By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.
Well, reporting on the recent studies on cost of living and parking has prompted followers on Twitters to accuse me of being on drugs.
Look, I just report the news as I see fit, and I try to let you decide the veracity of the reports and my reporting. So if the haters are going to hate, chew on this: according to the 2010 census, DC experienced the fastest population growth in the nation. This ‘sketchy fact’ is brought to you by Social Studies DC. It’s not clear how that math was calculated, but Mayor Gray’s office reported the same infoback in December. (And no, I am not on drugs. Wine, well, then I plead the Fifth.)
Besides, have you noticed all the new condo and rental buildings that have gone up in Logan, U Street and now Shaw in the past few years? The population boom is all around us, if you live in this neighborhood. Check out the related posts below, if you don’t believe me.
A lot of the growth was right here in the Borderstan area, with Ward 2’s population increasing 16% from 2000 to 2010, while Ward 1’s population grew by 4%, most of that in the U Street corridor.
Great Wall Szechuan House Getting Major Revamp
No, the Great Wall of China is not getting a makeover! But, first the important news regarding the major dining room revamp at Great Wall Szechuan House on 14th Street NW: The kitchen is open and they are making deliveries (verified by Borderstan Thursday night). The very basic, plain dining room is getting a total makeover and a member of the restaurant’s staff said they hope to reopen for in-house dining by early January, if not before.
Evans Introduces Promoter Regulation Act
DC Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) introduced a bill to promote safety at events organized and sponsored by promoters. The press release from Evans’ office says The Reimbursable Detail Expansion & Promoter Regulation Act of 2011 would direct the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) to create uniform regulations governing promoters who organize and sponsor events in the District.
In addition, the bill would impact participation in the Metropolitan Police Department’s reimbursable detail program by requiring certain establishments to pay for adequate security unless they are granted an exemption by ABRA. For events involving promoters, extra security would be mandatory. The bill introduction comes a few weeks after the tragic shooting of Jhonte Coleman at a private event organized by a promoter and held at the Heritage India restaurant, just south of Dupont Circle.
Income Gaps Persists Along Racial Lines in DC
The Washington Post reports on new Census data that shows income disparity between whites and blacks in DC has widened over the years, while suburban counties have seen a narrowing of the gap. In 2010 DC whites earned $3.06 for every $1.00 in black income. Earlier this year, census figures showed that the African American population in the District dropped below 50 percent for the first time in decades. Experts quoted in the Post story cite the black middle class flight to the suburbs and the increase in young, professional whites moving to the city as the reason for the persistent income gap.
Earlier this year the results of the 2010 Decennial Census were released and headlines across the region announced the first increase in DC’s population since 1950.
Across the country, government officials and politicians have been dissecting the data from the 2010 Census to determine new political boundaries based on population shifts. Locally, DC’s eight wards are required by statute to adjust their boundaries so Council members from each ward represent roughly the same number of people.
Closer to home in the Borderstan neighborhoods of Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and U Street, the population change in Dupont was flat, while Logan and U Street saw significant gains in residents. This was not particularly surprising since Dupont saw its building boom in the 1980s and 1990s, while the push to Logan and U Street did not pick up steam until 2000.
Proposed Maps before City Council: ANC 2B/Dupont‘s internal boundaries shifted only a bit with no new seats; ANC 1B (which includes much of the U Street corridor) will gains one seat; and ANC 2F/Logan gains two additional seats. A revamped ANC 2C shifts from being Shaw-centric to a new downtown ANC. A few weeks ago the redistricting task forces submitted their new maps to the DC Council, which is expected to approve them later this month; they will take effect in 2012.
Redistricting Impacts Wards, ANCs and SMDs
At the neighborhood level, DC’s eight wards are divided into Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC) and then subdivided into smaller Single Member Districts (SMD). Each SMD represents roughly 2,000 residents.
The ANCs and SMDs are also required to adjust their borders by redistricting, based on the census data. ANCs present their positions — usually based on resident input — on issues such as zoning, traffic, liquor licenses, and public safety to various DC agencies and the DC Council.
