There was an interesting article in the Washington City Paper about how ward boundaries may change once the 2010 Census numbers come in next spring. In the article, one of the areas of the city that was discussed was Southwest. Currently, most of Southwest west of the Anacostia is in Ward 6 (Hains Point is in Ward 2) and Bellevue is in Ward 8. If Council member Marion Barry has his way, the part of Southwest on the west side of the Anacostia would become a part of Ward 8. If this were to happen, it would be the second time that the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood would change wards. Before the ward redistricting from the 2000 Census, the Southwest Waterfront was located in Ward 2. The reason stated in the article that Council member Barry wants the rest of Southwest in his ward is to bring more "economic diversity" to Ward 8. From the article:
Barry says his home ward, which is almost entirely African American and has extremely high poverty and unemployment rates, has long been the city’s “dumping ground.” Making it more diverse will likely involve expanding across the Anacostia into the whiter, richer Southwest, Barry said.“We can’t go south,” Barry joked.There’s some speculation in the Wilson Building that Barry wouldn’t mind expanding his political influence over the Southwest Waterfront development, a $2 billion development that’s well underway to transform the area into a glitzy urbanist dream that people actually visit. That would let Barry take credit for the project, even though the groundwork was already laid. And it would also let him hit up developers for campaign contributions as the Council member who represents the ward. (Adding some white voters to Ward 8, though, could give Barry new political problems to deal with.)
Since the population of Ward 6 after the 2010 Census is counted will most likely not be enough on its own to account for 1/8th the population of the District (as mandated by law), other areas will need to be added to the ward. It was mentioned in the article that Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells would like to add the Anacostia neighborhood to Ward 6 - taking away some turf from Barry.
The District will receive Census results in the spring, so it should be an interesting time ahead in the DC Council chambers!