ANC Redistricting Ahead?

In April, GM forecasted the possible changes to the ANC boundaries that could come as a result of the redistricting process now underway. Well, yesterday the Subcommittee on Redistricting issued guidelines for ANC and SMD redistricting that put more meat on the bones and can start to color in what changes Georgetown could see.

According to the guidelines, each SMD (that’s single member district, or practically speaking the district of each commissioner) ideally must contain 2,000 residents. The SMDs can vary from this ideal measure by 100 residents in either direction. So in other words, each SMD must have between 1,900 and 2,100 residents.

By GM’s calculations, after the last Census, the SMD populations stack up like this:

  • SMD 1 – 2449
  • SMD 2 – 1919
  • SMD 3 – 2037
  • SMD 4 – 3102
  • SMD 5 – 2529
  • SMD 6 – 2308
  • SMD 7 – 2122

Note, SMDs 3 and 1 include several GU dorms, but there is no Census data broken out by dorm. So GM used the dorms’ capacities, which is actually how they did in ten years ago.
As you can plainly see, most of the SMDs are way outside the permissible population boundaries. SMD 4, which is wholly on the campus, has ballooned since 2000 due mostly to the opening of the SW Quad. It must be broken up. So too does SMD 1, 5, 6, and 7.

But it’s obvious that the other SMDs can’t take those residents. The total population with ANC 2E is now 16,466. That means there is an average of 2,352 residents per SMD, so the only way ANC2E can satisfy the requirements is by adding a new SMD, which would bring the average back down to 2,058. (There’s not really an option to simply reduce the size of the ANC itself. The ANC boundaries almost always stay within Ward boundaries, and they generally stay within neighborhood boundaries and natural geographic boundaries, all of which point towards keeping ANC2E the same size)

GM thinks one of the easier solutions would be to take some of the dorms from SMDs 2 and 3 and group them with the rest of the campus to form two SMDs. Then SMD 2 could expand up into Burleith and more into the East Village to bring those SMD’s populations into balance. And SMD 3 could expand into SMD 5 and SMD 6, bring their numbers into balance.

Just a thought.

If you want to serve on the citizens commissions that will be deciding this, you should let Jack Evans office know.



Filed under Government

15 responses to “ANC Redistricting Ahead?

  1. watch what we do over in ward 5. really hoping that we can add 1 or 2 more ANCs, as the 3 that we have right now are large and unwieldy, and don’t conform to neighborhood boundaries in many, many instances (brookland is split between 3 ANCs, for example).

  2. This all brings to mind the time then Mayor Marion Barry and DC Councilperson Polly Shackleton (who lived in Georgetown) changed a redistricting map so that Polly could remain in office (and remain a loyal Barry supporter). It was called “Shackleton’s Sliver” and was a thin line on the map that created just such safe haven for these two. Many people protested, to no avail.

    Residents should be wary that any redistricting doesn’t empower or expand the University’s power on the ANC.

  3. Jacques

    @Dave Roffman:

    When Ed Solomon was leading the community town hall on the campus plan, he addressed most of the ANC Commissioners by “Mr. Jones” or “Mr. Starrels,” while he called 2E04 Commissioner Jake Sticka, “Jack.”

    Not “Jake,” and certainly not “Mr. Sticka,” (though that would have been the respectful and consistent thing to do).

    To say that the University has “power” or even respect on the ANC right now is a bit of a stretch.

  4. RFrank

    Let’s clear this up once and for all. Universities are not residents, they are not supposed to get one commissioner, much less two. Students are not residents, they are seasonal migrant guests, and locust-like ones at that. Why are we giving seats to kids who don’t really live here, whose parents claim them on taxes elsewhere? Next, you’ll want us to let the guests at The Georgetown Inn a vote. It makes about as much sense, and the hotel commissioner would probably care more about the neighborhood.

  5. GM

    Unfortunately there’s a little thing called the Constitution. It happens to say that apportionment shall be on the basis on the Census. The Census says they live here. Ergo, they are residents for the purpose of apportionment.

