Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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Blog down September 4-6

I will be making some changes to the blog between September 4 and 6.   It will be up, it will be down, it will be changing.   Something better coming to DC next week!  

Charter school org actively educating adults

  • Awareness-raising yard signs:   FOCUS and charter school supporters have planted signs in yards across the city to raise awareness and show support for the movement.   But there is plenty of green space needing a little educating about the value and benefits of charter schools according to this nonprofit. Order a sign for your front yard online and one will be delivered in a few days.   And if, for some reason, a sign has disappeared, FOCUS has established a Charter School Yard Sign Replacement Program.   Notify FOCUS online.
  • Charter school-related election season information:   FOCUS has asked the candidates some questions about (duh) charter schools and the answers are on their web site along with candidate bios and web site links, voter registration information, polling locations, a calendar of candidate events, and other useful web sites.   Access the information by either clicking on the “It’s election time...” feature photo on the homepage or on the “MEET the candidates” link on the right.

MPD ramps up child and youth safety efforts

  • Back-to-school safety:   MPD's School Safety Division has created a way for residents, parents, teachers, and other community members to share non-emergency concerns with the police.   Notify them for any number of concerns including kids racing out into the street without looking first and bullying.   Email the appropriate police districts:

    Unsure of the police district but have a concern?   Email Insp. Steven Sund or Capt. Robin Hoey.

  • Child Car Seat Inspections at THEARC:   Because motor vehicle crashes are the leading killer of children under the age of 14 and because the vast majority of car seats are not used correctly (thanks, MPD, for sharing this info), MPD conducts child car seat inspections.   Inspections take place every Thursday and Friday of the month, with the exception of the first Thursday of the month, at THEARC (1901 Mississippi Ave SE).   For more information call (202) 476-4993.
  • Curfew hours change September 1:   Curfew hours change September 1, with off-the-streets time for those under age 17 set at 11:00 pm Sundays through Thursdays.   On Fridays and Saturdays, curfew starts at 12:01 am. More information about the curfew, including exceptions, is on the MPD web site.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mayor Fenty's sked August 30

Mayor Fenty will deliver remarks at the 3:30 pm beam signing at Woodson Senior High School (550 Eads St NE).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Slim pickings in August 27 DCR

  • Public hearing on comprehensive plan:   The Committee of the Whole (Council Chairman Vincent Gray, chair) is holding a public hearing on B18-867, "Comprehensive Plan Amendment Act of 2010", on September 28 at 1:00 pm in the JAWB.   More about the hearing, including how to register to testify, are in the notice.
  • DOH final rules on criminal background checks for some health professionals:   The final rules repeal a provision of law that exempted certain health professionals to forego a criminal background check if one had been done within four years of submitting an application for employment.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Recent Mayor's Orders

The August 20 DC Register included some Mayor's Orders, none of which come as a complete surprise.   Go online and you will find orders related to appointments to Housing Production Trust Fund board, Early Childhood Advisory Council, Educational Licensure Commission, and District of Columbia Juvenile Justice Advisory Group.   Also there is the delegation of authority for graffiti abatement.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bread for the City nourishes mind as well as body

Bread for the City is in need of new and gently used children's books particularly for the pre-school set.   English-Spanish bi-lingual books are especially welcome.   Bread's participation in Reach Out And Read since 2007 has resulted in giving almost every child who visited Bread's medical clinic a book to take home.   This is one way Bread for the City is doing its part to divert kids from future poverty.

Books can be dropped off at the organization's Northwest Center (1525 7th St NW).   Questions should be directed to Erin Garnaas-Holmes via email or check out this blog post about the value of loving reading early.

High school student fellowship deadline near

The DC Language Access Coalition's S.M.A.R.T. (Student Multiethnic Action Research Team) fellowship for the 2010-2011 school year is looking for students.   S.M.A.R.T. is a youth-led decision-making body which advocates and organizes for better education for ESL students and their families.   Some of the issues they worked on in the past include demanding bilingual counselors in schools, more after school programs for ESL students, and an accurate needs assessment for every ESL student to avoid an unnecessarily delayed graduation.

Optimally, students will be sophomores or juniors, English Language Learners currently in ESL courses in DC Public Schools or DC public charter schools.   Karina Hurtado-Ocampo, the coalition's educational organizer will be conducting interviews through September 3.

More about what the fellowship entails is in the information packet.   For more information, contact Karina, (718) 679-3299 or via email.

DC GIS office relocates

With the exception of staff co-located with other government agencies, the DC GIS staff will move to a new office on August 27.   They expect all systems to be functional but staff will be unavailable for the most part that day.   The new address for DC GIS is:
Office of the Chief Technology Officer - DC GIS
Government of the District of Columbia
1100 15th St NW, 9th floor
Washington, DC 20005

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Reminder: Please take blog improvement survey

In my ongoing effort to keep the blog relevant and useful, I am considering making some modifications.   Before I start, though, I want to ask you, my readers, for some feedback; please take this brief survey.   I appreciate your time and consideration.  

DCPS final rulemaking on school-based health centers

DC Public Schools published two final rules in the August 20 edition of the DC Register.   One of the rules repealed a section of the code and the other proposed the new section.   Both relate to school-based health services for students.

What is important is that the final rules, which follow a June 2010 publication of amended rules based on comments submitted by the public and others, describe how the Department of Health, the Department of Mental Health, and non-profit community-based health care providers can operate school health centers.   The final rules (the new section) also allow licensed providers in school-based health centers to dispense prescription and over-the-counter medications, and clarify the role of school health centers in addressing the prevention of pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections.   Both rules are online.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Emergency rules from DCBOEE

The Board of Elections and Ethics has noticed a number of rules on an emergency and proposed basis regarding the fall elections in the August 20 DCR.  

Mayor Fenty's statement on selection of DC as RTTT winner

From an August 24 press statement:
This is fantastic news for the future of the District of Columbia and its kids.   For the past four years, there is nothing that has been a higher priority than public education for my Administration and we are both thrilled and grateful that President Obama and Secretary Arne Duncan are showing support through this grant for our reform efforts to create a world-class education system in the nation’s capital.

Upcoming City Council hearings

  • Public hearing on Bill 18-579, "Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Amendment Act of 2009":   This joint hearing being convened by the Committee on Human Services (Ward 6 CM Tommy Wells, chair) and the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (At-large CM Phil Mendelson, chair) is being held October 6 at 10:00 am.   The purpose of the bill is to amend prior legislation regarding permanency in kinship situations and amending the definition of case plan.   Details about the hearing, including how to register to testify, are in the August 20 DCR hearing notice.
  • Public hearing on B18-925, "Child Support Enforcement and License Suspension Amendment Act of 2010":   The Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (At-large Phil Mendelson, chair) is holding this hearing October 6 at Noon.   The bill makes a number of changes to child support enforcement, including sharing information with the city's IV-D agency.   Details about the hearing, including how to register to testify, are in the August 20 DCR hearing notice.
  • Public hearing on Child Fatality Review Committee confirmations: The Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (At-large Phil Mendelson, chair) is holding this hearing October 6 at 2:00 pm.   The purpose is to confirm three individuals as members of the city's Child Fatality Review Committee (PR 18-911, PR 18-932, PR 18-933).   Details about the hearing, including the nominees and how to register to testify, are in the August 20 DCR hearing notice.
  • Public hearing on B18-963, "Criminal Code Amendment Act of 2010":   The Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary (At-large Phil Mendelson, chair) is holding this hearing September 27 at 10:00 am. The legislation proposes changes in the Code related to children and youth including establishing a criminal penalty for arranging for a sexual act with a child, creating a mandatory minimum for use of a firearm in a dangerous crime, establishing a warrantless arrest for misdemeanor sexual abuse, and prohibiting DYRS committed youth from escaping.   Details about the hearing, including the nominees and how to register to testify, are in the hearing notice.

