Ward 6. In saying that, I think we all can agree why we feel this way. Living in a Near SE situated in Ward 6 associates the community with Capitol Hill. Living in a Near SE situated in Ward 8 will associate the neighborhood with Anacostia. We all know that it "feels" better to be associated with Capitol Hill as opposed to Anacostia. In my opinion, if they were to merge Near SE into Ward 8, it wouldn't necessarily change the perception of the Capitol Riverfront community. The reason Marion Barry (who I personally don't think too highly of) wants to grab the Capitol Riverfront is so he can take credit for the upcoming development in the community (Canal Park, Half Street Development, Whole Foods, etc). Gaining the Capitol Riverfront will also improve Ward 8's numbers (Average Income, property values, facilities, crime rate, etc). This is all it comes down to. Marion Barry is trying to take advantage of this opportunity to make himself look good (once again). Trust me, if Near SE had the crime numbers that the majority of Ward 8 has, this issue wouldn't even come up. That's why Marion Barry doesn't want to grab a chunk of Ward 7 (which makes more sense since there isn't a river separating Ward 7 and Ward 8).

Jay says: (4/28/11 6:54 PM)
If we are trying to come up with reasons why moving the Capitol Riverfront into Ward 8, I have a good one. Changing to Ward 8 would require residents to get a Ward 8 parking permit. That makes absolutely no sense, since we are just blocks away from places that most of use our parking permits. Why would we have the need to use a Ward 8 parking permit?

JD says: (4/28/11 7:04 PM)
@Jay, the issue of parking actually came up at the hearing, in reverse, with CM Barry saying that Ward 8 residents complain about how they can't go to the ballpark or the SW waterfront and park. (if only there were some form of public transportation, perhaps in a shade of green, that ran between the two)

Jay says: (4/28/11 7:06 PM)
Wow... I believe the Anacostia Metro Station is 1 stop from the Navy Yard, and 2 stops from the Waterfront Station. How long must we listen to this irrational talk from Marion Barry?

MJM says: (4/28/11 7:29 PM)
Evan and Jay you have some great points about MB taking credit and those are probably right. Just because most people outside of Ward 8 don't like MB for various reasons getting up and saying we don't want to be in Ward 8 because of him would sound like sour grapes and BM may wave a certain kind of card? What are some reasons we would want to stay in Ward 6? I'll just throw some things out there and see what people think - not saying these are bright ideas they could be stupid ideas...

1) Geography? An island west of the river - would we feel connected to Ward 8 or Ward 6 (maybe doesn't make much sense but maybe ties to parking)
2) TW is a big fan of walkable cities, does MB believe in that or even mentioned those words? Would we suffer by losing out on that goal?
3) Would CRF BID be a pawn to bring money to Ward 8 and have it siphoned off by MB to areas east of the river?
4) I'm not sure us being a part of Ward 8 would reflect anymore negatively on us with crime - we are SE and when a shooting or something occurs in SE I wonder if it happened in Near-SE because the media does a great job of saying where in SE most of the time - besides there are still people who live in southern Cap Hill (closest to the freeway) who are still afraid to walk/enter Near-SE and probable won't come here even after Whole Foods is built
5) Would any of the planned development projects be held up if lower Ward 8 (assuming we'd be upper Ward 8) doesn't get more development projects (kinda like he was trying to do with 55M - can't remember exactly what he was tying up).

I'm sure there are some others out there who can thing of better ideas? I hope

Michael says: (4/28/11 8:30 PM)
This would be very bad for current Ward 6 residents in Near SE, because our voices would be drowned out by the vast constituency MB already possesses in the rest of his ward. MB could (and would) safely ignore us... All the people talking about connection and community are missing the point; this is about power and wealth. MB wants to amass some valuable real estate without, and could do so without any concomitant obligations to those citizens...

JW says: (4/28/11 8:34 PM)
Let's not be naive, Barry doesn't care about getting a Whole Foods in Near SE, he actually probably wouldn't support the tax incentives necessary to draw them to the area. He has publicly stated his time and time again his opposition to gentrification. Near SE could still fail without the right political leadership in place to ensure that investment continues.

Unstable leadership could stifle growth, create new risks for businesses and could deter more families from moving to the area. Near Southeast could fail without solid leadership – this is a real possibility. Barry has no plan or political incentive to continue the vision of Near Southeast, he has never represented the area, and for political reasons he wants to have control over the stadium which would be a disaster for the City, our community, and the Nationals. Access to controlling the stadium means he can continue his patronage style of politics.

