Monday, September 30, 2013

Recommended CP 20 committee changes following censure of CM Barry

The DC Council will consider the CP 20 reorganization resolution (PDF), below, at the October 1 Legislative Meeting.   According to DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson's memo accompanying the resolution reorganizing the council committees,
In accordance with that action [that removed CM Barry as chair of a committee], I am circulating the attached reorganization resolution. This resolution will remove Councilmember Barry as Chairperson of the Committee, and will distribute the jurisdiction of that Committee among five existing standing committees of the Council.

Council Period 20 Rules Committee Jurisdiction and Appointment of Chairpersons and Membership Amendment Res...

DC Council leg meeting Oct. 1

The Council of the District of Columbia will convene for the Sixteenth Legislative Meeting October 1 at 10:00 am in the Council Chamber (agenda and introductions).   If you can't make it to the Wilson Building, you can watch the leg meeting via the DC Council's streaming tool.

WildApricot's list of free webinars in October 2013

WildApricot's list of free webinars includes special events, volunteers, organizational development, and proposal writing.

Congresswoman opens new office Oct. 1

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton will celebrate her new constituent services office October 1 from 5:00 - 7:30 pm.   The location of the new office, which opened in April, is 90 K St NE.   Norton and Robin Eve Jasper, President of NoMa BID, will speak and cut the ribbon.   There will be music and light refreshments.   More information is available on Norton's website.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

It's October so it must be Domestic Violence Awareness Month featuring the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence's (DCCADV) Spread Love DC campaign!   The focus this year is on healthy relationships, engaging in open and honest communication, and recruiting positive role models who will join the the movement to end domestic and sexual violence.

One in four women women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and young people ages 16 and 24 experience domestic violence at the highest rates.   But domestic violence can be prevented.   Raising awareness is a major step in this direction.   DCCADV has put together some simple and easy ways to get involved in the effort to stop domestic violence.

  1. Share a tweet a day! Each day in October help us raise awareness and promote local domestic violence service providers events and activities. Don’t know what to tweet? Use our handy 31 days of status updates cheat sheet! (PDF)
  2. Register your organization for Purple Thursday! Encourage your office, organization or group to wear purple on Thursday October 24th and you could win a pizza party for the entire office and other awesome prizes. Register your organization here: (This pic is of my mom and me in 2011 wearing purple for Purple Thursday!)
  3. Pledge to be Role Model for Healthy Relationships! Tell the world how you will be a healthy role model for your family, friends and peers? Post your picture to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Make sure to use the hashtag #SpreadLoveDC!

Media briefing on Oct. 1 leg meeting, Sept. 30

DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson will hold a briefing for the media September 30 at 10:00 am in Room 412 of JAWB.   At the briefing, Mendelson will preview major actions to be taken at the October 1 Legislative Meeting.

If you can't make it to the Wilson Building you can watch live using the DC Council link.

Additional information is available by calling 724-8032.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Learning Circle On Gentrification, Urban Change, and Local Resistance

Plan on participating in the Learning Circle On Gentrification, Urban Change, and Local Resistance taking place Tuesdays in October (October 8, 15, 22, and 29) from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at CNHED (1432 U St NW).

According to CNHED,

This learning circle will focus on understanding housing inequality and gentrification in DC and around the world. Come to hear stories of successful campaigns, build relationships with other passionate community members, and prepare to take action for housing justice.

Everyone is invited to participate! Please plan to come to the full series – each meeting builds on the last. Refreshments provided. Download the flier.

Facilitated by:
Elizabeth Falcon, CNHED’s Housing For All Campaign Organizer
Craig Willse, Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies at George Mason University

Please RSVP! It will help us plan and let us send on resources before the first meeting.

Contact Elizabeth Falcon at or 202-745-0902 x205

Mayor's Sept. 26 sked includes new CFO announcement

From Noon - 1:00 pm September 26, Mayor Gray will hold a press conference announcing his nominee for CFO, the replacement for Nat Gandhi.   DC Council members and those on the search committee will join the mayor.

Background from the release:

In February, Mayor Gray tapped former Mayor Anthony Williams and former U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Alice Rivlin to lead a search committee to recommend candidates to replace Dr. Natwar M. Gandhi, who is stepping down later this year after more than a decade as the District’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO). The Mayor has chosen a nominee from those candidates. The nominee, if confirmed by the Council, will lead the independent Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO), which works with the Mayor and the Council to manage the District’s finances.

The Post has reported that Jeffrey S. DeWitt from Phoenix, Arizona, is the mayor's choice for CFO.

The mayor's schedule is posted at midnight for the following day.

The Mayor-Council Sept. 24 breakfast meeting Storified

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Don't tread on DC!

Just in from the Wells campaign:
We need to tell Congress to keep its hands off DC.

How do we do that effectively? One answer is simple: let’s take it to the airwaves.

Send me your stories and pictures of how a government shutdown will affect you. Post images to Twitter and Facebook and use the hashtags #DCStatehood #DCFightsBack.

Show how important the public library is to you. Share photos of the rec centers your children use, the health offices that care for elderly neighbors, and the Circulator that might not be there to take you to work next week.

MoveDC transportation planning final input opps

MoveDC's third round of community workshops take place in October.   The purpose of the meetings is to collect resident and stakeholder feedback on plans to meet transportation goals.   Workshop attendees will also be asked to provide input on plans for changes in bus routes.

The meetings are open to all who wish to participate.   Special accommodations and language assistance services (translation or interpretation) are available by contacting Jordyne Blaise at 671-5117 or via email,

  • October 21, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm, Union Station (50 Massachusetts Ave NE)
  • October 22, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, Benning Library (3935 Benning Rd NE)
  • October 26, 1:00 - 4:00 pm, DCUSA (3100 14th St NW)
  • October 30, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, Petworth Library (4200 Kansas Ave NW)

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WAMU wants to know

WAMU wants to know What Would A Government Shutdown Mean For You?:
WAMU News is covering the possibility of a federal government shutdown if Congress and the White House do not agree on a measure to fund the federal government by Oct. 1. We're wondering what a shutdown would mean for you. If you're a federal or District employee, or you depend on people who are, please fill out this brief form to share your perspective. You can also email us at

Councilmembers on possible government shutdown

Ward 6 CM Tommy Wells and At-large CM Anita Bonds yesterday issued statements about the possible federal, and resulting DC, government shutdown.
  • Wells: Possible Federal Shutdown's Impact on DC Residents is an Outrage: Wells said, "It's an outrage that DC residents may suffer once again because of the dysfunctional behavior of Republicans in Congress."   He continued, "This sorry incident is one more emphatic example why DC needs Home Rule now. It's ridiculous that our city is held hostage to the federal budget. No other state in the country - no other city - has to go through this."   Read the rest of his statement online.
    declare all District employees essential in the event of a federal government shutdown. The shutdown, which would furlough up to a third of public employees and cease vital services in the District, would have devastating effects on the residents, workers, and economy of the District of Columbia.

