Final proposal for DC’s new department boundaries is up for vote

Welcome to the Re-district of Columbia!

The DC Council’s subcommittee on redistricting yesterday issued a map of new proposed ward boundaries. Subcommittee, chaired by a large council member Elissa Silverman, announced the changes to DC’s eight divisions as part of an imposed restructuring. Washingtonians were to be divided into boundaries of 86,193 inhabitants, plus or minus 5 percent.

Three wards fall outside the resident requirements. Sections 7 and 8 should grow, while Sections 6 should shrink.

“We needed to cultivate sections 7 and 8. Either we both grew across the river or at least one,” Silverman said during a presentation of the new map. “There just are not enough people to have two branches east of Anacostia without crossing.”

One of the most significant changes proposed by the redistribution subcommittee is that section 8, a low-income area, the majority of black, should absorb the Navy Yard, a wealthy neighborhood on the other side of the Anacostia River with luxury apartments where you can rent and Tesla. The subcommittee’s proposal underscores that the new addition will add racial diversity, but “does not dilute the voting power of Ward 8’s black residents.”

Ward 7’s push across the Anacostia River would expand into the Hill East neighborhood by dividing along 15th Street SE and part of C Street SE and Potomac Ave SE.

One of the most important changes that the final proposal makes from an earlier rendering is to move Kingman Park from Ward 7 to Ward 6, and reunite with the Rosedale neighborhood. The proposal says it has made this choice because the neighborhoods “make up the only majority of black neighborhoods on Capitol Hill, and the subcommittee felt it was important to listen to resident voices who wanted to reunite those communities in Section 6.”

Other changes include:

  • Parts of the Shaw and Mount Vernon Triangle will be moved from Section 6 to Section 2.
  • Division 5 would lose the Armed Forces Retirement Home to Division 1.
  • A few blocks of Section 6 would be given to Section 1 along S Street NW.

The boundaries of Sections 3 and 4 do not change.

Opinions about the new cards have already begun to circulate. Community organizer group Strength DC tweeted that even though Ward 8 would include the Navy Yard, the area should still see the same amount of attention to social programs for its majority-black residents.

“Adding gentrified Navy Yard to Department 8 will change the department’s median income, unemployment rates, etc. – but will not significantly change the conditions for [people] in the church that is experiencing poverty and must not be used to justify reduced investment targeting their needs. “

The redistribution subcommittee will vote on this proposed redistribution today at 15. The General Council is likely to debate and vote on the new departmental boundaries on 7 and 21 December.

Bailey Vogt (tips? bvogt@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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By Ambar Castillo and Bailey Vogt (tips? acastillo@washingtoncitypaper.com and bvogt@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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