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21 Blog Posts Since 2003
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Presidential election not exciting enough for you? Lack of a mayor's race got you down? Need a bigger fix than just a council chair contest? Then you're in luck, because there will be Advisory Neighborhood Commission elections this November, as there are every two years.
The process kicks off Monday (July 9), when interested candidates can pick up nominating petitions at the DC Board of Elections. If candidates-to-be can round up signatures by Aug. 8 of at least 25 registered voters in the single member districts (SMDs) they wish to represent, and survive through the petition challenge period Aug. 11-20, they'll be on the ballot on Nov. 6. Candidates must be registered voters themselves and have lived in the SMD since June 9.
The biggest change for this go-round is there will now be two SMDs covering Near Southeast, necessitated by the swelling of the neighborhood's population well past the legislated SMD size of 2,000 plus or minus five percent. The map at right matches the final boundaries as signed into law, at least for Near Southeast (it shows what Tommy Wells submitted to the council to be the 6D SMD boundaries).
The changes? SMD 6D07 (shown in purple blue), the current Near Southeast district represented by David Garber that has long covered most everything east of South Capitol and south of the the freeway to 11th Street, has a big chunk taken out of it along South Capitol Street South of I and north of Potomac. That part of the neighborhood will now be in SMD 6D02 (dark green), currently represented by Southwest resident Cara Shockley, and it also includes areas of Southwest north of M Street and west of South Capitol. (The folks who live on or east of 7th Street SE north of M continue to be represented by ANC 6B04.)
So, If you live in Jefferson/Axiom, Onyx, Capitol Quarter, or the Foundry Lofts, or plan on moving into the Park Chelsea or any new buildings at the Yards or Florida Rock over the next 10 years, you are still in 6D07.
Residents of 909 New Jersey, Capitol Hill Tower, Velocity, and any buildings that might pop up in the blocks north of Nationals Park by 2022 will be voting in 6D02.
If you're looking to run and you pick up nominating petitions, feel free to drop me a line to let me know. And I imagine I will write about the races from time to time.
Comments (5)
More posts: ANC News, politics, redistricting
 

Today the council's Subcommittee on Redistricting is holding a hearing (watch live!) on the proposals for new ANC and single-member district boundaries. Late on Monday night, proposed maps for all eight wards were posted, with the Ward 6 maps being exactly the ones that the Ward 6 Task Force submitted back in September. However, a Twitter discussion with Tommy Wells's chief of staff has indicated that the task force maps are not what Tommy forwarded to the subcommittee, and Charles Allen was nice enough to pass along the ANC 6D portion of Tommy's map, seen below on the left, alongside the task force's recommended map (both can be clicked to enlarge):
(The colors don't match up, so beware.) The two biggest differences for Near Southeast are that 1) 6D02 stretches all the way down to Nationals Park as part of its cross-South Capitol boundary, and 2) a pretty obvious notch has been drawn that happens to allow current 6D07 commissioner David Garber to remain within the SMD covering the vast majority of Near Southeast. (The populations of the block where Garber lives and the Capitol Hill Tower block are nearly identical, so a New Jersey Avenue boundary would have been easy enough to use, except that then Garber would be in an SMD with another sitting commissioner--and also wouldn't get to rule over more than about 15 blocks of Near Southeast.)
We'll see what transpires at the hearing. Watch for updates here and on Twitter. And now the Ward 6 Task Force has posted all of Tommy's maps for 6D. (You can also read my many previous posts on the SMD redistricting process over the past few months.)
Comments (1)
More posts: ANC News, politics, redistricting
 

