Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 31 budget update

  • CM Michael Brown issued a statement about the May 25 vote on the budget:   The CM highlighted legislative changes in the areas of higher education, literacy and child welfare among the successes of the budget season.
  • SOS Post-Budget Vote Action Alert!:   SOS calls on the community to continue the pressure on the City Council to make the municipal bond tax permanent.   Calls and emails are needed now, before the second vote on the budget support act in June.
  • Run-down of budget action from Save Our Safety Net:   SOS has blogged the wins and remaining challenges in the FY 2012 budget.
  • Mary Why Ya Buggin video on Kojo:   Tom Sherwood and Kojo Nnamdi talked about the latest SOS video on The Kojo Nnamdi show May 27.

Register today for workshops to help you improve your relationships with Council and EOM

Having relationships with the legislative and executive branches, doing effective outreach and having solid relationships with the media are the topics of four workshops in June by Diana Winthrop and me.

We will share information and strategies community-based organizations can use to skill-up in advocacy and media relations.   This is information we have gathered and used over years; it is worth its weight in gold.

The workshops scheduled are:

  • June 3, 9:00 - 10:30 am:   Getting to know and maintaining relationships with Council staff
  • June 10, 9:00 - 10:30 am:   Getting to know and maintaining relationships with exec branch staffers
  • June 17, 9:00 - 10:30 am:   Having an effective relationship with local media
  • June 24, 9:00 - 11:00 am:   Outreach that actually reaches out

More information about the workshops is online (including registering and paying) and in this flier (PDF).

What's your experience finding social services for clients and community members?

A group of residents, advocates, social services providers, and government folk are working to reinvigorate the District's resource and referral system known as Answers, Please! and 211.

I am part of that group.   I am doing a survey to determine the successes and challenges organizations have 1) using Answers, Please!/211 and 2) generally finding programs to which to refer constituents.

Please take a few minutes to provide some important information; click here to take the survey.   The deadline is June 10.   If you work for the City Council, there is a special survey for you; click here.   The deadline is June 2.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Pizza dough recipe

I've been making pizza dough for over a year and thought I would share the recipe (Word, .doc).   As good as homemade dough is, the real star is the pizza screen.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A terrific light whole wheat bread recipe

If you are interested in a light whole wheat bread, I've found one that works well for us (recipe here (Word)).   I've made some changes to bread by Peter Reinhart in Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

I like this because the crust is crusty, not soft like some whole wheat breads, and the flavor is mild.   True, this bread requires kneading, but I love the results and worth the effort (ok, the effort is turning my new KitchenAid mixer on).

May 26 budget update

  • DC's children's budget is published:   The Mayor's Office on Budget and Finance has published the FY 2012 children's budget (PDF).   Also available is the presentation used at the youth budget town hall (PDF) May 21.
  • The Arc hits the right note with budget follow-up email to supporters:   Advocacy director Matt Rosen sent an email to partners May 25 about the Council's budget action.   What I most appreciate about the email is the suggestion to thank CMs.
    Hello all,

    With today being the one and only vote on the Budget Request Act and the first of two votes on the Budget Support Act, I wanted to update you on all that happening, especially since we have much to smile about.

    1. DDS’ funding held at the FY11 level as proposed by Mayor Gray and supported by Committee on Human Services Chair Jim Graham. Considering the extensive cuts made to other District services, this is amazing.

    2. The submitted language in the BSA, which pertained to DDA services only being paid for if provided by a Medicaid provider to a Medicaid eligible recipient, was amended to make exceptions for those eligible for the DC Alliance program, individuals who needed services not offered by District Medicaid providers and individuals who lose their Medicaid eligibility because DDS made a mistake as their SS representative payee. The language was created in partnership between The Arc of DC, QT, ULS and DDS. CM Graham included our recommendation word for word.

    3. The submitted language in the BSA, which pertained to charter schools having to account for new money to provide special education services, remained unchanged even though several charter schools testified in opposition. Alison Whyte, Policy Specialist at The ARC of DC, submitted written testimony to Council Chair Kwame Brown asking him to support the original language as it ensured the dedicated funds would be properly spent.

    We hope you will join The Arc of DC in saying thanks to Mayor Gray, CM Graham and Council Chair Kwame Brown for protecting resources needed to serve individuals with intellectual and development disabilities and their families. I have included email addresses for all three below so that you can contact them directly.

    Feel free to send this email out to your networks so that we can all celebrate together.

    We look forward to building on this great work,

    Matt Rosen

    Mayor Vince Gray, vincent.gray@dc.gov
    Council Chair Kwame Brown, kbrown@dccouncil.us
    Councilmember Jim Graham, jim@grahamwone.com

  • CM Bower recaps May 25 budget votes in her weekly newsletter:
    2012 Budget update
    Despite a budget deficit of $322 million, Ward 4 residents can be happy that key priorities, like parks, libraries, police, the grandparent subsidy, and neighborhood schools have been substantially funded. During 56 days of meetings, hearings, and negotiations, my colleagues and I have worked to deliver a spending plan that does right by our neighborhoods and corridors.

    Included in the approved plan, is $750,000 for lighting at Sherman Circle, retention of $150 million for the modernization of Roosevelt and Coolidge High Schools, funding for Ward 4 streets and alleys, and the allocation of $750,000 for Kennedy Street improvements in line with the revitalization plan. Reductions to parking meter rates and residential parking permits fees will benefit many Ward 4 residents, especially seniors. Also, the Metropolitan Police Department is set to receive an additional $10 million for additional officers, and $1.8 million for green and clean teams has been designated.

    Restoration of funding to maintain the E6 bus route was also secured. The route, which provides irreplaceable transportation from Ward 4 to shopping, and medical facilities in Friendship Heights, is relied upon by hundreds of senior citizens—including the staff and residents of an elderly living facility in Ward 4.

    I am also pleased to have worked so closely with Chairman Kwame Brown in the preparation of a budget that funds vital services District-wide. Chairman Brown should be commended for developing a budget that is transparent, thoughtful, restores millions to homeless services and affordable housing programs, and does so without raising the income tax.

    Included in those District-wide priorities is $316,000 to keep the Martin Luther King Library open on Sundays, capital funding for the University of the District of Columbia, funding for 42 additional employees at the Department of Parks and Recreation, and millions for safety net services like temporary assistance for needy families and interim disability assistance, as well as a plan to organize a tax reform commission to study the best way to address issues of taxation.

    I am happy with the restoration of funding for so many key programs but we cannot rest on these laurels. We must continue to look for ways to improve current programs, to do so with fiscal restraint, and to ensure that our Ward-wide priorities are satisfied.