    If you’ve got a problem with that, take it up with the Census Bureau. Until you convince them to follow the RFrank-interpretation, it’s actually illegal to conduct the apportionment process based on the idea that some Census-counted residents are worth less than others.

  6. RFrank

    Really? It says that in the United States Constitution? Shoot, I must have slept through that part of Con Law back in law school. Let me pull out my pocket copy of the Constitution and check.

    Nope doesn’t look like there’s anything in there about who counts as a resident for ANC SMD purposes, or what the qualifications are for running for an ANC seat, or who can vote in that election. It looks like it doesn’t talk about ANCs at all!

    Rahm Emmanuel can live here for 30 months, stay a Chicago resident, and be eligible to run for mayor of Chicago. Obama can live here for 4 years and still be an Illinois resident. Their elected officials are in Illinois. This is no different. These students are residents of their home states, they vote there, are taxed and registered to drive there. Their elected representatives are there, not in the District. You show me where in the Constitution it says otherwise.

    If seasonal students are residents, then I look forward to seeing the French Embassy ANC commissioner and the Fort McNair commissioner.

  7. RFrank: There’s no need to be snarky and rude, sir. The Census Bureau counts you where you live on April 1, and for students, that’s most likely where they are in college, since classes are in session then.

  8. GM

    Well I took Con Law more recently, so maybe I can fill you in:

    Art. I Sec. 2 Cla. 3:

    “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

    This was superseded by the 14th Amendment:

    “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.”

    Where do those numbers come from? Art I Sec. 2:

    “Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”

    And what law is that? 13 USC 141 which states:

    “The Secretary shall, in the year 1980 and every 10 years thereafter, take a decennial census of population as of the first day of April of such year, which date shall be known as the “decennial census date”, in such form and content as he may determine, including the use of sampling procedures and special surveys. In connection with any such census, the Secretary is authorized to obtain such other census information as necessary.”

    And how does the Census view students?:

    “If you’re not living with your parents during the school year, then no, they should not include you on their census questionnaire. The Census Bureau conducts counts of people where they live and sleep most of the year. Parents should leave students off of their forms, even if they will return to live at home after they leave college. Otherwise, they may be counted twice.”

    And what does that have to do with the ANC? Because a raft of court cases has ruled that the principles that apply to Congressional apportionment also apply to city and state apportionment. The failure to do so is a violation of Equal Protection:

    (See, e.g., Board of Estimate of City of New York v. Morris 489 US 688)

    Where you choose to register to vote, where you register your car, where you pay your taxes, etc., all have nothing to do with the census.

    And you mention Obama? Guess what shows up when you look up Census Tract 62.02, Block Group 1, Block 1031 (i.e. the White House):

    Subject Total 18 years and over
    Number Percent Number Percent
    Total population 5 100.0 3 100.0

    One race 5 100.0 3 100.0
    White 0 0.0 0 0.0
    Black or African American 5 100.0 3 100.0
    American Indian and Alaska Native 0 0.0 0 0.0
    Asian 0 0.0 0 0.0
    Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0 0.0 0 0.0
    Some Other Race 0 0.0 0 0.0
    Two or More Races 0 0.0 0 0.0

    This doesn’t change the fact that the Obamas remain Illinois residents for tax, voting, DMV, etc. purposes.

    Again, if you have a problem with that, take it up with the Census Bureau and the courts which say that the Constitution demands that cities and states use the Census data as collected.

  9. RFrank

    The point is not whether or not they are counted here in the Census. That is a settled matter. But nothing you cited says that students get to make up their own SMD – or two. By the way, 489 US 688 is based on the rationale that “the board… has a significant range of fiscal and legislative functions common to municipal governments, including…” ANCs have none of that. They are DC fabrications like the shadow representatives. Board of Estimate v. Morris and Reynolds v. Sims don’t apply to ANCs any more than they apply to the Metro board or the MWCOG board.

