Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two. Count them: One, two

There are two witnesses scheduled to testify at the July 1 public hearing on the Child Fatality Review Committee annual report and appointment of a member to the committee.   Of the two witnesses, one has been nominated to be a member of the committee!

Two people in the District of Columbia are interested in the reasons why 160 children and youth died in FY 2007 and what we -- the community and the government -- can do to prevent many of these deaths.

Two.

DCPS's Early Stages soon to be in good hands

Dr. Nathaniel Beers will soon move from the Department of Health to DC Public Schools as Executive Director of the Early Stages Program.   Early Stages is in the Office of Special Education’s evaluation unit.   As such, this program serves as the DCPS early childhood diagnostic center available to serve preschool children who have or thought to have special needs/disabilities.   Families are also served.

As Deputy Director for Policy and Programs in the Community Health Administration, Dr. Beers has been responsible for policy and practice related to a number of special populations including infants and teens.   His contributions at DOH have expanded upon his work at Children’s National Medical Center.

His email remains the same – nathaniel [DOT] beers [AT] dc [DOT] gov.

Successful HIV testing day at JAWB

Take the test take control on June 29 was a huge success, with more than a dozen providers/community partners set up in the Atrium handing out educational materials, safe sex kits, and the like.   Councilmembers Catania (At-large), Bowser (Ward 4), and Michael Brown (At-large) along with Council Chair Gray (At-large) each addressed the District’s recognition of National HIV Testing Day and the importance of testing.   Two providers tested approximately 50 individuals.   The tests were free and confidential.   More on this event from CM Catania.   If you do not receive the CM Catania newsletter, go here.

Tentative FY 2010 budget revision sked

Here is the unofficial FY 2010 budget balancing process timeline:
  • Pencils down (Mayor):   July 10
  • Transmission to OBP for doability:   ~July 10
  • Revised budget transmitted to City Council:   July 17
  • Mayor/City Administrator/OCFO briefing:   July 20
  • Public hearing:   July 24
  • City Council vote on revised budget:   July 31

$14m from feds to boost number of insured kids

The District made the most of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP, CHIP) back in the late 1990s and early 2000s.   Thanks to the leadership of Diane Bernstein, co-founder and Board member of DC Action for Children, advocates, providers, business, and government officials came together and successfully applied for funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.   RWJ funded Covering Kids and later Covering Kids & Families via DC ACT.

The success of the initiative is demonstrated by:

  • a shorter application for DC Healthy Families (inclusive of Medicaid; DC Healthy Families, the federal expansion DC took to 200% of poverty for children and adults in the household; and the Immigrant Children’s Health Program)
  • application assistance to facilitate application submission
  • caretaking for applications to ensure they moved successfully through the system, dramatically increased enrollment
  • active participation by community-based organizations to enroll and recertify community members in DC Healthy Families
  • integrated health insurance into a number of organizational and foundation grant applications

Today, the District celebrates high insurance rates for children and youth – upwards of 90% of children eligible for DC Healthy Families (some even say it is closer to 100%) and for all kids in 2007, DC is better than nationwide when it comes to kids having health insurance (96.5% in DC to 90.9% nationwide).   (See this blog post for other data and links to the source.

No matter the success DC leaders (in and outside of government) have achieved, more needs to be done to guarantee every eligible young person has health insurance.   As HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced on June 19, the federal reauthorization of CHIP was signed into law by President Obama earlier this year as P.L. 111-3.

What this means for children and youth in the District is that the city will receive $14 million by the end of FY 2009. (See insurekidsnow.gov)   According to the Child Welfare League of America, this reauthorization "guarantees dental benefits and mental health parity, [and] offers states the option to implement express lane eligibility."

Youngsters in DC generally have been poorly served by the mental health and oral health communities; if this funding helps to address that, the reauthorization is worth its weight in gold.

Consider that of the 75,676 children and youth between the ages of 3 and 20 eligible for EPSDT in FY 2007, 28,275, or 37%, received any dental services.   (Annual EPSDT Participation Report, FY 2007, from the Department of Health Care Finance, April 24, 2009)   If the reauthorization can help DC increase reimbursement rates for dentists, then more children will receive essential services.   Mental health parity can also help the many children in the city with Serious Emotional Disturbance and other mental health problems.

Monday, June 29, 2009

In the June 26 DCR II

More from the DCR:
  • DYRS final rules on community placements:   The Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services issued final rules regarding the review and modification of a youth’s community placement status.   The final rules are here.
  • Proposed rules from OSSE:   OSSE proposes to replace a part of Title V, specifically "Certificates of Approval for Nonpublic and Contractual Providers Serving Students with Disabilities Funded by the District Government", with a new chapter in the municipal regulations of the same name.   According to the notice, the "proposed new chapter creates uniform requirements for nonpublic special education schools that serve a District of Columbia 'child with a disability' as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. § 1401(3)."   OSSE will take action is not less than 30 days of publication, June 26.   The rules are here.
  • Public comment sought on DHCD draft Neighborhood Stabilization Program application:   DHCD has developed a draft application for public comment for ARRA (stimulus) funding.   The application is informed by internal and external stakeholder meetings.   The draft submission is online at the DHCD Web site.   Information about submitting comments is here.   Note that the comment period ends July 10.
  • DC State Board of Education public hearing:   The hearing will be held on July 8 at 6:00 pm.   The purpose of the hearing is to receive public input on the No Child Left Behind report card.   Details on the hearing here.
  • DC Housing Authority final rules:   DCHA issued final rules on informal hearing procedures for users of the Housing Choice Voucher and Moderate Rehabilitation Programs.   The rules are here.

In the June 26 DC Register I

Child-, youth- and family-related items:
  • Public hearing on B18-279, "Board of Enhanced Access to Public Space and Building Establishments Act of 2009":   This hearing, being held by the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment (CM Cheh, Ward 3, chair), will be held on July 9 at 1:00 pm.   The notice is here.
  • Public hearing on B18-345, "Omnibus Election Reform Act of 2009":   This hearing, being held by the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment (CM Cheh, Ward 3, chair), will be held on Jul 13 at 11:00 am.   One of the provisions is to allow young people who are 17 but will be 18 when the general election is held to vote and to allow those aged 16 or older to re-register to vote.   The bill also adds the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) to those in the city covered by the National Voter Registration Act.   The bill was introduced on June 16 by CMs Cheh and Thomas (Ward 5) and Council Chair Gray.   The notice is here.
  • Public hearing on The Economic and Financial Impact of DC Statehood:   This hearing, being held by the Special Committee on Statehood and Self-Determination (CM M Brown, At-large, chair), will be held on July 13 at 4:00 pm.   The notice is here.
  • Introduced, B18-344, "Information Sharing to Improve Services for Children and Families Act of 2009":   CMs Wells (Ward 6) and Graham (Ward 1) introduced this bill on June 16.   It was referred to the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (CM Mendelson, At-large, chair) with comments from the Committee on Human Services (Wells, chair).   The legislation is here.
  • Introduced, B18-352, "Fireworks Youth Safety Act of 2009":   CM Graham (Ward 1) introduced this bill on June 16.   It was referred to the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (CM Mendelson, At-large, chair).   The legislation is here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer youth employment hearing, continued

Those who have not yet presented their views on the FY 2009 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) will have a chance on June 29 at 4:00 pm when the Committee on Housing and Workforce Development (CM Barry, chair, Ward 8) holds another public oversight roundtable.   The roundtable will be held in the Council Chamber in the JAWB.   Details, including how to register to testify, here.

