Friday, April 30, 2010

FY 2011 budget hearing sked changed 4/29

The budget hearing schedule changed on April 29.

Save family-friendly "Screen on the Green"

"Screen on the Green" is a popular free family-friendly, community event enjoyed by many in the District and the region.   But the 2010 summer festival is in jeopardy.   You can save this free series on the National Mall by joining Save Screen on the Green.   Join the coalition and continue to watch terrific films with family and friends -- for free!

Volunteers needed May 7 for fashion show prep!

Child and Family Services Agency has issued a call for volunteers for the 4th Annual "Passion for Fashion" Youth Fashion Show on May 7.   Folks are needed to prep the space by setting up the draping.   Set-up starts at 4:00 pm at Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th St NW).   If you are interested in pitching in, contact Beatrice Williar, via email or by calling 727-7101.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ward 6 Dems offer up recommendations for FY 2011 budget

The Ward 6 Dems have passed a resolution with budget recommendations to the City Council addressing FY 2011 budget challenges.   Hundreds of Ward 6 Democrats participated in conversations about the half-billion dollar revenue problem.   The group hopes that the resolution will inform members of the council as they finalize the FY 2011 budget.

Budget hearing schedule updated yet again!

The FY 2011 budget hearing schedule was updated again (April 27), this time because of the Dr. Height funeral.

In the news news

Some recent media-related items:
  • Jonetta Rose Barras, currently a columnist for the Washington Examiner and host of WPFW's DC Politics Hour, was recently presented with an award from the Maryland Delaware DC Press Association.   Jonetta took first place for her local column published twice weekly in the Examiner.   "Mission Accomplished" was the column that drew the association's recognition.
  • Mike DeBonis has left WCP and his role as Loose Lips and is moving to the Washington Post soon.   Until a new LL is appointed, Jason Cherkis is honorary LL and will continue to write LL Daily.
  • WCP'got a new editor!   Michael Schaffer has gotten the job, replacing Erik Wemple.

WPC's guide to public space permitting

Washington Peace Center's Guide to the DC Permit Process is a terrific resource!   How great is it to not have to figure this information our for yourself when you do an event or action?!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

DC's first child abuse prevention action plan!

On April 27, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) director Dr. Roque Gerald launched the District's first-ever citywide comprehensive child abuse and neglect prevention plan.   From the press release, the plan is
a three-year initiative to coordinate public, private, and community efforts to strengthen families as a means of preventing child abuse and neglect throughout the city.   A Call to Action:   The District of Columbia's First Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Plan describes the District's strategy for raising awareness about child abuse and neglect, investing in approaches that support healthier children and stronger families, and measuring outcomes of investments.

"As a councilmember, I asked for a survey of existing child abuse and neglect prevention programs that would identify service gaps in the District," said DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. "The city's first child abuse and neglect prevention plan will serve as a vehicle for filling the gaps. It will also guide investments designed to reduce risk factors that can lead to child maltreatment."

This plan is a long time coming.   I am proud to say that DC Action for Children, where I cut my teeth as a policy and budget analyst and advocate, raised the plan as an imperative for then-CM Adrian Fenty.   One very public thing DC ACT did was to publish Issues in Brief: Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect Before Another Child is Harmed.

Make no mistake about the plan -- it is an action plan, not a report or analysis or study.   Everyone has a role to play in preventing abuse and neglect--in keeping kids safe.   And as much as I appreciate Mayor Fenty's continued commitment to preventing child maltreatment, we've all got to do better than waiting years before we take action.

What are YOU going to do to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Some budget-related info posted

The Committee of the Whole has been busy uploading proposed FY 2011 hearing-related documents on the council website!   Lots of goodies to be found there.   Also posted recently are documents from the Committee on Health.

That leaves how many committees to post info?

  • Committee on Aging and Community Affairs (Ward 7 CM Alexander, chair)
  • Committee on Economic Development (At-large CM K Brown, chair)
  • Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (At-large CM Mendelson, chair)
  • Committee on Government Operations and the Environment (Ward 3 CM Cheh, chair)
  • Committee on Housing and Workforce Development (At-large CM M Brown, chair)
  • Committee on Human Services (Ward 6 CM Wells, chair)
  • Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation (Ward 5 CM Thomas, chair)
  • Committee on Finance and Revenue (Ward 2 CM Evans, chair)
  • Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs (Ward 4 CM Bowser, chair)
  • Committee on Public Works and Transportation (Ward 1 CM Graham, chair)

From the office of CM Catania

The uber exciting news of the day is this:   Responses to questions have been posted for the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Health, and the Department of Health Care Finance.   A big shout out to Jen Barry on the COH staff for sharing the great news!

In more news:   On April 26, the Committee on Health (At-large CM Catania, chair) held a public hearing on the proposed FY 2011 budget for the Department of Mental Health.   This is what the CM had to say at the opening of the hearing:

We are here today for a review of the fiscal year 2011 budget for the Department of Mental Health.   At almost $187 million, this proposal is a 9.5 percent decrease from the approved FY10 budget – a reduction of over $19.6 million dollars.   However, even with this reduction I believe the proposed budget before us represents a responsible approach to maintaining service delivery during these difficult economic times.

Though we will discuss many specific details within the proposed budget throughout the day, I want to raise a few points from the outset.   I am pleased to see that with the opening of the new St. Elizabeth's hospital we will have not only a more appropriate clinical home for those who need inpatient care but will achieve significant cost savings for the Department.   Fixed costs alone associated with the new facility will produce a savings of over $8.5 million in local funds.   I also want to commend the Department on its efforts to increase Medicaid billing for certain services.   In FY11 we expect to see significant savings by shifting Medicaid-eligible costs to federal resources.   Finally, I believe the Department has taken another important step toward transparency in its operations.   The proposed FY11 budget presents a new organizational structure for the Department, one that more appropriately aligns dollars with Department functions, programs and services.   This transition allows the Committee, community advocates, and District residents alike to better understand and track Department spending based on actual programs rather than arbitrary budget codes.