    Bonds said, "The services that the DC government provides are a necessity for the safety and health of every resident, employee, and visitor." She added, "The District of Columbia is exceptional in that it performs the functions of a municipality, a county, and a state—and all of these services are interrelated and codependent."

    Read the rest of the release online.

Other CMs have staked out positions on this important subject.   A soon-to-be-released Mayor-DC Council breakfast recap Storified will include tweets by local media about the possible shutdown re: perspective of the CMs.

New app for parents helps with selecting a school for their child

Code for DC has developed the tool Open Schools! with data from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.   The tool helps parents make decisions about where to send their kids to school.   The announcement is below.

Washington, DC public school parents face an array of complex education choices, but need better information to decide what’s best for their kids. Open Schools ( is a web application developed by Code for DC, the local chapter of the Code for America Brigade. Open Schools will make comparing school demographic and performance data simpler, empowering parents to make better choices.

Using simple pick lists and visual navigation, parents can find out which schools children from their neighborhood attend. Alternatively, they can choose a school and see which neighborhoods the students who attend come from.

Open Schools is a project developed by a team of volunteers, in collaboration with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). The data visualized on Open Schools, along with much more, is downloadable from

"We wanted to make it something that parents would just instinctively know how to use," said designer Jennifer Cheng.

"We started research and design for this tool in Fall 2102," said project leader, Harlan Harris. "When OSSE released new data this Spring, allowing us to show how students commute to school across the city, that gave us the ability to start to build something immediately interesting and useful to parents."

The team will continue to add school-level and neighborhood information that will help education stakeholders answer other important questions. How effective are schools over time? Where do children go when they transition from one school to the next? What strengths do schools have, aside from test scores, such as particularly good music or arts or sports programs? And more!

More information is available via email,

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ward 7 Dems meeting, Sept. 28

Calling all Ward 7 residents along with those who have a stake of some sort in Ward 7: The Ward 7 Democrats are holding their regular monthly meeting September 28 from 10:00 am - Noon at Capitol View Library (5001 Central Ave SE).   The meeting theme is "Political Potluck - Part II."   Councilmember Yvette Alexander, Office of Boards and Commissions Director Darryl Gorman, and other members of the government will share information about a variety of topics.

More information is available by calling 584-8477.

Preview of Mayor Gray's talk on government shutdown

(UPDATE: Event cancelled, 9/24, 11:22a) Today from 1:30 - 2:30 pm, Mayor Vince Gray and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton will talk about the District's plans should the federal government shut down October 1.   The release announcing the press event says:
WHAT/WHO: Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton will discuss the increasing likelihood of Congress not being able to reach a spending deal by midnight on September 30, triggering a shutdown of the federal government’s operations on October 1.


BACKGROUND: Congress appears increasingly unlikely to meet the deadline for funding the federal government on September 30, meaning at least a temporary federal shutdown is imminent. The District is the only state or local government in the country whose day-to-day operations are affected by federal shutdowns, because federal law prevents the District government from expending its own locally-raised funds in the absence of a federal appropriation.

Mayor Gray's Sept. 24 schedule

Mayor Vince Gray's September 24 public schedule includes the following:
  • 9:00 – 10:00 am: Monthly Mayor-Council Breakfast, John A. Wilson Building
  • 11:00 am - Noon: Department of Health’s Annual HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB report release, Whitman-Walker Clinic (1701 14th St NW)
  • 12:30 – 1:15 pm: Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs 2nd Annual Green Building Symposium and Expo, Gallaudet University's Kellogg Conference Center
  • (UPDATE: Event cancelled, 9/24, 11:22a) 1:30 – 2:30 pm: Press briefing on District's preparations for federal shutdown, MPD First District station (101 M St SW)

The mayor's schedule is posted at midnight for the following day.

What CM Grosso did this summer, on video

Youth voice desperately needed at Oct. 12 forum on mental health

District youth between the ages of 14 and 24 are urged to attend the October 12 Creating Community Solutions - DC forum on mental health.   Forum attendees will talk about mental health with the goal of facilitating collaboration and coordination among the various players in mental health.   Youth need to attend precisely because they need to be involved in their present and future.

Youth and adults alike recognize the relationship between mental health and violence, mental health and drugs, and mental health and community instability.

Lunch and refreshments will be served.

CCS-DC Youth Flyer Registration Form

Monday, September 23, 2013

Update: DC One Cards for all students calls for expanded service center hours

Demand is so high for DC student access to the DC One Card that the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) has expanded hours for select DC One Card service centers.   Demand is especially high for students in public and charter schools grades K-5 and in all private schools because these schools do not have dedicated ID administrators.

Effective September 23, the Wilson Aquatic Center (4551 Fort Dr NW) and Deanwood Recreation Center (1350 49th St NE) One Card sites have Monday hours (9:00 am - 8:00 pm).

Starting this school year, students in DC ride Metrobus and the DC Circulator for free.   The caveat, of course, is that free rides are available only with a DC One Card (details in The fine print of free bus rides to and from school).

According to the recent notice of the hours expansion,

The DC One Card staff advises parents to bring proof of identity, proof of DC residency, and proof of relationship for minors. Also, please arrive before 6:00 p.m. on Mondays or Wednesdays, if possible, to ensure that you are seen by a staff person during your visit.


For more information, about the eligibility document please see the DC One Card website at: or contact the Customer Service Center at (202) 727-6030.

Nonprofits and government programs can and should help spread the word to clients/constituents.   Perhaps these organizations can help parents and children take advantage of the expanded hours by taking field trips or building getting a DC One Card into regular programming this fall.

Briefing on Human Trafficking of DC LGBT Youth, Sept. 24

The DC Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is holding a public briefing on the issue of human trafficking of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) youth in the District of Columbia September 24 at 9:30 am at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1331 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Suite 1150).   The purpose of the event is to gather information from public safety officials, government officials, and community advocates.

More information is available from Barbara de La Viez by calling (202) 376-7533 or Larry Pearl, Chairperson of the DC Advisory Committee, (202) 554-4642.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Banned Book Week in DC and elsewhere, Sept. 22 - 28

More than 11,300 books have been challenged in libraries and schools since 1982, reports ABC News in Banned Books Week's Top 10 Heroes Revealed.   Yikes.   That's a lot of books.