Terrific new resource on jj system

The Council for Court Excellence (CCE) has done it again:   They have written a document of immense value to the community.   CCE is releasing Guide to the DC Juvenile Justice System on June 29 at 4:00 pm at the National Press Club (529 14th St NW, Murrow-White-Lisagor Rooms on the 13th floor).

This is the first plain-language step-by-step guide to the District of Columbia's complicated, confidential juvenile justice system.   Published in English and Spanish, the guide will be valuable to youth, their families, victims of juvenile crime, social service providers, and the general public, as well as for members of the media who cover the District of Columbia.

Participants in the press conference will include Marie Johns, chairman of the Council for Court Excellence Board of Directors, and Robert Spagnoletti, chairman of the project committee which developed the Guide.

The Guide will be posted on the CCE Web site after its release.   CCE encourages organizations to participate in the distribution of the Guide.   Direct questions to Priscilla Skillman, 785-5917 or skillman [AT] courtexcellence [DOT] org.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two arrests re: homicide announced 6/25

Mayor Adrian Fenty will be joined by Ward 1 CM Jim Graham and Chief of Police Cathy Lanier to announce two arrests in a recent homicide.   The press conference is at 3:00 today at 14th St and Columbia Rd NW (3000 block of 14th St NW).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Two social justice job openings

Empower DC and the David A. Clarke School of Law at UDC are seeking qualified candidates for current job openings.

Empower DC, a grassroots, membership-based organizing project, promotes the self-advocacy of low- and moderate-income DC residents.   The purpose of the advocacy is to improve their quality of life and to ensure the improvements are sustained.   Empower DC seeks an Organizer to lead the Child Care for All Campaign, a grassroots advocacy campaign to secure quality, affordable early childhood education for for low-income families.   Read the position description here.

The David A. Clarke School of Law is part of the DC university system.   The law school honors the legacy of former DC Council Chair David A. Clarke, a strong advocate and leader on civil rights and humanitarian issues.   They seek candidates for the position of Instructor in the UDC-DCSL HIV/AIDS Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic.   This position will provide an opportunity for a practicing lawyer to gain experience in clinical law teaching.   Read the position description here.

Time to balance the budget and amend the BSA

The revised revenue estimates have thrown the not-yet-implemented FY 2010 budget out of balance.   As a result, the mayor and council must change what was recently approved in order to send a balanced budget to the Hill.

Elected officials have a short period of time to propose a balanced budget for FY 2010.   They have somewhat longer, three months, to close a $190 million gap for FY 2009.

The two budgets are connected.   If the mayor and council opt to balance FY 2009 by drawing down funds from the Contingency Reserve Fund, the city is obligated to repay half of the draw down by close of FY 2010 (September 30, 2010).   This means that $95 million (half of the $190 million draw down) will be added to the just-announced gap of $150 million.   The total potential gap for FY 2010, then, is $245 million.

So the deal is this:

  • Mayor Fenty took exception to the provision of the BSA regarding the State Board of Education.   As has been widely reported, the mayor used his line item veto authority to oppose the City Council's decision regarding the appropriation for the agency.   The council has 30 days to override the veto.

    What this means is that while many thought we had a "final" BSA, the veto delayed the actual adoption of the budget.

  • Efforts to balance FY 2010 will be led by Mayor Fenty.   That being said, the City Council is prepared to delay summer recess for a week in order to hold a public hearing on the mayor's proposal and a third vote on the BSA.

    The Office of the City Administrator is already working on closing the gap.   They started with a $35 million cut as previously discussed here.   Reports are that community-based and other nonprofit organizations have not been in touch with OCA about this very important budget issue.

More calendar updates

A number of events have been added to the calendar including a walk-through of a neighborhood in 5D on July 10 and the July 11 youth-only hearing.   Scroll to the bottom of the page for these and other happenings.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More from Gandhi on the revenue estimates

Additional information from Gandhi on the revised revenue estimates.

Revenues decline - what does this mean for kids?

If there was ever a reason for District government agencies to get their act together, the June 22 revised revenue estimate from the OCFO is it.

On June 22, DC CFO Natwar Gandhi announced $190 million less in revenue than was estimated in February 2009.   This means that to keep the FY 2009 budget as approved one year ago, the city has to find at least $190 million.   In FY 2010, to keep the budget whole, the city will need to find $150 million – and that is before any further revenue estimates are made.

According to the CFO, the city can use money in the Contingency Reserve Fund to fill the $190 million hole.   If this happens, at least half of the drawn down $190 million must be repaid to the Fund by the end of FY 2010.   This means that the FY 2010 gap would grow from $150 million to $245 million.

But there are other options.   This year, for example, as was discussed here, funding is being cut in a number of, but not all, DC government agencies.   Funding cuts are an option for FY 2010.   Another option is doing work better so that Federal funds, and not Local funds, pay for services.   The leading example of this is Medicaid billing in mental health, child welfare and schools.   This can only happen when expertise is brought to bear on agencies and agencies take responsibility for improving their operations.   If improving billing and documenting services does not improve, services will definitely be impacted.

Calling all youth: Testify on YOUR issues July 11

City Council Chair Vincent C. Gray has announced the next youth-only hearing:   July 11 at 10:00 am in the JAWB in the Council Chamber.   The hearing is an opportunity for young people of all ages to tell the City Council about the issues affecting their lives.   More information from Charmaine Gloude at 724-8080 or cgloude [AT] dccouncil [DOT] us.   Or, check out the flier online.

Live in Trinidad? Then take this survey, please

As many remember, Trinidad was violence-filled during the summer of 2008.   As a result, the mayor and police chief in December 2008 announced the "Safe City Program" to improve public safety and the quality of life in Trinidad.

The Council for Court Excellence, working with Trinidad-dc.org, is asking Trinidad neighborhood residents to participate in a community perception survey.   The survey is anonymous and should take *2-3 minutes* to complete.   Questions?   Check out the contact info for the survey.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Midyear budget cuts effective June 12

In anticipation of the pending release of new revenue estimates for FY 2009 and beyond, Mayor Fenty last week cut $35 million from FY 2009 budgets.   Mayor's Order 2009-102 contains the full list along with this explanation:
The District faces a projected FY 2009 revenue shortfall of $148,200,000 million, and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer plans to issue new revenue estimates in late June that may decrease revenues further for FY 2009.   To prepare for the additional revenue shortfall, subordinate executive branch agency spending on non-personal services is hereby reduced by $35,710,604 as listed on the attachment.