There are, however, a few concerns I must also raise.   A major issue discussed during the Department’s FY09 oversight hearing was the continued existence of external mandates, both the Dixon Consent Decree and the DOJ-St. Elizabeth's Settlement Agreement.   I want to be sure that the proposed FY11 budget does not adversely impact our ability to meet the requirements set forth in each so that we can continue efforts to regain full control over the development and implementation of policies and programs.   In addition, we need to ensure that the services provided to some of our most vulnerable residents, including children and youth, are not disproportionately impacted by the proposal before us.

Before we hear from today’s witnesses, I want to thank Director Steve Baron for the work he has done to ensure that the budget before us addresses the needs of District residents.    I also want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Department staff and their willingness to work with the Committee to review and refine the budget proposal.

Ward 7 State of the Ward Address

Ward 7 CM Yvette Alexander has just announced the Ward 7 State of the Ward Address will be held May 27 at 6:30 pm at Sousa Middle School (3650 Ely Pl SE).   More information is available by calling 724-8068.

Educational and advocacy opps added to calendar

Lots of events added to the blog calendar recently:
  • April 28 State Board of Education's public hearing to review the NCLB proposed report card
  • May 2 book talk and signing of biography of Hilda Mason, former CM, and Grandmother to the World
  • May 20 Third Annual Ward 7 Town Hall Meeting/Crime Summit
  • June 17 Thursdays at Three - What Have You Done for Your Customer Lately?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Help the city develop a citywide Education and Youth Development Plan

The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education is inviting the public to participate in the development of a citywide Education and Youth Development (EYD) Plan.   According to the DME website, the plan will be
a comprehensive assessment and articulation of current education and youth development policy and practice within the District, as it pertains to children and youth from ages 0-24.   The EYD Plan, to be submitted to Council in September 2010, will also outline recommendations for future policies and regulations.

Public input will help the DME staff to best understand community needs and ground future community discussions and focus groups.

There are two ways to weigh in.   First, you can take the online survey.   Second, you can download and print the survey to mail or fax back.

The DME has also announced another opportunity:   the opening community forum on May 18 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm at Friendship Public Charter School, Chamberlain Elementary Campus (1345 Potomac Ave SE).   Topics to be discussed include DCPS and public charter school education, health and safety, out-of-school time, disconnected youth, post-secondary education, workforce development, early childhood, needs of special education, and ELL children.

May Youth Issues hearing information

Noticed in the April 23, 2010 DC Register is the May 8 Youth Issues public hearing.   The Committee of the Whole (Council Chair Vince Gray, chair) is holding this regular monthly hearing at 10:00 am in the Council Chamber in the JAWB.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

REMINDER: Policy forum on preventing child abuse, April 28

There is still time to register for the Child and Family Services Agency policy forum on April 28 from 9:00 am - Noon at the National Press Club (529 14th St NW).

"National and Local Perspectives on Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect" will feature local and national experts on abuse and neglect prevention, important not only because April is Child Abuse Prevention Month but more significantly because thousands of children each year in the District are involved with CFSA precisely because someone has mistreated them.

Research and practice clearly show that child abuse and neglect can be prevented.   Attend this event to learn more about the issue and what you, your community, your organization, and your place of worship can do to protect children and strengthen families so abuse and neglect are not an option.   Also learn what is being done via public policy to address this most important issue.

Prevention Forum 042810

Little progress made on Council website

So since my last post about FY 2011 budget docs posted (not) on the City Council website, only two additional documents have been uploaded:   the letter from the mayor transmitting the BSA and the referral notice related to the BSA.

Still missing from the site are the many questions and answers about the mayor's budget proposal.   Here are documents from CFSA that should be on the council's website.

If you want these documents on the City Council website, email Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray and ask him to make the documents publicly available on the main document page (as opposed to individual member pages) as soon as the committees receive them from the agencies.

CFSA's answers to CHS questions

Here are the Committee on Human Services-Child and Family Services questions and answers for FY 2011:

Not posted here are documents with confidential information.

NOTE:   the documents posted above are the documents that should be posted on the City Council's web page for FY 2011 documents.

Peaceoholics' Roberts' testimony from March 30 shootings roundtable

Maia Shanklin Roberts, executive director of Peaceoholics, testified at the April 19 public roundtable on the March 30 shootings; her testimony is here.   Maia was one of more than 20 who were registered to testify at roundtable held by the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (At-large CM Mendelson, chair).   More on the roundtable is here in a previous post.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Vince Gray's opening remarks at DCPS budget hearing April 22

Here are the opening remarks of Council Chair Vincent C. Gray at the April 22 public hearing on the proposed FY 2011 DCPS budget hearing.  

Calling all parents, students, community members!

At the April 22 Committee of the Whole public hearing on the proposed FY 2011 DCPS budget, longtime education advocate Cherita Whiting was asked to create a report card on the community's viewpoint of DCPS and Michelle Rhee.   Cherita needs you to complete her homework.

Send your responses to the following to Cherita by April 28.   Note that the report card will not include names or in any way indicate which response is associated with a particular person.