Grants management/nonprofit capacity building by DC gov in FY 2011

The FY 2011 budget proposed by Mayor Fenty and approved by the City Council eliminates the Office of Partnerships and Grant Services (OPGS) as an independent executive branch agency and moves its functions to two other executive branch agencies, the Office of the City Administrator and the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD).

In FY 2011 when the integration of OPGS into OCA is complete, the Office of the City Administrator will adopt the following functions performed by the Office of Partnerships and Grant Services for the past 10 years (give or take):   grant and resource development support, grant-making oversight, and donation management.   To perform the work, three FTEs will be transferred from OPGS to OCA.   This will expand OCA’s current oversight of federal ARRA funds to all funding.   Further, the city's grant management vis a vis agency performance, data collection, and reporting will be dramatically improved with this move, so the thinking goes.   Starting October 1, grants management staff will be working side-by-side with OCA's program analysts who work closely with agencies.   This combination of expertise is expected to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

As for the nonprofit development work that has been performed by the Office of Partnerships and Grant Services, they along with OPGS director Lafayette Barnes are moving to the Department of Small and Local Business Development.   The new division run by Barnes is expected to join the DSLBD e-BIC (Enhanced Business Information Center) at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (901 G St NW) (pending final approval of plans, etc.).   Because both offer support, resources, and technical assistance including free trainings and workshops, Mayor Fenty's team expects the merger of the e-BIC and training and development offered by OPGS will achieve unprecedented internal efficiencies and external operational improvements.

Final details about both moves will be available closer to the beginning of FY 2011 on October 1, 2010.

Monday, August 23, 2010

What's the real deal with the Peaceoholics controversy?

Over the years, various articles and opinion pieces have appeared questioning the relationship between the founders of Peaceoholics and Mayor Fenty.   The articles have criticized the organization for taking millions of dollars and showing little for it and, of course, made hay of Ronald Moten's often bombastic attacks against, well, pretty much everyone.

However, in all this time little attention has been paid to the most important issue–whether Peaceoholics has achieved results with some of the city's hardest to reach/touch/engage/help/influence young people.   It seems to me our primary concern should be about whether Peaceoholics has improved outcomes for young people—rather than in Moe's histrionics and the relationship between Moe and the mayor.   In the same way, we should be interested in how well other organizations, public and private, are helping clients/DC residents have better lives.

Investigating Peaceoholics and the various public rants associated with the media reports seem to have satisfied our sense of moral outrage.   I contend, though, that this has come at the expense of routinely asking how we are doing on the path of making long-lasting, appreciable change for children and youth, about how we are doing to improve their life's outcomes.

A slight digression:   I remember having a conversation with a colleague about outputs and outcomes, trying to balance the government's responsibilities and the contractor's responsibilities.   At one point my colleague said, "But they weren't told to count that."   I don't recall what the "that" was – the number of people walking through the door, the number of clients turned away for lack of capacity, or what.   It really doesn’t matter.   What sticks with me was my colleague's belief that the contractor had no responsibility for anything other than what the contracting agency told them to do and no more.

Anyone who knows me knows that at the point my colleague said that, I started shaking my head and hands and making weird noises, repeating questions, getting snarkier by the minute.   Why, you ask?   Because I want the best for DC's young residents, I want to be able to tell the story of their condition and what I did to improve it.   That requires no legal contract, only a social contract.   No one has to tell me to do that.

How does this tie in to the latest Peaceoholics fracas?   The link for me is pretty basic:   I am concerned that too little attention is paid to outcomes, measurement, reporting, and contract monitoring by the media and public.   If Peaceoholics did what they were paid to do, that is good.   Could they have done more?   It is hard to tell without an exhaustive review of contracts, case files, and data.

What I do know is that Peaceoholics is not alone in their focus on the street work and less than optimal performance on data collection and analysis, program design, reporting, and the like.   To me, this is the story.   The story is about how well the public and private sectors have helped children and youth achieve better immediate and long-term outcomes.   I'm afraid the real story is that too many of us have not done all we can to make life better for kids. I'm afraid the real story is that organizations have received obscene amounts of money and their clients have little to show for it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"Economic Development and its Impact on the District of Columbia," August 26

This Ward 4 Chat-N-Chew brought to you by the DC Neighborhood College takes place August 26 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Brightwood Bistro.   This event will focus on the impact of economic development within the city with smaller discussions about how economic development is defined, the challenges associated with economic development, and ways that individuals and organizations can be involved.   More information is in the event flier.   RSVP by August 24 to Karima Morris Woods via email or (202) 994-5384

Hill Rag posts daily

Just out from managing editor Andrew Lightman is the news that news will be posted daily on the Hill Rag.   Email what you think might be of interest.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Office space to sublet

Foster & Adoptive Parent Advocacy Center (FAPAC) is planning a move and will have office space available to sublet.   The space is on Metro's Red line.   Tenant will have access to conference room and small kitchen.   There is evening and weekend access to building and the space is physically accessible.   $700-$1000 per office.   Contact:   Margie Chalofsky via email or cell, (301) 641-5599.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Candidate events, August 20 update

  • Ward 1 Democratic City Council candidates, August 20:   At noon on WAMU 88.5's The Kojo Nnamdi Show, Kojo and Tom Sherwood will talk with the three Democratic candidates running for the Ward 1 seat on the City Council.   In studio will be CM Jim Graham, candidate Jeff Smith, and candidate Bryan Weaver.
  • Statehood Green candidates' forum, August 22:   The forum is part of the DC Statehood Green Party's all-day convention at Elks Lodge (1844 3rd St NW). The candidates' forum begins at Noon. The Statehood Green candidates are:
    • Natale "Lino" Nicola Stracuzzi (DC Delegate to the US House)
    • Rick Tingling-Clemmons (DC Delegate to the US House)
    • Joyce Robinson Paul (DC 'Statehood' Representative)
    • Faith (Mayor)
    • Ann C. Wilcox (Council Chair)
    • Darryl L.C. Moch (At-Large Member of Council)
    • David Schwartzman (At-Large Member of Council)

    More information about the event and contact information for the candidates is available from Scott McLarty, DC Statehood Green Party media coordinator, 518-5624 or via email.

School Garden Week Student Photo Contest

D.C. Schoolyard Greening's fourth annual student photo contest is on!   Any District resident in grades K-12 may submit a garden-related photograph to be judged by a panel of garden and photography experts.   Winning entries will be eligible for prizes and will be on display during School Garden Week 2010 (October 12-16) and online.   Submit digital photos and entry forms via email.   The submission deadline is September 27.   More information in the flier and entry form.