Highlights of the cuts are:

  • Metropolitan Police Department:   Cut less than 1%, or $3,381,767.69, with a new spending limit of $457,100,165.74
  • Office of the Chief Medical Examiner:   Cut less than 1%, or $85,795.05, for a new spending limit of $9,660,411.54
  • Office of the State Superintendent of Education:   Cut 3%, or $4,406,482.88, for a new spending limit of $125,501,217.91
  • Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization:   Cut 2%, or $486,437.07, for a new spending limit of $21,881,696.92
  • Department of Parks and Recreation:   Cut 2%, or $1,019,458.46, for a new spending cap of $43,800,602.32
  • Department of Health Care Finance:   Cut less than 1%, or $1,561,261.13, for a new spending limit of $586,747,038.39
  • Department of Human Services:   Cut of less than 1%, or $551,625.65, for a new spending cap of $168,329,886.19
  • Child and Family Services Agency:   No cut
  • Department of Mental Health:   Cut of 1%, or $2,630,669.23, for a new spending limit of $207,290,926.77
  • Department of Health:   No cut
  • Schools (DCPS and charters):   No cut

Useful info about health outcomes

Those who missed the June 2 Web conference on "New Findings from the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH)" can now review all the materials online.   Materials include the full multimedia archive of the program, the list of unanswered questions and according answers, and the text transcript.

Community poll on DC's biggest issue

Do you have an opinion on what ails DC?   If so, participate in the What is DC's Biggest Issue? poll.   The poll is brought to you by Borderstan.

The latest from the DC Register (6/19/09)

The June 19 edition of the DC Register is again chock full of all things public policy:
  • PR18-367, "Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation Ximena Hartsock Confirmation Resolution of 2009":   This resolution was introduced on June 12 by council chair Vince Gray at the request of the mayor.   The resolution was referred to the Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation (CM Thomas, Ward 5, chair of the committee).   The PR is here.
  • PR18-369, "Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Valerie Santos Confirmation Resolution of 2009":   This resolution was introduced on June 12 by council chair Vince Gray at the request of the mayor.   The resolution was referred to the Committee on Economic Development (CM K Brown, At-large, chair of the committee).   The PR is here.
  • Final rulemaking on the D.C. HealthCare Alliance:   The Department of Health Care Finance (DCHF) issued final rules about the Alliance eligibility.   This rule prohibits those with Medicare or other insurance from enrolling in this public health care program.   The rationale for this policy change is that in this economic time, the District must use its resources in the wisest ways possible, including extending free health care to those with no access.   A notice of proposed rulemaking was published in the DC Register on April 24, 2009 (56 DCR 003160).   Comments were received but no substantive changes have been made.   The proposed rule were approved on June 2, 2009 by the Council of the District of Columbia (See Resolution 18-149).   The rules became effective on June 19, 2009.   Check out page 4755.
  • The Department of Health proposed rules regarding background checks for health professionals:   The purpose of the change is to establish procedures so the city can be in compliance with the Licensed Health Professional Criminal Background Check Amendment Act of 2006, effective March 6, 2007, as amended.   Check out the rules here, on page 4762.
  • Emergency rules on firearms regulations:   On June 19, 2009, MPD adopted emergency rules that 1) revised the roster of handguns determined not to be unsafe and establishes which single-action handguns are permissable; and 2) interpreted the term "assault weapons" and created a roster.   Emergency rules were required to implement certain provisions of the law so that the District would be maintain compliance with Heller. The emergency rules will expire after 120 days or upon publication in the DCR of final rules.   Check out the rules here, on page 4782.

Committee on Health newsletter

If you've not already done so, sign up for the newsletter from the City Council's Committee on Health.   To be added to the list, just email Jen Barry, jbarry [AT] dccouncil [DOT] us.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Do we have what it takes to kick infant mortality to the curb?

A passionate DC government employee, speaking about infant mortality, recently said that too few DC residents appreciate how common these "needless deaths" are.

There is good reason why the deaths were characterized as needless.   The research shows that behavior -- mostly adult behavior -- can reduce the likelihood that a baby will die before age 1.   For example, women can plan pregnancies, taking care to be healthy before they conceive.   Others who live in the household can refrain from smoking at all.   Smoke on clothing can negatively effect babies.   Other behavior, such as placing infants on their back to sleep, rather than on their stomach, can also reduce the chance of early death.   Other things like having a previous premature or low birthweight baby and having children back to back are also risk factors.   (This Web site is the source for this information).

To put this in some context, the infant mortality rate in 2005 was 13.6.   This means that there were 13.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.   And the 2005 rate is up from 2004 following an overall trend down since 1994. (See pages 28 and 29)   DC's rate was double that of some states.   Not good.   And if we unpack this data, as the Department of Health has done, this is what we see:

Though the trends indicate the overall rate of infant mortality in the District is declining, there continues to exist great disparities geographically.   Wards consistently experiencing the highest rates of infant mortality include Wards 2, 5, 7 and 8.   In 2002, for the first time, the infant mortality rate in Ward 8 was not among the top four highest.   In fact, between 2001 and 2002 the infant mortality rate for Ward 8 decreased by 54% from 23.1 to 10.6.   Conversely, between 2001 and 2002, Ward 1 experienced the highest percent increase (130%) in its infant mortality rate from 5.4 in 2001 to 12.4 in 2002.   The significant disparities among population groups as well as geographically warrant further investigation of this issue in the District of Columbia.   (Source)

Because we can reduce infant mortality, the Department of Health is holding a meeting to address the significant problem of infant mortality on July 21.   The meeting is being sponsored by the DC Healthy Start Community Consortium.

There are some materials that will be good prep for the meeting:

Check out DC City Schools

When you read Bonnie Cain's DC City Schools blog, you learn from the master.   Bonnie started the blog to fill the void of information and ideas.   She is off to a terrific, informative start!

On TV and radio today

Council Chair Vincent C. Gray will be on NewsChannel 8's NewsTalk today, June 19, at 4:00 pm.   Questions or concerns for the Chair?   Send them to newstalk [AT] news8 [DOT] net.

And Kojo and Mark reunite according to FishbowlDC.   Today at 10:00 am, Kojo Nnamdi from WAMU will be a guest on "The Politics Program with Mark Plotkin" (listen online at WTOP or on the radio at 103.5 FM).   Mark Plotkin will return the favor by guesting on "The Politics Hour" at Noon on WAMU, 88.5 FM.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New policy and practice site re: drug abuse

Announced in the June 15 edition of Progress Notes is a new Web site:   www.DCRCA.org.   The site belongs to the DC Recovery Community Alliance.   The site is a terrific place to get information on policy and practice issues and supports.   BTW, to subscribe to Progress Notes, send a blank email to progressnotes-subscribe[AT]yahoogroups[DOT]com.

HIV testing and information event, June 29

The District will recognize National HIV Testing Day on June 29.   Hosting the "Take the test, take control" event are Council Chair Vincent C. Gray and CM David A. Catania (At-large and chair of the Committee on Health).

Those organizations which provide testing or counseling services are invited to contribute literature about their program; contact Tanchica Terry (724-8170, tterry [AT] dccouncil [DOT] us).

Employment assistance to non-custodial parents

Thanks to Congress Heights on the Rise (CHOTR), we know that the OAG's Child Support Services Division (CSSD) has launched an employment initiative for non-custodial parents.

Training up and otherwise assisting non-custodial parents is a rather obvious way to increase financial support for children.   And as we know, kids are not cheap.   It will be interesting to follow this initiative to learn what works and what doesn't.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The final thing, really, on emergency crime bill

Evans' amendment to emergency crime bill.

Are you missing timely posts?