The Bible, Huckleberry Finn, Franklin on Franklin (Benjamin Franklin autobiography), Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Gone with the Wind, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, and Color Purple are on the list.

Parenthetically, not all books are banned.   Some are challenged, like Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting By in America.   The book, on the 2012-2013 list compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association (PDF), was

Challenged, but retained on the Easton, Pa. Area High School’s Advanced Placement English reading list (2012) despite several residents and persons from outside the district calling the book "faddish," of "no moral value," and even "obscene."

Children's books are not exempt from banning.   The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein was banned in Colorado in 1998 "because it was considered 'sexist.' It was also challenged by several schools because it 'criminalized the foresting agency.'"   The beloved Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White was banned in 2006 in Kansas because, wait for it, "talking animals are considered an 'insult to god.'"   You'll love this one: In 2010, the tenth edition of The Merriam-Webster Dictionary "was banned in several classrooms in California because it included the definition for 'oral sex.'"

Many don't sit idly by while the banning and challenging takes place.   Some, like the young woman in the video below, are reading from banned books as part of the Banned Books Week Read Out activities.

Activities are not limited to virtual ones.   DC Public Library's Mount Pleasant branch is raising awareness for this assault on books, reading, learning, exploring, critical thinking, and enjoyment.   From a recent library email:

Kicking the week off, on Monday September 23 at 4:00pm we have a great workshop lined up for teens. Want to improve your public speaking skills? Want to learn how to command an audience when you’re in the spotlight? The Youth Leaders Ensemble from Ford’s Theatre will be leading a workshop in the large meeting room for teens interested in sharpening their public speaking skills and learning how to grab an audience’s attention. Snacks will be provided and teens attending the workshop will also get free tickets to The Laramie Project, on stage at Ford’s Theatre from September 27 – October 27! If you miss this program, or if you’re a teen who just can’t get enough, there will be a second workshop in Teen Space at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Tuesday September 23rd at 4:00pm.

Also on Monday at 6:00pm, we have "Don’t Read That Book!" a fun program for children ages 5-12. What do Harry Potter, Harriet the Spy, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie-the-Pooh, and Little Red Riding Hood have in common? They were all banned at some point in history! Join us as we learn how and why some of our favorite books have been banned. Create a fun craft and watch the movie version of a banned book in the Children’s Room.

On Thursday September 26 at 2:00pm we’ll be screening a family classic for everyone to enjoy. Join us in the large meeting room for a special screening of To Kill A Mockingbird, the 1962 classic based on Harper Lee's semi-autobiographical -- and oft-banned -- novel about Atticus Finch, a quiet and thoughtful lawyer in a small 1930s Southern town trying to do right by his client, a poor black man who is accused of rape, and his motherless children, Scout and Jem. Winner of three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Gregory Peck. This movie is rated PG.

Don’t forget to stop by the library every day during Banned Books Week for your DC Rollergirls Banned Books Week collectable trading cards! DC’s toughest readers have partnered up with us to create these awesome cards. Each one is different and features a DC Rollergirl with her favorite banned book at a different library branch. Collect all seven and bring them to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library (where you can pick up the seventh) on Sunday September 29th at 1:00pm where all seven DC Rollergirls will be available to sign them for you and talk about their favorite banned books.

The Mount Pleasant Library is located at 3160 16th Street NW at the corner of 16th and Lamont Streets. Closest Metro: Columbia Heights.

DC Council introductions, Sept. 17

A shout out to Ward 5 resident Eric Jones for compiling introductions from the dais from the September 17 DC Council sessions.
The following legislation was introduced yesterday. I haven't received copies of all of them yet and the secretary hasn't made copies of all of them available at this point but if there is something of interest you may want to reach out to the office of the Council Person who introduced it to obtain more information.

Chairman Mendelson (D)
-- Fossil Fuel Divestment Act of 2013 - this would require the city to divest all holdings from companies with interest in fossil fuels (directly or indirectly)
-- Budget Support and Technical Amendment Act of 2013 - this would make technical changes to the Budget Support Act

Councilman Orange (D) At - Large
-- The Minimum Wage Amendment Act of 2013 - this legislation would increase the minimum wage over a series of years to $12.50 an hour. Once it reaches this thresh hold it would increase the wage based on the Consumer Price Index (instead of COLA) from that point forward.

Councilman Grosso (I) At - Large
-- The Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2013 - this would legalize marijuana for personal use for persons 21 years of age and over. It would also adjust current regulations as well as establish a sales tax on marijuana.
-- The Record Sealing for Non - Violent Possession of Marijuana Act of 2013 - this would require the government to seal the criminal record of anyone individual who was charged with the crime of possession of Marijuana.
-- The Anti Shackling of Incarcerated Pregnant Woman Act of 2013 - this would prohibit the shackling of any incarcerated women who is in any aspect of labor, including but not limited to delivery, recovery, etc.

Councilwoman Bonds (D) At - Large
-- Criteria of the Council Review of Contracts Act of 2013 - this legislation would ensure that there is consistency in the materials presented to the Council for subcontracts as opposed to just contracts. This would include background information on the subcontractors.

Councilman Graham (D) Ward 1
-- Washington Parks and People Equitable Tax Relief Act of 2013 - this legislation would provide tax relief for parks owned by not for profit entities in the Columbia Heights Community.
-- Jubilee Housing Conversion Fee Amendment Act of 2013 - this would allow the Maycroft Apartments to be converted to condominiums without paying the standard condominiums conversion fee.
-- Domestic Partnership Termination Amendment Act of 2013 - this legislation would set up a process for Domestic Partnerships which were set up in other jurisdictions to be terminated in the District.

Councilman Evans (D) Ward 2
-- The Tax Sale Act of 2013 - this legislation would reshape the tax sale process in the District and retroactively freeze any tax sales from July of 2013 on property owned by a disabled, senior or veteran District resident.

Councilwoman Cheh (D) Ward 3
-- Access to Emergency Epinephrine in Schools Act of 2013 - would mandate that all DCPS facilities have Epinephrine on site and administer it as needed.
-- Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Transparency Act of 2013 - this would require ANC's to file copies of all Commission files and records with ANC office within 14 days of a meeting.
-- Temporary Protection Order Firearm Protection Act of 2013 - this would prohibit people under temporary civil protection orders from obtaining firearms.
-- Sense of the Council Non-Partisan Election of the Attorney General Act of 2013 - this would make the Elected AG position a non-partisan position.