AW says: (4/28/11 8:58 PM)
The most important thing to focus on now is how to organize ourselves and not debate the benefits/drawbacks of being in Ward 8. The most disturbing part of the process thus far is what JD stated in her post - that no one from the Near SE neighborhood was present during the hearing. Where was our leadership? We are currently waiting for a CQ house and are living for the time being in New Hill East which is an area that is also at risk of being redistricted. I have followed their activities (not thinking we were in the same boat, except it is almost worse for us b/c Barry asked for our neighborhood specifically). They have been mobilized for weeks with their ANC commissioners having drawn up a statement of why they should remain in Ward 6 - they also were present at the hearing (as stated in Charles Allen's tweets) from beginning to end. In my opinion we have a lot of catching up to do!

F says: (4/28/11 9:09 PM)
Marion Barry wants Near SE in Ward 8 so he can dangle development in front of us (Whole Foods, The Yards, etc..) until we "contribute." The Near SE population numbers aren't big enough to overturn the support he's got in the current Ward 8 and he knows there's no threat of getting elected out of office.

We need to get organized and be vocal. This is well worth everyones effort and time.

Tommy Wells needs to help champion this effort.

MJM says: (4/28/11 11:47 PM)
I was bored at work on Wed and was reading all the tweets and it made me wonder where was everyone in ANC6D? More people showed up for a stupid @$$ building resolution today (sorry JD) than did for the potential shifting of Near-SE to Ward 8. Are our priorities more for a wood building than what ward we are in? Kinda sad that no one showed up (leadership and residents) but unless there is a valid reason besides not liking MB then we will be in Ward 8.

Sour grapes of not liking MB is not gonna go anywhere - his embalmed body will be sitting there with files 20 years from now as Ward 8 chairman -- he will be DC forever -- so 3K people won't boot him out. Why would anyone think differently?

JW - so with those those thoughts how do you craft it into something positive because MB will eat that for a whinny appetizer and wait for the second round of whatever Near-Southeasters come up with? I'm saying that in a positive tone because unless someone can come up with a political savvy positive spin we are upper-Ward 8. "F" - don't count on TW - come up with something - throw something out there

contemna says: (4/29/11 12:17 AM)
At the federal Congressional level (confirmed by the Supreme Court) , the concept that "communities of interest must be protected" is a primary limitation in redistricting.
So what marks such a community of interest? Support of "gentrification", tourism, etc? Perhaps there would be a conflict of interest resting with an incumbent representative that holds attitudes at direct odds with the constituency of the area...

Eric says: (4/29/11 1:04 AM)
My heart sank when I read about this. It sank again when I found out we had no one at the meeting representing opposition to Barry's schemes.

I just bought a place in near Southeast and will be moving in next week. Getting moved to ward 8 is frightening because I don't for ONE SECOND believe MB gives one lick about us. We're the evil gentrifiers that must be stopped, right?

James says: (4/29/11 6:57 AM)
I want to pass along a great resource from Greater Greater Washington to see how the redistricting works:


You can see from the map, that any one precinct from Ward 7 that directly boarders Ward 8 by land, would put Ward 8 into the legal limit for residents. If politics were not involved, this would be the only reasonable decision.

I have been a Ward 6 resident since 2004. I lived in the SW waterfront and now the Capitol Riverfront. I am incredibly happy and proud to be in Ward 6 and I am very against moving to Ward 8 for all of the reasons already listed.

I will be sure to be at the meeting in support for staying in Ward 6.

PowerBoater69 says: (4/29/11 7:15 AM)

You all wanted city life, but not real city life, welcome to Chocolate City. You want your Ward 6 parking permits so that you can drive to the trendy areas in Cap Hill, but the Green line is just fine for the rabble. Sounds to me like the idea is for the Anacostia to be the dividing line between separate but equal wards; I'd recommend Googling up some of the old arguments used to justify maintaining the status quo back in the good old days in South Africa.

Better think hard about how you are going to frame your counter-arguments, because from what I've read so far you all are pitching up softballs for an old time politician like Barry.

JD says: (4/29/11 7:21 AM)
Don't take the bait, please don't take the bait....

Bruce says: (4/29/11 8:19 AM)
All: there will be a community meeting on this issue on Wednesday May 4 at 6:30pm to discuss this.
It will be held at the Senior Center located at 900 5th St SE (by K St).
I have invited several elected officials to join us.
I hope everyone attends as this is a huge issue that we are against.
Thank you.

Glenn says: (4/29/11 8:54 AM)
Mr. Barry is apt at posturing himself with issues of this type only to get handouts for his ward in return. This solidifies his electorial base. He treatens revolt, and, in return, gets bread and circus for his people.
It is a familiar pattern.

JD says: (4/29/11 9:37 AM)
As I said at the top, name-calling/pure personal attacks are not tolerated; I have now deleted a comment that crossed the line.