  1. Ward of residence
  2. School you/your child attends
  3. Ward in which the school you/your child attends is located
  4. Your rating of DCPS overall on a scale of 1-10 along with a brief explanation
  5. Your rating of the school you/your child attends on a scale of 1-10 along with a brief explanation
  6. Your rating on a scale of 1-10 on parental and community involvement along with a brief explanation
  7. Your rating of Michelle Rhee as chancellor on a scale of 1-10 along with a brief explanation
  8. Your rating of the 2007 DCPS school reform act on a scale of 1-10 along with a brief explanation
  9. If you had a wish list for DCPS, name the top three changes you would like to see made
  10. Final comments you would like to add

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Symposium coming up in May

The Perinatal and Infant Health Bureau in the Department of Health is holding the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Symposium on Wednesday May 26 from 8:00 am - 1:00 pm at One Judiciary Square.   More information is online.

Budget hearing schedule updated yet again!

The FY 2011 budget hearing schedule was updated again (April 21).

Who's scheduled to testify at CFSA budget hearing April 22

More than 20 folks are registered to testify at the April 22 Committee on Human Services (Ward 6 CM Wells, chair) public hearing on the Child and Family Services Agency proposed FY 2011 budget.   The hearing is being held in Room 412 at 1:00; watch it live here.

Can't make it to the hearing today and have something to say?   Check out the hearing schedule for the "to dos" of submitting a statement for the record.

Today on D.C. Politics with Jonetta (April 22)

Guests on April 22's "D.C. Politics with Jonetta" (11:00 am - Noon on WPFW, 89.3 FM or are Mary Wilson, president of the League of Women Voters; and Dorothy Brizill, co-founder of DCWatch, a government watchdog organization.

They join resident analyst Eugene Dewitt Kinlow and host Jonetta Rose Barras to discuss the U.S. House of Representative's DC Voting Rights legislation.   Stay tuned after these appearances for what will surely prove to be a lively discussion of the mayoral race, weekly political news, and the now unknown topics raised by callers.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

DC leaders testify before House subcommittee on DC FY 2011 budget

Mayor Fenty, Council Chair Vincent Gray, and CFO Natwar Gandhi testified before the House Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government on April 21.   Mayor Fenty's testimony is here, Mr. Gray's is here, and Mr. Gandhi's is here.   There was nothing surprising in any of the statements but worth a quick read.

A terrific event promotion resource

GregsListDC is a terrific resource for those who are looking for something to do.   It does, after all, take
the guesswork out of the DC social scene.   From fundraisers to fashion shows, embassy events to eateries, happy hours to hotel happenings---this site highlights fabulous and fresh functions that you won't find listed just anywhere.

But the site is also great for promoting your organization's event.   If you are having a fundraiser or other event, email the details to Greg, the Greg's List guy.   To increase your chance of having your event included, send all the details in text.   Feel free to send a link to the event announcement online, but be sure to do all the work for this great bunch of GL volunteers!   GL does not guarantee that all submissions will be posted; but I think it's worth a shot.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Testimony at April 19 roundtable on late March homicides

More than 20 individuals were registered to testify at the April 19 public roundtable on "Community Views on the March 30, 2010 South Capitol Street Shootings" held by the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (At-large CM Mendelson, chair).

If you missed the roundtable, watch it here.   If you want to read what Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative had to say, the testimony is here.   The Collaborative supplemented their testimony with

NOTE:   Proprietary information was removed from this post on April 22.

April 20 ribbon cutting features Mayor Fenty

Mayor Fenty will give remarks on April 20 at 10:30 am for the Arboretum Recreation Center playground ribbon cutting and recreation center renovation kick-off.   Join the mayor and others at the rec center (2412 Rand Pl NE).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Some things you might not know about the FY 2011 proposed budget

If all you've read are the FY 2011 proposed budget books, you've missed a few important items, items which are included in the BSA.   Of note are funding for the Citywide Coordinating Council on Youth Violence Prevention and a mandate for schools to provide information and data to OSSE.

Citywide Pediatric Health Forum, May 11

Children's National Medical Center, DC Primary Care Association (DCPCA), and the Department of Health are co-hosting this first-ever DC Citywide Pediatric Health Forum on May 11 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

The goal of this forum is to convene the range of stakeholders -- parent/families groups, health and social services professionals and organizations, public and elected officials, academia, and businesses -- to begin to develop a targeted, coordinated, and comprehensive priority advocacy agenda addressing the key findings in the Health and Health Care Among District of Columbia Youth published by RAND Corporation in October 2009.

More information is available online.   It is also available from Inga Champ, (202) 471-4859 or email.

Bumpy start to council's streaming hearings

If you are like me, you have had a terrible time watching streaming video today.   Am I psyched that the City Council has started using the new tool (click here)?   Sure am.   I just wish the audio and general streaming were better.

Solution:   Email the council secretary, Cynthia Brock-Smith, and 1) thank her for bringing the tool to DC and 2) ask that she fix the problem.

Just in from DCPS -- two meetings postponed

The meetings about transforming DCPS secondary schools scheduled for today Monday, April 19 and Wednesday, April 21 are postponed until further notice.