Councilwoman Bowser (D) Ward 4
-- The Minimum Wage Revision Commission Act of 2013 - this would establish an 11 member commission (similar to the tax revision commission) to look at the best ways of raising the minimum wage in the city and give them 9 months to report back to the city their findings.
-- The Carol Schwartz Sales Tax Holiday of 2013 - this would create another sales tax holiday in the District.
-- The Used Bicycle Sales Act of 2013 - this would remove the provision that requires bicycle shops in the city from obtaining a pawn shop license to sale used/refurbished bikes.

Councilman McDuffie (D) Ward 5
-- The Title IX (9) Athletic Equity Act of 2013 - this would require DCPS to create a five year plan for equality in athletic opportunities for women in public schools. It would also require regular reporting to the city.

Councilman Wells (D) Ward 6
-- The Living Wage for All DC Workers Act of 2013 - this legislation would increase the minimum wage to $10.25 an hour using $1 a year increases. It would also increase the standard tax deduction for all district companies paying this wage.
-- The Marriage License Issuance Amendment Act of 2013 - this would remove the 3 day waiting period to get married after applying for and receiving a marriage license in the District.
-- The Southwest Business Improvement District (BID) Establishment Act of 2013 - this would establish a BID for the Southwest Waterfront Community.

Councilwoman Alexander (D) Ward 7
-- The First Time Sale to Minors Act of 2013 - this bill would change the penalty for the first time alcohol sales to minors.
-- The Health Professions Protection Act of 2013 - this legislation would enhance the penalty for violent acts committed against health care professionals as they perform their job.

Councilman Barry (D) Ward 8
-- The Paid Sick and Safe Leave Amendment Act of 2013 - this would amend the Paid Sick and Safe Act to include restaurant workers (all staff) and further clarify posting requirements for sick leave regulations.

Learn about adult literacy in DC Sept. 23

Friday, September 20, 2013

Restaurants in DC (DC history XIII)

This concludes my run on sharing bits of DC history.   The final history lesson comes from Streets of Washington's post Just published: Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats.   Since I like to cook and bake, this piece on John DeFerrari's latest book is a fitting last post about DC history.
The restaurant story is a fascinating one, offering a unique window into the city's soul. Washington's first true restaurants—places where you could choose when to eat, select items from a menu, and be served at a private table—appeared here by the 1830s, not long after they got started in New York. From these early beginnings through the flowering of ethnic restaurants in the late 20th century, Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats presents the sweeping evolution of the city's eateries, from exclusive bastions of haute cuisine like the Rive Gauche and Sans Souci to beloved diners like Hot Shoppes and Little Taverns.


I will be speaking about the book and signing copies on Tuesday, September 24, at 7pm at the Washingtoniana Division of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. I will also be at the 40th Annual Conference on DC Historical Studies at the Historical Society of Washington, DC on November 16, at Dumbarton House in Georgetown on December 4, and at other venues (details to be announced).

New website for DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson

The DC Council Chair recently announced he has a new website,   The website is for his personal office and committee.   Features are:

  • Email newsletter
  • Committee news
  • A blog that "will follow the Chairman in the community, and also link residents with Mendelson’s constituent services team if they have a problem that needs fixing or if they would like to report an issue."

The Science of Violence, Oct. 21

the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies holds the public meeting The Science of Violence: Causation, Mitigation, and Prevention October 21 at 8:00 am.   Panel discussions include Brain Disorders, Drugs, Psychopathy, and Violence: What Are the Links? and Exposure to Violence in the Community, in the Home, in the Media, and on the Battlefield.   This is a free event and it's open to the public.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Have you turned in your bullying prevention policy?

Maggie Riden of the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates and Suzanne Greenfield, Director of the Citywide Bullying Prevention Program in the Office of Human Rights gently nudged nonprofit community-based organizations and schools today, reminding them their bullying prevention policies are due.   Well, they were due September 14.

Humor me and press play.

But I hear that OHR will accept the policies and levy no penalties so long as the policies are submitted soon.   The Riden-Greenfield email reminder is here:

Time to Turn in those Bullying Prevention Policies!

On June 22, 2012, Mayor Vincent C. Gray signed into law the Youth Bullying Prevention Act of 2012, unique legislation that challenges the District as a whole to address and work to eradicate bullying. The Act requires that all agencies, organizations or grantees who provide services to youth on behalf of, or with funding from, the District of Columbia to adopt a bullying prevention policy. If your organization meets these criteria, please email your policy to From there, the Office of Human Rights will be in touch with any next steps.

New to the Bullying Prevention Task Force Efforts?

The Mayor’s Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force, made up of District government agencies, teachers, school administrators, parents, mental health professionals, direct service providers, advocates, community members and youth created a model policy for agencies and schools to use. I have attached the model policy to this email. The model policy is comprehensive and includes suggested language, best practices, research about what works and what does not, as well as resources to support the work. In other words –the document is very long. But the index is very helpful. And there is even a sample policy included that you can use.

If you work in a school – the school is required to submit a policy and you may want to base your policy on the one they have adopted so that there is a seamless approach.

It will take a district – all working together - to make sure all kids are safe. Please let me know if I can help in any way.

All the Best,
Maggie Riden, DCAYA
Suzanne Greenfield Director, Citywide Bullying Prevention Program, DC Office of Human Rights

Mayor Gray's Sept. 20 sked

One item on Mayor Gray's September 20 schedule is the 10:00 – 11:00 am Justice Park Groundbreaking Ceremony.   The event takes place at 1421 Euclid St NW.

The mayor's schedule is posted at midnight for the following day.

FY 2015 budget development starts soon

This just in from the Office of Budget and Planning:   FY 2015 Budget Kickoff is October 11.

More information as it becomes available.

Congresswoman Norton's plan to keep the DC government open

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton has engaged in her annual plea for District autonomy of a sort related to the federal government budget, CR, debt ceiling debate, and pending federal government shutdown.   Today, Norton issued a press release explaining the situation and including her letter to congressional leaders.   The first part of the release is here:
As Government Shutdown Chances Increase, Norton Alerts Mayor Gray and Urges Legislation to Keep D.C. Government Open

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After House Republicans included a provision defunding Obamacare in their fiscal year 2014 short-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal and District of Columbia governments running after September 30, 2013, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today took several steps to keep the District government open. Norton alerted D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray that, due to the addition of Obamacare defunding, the chances that Congress will pass a CR to keep both the D.C. and federal governments open are significantly reduced. Today, Norton also sent letters to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) urging them to bring a bill to the floor that will keep the District of Columbia government open in the event of a shutdown on September 30, 2013. Norton is requesting language similar to the legislation she worked on with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich that allowed D.C.’s government to remain open during the winter 1995-1996 federal government shutdown.