The photo contest is but one of the many activities taking place during DC School Garden Week.   Other events include the information session "Developing an Environmental Literacy Plan for DC" and the 7th Annual Fall Schoolyards Tour.   More information about the week and how you can get involved are on the D.C. Schoolyard Greening web site.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

FY 2012 budget development

The city's budget director reports that the FY 2012 budget process will kick off in late September or early October, similar to last year.   The Office of Budget and Planning reports that the date for the kickoff has not yet been set.

Susie's Budget and Policy Corner featured on TBD.com

The blog was recently added to the TBD Community Network.   This is a huge honor, being one of 120 blogs in the region included on this new and innovative media platform.

The campaign trail gets busier

  • Ward 6 Candidates Forum, August 24: This event, sponsored by the Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization (CHPSPO), Eastern Market Metro Community Association (EMMCA), and Sports on the Hill (SOTH), is being held from 6:30 – 9:00 pm at the Southeast Library (403 7th St SE).   The forum will be moderated by WTOP's Mark Segraves and will focus on the issue facing the neighborhoods of Ward 6.
  • Jewish Community Relations Council Mayoral Forum, August 24:   This event, being held from 8:00 – 9:30 pm at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue (600 I St NW), will focus on issues affecting the Jewish community.   The candidates will be asked to address general concerns ranging from affordable housing, immigration, and economic development to education, social service programs, and civil and voting rights.   The debate will be moderated by Scott Thuman, awarding-winning reporter with ABC7/WJLA-TV.   RSVP online.

    Event co-hosts are:   the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington.   Sponsoring organizations include Adas Israel Congregation, American Jewish Committee, American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, American University Hillel, Anti-Defamation League, Bet Mishpachah Congregation, Hillel at The George Washington University, Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation's Capital, Jews United for Justice, National Jewish Democratic Council, Ohev Shalom - The National Synagogue, North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) – Mid- Atlantic Region, Temple Sinai, Washington DC Jewish Community Center, Washington Hebrew Congregation, and Yachad Non-Profit Housing Organization.

  • August 26 Ward 6 Candidates Forum:   This event is being held at St. Augustine Episcopal Church (600 M St SW) from 7:00 - 8:30 pm.   Go Episcopalians!
  • SW Candidates Forum, August 31:   This event is being held at Westminster Church (401 I St SW) from 6:30 – 9:00 pm.   Not sure which race(s) this concerns, I found the info on Kelvin Robinson's site.
  • League of Women Voters Candidate's Forum, September 1:   The event is being held from 6:30 – 9:00 pm at Washington Ethical Society (7750 16th St NW).   Mayoral and City Council candidates have been invited to participate.   More information is available from Natalie Howard, 237-2163 or via email.
  • September 1 Mayoral Debate:   Candidates Fenty and Gray will answer questions (and presumably get digs in) on September 1 for an hour starting at Noon at the Newseum (555 Pennsylvania Ave NW) at this event sponsored by WaPo, NBC4, and WAMU.   Questioning the candidates will be Postie Nikita Stewart, NBC4 reporter Tom Sherwood, and WAMU 88.5 reporter Patrick Madden.   Moderating the event will be Eugene Robinson, columnist and associate editor of The Washington Post.   The event is free and open to the public, but registering on the website is required in order to attend the event.

    The public is being encourage to submit a question for the candidates; send your name and question via email to the Post.

    If you can't attend the event in person, no worries.   The 60-minute debate will be streamed live on washingtonpost.com and will be broadcast on WAMU 88.5 later that day and on NBC4 September 2 at 12 pm.

  • September 2 candidate forum on safety net issues for Ward 5 City Council candidates:   The forum starts promptly at 6:30 pm (doors open at 6:00 pm) at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center (1100 Michigan Ave NE).   The event is hosted by Fair Budget Coalition, DC Jobs Council, Defeat Poverty DC, and several other organizations.
  • DC Association for the Education of Young Children Mayoral Forum, September 2:   This event is being held September 2 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the Channel Inn (650 Water St SW).   All mayoral candidates have been invited and their status till be posted on the DCAEYC web site.   Seating is limited; register via email.
  • September 2 Council Chair forum:   The DC Jewish Community Center and Jewish Community Relations Council are hosting this debate September 2 from 8:00 - 9:30 pm at the DCJCC (1529 16th St NW).   RSVP online.

August 23 is “Fathers- Escort Your Child to School Day”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Capitol Hill Green Schools Initiative event on DCPS food services, Healthy Schools Act and more

The Capitol Hill Green Schools Initiative is hosting a roundtable discussion on DCPS food services, the Healthy Schools Act, support for school gardens, and schoolyard greening on August 31 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm. The event is being held at Peabody Elementary School (425 C St NE, Library on the 3rd floor). The event will feature Jeff Mills, Director of Food Services at DCPS; Diana Bruce, Director of Health and Wellness at DCPS; Paula Reichel, Program Coordinator, Office of Food and Nutrition Services at DCPS; and Andrea Northup from the DC Farm to School Network. More information is available by emailing the Capitol Hill Green Schools Initiative.

Improving Susie's Budget and Policy Corner

In my ongoing effort to keep the blog relevant and useful, I am considering making some modifications.   Before I start, though, I want to ask you, my readers, for some feedback; please take this brief survey (corrected at 4:12 pm).   I appreciate your time and consideration.

Now, back to organizing, advocating, informing, educating, legislating, and reporting!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

DC government news, August 17

  • Chat with Cheh, August 21:   Meet with Ward CM Mary Cheh between 11:00 am – 1:00 pm at New Morning Farmers Market at Sheridan School (36th St and Alton Pl NW).
  • The Metropolitan Washington Regional HIV Health Services Planning Council meeting:   The meeting is scheduled for August 26 at 5:30 pm at One Judiciary Square (441 4th St NW, Room 1117).   Dinner will be served at 5:00 and the meeting will begin at 5:30 pm.   Direct questions to Michael Tietjen, Planning Council Coordinator, at 671-4824 or via email.   Or, go online to the planning council's web site.   This meeting was noticed in the August 13 DCR.
  • Online resources for adult learners and those who teach them at DCPL:   DC Public Library has an array of services for adult ed programs and adult learners.   Even better is that the library has expanded its offerings recently.   Access to most of the services requires a DC library card.   And before we get to the resource, a big shout out to Ben Merrion for sharing this information!
    • All services can be found on this DCPL web page.
    • Skills Tutor offers Internet-delivered basic reading, math, workforce readiness and employability skills for adult learners.   To access it, send an email with your first and last name and/or the names of your student(s) to SkillsTutor.   More info is here.
    • Free online tutors are available to help with homework and basic career documents, etc.   Just click this link, type in your DCPL card number and you are good to go!
    • The Learning Express Library offers GED prep courses and tests in English and Spanish and a bunch of other courses in computers, workplace skill improvement, and occupational testing.
  • Tenant Summit 2010, September 25:   The Office of the Tenant Advocate (OTA) is holding this year's event at Gallaudet University's Kellogg Conference Center (800 Florida Ave NE) September 25 from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm.   You can register online and take a pre-summit survey by using this link.   Spanish language materials are available, as are hard-copy materials.   Contact Charles Davis (719-6560, email) for more information.