At the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force's meeting on Sept. 22, final recommendations for ANC and SMD boundaries were approved, and the 6D map they are recommending remains close to their original draft proposal, despite 6D's request for substantial changes.
I'm not going to talk about the changes in western Southwest, but you can see on the two maps below the large differences close to and east of South Capitol Street between what the task force is recommending (left) and what the ANC wanted (right) (click to enlarge):
(Task Force final recommendation on left, ANC proposal on right. 6D02 is green, 6D03 purple, 6D07 fuschia)
The task force's original recommendation in August (very similar to the map above left) was for 6D02 to come across South Capitol Street into Southeast, covering the area bounded by I, New Jersey, and N. Then 6D07 would cover the rest of Near Southeast (except for the small cut-out on the northeastern side, which has been and will continue to be in ANC 6B). This would mean that 6D07/Near Southeast commissioner David Garber's current address would no longer be in 6D07 but instead in 6D02, where commissioner Cara Shockley also still resides under the new boundaries.
This, with a number of other changes that the 6D commissioners disapproved of, moved them to proffer their own map (above right), which kept 6D02 all in Southwest and instead expanded chair Ron McBee's 6D03 SMD across South Capitol, in such a way that Garber's block would remain in 6D07. (It also had 6D07 coming west across South Capitol for one small block, bounded by South Capitol, M, Carrollsburg, and N.) Cara Shockley vehemently disapproved of this map at the commission's September meeting, while Garber did not vote on it (citing what he described as his constituents' desire to be instead be a part of ANC 6B).
I was not at the task force's Sept. 22 meeting, but the ANC's arguments do not appear to have held much sway, and the final 6D map being recommended by the task force (above left) is very similar to the original draft map, at least in terms of how it handles blocks east of South Capitol.
The task force will be meeting again on Monday, Sept. 26 at 6:30 pm at 1100 4th St. SW (DCRA hearing room) to approve the report that will "include the narrative to explain the recommendations as well as the required text description of the ANC/SMD boundaries." That report and the maps will then be submitted to Tommy Wells on Sept. 28, who will then submit Ward 6 redistricting recommendations to the council on Sept. 30.
UPDATE: Guess it wouldn't hurt to include a link to the current 6D SMD boundaries.
Comments (6)
More posts: ANC News, redistricting
 

The Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force blog has posted ANC 6D's formal recommendations on redistricting, approved at Monday's meeting, with the changes I laid out previously.
UPDATE: Also now posted, 6B's formal recommendations, with no mention of Near Southeast's remaining in 6D instead of moving to 6B.
Comments (0)
More posts: ANC News, redistricting,
 

First, a reminder that Wednesday Sept. 14 brings the Public Scoping Meeting for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project. This is a "we want to hear what YOU think!" meeting, so there will be no presentations of actual plans for the construction. It will just be an open house with information on what exists and what needs to be done, and a chance for interested parties to submit their feedback to DDOT and the FHWA. The meeting is from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Van Ness Elementary School; you can read more about the meeting in my post from last month. There's also the official web site, and this flyer from the newly formed Concerned Citizens of Virginia Avenue that makes clear their opinion on what's to come. Additional meetings where CSX will finally provide some specifics on their designs and plans should come later this fall.
As for doings at Monday night's ANC 6D meeting beyond the Metro station renaming items I already wrote about:
* Capper Time Extensions: The commission voted 7-0 to support the request for two-year extensions on two planned Capper apartment buildings and the office building planned for 600 M Street, which is also part of the Capper redevelopment. (I hadn't realized that 600 M was part of this request when I wrote my entry last week.) This would push the planned start dates for these three projects into the late 2013-early 2014 time frame.
As is usually the case with any Capper issue in front of the commission, Chairman McBee brought up the delayed community center, which Housing Authority representatives said should get its needed $7.4 million in funding when a new bond issuance happens later this year, and a building permit should be filed for in advance of the July 2012 deadline. As is also most always the case with Capper issues, the commission also wanted statistics and information on the former residents of the project, and whether they are being tracked and worked with. The DCHA reps said that 129 residents have returned to Capper, with another 550 on the waiting list, though some of those have turned down recently completed units for various issues (not wanting a walkup, etc.). This is with about half of the required 707 public housing units already constructed.
This extension was to have been heard by the Zoning Commission on Monday night, but since the ANC had not yet had a chance to weigh in, the applicants agreed with a request to delay action until the Zoning Commission's Sept. 26 meeting. If you want to know more, you can read my entry from last week (no need to write it all again!).
* Redistricting: The ANC proffered an alternate Single Member District map from what the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force has proposed. It tweaks the proposed boundaries in a way that moves current commissioner David Garber's building and the 70/100 I buildings back into 6D07 (along with the small block in Southwest bordered by South Capitol, M, N, and Carrollsburg Place), while placing Capitol Hill Tower, 909 New Jersey, and Velocity in 6B03, which reaches across South Capitol from Southwest. (The proposed SMDs that cover Near Southeast are in my quickie map at right.) Commissioner Cara Shockley, whose 6D02 was altered substantially from what the task force had proposed (it would have covered the portion of Near Southeast now given to 6D03, along with 70/100 I and Onyx, but not CHT), told the commission she was completely opposed to the new boundaries, and had no idea that such a big change was being proposed by the ANC, having been unable to open the attachments with the map images. David Garber took no official position on 6D's map, saying that because his constituents have made clear that they feel Near Southeast belongs in 6B and not 6D he would not be voting. In the end, the ANC supported the resolution offering up the alternate map in a 4-1-2 vote, with Garber and Bob Craycraft abstaining and Shockley voting against.
The task force's next public meeting is on Sept. 19 to propose the second draft of SMD boundaries, followed by a final meeting to approve their final draft maps on Sept. 22. Tommy Wells will then submit recommendations on boundaries to the city council by Sept. 30. For more on all the redistricting process, see my previous entries.
 

The Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force has released its initial redistricting report, which includes the proposed ANC and Single Member District boundaries approved at the Aug. 8 task force meeting. These are not final, and now will go through a months' worth of meetings with all Ward 6 ANCs to allow for recommendations for any changes from the commissions and other affected groups.
Here's the proposed Ward 6D SMD boundaries (at right). As I've mentioned ad nauseum, there was no way Near Southeast was going to remain as one SMD, and in the new map it's split into two districts, with 6D07 now comprising almost all of the neighborhood, while the area right around M Street west of New Jersey Avenue has been melded into the 6D02 single member district that covers the northeastern section of Southwest.
Given the population layout of the neighborhood, there isn't really any alternative in order to hit the target range of 1,900-2,100 residents per single member district other than creating a boundary that includes Capitol Quarter, Capitol Hill Tower, and 70/100 I, which gives a population of 2,091. (If you try to swap 70/100 I for the blocks with Onyx, Velocity, and 909 New Jersey, you end up with only 1,791 residents.)
There does seem to have been an attempt to keep as much of the neighborhood in one SMD as possible, with the proposed 6D07 including the baseball stadium and Florida Rock, though the areas just north of the ballpark (where the Akridge and Monument Half Street projects are proposed) would be in the SE/SW 6D02 district.
If these boundaries are approved, it sets up a very interesting situation for current 6D commissioners. David Garber, who has ruled over all but a smidge of Near Southeast since being elected in 2010, lives on a block that would now be in the new 6D02 SMD spanning South Capitol Street; the existing 6D02, all in Southwest, is currently represented by Cara Shockley, also elected in 2010. Whoever would represent the bulk of Near Southeast in these new boundaries could not live at Onyx, Velocity, or 909 New Jersey.
The Ward 6 redistricting task force will be at the Sept. 12 ANC 6D meeting to discuss the proposed boundaries and to receive comments. There is still a possibility that there could be a reversal and Near Southeast could move to ANC 6B (the Capitol Hill ANC), and the task force's report included the not-adopted map for 6B that shows Near Southeast as part of a 12-SMD commission. This would keep much of Near Southeast in one district, with Canal Park, Capitol Quarter, and blocks right by the freeway except for 70/100 I paired with a few blocks north of the freeway in another district. The task force meets with 6B to get its recommendations on Sept. 13.
There will then be a Sept. 19 meeting to consider all recommendations received as a result of their initial redistricting maps, to then come up with a final recommendation to be forwarded to Tommy Wells by the end of September.
If you want to know more (including how to make your feelings known, if you have any), the task force web site is chock full of information. And you can play with my interactive Ward 6 census map if you want to try to make your own SMDs that fit the 1,900-2,100 population range.
Comments (0)
More posts: ANC News, redistricting
 

At a meeting on Monday night, the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force voted 4-3 to keep Near Southeast in ANC 6D, which also includes (almost?) all of Southwest, rather than moving it to ANC 6B, which includes most of southern and eastern Capitol Hill. If this sounds like something I've already posted, it kind of is, because last week the task force voted to create ANC boundaries that would keep Near Southeast in 6D, but had left open for another vote whether those boundaries should be tweaked to move Near Southeast to 6B.
I was not there, but tweets from attendees indicated that it was a vote that came down to wanting to listen to the many residents of Near Southeast who advocated being moved to ANC 6B versus not wanting 6B to be a 12-member commission if that move were to have happened. (A poll on the task force web site shows a nearly even split between people wanting Near Southeast moved to 6B versus keeping it in 6D; the comments thread on the subject also became a bit of a war between residents supporting the switch and mostly Southwest residents wanting Near Southeast to stay in 6D.)
But this is still not the final decision on the matter. The task force will include the unapproved move to 6B in the initial task force proposal "as an information item." The decisions the task force makes are not binding--ward redistricting task forces report to their council members, who can then tweak the proposal if they wish, and then the entire council votes on the proposed new maps. The Ward 6 task force will be attending ANC meetings in September to present their proposal and get feedback, and then will meet again on Sept. 19 before making their final recommendations.
As for how ANC 6D with Near Southeast remaining will be divided into seven single member districts, I was hoping that the task force would post its maps before I got around to writing this, but alas, no. (They say they hope to have the maps posted sooner than their Aug. 18 date for posting their entire initial report.) Unless they plan to stray from the guidelines that look to have SMDs drawn with populations of between 1,900 and 2,100, some portion(s) of the western part of Near Southeast will be part of an SMD with blocks across South Capitol Street, in Southwest.
If you want to try to come up with your own way to divvy up the 14,359 residents of Southwest into seven SMDs, you can play with my redistricting map. It will let you create up to three SMDs on one map, by clicking on the map to choose one set of blocks, then clicking the "Show Map with Selected Blocks Highlighted" link, then repeating those steps two more times.
But hopefully the proposed map from the task force will be posted soon.
And now back to my mini-break.
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More posts: ANC News, redistricting
 

