Friday, March 30, 2012

OST funding takes a hit in FY 2013 proposed budget

Funding for out-of-school time programs for children and youth ages 5 to 18 is down again in FY 2013.   Mayor Vince Gray's proposed FY 2013 budget maintains the downward trajectory of OST services for more than 115,000 children and youth across the District.

The just-released analysis of OST funding in the proposed FY 2013 budget, What's in the mayor's proposed FY 2013 budget for OST? (PDF) presents the budget numbers along with the all important dates of public budget hearings.

Read, learn, and take action.   Our children are counting on it.

Want to leave a comment?   Click the title of the blog post.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Election update, March 29

  • Black Cat at-large DC council candidate forum:   Once again, Keith Ivey comes through, this time with the March 20 candidate forum Storified.
    Candidate forum for at-large council candidates for April 3 DC Democratic primary, sponsored by Washington City Paper, Black Cat, 20 Mar 2012. Candidates: Sekou Biddle, E. Gail Anderson Holness, Vincent Orange, Peter Shapiro.
  • Ward 2 Dems and DC Students Speak at-large candidate forum:   Here is the March 26 event Storified by Keith Ivey.
    Forum for at-large DC council race held by Ward 2 Democrats and DC Students Speak, 26 Mar 2012. Candidates: Sekou Biddle, E. Gail Anderson Holness, Vincent Orange, Peter Shapiro.
  • City Paper–WPFW Ward 7 candidate forum:   The Washington City Paper and others held a Ward 7 candidate forum March 26.   Here's the event Storified by Keith Ivey.
    Forum for Ward 7 DC council race, sponsored by Washington City Paper and WPFW, 26 Mar 2012. Candidates: Yvette Alexander, William Bennett, Tom Brown, Kevin B. Chavous, Dorothy Douglas, Don Folden (not invited).
  • League of Women Voters' Voters Guide to the April 3 Primary:   This guide includes bios of candidates as well as answers to questions posed by the League.

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The Principles of Positive Youth Development, March 30

The DC Alliance of Youth Advocates (DCAYA) is holding a must-attend event for those interested in children and youth.   The event, The Principles of Positive Youth Development, is being held March 30 from 10:30 am - Noon at Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative.   While the event is free, registration is required and preference is given to organizations located in Wards 7 and 8.   More information about the event is on the DCAYA website.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Budget update, March 28

CFSA is briefing the community on the mayor's proposed FY 2013 budget March 29 from 4:30 - 6:00 pm at Child and Family Services Agency (400 6th St SW, Room 5133).   The community questions to CFSA are here (Word, .doc).

The Committee on Human Services (Ward 1 Jim Graham, chair) has sent these advance questions to CFSA.   The CFSA budget hearing will be held April 2.

When tweeting about the budget, please use #dcfy13.

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Rainbows across DC

Lots of pictures of rainbows around DC were taken March 28; here they are Storified.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Budget update, March 27

Mayor Vince Gray and staff, along with CFO Natwar Gandhi, brief the DC Council on the mayor's proposed FY 2013 budget March 27 at 10:00 am in the Council Chamber.   Watch from the council website or via the OCT website (I prefer the latter; the audio, at least for now, is better).

Some new documents and schedule changes have been made; they are listed below.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Budget update, March 26

Miss the tweets from the mayor's release of the proposed FY 2013 budget?   Here they are Storified.

Want to leave a comment?   Click the title of the blog post.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Budget update, March 23

  • Mayor Vincent Gray will release his proposed FY 2013 budget March 23 from 11:30 am - Noon in the JAWB press briefing room.   The mayor and CFO Natwar Gandhi will present an overview of the budget and answer questions from the media.   You can watch online via OCT.
  • To monitor the budget release on Twitter, follow the hashtag #dcfy13.
  • The Fair Budget Coalition and its friends and supporters will be tweeting and posting updates on Facebook from the budget release.   To follow on Twitter, use the hashtag #onecityincrisis.
  • Representatives of the DC Council held a Twitter chat March 31 to answer budget process questions from the media and public.   According to the re-cap of the chat, the council is still accepting questions tweeted to @councilofdc using the #councilchat hashtag.
  • I've captured the majority of the tweets between the DC Council and the public during the March 21 Twitter chat; the link to the chat Storified is here in a March 22 blog post.