    OTA is looking for organizations to table at the event.   To register to table, use the participant registration link above.

  • Public feedback is sought for DC.gov redesign:   Not that long ago, OCTO and Mayor Fenty launched DC.Gov 2.0.   The city web site finally caught up with executive branch agencies' new design.   I have to say, it is a lot cleaner.   However. . .

    That is why the government is looking for feedback on the new platform, most notably the design and tools.   Let the government know what you think by taking the survey on this page.   The government also wants to know about broken links, inevitable in any redesign.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Final rules issued on retail establishment carryout bags

The Department of the Environment (DDOE) issued final rules in the August 13 DC Register regarding the ways by which DDOE will implement and enforce the provisions of the Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Act of 2009 under its purview.   The final rules also implement the various provisions of the act including charging customers a five cent fee for each disposable carryout bag they receive, authorizing retail venues to keep a portion of the five cent fee charged to customers, and allowing retailer to credit customers who use their own carryout bags.

More to report along the campaign trail

  • Mayoral candidates forum, August 17:   This event sponsored by seven organizations, listed below, is being held August 17 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the National Council of Negro Women (633 Pennsylvania Ave NW).   WaPo's Nikita Stewart will moderate. Seating is limited so get there early.   Co-sponsors of this event are:   the Washington DC Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, National Council of Negro Women and the NCNW Washington Section, Thursday Network of the Greater Washington Area National Urban League, Black Women's Roundtable, and Black Youth Vote.
  • Ward 5 Dems straw poll and endorsement event, August 23:    The Ward 5 Democrats will vote from 6:00 – 8:00 pm on August 23 at Michigan Park Christian Church (1600 Taylor St NE).   The event is from 6:00 – 8:30 pm.   To get questions answered or for additional information, contact W5D chair Angel Alston, 315-6057 or via email.   Or, refer to their web site.
  • RLCDC Candidate Forum with Pat Mara, Tim Day, and Jim DeMartino:    This event takes place August 30 at 7:00 pm at CityVista Condominium (475 K St NW).
  • KCA and Reed-Cooke Association forum for all candidates, August 31:   The forum is being held from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at Good Will Baptist Church (1862 Kalorama Rd NW).   Candidates have the opportunity to make opening statements; this will be followed by questions from the floor, with a moderator.    All the candidates for mayor, At-large and Ward 1 City Council seats have been invited.    The Fenty campaign sent their regrets.
  • Mayoral candidate forum on the environment, September 7:   The DC Environmental Network (DCEN) is sponsoring this forum on September 7 from 5:30 - 7:00 pm at Harriet's Family Restaurant (436 11th St NW).   All are invited to attend this event.   Register to attend online.

    DCEN seeks organizational sponsors for this event.   You can become a sponsor by emailing Chris Weiss.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Nonprofit news, August 15

  • Field trips to the Washington Youth Garden at the National Arboretum:   The SPROUT (Science Program Reaching OUT) field trip serves school and community groups from across the Washington metro area. Students engage in a ninety minute garden experience and participate in a nutrition education lesson with a healthy snack.   The schedule fills up quickly, so make your reservation today!
  • FLY launches Sustainability Project: As is the case with other nonprofits, the issue of sustainability is one for the FLY board.   Members of the board and supporters of all kinds—volunteers, staff, community stakeholders, partner organizations—are researching and brainstorming ways to secure income for the organization now and into the future.   For more information about participating in this effort, contact the FLY Board President Iman Tyson via email.
  • Washington Peace Center wants more eletter subscribers!   WPC wants to make more activists aware of the awesome events they send out weekly through their Activist Alert.   If you are not signed up, sign up right now!   (Use the hyperlink above)
  • Ayuda has a new ED:   Rocio Gonzalez Watson, Ayuda's new Executive Director, begins her new gig on August 16.   She has extensive experience in and out of government protecting exploited individuals.   Ayuda plans to hold several events this fall to welcome Rocio and introduce her to the organization's community of friends and supporters.
  • Save the date for DCPCA's annual meeting, October 7:   The theme of the organization's 13th annual meeting is "Eyes on the Prize:   The Road to Health Equity."   The theme symbolizes DCPCA's long-standing commitment to realizing a health care system with guaranteed access to primary care.   DCPCA will highlight their work in health care quality, technology, capital development, and workforce initiatives.   The event is taking place October 7 from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm at Gallaudet University's Kellogg Conference Center (800 Florida Ave NE).   More information is available from Audrey Kudler at 638-0252 extension 246 or via email.   Or, go to the web site.
  • DCEN has a new web site:    The DC Environmental Network has just launched their new web site.   The plan is to make the site a tool for DC region environmental folks to share information about their campaigns and reach out to the broader environmental community.   The new site includes a blog linked on the home page.   The organization is looking for comments and suggestions to make this site the best it can be.   Email Chris Weiss.
  • Cease Fire Don’t Smoke the Brothers is collecting school supplies:   The Ward 4-based nonprofit wants to fill 450 backpacks.   For more information, check out the flier and accompanying letter.
  • Martha's Table school supply drive is on!   They are collecting supplies for children and youth of all ages.   The list of supplies they are requesting is here.

No cars, no traffic, just fun!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sponsors needed for DC Farm to School Week in October

The DC Farm to School Network is coordinating the October 11-15 DC Farm to School Week extravaganza.   The network will help get local produce in every DC school cafeteria that week and coordinate farm field trips and chef demonstrations in 40 schools.

Support from the community will make the week all the more community driven and the farm-to-school movement that much more robust.   Organizations and individuals alike are being sought to contribute to the effort in some way—perhaps by providing a bus for a farm field trip, produce for a chef demonstration, or photographers or photo-journalists for participating schools.   More information about sponsorship is available from Andrea Northup.   Contact her by phone at area code 202, 526-5344 x298 or via email.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Government news

  • The Department of Health has started tweeting!   Follow them @DOHDC.
  • Did you know that the Office of the People's Counsel has an electronic newsletter?   Go to the web site to sign up.
  • OSSE announces DC Family Education Expo 2010, October 2 at UDC:   Being held from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, the expo's theme is "Healthy Bodies/Healthy Minds" to highlight and help to address the city's high rate of adolescent obesity.

    Features include exhibitions and presentations on topics such as early childhood education, family health and nutrition, effective parent to parent communication, and college and career readiness.   The community—nonprofits, government agencies, and others—are encouraged to exhibit at the event.   Registration is easy and online.   OSSE is seeking diverse organizations representing social services, out-of-school time programs, health and wellness, adult ed, and others.