  • Council Chairman Kwame Brown comments on the May 25 budget votes:
    CHAIRMAN KWAME R. BROWN LEADS DC CITY COUNCIL TO UNANIMOUS PASSAGE OF FY12 BUDGET

    WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, the Council of the District of Columbia unanimously passed a budget that continues to provide necessary services to residents and businesses, while restoring deep cuts to the critical human services that the city provides to thousands of men, women, and children.

    I want to thank Mayor Gray, Chief Financial Officer Natwar Ghandi, my colleagues on the Council and their staffs, along with the advocates, activists, and residents that made their voices heard on this matter. Faced with serious financial challenges, we managed to do what was necessary to ensure that education, economic opportunity, and public safety remain key priorities as we work to make this city stronger and more sustainable.

    Specifically, this budget restored:
    *$10 million to the homeless services continuum
    *$7 million for homeless families
    *$4.9 million for TANF benefits
    *$1.2 million for IDA
    *$4.1 million to Victim Services

    In addition, we have made the commitment to invest 50% of new revenues in the reserves while the remainder will go to the following:
    *$10.8 to increase the number of uniformed police officers to 3,900 by the end FY12
    *$1.6 million to maintain 175 homeless people in current Housing First units
    *$12 million for the Housing Production Trust Fund for affordable housing
    *$5.5 million for the Department of Mental Health Services to improve services in order to have lift Dixon court order in FY12
    *$3 million for libraries, neighborhood commercial corridors and early childhood education
    *$3 million to restore the parking meter rate to 25 cents per 15 minutes

    Taken together, these restorations and adjustments have made this a better budget. Through hard work and collaborative efforts we have been able to negotiate the budget process with ease, and formulate a plan that we could all agree upon. This is indeed a defining moment for the city’s legislature.

Miscellany from the government

  • MOCRS (Mayor's Office of Community Relations and Services) has a new name:   Office of Neighborhood Engagement.   Note, the website is still mocors.dc.gov.
  • Francisco Fimbres, ONE (see above) director, is on Twitter, @Director4One.
  • ONE has a blog, Office of Neighborhood Engagement.
  • The Committee of the Whole is holding a public hearing on B19-0211, "South Capitol Street Tragedy Memorial Act of 2011" on June 2 at Noon in the Council Chamber.   Deets, including how to register to testify, are in the hearing notice (Word, .doc).   Information about the legislation, introduced by CM Catania, is online.
  • DC Public Schools wants input from the community:   DCPS is entering year four of the five-year strategic plan stared in 2007.   The agency is reviewing and updating the plan and wants the community to share their hopes and dreams; the survey is here.
  • The Catania Chronicle:   At-large CM David Catania has just started an electronic newsletter.   The newsletter will keep you updated on the work of his office and provide an opportunity to give feedback on issues that matter to you.   Sign up for mailing list.
  • The Committee on the Judiciary has shared their May 18 hearing overview update (PDF).
  • City Council public hearings:   The Committee of the Whole and other committees have scheduled a number of hearings for the month of June including confirmation hearings.   The information is on the City Council website.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Budget amendments from May 25 Council meeting

Thanks to a friendly and collaborative Council staffer, I am able to share the amendments made from the dais about the FY 2012 budget:

Chairman Kwame Brown on the Council's budget

Council Chairman Kwame Brown issued a press release this morning on the Council's action on the FY 2012 budget.   The chairman has led his colleagues in modifying the budget so that it is now a "Historic budget restores safety net services, protects middle class."   The full release is here (Word, .doc).

Help wanted: Understanding the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, May 26

The PDF version of the flier is here.

May 25 budget update #2

May 25 budget update

  • The City Council will meet May 25 at 9:30 am (note new time) to vote on the FY 2012 budget.
  • Ward 3 CM Mary Cheh emailed (Word, .doc) her colleagues May 24 to present the budget support act provisions being moved by the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment.   One item on the list is:
    For the purpose of encouraging the arts in the District of Columbia, the Committee recommends an allocation of $5,000,000 in capital funds to the new Department of General Services to construct an amphitheater along the Klingle Trail in Ward 3. Owing to the efficiency of a much-enlarged agency and the anticipated unanimous agreement among residents, the project is expected to be completed in 90 days. Additionally, $500,000 shall be transferred from the Executive Office of the Mayor to the Commission on Arts and Humanities. These funds shall be used to write, cast, and produce a play entitled Sulaimon Brown’s Service: The Musical. It should be noted, however, that the name is something of a misnomer as the title character, despite much mention, does not ever appear in the production.
  • CFO Natwar Gandhi notified the mayor and City Council May 24 that the provision in the Council's version of the budget request act triggering increases in appropriations is problematic.   The explanation is in the two-page letter (PDF).
  • DC Budget Happy/Crappy Hour, May 25, 5:00 – 8:00 pm at Laughing Man Tavern (1306 G St NW).   Regardless of the outcome of the DC budget vote, there will be much to celebrate and lament.   What better way than over a good, strong drink and rejuvenating snacks?   Feel free to invite volunteers, harried Council staff, and whoever else looks like they could use a shoulder to cry on or back to pat.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Kid Power's going green and it needs your green

Local nonprofit Kid Power, which works every day with 350 young people throughout the city, is raising money for VeggieTime.   In the VeggieTime Project, kids participate in a nutritional curriculum, operate community gardens, sell their produce at local markets, and use the profits to support service and advocacy projects focused on healthy eating.

You can back this project by making a contribution.   The details about the effort – to raise money for a market vending cart – are on Kickstarter.

Affordable trainings for advocates, providers, civic associations

Having relationships with the legislative and executive branches, doing effective outreach and having solid relationships with the media are the topics of four workshops in June by Diana Winthrop and me.

We will share information and strategies community-based organizations can use to skill-up in advocacy and media relations.   This is information we have gathered and used over years; it is worth its weight in gold.

The workshops scheduled are:

  • June 3, 9:00 - 10:30 am:   Getting to know and maintaining relationships with Council staff
  • June 10, 9:00 - 10:30 am:   Getting to know and maintaining relationships with exec branch staffers
  • June 17, 9:00 - 10:30 am:   Having an effective relationship with local media
  • June 24, 9:00 - 11:00 am:   Outreach that actually reaches out

More information about the workshops is online (including registering and paying) and in this flier (PDF).

Actions and advocacy abound in May 24 budget update

  • Emergency Action, May 24 at Noon at the Wilson Building.   This is the last action before the City Council votes on the FY 2012 budget May 25.   RSVP to Janelle Treibitz at via email, sos.janelle@gmail.com or (646) 734-6705.
  • Can the Council do better by low-income and other vulnerable residents?   Save Our Safety Net and DC for Democracy think so and have shown how in the hit video "Kwame Can Do Better."   Watch the video below and take action today by contacting CMs to adequately fund human services and modestly increase taxes on the wealthiest DC residents.