Want to leave a comment?   Click the title of the blog post.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 21 DC Council Twitter chat on the FY 2013 budget

On March 21, the DC Council (Chairman Kwame Brown and the council's budget director Jen Budoff) had a Twitter chat about the FY 2013 budget process.   Not a lot of participants and no unexpected information shared but still a good and informative event.   I've Storified the chat here.

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Easy coconut chocolate chip cookies

In my never ending quest to find good recipes for things my neighbor and mother-in-law will like, there's this great recipe for chewy coconut and chocolate chip cookies (Word).   As is, the recipe makes at most two dozen cookies.   No funky ingredients are required, though you will need coconut flavoring.

Budget update, March 22

The countdown is on.   Only one day left until Mayor Vincent Gray releases his proposed FY 2013 budget.   In the meantime, here's some information about the budget schedule, briefings, and more.
  • Mayor's budget release:   Mayor Vince Gray is expected to release his proposed FY 2013 budget March 23 at 11:30 am.   During the March 21 Twitter chat, DC Council reps, said that the budget was being released at 9:30 am on the 23rd.   But that is to the council.
  • Budget hearing schedule changes:   The Committee on Government Operations (Ward 4 CM Muriel Bowser, chair) has rescheduled a number of their budget hearings.
    *The new date for the Office of Partnerships and Grant Services budget hearing is April 5
    *The new date for the Office of Boards and Commissions budget hearing is April 5
    *The new date for the Office of Risk Management budget hearing is April 5
    *The new date for the Office of the Inspector General budget hearing is April 18
    *The new date for the Board of Elections and Ethics budget hearing is April 20

    Note that these changes and the ones reported March 19 are not reflected on the DC Council website (as of 3/21 7:30p).

  • Update on behavioral health budget briefing:   D.C. Behavioral Health Association is holding a briefing on local and federal FY 2013 budget proposals for behavioral health March 29 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.   The event is being held at Catholic Charities’ Hickey Center (924 G St NW, across from MLK Library).

    President Obama's proposed FY 2013 budget cuts funding for health homes and Medicaid.   What else does it hold for providers?   And what surprises are in the Mayor's FY 2013 budgets for addiction recovery and mental health treatment?

    Steve Baron, director of the Department of Mental Health, will review the FY2013 proposed budget for mental health.   Shaun Synder, acting director of APRA, will discuss the FY 2013 proposed budget for addiction recovery treatment and prevention.   Rebecca Farley, a policy analyst with the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, will discuss proposed cuts in federal funding for Medicaid and SAMHSA.

    Due to space and time limitations, RSVP if you plan to attend.   You may submit questions in advance, once the mayor releases the FY 2013 budget.   RSVP and submit your questions via email.

  • Department of Health Care Finance budget briefing:   DHCF is hosting a briefing on the agency’s proposed FY 2013 budget March 26 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm in their office (899 North Capitol St NE, conference room 6130).   RSVP by March 23 to Ianta Summers at 442-8018 or via email.
  • Department of Health budget briefing:   "Understanding the Department of Health's FY2013 Budget Proposal" takes place March 28 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at the Department of Health (899 North Capitol St NE, 4th Floor Conference Room).   Space is limited; an RSVP is required.   RSVP to DCFPI's Jenny Reed by March 27 via email.   Time is limited as well; in order to best use our time with DOH staff, email your questions to Jenny Reed no later than March 27.   These will be consolidated and shared with DOH in advance, to ensure DOH has an opportunity to prepare responses.

    BACKGROUND:   The District faces a significant budget shortfall for FY 2013.   The mayor releases his proposed budget on March 23.   DOH's budget hearing takes place April 5.   This forum provides advocates with an opportunity - after the Mayor's budget is released and before the budget hearing - to better understand the proposed DOH budget.


    I. Explaining the Budget (45 minutes)
    II. Questions and Answers (45 minutes) [Common questions submitted in advance followed by questions from the floor]
  • Mayor's budget town halls:   All the town hall budget meetings will be held from 6:30 - 8:30 pm.
  • Arts Education Advocacy 101 Workshop, March 27:   The DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative presents a free arts education advocacy workshop. Learn some of the basics of advocacy and how together we can make a powerful difference.   Arts Education Advocacy 101 Workshop: The Three-Minute Advocate is being held March 27 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm.   Get more information and register online.