    Information is available in Spanish and Spanish speakers with questions should call 552-7163.   More information in English is available by calling 552-7161.   Finally, follow the progress of the expo on Twitter (@DCFEE2010).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nonprofit news, August 11

  • Parents and community members with children sought to participate in education campaign:   Empower DC's Quality Education Campaign is looking for additional committed people to join the already strong and active cadre.   Empower DC has found that parents have a difficult time knowing how to get involved around the decisions that are made about their child’s school/education.   This campaign is a way to change all of that.   Daniel del Pielago, the new education organizer, is interested in meeting with folks to engage them in this work.   If you are interested or know others who are/might be, contact Daniel, 234-9119 x104 or via email.
  • Empower DC Quality Education Campaign updates:   If you are interested in receiving updates by email, Daniel del Pielago will add you to the list; just email him.
  • Two items from Common Good City Farm:   First, Pertula George is the farm's new Executive Director.   Before this gig, Pertula worked with young farmers at The Food Project in Boston.   Welcome her to DC, 330-5945 or via email.   Second, Common Good City Farm needs a volunteer:   Common Good is looking for a daytime volunteer to serve as education coordinator.   The commitment consists of 1-2 farm shifts per week, or 5-9 hours when the farm is open to youth, Monday/Thursday 3:00 – 7:00 pm and Wednesday/Saturday 10:00 am – 1:00 pm.   Flexible schedules are helpful.   Job details include: 1) Developing and implementing both casual and structured gardening and nutrition activities for kids aged 5-18; 2) facilitating/assisting volunteers and Green Tomorrows participants with farm work; 3) following weekly list of "to do’s" which usually include weeding, planting, or other farm work; 4) welcoming passers-by, answering their questions about the farm and explaining farm programs. The Coordinator will foster appreciation of fresh, healthy food and help to grow an emerging community food project in the nation's capital.   More information is available by emailing Common Good.
  • DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a new ED!   Karma Cottman is their new Executive Director.   Send her an email to welcome her.
  • DC LEARNS is on Twitter:   Follow them, @DCLEARNs.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Getting kids (and parents) ready for the classroom

Going back to school can be exciting or terrifying—or both!   DC Public Schools and the Department of Health are reaching out to parents (and this blog is reaching out to providers) with all kinds of information to make going back to school easy and less stressful.   So providers, here is what parents should know:
  • Immunizations:   Schools require that children and youth are up-to-date on all of their shots.   Parents can accomplish this by getting kids in for a well-child visit or by just getting shots (I vote for the former by the child's regular doctor).   You will find the information in English only (that's right, no Spanish or other languages) on the Department of Health web site.
  • Pre-k and pre-school readiness for school:   Early Childhood Transition Week takes place the first week of school for pre-school and pre-k children.   What is Transition Week?   It is a time for children to get used to going to school, being in a classroom with other children and their teacher, and going home from school.   (I also think it's to ease parents into sending their kids to school!)   All pre-school and pre-k children will attend school for three days during the week of August 23.   Last names beginning with the letter A through the letter K will attend August 23 and 24.   Those whose last names begin with the letters L through Z will attend August 25 and 26.   All children attend Friday, August 27.

    Volunteers and school staff will do a door-to-door canvass the weekend of August 14 and 15 to personally inform families about the structure and benefits of Transition Week.   DCPS staff and volunteers will leave information whether people are home or not.   And Wards 1 and 4 will have Spanish speaking walkers; the captains in charge of those wards also speak Spanish.   English materials are here and Spanish here.

    If you are interested in going door-to-door to get the youngest students ready for school, email Jennie O’Brien.

  • Registration for DDOT's School Transit Subsidy Program starts August 9:   The School Transit Subsidy Program has started accepting SY 2010-2011 applications at the Reeves Center (2000 14th St NW).   Before you head to Reeves Center, know that
    • students/parents must bring with them, from their school, a completed Student Travel Application.   Completed means that the application is signed, dated and stamped by your school principal.
    • those eligible to receive discounted travel on Metrobus and Metrorail are those who meet three qualifications.   First, the student has to be under 19 years of age with the exception of student with disabilities who are eligible until 22 years of age.   Second, the student must be a resident of the District.   Third, the student must be enrolled in an elementary or secondary public, charter, private or parochial school that is located in the District.
    • you take your completed paperwork to the first floor in the Reeves Center, near the DC Lottery Office.   The phone number is 673-1740.   The hours are Monday – Friday 8:15 am – 4:45 pm and Wednesdays 8:15 am – 7:00 pm (August-October).

Calendar updates

So a number of advocacy and learning events have been added to the calendar at the bottom of the main blog page.   Items include the August 10 rally at Bruce-Monroe and flash mob at MLK library, the August 14 Second Saturdays at Big Chair Coffee, and the multi-day conversation about trauma and the teen brain.

If you have advocacy, action, or learning events, email them to me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Capitol Hill Group Ministry is collecting school supplies

CHGM is collecting supplies for grades K, elementary, middle, and high through August 12.   The drop-off location is 1338 G St SE, Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 6:00 pm.   Direct questions to Shelah Wilcox, 544-3150 or via email.   The supplies will be distributed August 14 from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm at 1338 G St SE to children and youth who live in Wards 6, 7, and 8.   Details about the giveaway is also available from Shelah.

And remember, other drive info is here and here.   Be sure to buy school supplies to take with if you are volunteering for Beautification Day, August 21.

Calling advocates and activists

DC Jobs With Justice's Ruth Castel-Branco has issued a call to action to support the nurses of Washington Hospital Center (WHC).   According to Castel-Branco, WHC nurses recently voted to go out on a one-day Unfair Labor Practice strike over the firing of 18 nurses and the discipline and threats given to others during the February snowstorms.   Long story short, WHC management unilaterally changed their snow attendance policy during the storms, WHC has a regular nurse turnover rate of 20%, and there are nearly 200 vacant nurse positions at WHC.

DC Jobs With Justice is calling on community leaders to join the Nurses Community Support Committee by signing a pledge and perhaps doing more (such as signing on to op-eds and encouraging people to attend Nurses United events, rallies, and pickets).   The pledge form along with more information is online.   Direct questions to Castel-Branco, area code 202, 974-8152 or via email.

Health meetings, staff changes, updates

  • Ward 7 Health Council meeting, August 9:   Ward 7 CM Yvette Alexander and the United Medical Center Foundation are hosting the third Ward 7 Health Council meeting on August 9 at from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at Friendship Public Charter School (4095 Minnesota Ave NE).   The goal of the council is to educate residents and facilitate activities that promote healthy eating and active living. More information is available from Esther Tempies, 574-6175 or via email; Sam Jordan, 388-6661 or via email; or Derek Ford, 427-4474 or via email.
  • Public meeting of the District’s Health Reform Implementation Committee, August 19: The committee is meeting 2:00 – 4:00 pm at the Benning Neighborhood Library (3935 Benning Rd NE, large meeting room).   The purposes of the meeting include reviewing the committee's charge and responsibilities and offering 1) an overview of the health care reform law, 2) the impact of the law on DC, and 3) the city’s accomplishments regarding implementation to date.

    Seating is limited; RSVP to Lucy Drafton-Lowery, 442-7775, or via email; you may also submit questions in advance by emailing Drafton-Lowery by August 13.   More information is available on the District’s health care reform website.

    Committee members are co-chairs Commissioner Gennet Purcell, Esq., of the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking and Dr. Julie Hudman of the Department of Health Care Finance.   Dr. Pierre Vigilance of the Department of Health and Clarence Carter of the Department of Human Services are also members.