  • Two DC residents who are homeless are featured in this Sean Furmage and Binnie Katti produced audio report on the May 18 "March to Save Homeless Services", May 18 Reality Tour of the Wilson Building and the budget for human services proposed for FY 2012.   The audio has been on WPFW's Spectrum Today and is also posted on the Grassroots Media Project.
  • Sure to be a top 40 hit is "Mary, Mary, why you buggin'?", a new video featuring Ward 3 residents asking Ward 3 CM Mary Cheh why she opposes the mayor's tax increase proposal when they and more than 90% of Wards 2 and 3 residents support it.

    Also new from Safe Our Safety Net is Safety Net Reality Tour: An open letter to Chairman Brown and the DC Council.   The video highlights stops on the May 18 Reality Tour.

  • If you missed the May 16 Council meeting on the FY 2012 budget, the video and materials are on the Council website.

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23 budget update

  • The Committee of the Whole will meet May 25 at 10:00 am in the Council Chamber in JAWB.   The COW will vote on the budget request act (only one vote) and the budget support act (the first of two votes).
  • Save IDA.   IDA provides temporary financial support to 1,500 of the District’s most vulnerable residents with disabilities – individuals who cannot work and have no other income – while they wait months or even years for a decision on their federal Supplemental Security Income application.   The program is lean, efficient, effective, and essential to people’s survival.

    Despite the necessity of the program and a recent poll showing that 85% of District residents oppose cutting IDA, the Mayor’s proposed FY2012 budget would completely eliminate the IDA program.

    Call or email the City Council now to save this valuable program.   The email message, more information about IDA and contact information is here (Word, .doc).

  • Emergency SOS action.   Save Our Safety Net has organized an emergency action for May 24 at Noon at the Wilson Building.   The action is to regain the support of CMs Barry and Wells for the income tax increase proposed by Mayor Gray.   The action is also to encourage the Council to find the money to fund essential social services.

    More information about the budget challenges and information about the action are on the SOS website.

  • CNHED's Alan Adye called in to NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt to ask Mayor Vince Gray a question about the affordable housing proposed budget.   Adye expresses his confusion about the mayor's response to his question in light of the proposed budget.   Read more about the shortcomings of the mayor's proposed budget regarding affordable housing in this Housing for All blog post.
  • Akin Gump's Larry Tanenbaum questions Mayor Gray's decision to cut funding for IDA, writing on ...With Housing and Justice for All,
    I am writing out of concern that the Mayor’s FY12 proposed budget would eliminate any appropriation for IDA, leaving some of the most vulnerable and needy residents of the District of Columbia with no way to sustain themselves.
  • More than 25 individuals and organizations signed on to a letter urging Council Chairman Kwame Brown to release the draft budget legislation 24 hours before the first vote on May 25.   DCFPI shares the issue and the sign-on letter on their blog.

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20 budget update

  • The Council's May 19 budget negotiation continuation meeting was cancelled.
  • Mayor Gray's FY 2012 children's budget will be presented at the May 21 youth budget town hall meeting.
  • Confused about Homeless Services Budget? These Five Facts May Help is a must-read for those involved in the budget or interested in the issue.   Another winner from DCFPI.
  • The May 19 Commentary by Rabbi Jessica Oleon: I'm Ready To Invest In A Great City on WAMU urges the council to balance the budget with an unusual message:   "Raise my taxes."   Oleon is Associate Rabbi of Temple Sinai in NW and a Board member of Jews United for Justice.
  • The Washington Times covered the May 18 Reality Tour in this article, Needy go to D.C. city hall to protest cuts.
  • WAMU's Patrick Madden covered the May 18 Reality Tour in this report, D.C. Council Chair: 'I'll Do Everything I Can' To Restore Homeless Shelter Cuts.
  • SOS's report of the May 18 Reality Tour is blogged here, Safety Net Reality Tour Hits the Halls of the Wilson Building.
  • Sign-ons are needed for a letter to Council Chairman Kwame Brown.   DC Fiscal Policy Institute and others are urging the Council to release the final budget proposal that will be considered by the full City Council at least 24 hours before the May 25 budget vote.   Such a release would be new for the Council; usually, the budget is shared with CMs and staff and the public only hours before the vote.   This leaves residents little time to understand and respond to important issues on how limited resources will be used to meet a diverse set of needs in the District.

    To sign on to the letter, email DCFPI's Jenny Reed, reed [at] dcfpi [dot] org by May 20 at 4:00 pm.

    The letter is below and here (Word, .doc).

    May 20, 2011

    The Honorable Kwame Brown
    Chairman, Council of the District of Columbia
    1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20004

    Dear Chairman Brown,

    We the undersigned organizations and individuals are writing to ask that you release the final budget proposal that will be considered by the full DC Council at least 24 hours before the May 25 budget vote. This would give both DC residents and other Council members the time needed to review and understand the final budget proposal.

    As you know, the budget passed by the DC Council impacts every District resident. The Council typically makes significant changes to the Mayor’s proposed budget, and many of the most important decisions are made after the final public hearings on the budget. In recent years, the final budget that comes before the Council has not been released to the public or even to the DC Council until just a few hours before the vote. This leaves residents little time to understand and respond to important issues on how limited resources will be used to meet a diverse set of needs in the District.

    This year, more than most, the District’s leaders face a number of decisions over how to preserve services in the midst of a serious revenue shortfall. Because the Council votes just one time on the Budget Request Act — the main legislation dictating how funds will be spent — the reality is that almost nothing can be changed after the vote on May 25th.

    We ask that all FY 2012 budget documents that will be reviewed and/or acted on by the full Council be made available to the public at least 24 hours prior to the start of the May 25th legislative meeting to take action on the budget. This includes, but is not limited to, the Committee of the Whole Budget mark-up report, the Budget Support Act, and the Budget Request Act.

    The public deserves the right to review how the Council plans to allocate resources that affect important services more than just a few hours before the vote is taken.

    Sincerely,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spending freeze for balance of FY 2011 now in place

Mayor Vince Gray has signed an order (PDF) freezing spending on Non-personal Services (NPS) to avoid overspending the FY 2011 budget.

Under the order, agencies are now required to obtain permission from the Executive Office of the Mayor to spend Local funds for supplies, contracts and other items.   Personal Services (PS) are not affected.   Independent agencies, such as the City Council and DC Public Library, are not included in the order.