Want to leave a comment?   Click the title of the blog post.

Interested in making social media work for your organization?

Social Media for Nonprofits has rocked social media and nonprofits by Storifying their events.   This is like a smorgasbord of tweets, slideshows, and more!

Want to leave a comment?   Click the title of the blog post.

Let's get foster kids gussied up for prom!

When you donate formal attire to Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) for Project Prom 2012, you can clean out your closet and ensure that young people in foster care are properly decked out for their prom.

CFSA is accepting only these hard goods:

  • formal gowns
  • tuxedos
  • formal shoes
  • formal purses
  • wraps
  • formal jewelry
  • new hosiery

Collection location and dates
April 2 - 6 from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.   Drop off your donation at CFSA (400 6th St SW in the Children's Donation Center on the first floor).

Project Prom Boutique Day
Project Prom Boutique Day will be held on Saturday, May 5 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, at CFSA.   Teens will have the opportunity to be pampered by personal shoppers who will assist them in finding the perfect dress or suit and accessories to match.   Make-up artists and hair dressers will be available to give beauty advice and demonstrate techniques.

More information or to volunteer
Contact Angela Robinson, Project Coordinator for Partners for Kids in Care, at 442-6013 or via email.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Finding services and supports the easy way

Have you ever needed to refer a client to another nonprofit to receive a service you don't provide?

Have you needed something and looked online but struggled to find the right program?

A group of residents, providers, advocates, government representatives, and techies are working together to make the search easier and more fruitful.

That's right.   We are collaborating to make social service program information more robust and more accessible than ever.   The DC Community Resource Platform group (you can join the Google group here) is moving forward on a number of fronts to ensure that the program info is available.

We need you to help us make this happen.   I hope you will consider taking action in one or more ways:

  1. Tell us if your organization has an internal and/or external resource directory:   Please share that information here.
  2. Share your organization's internal and/or external resource directory:   If you feel like sharing, email print-only directories to Susie Cambria.
  3. Join the group:   Stay apprised of progress, meetings, and work to be done by joining the DC Community Resource Platform Google group.
  4. Tell us about your experience finding social service information:   Take this survey about your experiences seeking social service information for your clients, neighbors, family members, and yourself.   The results will inform the work to improve the resource and referral system as we move forward.
  5. Learn more about what the group is doing:   Much of the information gathered so far along with meeting notes and next steps are on the community resource portal wiki.

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Mayor Gray's March 21 sked

Mayor Vince Gray will hold his regular biweekly presser March 21 from 10:00 - 11:00 am at the Department of Parks and Recreation main office (1250 U St NW, Second Floor).   Mayor Gray will also offer remarks at the "opening" of the new office.

News from and about CFSA

I'm finally catching up on sharing information from and about the Child and Family Services Agency.
  • CFSA oversight hearing testimony:   Acting Director Brenda Donald testified March 14 before the Committee on Human Services.   Her testimony is here (PDF).
  • Donald confirmation hearing:   Brenda Donald testified on March 16 at her confirmation hearing.   Her testimony is here (PDF).
  • Staff changes:   Debra Porchia-Usher is now principal deputy director overseeing the Agency Programs Administration, Community Services Administration, Office of Clinical Practice, and Business Services Administration.   Raymond Davidson now serves as deputy director for administration.   Michele Rosenberg is chief of staff.
  • Project Prom 2012:   Project Prom provides teens in foster care with beautiful dresses, handsome suits, shoes, and accessories.   CFSA is collecting formal gowns, tuxedos, formal shoes, formal purses, wraps, formal jewelry, and new hosiery.

    CFSA will collect donations April 2 - 6 from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm at CFSA (400 6th St SW in the Children's Donation Center on the first floor).

    For more information or to volunteer, contact Angela Robinson, Project Coordinator for Partners for Kids in Care, 442-6013 or via email.

  • Budget briefing, March 29:   See deets below.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The state of governance in DC

I wasn't being flip yesterday when I tweeted this. I know it's campaign season, but all I see around me is campaigning, even from CMs who are not running this cycle.

Do you follow me on Twitter?   If not, I hope you will.  Check me out here: @susiecambria.