Let me remind everyone--if you want to spout off like an idjit, there are a nearly infinite number of other places where you can do that, and you can just go right ahead and venture off to one of them. But not here. My playground, my rules, and you're just going to have to suck it up and be civil. It is actually possible for all manner of opinions--even very strong ones--to be expressed as if you are grownups, and that's what I expect from everyone. If that's too much for your delicate psyche to handle, well, you've got bigger problems than my deleting your posts.

Like I've said before, conduct yourselves as if my mother is reading all this. :-)

Bruce says: (4/29/11 9:51 AM)
JD: well put. If folks want to weigh in, show up
On Wednesday. I don't want this either, let's be
Productive. Hopefully we will see you Wednesday.

dave says: (4/29/11 10:21 AM)
FYI on Parking Permits
Not all residents in Ward 6 are entitled to Ward 6 Parking permits.

Admitted Outsider says: (4/29/11 10:27 AM)
I can somewhat understand the feelings towards Marion Barry and even residents of Ward 8, but would anything west of the river really change? Development is coming. I don't see how this would impede that. I imagine this move could easily help development east of the river. Something like this could help bring Poplar Point development back as the two wards would be seen as more connected in their vision for the riverfront. I'm not saying it's the best change, but I'm not reading reasons why it's as horrible as people may initially react. A lot of this is semantics in organization. If you don't like your Ward, rep your neighborhood. That's the biggest fear I've read.

goldfish says: (4/29/11 10:46 AM)
I think this whole thing is a ruse for the entertainment of Barry's supporters. For geographical and political reasons, it is pretty clear that after redistricting, Ward 8 will stay EotR. But the idea of it is "classical Barry": the downtrodden will rise up and spit on the rich people -- see @PowerBoater69's provocation.

SBS says: (4/29/11 10:56 AM)
Call me heretic, but I agree with Admitted Outsider -- nothing but the economy can prevent Near SE development from happening, and even that has only slowed, not stopped things. The opposition to being included in Ward 8 should be based less on geography, race or class and the issues our fellow citizens face EotR, and exclusively on the the very poor representation of Marion Barry. Perhaps if this plans gains ANY traction, which seems unlikely, the deal should be struck that it would happen ONLY when Barry resigns from the council, retires from public life, and a special election to replace him is announced. I can dream, right? Change is coming EotR too, it's already begun, and we would all do well to think, act, and envision the city as whole -- not segregated parts -- because that's Marion Barry's style of politics, and like him, it should be a thing of the past. Some of the reaction above plays into his hand.

Keep Near SE in Ward 6 says: (4/29/11 11:07 AM)
I found a book that outlines the Redistricting Process.

"A Citizens Guide to Redistricting"
by Jutin Levitt and Erika Wood


Page 44 starts the section that talks about where the lines should be drawn. I think we could use these as talking points as to why we should not be part of Ward 8.

From Page 47

"Section 2 voters the right to
turn to the courts if, for example, a district could be drawn to give a minority community the opportunity to elect its candidate of choice, but the district lines instead split the community up into separate districts where its voting power is diluted. When litigants challenge a redistricting plan or part of a plan under Section 2, asserting that districts could be drawn to preserve minority voting power that is otherwise diluted, they must first show that:

• a minority population is sufficiently geographically compact (that is, living close together) that it would make sense to draw a district containing it

• the minority population (usually, the citizen voting-age minority population) is large enough to be more than half of a district-sized number of people

• the minority population is “politically cohesive” – that is, it would usually vote as a bloc for the same favored candidate; and

• the majority population would usually vote as a bloc for a different candidate,so that it would usually be able to defeat the minority-preferred candidate, if the minority population were fragmented among several districts."

Admitted Outsider says: (4/29/11 12:14 PM)
There's no doubt this is largely a political move by Marion Barry and this is very unlikely to happen, but it's hard to say he isn't looking out for his Ward with it. Fears of Ward 6 residents aside, the announcement brings positive attention to Ward 8 for potential development. Also, PB69 is known for his antics on several local websites, goldfish.

G says: (4/29/11 2:52 PM)
Barry just misses his old haunts - the strip clubs, that dangerous housing project (since torn down) where drugs could be obtained from one's car, nightly shootings...

CrackBarryNoThanks says: (4/29/11 3:19 PM)
If you dare show dissent in 2011, you WILL be called a racist. So grow thick skin, Dear Ward 6' and flip the bird at our enemies, black and white alike.