ANC 2F to Add 2 Seats
In ANC 2F, centered around Logan Circle, the 10-year increase in population was so great that it will require the addition of two new SMDs. (Redistricting did add a handful of blocks the eastern side while sparsely populated areas around the National Mall were transferred to a completely revamped ANC 2C.)
The population growth in some Census tracts in ANC 2F exceeded 30% during the 2000-2010 period. It’s easy to figure out how this happened — the new rental and condo buildings on the 1400 blocks of P and Church Streets NW, plus additional units on the west side of 14th Street and on the 1400 block of Rhode Island Avenue.
In addition to the creation of two new SMDs, the proposed new boundaries for 2F would end at I (“Eye”) Street NW on the southern edge. Currently the ANC’s southern edge in SMD 2F03 is Independence Avenue, which runs along the National Mall. (View the current ANC 2F boundaries at the ANC website.)
“While the ANC, and SMDs, are geographically smaller, they represent more residents. The proposed alignment should make the commission more effective and able to focus on consistent and comparable issues that are important to everyone in the area,” said Michael Benardo, vice chairman of ANC 2F.
The downtown blocks given up would form the western chunk of a reworked ANC 2C associated mostly with the Penn Quarter neighborhood. Much of the current ANC 2C in Shaw will now become part of Ward 6 — part of the District-wide effort to balance ward populations. The 2F proposal also calls for a few blocks around the Convention Center north of Mount Vernon Square to be merged into what is now SMD 2F06.
Confused yet? In a nutshell, the proposed changes gives ANC 2F a geographically smaller footprint, which in turn gives us a Commission focused on local issues. The challenge moving forward is finding residents dedicated to being the voice for their neighbors.
ANC 2F currently has a vacancy in SMD 2F05, the addition of two news SMDs will require three new commissioners. ANC 2F monthly meetings are open to the public and are usually held at 7 pm on the first Wednesday of the month. Unless announced otherwise, the monthly meeting is held in a conference room at the Washington Plaza Hotel.
More About ANCs
By Michelle Lancaster. You can find her on Twitter @MichLancaster.
“Young Adults” Drive D.C. Growth
Two quick thoughts: one, the term ‘young adults’ seems patronizing, pedantic and befitting R.L. Stine books rather than college graduates with shiny new jobs; two, Courtland Milloy was onto something with that ‘creative class’ diatribe on the growth of young people in the district. Now, the real story — The Washington Post reports that Census data indicates young professionals in their 20’s and 30’s were responsible for almost all of the city’s growth. Shaw and Logan Circle are two areas that attracted the new, younger residents. Apparently, the city is becoming fun! Obvious jabs at the “no, really, we are cool” bit aside, this population shift should mean interesting things as ANC’s and the City Council deliberate decisions that will impact the future of our schools, transportation, housing and businesses.
Over the past few months we have seen lots of news about the 2010 census results, which provided some groundbreaking news about the demographics of Washington, D.C. For starters, the city had the first population increase in decades, topping out at almost 602,000 residents.
By law, the District must redraw ward boundaries to balance the population of cities eight wards to ensure equal legislative representation — within 5% of the average. above or below. The census data shows that Ward 2 is too large and will need to give up residents to a neighboring ward, while Wards 7 and 8 will need to pick up residents from neighboring wards. The other four wards fit within the acceptable range.
Hearings and a Vote
The Council redistricting subcommittee has three members: Michael A. Brown (I-At-Large), Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large). The Council held public hearings last month and offered the public an opportunity to comment on the process before the committee. At the first hearing on redistricting Evans, who is a veteran of the process from 1991 and 2001, cautioned that based on past experience he has learned the process will make people “very very angry.”
Too many people in Ward 2: In a Tweet today, Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells speculated: “Shaw likely to be dropped by Evans and added to Ward 6 with Ward 5 untouched. Shaw is indeed a terrific community.”
The Council committee is now doing presentations for the public about what to expect. After analyzing options, the committee will vote on a proposed map, which will then go to the full Council for hearings; the committee vote is expected on May 26. The new map will have to be approved by two votes of the full Council. The ward redistricting process should be wrapped up late June or early July, according to Evans’ office.