Norton's proposal, "District of Columbia Government Shutdown Avoidance Act of 2013"

would permanently prevent D.C. government shutdowns by authorizing the District government to spend its local funds in the event of a federal shutdown, just as every other jurisdiction in the country is permitted to do.

Support the healing of kids in the child welfare system

From CFSA:
Find out how to help the kids who are hurting the most!

Most children, teens, and families who come in to the child welfare system have had many traumatic experiences. Helping children heal is our greatest challenge.

To help children understand their behaviors and emotions and make healing changes, resource parents, social workers, GALs, teacher, judges, and everyone working with the children needs to understand trauma: what it is, how it effects child behavior, and how best to respond and support healing.

You are invited to attend a two-hour, no-cost, online training session given by national trauma experts Dr. Adam Brown and Kelly McCauley. They will provide you with key components of Trauma Systems Therapy (TST), information about the impact of trauma on families, and how the District is working to become a trauma-informed child welfare system.

To sign up for the session convenient for you, log onto WebEx using the links below. You will need a computer, an internet connection, and access to a phone to participate.

Option 1: TST Stakeholders Overview Webinar Tuesday, September 24, 1-3 p.m., link is HERE

Option 2: TST Stakeholders Overview Webinar Thursday, October 24, 9-11 a.m., link is HERE

Use this password to access the TST Stakeholders Overview Webinar registration: stakeholders

We look forward to your participation! And feel free to forward this invitation to others who will be interested. If you have questions, please contact Latricia Allen Crosby at

Celebrate reading and literature at the National Book Festival, Sept. 21-22

There is something for everyone at the 2013 National Book Festival on the Mall September 21 and 22.   The schedule includes talks (author and otherwise) in the areas of teens and children, contemporary life, history, poetry, and more!   Another fab feature is the presence of more than 100 authors, illustrators, and poets.   And if you can't make it to the Mall, web broadcasts and podcasts are also available.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mayor Gray on NewsTalk, Sept. 19

Mayor Vince Gray will make his usual monthly appearance on NewsTalk September 19 at 10:00 am.

Tune in to NewsChannel 8 streaming here,, to see the conversation with Bruce DePuyt.   If you have questions or comments, call (703) 387-1020 or email the show.

The mayor's schedule is posted at midnight for the following day.

The new movement for recovery, history in the making (DC history XII)

The following information was shared by Rob Fleming, publisher of Progress Notes (go to Recovery Works):
New Recovery Movement Documentary
DC has the worst alcohol and drug problem in the country and it's worst in Wards 1, 2, and 3.

The CDC says that DC has the worst, and most expensive, binge drinking problem in the country and that alcohol and drug abuse is the third largest preventable cause of premature death in the country. It costs taxpayers an extra $1300 per resident, but only three percent goes for prevention, treatment, and research.

DC's problem got to be the worst, in part, because it did not have advocates for solution like other diseases such as breast cancer and HIV/AIDS. The New Recovery Movement is seeking to build advocacy and support programs around the country, going beyond the traditional anonymous programs and into the streets, jails, and schools.

A new documentary about this New Recovery Movement will be shown at the Avalon Theater on Tuesdays, September 17 and 24 at 8:00 PM with a panel discussion to follow. The showings are sponsored by the Aquila Recovery Foundation, Caron, and Cumberland Heights. There is a suggested donation of $10 and the sponsors ask that you RSVP at 202-244-0962.

And if you can't make it to the showings, you can keep up with news of addiction and recovery by downloading and/or subscribing to Progress Notes, a free newsletter available at (PDF).

CM Grosso's staff blogs

At-large CM David Grosso is using his Tumblr blog David Grosso as a professional development tool for his staff.   One Woman’s Mission Spurs Collective Vision and Community of Leaders by Communications Director Dionne Calhoun, for example, reflected on The Women’s Collective (TWC) "Youth, Chat and Chew" event in July.   Calhoun starts,
For those of you who have embarked upon an endless journey to help empower those within your respective communities, I ask that you stand with me today to salute those leaders who serve to inspire, educate, empower and improve the quality of life for D.C. residents.

All posts are approved and endorsed by the CM.

"The A-B-C’s of DC Public Schools", Sept. 24

At-large CM David Catania (chair, Committee on Education) will talk about public education September 24 from 7:15 - 9:00 pm at the DC Federation of Citizens Associations meeting.   The meeting takes place at All Souls Memorial Episcopal Church (2300 Cathedral Ave NW in the church hall) and the public is encouraged to attend and participate.

Through "The A-B-C’s of DC Public Schools", the CM will detail his proposals to improve the District’s public school system and address the growth of charter schools.   Following the presentation, audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions.   It is expected that issues likely to arise are school borders, public/charter school funding and per-pupil spending, school security, special needs children, home schooling, school closings versus renovations/modernization, principal/teacher accountability, expected under-six population boom, drop-outs/suspensions, and test scores.

Getting to the church:   All Souls Memorial Episcopal Church is located near the Woodley Park Metrorail stop on the red line.   Parking is available in the church parking lot, off Woodley Pl, behind the church.   The entrance to the Church Hall is down the garden steps from the parking lot.   Doors will open at 6:30 pm and the CM will start following announcements.

More information is available from Anne Renshaw, President of the DC Citizens Federation, via email,

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mayor Gray will outline fall legislative agenda, Sept. 18

At his regular bi-weekly press briefing, Mayor Gray will outline his fall legislative agenda.   The briefing takes place September 18 from 10:00 - 11:00 am in the JAWB Mayor's Press Briefing Room (G-9).

From the announcement:
BACKGROUND: Mayor Gray will outline his priorities on a number of legislative subjects that the Council is expected to consider this fall, including legislation raising the minimum wage for all District workers, reforming the system for tax-lien sales, reforming the District’s campaign-finance laws, undergrounding power lines, implementing the Mayor’s Sustainable DC plan, reforming the District’s Certified Business Enterprise program, nominating a new Chief Financial Officer for the District, and facilitating the construction of the new soccer stadium at Buzzard Point,

If you can't make it to the Wilson Building, you can watch the presser live via District of Columbia Network.

Health Information Technology and behavioral health

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has launched a useful online forum focused on Health Information Technology and behavioral health, the SAMHSA HIT Forum.   The purpose of the forum is to provide a space in which to share ideas and suggestions related to use of HIT by all kinds of providers and the challenges associated with the technology as experienced by consumers, families, and others.