The press release is here (PDF).

DC's history of information sharing

In the late 1990s, a group of advocates, social services providers and bridge builders came together to combine multiple printed resource directories into one online and by phone uber directory of social services.   The reason for the effort was to think about the most useful way to combine the information and get it to the people and organizations needing it.

The need for a central, coordinated and online social services database was clear:   The partners had on the order of 25 printed directories from the public and private sectors.   Some information was duplicated across directories and all was outdated as soon as the directory was printed.

The plan early on was to create an on-line database of government, nonprofit and for-profit services that was by design accessible to residents and providers.   To ensure resident access, the working group planned to roll out community-placed kiosks in libraries, near Metro stations and in other high traffic areas such as grocery stores.   The web-based database would virtually eliminate printing costs, avoid dated information and, at least theoretically, offer the broadest possible access.   Adding a 24-hour telephone component assured access.

Interested in learning how to connect with Council staffers? The media?

Having relationships with the legislative and executive branches, doing effective outreach and having solid relationships with the media are the topics of four workshops in June by Diana Winthrop and me.

We will share information and strategies community-based organizations can use to skill-up in advocacy and media relations.   This is information we have gathered and used over years; it is worth its weight in gold.

The workshops scheduled are:

  • June 3, 9:00 - 10:30 am:   Getting to know and maintaining relationships with Council staff
  • June 10, 9:00 - 10:30 am:   Getting to know and maintaining relationships with exec branch staffers
  • June 17, 9:00 - 10:30 am:   Having an effective relationship with local media
  • June 24, 9:00 - 11:00 am:   Outreach that actually reaches out

More information about the workshops is online (including registering and paying) and in this flier (PDF).

May 19 budget update

  • Council budget discussion, continued, May 19.   The City Council will be meeting May 19 at 12:30 pm in Room 502 (with the meeting televised on Channel 13 and via live stream and shown in another room in the JAWB).   More information is in this meeting notice (PDF).
  • "Chairman Kwame Brown meet the poor" video from the May 18 Reality Tour in the Wilson Building.

  • SOS Action Planning Meeting, May 19 at 6:30 pm.   SOS is planning one more action to do in the week before the first budget vote on May 25.   The additional action is needed to maintain the pressure on the City Council while it debates which services will get how much in funding restorations.   The meeting is being held at Bread for the City (1525 7th St NW).
  • DCFPI discusses revenue projections coming out in June in DC’s Next Revenue Forecast: DC’s Number One Priority Should be Restoring Cuts to Critical Services.
  • DC for Democracy's Budget Choices, Budget Voices: DC covers a range of budget actions and information, including pictures from the May 18 Ward 7 action.
  • The Coalition to Protect DC Homeless Services – an ad hoc coalition of community members, services providers, advocates, and the business community – has launched The 1500.   The 1500 is a web portal for action to demand the City Council fund homeless services in FY 2012.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 18 budget update

  • Here is some information about the May 16 City Council meeting to reconcile budget priorities and challenges within the body:
    Presentation (PDF) from the meeting.

    Analysis via The District's Dime of the meeting by DCFPI:   Org staff tag-teamed the meeting, taking notes, tweeting corrections to CM statements and generally sharing information with the public, media, CMs, and Council staff.

    If you are interested in reading some of the Tweets from the meeting, use Twitter Search and search for #dcfy12.

  • Art Levine's latest coverage of the DC budget debate is in the Huffington Post.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 17 budget update

  • Mayor Gray holds his last budget town hall meeting May 21 with a youth-focused event, the details of which are here in PDF.   This a youth-only event and young people are encouraged to attend and ask questions and learn about the budget.
  • TheFightBack covered the recent budget support act hearing focusing on revenue generation and helping those less well off.   The post 85 Percent of the City Can’t Be Wrong: Tax the Rich, Don’t Hurt the Poor summarizes testimony from a well-to-do Bread for the City volunteer and ED George Jones as well as Burke Stansbury, resident and ardent supporter of raising taxes of those with the highest earnings.   The post also includes video clips.
  • Art Levine has done a lengthy piece on the District's budget decisions thus far for FY 2012 in this, GOP-Style Democrats Slash DC Budget: Homeless, Poor Children at Risk.
  • The Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation has posted their budget Q&A.
  • The Committee on Economic Development is the lone committee not posting their budget Q&A as promised by Chairman Kwame Brown.

Friday is Bike to Work Day - join in, have fun, get fit, be green

Join in this region-wide event and celebrate biking as a fun and healthy way to get to work.   Sponsored by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Commuter Connections, Bike to Work Day features pit stops offering speakers, entertainment, food and drink, and more!

More information, including how to register, is on the WABA website.   And for the social media types out there, follow all things Bike to Work Day by using, and following, #DCBikeToWork on Twitter.

City Council news

  • Saturday, June 18 is Ward 4 Family Fun Day.
  • David Zvenyach is the City Council's new General Counsel.   His contact information is:
    vzvenyach@dccouncil.us
    1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Suite 4
    Washington, DC 20004
    Tel: (202) 724-8026
    Fax: (202) 724-8129
  • At-large CM Michael Brown's kinda new communications director is David Meadows.   His contact information is:
    dmeadows@dccouncil.us
    1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Suite 406
    Washington, DC 20004
    Tel: (202) 724-8190

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mayor Gray on WTOP May 17

Mayor Gray will join Mark Segraves on WTOP's "Ask the Mayor" May 17 from 10:00 - 11:00 am.   Tune in to 103.5 FM or listen online.

May 16 budget update

  • Safety Net Walking Tour of the Wilson Building, May 18:   Because $2 of every $3 of Mayor Gray's proposed budget cuts target social services, the City Council can change the city's priorities.   The tour is from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.   Details are here (Word, .doc)
  • Here in PDF is a summary of the May 12 Committee on Health action on the mayor's proposed FY 2012 budget.
  • Fewer than 200 people participated in the Council's FY 2012 budget survey designed to seek input into priorities and ways to achieve savings.   The results are now online.
  • The Committee of the Whole is convening May 16 at 9:30 am for a roundtable to hash out budget issues prior to the first vote May 25.   According to the notice,
    The purpose of this meeting is to allow a presentation of the Council Committees’ recommendations and a discussion on the Council priorities for the proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget.

    The event will be live streamed on OCT and the City Council website.   The event will also be shown from a room in the Wilson Building since Room 502 is for CMs and staff.

    DCFPI will be Tweeting (@DCFPI) the meeting.   I hope to Tweet, too; you can follow me @susiecambria.