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And now to the permanent crime legislation

No matter what happens today with the emergency crime legislation, the City Council will be considering permanent crime legislation in two weeks.   CM Mendelson (At-large), chair of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, said during the emergency crime bill debate on June 16 that he and the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary will mark-up Bill 18-0138, "Omnibus Anti-Crime Amendment Act of 2009", on June 26.   The bill as introduced is here.

The final word on the emergency crime debate

Here is what remains to be said in the discussion about the emergency crime legislation:
  • CM Evans (Ward 2) claims success on pushing the emergency crime legislation in a press release issued soon after the Council adjourned for the day.   The reason for claiming success?
    Prior to Evans’ involvement pushing this issue over the past month, the Council’s Committee on Judiciary had no plan to put new tools in place to help fight the likely summertime increase in crime.   Evans moved a prior emergency proposal June 2nd, but withdrew it upon a commitment from his colleagues to move forward with an emergency measure prior to summer.
  • Timely recap from WaPo's Tim Craig, Council Rejects Crime Bill Over Profiling Concerns.
  • WCP's Mike DeBonis entertains and informs in his play-by-play, glare-by-sneer City Desk Liveblog.   This one's a keeper.

And finally, this:

  • The permanent is being marked up and voted out of committee on June 26 so it can go to the entire council on June 30.   The second vote will be July 14, the last day council business before they go out for summer recess.
  • And of course the question, what are we going to do to truly address this problem moving forward?   Advocates and elected officials criticized the Evans' bill for its focus on suppression.   But know what?   The city is investing a great deal of money (this is not the time to debate whether it is enough) on services for kids.   The question being asked of me is, "So what are we getting for our money, much of which goes to nonprofits, community-based organizations?"   I don't have detailed answers.   What I do know is that many contracts are not performance-based or do not require contractors to provide service-level data.   So while I can tell you which programs I think are doing a good job, there is no way to know with any degree of certainty as a rule.   Do you have a better answer?

State of Ward 5 meeting notes and handout

Thanks to Michael Henderson, webmaster of www.edgewooddc.org, we have notes from the Ward 5 State of the Ward address on June 15.   Click on "Meeting Notes/Minutes" and you will see the Ward 5 Address link there.   In addition, CM Thomas' office has provided the handout that was distributed at the event.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Update on emergency crime bills

Many others will be reporting on this so all I will say is that CM Mendelson's bill passed with amendment from CM Graham.   If you are interested in a play-by-play, check out the CityDesk's Liveblog.   Will post the final bill here as soon as I get it.

Medelson's emergency crime bill

Here is CM Mendelson's emergency crime bill.

Evans' emergency crime legislation+

This is what we have so far:

Still waiting on BSA

No, you've not missed the final BSA.   More accurately, the enrolled version.   The General Counsel's office has not enrolled it.   We are told soon, once perfection has been achieved.   Stay tuned here for up-to-the-minute coverage of the BSA status.

Graham amendment to crime bill(s)

Ward 1 CM Jim Graham will offer an amendment today, June 16, to the emergency crime legislation (right now not known to which version) that implements the first two phases of the Blueprint for Action.   The amendment is here.

Check out calendar for events this week

A number of events have been added to the calendar for this week -- an open forum in Ward 5 on June 18, a Ward 4 event on June 19, and a Ward 6 event on June 20.   So scroll to the bottom of the page for these and other happenings.

Another update on the emergency crime legislation

Hopes and expectations were that CMs would consider one emergency crime bill on June 16.   Alas, this is not to be.   We will likely see two emergency crime bills, the curfew offered as a friendly amendment, and an amendment (reportedly with the full support of the council) codifying some of the recommendations listed in the recently released gang and crew violence report.

This outta be an interesting start to the day!

Why, oh, why are the Roving Leaders going away?

Just when the Council of the District of Columbia will be considering emergency crime legislation, the new director of the Department of Parks and Recreation allegedly plans to eliminate the Roving Leaders program.   This makes sense.   Not.

According to the recently released report on gang and crew violence, "When allowed to work consistent with the model, there is wide consensus that Roving Leaders have a positive impact on the lives of young people."   (A Blueprint for Action, online at www.dccollaboratives.org , page 16)

The District has been home to the Roving Leaders since 1954 when they were created to engage those we now refer to as "disconnected youth", those young people who are least likely to be connected with services and supports.   Read the rest of the short essay.

Promoting your event

Using the Washington Post to help you spread the word about your community event is easy.   Simply submit your item (Attn:   Gerri Marmer) via email (dcextra[AT]washpost[DOT]com) and mail (Community Events, District Extra, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St NW, WDC 20071).   Details from the Post:
Announcements are accepted on a space-available basis from public and nonprofit organizations only and must be received at least 14 days before the Thursday publication date. Include event name, dates, times, exact address, prices and a publishable contact phone number.

You can also, and should also, use electronic community discussion lists and your own networks.   Have other ideas that you want to share?   Let me know and I will post them here.


CFSA heads back to court on June 29

The April 30, 2009 report from the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), the LaShawn Court Monitor, prepared for the May 5, 2009 court hearing, has found both progress areas where practice continues to fall short of the Amended Implementation Plan.

LaShawn A. v. Fenty:   An Assessment of the District of Columbia's Child Welfare System (as of January 31, 2009) reviews progress toward the benchmarks in these areas:

  • Child Protective Services
  • In-Home Services to Children and Families
  • Placement of Children in Out-of-Home Care
  • Service to Children and Families
  • Permanency and Exits from Out-of-Home Care
  • System Accountability

The parties go back to court on June 29 for a scheduled, not emergency, hearing.

Susie's commentary:   During the CFSA FY 2010 budget hearing earlier this year, Committee on Human Services chair Tommy Wells (Ward 6) said he would be holding a series of public hearings on CFSA in the fall of 2009.   Could progress on LaShawn be one topic?   For other ideas, check out the Children's Rights Web site.   What are your hearing ideas?   Let me know.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gang talk from the Post

WaPo takes on crime today in an editorial, D.C. Crime Tools:   The Council should approve a handful of measures against violence.   The editorial board is supportive of the provisions but strongly encourages opponents of the emergency crime legislation to remain vigilant.   A Post editorial board member will debate the issue today, June 15, online with those who take a different view.   Check out the online debate today.

Presenters needed for family education expo

The DC Family Education Partnership, a collaborative of local and state education agencies, will host the 2009 DC Family Education Expo on Saturday, September 12 at Bell Multicultural High School.   The Partnership has issued a call for presenters at Education Excellence:   All Students.   All Parents.   All Families.   The Expo is a community event, where families will gain valuable information about education and educational programs for students of all ages.

The Partnership seeks presenters for workshops or discussions.   Those who want to submit a proposal should integrate best practices, effective strategies, successful program models, or research in the following content areas:

  • College & Workforce Readiness
  • Education & Youth:   Taking Charge in the Hall, Classroom and Dorm
  • Special Populations
  • Parent and Child Together

Details about proposing a session and the required form are here.

Gang talk

On June 12, some members of the City Council announced the release of the Blueprint for Action, a report on the gang problem in the city.   The report includes recommendations to reduce gang violence as well.

CM Jim Graham (Ward 1) told the community about the report in an email to the community.   Council Chair Vince Gray's (At-large) comments on the recently-released gang report are contained in this press release.   The report is on CM Graham's Web site.