Likely subjects on the forum include electronic health records systems, health information exchanges, specific hardware and software experiences, and consumer self-management approaches.   SAMHSA hopes the forum will be the place where advice is sought and shared.

Monday, September 16, 2013

High points of Mayor's tax-lien sales plans

On September 13, Mayor Vince Gray and CFO Natwar Gandhi announced the cancellation of all tax lien sales in 2013.   According to the release,
At the initiation of Mayor Vincent C. Gray, he and Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi have ordered the cancellation of the 2013 tax-lien sales for all properties receiving the Homestead Deduction (those properties owned and occupied by the homeowner and where foreclosure proceedings have not yet commenced). The Mayor has also established the office of a Real Property Tax Ombudsman, who will work in the Executive Office of the Mayor to provide counsel to those residents needing assistance and directing them to appropriate resources.

Mayor Gray also announced that the Office of the Attorney General and Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services will play a role in all pending foreclosures.   The permanent legislation to be introduced September 17 will detail the role of the Real Property Tax Ombudsman and the two executive branch agencies.

A personal take on DC history (XI)

I've linked four items in my Diggo collection "DC history" and a couple on my Pinterest board "Books worth reading for work."

From DCFPI: Revenue Forecasting (and Dancing) In September

DCFPI recently blogged about the soon-to-be-released revenue estimates.   The post starts:
September provokes thoughts of many different things, but here at the District’s Dime as the days count down to the end of the month our thoughts turn to anticipation of another revenue forecast from DC’s Chief Financial Officer. It comes out just four times a year, and depending on whether it goes up, goes down, or stays the same, our elected officials might have choices to make. If the District sees an uptick in revenue, DCFPI recommends the mayor and DC Council use a portion of these additional dollars to address resource issues highlighted in a soon-to-be-released study on public education funding.

The DC Code in one place, thanks to the council's Zvenyach

If, for some reason, the link from Dave Zvenyach in the tweet doesn't work.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Council Chair Mendelson's briefing on council actions, Sept. 16

Now that Jesus Aguirre is State Superintendent of Education...

By now, you must have read the Mayor's announcement and various media reports, most notable among which is WaPo's Emma Brown piece, that DPR director Jesus Aguirre has been tapped by Mayor Gray to be the permanent State Superintendent of Education.   Aguirre will make the move from DPR to OSSE October 1.

My questions to you are:   What are you going to do with this news?   Will you share with colleagues to makes sure they know?   Will you send Aguirre an email congratulating him or introducing yourself?

The same questions apply to the interim appointment of Dr. Sharia Shanklin to run the Department of Parks and Recreation until a permanent replacement can be named.

Bus changes affecting DC residents, Ward 7 highlighted

Ward 7 resident and transpo and planning expert extraordinaire Veronica Davis has shared important information about how changes WMATA is considering will impact residents of Ward 7, though the changes being proposed also involve other parts of the city.

Nonprofits of all kinds―jobs and training, health care, social service, behavioral health, early childhood development, out-of-school time―have skin in this game precisely because their clients/constituents have skin in the game.   What to do:

  1. Study the information provided by WMATA paying attention to all the changes (since your clients may cross state lines)
  2. Plan ways to share the information with your clients/constituents.   Perhaps you'll add a few minutes to already-scheduled meetings of all kinds and encourage people to ask you for more information after the meeting.
  3. Schedule a special meeting for staff, clients, constituents to review the changes and, if needed, develop response to give to WMATA.

The message from Davis:

WMATA is proposing bus changes that will effect Ward 7 residents. I've attached more detailed information about the route changes.

Routes in Ward 7 proposed for improvement: 31, 32, 36, 96, 97, U2, V7, V8, V9

Routes in Ward 7 proposed for reduction or elimination: 34, M2

Whether you support, oppose, or have questions about these changes, please let your voice be heard. There are 2 ways to be heard:

1) Metrobus Service Changes Survey
You can participate in a survey on Metro’s options for bus service changes. The survey will close on September 24, 2013 at 5 p.m. and is available in English, Spanish, and other languages upon request. This option is in addition to your ability to speak at a public hearing or to submit a written statement, and will be included in the public record. Click here to begin the survey

2) Attend one of the public hearings
Come out and be heard at one of the WMATA hearings. All hearings start at 6pm.

Monday, September 16
Oxon Hill Library
6200 Oxon Hill Road
Oxon Hill, MD

Monday, September 16
Bailey’s Elementary School Cafeteria
6111 Knollwood Drive
Falls Church, VA

Tuesday, September 17
Shirlington Library
4200 Campbell Avenue
Arlington, VA

Tuesday, September 17
DC Dept. of Treasury, 2nd Floor Conference Room
1101 4th Street SW
Washington, DC

Wednesday, September 18
The Atrium at Treetops
8181 Professional Place #200
Hyattsville, MD

Thursday, September 19
LaSalle Elementary School Auditorium
501 Riggs Road NE
Washington, DC

For more information:


Friday, September 13, 2013

DC history X: 40th Annual Conference on DC Historical Studies

The 40th Annual Conference on DC Historical Studies, November 14 - 17, 2013, includes several sessions that might be of interest to modern-day advocates, residents, and providers:
  • The Transition to Home Rule in Washington, D.C., November 15
  • Gentrification and its Discontents: Displacement and policy efforts to mitigate its effects, 1970- 2013, November 15
  • Chinatown – a new film looking at today’s Chinatown and its future in the context of historical studies, November 15
  • Protests, November 16
  • DC Community History Project: Discovering Hidden Communities, November 16
  • The Archaeology of DC Parks and the Play DC Playground Initiative, November 16
  • Neighborhood Change and Placemaking, November 16

The most up-to-date information is on the conference blog.

The conference is co-sponsored by Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of D.C., Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives, Cultural Tourism DC, George Washington University, H-DC, Washington, D.C. History (, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., Humanities Council of Washington, DC, Rainbow History Project, Special Collections/DC Public Library (Washingtoniana Division).

What are you doing for Voter Registration Day Sept. 24?

National Voter Registration Day is September 24.   Will your business, nonprofit, or DC government agency participate by encouraging staff and clients/constituents to register to vote?   National Voter Registration Day has numerous ways for you to engage those with whom you work including these tweets:
Tweet 1
Millions of people will vote this year to decide 1,500 elections nationwide. Register to vote at #CelebrateNVRD

Tweet 2
National Voter Registration Day 2013 is coming! Join us! #CelebrateNVRD

Tweet 3
Have you moved since Election Day 2012? Make sure you're registered to vote at your new address! #CelebrateNVRD

If you're looking to make use of scheduled National Voter Registration Day events, take a look at the #CelebrateNVDF map.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mayor Gray's Sept. 13 sked

Mayor Gray's September 13 schedule includes the 10:00 – 10:30 am Hamilton Playground Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony at Hamilton Recreation Center (1340 Hamilton St NW).   This ribbon cutting marks the eighth Play DC playground improvement completion.