The City Council's role in budget transparency

Don't bother going to the City Council's website for information pertaining to the proposed FY 2011 budget, hearings, etc.   Posted are the "FY2010 Balanced Budget Support Emergency Act of 2010" and the proposed BSA.   And those documents are on the mayor's budget website already.   What should be on the council's site are the questions and answers for the hearings that have already taken place.   These hearings to date are:
  • Committee on Libraries, Parks, and Recreation (CM Thomas, chair), April 13:   Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Committee of the Whole (Council Chair Gray, chair), April 14:   University of the District of Columbia, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education, District of Columbia Public Charter School Board
  • Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (CM Mendelson, chair), April 14:   Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure, District of Columbia National Guard, Office of Victim Services, Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Justice Grants Administration, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, Sentencing and Criminal Code Revision Commission, Judicial Nomination Commission
  • Committee on Aging and Community Affairs (CM Alexander, chair), April 15:   District of Columbia Taxicab Commission
  • Committee on Public Works and Transportation (CM Graham, chair), April 15:   Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
  • Committee on Housing and Workforce Development (CM M Brown, chair), April 15:   Office of Ex-Offender Affairs, Department of Employment Services, District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency
  • Committee of the Whole (Council Chair Gray, chair), April 14:   DC Public Schools

We've got a big hearing week coming up; the Committee on Human Services (CM Wells, chair) has a number of hearings scheduled as does the Committee of the Whole.   Any chance we will see those Q&A documents before the hearings?   I'm thinking no if this past week is any indication.

I guess transparency is harder than it looks.

Friday, April 16, 2010

New version of Healthy Schools bill online

Ward 3 CM Mary Cheh has posted a wide variety of documents on her website pertaining to B18-564 including the latest version of the bill (April 13).

Gandhi/Rhee April 15 letter with attachment

Here is the letter, with the attachment, that CFO Nat Gandhi sent to DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee on April 15.   Seems that not everyone has the letter and the attachment - so here are both.

Kojo Nnamdi on video

Did you know you can watch the Kojo Nnamdi Show on YouTube?   Yep, you can: Click here.

Watch out Superman, Jim Graham is a Safety Net Hero!

Ward 1 CM Jim Graham recently reprimanded Mayor Fenty for closing the $500 million FY 2011 gap with regressive fees that impact the poor most of all, and by slashing funding for safety net programs that keep our communities strong.   CM Graham went on to call for a millionaire's tax to help the city generate enough revenue to invest in an economic recovery that includes all DC residents.   Save Our Safety Net has more on the CM's actions here.

Those who are most vulnerable within our society need to have the greatest protection.   Those with the greatest ability to pay, should pay more.


In an election year, calling for higher taxes (even only on the wealthiest) is a courageous move -- so S.O.S. is encouraging us to thank CM Graham for taking a stand!   Send a "Save Our Safety Net" email to Councilmember Graham here and thank him for being a safety net hero!

Learn about Save Our Safety Net Campaign on April 17

Join others who are interested in learning about the Save Our Safety Net Campaign at the Big Bear Cafe (1700 1st St NW) on Saturday, April 17 at 7:00 pm.   Saturday evening will be a good opportunity for you to hear about how the budget crisis is affecting our communities (Ward 5 in particular), and about how you can get involved.   It'll be pretty casual.   Folks are encouraged to bring light food to share.

The S.O.S. campaign is working to build support for more progressive leadership from the legislative and executive branches during this budget crisis:   we're calling for a stop to continued budget cuts to safety net programs that keep our communities strong.   Learn more and sign our statement of support here.

RSVP here or on the Facebook event page.   Feel free to contact the campaign for more information:

Today is National Advance Directives Day

Not child-related but important:   Today is National Advance Directives Day (thanks Council for Court Excellence for sharing this - did not know!) and CCE's updated Personal Affairs Record Book is a terrific tool to help individuals and families prepare.   The book is
a useful tool to accompany your advance directives, estate planning, and other important documents.   The Personal Affairs Record Book is a workbook where you may enter all of the information your family and friends may need to manage your personal and financial matters.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

April 19 hearing notice - SE/SW shootings

Here is the hearing notice for the April 19 Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary public roundtable on "Community Views on the March 30, 2010 South Capitol Street Shootings."   Thanks to Richard Flintrop for sharing this version of the notice.

Support a "Balanaced Approach to the Budget"

The Fair Budget Coalition, via DC Fiscal Policy Institute, has issued a call to action for residents, service providers, advocates, businesses, and others to support a balanced approach to the FY 2011 budget.

From a recent email from Ed Lazere, DCFPI ED:

The proposed budget now before the DC Council takes steps to preserve public services, yet it still includes many serious cuts — in child care, job training, mental health services, disability services, police and public works — and it offers little help to address Metro’s funding crisis.

Please join us in telling the DC Council that you support taking a balanced approach to this year’s budget — by including new revenues that will help preserve crucial investments in health care, education, social services, and affordable housing.

The crushing national recession has brought hardship to DC families.   Unemployment has more than doubled over the past two years and public needs are rising dramatically — but the District has fewer resources to meet those needs because revenues have collapsed.

The proposed cuts will hurt families that are struggling to stay afloat and will jeopardize the District’s ability to make the most of prosperity when it returns.   The city already has suffered from cuts in schools, libraries, recreation centers, and homeless services — threatening our wellbeing now and in the future.

We can address our economic crisis and ensure a better future by taking a balanced approach that includes new revenue to maintain services and meet growing needs.

Here are 6 steps that our Councilmembers can take toward ensuring a balanced approach for DC:

  1. Increase the income tax for DC households with incomes above $200,000

  2. End DC’s tax exemption for interest paid on out-of-state bonds

  3. Update the sales tax to include more services

  4. Increase the minimum tax on businesses to $250

  5. Bring parity to the alcohol tax by taxing alcohol bought at a store at the same rate as alcohol at a restaurant

  6. Tap into the DC’s “Rainy Day Fund”

Notice for April 19 leg meeting briefing

From Doxie McCoy in the chairman's office:
Chairman Gray to Hold Press Briefing on Eve of 31st Legislative Meeting

Washington, DC – Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray will hold a press briefing at 10:00 AM on Monday, April 19, 2010 to preview the agenda for the Tuesday, April 20th Legislative Meeting, as well as make other announcements relevant to the Council and its work.

