New district lines for local ANC

By the

August 30, 2001

Last week, a task force of 17 local residents voted on new district lines for the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, an organization which serves as the neighborhood’s voice in advising the District government. The residents on the task force were selected by D.C. Councilman Jack Evans.

The redistricting creates a commission with seven single-member districts of about 2,000 residents. The current commission is made up of eight districts.

The vote came down to redistricting plans put forward by Peter Pulsifer, the current chair of the commission, and Commissioners Justin Kopa (CAS ‘03) and Justin Wagner (CAS ‘03).

According to Pulsifer, the goal of redistricting is to put people together that have a common interest. Thus, certain members of the task force wanted to group together all on-campus dorms into two districts.

Wagner said he thought districts should include both on-campus dorms and off-campuses residences wherever possible.

“The best way to improve relations with neighbors is not to wall off the campus from the rest of the community,” Wagner said. “If a district is made up of only one group of people, it won’t be responsive to the other side.”

Pulsifer’s plan, which won the vote, created only one district comprised of solely on-campus dorms, and distributed the rest of the dorms among three other districts.

“One advantage of having one or two on-campus districts is that it would give students a chance to discuss among themselves what their particular issues were rather than having student commissioners focused on how to unite the interests of dorms and off-campus residents,” Pulsifer said.

According to both Pulsifer and Wagner, the redistricting means that students could potentially elect four commissioners they support.

Wagner, who initially thought his plan had been passed, was frustrated by some confusion in the voting process. Though Wagner’s plan received the most first-place votes, it almost received the most last-place votes. The chair of the task force, Grace Bateman, suggested a re-vote which subsequently chose Pulsifer’s plan.

“We didn’t get the worst-case scenario,” Wagner said. “But I am against the principle of redistricting by ghettoizing.”

Wagner does not plan to challenge the vote, though he thought certain residents were considering challenging.

“I feel the process has been stacked against us. We might be fighting a losing battle,” Wagner said.

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