Students Push Back After ANC Redistricting Vote
A plan proposed by the ANC Redistricting co-chairs would create one extra student district, but students wanted two.
A committtee of Georgetown community members voted nine to six in support of an Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) redistricting plan that would create an additional single member district (SMD) assigned to Georgetown University students. However, students would have preferred a plan that proposed two additional SMDs to better represent a large student population in the neighborhood.
ANC Commissioner and Georgetown University student, Jake Sticka, wrote a piece in Greater Greater Washington in which he challenges the fairness and motives of the winning proposal, made by committee co-chairs Ron Lewis, Jennifer Altemus and Lenore Rubino. The three co-chairs also happen to be among the leaders of the neighborhood opposition to the Georgetown University campus plan.
"The proposal represents an affront to DC's redistricting code, will minimize the political participation of Georgetown students in local government, and demonstrates major problems with the ANC redistricting process," wrote Sticka.
According to standards set forth by the Council Chair Kwame Brown and Council member Jack Evans, each SMD should be made up of about 2,000 people, with a 100-person deviation allowed and each SMD "shall be as nearly equal as possible."
Each SMD has a commissioner who sits on the ANC. Currently ANC2E is comprised of seven SMDs, but given growth in population, there was room for a new eighth district.
But according to Sticka, the proposed plan that received the most votes fails to meet the 2,000-person standard. In fact, only one of the eight would be within the preferred size.
Sticka wrote, "the purpose of this size variance seems clear: to ensure that students continue to be under-represented on ANC 2E."
The plan Sticka and five others preferred was known as the "Flanagan proposal" after the Georgetown University student who created it.
The Flanagan proposal would also create a total of eight SMDs, but would increase the number of student-held positions from one to three.
Flanagan's proposal would create three student SMDs in the West Village, look at this map to see his proposed boundaries. At least one of his SMDs would include several blocks of non-student residences.
"With 45 percent of the population, students deserve at least three commissioners," John Flanagan wrote in an email.
But the process was stacked against students he wrote, "all in all, the tone of the debate seemed to dismiss the legitimacy of the student voice."
There is still a chance for a compromise plan to be put forth.
"Residents of ANC 2E should consider speaking out against the co-chairs' proposal, and in favor of Flanagan's. ANC 2E will present the co-chair's plan at its next meeting, on August 29th at 6:30 pm in Georgetown Visitation's Heritage Room. Ron Lewis can be contacted at Ron.Lewis@anc.dc.gov," wrote Sticka.
Should community comment lead to second guessing or offer new insight, the recommended plan could be reconsidered if a majority of the members of the working group request reconsideration by email before Sept. 7.