Chairman Vincent C. Gray and Members of the Council of the District of Columbia

Press Briefing

Monday, April 19, 2010, 10:00 AM

John A. Wilson Building, Room 412, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

CFSA briefs community on proposed budget

On April 14, Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) held a briefing on the agency's FY 2011 proposed budget.   The purpose of the briefing was to provide the community with some answers so their testimony would be more informed.

More than 30 people attended, representing advocates, foster parent, providers/contractors, and concerned residents.   Representatives of CFSA -- Dr. Roque Gerald, Loren Ganoe, and Justin Kopca -- shared a summary of budget highlights (below) and then answered questions from attendees.


Briefing on housing budgets, April 20

At-large CM Michael Brown, chair of the Committee on Housing and Workforce Development, is hosting A Community Budget Briefing on Housing on April 20 from 6:30 - 9:00 pm.   Details below.   And a big shout out to Marina Streznewski for her awesome sharing skills!

Housing Budget Briefing

Roundtable on recent shootings in SE and SW

The Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary is having a public roundtable on the recent shootings on South Cap on April 19 at 9:30 am.   More information is in the roundtable notice.

Help determine future of DCPS high schools

DCPS's Office of Secondary School Transformation is leading a citywide initiative to to create a plan for transforming the District's secondary schools.   Each phase of the three phase process involves community meetings.   This initiative is now in phase 1 and the purpose of t he community meetings is to agree on expectations for DCPS secondary schools and students and to identify the best ways to achieve these expectations quickly.

All community meetings will be held from 6:30 - 8:00 pm.   Remaining dates are:

  • Monday, April 19 -- Eliot-Hine Middle School (1830 Constitution Ave NE) (Ward 6)
  • Wednesday, April 21 -- Hart Middle School (601 Mississippi Ave SE) (Ward 8)
  • Tuesday, April 27 -- Roosevelt High School (4301 13th St NW) (Ward 4)
  • Monday, May 17 -- Francis-Stevens Education Campus (2425 N St NW) (Ward 2)
  • Wednesday, May 19 -- Kelly Miller Middle School (301 49th St NE) (Ward 7)
  • Date TBD -- Columbia Heights Education Campus (3101 16th St NW) (Ward 1)

If you have any questions or would like to comment but cannot attend a meeting, email Amy Liu.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Celebrate Emancipation Day with tour of Ford's Theatre

The Council of the District of Columbia invites residents, providers and others to attend a private Ford’s Theatre museum tour from 4:45 to 6:00 pm on Friday, April 16.   This flier is the free pass required to participate in this event.   Each visitor must have a flier and give it to the Ford’s Theatre Society staff when entering the museum.nbsp;  Ford’s Theatre Society will staff the museum in order to guide visitors and answer their questions.   Thanks to Vivian McCarter in Ward 6 CM Tommy Wells' office for sharing.

It's the City Council's turn for coolness!

This slipped by me so you have T.J. Sutcliffe to thank for bringing to my attention:   You can now watch live streaming of hearings and the like in all public chambers JAWB by going here.   A number of advocates included this idea in a long list of public access and transparency ideas that was delivered to Council Chair Vince Gray prior to development of the CP18 rules.   Glad to see this one can be checked off the list (note VG supported this but there were challenges with the technology).

Ending Child Poverty: The Legacy of Senator Edward M. Kennedy

On March 7, the Future of Children and the Woodrow Wilson School held a Kennedy Library Forum on "Ending Child Poverty:   The Legacy of Senator Edward M. Kennedy."   You can listen to the 1.5 hour program here.   It is well worth the time.

Extraordinary learning opportunity planned for late June

You are invited to participate in an extraordinary learning opportunity:   Solution-Focused Brief Therapy: Creative Applications in Community-Based Settings.

This training features leading thinkers and practitioners in the field who will guide attendees through a number of workshops designed to build skills and confidence in this effective approach to working with families.   Those who should attend this event include:

  • Social workers
  • School-based counselors and parent coordinators
  • Social service agency personnel
  • Professionals in mediation and restorative justice
  • Juvenile justice and criminal justice system professionals
  • Outreach and engagement staff
  • Therapists
  • Law enforcement
  • Youth/gang violence prevention and intervention staff

This training institute is being held in Washington, DC from June 29 - July 2, 2010.    Professionals from across the globe will convene to improve their skills and learn from their international, national, and local peers.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is inherently strength-based and holistic in the way it engages families.   While developed initially as a therapy model, it has transferred well to many different areas of community work.   Its combination of looking forward while helping people recognize their strengths and learn from their successes is a perfect fit for the development of family plans, street-level outreach, adult reentry counseling, job readiness training, and family group conferences.   The possibilities are endless!

Please consider attending this event – it will be well worth the effort.

More budget documents online including updatated hearing sked

Additional budget-related documents for FYs 2010 and 2011 have been posted on the city's budget website,   You will now find:
Mayor's Proposed Fiscal Year 2011 and FY2010 Gap-Closing Plan
  • Mayor's Proposed Fiscal Year 2011
  • FY 2010 Mayor’s Proposed Gap-Closing Plan (PDF)
  • FY10 BSA Emergency (PDF)
  • FY 2011 Estimates for Energy, Rent, Security, Janitorial, and Occupancy (PDF)
  • FY11 BSA Permanent (PDF)

There is also a link to CFOInfo from this page.

Finally, it is important to note that additional changes have been made to the council's budget hearing schedule.   The most recent one is here.