Election update, March 20

  • Ward 5 candidate forum, March 20:   The Missionary Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Washington, DC and Vicinity and the Washington, DC NAACP Branch are holding a candidate forum March 20 at 7:00 pm at Unity Baptist Church (2706 Bladensburg Rd NE).
  • Meet Ward 4 candidates March 20:   The ANC 4D March 20, 7:00 pm March meeting will feature the Ward 4 candidates for DC Council.   The meeting takes place at Truesdell Elementary School (800 Ingraham St NW).
  • Getting to know the Ward 5 candidates:   Thursdays are the "it" day in Ward 5 through May 3 for residents to get to know the candidates for the Ward 5 seat.   Details about the "Spend Thursdays with Candidates" community events are on the Bates Area Civic Association blog.
  • At-large candidate forum, March 22:   The Kalorama Citizens Association and Reed Cooke Neighborhood Association are co-hosting a forum for the At-large candidates March 22 at no later than 7:30 pm at Good Will Baptist Church (1862 Kalorama Rd NW).
  • Ward 7 candidate event:   The Ward 7 Washington City Paper candidate debate takes place March 26 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm at Ray's the Steaks East River (3905 Dix St NE).
  • Tweets from Ward 4 debate:   Petworthies has gathered tweets from the March 13 Ward 4 candidate debate.
  • Video from March 13 At-large candidate forum:   Learn what happened at the community organization-sponsored event from this Greater Greater Washington post (summary and video).
  • Was domestic violence addressed at any candidate forums?:   The DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence is asking friends and supporters to ask dv-related questions at candidate forums and then report back.   Some questions you might consider asking are:
    1. Approximately 85% of victims of domestic violence in the District go unrepresented at their court hearings for protection orders because of a lack of attorneys who practice domestic violence law. What is your plan to increase access to attorneys for victims of domestic violence?
    2. Many victims of domestic violence do not have any affordable housing options upon transition out of emergency or transitional shelter/safe housing. What is your plan to increase affordable housing for residents of the District including victims?
    3. Engaging men and boys is becoming increasingly important in the prevention of domestic violence. The vast majority of domestic violence assaults are committed by men against women. What should the District do to appeal to men and boys to become invested in preventing domestic violence?

    If a candidate answered your question at a forum, email Amy Loudermilk.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Social media guidance for nonprofits

These are my favorite tweets from the GWHCC Panel - Technology & Social Media Strategies for Small Businesses storified.

Testing out comments on the blog

Starting today is a test of whether we like comments on this blog.   Up until now, I've not accepted comments on posts but today we'll test moderated comments.   So if you want to comment, the rules are easy.   Be civil and mind your manners.   No profanity.

Budget update, March 19

  • DC Council budget Twitter chat:   Council Chairman Kwame Brown and council budget director Jen Budoff are holding a Twitter chat about the FY 2013 budget process March 21 from Noon - 1:00 pm.   Participate in the conversation with @CouncilofDC by using the #CouncilChat hashtag.   The easiest way to stay focused on the chat is to use a tool like Tweet Chat.

    More information about the chat, and the issues you can expect to be covered, are on the council website.

  • DC Council changes to budget hearing schedule:   Recent changes are:
    *Committee of the Whole Public Hearing on the "Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request Act of 2012" and the "Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Support Act of 2012" (New date: April 30; original date: May 8)
    *Markup of the Committee on Housing and Workforce Development (New date: May 2; original date: April 30)
    *Markup of the Committee on Public Service and Consumer Affairs (New date: May 2; original date: April 30)
    *Hearing on the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (New date: April 20; original date: March 30)
    *Office of Administrative Hearings (New date: March 30; original date: April 4)
  • Sasha Bruce youth testimony:   Two young men testified at the Committee on Human Services oversight hearing on the Children and Youth Investment Fund February 27.   Levi Thompson's testimony is here and Christopher Jolly's testimony is here; both are in Word.   The CYIF hearing storified has been updated to include this testimony.
  • CFSA FY 2013 budget briefing:   Acting CFSA director Brenda Donald will discuss the proposed FY 2013 budget for CFSA and answer questions March 29 from 4:30 - 6:00 pm at Child and Family Services Agency (400 6th St SW, Room 5133).   Submit questions in advance to CLC's Sarah King via email; RSVP by COB March 28 to King.
  • Behavioral health FY 2013 budget briefing: The D.C. Behavioral Health Association's behavioral health briefing takes place March 29 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at Catholic Charities' Hickey Center (924 G St NW, across the street from MLK Library).   Shaun Synder (Acting Director, APRA) and Steve Baron (Director, DMH) will present the proposed FY 2013 budget for their program (in the case of Snyder and APRA) and agency (in the case of Baron and DMH).   The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare will discuss President Obama's FY 2013 budget for behavioral healthcare.   RSVP via email; submit advance questions to that same email by March 28.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mayor's briefings on the FY 2013 budget