  • A change to the Committee on Health:   Jen Barry—awesome, helpful, cheerful, and all-around awesome staffer on the Committee on Health under the leadership of At-large CM David Catania—is soon leaving the committee.   Barry has encouraged the community to ask questions (via email) this week before her departure.   After next week, questions should be directed to one of the committee staff:

    Best of luck, Jen.

  • The August 6 Committee on Health update is posted online.

Addition to school supplies donations list

  • Kids Konnection seeks donations for children who live in Ward 8 public housing complexes of Highland Dwellings, Stoddert Terrace, Benning Terrace, and Woodland Terrace.   The collection takes place August 8 – 13 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm and donations should be dropped off at 3929 4th St SE.   Supplies are sought for children in elementary and middle school.   Contact Terri Mullen for more information, 563-1720.

  • A.P. Shaw – Congress Heights Church has a flier announcing their supply drive and August 21 Back to School Jam.

  • REMEMBER:   Eleven other back to school supply drives, and the DCPS school supply list, are online here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Catching up on DC Register notices, etc.

  • Department of Mental Health issues final rules regarding flexible spending on children's mental health services:   In the July 23 edition of the DC Register, the Department of Mental Health noticed final rules, "Child Choice Providers – Flexible Spending Local Funds Program."   The rule allows Child Choice Providers to bill, up to a DMH-set ceiling, for "locally-funded services and supports that are intended to augment the clinical services and increase the therapeutic benefit to the consumers."   To ensure accurate record-keeping, the final rule creates a billing code and rate to be used with DMH's electronic billing system.   The rules were final upon publication.
  • Proposed rules regarding housing quality standards in public housing:   The Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) noticed in the July 23 edition of the DC Register a clarification of the frequency of the inspections.   Written comments should be submitted within 30 days of publication in the DCR.   Details about commenting and a copy of the proposal are online.
  • DHS proposes change in shelter and supportive housing rules:   DHS issued proposed and emergency rules, publishing a new title of the DCMR, "Shelter and Supportive Housing For Individuals and Families" in the July 23 edition of the DC Register.   The purpose of the proposed rules is to create rules by which the city's Shelter and Supportive Housing Program is administered.   Proposed rules were first published in March 2010; those rules were amended based on comments from the public.   The latest rules represent a significant change from those published in March ergo the re-publication.   Final rulemaking action will take place within 30 days or approval of the City Council, whichever happens first.
  • The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) issues proposed rules regarding child development facilities:   In the July 30 edition of the DCR OSSE published changes to the child development facility rules finalized in 2007 after 10 years of work by the community.   According to the OSSE notice
    This proposed rulemaking maintains the basic regulatory framework established in 2007, with modifications to update operational and professional standards, as well as revisions reflecting statutory requirements and clarification that the OSSE is now the lead agency regulating child development facilities.   This proposed rulemaking includes revisions to general licensing requirements and background checks, environmental standards, and licensing fees.   The proposed amendments also take into consideration the special nature of child care facilities certified as Montessori schools.

    The public is encouraged to submit comments on the proposal.   Details are in the notice, but note that comments are due within 30 days of publication.

  • Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF) issues emergency and proposed rules regarding reimbursement for inpatient hospital services for Medicaid recipients:   According to the July 30 DCR notice, "The effect of these rules is to change the current prospective payment reimbursement methodology for inpatient hospital services for hospitals participating in the Medicaid Program."   Under the emergency and proposed rules, eight hospitals will now be paid by All Patient-Diagnosis Related Group (APDRG) rates.   Other related rate changes are made in these rules.   These rules, according to the notice, reflect more up-to-date practices and rates.

    These rules reflect changes submitted by the public in March and April 2010 after the original rulemaking was published.   Details about the suggestions and result are in the notice.

    These rules are issued as an emergency to "ensure the continuation of appropriate and needed payments to hospitals and allow Medicaid beneficiaries access to needed medical services."

    The rules went into effect July 9.   They will remain in effect for 120 days or until final rules are noticed.   Comments can be made in writing within 30 days of publication.   Details are in the notice.

  • Fees increase for professionals:   The Department of Health, in compliance with the FY 2011 BSA, noticed in the July 30 DCR a number of fee increases effective immediately.   Social workers are among those whose renewal fees increased.   Details are in the notice.
  • Zoning Commission issues emergency and proposed rules on Inclusionary Zoning:   The rules are about IZ and federal and DC government funded projects.   The rules were published in the August 6 DC Register.   The Zoning Commission will take final rulemaking action in not less than 30 days from the date of publication; public comments are welcome and details are in the notice.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Three constituent-specific fora

  • Candidate forums focusing on sustainable and local business:   Members of the Think Local First DC, Sustainable Business Network of Washington (SBNOW) and the DC Chapter of the Clean Economy Network (DC-CEN) are able to attend a mayoral candidate forum August 17 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.   The event is being hosted by Busboys & Poets (2021 14th St NW).   Candidate Gray has confirmed, candidate Fenty not.

    Members are also able to attend a forum for candidates for the position of council chairman.   This event is being held August 30 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. The event is being hosted by Busboys & Poets (2021 14th St NW).   Candidate Kwame Brown has confirmed his attendance and candidate Orange has been invited.

    The fora are an opportunity for the candidates to share their platform related to stimulating the growth of the sustainable and local business sector.   The audience will have a chance to ask questions of the candidates.

    There is limited seating for this event and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.   To join Think Local First DC so you may attend one or both fora, go to their web site.

  • "Youth-Friendly City" forum for candidates running in the races for At-large and Chairman:   DC Lawyers for Youth and the DC Alliance of YOuth Advocates (DCAYA) are sponsoring this forum August 19 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm at IDEA Public Charter School.   RSVP:   Na'ilah Amaru, DC Lawyers for Youth, at (area code 202) 386-7104 or via email.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Send a kid back to school with all the stuff he needs

Turns out that not as many organizations submitted information as I had expected; oh, well.   Eleven organizations (nonprofits and government) chose to submit information and partake of free publicity.

Now it's your turn--take a look, see what appeals to you and then shop and donate away.   Now more than ever, DC students need help with supplies for their studies.

Some organizations ask you to buy specific things.   DCPS is included; here is the DCPS list by grade.

School Supply Drives 2010

Mayor Fenty at Joe Cole August 5

Mayor Fenty will deliver remarks at the Joe Cole Community Center ribbon cutting August 5 at 10:45 am.   The address is 1200 Morse St NE.

More from the campaign trail

  • Social justice candidate forum, August 24:   Eleven organizations (listed below) are sponsoring this forum for City Council Chairman and At-large seats.   The event begins promptly at 6:30 pm, is scheduled to end at 8:30 pm and is being held at the True Reformer Building (1200 U St NW, Marsh Conference Room).   The forum is free and open to the public.   Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions.   Childcare and accommodations, including sign language interpretation, provided upon request by August 18 to Kristi Matthews, 328-1262 or via email.

    Sponsoring organizations are:   DC Jobs Council, DC Jobs with Justice, Defeat Poverty DC, District Alliance for Safe Housing, Empower DC, Fair Budget Coalition, Latino Economic Development Corporation, Jews United for Justice, Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO, Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, and Wider Opportunities for Women.

