Sunday, December 21, 2014

TA: Using selfies in your communications and advocacy

American Journalism Review's piece 5 Ways Reporters Can Capitalize on the Selfie Fad is applicable to nonprofits, generally, and advocates, specifically (think recent protests, etc.).   Selfies can be used in fundraising appeals and annual reports, advocacy efforts (with hashtags, naturally), general awareness raising, and volunteer recruitment and recognition.

Some local examples are from the Air and Space Museum's It’s Museum Selfie Day! Go Ahead, Snap Yourself and this from CARECEN:

One of my most memorable experiences was when I interpreted at the naturalization interview of a client who qualified for the language exemption. She had lived here for over 20 years, but decided in her 91st year of life to become a citizen of the United States. Working with her was inspirational; I felt the tension in the room evaporate as she remembered the name of the main political parties in the United States and ultimately passed the test. It was heartwarming when her face lit up and she looked like she was practically ready to hug the uptight officer. We, of course, took a selfie in front of an American flag and then sat down for pupusas and stories about her life. (Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?)

Does your organization use selfies?   Tell us in the comment section.

Structure of the DC Council during CP 21

The news broke over Twitter:

WAMU's Martin Austermuhle also covered the news in Mendelson Shuffles D.C. Council Committees, Keeps Education .   The DC Council itself got in on the information-sharing with Initial look at Council Period 21 includes reduced number of committees, shuffling of jurisdictions.

Perhaps the most straightforward info comes from council secretary Nyasha Smith:

Committee Period 21 Structure:

Committee on Finance and Revenue

  • J. Evans, Chair
  • D. Grosso
  • K. McDuffie
  • V. Orange, Sr.
  • E. Silverman

Committee on Health and Human Services

  • Y. Alexander, Chair
  • D. Grosso
  • M. Cheh
  • B. Nadeau
  • Ward 4 or 8

Committee on Judiciary

  • K. McDuffie, Chair
  • M. Cheh
  • J. Evans
  • A. Bonds
  • Ward 4 or 8

Committee on Transportation and the Environment

  • M. Cheh, Chair
  • C. Allen
  • J. Evans
  • K. McDuffie
  • Ward 4 or 8

Committee on Education

  • D. Grosso, Chair
  • Y. Alexander
  • C. Allen
  • A. Bonds
  • Ward 4 or 8

Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

  • V. Orange, Sr., Chair
  • C. Allen
  • B. Nadeau
  • E. Silverman
  • Ward 4 or 8

Committee on Housing and Community Development

  • A. Bonds, Chair
  • B. Nadeau
  • V. Orange, Sr.
  • E. Silverman
  • Ward 4 or 8

In the coming days, expect much more info about the council on the council website   Posted will be the list above with contact information for the committees coupled with contact information for all members.   We'll also see the CP 21 rules (to be voted on at the first meeting of the council in 2015), the list of COW and Legislative Meeting dates, and more.

Cold-weather recipe: Not-quite-vegetarian Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

This could be made vegetarian by replacing beef bouillon with vegetable bouillon.

This recipe is also in the recipe section of the blog.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

@murielbowser's pick for DHCD: Polly Donaldson

TA: More free online photo resources

Design Tips for the Social Media Marketer does more than offer some incredibly useful tips ― it provides links to free online photo sites!   Scroll down to the "Where do you go to find stock photos?" section for the list.

Be sure to take some time to review the other tips and links too.

A Wells vs. Orange match-up in 2016?

Will @murielbowser's pick for DPR stick around?

Friday, December 19, 2014

@hgil Tweets the December 19 DCR

And the @DDOE_DC director is...

Bowser's comms director "announced"

CP 21 committees announced!

@WBJNeibs on the film office director

DDOE director announcement Dec. 19

Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser will announce her pick for director of the District Department of the Environment Friday, December 19 at 11:00 am at Hyatt Place Hotel/Engine Co. 13 (400 E St SW).

(UPDATE: Title updated 12/19/14, 8:04a)

Mayor Vince Gray's last interview on NewsTalk

On December 18,
Bruce had his final monthly interview with DC Mayor Vincent Gray. The outgoing mayor discussed the legacy he leaves behind, the soccer stadium deal, the marijuana referendum and more.

DOH director honored

DOH director Joxel Garcia was recently honored with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHS) Admiral Flag.   Garcia received the flag,
one of the most prestigious public health honors, for his commitment, innovative thinking and uniquely effective approach to developing strategic public health plans, initiatives and programs, as well as his profound impact on global public health. (DOH release)

Garcia is the first to receive this honor.   According to DOH, the flag "was the actual flag displayed in Dr. Garcia's office during his tenure at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)."

Learn the basics of money management in 2015!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mayor Vince Gray on WAMU Dec. 19

Mayor Vincent C. Gray will join WAMU 88.5's The Politics Hour with Kojo Nnamdi Friday, 12:30 – 1:30 pm.   You can listen to the program online or on the radio, 88.5 FM.

The DC Council's CP-end report requirement

Did you know each committee of the Council of the District of Columbia is required to prepare a CP-end report?   'Tis true:

According to DC Council Secretary Nyasha Smith, committees are working on them this week.   I'll share the links this week or next, so stay tuned.

Budget transparency, here we come!