Mayor Vince Gray is again holding town hall meetings to brief the community on his proposed budget.   The FY 2013 briefings are being held in each ward (in date order):
  • April 2, Ward 8 (Savoy/Thurgood Marshall)
  • April 4, Ward 3 (Alice Deal Middle School)
  • April 10, Ward 5 (McKinley Tech HS)
  • April 17, Ward 7 (Deanwood Recreation Center)
  • April 19, Ward 2 (Sumner School)
  • April 23, Ward 4 (Brightwood ES)
  • April 25, Ward 6 (Eastern Senior High School)
  • April 30, Ward 1 (Bell Multicultural)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How to find out if your child has been exposed to lead

Did you know that much of the District of Columbia's housing stock still contains lead paint?   The District's lead laws are there to protect residents from harmful exposure to lead.

But sometimes, exposure can still occur, and the youngest of our children are those who are at greatest risk of harmful health effects.   To see if your child is being exposed to lead, ask your pediatrician to take a blood sample, which they are required to do for all DC children, at both ages 1 and 2.   For more info, visit

This message was originally shared by the Department of the Environment on a number of community discussion lists.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Using technology to provide the best services and supports for your clients

You can't be expected to provide every service your clients might need.   But without a reliable database of other programs, making referrals is a challenge.

It's a good thing, then, that the District government has recently upgraded its 211 system Answers, Please, also known as the iCarol Health and Human Services Search.   Program staff—and people themselves—can search for programs from mental health services to soccer for teen girls.

But there are some of us who think that as good as 211 is, that more can be done with the information in the database.   Foremost among the other uses is data sharing.   While we might expect 211 to make stand-alone, static printed directories obsolete, 211 will not make other tools, like DC Food Finder and The BRIDGE Project, so.   In fact, work is being done to ensure that the information in all the tools can be shared to ensure that the most robust , up-to-date information is available for resident use.

You can play a part in making 211 and information-sharing all it can be.   A group of interested individuals and organizational representatives are meeting March 16 from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm at Bread for the City (1525 7th St NW) to address various 211-related issues.   We invite you to join us for all or part of the meeting.   If you are not able to attend but would like to remain apprised of our progress, please join the DC Community Resource Platform Google Group.

If you want to learn more about what the group has done and about the issue generally, take a look at the DC Community Resource Portal wiki.

Election update, March 14

  • Ward 7 candidate forum, March 15:   This ANC 7B forum for Democratic and Republican candidates takes place March 15 at 7:00 pm at Ryland Baptist Church (3200 S St SE).   Have questions or concerns you'd like the candidates to answer and address?   Submit them in advance online.
  • Ward 7 candidate forum, March 17:   The Re-Entry Network for Returning Citizens is holding their forum March 17 from 1:30 - 4:30 pm at the Dorothy Height (Benning Road) Library (3935 Benning Rd NW).   More information is on the Examiner website.
  • Ward 5 Dems straw poll:   The preliminary results of the Ward 5 Dems March 10 straw poll are on the organization's website.
  • DC Latino Caucus PAC forum and endorsement on tape:   The March 10 DCLC candidate forum and endorsement were taped; watch on-demand on the DCLC website.
  • Video of Ward 8 candidate forum:   Congress Heights on the Rise has the video of the March 12 Ward 8 candidate forum at Ballou.
  • Early voting starts March 19:   Early voting starts March 19 at One Judiciary Square and expands to additional locations March 24.   The details are on the DC Board of Elections and Ethics website.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Today is the day to do something different about poverty

Join me in thinking about and taking action in a different way against poverty in DC.   Read and comment on Today is the day to do something different about poverty in DC.