  • The draft report for the Committee on Economic Development mark-up in here in Word (.doc) (65 pages).
  • Jen Budoff, budget director for the City Council, expects the mar-up committee reports to be finished in about one week.   Before the reports are final, Budoff has to sign off on them.   All will be approved at the same time.
  • All mark-up meetings are now available on demand on the OCT website.

Learn about health care reform

Plan on attending the May 20 event "The State of Health Care Reform in the District of Columbia" at George Washington Hospital Auditorium.   DHCF Director Wayne Turnage, DISB Director White and DOH Director Akhter are all invited speakers.   Hosts are AARP DC, DCPCA and Families USA encourage attendees to come with questions on health reform implementation so that attendees can have an open, robust discussion with the agencies on what they are doing and what their time line is to implement health reform.

More information is in the flier (PDF).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Apologies

Please accept my apology for the erratic behavior of the blog of late and recent cancellations.

You may have heard that Google was having a bunch of problems with Blogger/Blogspot, the service I use for this and the Helping Others Better blog.   Seems everything is back to normal on the Google end.   You may notice some duplication of posts; I'm just leaving them.

As to the recent announcement and then cancellation of events, I am truly sorry for the inconvenience it may have caused.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 12 budget update (corrected)

  • The City Council's budget hearing, mark-up and vote schedule has changed again; the May 11 edition is here.
  • The Committee on Finance and Revenue is holding their mark-up May 12 at 9:00 am.   Materials from the committee for the mark-up are:   Agenda (Word, .doc), draft report (Word, .doc) (48 pages), Appendix C (Word, .doc).
  • The draft committee report of the Committee on Housing and Workforce Development for mark up on May 12 at 11:00 am is here in Word (.doc) (67 pages).
  • The Committee on Health budget mark-up is being held May 12 at 1:00 pm.   Materials for the meeting are:   Draft report (PDF) (90 pages), attachment about DOH (PDF), attachment about DMH (PDF), and attachment about DHCF (PDF).
  • The Committee on Human Services' mark-up is May 12 in the afternoon.   The draft report is here in Word (.doc) (78 pages).
  • The Committee of the Whole's mark-up is May 12 at 4:00 pm.   The draft committee report is here (Word, .doc) (235 pages).
  • The mark-up for the Committee on Public Services and Regulatory Affairs is now on demand on OCT.
  • CM Jim Graham's opening statement for the May 6 Department of Human Services budget hearing is here in Word (.doc).
  • Act now to Save the Safety Net!   On April 1st, the Mayor released a budget that includes plans to terminate aid to disabled residents, close homeless shelters, slash funding to help people afford housing, and cut other vital programs that keep our city healthy.

    While Mayor Gray proposed a number of tax increases – 2 out of every 3 dollars cut came from programs that impact low-income people.

    The City Council has until May 24th to make changes to the Mayor’s proposed budget.   However, some Council members would rather undo the tax increases than restore funding to safety net services.

    Call or email your ward Councilmember and the At-Large members TODAY to let them know that you oppose these cuts, and that there are better ways to balance the budget.

    The script for calls and emails is here (Word, .doc).

  • The Committee on Economic Development mark-up is available on demand.
  • The Committee on Government Operations and the Environment mark-up is now available on demand.
  • The Committee on the Judiciary mark-up is now on demand.
  • The Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation mark-up is on demand.
  • The Committee on Public Works and Transportation mark-up is now on demand.

Updated Council directory

Here in PDF is the new City Council directory including the newly sworn in At-large member Vincent Orange.

May 12 11 am budget update

The draft Committee on Aging and Community Affairs report for mark-up today at 3:00 pm, a change from 10:00 am on the Council's budget schedule, is here (Word, .doc) (57 pages).

Using social media to achieve your goals, a new training (Cancelled)

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED (5/13):   Kathryn Baer and Susie Cambria are offering a new training, Using social media to achieve your goals.   It is an in-depth, interactive session on how to integrate social media into strategies that will achieve your organization’s goals.   The session is being held June 15 from 10:00 am – Noon.

More information is on Helping Others Better and in this flier (PDF). (UPDATED link 5/11 5:35p)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Using social media to achieve your goals, a new training - CANCELLED (5/13)

Kathryn Baer and Susie Cambria are offering a new training, Using social media to achieve your goals.   It is an in-depth, interactive session on how to integrate social media into strategies that will achieve your organization's goals.   The session is being held June 15 from 10:00 am – Noon.

More information is on Helping Others Better and in this flier (PDF). (UPDATED link 5/11 5:35p)

May 11 budget update

  • The Committee on the Judiciary draft committee report for mark-up is here in PDF (132 pages) (UPDATE: Link has been fixed, 9:40, 5/11).
  • The Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation draft committee report for mark-up is here (59 pages) (Word, .doc).   Note: This is not the final draft but the committee expects few changes for the committee meeting.
  • Mary Beth Tinker testified at the May 9 BSA hearing about the relationship between children's lives and a more progressive tax increase, beyond what was proposed by Mayor Gray.   Her testimony is here (Word, .doc).
  • The Committee on Human Services has put some of the budget Q&A online.
  • There are still no question and answer docs online from Libraries, Parks and Recreation and Economic Development.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 10 budget update

  • The budget vote dates have changed.   The new dates are May 25 (sole vote on BRA and first vote on BSA) and June 8 (second vote on BSA).
  • The budget hearing schedule was updated May 9; the latest version is here (PDF).   Not sure when mark-ups changed, so be sure to check those out.   The other changes are the dates of the votes.
  • Kesh Ladduwahetty of DC For Democracy testified May 9 on the mayor's proposed budget support act.   Her testimony is here (PDF).
  • David Schwartzman, representing the DC Statehood Green Party, testified about the city's tax structure at the May 9 BSA hearing.   His testimony is here (Word, .doc).
  • The Committee on Human Services held the second part of the budget hearing for the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) May 7.   Six public witnesses testified before Neil Stanley, interim director, testified.   CM Graham's opening remarks are here (Word, .doc).
  • The draft Committee on Gov Ops and the Environment (CM Cheh, chair) report for mark-up is here (Word, .doc) (119 pages).
  • The draft Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs (CM Alexander, chair) report for mark-up is here (Word, .doc) (53 pages).   Note: In the summary tables at the beginning of the report, the operating budget for the PSC should be under special purpose revenue, not Local funds.