  • Volunteers needed to monitor polls for accessibility issues on September 14:   University Legal Services (ULS) is working under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to the polls and can cast their votes independently and confidently.   Monitoring the precincts should only take 10-15 minutes of your time.   If you are interested in helping ULS this year, contact Cristina Meneses at 547-0198 (area code 202, don't ask why I am doing it this way) or via email.
  • What a few (and only a few) candidates have to say about defeating poverty:   Defeat Poverty DC is interested in how candidates would eradicate poverty in DC if elected.   The collaboration asked candidates questions and the answers submitted so far are online.

    Note the candidates who have responded are highlighted in red.   For those who have not yet read the responses, they are paltry.   Pathetic (in number).   Pitiful.   Pathomaniacal.   Pediculous.   Piacular.   (Ok, I've run out of words starting with "p.")

    In all seriousness, does the small number of responses indicate that candidates don't care about poor people?   Or does it mean they aren't interested in eradicating poverty in DC?   In either case, the response rate does not bode well for poor folks, young and old alike.   Want to call the candidates out on not telling us how they would defeat poverty?   Refer to this (somewhat dated) list of candidates for email and other contact information.

  • Defeat Poverty DC on candidate Vince Gray's jobs plan:   While the coalition of more than 100 organizations and 3,000 residents gave Gray a thumbs up for the effort, agreeing with him that "there is no more important issue than connecting DC residents to jobs", the Gray plan has left the collaboration with "many questions", according to Defeat Poverty DC campaign director Michael Edwards.

    Defeat Poverty DC considers "Making Work Possible" the first and most important step in addressing our city’s historic poverty rate.   Part and parcel of this concept is reducing the barriers to employment such as adult literacy, child care, and transportation barriers.   According to Edwards, Defeat Poverty DC is left wondering about the resources that will be dedicated to workforce development, how First Source will be enforced, Gray's plan to improve literacy and skills training, the ways other issues (such as substance abuse and limited work history) will be addressed, and the ultimate impact of the plan on residents.

    The press release is available from Christy Setzer via email and on the Defeat Poverty DC web site this Defeat Poverty DC web page.

More this and that

  • Want to be in the know on all things Ward 8 Dems?   Get on their newsletter email list; email Gaby L. Fraser, Editor-in-Chief .
  • Save the date for the Leadership Institute Fall Fundraising Series:   The Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs is hosting three workshops in the fall.   All events will be held at Reeves Center (2000 14th St NW, in the Edna Frazier Community Room).   Workshops are:
    • Fundraising Planning, September 23 at 6:00 pm
    • Making the Most of Your Fundraising Events, September 28 at Noon
    • Grant Writing, October 5 at 6:00 pm
  • Bread for the City needs gardening supplies for their SE location:   Bread is planning to start a small roof top garden on a terrace as the first step in using edible gardens as a way to improve the health and nutrition of their clients.   To start, they are looking for used pots (especially hanging ones), tools, and potting mix to help the embryonic project expand a bit.   They also would love (free) help from a structural engineer.   If you need more information or would like to make a donation, contact Sherita Evans, Intake & Community Resources Coordinator, 587-0534 or via email.
  • Screening and discussion of "Chocolate City" August 10:   This event takes place at 6:30 pm at BloomBars (3222 11th St NW).

    In 2002, 400 low-income families in the Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg housing projects of Southeast DC lost their homes to a mixed-income development project funded by the federal government.   Although the original residents were promised residence in the new buildings, many actually ended up being pushed out for good.   The documentary film "Chocolate City" follows the struggle of a group of women against this process of displacement.

    The story in this documentary is relevant today in light of the recent demonstration on Parcel 42 in Shaw and plans for a new mixed-income community to replace Park Morton public housing on Georgia Avenue. Join some of the leading thinkers and activists dedicated to smart growth for current residents:   Cheryl Cort, Policy Director for the Coalition for Smarter Growth; Lynda Laughlin, family demographer at the U.S. Census Bureau and blogger for Greater Greater Washington; and Ellie Walton, Filmmaker and co-director of the documentary.

    RSVP on Facebook.   There is a $10 suggested donation for this event.

  • The DC Jobs Council has launched its blog!   The DC Jobs Council will publish weekly on Work in the City.   Subscribe to stay informed and be sure to register so you can leave comments (this is about reducing spam, not keeping folks from commenting).
  • Children's books needed!   Books for America, a local nonprofit benefitting the Washington region, has put out a call for donations of children's books in good condition.   The organization makes donations to school libraries, early learning centers, homeless shelters, and more.   Books for America also accepts donations of almost any type of book, DVDs, audiobooks, and CDs, all in good condition; some are sold in the used book store in Dupont Circle (1417 22nd St NW) while others are sold online through EBay and Amazon.com.

    If you want to do more than donate a few books or bucks or buy a few used books, consider hosting a book drive; Books for America tells you how Thanks to Culture Mob for the heads up.

  • DCCADV has a new web site, www.dccadv.org:   The new site boasts new features, updates and streamlined search functions.   Visit the site today and learn about their current work (including 2010 policy priorities).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

More candidate face-offs

The Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association is holding a forum for Ward 5 Councilmember and At-Large Councilmember candidates August 10 from 6:30 – 9:00 pm at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ (5301 North Capitol St NE).   The moderator and final schedule are being finalized.

DC Fights Back/AIDSVote 2010's DC HIV & AIDS Candidates Forum is being held August 11, 7:00 - 9:00 pm at Eastern Market (225 7th St SE, North Hall).   The forum will be a moderated and interactive discussion to determine where the DC candidates for Mayor stand on the issues that drive the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the District of Columbia.   From 7:00 to 7:30, attendees may meet and greet the candidates; the moderated forum will follow. Candidates confirmed as of August 3 were Vincent Gray, Leo Alexander and Sulaimon Brown.   More information is available from Keith Holder, 408-0305 or via email.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An Evening with Michelle Rhee, August 10

Young Education Professionals-DC (YEP-DC) is sponsoring this forum with Michelle Rhee so the public may hear from the woman at the center of the DC education scene since arriving in 2007.   Kavitha Cardoza of WAMU will moderate.

The event is taking place August 10, 7:00 – 8:30 pm at Garnet-Patterson (2001 10th St NW).   Doors open at 6:30 pm and close promptly at 7:00 pm when the event begins.

All audience questions must be submitted in advance.   The YEP-DC Leadership Team will notify you if your question has been selected.   Submit questions via the RSVP link below or via email.

Important RSVP information: Please RSVP as soon as possible to ensure you are on the list.   Even with an RSVP, you are not guaranteed entry.   Entry will be on a first-come, first-served basis for those who have RSVP’d.   To RSVP, go online.

dc.gov's new look

Huh, who knew that the DC government had a new web site/homepage?

Ward 8 Dems endorsement meeting, August 21

On August 21 from Noon - 2:00 pm, the Ward 8 Democrats will vote to endorse the following offices:   Mayor; Chairman, Council of the District of Columbia; and At-large CM.   The event is being held at Matthews Memorial Baptist Church (2616 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave SE). More information is available from W8 Dems Chair Jacques D. Patterson at 834-2553 or via email.