Andy says: (4/30/11 8:11 AM)
While serious and something we 6er's have to watch closely, it is somewhat humorous. Marion has been salivating for years over the possibility of getting his hands on the Cap Riverfront. It's all about political leverage. If the areas S/E of the river don't get what he thinks they ought to have, then he can hold key projects in the Cap Riverfront hostage. He's definitely not stupid. I would be not underestimate his resolve or his political adeptness. I guess if 'the worst' comes to pass, we will just have to get ourselve organized as new Ward 8er's and vote him out of office in DC for good. Let's not forget, not all current Ward 8 residents see Marion in a favorable light.

Meredith says: (5/1/11 12:40 PM)
From the DeBonis article, it is easy to gather that Marion Barry intends to improve the way his ward looks on paper instead of creating real solutions in Ward 8. As Ms Williams states at the end, borrowing our statistics will not address the unemployment, lack of education, and poverty in Ward 8. This is no more than a cheap numbers trick and an attempt to take credit for the progress that others (Wells et al) have made. Don't let it happen.

Kelsey says: (5/2/11 12:10 PM)
I was disheartened to hear that no one from ward 6 was there at the meeting with Marion Barry. I know there are two other meetings coming up this week, but are any of them with Marion Barry? I can see him using the empty meeting as an example and saying well no one objected. I think it's important that he attend these meetings or we attend any of his meetings to ensure he hears loud and clear our opposition to the riverfront becoming part of Ward 8.

Kitty Loyd says: (5/2/11 4:43 PM)
From what I have been told, testimony can only be sumitted for another 6 days. Please email Carol Sadler at to submit your views on the matter.

Bruce says: (5/2/11 9:03 PM)
Please remember to attend the meeting at the Senior Center on wednesday at 6:30.
So far 2 elected officials will be in attendance.

Chris says: (5/3/11 10:57 PM)
JD, first, thanks so much for all that you do! Second, I think many of these posts would serve as persuasive comments that could otherwise be submitted to the Council in response to its request for public comments. I think it would be even more persuasive if these posts were (1) compiled by and (2) submitted to the Council by you. The work that you do is invaluable and you have credibility that is unmatched by most. Please think about it!!

JD says: (5/4/11 10:03 AM)
@Chris, wow, thanks for the kind words! But, putting aside the fact that I don't actually live in Near Southeast :-), I don't take positions on issues. I try to provide a lot of information to allow people to make their own decisions, but I refrain from advocating (though admittedly there was one moment about three years ago when I could no longer help myself and made known my preference for an arched bascule design for the new Douglass Bridge--talk about going out on a limb! lol). It's also why I don't endorse in elections.

I imagine a more "official" version of many of these comments have been or will be submitted to the council by their authors....

Ae says: (5/4/11 9:24 PM)
I moved to DC about a year and a half ago. I chose this location (Capitol Quarter) specifically because of the surrounding area and because all of my family in this area had relocated to the neighborhoods in Ward 6. We all live, work, shop, eat, and worship in the ward. This ward is our home. Any move to take our neighborhood out of Ward 6 would be a huge impact on the feeling of neighborhood I share with the people in the surrounding areas. I am certain that moving our neighborhood to Ward 8 would literally be like fencing us off from our family and friends...the damage would be irreparable.

So, as a concerned citizen I ask, humbly and sincerely that we (the we who do not want this to happen) not make this some kind of war on a Councilman or Ward; that only weakens our position and strengthens the position of those who would cause us harm through this proposed redistricting. That kind of distraction is not what we need; we need to keep focus on the issue and not on the players. I fear that if we do not, we will be dismissed as a bunch of whiners and ward 8 haters.

Make phone calls, pay visits to offices, send e-mails, write letters, and sign petitions to those in positions to make the decision to let us remain a part of our neighborhood. And, mobilize your friends, family, and neighbors to do the same. If we concentrate our efforts on explaining our position, we (the voting, taxpaying, and politically aware we) will be heard and taken seriously.


dbrighthaupt says: (5/5/11 4:40 PM)
Yall are funny. Marion w/n be a (your) Councilmember long....what 2 more yrs? There are a growing # of Sect 8 res on my block who don't know the dif between a roof & a home. I loathe sweeping the entire block of bottles, fastfood trash, condoms, drug bags ect. Even though its fairly clear in front of my house/in my yard, I sweep it up anyway. Why? Because the wind blows, the rain washes it to & fro and that trash eventually winds up in/front of my yard. Soooo sooner or later, I'll wind up having to pick up that tossed bottle. You voistrous residents may want to look at it this way: Your active civic participation may help balance W8, umm the leadership face of it [if you will], influence a better outlook for your East River 'neighbor'. Keep thinking you can ignore the trash over here - snub your nose at it - & it could wind up blowing in your faces - ummm your front Navy Yards. I mentioned this to CM Wells some time ago; Economic reasons were not on Marion's agenda at that time.

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