ANCs- A really short history

The following is a very simplified history, which hopefully will give some understanding of the present. During the Big Bear ABC license kerfuffle there were a few emailers questioning the rationale for ANCs or Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.
ANCs are a product of Home Rule. Prior to Home Rule (via the Home Rule Act of 1973) Congress (the Federal government) ran the city. It wasn't until 1974 that DC residents were able to vote and have some real say in how the city ran. Before Home Rule the mayor and the city council were federally appointed. Neighborhood wise there were citizens (white) and civic (black) associations that appealed to Congress and city government officials for things like neighborhood improvements, traffic, crime and so forth. As far as I can tell civic and citizen association leaders were elected by the association's membership. These groups could only beg or appeal to bodies and officials whom they could neither vote for or vote out of office.
With Home Rule, neighborhoods got something new:
... the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs), brought the city administration closer to ordinary voters than any other elective units. The city council created 36 ANCs and 376 smaller single member districts, each representing about two thousand residents. The ANCs were intended to serve as neighborhood mini councils that advised the council on local problems.
--City of Magnificent Intentions: A history of Washington, District of Columbia 2nd edition P.584


I'm not sure why we need the ANC, though? Seems like overkill to have ANC AND Civic Associations? And, of the two, why can't civic associations be given the power to represent neighborhoods to our elected Councilmembers? Civic association representatives are closest to the actual neighborhood citizens and businesses.

To use the Big Bear Cafe/ ANC 5C example, why should Gigi Ransom, representing the Fort Totten area, have any say to what is happening on First and R St. NW? That is nearly TWO MILES away from her district! That would be like a Bloomingdale ANC representative having a vote for what is happening in, say, Kalorama. Unfortunately for the citizens of Bloomingdale (and Truxton Circle, etc.) who would like to have a full service restaurant at First and R St., the boundaries of ANC 5C include neighborhoods that differ from our neck of the woods.

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