The DC Republicans also talk gangs.   The DC GOP's presentation of gang-related data is on their just-launched new blog.

Susie's commentary:   Other than this and the usual community comments and complaints about graffiti and gang activity, there is little dialogue out there about a more deliberate and comprehensive approach to reducing gang membership and gang violence and other criminal activities.

We may see some emergency legislation implementing components of the gang report.   Not sure there is much that requires legislation but I will have to take a closer look.   Beyond the meeting, convening and coordinating, though, I am not hearing anything on the program side about implementing what has shown to work to keep young people out of gangs and getting them out once they are in.   The report does include some examples of what works.  .  .   Let's see what the public will is like around doing more of what works and less of what doesn't.

Public roundtable on this year's summer youth employment program, June 16

The Committee on Housing and Workforce Development (CM Barry, Ward 8, chair) is holding this public oversight roundtable on June 16 at 2:00 pm in the JAWB Council Chamber.   The purpose of this roundtable is to receive testimony from the public on the FY 2009 program which is scheduled to begin soon.   To testify at or ask questions about the roundtable, contact Drew Hubbard at 727-8230 or dhubbard[AT]dccouncil[DOT].us.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Update to child care hearing post

The Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation's (Thomas, Ward 5, chair) hearing on June 29 will consider Bill 18-329, "Child Development Program Accountability Act of 2009" in addition to seeking info on short and long term forecasts for DPR’s Before and After School Care Program, DayCare and Cooperative Play programs.   Info online - see pages 4460 and 4464.

New revenue estimates expected soon

New revenue estimates expected to be released June 22.   Watch out for news at the CFO's Web site.

More budget wins from Councilmembers

More from Councilmembers on their budget highlights/wins:   Check out the updated list.

State of Ward 5 Address

Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. will address community on June 15 at 6:00 pm at McKinley Technology High School (151 T St NE).   More information is available by calling the CM's office at 724-8028.

Open government = free society

Consider joining and/or supporting the DC Open Government Coalition (DCOGC).   The purpose is to educate, train, monitor, test, support, litigate, and advocate on the subject of increased openness in the government of the District of Columbia.   More information on this new group, check out the two-page backgrounder.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Free child and youth development TA

One of the most useful offerings of the National League of Cities is the free audioconference.   Two are coming up:
  • "Promoting School Readiness: The Challenge of Reaching ALL Children":   June 25, 2:30 pm
  • "Ceasefire:   An In-Depth Look at Using Street Outreach Workers to Stop the Epidemic of Youth Violence":   July 23, 2:30 pm

These audioconferences are part of the work of NLC's Institute for Youth, Education, and Families.   Session participants listen to lively talk-show style discussions between Institute staff, national policy experts, and city officials on best practices and key opportunities for municipal leadership on behalf of children, youth, and families.   Registration information is available online.   Also on this site are the audioconference archive and audioconference transcripts archive.

GIP leaders weigh in on gang civil injunctions

The Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative (CHSFSC) has denounced the City Council's plan to use civil injunctions about gangs in DC.   Their letter details the opposition and also spends time describing the Gang Intervention Partnership (GIP), the program that is being held up as a highly successful program deserving of replication.   Two important documents accompany the letter:   a summary of GIP that tracks the intervention from its beginnings to the present and the GIP independent evaluation report.

This information is timely.   The gang report from the Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaborative Council is being released on Friday, June 12 and the City Council is scheduled to vote on emergency crime legislation on Tuesday, June 16.   GIP is being held up by many as a model that should be replicated, because it works and also because it would complement gang suppression efforts central to the emergency crime legislation.

Highly recommended trainings!

Those new to DC or the world of advocacy have a great friend in SALSA, The Social Action & Leadership School for Activists.   They have some terrific offerings, some free, those that aren't are low-cost.   I appreciate the capacity-building variety, from communications to fundraising to leadership.   A terrific place to send new staffers and interns.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another candidate for mayor

From the D.C. Wire is this on the 2010 election:   Fenty mayoral campaign staffer Sulaimon Brown is running for mayor.   Details about the candidate and what he stands for is on his Web site.

Who's blogging and tweeting?

Just read the Beyond Bread (blog) email and saw that the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia is blogging.   Check 'em out at Making Justice Real.   Both Bread for the City and Legal Aid are on Twitter, too.

Wondering who else out there -- nonprofits, elected officials, DC government agencies -- is using is technology to communicate?   Let me know and I will share here so we can be better connected.

DC gang report to be released June 12

Council Chair Vincent Gray, Councilmember Jim Graham and (hopefully) Mayor Adrian Fenty will release A Blueprint for Action: Responding to Gang, Crew and Youth Violence in the District of Columbia on June 12.   The report will be released at 11:00 am in the JAWB Room 412.    The report was commissioned in 2008 to document the gang/crew problem in the District and recommend solutions for dealing with this problem.  

As the notice of the press conference says, the report’s release is timely given the City Council will consider emergency crime legislation at the June 16 legislative session.    Various versions of the emergency crime legislation

  • involve civil gang injunctions, described by juvenile justice advocates as punitive and by law enforcement as one important tool to combat gang crime and violence;
  • change the definition of gang;
  • provide for disaffiliation from a gang;
  • the number of gang members who must be listed on the injunction.

What to do with the new DCPS graduation rate news?

Lots of talk among local education analysts and advocates about the EDWeek report on the decline in the DCPS graduation rate.   But there is plenty for other analysts and advocates in other issues to talk about, too.   For example, a lower graduation rate may result in lower earnings in the short- and long-terms.   And what about homelessness and drug use?   Lots of questions and no answers.   I would be interested in hearing from you about what the EDWeek report means for your issue or how you will use the data in your advocacy.

See EDWeek data as reported by the Post and the complete Post story.

Upcoming child/youth-related Council hearings

Three upcoming hearings of City Council committees:
  • Child Care in the District of Columbia, June 29, 10:00 am:   The Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation (CM Harry Thomas, Jr., Ward 5, chair) is holding this hearing in the JAWB Room 412.   The committee is interested in learning about the short and long term forecasts for DPR’s Before and After School Care Program, DayCare and Cooperative Play programs.   Additional details about the hearing are online at the City Council Web site.
  • "The Need for a Comprehensive Educational Curriculum", June 29, 3:30 pm:   The Committee on Statehood and Self-Determination (CM Michael A. Brown, At-large, chair) is holding this hearing in the JAWB in the Council Chamber.   Additional details by calling 724-8105.
  • Bill 18-0075, "Mandatory HIV Testing and Educational Services for Inmates and Committed Youth Amendment Act of 2009", July 1, 10:00 am:   Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (CM Mendelson, At-large, chair) is holding this hearing in the JAWB in Room 412.   Additional details here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Advocacy and learning opps added to the calendar

Be sure to check out the calendar for events that have just been added.   New listings re: community meetings, public hearings, etc.