Save the Date for Permanency Day

Monday, May 9, 2011

Advocacy and Learning Calendar updates

Lots and lots of events have been added to the Advocacy and Learning Calendar over the past two weeks.   Some of these are:
  • Six events on May 12 such as the "Extending Foster Care to Age 21: Implications for Providers, Impact on Budgets" webinar and the NAACP Criminal Justice meeting
  • Advocacy, Lobbying and Political Activity: What Your Nonprofit Needs to Know, May 17
  • A Community of Gardeners: Film Screening & Discussion, May 24
  • Aligning Early Learning and Elementary School Education, June 23

If you have items you think should be included in the calendar, email the information to me at least three weeks before the event is to take place.   If the event requires registration and more lead time, send the information to me accordingly.   I prefer to link to fliers on your website or blog, but am happy to post if such links are not possible.

Mayor Gray's weekly presser, May 11 (date change)

Mayor Gray is holding his weekly press briefing May 10 May 11 at 10:00 am in the JAWB.   The mayor will talk National Women’s Health Week and National Law Enforcement Officers’ Week.   He will also make other announcements.   UPDATED: May 9, 7:12 pm

May 9 budget update

  • The Committee of the Whole is having a public hearing on the proposed FY 2012 budget support act May 9 at 10:00 am in the Council Chamber.   About 25 individuals and organizational representatives have registered to testify; the witness list is here (Word, .doc).
  • The Committee on Human Services budget hearing on the Children and Youth Investment Fund was held August 5.   CM Jim Graham, chair of the committee, had this to say in his opening statement (Word, .doc).   The Q&A materials are in one PDF document.
  • If you have testified at a budget hearing or submitted a statement for the record and would like me to blog your testimony, email it to me or send me a link and I will include in a budget update.
  • If you are interested in public transportation, the Metro Open Houses/ Town Hall Meetings/Public Hearings on its FY2012 budget during the week of May 16 will be important to you.   There are two events in DC:
    May 17
    St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church (4125 Fessenden St NW in the Fellowship Hall)

    May 19
    Matthews Memorial Baptist Church (2616 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE, John H. Kearney, Sr. Fellowship Hall).

    The Open Houses are at 5:30 pm, Town Halls at 6:00 pm and Public Hearings at 6:45 pm.   More information, including how to request accommodations, is in this document (PDF).

Addition to the blog

Susie's Resource List is a new page on the blog.   The page -- with a link to my full library -- keeps track of links for projects and just general information.

When you get to my library, you will see I have categorized and tagged each link.   For example, I have lists for advocacy, public policy, DC history, and collective action.   I'm using Diigo to keep better track of bookmarks, reports, data and more.   More important, I'm using this service to make the links available to you.

Check my library often; I will be moving bookmarks over and will also be adding links related to future work.

May 9 Children's Book Week (extended)

There are more books to share from blog readers and my tweeps.
  • The Tom Swift series created by Edward Stratemeyer.
  • Doc Savage of comic book and later paperback fame is a character created by Henry W. Ralston and John L. Nanovic.   The Man of Bronze is a fabulous character.   Fair warning, though, the 1994 movie is, at best, campy.
  • Earl Derr Biggers created the Charlie Chan character.   The first book was published in 1923.
  • Conan the Barbarian is a character created in 1932 and featured in stories and comics.
  • Crictor (1958) by Tomi Ungerer
  • The Plant Sitter by Gene Zion and illustrator Margaret Bloy Graham.   Zion and Graham also wrote and illustrated, respectively, Harry the Dirty Dog books.   What's funny to me is that the dog in The Plant Sitter looks like Harry!

Friday, May 6, 2011

May 6 Children's Book Week update

  • More Spaghetti, I say! (1999) by Rita Golden Gelman.   A special shout out to Gelman; she was born and raised in Connecticut, my home state.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee won the Pulitzer Prize.
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1976) by Mildred D. Taylor won the 1977 Newbery Medal.
  • Wise Child (1987) by Monica Furlong.
  • Make Way for Ducklings (1941) was written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey.
  • The Fire Cat (1960) by written and illustrated by Esther Averill.   Another shout out; Averill is the second author in today's listing from Connecticut.   Both Averill and Gelman were born in Bridgeport!
  • The Baby-sitters Club (BSC) series was written by Ann M. Martin and published between 1986 and 2000.

Additional May 6 budget update

There are no public witnesses scheduled to testify at the May 6, 10:00 am public roundtable on the FY 2012 proposed budget for the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services.

The bake sales are cancelled

The bake sales -- a fundraiser for the Share Our Strength Great American Bake Sale effort -- have been postponed.   I'll update you on new dates when they become available.   Apologies all around.

May 6 budget update

  • The budget hearing schedule was updated May 5 (PDF).
  • Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Eric Goulet, Budget and Finance Director, will talk about the FY 2012 proposed budget at Mayor Gray’s Youth Budget Roundtable is being held May 21 at a time to be determined.   The event is being held at Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial Library (901 G St NW).
  • The Department of Human Services' FY 2012 budget hearing is May 6 at 11:00 am.   The witness list is here (Word, .doc).
  • The Committee of the Whole is holding a number of budget hearings May 6.   There are no public witnesses registered to testify; the exception is the director of COG.   He will be testifying before the committee at the COG portion of the hearing.
  • The Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services budget hearing (part 2) was moved to May 7 at Noon in JAWB.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

CANCELLED: Fight childhood hunger in the Wilson Building May 9, 12 and 24

The FIGHTING CHILDHOOD HUNGER Bake Sales -- sponsored by community budget and policy wonks, concerned residents and Mayor Vince Gray -- are taking place May 9, May 12 and May 24 from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm in the atrium in the John A. Wilson Building.   More information is here (PDF).

The purpose of the events is to raise money for the Share Our Strength Great American Bake Sale initiative.   All money raised will be donated to Share Our Strength.

I've always wanted to participate in the Great American Bake Sale and am pleased to be joined in baking by new and old friends.   I wanted to do something to stop kids from being hungry.

The bake sales combine baking (a growing interest of mine), doing something for others, working with others, and the wonky reason, interacting with policy makers.

So please.   Stop by the atrium in the Wilson Building (ground floor) May 9 (the day of the budget support act hearing), May 12 (the day of the COW and other mark-ups) and May 24 (the day of the first budget vote) and buy a snack or two or three.   Join us in doing something to fight childhood hunger.

May 5 Children's Book Week update

Favorite books of blog readers and tweeps:

  • A Wrinkle in Time (1962) by Madeleine L'Engle
  • Marguerite Henry horse books:   Henry wrote 59 books based on true stories of horses and other animals.   She won several Newbery Awards and Honors.
  • Are you my mother? (1960) by P.D. Eastman
  • All things Dr. Seuss which should go without saying
  • All the Nancy Drew books
  • From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1967) by E. L. Konigsburg.   Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1968.

