- The Washington Times - Monday, June 25, 2001

Residents of Chevy Chase are vowing to fight the D.C. Councils proposed new redistricting plan, which they say splits the neighborhood and dilutes the areas voice in local government.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams is expected to approve the plan in the next few days.
"We are asking the mayor to reconsider the plan," said Anne Renshaw, chairman of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission representing Chevy Chase. "We probably wont get anywhere, but we have to try."
Mrs. Renshaw is one of four members of the ANC who have been redistricted out of their commission areas. She and her colleagues argue that their neighborhood boundaries are well-defined and shouldnt be disrupted.
D.C. leaders last week finished reshaping political boundaries, redrawing eight wards and shuffling some residents to new representation.
The Chevy Chase neighborhood was divided between Wards 3 and 4, moving more than 8,000 residents. Mrs. Renshaw and her colleagues say the changes will destroy the cohesiveness theyve built to monitor large ongoing development projects and address other important issues.
City leaders said the process was give-and-take, with every ward making concessions in order to create wards whose population falls within 5 percent of 71,000 residents, as dictated by the law. Using the 2000 census, city leaders pared population from Wards 1, 2 and 3 and shifted boundaries west in creating Plan H, which took into account the loss of 34,000 residents. The population loss came disproportionately from the eastern, mostly black wards.
The D.C. Council on Tuesday approved a modified Plan H, deleting some of the most contentious issues, such as dividing the U Street Corridor, Chinatown or Dupont Circle. Other controversial changes, which remained in the plan, were splitting the Ward 6 neighborhood of Fairlawn between Wards 7 and 8, and dividing Chevy Chase between Wards 3 and 4.
"Its the best plan I know of," said at-large Democrat Phil Mendelson, chairman of the council subcommittee charged with redistricting.
"Its not a perfect plan, and if it were up to me alone, I would have drawn some lines differently. But this was a composite process of fitting together wards and citizens desires, while getting the votes on the council to pass it," he said.
The council approved the plan 11-1, with Council member Sandy Allen, Ward 8 Democrat, opposing it and at-large Democrat Harold Brazil absent. Mrs. Allen is concerned that her disproportionately poor and black ward in Southeast lost one representative. The area east of the Anacostia also had been partially represented by Council member Sharon Ambrose, Ward 6 Democrat. Mrs. Allen called the plan "isolating" and has looked into legal remedy.
"I am very upset because we lost a voice on the council," she said. "The whole section is isolated now and does not touch the rest of the city. This keeps us from being part of the rest of the District."
But most council members said the plan affects each ward equally.
"The plan we voted on affects every ward," said Ward 4 Council member Adrian Fenty. "No ward came out of this with too much, or better than any other."
In the plan, Ward 1 lost a section south of U Street that went to Ward 3; Ward 2 lost the Palisades and part of Foxhall to Ward 3, but received Sheridan-Kalorama. Ward 4 grew by adding a portion of Chevy Chase. Ward 5 now includes Fort Totten and Pleasant Hills. Ward 6 includes most of Southwest and parts of downtown it picked up from Ward 2, and Ward 7 reaches west of the Anacostia River and now includes Kingman Park, formerly in Ward 6.
Now council members are preparing to appoint commissioners to task forces for each ward to redraw the ANC lines. The deadline is 90 days after the mayor signs the redistricting plan. Council member Mendelson said after the task forces are formed, he will incorporate their recommendations into legislation, hold hearings, then make modifications. Changes go into effect Jan. 1.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mendelson and other council members are working to keep the Chevy Chase ANC together, possibly by creating a joint Ward 3 and Ward 4 ANC.
"Folks in one neighborhood are furious that we didnt listen to them, while others in other neighborhoods are pleased that we did," Mr. Mendelson said.

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