A conversation about cameras in the courts

The Council for Court Exellence is sponsoring "Cameras in the Courts: March 27 Bench-Bar-Media Dialogue" March 27 in the evening.   The event is free and open to the public.   Additional information is on the CCE website.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Recognizing child abuse in April-more events

Ribbon graphic by Niki_K [GFDL or CC-BY-SA], via Wikimedia Commons
So not many more organizations seem to be doing anything for Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.   Safe Shores is hosting a number of events including:
  • Free community child sexual abuse prevention training, April 24, 3:00 - 5:30 pm:   Space is limited and advance registration is required.   To register, email Safe Shores.
  • Zumba Fitness Party & Clothing Drive with Lola Pyne, April 15 at 6:00 pm:   At All Souls Church (1500 Harvard St NW).   Tickets will be available soon, open to the public.
  • Safe Shores at Nationals Park April 18 at 7:05 pm:   Join Safe Shores when the Nationals take on the Astros for the premier of Safe Shores National Child Abuse Prevention Month PSA on the Jumbotron.   Safe Shores’ staff will be on hand to distribute information from the Community Kiosk, located between Section 107 and 108, close to the outfield reserve seats.   Giveaways will also be available while supplies last.   Please purchase tickets through Safe Shores’ page on the National's website.
  • A Touch of Blue III: A Networking Event to Recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Month, April 26, 6:00 - 10:00 pm:   The event takes place at Co Co. Sala (929 F St NW).   Take your business card for door prizes.   Free admission, open to the public.

The DC Citizen Review Panel is sponsoring a Twilight Vigil, a memorial to victims of child abuse and neglect, on April 16 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm at the Washington Hilton Hotel.   At the vigil, participants will light a candle and deliver a brief statement about the victim of child abuse and neglect, for whom his/her candle is lit.   The vigil is part of the Eleventh Annual Citizen Review Panel Conference being held in DC April 15-17.   Details about the vigil and the free conference are available in these fliers (Word, .docx).

Are you planning an event for Child Abuse Prevention Month?   Email me the details, including a link to the info online, and I'll blog it.

You've got to try this cake

This cake is as yummy as it is easy to make.   It's my new Susie's Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Cake (Word, .doc), loosely bad on my lemon sour cream cake.   It's good warm or room temp.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Election update, March 8

  • At-large candidate debate, March 8:   Discuss DC, with Eugene Dewitt Kinlow and Chuck Thies, is dedicating this week's program to hearing from the At-large candidates for DC Council.   Tune in to WPFW at 11:00 am or listen to a radio at 89.3FM.

  • Ward 8 candidate forum, March 12:   A number of Ballou Senior High School-related organizations and ANCs are holding a candidate forum for those running for the Ward 8 council seat March 12 from 6:30 - 9:00 pm at Ballou (3401 4th St SE).   More information is provided by Congress Heights on the Rise.
  • Straight Up Politics candidate forum, March 13:   The next Straight Up Politics forum takes place March 13 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm at Lace Lounge (2214 Rhode Island Ave NE).   Invited candidates are: William Boston, Tim Day, Ron Magnus, and Rae Zapata.   Candidates will address issues including crime, education, economic development, and affordable housing.More information about the event, including details about the format, is on the here on the blog.
  • Anacostia Coordinating Council plans Ward 8 candidate fora:   According to Congress Heights on the Rise, ACC is holding two candidate fora in late March.   The March 23 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm event focuses on issues of importance to senior citizens.   The event takes place at the Congress Heights Senior Wellness Center (3500 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE).   The second event takes place March 29 from 6:30 - 9:00 pm and takes place at Delaware Baptist Church (1301 V St SE).   This forum will feature faith community leaders.
  • Gertrude Stein Dems' candidate responses:   Responses from Ward 7 and 8 candidates are online here and responses from the At-large and Ward 2 candidates are here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mayor's biweekly presser, March 7

Mayor Gray's regular biweekly presser takes place today from 10:00 – 11:00 am at the Department of Employment Services (4058 Minnesota Ave NE).   The mayor will be announcing a new on-the-job training program.

