"Radical" ANC Redistricting Would Move Francis Field Out of ANC-2A
Community Meeting to Discuss Will Be Held March 10 at 6:30 pm by Zoom
Updated: March 5, 2022.
Draft plans for the required redistricting of the District's Advisory Neighborhood Commissions have become contentious in the D.C. Council's volunteer "task force" for Ward 2, which is filing drafts of maps and plans.
The most controversial of the several plans presented so far was one drawn by volunteer James Harnett, a former ANC-2A commissioner and member of the task force. This plan, shown in part at right, would separate the entire West End, remove it from ANC-2A, and make the Francis Field area one of five districts in the "Sheridan-Kalorama" ANC-2D.
That plan was termed "a radical change" by Robert Meehan, a Dupont Circle member of the Ward 2 task force. "I would never support that," he added during the group's March 1 meeting. "We can't be ripping apart neighborhoods."
Redistricting of the ANCs, by District law, occurs every ten years after the federal census to achieve districts with relatively equal population.
Joel Causey, who represents the Francis Field area as commissioner in our 2A02 district, states that the Harnett plan "would split off the West End from Foggy bottom," which he, too, opposes. Although not a member of the task force, he has filed his own plan, as anyone is allowed to do.
Another volunteer member of the task force is Barbara Kahlow, a Foggy Bottom resident who has worked on three previous, decennial redistictings. Her plan and Causey's differ slightly, but both would retain the neighborhoods much the way they are today, with one district added to ANC-2A because of its population growth.
Causey, who was elected the chair of ANC-2A at its February meeting, has called a special meeting, via Zoom, for March 10 so that residents may express their views on redistricting. Each person who wants to speak will be allowed three minutes.
The Zoom coordinates for the March 10 meeting can be found on the ANC-2A website at this page: https://www.anc2a.org/single-post/anc-2a-to-host-community-meeting-regarding-redistricting-process.
West End residents are encouraged to attend the meeting by Zoom and oppose any plan to move parts of the West End neighborhood into another ANC jurisdiction.
Another plan, filed by Phyllis Klein, a Dupont Circle resident who helped task force members use the new mapping software, would move Francis Field and the building at 2501 M Street out of ANC-2A, and into Dupont Circle's ANC-2B.
It is shown at right, and currenty is listed among the submissions as "Scenario 3c" without any author's name. What is now part of Causey's single-member district 2A02—including Francis Field—would become district 2B06 in Dupont Circle's ANC in that scenario.
The software used as a mapping tool adds up the census counts for the census blocks selected, but it cannot split a pre-determined block.
The Council has issued guidelines that "split blocks" be avoided. In plans going back at least as far as 1992, the center line of N Street NW was the dividing line between the Foggy Bottom/West End ANC and the Dupont Circle ANC. Thus, the Francis Swimming pool was partially located in both. The Francis Junior High School, now Francis Stevens School, was in Dupont's ANC-2B, and Francis Field was in the West End portion of ANC-2A.
"Scenario 3c" puts the school, the pool, and the field together in ANC-2B. The Causey plan puts them together in ANC-2A. The Kahlow plan would leave things the way they are. Her plan, as shown in the detail at left, would split the block, but move part of the dividing line south of N Street, giving the Dupont ANC the entire swimming pool.
"I don't want to grab anyone else's neighborhood," she told the task force on March 1. But she added that ANC-2A would accept the school and pool if ANC-2B would part with them.
On the maps, the second set of numbers in the labels for the districts is the population of the districts as drawn, and is based on the 2020 federal census.
The District Council had given the task forces the guidance that population for single-member districts should stay in the range of 1,900 to 2,100 residents.
A detail of Causey's map is also shown at right, and contemplates putting the school, pool, and field in his single-member district, 2A02.
Anyone may draw up and submit a plan. The "Ward 2 Redistricting Task Force" is maintaining a Google Docs site where it keeps its notes on the process.
The office of Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto is keeping a Dropbox site for maps and plans that have been submitted. It can be accessed at the ANC Redistricting Taskforce page on Pinto's website, along with the names of the task force members, and other information.
The Harnett, Kahlow, Scenario 3c, and Causey plans can all be found there, in their submitted formats. A schedule of future meetings is also posted there.
The Ward 2 redistricting task force is expected to complete its work by March 31 and then submit its recommendations to the D.C. Council's Subcommittee on Redistricting.
Note: The current boundaries of ANC-2A and its eight single-member districts can be found on the Commission's website.