Witness list for April 14 hearing on various FY 2011 proposed education budgets

The Committee of the Whole (Council Chair Vince Gray, chair) is having a public hearing on the FY 2011 proposed budgets for the DC Charter School Board, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education, and University of the District of Columbia.   The hearing is April 14 at 10:00 am in the JAWB.   The witness list is here.

Child support guideline commission to meet April 22

The DC Child Support Guideline Commission is meeting on April 22 at 8:00 am in the Office of the Attorney General's Child Support Services Division (441 4th St NW, Ste. 550N, Conference Room A).   The commission will discuss proposed changes to the city's Child Support Guideline and will accept comments from the public.   Details about the meeting, the guidelines and public participation are in the April 9 DC Register meeting notice.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I can hardly contain myself! A new DC gov budget tool!!!

Seriously all, I am in budget wonk heaven.   No, really -- check out the beta version of CFO Info.   This is seriously cool and long over due.

From the website:

Welcome to the beta version of the District's web-based application that presents budget (amount of money planned for expenditures) and expenditures (the amount actually spent) dashboard.

This dashboard includes data to present actual expenditures for Fiscal Years (FY) 2008 and 2009, the FY 2010 Approved Budget, and the FY 2011 Proposed Budget. Users can view data in graphical or tabular views, and create comparisons and cross-tabs for more detailed analysis of budget data. All data mirrors the information contained in the District's budget books.

Is it perfect?   No, but then it's in beta so there is room for improvement and the OCFO does want feedback.   So take a look and email your suggestions to the CFO.   And if you really feel like sharing, send the suggestions to me and I will post them.

New items added to calendar

Lots of goodies added to the advocacy calendar recently:
  • April 27 "HIV/AIDS Surveillance in the District:   The 2008 Epidemiologic Report"
  • April 18 Fatherhood & Men's Health Panel
  • April 19 Webinar: Extending Home Visiting to Family, Friend, and Neighbor Caregivers and Family Child Care Providers
  • June 29-July 2 Solution-Focused Brief Therapy:   Creative Applications in Community-Based Settings

Family Court issues annual report

Thanks to Priscilla Skillman from the Council for Court Excellence, I can tell you that DC Superior Court's Family Court recently issued its annual report.   The report contains a ton of data and other info on:
  • Abuse and Neglect Cases
  • Compliance with D.C. ASFA’s Requirement for Time to Disposition
  • Compliance with ASFA’s Permanency Requirement
  • Family Treatment Court
  • Juvenile Cases
  • Child Support and Paternity Cases

Columbia Heights/Shaw Collaborative's Child Abuse Prevention Month events

Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative is hosting two events in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month.   The first is being held on April 20 and the target population is parents and other caregivers.   This workshop will address a number of subjects related to children who are older than 5 years old.   The goal is to inform and equip families to address important issues.   This event is co-sponsored by the DC Rape Crisis Center.

Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative is also hosting an open house and panel discussion on parent engagement and empowerment on April 29 from 3:30 - 6:00 pm.   The target population for this event is school personnel and programs that work with schools and families.   More information is in the flier below.

April 2010 Child Abuse Prevention Workshop_English

April 2010 Child Abuse Prevention Workshop_Spanish

CHSFSCApril Open House Flyer

Monday, April 12, 2010

Opening statements at April 12 COW

Two CMs shared their opening statements from the April 12 COW featuring Mayor Fenty and his FY 2011 proposed budget.   Council Chair Vincent C. Gray had this to say and CM Harry Thomas, Jr. had this to say.

This third grader says it all

Tamara Robinson, Third Grade Student, Kimball Elementary School:
The Healthy School[s] Act is important because we need healthy food so we can be alert and think while in class.   When I eat bad food, I cannot think.   Also, sometimes our food is so bad that I do not eat at all.   Then I am hungry and cannot stay focused.

To learn more about the legislation, click here.   To read more of Tamara's testimony, click here.

Please take a few minutes to help a college student with his research

There is no question that neighborhoods are important to each of us.   Good relationships with neighbors is a blessing and connectedness is important in good times and bad.   A born and bred DC native is seeking input from DC residents about neighbors and online connectivity.   Please take a few minutes to help him with his research.

Via the Glover Park Yahoo Group:

My name is Peter Davis -- I am a government and sociology student at Harvard College. I am doing a study on neighborhood email lists and neighborhood blogs-- how neighbors use them, how they affect neighborhood connectivity and what factors affect the success of them.

I have a ten-minute survey about how your neighborhood uses its neighborhood listserv/blog.   Would you mind sending it onto your neighborhood's list and asking your neighbors take a few minutes to fill it out?

Here's the link to the survey: click here.

We will share the conclusions of the study with you and your neighbors when this data collection phase is complete.

Thank you so much for your time.   I greatly appreciate it.


Peter Davis

News about Mike Neibauer

Michael Neibauer (on Twitter at @mjneibauer), is now working at the Washington Business Journal!   His new email is   Congrats, Mike!

Need office furniture, fixtures, etc.?

Because Safe Shores moved to their new home at the Bundy School (429 O St NW) a couple of weeks ago, they are selling and/or giving away the large inventory of furniture, fixtures, etc. from their former office.   Most items are FREE or marked at a very deep discount for other nonprofit organizations since everything MUST GO.   All items must go by April 15 and the next "shopping day" is Tuesday, April 13.   Details are in the inventory catalogue.

CFSA sponsors policy forum on child abuse and neglect prevention

DC's Child and Family Services Agency is hosting a policy forum on April 28 from 9:00 am - Noon at the National Press Club (529 14th St NW).

"National and Local Perspectives on Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect" will feature local and national experts on abuse and neglect prevention, important not only because April is Child Abuse Prevention Month but more significantly because thousands of children each year in the District are involved with CFSA precisely because someone has mistreated them.