Election update, March 7

  • Ward 8 candidates forum, March 15:   A number of Ward 8 organizations are sponsoring a candidate forum March 15 from 6:30 - 9:00 pm at Anacostia High School.   Congress Heights on the Rise has the details.
  • Drink, Vote, and be Merry Debates:   WCP's Loose Lips and WPFW's DC Politics are hosting a number of candidate fora, the details of which are on the Washington City Paper's website.   The basics are here:
    *March 13, Ward 4
    *March 14, Ward 8
    *March 20, At-large

    *Ward 5 (special election), date to be announced
    *Ward 7, date to be announced
  • Ward 7 candidate forum, March 19:   Capitol View Civic Association's candidate forum for the Ward 7 council race is being held March 19 at 6:30 pm at Hughes Memorial United Methodist Church (25 53rd St NE).   The focus of this forum will be Ward 7 business and economic development, jobs and employment training, and future leadership.
  • Video of Ward 5 forum:   If you missed the Ward 5 Democratic Committee candidate forum, you can watch this YouTube video of the event (skip to vid 2 of 8).

Good and easy brown rice recipe

The upside of my short-lived attempt to eat meat-free for 14 weeks is eating brown rice rather than white rice.   I found this recipe from Alton Brown and used it to make fried rice with veges.   Easy and yummy.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Council meetings March 6

The Committee of the Whole is meeting March 6 at 11:00 am for an additional COW session.

At 11:30 am the council will meet for their regularly scheduled legislative meeting.   The agenda and other materials are online.   On the schedule is the first reading of B19-211, South Capitol Street Memorial Amendment Act of 2012" (introduction (PDF), draft committee print (PDF), highlights of the legislation (Word, .doc)).

Also on the schedule is the first vote for "Raising the Expectations for Education Outcomes Act of 2012", legislation that combines four bills previously introduced by Chairman Brown.   The measure is summarized here (PDF).

You can watch the COW and legislative meeting online via OCT.

Free writing advice on Writing Wednesdays!

Published writer and activist Dalya F. Massachi is offering free writing advice on Wednesdays.   The conference calls are designed to help those who work at socially responsible organizations get the feedback they need to write better for their cause.

Learn more about submitting a piece to be reviewed on Writing to Make a Difference.   You can also listen in even without submitting something for review.

Are you prepared for budget hearings?

There is more to the budget hearings being held in March and April than testifying.   Effective advocacy includes giving committees questions to include in the pre-hearing question submission.   It includes talking with committee staff about current challenges so they understand what the issues are.   It is developing questions for CMs to ask of agencies from the dais.   It is follow-up.

Are you comfortable doing these things?   Do you need help or guidance?   You will find information about pre- and post-hearing activities in Communications for DC Advocates: How-to's and lessons learned over 15 years.   The guide provides basics of and advanced suggestions and tips for advocacy communications.   Buy it here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

What are you doing for Child Abuse Prevention Month?

Ribbon graphic by Niki_K [GFDL or CC-BY-SA], via Wikimedia Commons
So far, it seems that the only organization in the District doing anything for Child Abuse Prevention Month in April is Safe Shores with the first annual Cherishing Childhood Breakfast on April 3.   It looks like an interesting and inspiring event and it's free!   Equally impressive is that this event will "kick off a series of events" organized by Safe Shores to commemorate Child Abuse Prevention Month.

I find it rather surprising that the DC Children's Trust Fund has not announced any events for Child Abuse Prevention Month given their history.   They were founded expressly "to stimulate innovative programs directed toward the prevention of child abuse and neglect."   And more recently, they got back federal child abuse prevention money.   Managed by CFSA, that funding had supported parenting education programs reporting good outcomes.

I am equally surprised that I've not seen anything from Child and Family Services Agency; in the past, they've done their own events and put a calendar together of all events.

Is your organization sponsoring an event for Child Abuse Prevention Month?   Email me the details, including a link to the info online, and I'll blog it.