Faith community interest in social problems

Many folks regularly complain that the clergy in DC are not engaged in truly solving social and community problems.   And maybe they aren’t.   But this report based on national research conducted in 2008 finds that mainstream Protestants believe that the federal government should do more to solve social problems.   2008 Mainline Protestant Clergy Voices Survey, released in March 2009, reports in part:
  • Mainline Protestant clergy are broadly supportive of government’s role in addressing social problems such as unemployment, poverty and poor housing.
  • Mainline clergy are strongly supportive of government action in the areas of health care and the environment.
  • Mainline clergy are more likely to publicly address hunger and poverty and family issues than controversial social issues

What this report suggests for advocacy in the District, then, is that there is hope that clergy can be engaged in public policy on the range of issues affecting vulnerable residents.

Does your organization have any experience working with those in the faith community, and particularly related to this report, mainline Protestants?   Let me know and I will share.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Individual school budgets

I know a fair amount about the DC budget, the process, etc.   What I know virtually nothing about is the schools budget, the acronyms (LEA, etc.), the process, the politics, and the like.   So I am grateful that a nameless advocate has shared a spread sheet of individual school budgets for SY 2009-2010.   The figures in the spread sheet come from published docs.

Opinion:  You can’t not communicate and call yourself an advocate

As a longtime nonprofit staffer, I understand the challenges of social media.   Writing for a Web site, electronic newsletter and blog takes a great deal of time, time often seen as away from the core mission of the organization.

As an advocate, however, communication is essential.   Communication is story telling, information and intelligence sharing, education, persuasion, opinion changing, and enlightening.   It is, in fact, the currency in which we trade.   And it is very much about your core mission.

Too often, advocates and service providers who periodically venture into advocacy (most often legislative and budget) only communicate – read, testify – when they want or oppose something.   Worse, their communication is too often rife with complaints and with no accompanying solutions.

To me, the issue is less about whether you blog than whether you communicate at all.   Donors, potential partners, elected and appointed officials, neighbors, clients/potential clients, and the media should not have to work hard to find out what you do, what your positions are, what good you are doing, etc.   If they have to work, they are less likely to want to work with you, call you to comment on a story.  In the world of advocacy, those insular organizations will not be at the top of the list to help solve problems.

So what is the solution?   Certainly, those who believe that holding information close, parsing it out only to those who somehow "deserve" it will not change their mind as a result of this piece.   In my experience, what non-sharers think is that all information has to be secret, not just that which is strategic.   But for those who are interested in communicating, in actually working with others to solve problems, there are some publicly available resources that can help you on your way.   A list from Have Fun * Do Good about blogging is a good place to start.   Other blogs – such as those on the LIST OF CHANGE – also offer advice and how-tos.

So share information about the work you do, the population you serve, the challenges your clients face.   This information helps colleagues and the wider community better understand the challenges facing your clients and even the broader community.   This information can be used to support public policy decisions.

Bottom line:   Tell the story, help your clients, be part of the solution.

Really, can we get beyond the rhetoric to actually deal with gangs?

Two recent opinion pieces in the Post continue the discussion on worse, good, better, and best ways of dealing with gangs:   JPI's Tracy Velazquez's May 24 piece The Wrong Way to Fight Gang Crime and Joseph Spinnichio's letter to the editor, Taking On the Roots of Gang Violence.

Both viewpoints are correct in their limited ways (this is not a criticism of them).   It is correct, for example, that civil injunctions have been misused.   It is also true that children of teen parents too frequently struggle with behavior and social challenges.   I would venture to say that many of us – who help inform public policies and make public policies – get this.

I would also venture this:   That too few of us on the informing side of the equation are actually informing the public policies related to the range of youth issues – youth development and crime/gang/violence prevention and intervention.   Too often, we lament proposals coming down from on high.   And then we do the same thing over and over. We testify that proposals are unfair.   We talk about proposals focusing on minorities.

What is it about saying these things this time that we think will result in what we want?

If we are at all serious about informing public policies, about changing public policies, then we have to assess our messaging, our relationships with elected and appointed officials, identify what is and is not working and why.   This is not blaming the advocate for failed, at worst, public policies.   This is about us being successful so those on whose behalf we advocate benefit.

Can nonprofits really succeed themselves out of business?

For those who have missed the latest brouhaha of the limited lifespan foundation phenomenon, read about it at PhilanTopic.   This site has a link to joint Foundation Center/Council on Foundations report Perpetuity or Limited Lifespan:   How Do Family Foundations Decide? and the report on the Beldon Foundation's strategy detailed in Giving While Living:   The Beldon Fund Spend-Out Story.

Susie's commentary:   I am particularly intrigued with the Beldon experience because it is contrary to my nonprofit experiences.   I'm not suggesting nonprofits have spend out plans - but we have got to change the way we do business.

CMs highlight budget achievements

Some Councilmembers have identified budget wins in the just-approved FY 2010 budget.

Friday, June 5, 2009

From the June 5 DC Register

Items from today's DCR:
  • On May 29, Council Chair Vincent C. Gray, at the request of the Mayor, introduced "Student Health Care Act of 1985", Bill 18-306.   This legislation would require annual physical examinations of children in public, public charter, private, and independent schools pursuant to the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and to permit the physical examinations that are required for student enrollment in school to occur at any time in the twelve months immediately preceding the first day of the school year or the student’s enrollment in the school, whichever occurs later.

    The legislation brings current DC law and practice up to current research standards.

    The bill was referred to the Committee on Health (Catania, At-large, chair) with comments from the Committee of the Whole.

  • Reprog. 18-23:   The Department of Mental Health proposes to move authority from Agency Management Program (AMP) to the Mental Health Authority program (MHA) in order to restructure the provision of services and close the CSA.   The reprogramming is in the amount of $1.6 million in Local funds was submitted to the Council on May 28; the 14-day review period started May 29.
  • DCPS' FOIA compliance:   DCPS published final rules in the June 6, 2009 DCR related to Freedom of Information Act requests and agency responses. Emergency rules were adopted on February 9, 2009.   The final rules are online. (page 4340)
  • Final rulemaking pursuant to the Child and Youth, Safety and Health Omnibus Amendment Act of 2004:   The Department of Human Resources received no comments to the April 24 proposed rules and thus no changes were made.   Final rulemaking action was taken on May 27, 2009.   The Act established criminal background and traffic record checks requirements for District government employees providing direct services to children or youth in District government agencies considered "covered child or youth services providers."   Among other things, the rules clarified personnel authority for those employees who fail the background check.   (page 4346)
  • Final rules related to testing for controlled substances and alcohol:   The Department of Human Resources issued final rules on the agencies covered by the Child and Youth, Safety and Health Omnibus Amendment Act of 2004.   Added were the District Department of the Environment, Natural Resources Administration, Fisheries and Wildlife Division, Fisheries Management Branch, and Aquatic Resource Education Center.   No comments were received to proposed rules published on April 24.   Final rulemaking action was taken on May 27, 2009.   (page 4354)
  • Final rules from MPD related to firearms:   These rules are on the following subjects:   firearm registration, disqualifications for registration, knowledge of firearms and training requirements, registration for self-defense at home, and dealer’s license qualifications.   These rules were previously published as an emergency and proposed rulemaking in the DCR on January 16, 2009.   No comments were received and no changes were made.   The rules were final upon publication.   (page 4380)
  • Proposed rules regarding graduation requirements:   The acting state superintendent has proposed rules amend Title 5, Chapter 22, of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR), entitled "Grades, Promotion, and Graduation."   The proposal would make biology a required lab science for graduation starting with students entering 9th grade in the fall of 2009.   No other graduation requirements are changed for students enrolled in public and public charter schools.   Comments are due within 30 days of publication. (page 4393)
  • Proposed rules from DYRS:   The director of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services published proposed rules related to the community placement of juveniles.   Specifically,
    The purpose of these amendments is to make changes to the process for reviewing and, if necessary, modifying and/or rescinding a youth’s community placement status.   These amendments clarify how to initiate the community status review process, the manner in which Community Status Review Hearings are conducted, and the procedure for appealing a decision. These amendments incorporate the phrase "community status review" rather than "revocation" because it better reflects that the objective of a hearing is to review the youth’s community placement and that removal from a placement is not automatic.