I've always loved books and reading.   When we moved to a small town when I was in middle school, books became even more important.   The town library, in the old county courthouse, had uneven floors that creaked.   I remember exactly where the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books were:   by the front window and radiator.   I would walk in the children's room and would be filled with anxiety – were there books by the window I hadn't read yet?   When I found I had read all the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drews on the shelf, one of the librarians would recommend something else.   The anxiety melted away.

May 5 budget update

  • The public is encouraged to testify at the Committee of the Whole's May 9 hearing on the proposed FY 2012 budget support act.   To register to testify, contact Priscilla McIver at 724-8196 or via email.
  • The Department of Health's budget hearing is May 5 at 9:00 am in the Council Chamber.   Here in PDF is Dr. Akhter's testimony.   The witness list is here (Word, .doc).
  • The Committee on Health held a hearing on the proposed FY 2012 budget for the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services.   DM BB Otero testified; her testimony is here (Word, .doc).

    Following the hearing, a CM Catania release had this to say about the DM's office and work:

    Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Beatriz “B.B,” Otero and her office are charged with supporting the mayor in coordinating a comprehensive system of benefits, goods, and services across multiple agencies that benefit the health and quality of life of District residents. The office is specifically tasked with developing and supporting policies and programs that improve the delivery of services by government agencies and contracted providers, coordinating interagency initiatives, identifying opportunities for reducing redundancies, and ensuring compliance with local and federal mandates. DMHHS’ FY 12 proposed budget is $698,000, the majority of which will be used to support five full-time positions.

    "It is my hope that this Office will be fully staffed sooner rather than later," said Councilmember Catania. "There are critical cross-agency initiatives that need our attention now, including the implementation of President Obama’s health care reform law and improving the behavioral health services available to children and youth. DMHHS can provide the steady oversight and support those matters require."

  • The Committee on Human Services is holding a hearing on the proposed budget for the Children and Youth Investment Fund May 5 at 11:00 am.   The witness list is here (Word, .doc).
  • And last but not least is the latest video from DCFPI, "What Can Brown Do For You?"   It's a quick (2 minute) look at the cuts made in the FY 2012 budget proposed by Mayor Vince Gray.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Registration's open for Helping Others Better workshops

Diana Winthrop and I are excited to announce another round of "Helping Others Better" workshops.   You can register online now.

We will share information and strategies community-based organizations can use to skill-up in advocacy and media relations.   This is information we have gathered and used over years; it is worth its weight in gold.

The workshops scheduled are:

  • June 3, 9:00 - 10:30 am:   Getting to know and maintaining relationships with Council staff
  • June 10, 9:00 - 10:30 am:   Getting to know and maintaining relationships with exec branch staffers
  • June 17, 9:00 - 10:30 am:   Having an effective relationship with local media
  • June 24, 9:00 - 11:00 am:   Outreach that actually reaches out

More information about the workshops is online (including registering and paying) and in this flier (PDF).

May 4 Children's Book Week update

Children's Book Week 2011 features a free-to-download bookmark designed by Jeff Kinney, author of the bestselling series Diary of A Wimpy Kid.   Wondering how this author can also create this colorful and fun bookmark?   He's also a game designer and illustrator.

And here's what my some of my other tweeps read as children:

  • Matilda (1988) by Roald Dahl
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943) by Betty Smith
  • Are you there God? It's me, Margaret (1970) by Judy Blume
  • Bridge to Terabithia (1977) by Katherine Paterson of Takoma Park, MD.   This was the winner of the 1978 Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American Literature for Children.

And two more of my childhood favorites were Katy and the Big Snow and A Little Old Man.   I still have them; see here:


There is still time to share your favorite book or reading/book experience with me.   Just email me.

Inequity seen through a camera lens

Critical Exposure co-founder Adam Levner was the subject of the Examiner's May 3 3-minute interview.   In DC since 2006, the program works with students in DC Public Schools to highlight the discrepancies between schools that have and those that do not.

May 4 budget update

  • The Committee on Health has posted Q&A info from the Department of Health on the City Council website.   Also on this page are links to the videos of hearings having taken place so far.
  • The Committee on Aging and Community Affairs has posted information from the Office of Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs.
  • The Committee on Human Services is holding a public roundtable on the mayor’s proposed FY 2012 budget for the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services May 6 at 10:00 am in the Council Chamber.

    Those who wish to testify should contact Benton Heimsath via email or telephone at (202) 724-8191 by May 5.   Email contacts to Heimsath should include the residential ward, full name, title, and affiliation -- if applicable -- of the person(s) testifying.   Witnesses should bring 15 copies of their written testimony to the hearing.   Witnesses should limit their testimony to five minutes; less time will be allowed if there are a large number of witnesses.

    The notice is online in Word (.doc).

  • Here in Word (.doc) is the witness list for the COW May 4 budget hearing on Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Speak up against cuts to homeless services May 5

According to this analysis (PDF) and this analysis (Word, .doc) the mayor's proposed FY 2012 budget cuts homeless services by $20.5 million.

Without Council action, the risks are great -- and grave -- for individuals and families.

You can make a difference.   You can tell the Council you want them to increase funding for homeless services by $20.5 million.

Here's how:   On May 5 between 9:00 am and Noon email Councilmembers and their staff with this message:

Subject of email: Don’t decimate homeless services!

Body of email: I am asking that the D.C. Council increase the Mayor’s proposal for homeless services spending by $20.5 million in order to maintain the current level of homeless services and avoid life-endangering cuts.

If the D.C. Council enacts the Mayor’s proposed budget as is, the Department of Human Services (DHS) will likely be forced to close all shelters for single men and women except during hypothermia season. While some family shelters will remain open, DHS will be unable to place any newly homeless families in shelter except during hypothermia season. This will put over 300 District families and 1200 District single men and women on the streets, endangering the lives of children and vulnerable adults and increasing costs to the District in terms of emergency room visits, police and Child and Family Services involvement, and other government services.

This is simply unacceptable. Please increase the Mayor’s proposal for homeless services spending by $20.5 million (without cutting other life-saving programs) so that the current level of services for our neighbors facing a housing crisis can be maintained.