Research and practice clearly show that child abuse and neglect can be prevented.   Attend this event to learn more about the issue and what you, your community, your organization, and your place of worship can do to protect children and strengthen families so abuse and neglect are not an option.   Also learn what is being done via public policy to address this most important issue.

Prevention Forum 042810

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mayor Fenty briefs City Council on FY 2011 budget April 12

Scheduled to start at 10:00 am on April 12 is the Committee of the Whole Public Briefing on the Mayor's Fiscal Year 2011 Proposed Budget.   This is a not-to-be-missed event as the city's candidates for mayor -- oh, no, sorry, the top elected officials -- go toe-to-toe on the FY 2011 budget proposed by Mayor Fenty.

If you have missed the drama thusfar, be sure to read the Loose Lips tweets from the April 1 presentation the mayor made to the council prior to the release of the proposed spending plan for next year.   They will get you primed and ready to go!

State of the District as prepared

If you missed Mayor Fenty's State of the District address on April 9, here it is as prepared.

More candidates!

A little late, I know, but here are more candidates:
  • Ward 7 resident and current chair of the City Council Vincent C. Gray is running for mayor.
  • Jon Kuhl is running for U.S. Shadow Representative.   He is also on Twitter.
  • Nate Bennett-Fleming is running for Shadow Rep. He is also on Twitter.
  • Marc Morgan is running in Ward 1. He is using social media to connect, as well.
  • Tim Day is running in Ward 5.
  • Melissa Rohan is running for the Ward 6 Board of Education seat. She's also on Twitter and Facebook.

Rite Aid now accepts SNAP (Food Stamps)

Thanks to the Capital Area Food Bank, I can share the news that Rite Aid stores are accepting EBT cards.

From a Market Watch press release:

CAMP HILL, Pa., Mar 18, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- To help meet the needs of its customers, Rite Aid stores nationwide now accept EBT (electronic benefit transfer) cards/food stamps provided through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).   More than 38 million Americans received food assistance through SNAP last year, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is administered by the USDA and offers families and individuals at certain income levels financial assistance in purchasing food and beverages.   Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is the electronic system that allows a SNAP recipient to authorize transfer of their government benefits from a federal account to a retailer account to pay for products received.

SNAP benefit recipients are issued EBT cards that look like debit cards. Customers swipe their EBT card like a credit card at the time of the purchase and the cash register automatically deducts the eligible purchase (any food, candy or non-alcoholic beverage) from the balance on their card.   For additional details on SNAP, visit

"One in eight Americans are receiving food assistance through SNAP according to the USDA," said Brian Fiala, Rite Aid Executive Vice President, Store Operations.   "With nearly 4,800 Rite Aid stores nationwide offering assorted groceries, accepting EBT cards is just another convenience we can offer to our customers and help make their lives a little easier."

There are six Rite Aid stores located in Washington, DC.

Certainly, the more outlets accepting EBT cards, the better for residents using SNAP.   Of course the issue is the nutritional value (or lack thereof) of the food purchased in these retail outlets.

Wanna dance?

Got rhythm?   Whether you do or not, the upcoming Dance is the Answer flash mobs are sure to be a blast.   Flash mobs are scheduled from April 15 to May 2 around the DC metro area.   Go online to prepare for the mob activity; you can dance to ABBA, Nancy Sinatra, or Harry Belafonte!   Hope to see you at one around DC!

DCPS Master Facilities Plan posted online

The Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization has posted the 2010 Master Facilities Plan on their website.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Updated FY 2011 budget hearing sked

The council's budget office has updated the FY 2011 budget hearings schedule yet again.   Check it out here.

Youth and Our Community -- NWCHCA April 19 meeting

"Youth and Our Community" is the featured panel subject at the April 19 Northwest Columbia Heights Community Association (NWCHCA) Public Forum.   At-large CM Michael Brown is the special guest at the evening meeting.   All are welcome to attend this free meeting.   Additional information is available on the NWCHCA website.

The mayor talks with Kojo today

Mayor Fenty will guest on WAMU's The Kojo Nnamdi Show April 9 at 12:30 pm.   Tune in to 88.5 FM or listen online.

SOS needs you for April 12 action

Join others in delivering the important message to save the safety net on April 12 from 9:30 - 11:00 am in the JAWB as Mayor Fenty explains why he made the decisions he did regarding the FY 2011 budget he proposed on April 1.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The state of. . .

If you are interested in learning more about the state of the District, join Mayor Fenty on April 9 at 10:30 am for his annual State of the District Address.   The mayor is delivering this speech at Ward 7's Deanwood Recreation Center (49th and Quarles Sts NE).

Those who have a stake in Ward 4 should attend Ward 4 CM Muriel Bowser's 3rd Annual State of the Ward 4 Senior Address.   It is taking place on April 29 from 9:00 am - 1:30 pm at Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center (324 Kennedy St NW).   More information is available from Brandon Todd, 741-0917 or btodd (at) dccouncil (dot) us.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Will you dare say "What's the matter here?"

If you don't understand the role you play in keeping all kids safe, not just your own kids, take a stroll down memory lane by watching this video of Natalie Merchant singing What's the Matter Here?   And while you're on this trek, listen to Suzanne Vega singing Luka.   And to satisfy those who want to see the lyrics, watch this video.

List of budget briefings from DCFPI

DCFPI does it again!   Yesterday they released a list of agency-specific budget briefings.   Review the list ASAP as briefings are as soon as April 8 (Department of Mental Health).

DOES budget briefing April 8

At-large CM Michael Brown, who chairs the Committee on Housing and Workforce Development, has just announced a Community Budget Briefing on Workforce Development on April 8 from 6:30 – 9:00 pm.   The event is being held at First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, D.C. (1328 16th St NW).

This event will feature a budget presentation, discussion, and Q&A session.   Joseph Walsh, Director of the Department of Employment Services, has been invited to present the DOES budget.   Event co-sponsors are:   Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, DC Fiscal Policy Institute, DC Jobs Council, Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaboration, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, So Others Might Eat (SOME), and Wider Opportunities for Women.

More information is available from Michael Rious, 724-8198 or mrious (at) dccouncil (dot) us.

Thanks to Marina Streznewski of the DC Jobs Council for sharing this information.

WaPo's Eugene Robinson chatting today about invisible underclass

Be sure to read Op-Ed columnist Eugene Robinson's piece today, "The invisible underclass."   It presents the personal and political struggles confronting the city, contrasting the focus on southeast Washington in recent days of the Obama family Easter Sunday visit to the gunning down of friends on a corner.

You can join Robinson today, April 6 at 1:00 pm for an online chat.   You can submit your questions before or during the chat.

Monday, April 5, 2010

To gesticulate or not to gesticulate

One of my favorite reads is Grammar Girl.   I use this tool for grammar and other tips.   Was excited to get this in my inbox today:
What Should You Do With Your Hands When Speaking?

Do you know what you should do with your hands when speaking--either when giving an important presentation or just when talking to your boss and coworkers in a meeting?   Is it bad to put your hands in your pockets?   What gestures should you make?   Should you make gestures?   For answers to all these questions and more, check out The Public Speaker's latest article on how to correctly use gestures.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Gray's opening remarks at March DCPS hearing

DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee testified before the City Council on March 22.   Here are Council Chairman Vincent Gray's opening remarks.

Wild Apricot does it again! More free webinars!

I am continually wowed by Wild Apricot's diligence in finding and sharing free webinars.   The April 2010 schedule is here.   You will find "Tools to Keep Your Website Up-to-Date That any Small Business or Nonprofit Can Afford" (April 13), "Turning Point:   A Day of Free Webinars on the Future of Fundraising (April 15), and "Integrating Social Media Into Essential Organizational Functions" (April 28).

Notice of new permanent supportive housing placements

The Department of Human Services issued a notice in the April 2 DC Register announcing 150 new placements for individuals and 25 new placements for families in the Family Services Administration’s Permanent Supportive Housing Program.   Individuals and families will be prioritized according to a score on a vulnerability assessment administered by the PSH Program.   DHS will conduct the assessments through at least April 9, 2010.   Anyone living in a shelter or on the street may take a vulnerability assessment.   Any individual or family who has already completed a vulnerability assessment may update the assessment with new information.   More information is in the notice.

City Council hearings noticed in April 2 DCR

  • Youth Issues, April 10:   The Committee of the Whole (At-large Council Chair Vince Gray, chair) is holding this hearing on April 10 at 10:00 am in the JAWB.   Young people under the age of 22 are encouraged to testify at the hearing.   Details are in the hearing notice.
  • Earth Day, April 19:   The Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation (Ward 5 CM Harry Thomas, Jr.) is holding this public roundtable on April 19 at 10:00 am in the JAWB.   The purpose of the roundtable is to "address the benefits of Earth Day, which was instituted to speak on the environmental degradation of the planet.   Children, youth and families are invited to participate and share ways to make our earth a safer, and healthier place to live in."   Details about the roundtable are in the notice.

Events added to calendar!

Go to the calendar below to check out the many learning and advocacy opportunities being offered by local and national organizations.   Recently added events include:
  • May 30:   Third Annual Ward 7 Town Hall Meeting/Crime Summit
  • April 14:   2010-2011 School Calendar Meeting
  • April 5:   Save Our Safety Net Blog and Storytelling Training
  • April 9:   workshop "DC Tenant Rights & Foreclosure Prevention."   The free event is sponsored by Strengthening Ward One Together
  • April 12-14:   "Family Group Conferencing coordination training" offered by Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative

Friday, April 2, 2010

Child Abuse Prevention Month Activities

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect and encourage individuals and communities to support children and families.

In the District, more than 3,900 children were the victims of child abuse and neglect during FY 2009.

The community can prevent child abuse and neglect and this calendar lists opportunities for community members to get the tools and resources needed to prevent child maltreatment.   Need other ideas to prevent child abuse and neglect?   Need materials for an event you are sponsoring?   Check out this list from CFSA.

(Graphic source)

Proposed FY 2011 budget (kinda) online

Finally, late on April 1, the Office of Budget and Planning posted the mayor's proposed FY 2011 budget.   You can access the budget two ways:

Not all agency budgets are available even though there are hyperlinks for them.   And the appendices are not available yet across all budget titles.   Other parts of the budget - including Operating Expenditures, Strategic Budgeting, and the Budget Request Act - are online.   Not much consolation when the meat is nowhere to be found.

What is online is FY 2010 Mayor’s Proposed Gap-Closing Plan.

Finally, materials from the FY 2011 budget release are on the city's website.   Check out the release here and the budget overview here.

Just in from OBP (8:13 am):   Link problems have been communicated to OCTO and presumably OCTO will be on the case ASAP.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fenty budget released at 10:30 am

Mayor Fenty will release his proposed FY 2011 budget at 10:30 am today, April 1, in the JAWB.   The budget will be posted online,, some time today.

It's Child Abuse Prevention Month!

What are you going to do to prevent child abuse?   Check back soon for a calendar of events.

(Graphic source)