    DYRS intends to take final rulemaking action to adopt this amendment in no less than 14 days from the date of publication of this notice in the Register.   According to the notice, DYRS has "good cause" for the shortened notice since the proposed rules were recently published with a 30-day comment period.   The Public Defender Services, Georgetown University Law Center, and ParentWatch, Inc., in addition to other stakeholders, commented.   (page 4395)

First All Hands on Deck of 2009 warm weather season

Today at 1:30, the mayor and police chief will make the first warm-weather "All Hands On Deck" (AHOD) announcement.   They will appear at the Watts Branch Recreation Center, 6201 Bank Pl NE.   The announcement comes on the heels of the placement of the mobile CCTV camera at Kalorama Rd and Champlain St NW to address recent shootings as well as the Examiner story on the sentencing of a Ward 1 gang leader.   As previously promoted on this blog, the June 5-7 AHOD adds social service "fairs" to the portfolio.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Evans anticipates summer crime wave

Ward 2 CM Jack Evans delivered his list of budget accomplishments in his June 4 eletter (more on this in another post.)   Buried at the end was this nugget about the forthcoming crime wave and the need for the emergency crime legislation:
. . . thank you to everyone who has written the Council in support of moving emergency crime legislation in advance of the summer "crime wave" season.   Your letters have made a difference over the past few weeks and I now believe we have a majority of the Council in support of moving forward on June 16th to put additional tools in place to deal with gang activity, increasing penalties for the use of stolen cars in the commission of a crime, and increasing various illegal gun possession penalties, among other provisions.   Keep up the good work and keep contacting all your elected officials in support of this important measure!

Who knew crime waves were inevitable?

Public oversight roundtable on DYRS escape and youth absondence generally

CM Tommy Wells (Ward 6 and chair of the Committee on Human Services) has scheduled a public oversight roundtable on June 10 at 2:00 pm in Room 123 of the JAWB to consider the recent escape from New Beginnings and the issue of absconders generally.

The purposes of the roundtable are to learn more about:

  • the recent escape of a youth from the New Beginnings Youth Center in Laurel, MD;
  • youth abscondances from DYRS custody and the agency's response to youth abscondance; and
  • corrective measures taken by the agency to prevent future escapes and abscondances.

At the roundtable, the committee will receive testimony from District officials, including officials of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), regarding the escape of a youth from the recently opened New Beginnings Youth Center in Laurel, MD.   Further, the roundtable will provide members of the committee, and of the Council, an opportunity to question District government officials and provide a forum for the community to present their views on these issues.   More on the roundtable here.

Those who wish to testify at the roundtable should contact Vivian McCarter at vmccarter[AT]dccouncil[DOT]us or 724-8191 by no later than 4:00 pm June 9.

CFSA director now permanent

The City Council approved Dr. Roque Gerald as director of the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) at the June 2 council session.

Yet *another* update on the crime emergency leg

Turns out that the June 16 City Council session may have one or two emergency crime bill introductions.   The number depends on whether CMs Evans (Ward 2) and Mendelson (At-large) can come together on one bill.   The added twist, of course, is the expanded curfew provisions CM Wells (Ward 6) wants.   Word was that the curfew language would be folded into Evans intro; now the fate of the curfew change is up in the air.   For the back story, check out my June 2 post on the Evans intro, June 2 post on the curfew, and June 1 post on the curfew components.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Update on emergency crime legislation

As was mentioned earlier today, CM Jack Evans plans to introduce an emergency crime bill on June 16.   But as it turns out, CM Phil Mendelson will also introduce emergency crime measures on June 16.   Mendelson asked Council Chair Vince Gray to place the measures on the agenda of the additional legislative meeting on June 2.   Mendelson's introductions are "Crime Bill Emergency Declaration Resolution of 2009" and "Crime Bill Emergency Amendment Act of 2009."   According to the notice to Gray,
This legislation includes certain sections of an overall crime bill that are currently pending in the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary.   Specifically, sections on gang civil injunctions, unauthorized use of a stolen vehicle to commit crimes of violence, white collar theft, obstruction of justice, felon in possession of a firearm, pre-trial detention, gun offender registration, and enhanced penalties for chronic criminal offenders.   These sections have been identified for enactment prior to this summer in order to address anticipated seasonal increases in crime rates.
A markup of the permanent legislation, of which these sections are a part, will be June 26, 2009.   This will permit first reading June 30th and second reading July 14th.

More information as it becomes available, so stay tuned.

Legal (and social) services summit

The Public Defender Service (PDS) is sponsoring this June 23 Community Reentry and Expungement Summit.   More information:

Update on the curfew

So Tommy Wells (Ward 6 and chair of the Committee on Human Services) chose to offer a friendly amendment to the forthcoming emergency crime bill (June 16 from CM Jack Evans, Ward 2 and chair of the Committee on Finance and Revenue) rather than introduce his curfew emergency at the June 2 City Council session.   I am told the components remain the same as those I recently reported.   Stay tuned here for more information.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mike Debonis on potential Kwame run for mayor

Yes, I am a little slow on the draw for anything non-budget today.   And I am presuming that blog readers have already read that Kwame Brown's father is talking about a son run.   And then there is DCist on the issue.   Advocates, another name to add to the pay-attention list.

All hands on deck -- including social services!!

Who knew AHOD (MPD's All Hands on Deck) was about services, supports and non-public safety information too?   Well, on June 6, a number of DC government agencies are coming together at the Parkview Community Center and Benning Stoddert Community Center.   Check out the event flier for details about what you might learn from the Department of Employment Services, Department of Health, Office of the State Superintendent for Education, and Department of Disability Services.

Hats off to the Council budget office staff

My hat is off the Eric Goulet his colleagues in the budget office for a job well done on the Council version of the budget.

The closest-we-are-going-to-get version of the budget

This is the closest-we-are-going-to-get version of the budget before the vote today.

An updated one-time allocation list

An updated -- but not final -- list of one-time allocations.

The company we keep. . .

Well, it seems that DCPS is not alone in the counting challenge, at least according to this story from the Examiner today on MPD's failure to provide the FBI with data.

