This link will take you to a map of DC with dots indicating various races. Red dots are for white people and blue dots are for black people.
If you look carefully, you’ll see that there’s an area in the middle with no dots. The eastern edge of that area is the Capitol. In a small semi circle to the east of the Capitol, there is a dense red area. Then, further east, there’s a semi-circular area that’s densely blue. Then there’s another gap – this gap is the Anacostia River. The other side of the river (the east side) is densely blue.
DC is divided into eight wards, which must be close to equal in population. Following a census, if they’re not close enough in population, the ward boundaries must be re-drawn.
That process just happened.
Here is a map of the old and proposed-new ward boundaries. On this map, the Capitol is at the eastern-most point of ward 2.
Since the last census, ward 2 has gotten too big – on the first map, ward 2 is the super-densely-red part. Ward 8 the bottom-half of the portion that is east of the Anacostia River has gotten too small.
Ward 8 is represented by mayor-for-life-until-he’s-ousted-in-a-coup-by-the-federal-government Marion Barry.
Ward 6, home of your humble blogger, is stuck between ward 2 and ward 8. Ward 6 is also split between white people and black people, as we’ve discussed.
The second map I linked to shows the new boundaries. There’s a lot going on.
Marion Barry’s territory did not expand across the river, but some people in my ward will now be part of ward 7. They’re not particularly happy about this. Race is, of course, the reason, but they’re not allowed to discuss it. Reading the press reports is therefore entertaining, if you’re entertained by tortured, politically-correct speak.
Basically, the white people on west side of the river that are now part of ward 7 are worried the area along the riverfront on the west side of the river will become a dumping ground for ward 7 and ward 8 problems. The area has been slated for development for a long time and development would seriously boost my property values. Now, there’s concern that it will turn into the future site of drug re-hab facilities, prisons, homeless shelters, etc. Plus, this guy is ward 6’s representative and now they’re stuck with this woman, who will represent an area that is almost entirely on the east side of the river. In some sense, the new boundary lines could be an attempt to halt gentrification before it gets all the way to the river.
As the second article I linked to notes, ward 6 managed to get a carve out for the middle school and the high school in the neighborhood, so that people can keep pushing for an IB program – suffice it to say that such a program is not a priority for people in ward 7.