    Even if we accept the idea that ANCs have to be based on Census figures, that says nothing about who is entitled to representation in them. You don’t see Obama demanding an ANC vote. You don’t see the Russian Embassy staff doing that. You don’t see the people stationed at Bolling taking away spots from real neighborhood residents.

    If anything it is a violation of One Man, One Vote to give students representation in multiple jurisdictions simultaneously while the rest of us only get the benefit of representation based on where we actually live.

    Last time I checked, we did not feel compelled to give the DC Jail inmates their own commissioner or two either.

    Dave is right, this redistricting is an opportunity to correct a long-standing error. Just divide up the campus into east-west strips attached to new SMDs 2, 3, 4, and 5. It would not be terrible difficult to break up the campus block and still have enough actual residents in each one to make sure that the commissioner would be a resident and not a one-term university sock puppet. If Shackleton’s Sliver was permissable there would not be a problem with this arrangement either.

  10. GM

    You’re knocking down strawmen. I never said the students have a Constitutionally protected right to have their own SMD, or two. In my post I merely recommended it as an answer to the problem that the current SMDs are completely out of whack. There would be nothing wrong from a Constitutional point of view if the SMDs were drawn in a way to not guarantee a student member or two.

    I brought up the Constitutional point in response to your ill-informed statement that students are not residents for these purposes. You seem to finally accept that as true.

    If you feel that strongly about putting the students in their place, I recommend you volunteer for the redistricting commission. If you don’t feel like participating in the civic process like that, then maybe you can at least learn to respect student commissioners that do and stop insulting them as “sock puppets”.

  11. RFrank

    Yes I am perfectly well aware of how the system works now. My point is that nothing says it HAS TO be this way. Certainly not the US Constitution, as you so hilariously claim. Diplomats are also counted in the Census and they don’t even count as residents of this country.

    ANC rules are made by the City Council. It could amend or even abolish them by a simple majority vote, if it wanted to. Nothing unconstitutional about that.

    I would volunteer for the redistricting commission but we just put our home up for sale. Years of living next to the university’s shrieking, puking, vandalizing little externalities has taken too great a toll on my wife’s and my physical and mental health. We cannot take the risk that this campus plan gets approved.

    The student ANC can have my respect when he does something other than mindlessly parrot the talking points handed him by the university. That is all any of them have ever done. The university can easily coerce them if they stray from the script.

  12. GM

    The problem is that you don’t perfectly understand. For one thing, the ANCs were created by the Home Rule charter, so it would take an amendment to abolish them, not a simple majority vote of the Council.

    And further, you don’t seem to perfectly understand that the courts have ruled that Constitutional protections apply to the ANC. In fact, they ruled specifically about the Georgetown ANC over the exact issue of students. Read the Westy Byrd decisions if you don’t believe me.

    And more fundamentally, you don’t seem to perfectly understand how the ANC actually works. Rather than coming up with more and more creative analogies to criticize off campus behavior, you could ask Ron Lewis whether he would sign on to your simple minded description of the contributions that students like Jake Sticka, Aaron Golds, Jenna Lowenstein, and others, have made to the ANC. Any objective and actually informed observer would conclude that to the extent the students express any opinion on the commission, it’s consistent with the interests of the students. Is it also consistent with the interests of the school? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I know that because I actually go to all the meetings and have frequent conversations with the commissioners.

    Best of luck selling your house. We can at least agree that you hired the right broker.

  13. anthony grat

    lulz @rfrank

  14. Jake Sticka

    Hey rfrank. Jake Sticka here. If you would ever like to discuss how I see my role on the ANC, how students contribute to this community, or why it is critically important that students have representation in their local government, I would be happy to sit down with you and chat (my contact information is publicly available on the ANC website). I’ve extended this offer to student critics before, but unfortunately never been taken up on it.

  15. Pingback: The Morning Metropolitan | The Georgetown Metropolitan

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