On Wednesday night, the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force approved new boundaries for five ANCs in Ward 6, with a map that keeps Near Southeast together, and keeps it in ANC 6D. However, it also included, as an "option for additional research," preparing Single Member District options that both keep Near Southeast as part of 6D (the Southwest ANC) or move it to 6B (the Capitol Hill ANC).
The committee will have a meeting on Aug. 8 at 6:30 pm to discuss this option along with two other options they are mulling elsewhere in the ward, and have posted on their blog polls for residents to vote on the options under consideration.
Before Wednesday's vote, Near Southeast's current ANC commissioner David Garber sent an open letter to the task force, indicating that his consituents have made clear that their interests lie with the areas north of the freeway where so many of them eat and shop: "As much as we are similarly scaled and share interests with the Southwest community, residents of Near Southeast simply do not associate with that community in the same way they do with Capitol Hill." And, along with this, he says that residents have made very clear that Near Southeast should not get split between the two ANCs. Garber has also started imploring his constituents (on his mailing list and Facebook page) to make their feelings known to the task force.
The numbers portion of this discussion is worth looking at--right now, ANC 6D07's 2,737 census-counted residents make up 18.8 percent of ANC 6D's population of 14,359. if you move all of those 2,737 residents out of 6D, that leaves the Southwest ANC with 11,622 residents, which will give it only six commissioners, and the layout of the neighborhood would make for a tough set-up to have all the single-member districts reflect the desired 2,000-count population, or even the 1,900 low-end-of-the-range target.
If you move those 2,737 residents to 6B, it ends up with 22,954 residents, which again will make for some interesting decisions on SMD population counts, and would also make 6B at least an 11-SMD ANC, compared to the other Ward 6 ANCs having as few as five or up to nine commissioners. It would also mean that Near Southeast would make up 11.9 percent of 6B's population.
It's also possible the task force could still decide to divvy up Near Southeast between the two ANCs, with the Capitol Quarter area being split off to join an SMD north of the freeway. This decision would keep ANC 6D at seven commissioners and would make the numbers easier to manage in creating new SMDs 6B. (And would then give 16 commissioners from other neighborhoods in two ANCs a whole lot of power over the future of Near Southeast!)
And even if the task force keeps the "status quo," with 6D's boundaries remaining unchanged (which would seem to have been their initial inclination, given Wednesday night's vote), there's still the question of whether an SMD will span South Capitol Street to include portions of both Near Southeast and Southwest, or if the task force will decide to allow for SMDs with fewer than 1,900 residents, which could possibly give Near Southeast two commissioners and raise 6D's total to eight.
Lots of decisions coming down the pike. But, judging by the utter lack of reader interest in my posts on this subject (looking at the dismal traffic numbers and lack of comments compared to other topics I write about, and in comparison to the outcry that erupted when the possibility of moving Near Southeast to Ward 8 was floated), perhaps most residents don't see ANC boundaries and SMD locations as an issue that effects them one way or the other.
UPDATE: The task force has a new post up as a place to specifically take comments on where Near Southeast should be placed.
Comments (9)
More posts: ANC News, redistricting
 