Other items on the mayor's schedule concern his veto of the LRAA.

Tax liens on NewsTalk, Sept. 12

Tax liens will be one topic discussed on NewsTalk September 12 at 10:00 am.   Steven Cordi, from the Office of Tax Revenue (OTR) in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, will guest.

Tune in to NewsChannel 8 streaming here,, to see the conversation with Bruce DePuyt.   If you have questions or comments, call (703) 387-1020 or email the show.

Get yourself a library card!

Did you know that the most important school supply of all is a library card?   For adults, a library card is the smartest card in their wallet.

Yup, 'tis true.

The whole world is available to young and old at the library.   At DC Public Library, you can check out books and movies.   Young children are exposed to stories, the excitement of language during story hour.   Young people can get homework help and some teens even can get a job at the library.   Older folks can get assistance with resumes and job searches.

The library opens up a whole new world.   So visit your library today, get a card and start checking out the world – here and very far away.

Getting a library card is easy.   You can do it online or in person.   School-age children may apply for a card; young children may receive one upon request by a parent.   [Note:   A child’s record cannot be reviewed by the parents under the "District of Columbia Confidentiality of Library Records Act of 1984" (DC Law 5-128).   The child must initiate such a request.]

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Malcolm Gladwell in DC, Oct. 16

Bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell talks about his new book David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants at a Politics & Prose event October 16 at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:00 pm) at Sixth & I Synagogue (600 I St NW).   Gladwell, according to the Amazon description,
challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.

Get more information about the book and purchase tickets.

Thanks, again, to FishbowlDC (event link) for the news.

Dunbar High School's history (DC history IX)

Thanks to this tweet by the Ward Five Council on Education, I read John Thompson's Alison Stewart's History of D.C.'s Dunbar High School and Its Future.

Alison Stewart's First Class is the history of the rise and fall of Washington D.C.'s elite Dunbar High School. It tells a story that cannot be ignored if we really believe that school improvement can be the civil rights movement of the 21st century.

Stewart tells the powerful story of Dunbar's inspiring role in "a national movement for justice and citizenship." Dunbar's educators made the best of the demeaning and cruel Jim Crow system. Their achievements were "stunning." Graduates of Dunbar led the legal fight against de jure segregation and pioneered world class innovations in medicine, scholarship, art and music. One eminent Dunbar graduate after another, often after earning doctorates from prestigious universities, returned to build an incredible learning institution.

CM Alexander guest on NewsTalk Sept. 11

Ward 7 CM Yvette Alexander will guest on NewsTalk September 11 at 10:00 am.    She will be asked about a report on the failures of the District’s tax lien program, the fate of the large-retailer bill, the city’s new ethics rules, and more.

Tune in to NewsChannel 8 streaming here,, to see the conversation with Bruce DePuyt.   If you have questions or comments, call (703) 387-1020 or email the show.

10 and 50

Ten is the number of domains Age-Friendly DC is considering in order to make the District of Columbia an eminently livable place for everyone and especially those over age 50.   The domains are universal:
  1. Outdoor spaces and buildings
  2. Transportation
  3. Housing
  4. Social participation
  5. Respect and social inclusion
  6. Civic participation and employment
  7. Communication and information
  8. Community support and health services
  9. Emergency preparedness and response
  10. Elder abuse, neglect, and fraud

You can have a say about these 10 domains and more at the Age-Friendly DC Forum September 21.   All District residents are encouraged to attend.   RSVP for the Forum today online or by calling (202) 724-5622.

If you are not able to attend but have something to say about making the District of Columbia a place that allows persons of all ages and abilities to live and thrive, you can share your thoughts here in this online form.

Interested in volunteering at the event?   You can sign up online or by contacting Christian Barrera at 202-727-7973 or

The Age-Friendly DC Forum is hosted by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, DC Office on Aging, and the New York Academy of Medicine.   For more information, call 202-741-5875.

It's #HungerAction Month!

A SOME staffer shared the quote above and the info below.

SOME has posted the following message on Facebook:
#HungerAction month has started! Want to know more about hunger in DC? Join our email list at and find out how you can help!

SOME serves a hot breakfast 7:20-8:45 am every day, and a hot lunch 11:00 am - 1:15 pm every day. Please note that the hours of service have been adjusted slightly.

And remember that DC Food Finder is a terrific resource for those looking for food or helping others find food resources in DC.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WTOP has a new anchor and reporter

WTOP has hired itself a new anchor and reporter, according to FishbowlDC.   Mike Murillo started September 9.   You can reach Murillo via email. (UPDATE: Email updated 9/11 9:38 am)

Let's come together around Anne Beers Elementary School needs!

For those who don't know, Beers Elementary
provides a strong focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Beers remains the only NASA Explorer School in the District of Columbia.

The school―the teachers, the students, the administrators, the parents―need our help!   If you are inclined to support the school, they need:

  • Paper towels
  • Wipes
  • Bleach wipes
  • Boxes of tissue (aka Kleenex)
  • Preschool-age books new or in good used condition

Ayanna Smith, self-described "proud Beers mommy", is collecting the items. Contact her via email to schedule a drop off. Or, drop the items at the school, 3600 Alabama Ave SE.

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Can we venture to solve real problems with real solutions?

Something Ventured and Mark Lee's Graham fails homeless with outdated approach Mayor's new strategies are producing results, benefiting those in need, to my way of thinking, are two peas in a pod.   Both are about problem-solving.   Both are about risk and making a difference.

Something Ventured, for those who have not seen it, is a documentary about how creators and financiers came together to solve problems, to address challenges.   Some challenges, like those addressed by Genentech, are quite profound.

Mark Lee takes Councilmember Jim Graham to task for failing to support policies, programming, and budgets that have a positive impact on people.   Writes Lee,

Government inability to think and act as a business enterprise and measure performance and results rather than program size and dollars allocated is the greatest failure of bureaucrats.

That is a lesson not yet learned by D.C. elected officials. Many local leaders are content to keep doing the same thing over and over, regardless of whether it works or merely illustrates a failure of approach. The politician's reflex is to spend more money, without concern for common sense or critical evaluation.