Email addresses for CMs are:

kbrown@dccouncil.us; dcatania@dccouncil.us; pmendelson@dccouncil.us; mbrown@dccouncil.us; jim@grahamwone.com; vo40@aol.com; action@orangeatlarge.com; Jackevans@dccouncil.us; mcheh@dccouncil.us; mbowser@dccouncil.us; hthomas@dccouncil.us; twells@dccouncil.us; yalexander@dccouncil.us; mbarry@dccouncil.us

Staff emails are:

jbudoff@dccouncil.us; jsaucedo@DCCOUNCIL.US; nstreeter@DCCOUNCIL.US; AMAIER@DCCOUNCIL.US; byoung@dccouncil.us; kstogner@dccouncil.us; mbattle@dccouncil.us; dtolliver@dccouncil.us; kboardmanschroyer@dccouncil.us; abellanca@dccouncil.us; jdetaeye@dccouncil.us; cwoodland@dccouncil.us; yford@dccouncil.us; rwerner@dccouncil.us; sgrant@dccouncil.us; jfaust@dccouncil.us; Jholland@dccouncil.us; CMcPherson@DCCOUNCIL.US; smaguire@dccouncil.us; JPittman@DCCOUNCIL.US; NRodgers@DCCOUNCIL.US; callen@dccouncil.us; jrmeyers@dccouncil.us; vbonett@dccouncil.us; jclementssmith@dccouncil.us; ccampbell@dccouncil.us

Mayor Gray's weekly presser, May 4

Mayor Vince Gray will hold his regular weekly presser May 4 from 10:00 - 11:00 am in the JAWB.   Agenda items include an announcement about the Medicaid director appointment, Teacher Appreciation Week and Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Budget update, May 3

  • The Committee on Finance and Revenue has posted their budget-related Q&A.   You will also find links to the hearings.
  • The budget hearing schedule was updated May 2 (PDF).
  • The Committee of the Whole’s budget hearing on DCPS with Chancellor Kaya Henderson scheduled for May 3 will begin at Noon or immediately following the Legislative Meeting, rather than the originally scheduled start time of 2:00 pm.
  • Here in PDF is the presentation from the April 18 OSSE budget briefing.
  • The Committee on Human Services has changed the time of the May 6 Department of Human Services budget hearing.   The new start time is 11:00 am.
  • Budget town hall event added to sked:   The second Ward 7 budget town hall is being held May 7 at 9:00 am at Deanwood Recreation Center (1350 49th St NE ).

Community Brainstorm: Building a More Food Just DC

ONE DC, Common Good City Farm, and Bread for the City are co-hosting another brainstorm session for the Shaw neighborhood working toward building a food systems network for the District.   The session takes place May 7 from 1:00 - 2:30 pm at New Community Church Sanctuary (614 S St. NW).

The questions being asked at the event are:   What would it look like if all residents had access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food?   How can we work together to make a positive change?   What options exist already for improving access to healthy, affordable food in the Shaw neighborhood?

Food and childcare will be provided.   Call (202) 232-2915 for childcare.

May 3 Children's Book Week update

Politics and Prose is participating in Children's Book Week, sponsoring three events:
  • Wednesday, May 4 at 4:00 pm:   John Flanagan, author of Ranger's Apprentice, Book 10: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja
  • Thursday, May 5 at 10:30 am:   Tom Lichtenheld, author and illustrator of Cloudette
  • Friday, May 6 at 10:30 am:   Robbin Gourley, author and illustrator of First Garden: The White House Garden and How It Grew

And here's what my some of my tweeps read as children (or gave as gifts) :

  • Pigs in the House (1983) by Steven Kroll
  • Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain (1992) by Verna Aardema, known for its rhymes
  • Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald and illustrated by Maurice Sendak.   Synopses of these fabulous books are on Wikipedia.
  • The Phantom Tollbooth (1961) by Norton Juster

More books from my tweeps tomorrow, along with more about Children's Book Week.   If you have a story about a favorite childhood book, let me know and I'll include in an update this week.   Send me an email.

Monday, May 2, 2011

This week is National Children's Book Week

What a great week this is:   National Children's Book Week.

Children's Book Week has been celebrated in rural towns, urban areas, east, west and center across the United States since 1919.

The week features special events and more.   There are at least three events here in DC.   More on those tomorrow.

For my part, I am collecting stories from blog readers and others about their childhood experiences reading and with books.   Please email me your stories so I can share them in blog posts this week.   You may also just tell me which were your favorite books.   And if you have children, let me know their favorites.   All will be shared here this week.

To start things off, I remember going to a community event with Hardie Gramatky, author and illustrator of Little Toot.   While I loved the story, the best part was that I got to enjoy the day with my father.   He loved Little Toot and still does.   I am lucky to have memories and drawings from that day; yup, I scored the charcoal pastel drawings.   Two are shown here.



For those not fortunate enough to have read any of the Gramatky books, his daughter has a website where you can learn more about them.   And there is still time to read them; you can order Little Toot on Amazon.   They are fab and you will surely enjoy them.

Witness list for May 2, 10a Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation hearing

Watching the Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation on three bills including the bullying one?   Here's the witness list (Word, .doc) so you can follow along (select Room 120).

Budget update, May 2

  • Part two of the CFSA budget hearing is being held May 4 at 11:00 am in Room 120.   The government will finish its testimony; the April 20 hearing was interrupted by the scheduling of another budget hearing.
  • Four goals were presented as drivers of the Department of the Health Care Finance FY 2012 proposed budget at the agency's recent community budget briefing.   The four goals are:
    *Ensure proper billing from sister agencies for eligible services

    *Improve patient health outcomes

    *Reduce provider fraud waste and abuse, and

    *Implement health care reform

    The briefing presentation is here in PDF.

  • The mayor's Ward 4 budget town hall is being held May 2 at 7:00 pm at Brightwood Elementary School (1300 Nicholson St NW).   The flier is here (PDF).
  • The mayor's Ward 1 budget town hall is being held May 6 at 7:00 pm at Bell Multicultural High School (3101 16th St NW).   The flier is here (PDF).
  • The Department of Health Care Finance director Wayne Turnage's testimony before the Committee on Health on the FY 2012 proposed budget is here in PDF.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Data you can use

It will come as no surprise to many that residents of the DC metropolitan are believe that some of our neighbors are left out of the region's success.   What is a surprise is the data bearing this out.   The data comes from work done by OpinionWorks for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government's Greater Washington 2050 Coalition, known as Region Forward©.

When asked by OpinionWorks to grade "the area where you live for a few other things on that same A to F scale”, affordable housing came up the big loser with a GPA of 1.81.   Help for those in need, access to good jobs for all who want one, and poor access to health care also fared poorly.

As the initiative's name suggests and as the description makes clear, "the COG Board of Directors formed the Greater Washington 2050 Coalition to create a comprehensive vision for the National Capital Region."   This serves as a foil to the next bit of information reported about the survey:   Fifty-seven percent of District residents wanted problems addressed locally, not regionally.

The survey result presentation is online in PDF.   The presentation includes more information that is informative, including the priorities for action – note affordable housing ranks seventh.