DC Council's pre-leg meeting briefing, March 5

DC Council Chairman Kwame Brown will brief the media on the March 6 legislative meeting March 5 at 10:00 am in the JAWB, Room 412.   If you cannot attend in person, you can watch online.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Elections update, March 5

  • March 3 Ward 5 special election debate:   Keith Ivey (@kcivey) has pulled together Tweets from the March 3 debate involving five candidates.   The collection includes tweets from @IMGoph, @talkingbird, @n0rbert, and @dindc, among others.
  • Ward 5 special election candidates answer questions:   The Ward 5 Special Election blog has responses from candidates.   All special election candidates have been contacted and asked these questions:
    1) Do you have any prior political experience (as a school board member, Area Neighborhood Commissioner, etc.)?
    2) How long have you lived in D.C.? Have you lived in Ward 5 the entire time that you have lived in D.C., and if not when did you move to Ward 5?
    3) What is/are your current occupation(s)?
    4) Could you briefly (1-2 sentences) explain why you are running for Ward 5 City Council?

    In addition to the answers, David Smedberg, author of this blog, posts contact info for each of the candidates.

  • Video of February 29 candidate forum:   The Straight Up Politics Candidate Forum held February 29 was taped; watch the happenings here.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Budget update, March 2

Mayor Vincent C. Gray Announces Increased Investment in Public Education Despite Tough Budget Climate
Uniform Per Student Funding Formula for DCPS and Public Charter Schools To Increase 2 Percent for Fiscal Year 2013 Budget

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Deputy Mayor for Education De'Shawn Wright announced today that the Fiscal Year 2013 school-based allocations for D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) campuses will be predicated on a two-percent increase in the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula (UPSFF), the mechanism by which the District funds both DCPS and public charter schools.

"Even in a difficult budget time, I think it is crucial to invest in the future of our students, our city and our economy by committing more resources to public education at the primary and secondary levels," Mayor Gray said. "This will be money well-spent, because it will pay dividends for generations to come."

UPSFF is a system for allocating funding for school operating expenses that begins with a foundation (base amount for each student) and is augmented with percentage increases to accommodate the increased costs required to address various student needs (such as special education and instruction for students whose first language is not English).

"The Mayor's commitment to supporting and improving the quality of our public education system has been demonstrated clearly by this investment," said Deputy Mayor Wright. "We hope that these additional resources will bolster our efforts to provide high-quality educational options for all students in the District of Columbia, particularly for our students with special education needs."

DCPS school-based allocations for the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget will be released shortly.

The leaders of the District’s public-education systems thanked Mayor Gray for dedicating more resources to students.

"In a tight budget environment we appreciate the Mayor making public education a priority," said Scott Pearson, Executive Director of the D.C. Public Charter School Board.

"As we work to absorb rising costs and the loss of critical private and federal funds, we are incredibly grateful to the Mayor for his unwavering commitment to public education in the District of Columbia," said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson. "Without his financial support, the challenges facing our schools as they develop their budgets would be far more daunting."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

More free webinars from Wild Apricot!!

The latest list of free webinars for nonprofits from Wild Apricot presents a wealth of opportunities to learn how to use social media, measure outcomes, best utilize volunteers, and raise money.   Take a look; even better, take a look and sign up for emails.

Advocacy and Learning calendar updated!

A number of events have been added to the Advocacy and Learning Calender; items include:
  • Respect DC Citywide Coalition meeting, March 5
  • DC Open Government Summit, March 13
  • A Movement for Prevention: Advocacy and Partnerships in YOUR Community, March 15
  • Youth Researchers in Action: Massachusetts Middle and High Schoolers Assess the Quality of their 21st Century Community Learning Center Programs, March 22
  • (FREE!) A Model for Building & Sustaining Partnerships, March 28
  • Emerging Leaders in the Nonprofit Sector: Myths, Meaning, and Motivation, April 18

There are many more events listed on the calendar so be sure to take a look.

Budget update, March 1

  • Updated revenue estimates:   On February 29, Natwar Gandhi shared the latest revenue estimates with the mayor and council.   The detailed letter is here (PDF) and the presentation is here (PDF).

    Gandhi's estimate revises the December 2011 estimate for FY 2012 upward by $34.8 million and for FY 2013 upward by $35.7 million.   The CFO remains cautious "despite a brightening of the District's economic and fiscal prospects over the past year…."   Federal sequestration remains a threat as does the European debt crisis, and other worldwide issues.

  • DHCF oversight hearing:   The Committee on Health reports the committee will combine the Department of Health Care Finance oversight and budget hearings.   The date of this hearing is the originally scheduled DHCF budget hearing, April 19 at 10:00 am.