The task force put together by Tommy Wells to propose new boundaries for all of Ward 6's Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and their Single Member Districts will be coming to ANC 6D on Thursday night (July 28), for a "listening meeting" at 6:30 pm in the DCRA Hearing Room (E200) at 1100 4th St. SW.
Now posted on their blog is a series of questions that task force chair Joe Engler is asking to "account for the 'sense' of where residents associate their daily living." Among the questions:
* "Do the residents living around the baseball stadium believe their community "core" is located in: (a) Barracks Row, (b) Waterfront Mall, (c) both, and/or (d) neither?" (There is also a poll widget on the site where you can vote on this question.)
* "Is the freeway the proper east-west dividing line? For example, is there an opportunity to create SMD that use the Third, Fourth, Sixth and Eighth streets tunnels to "connect" the residents on both sides of the freeway?"
* "Should large residential buildings or complexes be dispersed among multiple SMDs?"
* "While needing to build SMDs with a population of 2,000 residents - are there any creative ways to account for the hidden census? Either those people that are now living in ANC 6D (around the baseball stadium for example) that were not there at the time of the census. Or those empty buildings or pending constructions that will drive a significant increase in density over the next few years?"
The last question is an interesting one, given that the census numbers come from April 1, 2010, and certainly another couple hundred residents have moved in since then. And with phase 2 of the Capitol Quarter townhouses moving along, the Yards' Foundry Lofts building about to start leasing, and likely construction of new residential buildings at 401 M, 880 New Jersey, Florida Rock, and along Half Street within the next five years, any SMDs drawn in Near Southeast based on 2010 numbers are going to balloon well past the target population size of between 1,900 and 2,100 residents. At the kick-off task force meeting a few weeks back, attendees were told that the 2,000-plus-or-minus-five-percent is not a legislated requirement, but is a goal, and that the task force can choose to have non-conforming SMD sizes if they feel it is necessary. But it was also clear that some of the task force members consider non-conforming SMDs a no-no, especially if they're used to take into account populations not reflected in the census numbers
As for the "core community" question, a new map suggested by ANC 6A02 commissioner Drew Ronneberg (but not endorsed by the task force) shows all of Near Southeast in a new ANC 6B, pairing the neighborhood with Barracks Row as its "core." Southwest would then be on its own in 6D, west of South Capitol Street.
You can use my interactive Ward 6 map to play with the numbers, especially if you want to see how keeping all of Near Southeast in 6D is a pretty tough nut to crack if the 1,900-2,100 population targets are inviolate. But then the question becomes whether the neighborhood gets split between 6D and 6B, or moved completely to 6B.
Somewhere far down the road, of course, Near Southeast when built out could be its own ANC, but in the meantime the realities of the numbers mean that it has to be grouped with either a large number of Southwest SMDs or a large number of southern Capitol Hill SMDs. Which one do you think makes more sense?
The meeting will run for 90 minutes, with time alloted for public input by ANC chairs/commissioners, community and neighborhood organizations, business and merchant associations, residents, and business owners; there will be a sign-in sheet for those wishing to speak. Written statements and comments will also be accepted at the meeting, or by e-mail for up to three days after the meeting (ward6rd@gmail.com).
The task force is scheduled to propose its first draft of new boundaries at a public meeting on Aug. 8, then forwarding the official draft to the ANCs on Aug. 18. The final draft would then go to Tommy Wells on Sept. 26.
Or, if you don't want anything to do with an ANC "listening meeting" Thursday evening, you can go on Tommy Wells's South Capitol Street Bike Ride, scheduled for exactly the same time as the redistricting session. Representatives from DDOT, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, and Black Women Bike will be joining community members from Ward 6 and Ward 8 to discuss issues that affect pedestrians and cyclists on both sides of the river, focusing on improvements that can be had in the design of the future Douglass Bridge, which already calls for far wider sidewalks than the current bridge.
Either way, you'll probably still be able to make the showing of West Side Story at Tingey Plaza at 8:45 pm. Stay cool, boy!
Comments (0)
More posts: ANC News, politics, redistricting
 

* It's not as slick and ultra-cool as SOME online redistricting tools, but with huge thanks to Cody Rice for getting the data in order, I've built a rudimentary Ward 6 Census Block Population Map. Right now it's mainly just for clicking on a bunch of blocks and having the populations tallied for you (and you can then have a URL to send to someone showing just those blocks). I will be continuing to tinker with it, so we'll see what additional options I add in. It's a bit of a beast, so be prepared for slow loading.
The Ward 6 Task Force on Redistricting has now set up a blog, and has started its "listening sessions" in each ANC. They'll be having their ANC 6D meeting on July 28 at 6:30 pm in the DCRA Hearing Room at 1100 4th St., SW. The ANC 6B meeting (which may also be of interest to folks south of the freeway, given the realities of the numbers) is on Aug. 1 at 6:30 pm at St. Coletta's School, 1901 Independence Ave., SE.
* For those wondering about the lack of progress on the Little Red Building version 2.0 (the former Star Market on the northwest corner of 2nd and L, next to the Courtyard by Marriott), the new building permits finally came through last week, and the owner tells me that construction should be starting again soon. He says the new Lot 38 Espresso should be open in three months, though he hopes it's sooner.
* DDOT posted a way cool set of photos from the construction of the 11th Street Bridges back in 1963-1964. For some reason, a series of photos first showing what an area looked like before construction, then documenting the construction itself, speak to me....
* The BID reports on the Dalai Lama's visit to the Yards Park last weekend.
 
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