Now that DC's Ward lines have been redrawn, each Ward Councilmember has appointed a task force to draw ANC lines therein. In Ward 6, former ANC6A Chair Joe Fengler is leading the taskforce, which also includes a number of other former ANC Commissioners including Cody Rice, Ken Jarboe, and Raphael Marshall. Fengler is holding a series of listening sessions and has started a blog to promote dialogue and transparency.
Because Ward 6's lines were redrawn during the redistricting process a certain amount of change to ANC lines seems inevitable. ANC6A Commissioner Ronneberg has produced a serious proposed map for consideration. His proposal would reunite H Street under a single ANC.
H Street has historically been under one ANC, but was split a decade ago amidst allegations of corruption within its then ANC. Since that time, ANC6A has come to be known as one of the city's very best and has received particular praise for its use of citizen staffed committees and through its use of a standard voluntary agreement, which is the model for negotiations with all liquor license applicants. As Ronneberg explains it, it reunites H Street and seeks to keep major commerical corridors together while maintaning Commissions that consist of 7-9 Commissioners, as recommended by the Task Force. Both goals are laudable and worthy of support.
We endorse the concept of reuniting H Street. It makes little sense that neighbors on one side of 8th Street NE have no say in matters occuring on the other side nor does it make sense for different rules to be applied on either side of it. Nor does it make sense for restaurants east of 8th Street to sign standard volunntary agreements with ANC6A and have them posted publicly on the ANC website, while those west of H Street may or may not have signed any agreements and whatever agreement was signed is not made available to the public and the nearby residents. Furthermore, a reunited H Street ANC would likely promote better attendance at Committee and Commission meetings. As it stands currently, a resident intersted in attending a comittee hearing about a restaurant opening at 7th & H Street NE would have to head to 2nd & L Street NW to attend a community meeting on whether to support a liqour license application. Residents shouldn't have to walk over a mile and a half to get to a meeting about a new business opening a block north of them.
Ronneberg's proposal has met mixed reviews from some in the eastern parts of the Ward. We're somewhat surprised by this as we think there's a good argument that eastern parts of the Ward could benefit from having an ANC focused on seeing Reservation 13, the Stadium site, and Benning Road development move ahead. Drawing ANC lines that don't include Hill East in ANC6A or ANC6B does not mean that those who live closer to the river are no longer welcome to spend much of their money at local businesses on H Street or Barracks Row, it just means that they have their own ANC and that the ANCs that vote on uses of space on those commercial corridor consist of those who live in greater proximity to the sites.
The next public meeting on Ward 6 ANC redistricting is Wednesday, August 3, at 6:30 p.m., at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library (1630 7th St NW). At this meeting, the Task Force plans to discuss the first draft of ANC/SMD boundaries. If you agree that it is time to reunite H Street and the residents who live along the corridor in one ANC, you are encouraged to attend and participate.