When it comes to the homeless, no one represents this shortsightedness more than D.C. Council member and Human Services Committee chair Jim Graham.

I wish we had more "can do-itiveness" in the District when it comes to solving complex social and economic problems.   But unlike with VC and the tech world, I'm not sure more money is the solution.   Certainly, I'd like to invest more in evaluation. But I think we need to step back and answer some basic questions such as:

  • What's our goal regarding homelessness?   Do we want less?   Do we want to solve the multiple causes or just address the end result?
  • Who's got skin in the homelessness game?   That is, who is invested in the status quo?   Who's invested in disrupting the status quo?

I'm not interested in overlaying social and economic problems with tech fixes.   But what I am suggesting, as has Lee, is that we stop doing what doesn’t work and invest in something different.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fashion in DC (DC history VIII)

Humanitini: Fashion in the District, sponsored by the Humanities Council of Washington, DC takes place September 19 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm.   This event will
focus on the history of fashion and style in the District. We plan to discuss a variety of questions, such as: How has fashion and style evolved in the last decade? How does style play a part in personal expression and creativity? Does fashion shape culture? Where is the District sartorially?

Webinar: Using the New Poverty Data, Sept. 10

Want to know more about the soon-to-be-released poverty data?   Participate in the Coalition on Human Needs webinar Using the New Poverty Data September 10 and you'll learn a ton.
The Census Bureau will release annual survey data about poverty, income, health insurance, housing, employment, and much more on September 17 and 19. At the same time, Congress will be grappling with decisions to cut human needs programs further, or to protect them. You can use the new information to show the extent of need in your state or community, and why Congress should invest, not cut. This webinar will show you how.

What were your (reading) triumphs this weekend?

I would add some specifics:   What did you read?   What did you learn?   My triumph, that relates to reading, is that I actually read for pleasure from a book!   Tweet your triumphs to @dcpl.

Media Tactics for Social Change brought to you by New Tactics in Human Rights

In this online conversation, we will explore these and many more tactics for engaging the media. This is an opportunity for social change agents and human rights defenders to reflect on and share their approach to engaging the media and learn new tactics from others.

Plan to Win's Holly Hammond is leading the September 16 to 20 community conversation on Media Tactics for Social Change.   This conversation will consider questions like

  • How do we use the media as part of our goal of improving human rights and social and environmental justice?
  • What influences the media? How can we use these influencers to get the media to tell our story the way it needs to be told?
  • What can we do to shape or change the lens through which the media tells stories about our reality?

Media Tactics for Social Change kicks off a three-month communications series, Conversation Series on Building Awareness.   The October (October 14 to 18) topic is Change the Story: Harnessing the power of narrative for social change, in partnership with the Center for Story-based Strategy.   The (tentative) November (November 11 to 15) topic is Visualizing Information.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Age-Friendly DC Forum, September 21

The District of Columbia is on its way to becoming an Age-Friendly city―a place that allows persons of all ages and abilities to live and thrive.   The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services and the DC Office on Aging are inviting all who have an interest in an Age-Friendly DC including those who can answer "yes" to these questions:
  • Do you care for your parents or other older family members?
  • Do you care for or help adults who are older?
  • Are you getting older and have ideas on ways to make the city a better place to live?

You can help shape Age-Friendly DC September 21 from 9:30 - 11:30 am at the Age-Friendly DC Forum featuring Mayor Vincent C. Gray and hundreds of people interested in making neighborhoods and the city as a whole eminently livable.   The event takes place at The Howard Theatre, 620 T Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001.   Light refreshments will be served and transportation will be provided (details).

At this Forum, participants will have an opportunity to comment on the 10 areas of civic life that shape an Age-Friendly DC:

  1. Outdoor spaces and buildings
  2. Transportation
  3. Housing
  4. Social participation
  5. Respect and social inclusion
  6. Civic participation and employment
  7. Communication and information
  8. Community support and health services
  9. Emergency preparedness and response
  10. Elder abuse, neglect, and fraud

Your comments and ideas will directly feed into the development of age-friendly programs and policies that will benefit you, your family members, your neighborhood.

Please tell your friends, neighbors, and family about the Forum.   All District residents are encouraged to attend.   RSVP for the Forum today online or by calling (202) 724-5622.

If you are not able to attend but have something to say about making the District of Columbia a place that allows persons of all ages and abilities to live and thrive, you can share your thoughts here in this online form.

Interested in volunteering at the event?   You can sign up online or by contacting Christian Barrera at 202-727-7973 or

The Age-Friendly DC Forum is hosted by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, DC Office on Aging, and the New York Academy of Medicine.   For more information, call 202-741-5875.

A recap of One City Summer Initiative in a slide show

The DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, the coordinator of OCSI, will be sharing several reports on summer 2013.   They'll be posted on the Trust website in the next month or so.   In the meantime, information about summer, including the partners, are on the One City Youth website,

Friday, September 6, 2013

Book Talks: Set in DC (DC history VII)

Book Talks: Set in DC, brought to you by the Humanities Council of Washington, DC takes place September 18 from 7:00 - 8:30 pm at Watha T. Daniel, Shaw Neighborhood Library (1630 7th St NW).

The free event features local authors talking about how they use the District's "vibrant neighborhoods as a setting for works of fiction, and how those neighborhoods can become characters that drive a narrative."

This program is part of DC By the Book, an effort started by DC Public Library but largely supported by crowd sourcing DC’s place in fiction.

Sequestration's impact on DC, Storified

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Answers, Please! database now online in Excel!

There's a group of nonprofits and open government advocates interested in the 211/Answers, Please! database, the city's resource and referral system backend.   The great news is that the Department of Human Services has posted the database in Excel.   The file will be updated on a quarterly basis according to the website.

Oh, and the good news was that DHS shared the database some months ago with the community folks who wanted to build a more accessible and flexible resource and referral database.

DC Council meetings to add to your calendar

The DC Council comes back from recess September 16.   The COW and Legislative Meeting dates are below.   Be sure to add to your calendar so you don't miss them.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How safe would DC's kids be in a disaster?

The District of Columbia is one of 10 states of 51 counted (the 50 states plus DC) achieving three of the four criteria for disaster preparedness for children.   In 2013, the city has failed, like it did in 2010, to meet standard 4, having a multi-hazard plan for k-12 schools.   According to Save the Children's 2013 scorecard UNACCOUNTED FOR A National Report Card on Protecting Children in Disasters (PDF) standard 4 requires states
require that all schools have a disaster plan that addresses multiple types of hazards and covers a number of responses, including evacuation, shelter-in-place, and lock-down situations. