Thursday, March 31, 2011
Residents and colleagues and friends of Safe Shores are encouraged to vote for Safe Shores before April 22. Voting is easy:
- Go to the Roti Mediterranean Grill Facebook page
- Like Roti
- Click the "Vote Now" button
- Click "Like" at the top of the page AND THEN click on the Safe Shores logo
- You can add a comment on the Safe Shores page if you'd like
What does Safe Shores win if it garners the most votes? Safe Shores would get all the donations collected during the opening of each Roti Free Lunch Day. Each Roti opening will offer customers lunch on the house in return for a donation to the selected non-profit organization. All proceeds raised during Free Lunch Day will go to the organization with the most votes.
Need more info or just want to see the lovely flier for the help Safe Shores by voting for it on the Roti Facebook page? Then click here (PDF). Want to find the Roti closest to you? Check out their locations.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Those advocates, including me, who played a significant role in the development of the legislation will also be attending the press conference.
Following the South Capitol Street tragedy one year ago, At-large CM David Catania took action, launching an initiative to determine what the city could do better to prevent such violence and identify and treat youth with mental health issues.
On July 8, 2010, the Committee on Health and the Committee on Human Services (Ward 6 CM Tommy Wells, then-chair) held a joint public oversight roundtable to hear from the law firm Nixon Peabody LLP about their preliminary findings on the range of solutions to the city's long-standing problem of youth violence.
Since that time, the Committee on Health has been interviewing local policy and practice advocates and conducting research toward the goal of developing a legislative solution to the problems of youth mental health and violence challenges.
More information about the event and the initiative are available from Brendan Williams-Kief, (202) 724-7772 or via email.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The ballroom was packed. There were police chiefs, ex-offenders, a White House official and a federal judge. Their message was the same:
Help us turn lives around. Help us steer young people away from crime.
Be mentors. Build programs. Step up to keep them off the streets and be productive, not destructive.
This belief, that action is better than inaction, delivered as it was, ignores what we know about what works and what doesn't. And so I commented:
The solution is not to start a program. Rather, the solution is to institute quality programming that is a best practice or evidence-based and regularly evaluated. The problem is that we (DC, at least) have a plethora of programs very few of which are rigorous, based on a model/theory of change, evaluated, and demonstrated to work.
It is, in fact, the "just jump in and help" idea that is not helpful. This approach results in depleting scarce resources and diverting from those efforts that do work and could/should be taken to scale.
Moreover, jurisdictions need a plan. This is a serious problem and thus requires a serious and deliberative approach. This doesn't mean volunteers are not needed. It means that reason and demonstrated effectiveness rules the day through research, not individual stories that are, it is true, compelling.
If we want to effect lasting change, we need a new approach. Residents, on the delivering and receiving ends, deserve no less.
Does mentoring work? It can. Is keeping youth engaged and off the street productive? It can be. The problem is that not all programming is good and we have to understand that what should come first is effectiveness and later staffing, including engaging volunteers and members of the community and their talents.
Those interested in effecting positive change must understand the solution is not about us but rather about a model that has been shown to be effective. Effecting positive change will require rigor and commitment and funding and evaluation and, oh, rigor. To the extent that a mentoring model fits into this framework, we should implement the program. But we have, in my view, funded too many programs for too long that are not effective.
Monday, March 28, 2011
DC Statehood Greens will be holding a press conference March 28 at 6:00 pm in front of Eastern High School (1700 East Capitol St NE). According to the release, "Statehood Greens will offer a progressive alternative to DC's present regressive income tax. The progressive plan would generate $250 million in additional revenue that should go into essential social services cut in recent years."
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Survey participants were also asked what sources of DC budget information other than those listed (see the graph "Top-ranked Sources of DC Budget Information.") they used. The results are a mix of media, social media, organizations, and people; the results are shown here:
- Organizations (CNHED, DC Alliance of Youth Advocates, Revenue Coalition, Nonprofit Roundtable, Center for Nonprofit Advancement, Think Twice Campaign, Save Our Safety Net of DC)
- Media (Washington Business Journal, television news)
- Professionals (community organizers, colleagues and co-workers)
- Nonprofits, general (action alerts from nonprofits, individual inquiries to nonprofits)
- Other (word of mouth, http://www.greyinthedark.org/)
What is more interesting to me is the number of sources used by each respondent. The most common number of sources, as is illustrated in the graph entitled "Number of Sources Respondents Use for Budget Information", is four. Seven respondents, out of a whopping 25, use four sources to learn about budget hearings, details and the process. The most common sources used by the seven respondents are DCFPI, Susie's Budget and Policy Corner and Fair Budget Coalition. The Washington Post was the next most-common source.
This interests me more because I am a firm believer in getting as much information from as many and as many different kinds of sources and perspectives as possible. Certainly, few are able to make time for expanded breadth and depth of DC budget sources, but those who are primary sources could be the conduit for such information.
I think there is plenty of room for more DC budget information sources, whether they be straight journalism sources or sources with a point of view.
Not feeling so generous today, I have to ask, "What is so breaking about the news that Mayor Vince Gray is holding his first State of the District address March 28?" Rest assured, you will see this email multiple times if you subscribe as I do to even a few community Yahoo groups.
Friday, March 25, 2011
A quick note about the streaming video on our site: we've heard from many of you about the audio problems. Thank you for contacting us. We are aware of the problem and have been trying to get to the bottom of it, running tests and trying out different speakers, microphones, and other equipment. We sincerely apologize. Our technology team is working hard to resolve this as soon as possible. (From News from DC Council Chairman Brown - March 25, 2011)
I do believe the Council's IT department, led by Chris Warren, is working on the issue. My issue really is their success in dealing with the audio challenges. My recommendations? Keep paying attention and providing feedback to Chris via email.
A Responsible Budget
Next week, the Mayor will deliver his proposed FY12 budget to the Council. We'll then begin the critical task of evaluating the budget, agency by agency, department by department. I have already made it clear that we will not raise taxes on income or property, but we will still have to find a way to pay for all of the essential services the city provides. Unfortunately, there will have to be spending cuts in many areas, but I promise you that we will do this deliberately and responsibly.
We can't do this without you. Please email or call us with your comments, concerns, and input. Or, let me come to you. A number of constituents have invited me into their homes to talk with their neighbors about the budget and answer any questions they might have. If you would like to host a neighborhood meeting with me, you can send an email to Nicole Streeter: email@example.com (For all other inquiries about the budget, please contact Committee of the Whole: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Safe Shores, for instance, is co-sponsoring child sexual abuse training sessions with five Councilmembers.
Child and Family Services Agency is collecting events to put on the city's official Child Abuse Prevention Month Calendar. Email information to Yolanda McPhail-McKinley. Got questions? Call Yolanda at (202) 442-6003.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
The book available for purchase at the online Global Exchange store, the Global Exchange store at 5th & K and at Amazon using the link to the left.
The event takes place at 5:00 pm at Busboys & Poets on the corner of 5th and K Sts NW.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Take a minute to watch the video and learn from IDA recipients what $270 a month means.
The event, part of Child Abuse Prevention Month, will feature experts presenting from national and local perspectives District policymakers and leaders from both the public and private sectors can engage with a panel of experts to explore:
- The latest research about effective prevention efforts
- Innovative practices from across the nation
- Implications for new local policy directions
CFSA seeks collaboration and partnership with a youth-focused community based organization to deliver youth empowerment and career development services to include life skills training, educational services and college preparation, and job readiness/job placement. More information and the official solicitation are online (PDF). (Thanks to reader for pointing out typo on March 22.)
Monday, March 21, 2011
Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services
1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Main Number: (202) 727-7973
Direct Line: (202) 727-1751
The good news is that Mayor Gray and his budget team officially asked for public input on the budget. The bad news is the timing of the survey. If the Gray Administration truly wanted ideas from the public, the survey should have been done in January and February when the results could have been considered, researched, massaged, and included. The survey notice is clear that the survey results "will help shape some final decisions about the budget." How this is possible is unclear since the the budget timeline, included in the Office of Budget and Planning (OBP) budget instructions, has EOM pencils down March 9 and OBP pencils down March 23.
Doing the survey now feels like the administration is trying to engage the public but not understanding how the process works. It also feels like a communications decision. I'm actually not sure about what to take away from this. Is this amateur hour, a rookie mistake or something else? I give the mayor a -1.
No matter, take the survey. It takes but a minute and you never know if your ideas will be included in the mayor's FY 2012 proposed budget.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
The meeting is March 22 from 9:30 - 10:30 am. More information is in the event flier (PDF).
Then join with Coalition for Nonprofit Housing & Economic Development's "Housing for All" Campaign led by campaign organizer Elizabeth Falcon. The campaign will be fighting for no cuts to housing programs in the FY 2012 budget. Join the campaign on the CNHED website. Contact Falcon for more information (202) 745-0902 or via email.
Can't attend the Ward 7 event? There are others; the entire schedule is here (PDF).
What strikes me as odd (best case) and pathetic and scary (worst case) is that fewer than 20 people will be testifying at the hearing. Why pathetic and scary? These administrations comprise nearly 80% of the DOH budget. Moreover, these administrations are responsible for incredibly important issues and services including nutrition; child, adolescent and school health; substance abuse prevention and treatment; HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment; and the more mundane yet equally important policy and planning.
Do you have any sense of why more folks are not testifying at the DOH performance oversight hearing? Let me know anonymously on Google Docs. I will report the responses soon.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
The work is nowhere near done with the publication of the report. DCPL is asking residents and other users of the library system to provide feedback on the report and recommendations. The survey is open through April 4.
- Receiving and distributing donations
- Sorting clothes and supplies in the Children’s Closet/Donation Center
- Sorting books on our Children’s Library Shelves
To volunteer, contact Beatrice Williar via email or phone, (202) 727-7101. This is a perfect opportunity for adults or youth in need of community service hours.
this Thoughts and Observations.... blog post, you can do some spring cleaning and help out kids in foster care at the same time!
Project Prom is CFSA's Annual Project Prom Collection event. This year, the collection takes place from April 11 - 15 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at Child & Family Services Agency (400 6th St SW in the first floor Children’s Donation Center). Items needed include formal dresses, suits, shoes, jewelry, and accessories.
CFSA's Partners for Kids in Care is also recruiting volunteers for the May 7 Annual Project Prom Boutique Day. The purpose of this one-day event is to pamper the teens--help them find the right outfit and get a make-over from make-up artists.
Interested in one or both prom volunteer opps? Contact Beatrice Williar via email or phone, (202) 727-7101.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
- CM Catania's new Director of Communications and Community Relations: Brendan Williams-Kief recently joined the At-large member's staff following a stint at WRC-TV as manager of the evening assignment desk. You can reach Williams-Kief at (202) 724-7772 or via email.
- The March 11 newsletter (PDF) includes hearings information and community announcements
- March 4 newsletter (PDF) (my apologies for not posting sooner)
Friday, March 11, 2011
All Democrat candidates who have been preliminary validated by the Board of Elections and Ethics have been invited with confirmations from (as of March 9): Sekou Biddle, Dorothy Douglas, Joshua Lopez, Vincent Orange, and Jacque D. Patterson.
WJLA's Sam Ford has been tentatively confirmed as the moderator.
For more information about the forum, contact Kim Bell at via email or (202) 465-1596.
Safe Shores, for instance, is co-sponsoring child sexual abuse training sessions with five Councilmembers (UPDATED: March 17).
And then there is the play To Kill A Kelpie: A Play Inspired by Stop the Silence on stage in DC April 9 - 11 at the DC Arts Center (2438 18th St NW). The new and original play by Scottish playwright and actor Matthew McVarish is about two brothers, who, after living with a secret since their boyhood, divulge the truth to each other. The play and after-show discussion are free and open to the public with advance seating (hint, call now for tickets). For tickets, contact Jacob Wilkins at (512) 522-6231.
Child and Family Services Agency is collecting events to put on the city's official Child Abuse Prevention Month Calendar. Email information to Yolanda McPhail-McKinley. Got questions? Call Yolanda at (202) 442-6003.
- April 2 in Ward 2 co-sponsored by CMs Jack Evans and Phil Mendelson (Ward 2 flier (PDF))
216 in Ward 7 co-sponsored by CM Yvette Alexander (Ward 7 flier (PDF)) (UPDATED: March 17)
- April 12 in Ward 1 co-sponsored by CM Jim Graham (Ward 1 flier (PDF))
- April 19 in Ward 4 co-sponsored by CM Muriel Bowser (Ward 4 flier (PDF))
The first 30 to sign up for each training participate for free.
These events are in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
What does this mean? Nothing definitive, but here are some thoughts:
- The promised tool kit/talking points to be prepared by the Mayor's Office on Budget and Finance, were not given to agencies.
- Some agencies and staff do not have robust lists of advocates or interested parties, thus making it hard to invite the community to a meeting.
- This is a complete shift from prior administration, where agency/community access and especially messaging were controlled. It appears that neither the government nor the public have adjusted to this new openness.
I'm not sure what my takeaway is. But I can tell you what it's not: That the community had their input restricted; members of the public can, at any time, go to agencies and the mayor's budget office with ideas.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
This leads me to wonder whether any in the nonprofit or philanthropic communities have planned a similar event. There is, after all, a huge difference between contracting with the city and being a partner in change.
I wanted to learn from current and former City Council staffers their thoughts about meet and greet events. Seven current and former staffers took the survey; still, the information they provided is useful to all kinds of organizations and businesses.
The takeaways for me:
- The relationship with the staffer is central to an effective relationship.
- There is great value of the in-person event. It allows staffers to put a face to a name—and vice versa.
- Knowing and respecting the processes, which entity is responsible for what, and the calendar are essential and can if not make or break a relationship, certainly negatively affect it.
For more on this, check out the two-pager, The Value of Meet and Greets (PDF).
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The organizers have commitments from: Sekou Biddle (tentative), Dorothy Douglas, Josh Lopez, Patrick Mara, Alan Page, and Bryan Weaver.
For more information is available from Sylvia Robinson by calling (202) 462-2285 or via email.
Attendees will learn the basics of banking, about the rights of tenants and much more. More information is in the event flier (PDF).
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
- The FY 2012 budget hearing schedule has been moved. If you lose this link, don't worry. UPDATE 3/9 7A: You can get to the schedule from the "Headline News" on the
right under the calendarleft next to picture/slide show.
- The performance oversight hearing schedule has moved, too. UPDATE 3/9 7A: Like the budget hearing sked, you can get to the schedule from the "Headline News" on the
right under the calendarleft next to picture/slide show. Perhaps bigger news is that some of the questions and answers are posted on this page. For now at least, the Q&A link scrolls in "In The Spotlight."
Monday, March 7, 2011
Anna El-Eini, author and former director of the DC Environmental Network, will talk about what it takes to make a difference in the lives of others. Chris Weiss, DCEN executive director, will moderate.
The event takes place at Global Green USA (1100 15th St NW, 11th Floor). Register online. Those unable to attend in person may call in; dial 775-269-3893 and when prompted, enter 399602.
- ANC 3F has a redesigned website.
- ANC 3F has a new electronic discussion list on Yahoo Groups. This new list will be used to distribute ANC 3F-specific notices including agendas, minutes and more. If you wish to join the list serv, please feel free to sign up online or via email.
- There is a new political events tweeter in town, @DCPolEvents.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
March 17, 7:00 pm: This At-large candidate forum is sponsored by the Kalorama Citizens Association and is taking place at at Good Will Baptist Church, 1862 Kalorama Rd NW. The candidates are: Sekou Biddle, Tom Brown, Dorothy Douglas, Arkan Haile, Josh Lopez, Patrick Mara, Vincent Orange, Alan Page, Jacques Patterson, and Bryan Weaver.
- Two offices play a role in the budget support act: OPLA (Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs) and the Mayor's Office on Budget and Finance. In the latter, Justin Constantino is the lead.
- The Current Service Funding Level (CSFL) is now expected to be public the week of March 7.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
This is an outstanding improvement. Please take a minute and email Council Chairman Kwame Brown and email Christopher Warren, Chief Information Officer. Thank them for making this change.
UPDATE 3/4 8:15 am: Also thank Nyasha Smith, Council secretary, for making the legislation available so quickly.
Sixteen More than 15 members of the public are scheduled to testify; DMH director Steve Baron testifies last. Given the importance of the issue; the links between mental health and violence, child neglect and abuse, job stability, and substance abuse; and the number of individuals and organizations seemingly concerned in the issue, I am struck by the small number of public witnesses.
- Push content to users via RSS feeds, Facebook and Twitter
- Use social media (Facebook and Twitter) to listen to residents and answer questions
- Improvements related to legislation and Council actions
- CM newsletters
- Prompt response
- Miscellaneous improvements in communications with the public
This collection is not enough. We now have to encourage the City Council to make this improvements. Should you have any success getting one or more implemented, please let me know via email. I will blog the successes.
Learn more about what I can contribute to your work by reading this letter in which I outline my areas of expertise and rates.
The question is, have you congratulated them yet? It takes all of five minutes if you write a hand-written note like I did or less if you send an email.
I think it's definitely worth the time.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
- April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month: National estimates are that over 700,000 children are victims of child abuse or neglect each year. In 2010, over 2,600 children were found to be victims of child abuse and neglect in the District of Columbia.
Join Child and Family Services Agency and others across the District as they participate in activities designed to raise awareness, educate and inform, and skill-up those who work with children and youth. Civic associations, schools, faith-based organizations, and communities can make an appreciable difference in the prevention of child abuse. Some ideas about what you can do are online (Word, .doc).
- Life After Foster Care: Expectations and Realities: This first in a series of youth permanency forums organized by CFSA's Office of Youth Empowerment (OYE) will feature young adults who transitioned from the CFSA foster care system and a multi-disciplinary panel adding insight to the discussion from their respective professions. The event is being held March 16 from 6:00 – 8:30 pm at The Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th St NW). RSVP by Noon March 9 by calling 727-7505.
Future forums are tentatively scheduled for the months of June, September, and December.
- CFSA's budget hearing: The date for the CFSA budget hearing has been changed to April 18. As of March 1 at 8:00 pm, the City Council's budget hearing schedule did not reflect this change.
I must say I am quite surprised there are only three public witnesses when so many in the community regularly talk about school facilities.
- Committee of the Whole: John Coombs (education) and Rob Miller (all other issues)
- Committee on Aging and Community Affairs: Deborah George
- Committee on Finance and Revenue: Rob Miller
- Committee on Health: Adam Aljoburi
- Committee on Human Services: Adam Aljoburi
- Committee on the Judiciary: John Coombs
- Committee on Public Works and Transportation: Zachary Weaver
- Committee on Economic Development: Rob Miller
- Committee on Government Operations and the Environment: Zachary Weaver
- Committee on Housing and Workforce Development: John-Paul Hayworth
- Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation: Natalie Harris
- Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs: John Coombs (UPDATE 3/3 1:00 pm: This committee has been added to the list)
OPLA is in Suite 533 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
The ideal organization is one that's a social mission organization and that would appreciate the great environment that U Street has to offer. Only 1/2-block from the metro and with innumerable nearby restaurants, it's a great location for an office.
Because there is no legal authority to create the office in FY 2011, all staff in the office are being funded by agencies in the human services cluster with vacancies. Not to put too fine a point on this, if a vacancy identified for use by the new DM's office is in Agency A, then Agency A bears the burden for the cost of the FTE through the end of FY 2011.
What remains unclear about this way of staffing and funding this office is whether agencies have any say in which vacancies are used for the office of the DM. What also remains unclear is how the mayor and his staff, along with agencies, will handle any spending pressures resulting from this imposition, particularly when an agency's revised budget accounts does not anticipate filling particular vacancies.
The mayor's budget office plans to create the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Human Support Services in FY 2012.