There's a new crime and justice policy shop in DC

If you like public policy and work on DC crime issues, then you've got to check out the DCPI, District of Columbia Crime Policy Institute, web site.   The institute is, according to the web site, "a nonpartisan, public policy research organization" that is a collaborative effort of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.   It was created with funding from the Executive Office of the Mayor (EOM).   Again according to the site, "DCPI’s mission is to support improvements in the administration of justice and public safety policies through evidence-based research."

Three studies are to be completed in September 2010:

  • Mayor's Focused Improvement Area Initiative:   Staff will recommend modifications to the FIA based on best practices and develop models designed to identify neighborhoods, PSAs, and other areas that could benefit from becoming a FIA.
  • Promising Practices of the Metropolitan Police Department:   DCPI staff will determine whether the changes in policy and practice made by MPD actually resulted in the violent crime decline.
  • Understanding the Impact of Pretrial Detention on Defendants and its Implications for Evidence-based Practice:   The goal of this project is to better understand how pretrial detention effects pretrial detainees and public safety in the District.

So now to the good stuff. (Sorry, promised reports cannot be called the "good stuff.")

Homicides in the District of Columbia (2001 - 2009):   This brief is, in many ways, significantly less telling than the August 2009 MPD report on youth homicides.   The youth homicide report included the cause of death and motive, both incredibly important—with this information the public can discern whether the death was related to child abuse and neglect or some other cause, an important distinction for public policy and practice.

So now back to the DCPI brief.   It, as the title suggests, provides basic data about homicides occurring between 2001 and 2009, including homicides by police district, change in the number homicides by police district over time, and, um, that's about it.   What would have been infinitely more useful would have been a breakout of adult and juvenile homicides, the number of non-DC residents who were killed (and the death was deemed a homicide), and behavior related to the homicides (gang, drug use/sales, etc.).   It also would be useful to know if the data is reported by calendar year or fiscal year data.   It is true that most is reported by calendar year; but it matters since those of us who do public policy and budget analysis try to link what we can together.

Moving forward, DCPI should get better acquainted with the District and how the government and her people refer to things.   For example, the homicide report authors refer to the police districts as District 1, District 2, etc.   In fact, DC police districts are now referred to as 1D, 2D, etc. or the First District, Second District, etc.   (And yes, to those who are old enough to remember, there used to be precincts; the district boundaries bear no resemblance to the long-gone precincts.)

Oh, and a final thing.   You can follow DCPI on Twitter, @dccrimepolicy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

DC government goings on

  • DCPS Food Services Roundtable, August 3:   Three key DCPS food services staff will present at this event so you can learn more about this important aspect of DC Public Schools.   Community members are invited to ask any questions they may have about district-wide school meals and food services pilot programs.   The event takes place August 3 from 7:00 – 8:00 pm at the DCPS central office (1200 1st St NE).
  • Child and Family Services school supply drive:   CFSA is collecting school supplies for the more than 2,300 school-age children and teens served by the agency.   The drive takes place from August 16 - 20 and details are in this flier [PDF].
  • News from Early Stages:   1) Sign up for email updates from DCPS's Early Stages by going online; 2) Attend the August 17, 6:00 pm Special Education Parent Support Group at Shadd Elementary School (5601 East Capitol St. SE).   Stop by, talk with other parents, get some tips, share some ideas, get information; 3) Grandparents, plan on attending the August 19, 10:00 am Grandparents Program at Shadd Elementary School (5601 East Capitol St. SE).   Learn about handling responsibilities as primary caregiver for your grandchild.
  • Losing one of the good ones to grad school:   Inessa Lurye, who has worked in the Office of the City Administrator and the Department of Human Services, is leaving DC for Boston where she will begin a joint masters in public policy and business administration (MPP/MBA) at Harvard University.   In her farewell email, she wrote about the honor of serving DC residents and contributing to some successes and being inspired by those who, despite their circumstances, have risen to new and unexpected heights.   I had the pleasure of working with Inessa; she will certainly be missed.
  • Continuing Education in Your Community:   Here [PDF] is some basic information about the Community College of the District of Columbia.
  • Office of Cable Television receives six videographer awards:   The District's own cable television office—which is responsible for Channel 13 (City Council), Channel 16 (Executive branch and community), and DKN (DCPS)—received TVA awards and honorable mentions for six videos including DYRS New Beginnings and Life Skills.

R.E.E.L. candidate forum August 9

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Yay, new learning opportunities! Yay, most are free!

Another great list of mostly free learning opportunities.   My fave source, of course, is Wild Apricot.   Check 'em out!

What was Mayor Fenty thinking using $8 million in TANF funds for SYEP? (And the August 2 Council RT)

At-large CM Michael Brown, chair of the Committee on Housing and Workforce Development has scheduled an oversight roundtable on the FY 2010 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) for August 2 at 10:00 am.   According to the press release, DOES Director Joseph Walsh and staff from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer will represent the government.   Parents and young people will also testify.

Missing from the witness list, of course, is Clarence Carter, the Director of the Department of Human Services, and the human services staffers in the Office of the City Administrator.   I'm not suggesting there are not other issues of import.   But I think using $8.4 million in TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, welfare) funds to extend the program demands a public discussion by elected and appointed officials, especially when the District's welfare program is not operating optimally.

The Department of Human Services, to its credit, sought public input for recommendations to improve the TANF Employment Program.   DCFPI and the Legal Aid Society of DC among nearly 30 others compiled a comprehensive, well-grounded, experience-based, and rationale plan for improving the TANF employment component.   It is unclear how the city can improve TANF services when more than $8 million has been transferred from this basic subsistence and moving-adults-and-families-to-self sufficiency-program to SYEP.

From the letter to DHS's Carter on June 25:

As you begin to plan the redesign, we, the undersigned groups, would like to share our recommendations for ensuring that more TANF families receive individualized services tailored to their unique needs.   Our vision for an improved TANF program includes the following basic principles:
  • The foundation of a successful TANF program is an individualized assessment of the strengths and needs of each TANF recipient.
  • Once assessments are completed, the District must ensure that there are a range of services that recipients can access.
  • Recipients should be motivated to participate in the TANF program because it meets their needs and shows a path to financial security, not because of the threat of termination of benefits.
  • Terminating benefits to families who do not, or cannot, comply with TANF requirements is not an effective way to motivate families to participate in work activities.
  • The District should design a program that will improve outcomes for recipients and allow more of them to achieve self-sufficiency despite the limited flexibility of federal law and budgetary pressures.

Will this roundtable have any impact on the Fenty Administration's insistence on these funding decisions shenanigans?   No.   But taking this issue to candidate fora and debates will make it known that the public is concerned and considering this and other funny business in the voting booth.

UNPROTECTED: Compelling street theater about and by young people

"Unprotected" is an inside look into the lives of young people as they navigate tough teen years—making decisions about sexual health and relationships, and addressing stigma among their peers.   This world-premiere street theater was created and performed by DC Summer Youth Employment Program participants and is being shown across the District August 3 - 6.   Details below.