On December 17, 2014, the DC Council considered and approved the format for the FY 2016 budget to be proposed by Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser.   The council, presumably with support of the budget advocacy community, included some provisions to improve the transparency of the budget.   Consider, for example,
(C) Agency budgets shall be restructured to ensure accessibility and transparency for how taxpayer dollars will be disbursed. Agency budget structures should align with current or proposed agency organizational structures and programs and clearly indicate the source and amount of funding needed for each individual program, facility, or venue identified on the agency's website.

FY16 Budget Submission Requirements Resolution of 2014 - ANS (12!16!2014)

Mayor Gray on NewsTalk Dec. 18

Mayor Gray will make his final regular monthly appearance on NewsTalk Thursday, December 18 at 10:00 am.   Tune in to the show streaming here:   If you have questions or comments, call (703) 387-1020 or email the show.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Online archives for Vincent C. Gray live

Tonight the mayor's comms team released the news that two websites archiving the work of the Gray administration are live.    The two sites are and   According to the release, the sites will
give visitors access to a plethora of information related to the accomplishments and progress made during Gray’s term. They include links to key mayor’s orders, legislation, speeches, and action plans.

"These websites will provide District residents an opportunity to look back on all that my Administration has achieved over the past four years and celebrate the tremendous progress we have made together as a city," said Mayor Gray. "I especially invite young Washingtonians to spend time on the websites to get a historical perspective of their great city and delve into the inner-workings of their government."

The launch of these websites coincides with the Mayor's farewell address this evening at 7 pm at Dunbar High School, and the release of "One City, Stronger Together-The Final Report of the Administration of Vincent C. Gray," that the public will be able to pick up tonight at the speech and is also available online.

Read One City, Stronger Together-The Final Report of the Administration of Vincent C. Gray online.

WAMU wants to know: What's the deal between DC and Congress?

Volunteers needed to prepare taxes for low-income folks

Olivas leaves OLA for ISG

Ibarra Strategy Group announced (PDF) December 15 that Roxana Olivas will join their team January 2, 2015.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

CM Anita Bonds' Inaugural Open House Jan. 2

CM Anita Bonds, At-large member, will have an open house Friday, January 2 from 1:00 - 2:30 pm at the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW), Suite 105.   Refreshments will be served.   RSVP to Tamika Finnell at (202) 724-8064 or email via email,

Energy advocates take on the proposed Pepco-Exelon merger

is a coalition of DC citizens, business leaders and community advocates opposed to the purchase of Pepco by Exelon. Its members represent electricity customers from across the District of Columbia concerned about electricity prices, reliability, renewable and efficient energy and local control over our energy supply.

You can get involved in this effort by getting informed (follow POWER DC on Twitter, @PowerDCnow, take a look at their Facebook page, or read more about the issue on the website), party with a cause December 17, or sign on in opposition to the merger.

TA: Design Tips for the Social Media Marketer

Design Tips for the Social Media Marketer delivers on the promise of tips.   Consider:
"Marketing is all about getting your message seen-The better design, the easier the message will be delivered…and received." @apartmentalist

"Stay within your brand guidelines, be consistent, and have a second set of eyes! Analysis paralysis can set in pretty easily"@marymallard

"Always err on the side of caution. Ask before using som1's work if it's not clearly marked FREE to use."

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser makes more appointments

The status of services and supports for homeless families in DC

On December 10, the Department of Human Services (DHS) issued Progress Report: Family Shelter Restructuring Plan (PDF).   The website summarizes the approach the city is taking to better serve families which are homeless and those at-risk of homelessness, introducing readers to the philosophical, and practical underpinnings of the restructuring plan originally published in 2013.   The report presents the status of the five goals and many more sub-goals presented in the restructuring plan.   Perhaps the most accessible part of the report is the cover, shown below, which highlights key results.   An impressive data point is that 12,000 units of affordable housing have been created or are in the pipeline.

DCFPI has a different take on DHS's progress.   Last week, DCFPI and other organizations released Helping Families Home Roadmap: A Report Card on DC’s Progress in Helping Homeless Families.   Not surprisingly, the advocates criticize DHS and the Gray administration for doing too little too slowly.   Samuels' coverage of the report in the Washington Post, Is the city on track to solve its homeless crisis? Depends on who you ask., presents both sides and both reports.

Where does the truth lie?   The easy answer is somewhere in between.   The more nuanced answer is that the advocates' report would be much stronger if they had objective measures for the grades given.   It also appears as though the report authors did not ask DHS for information.   The phrase "it is not clear" appears seven times.   Does this mean that the authors asked DHS or other relevant agencies for information but received no response?   Or, does it mean that the authors didn't ask and were not proactively told?   Finally, it's important to recognize that the advocates are measuring DHS actions against priorities with which they may or may not agree.   The grades are given not based on the goals of DHS's Family Shelter Restructuring Plan, but rather on the goals laid out in April 2014 byt he coalition.

For sure, numerous issues identified in the DCFPI report require the government's attention.   As is often the case, the government can always do more.

Brianne Nadeau looking for policy ideas from Ward 1 residents

Ward 1 CM-elect Brianne Nadeau wants Ward 1 residents and stakeholders to suggest policy ideas that could make a difference to the the ward or city.   Nadeau also wants to hear about personal issues the government has not addressed to your satisfaction.

Ideas will be shared with Nadeau's transition teams and her staff.

A great way to use Twitter