Seriously, this is a problem and let me tell you why:

  • First, as far as I can tell, MPD has not sufficiently explained why they keep two databases for record-keeping.   Anyone who keeps databases knows how hard it is to keep one up, let alone two.   And MPD knows the deadline and still can't meet it given the trials and tribulations of the past?
  • Second, Part I data (murder, rape, etc.) is not the only information that MPD does not capture well.   The city uses GangNet, a country-wide system that allows police departments to assess gang member and gang activity by individual and group.   Only some of MPD's gang fighters even know about the database let alone use it.   Why is this a problem?   Gee, the um, 87 gangs AG Peter Nickles says are in DC?   BTW, I have been told that the community and not MPD has the best list of gangs and crews and that the MPD list is based on this list.   Let's not even consider the Web site listing DC gangs and crews and gangs/crews in MD and VA, as well.
  • Third, MPD does not maximize the use of the information collected on the PD163 arrest forms.   MPD uses Columbo, the Columbo Criminal Intelligence System, implemented in DC in the early 2000s.   If information were entered, the police could search for others with the same tattoos and colors.   As is always the case, utility is constrained by inconsistent input.

So to those who want more police on the street, just know that more officers is not the only solution.   Better information, leading to better strategic and tactical decisions, will go a long way to fighting crime and improving public safety.

What info do you want to see on this blog?

Everywhere I go, people tell me they are reading this blog.   I'm glad folks find the info useful.   But I wonder what else people want to know -- so I'm asking!   I can't promise I can meet your needs (at least for free), but I'll see what I can do.   So send me an email with the kinds of information you want.

Untreated mental health problems cost billions

Failure to adequately treat mental health problems of young people is so much more costly than I ever imagined!   The fairly new report summary, Report Brief for Policymakers ~ Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities, by The National Academies, cannot possibly make a stronger case that treatment is essential:
Mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) disorders—which include depression, conduct disorder, and substance abuse—affect large numbers of young people.   Studies indicate that MEB disorders are a major health threat and are as commonplace today among young people as a fractured limb—not inevitable but not at all unusual.   Almost one in five young people have one or more MEB disorders at any given time.   Among adults, half of all MEB disorders were first diagnosed by age 14 and three-fourths by age 24.
Many disorders have life-long effects that include high psychosocial and economic costs, not only for the young people, but also for their families, schools, and communities.   The financial costs in terms of treatment services and lost productivity are estimated at $247 billion annually.   Beyond the financial costs, MEB disorders also interfere with young people’s ability to accomplish developmental tasks, such as establishing healthy interpersonal relationships, succeeding in school, and making their way in the workforce.

The full report can be read online for free.

2010 election schedule

Forgive my love affair with the improved DC BOEE Web site.   I promise I will find a new shiny thing soon.

And now to the subject at hand.   Key dates are September 14, 2010 for the primary and November 2, 2010 for the general.   The local seats up next year are:

  • Mayor (primary and general)
  • Chairman of the Council (primary and general)
  • At-Large Member of the Council (two to be elected) (primary and general)
  • Ward 1 Member of the Council (primary and general)
  • Ward 3 Member of the Council (primary and general)
  • Ward 5 Member of the Council (primary and general)
  • Ward 6 Member of the Council (primary and general)
  • At-Large Member of the State Board of Education (general)
  • Member of the State Board of Education (Wards 1, 3, 5, and 6) (general)
  • Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (286 Commissioners) (general)

Current office holders for the executive and legislative offices up for re-election are:

  • Mayor (Adrian Fenty)
  • Chairman of the Council (Vincent Gray)
  • At-Large Member of the Council (David Catania and Phil Mendelson)
  • Ward 1 Member of the Council (Jim Graham)
  • Ward 3 Member of the Council (Mary Cheh)
  • Ward 5 Member of the Council (Harry "Tommy" Thomas Jr.)
  • Ward 6 Member of the Council (Tommy Wells)

Monday, June 1, 2009

One-time allocations list in BSA

Wondering how the one-time allocation pie is being divvied up?   Check out the list from the May 29 version of the engrossed BSA.   Note that this list may change as the council's budget office is working on a newer version to be voted on, perhaps on June 2; time will tell.

Did you miss Millicent Williams on Kojo?

No matter, you can listen to the show here on WAMU.   Also on WAMU today was schools chancellor Michelle Rhee talking about the busy summer she and the system will have serving kids in summer school and getting ready for the next school year.

Why the 2nd vote on the BSA may be delayed

School enrollment challenges are one reason why the Council may delay the second vote on the FY 2010 budget support act.   The handout from the press briefing is here.

Second vote on BSA may be delayed

Today, Council Chair Vincent C. Gray announced that the FY 2010 BSA may not be taken up at June 2 legislative session.   There remain a number of issues to be resolved.

Hearing on escape from New Beginnings & abscondence

According to the Office of CM Tommy Wells (Ward 6), the Committee on Human Services will be holding a hearing on the recent escape from New Beginnings and the issue of abscondence in general from DYRS custody.   The hearing will be held within the next 10 days but no earlier than Friday, June 5.   Details will be posted here and naturally available from the committee.

Components of to-be-introduced curfew bill

According to the Office of CM Tommy Wells (Ward 6), the components of the emergency curfew legislation to be introduced on June 2 are:
  • lowers the curfew hours for youth 15 years of age and younger to 10:00 pm on weeknights, 11:00 pm on weekends for summer months
  • maintains all the exemptions currently existing in law (i.e., with a parent or guardian, at an event at DC government facility such as a rec center, at an event with a religious institution, coming to or from work, emergency situations, and others)
  • requires the Chief of MPD to instruct all patrol officers that appropriate care should be taken when enforcing the curfew hours to ensure proper safety and welfare of the minors remains paramount

The legislation will be available on LIMS after the introduction.

New calendar updates - check 'em out!

Be sure to check out the calendar for events that have just been added.   New listings re: community meetings, public hearings, etc.

Briefing on June 2 Council leg meeting

Council Chair Vincent Gray will be holding a press briefing on June 1 at 10:00 am in the JAWB in Room 412.   The briefing is for the 10th Legislative Meeting.   The highlight of June 2 events, at least according to budget wonks, will be the second vote on the FY 2010 budget support act.   Doxie A. McCoy can answer any questions in advance of the briefing 724-8032 or dmccoy[AT]dccouncil[DOT]us.

Monday on WAMU: The importance of quality summer youth programming

On the eve of summer, experts including Millicent Williams from the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation (CYITC, Trust) will discuss the the value and importance of high-quality summer learning opportunities for young people.   Tune in to WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi Show (WAMU 88.5 FM -- you can listen live online or on the radio) and you can listen to and participate in the discussion on Monday, June 1 at Noon.

Participate by calling 1-800-433-8850 or emailing kojo[AT]wamu[DOT]org.   You may also Tweet Kojo @kojoshow.

The Trust sees summer as an important time to advance youth development.   And they know something about positive youth development and OST.   The Trust is the primary resource for developing partnerships that expand and improve services and opportunities for children and youth in the District of Columbia, especially during their time out of school. It provides funding to more than 150 community-based organizations, helping more than 20,000 children after school and during the summer.

Please take this short survey on meeting space

In my more than 12 years doing public policy advocacy and public education for some nonprofit organizations, I planned my fair share of community meetings, trainings, conferences, and briefings.   I know first-hand the time it takes to hunt down appropriate space.

To make the lives of my nonprofit colleagues easier, I have developed this short survey (it is, really) to demonstrate the utility of a guide to space rental for nonprofits.   Please take a few minutes to complete the survey.   The deadline is June 19.   Thank you for your participation!!!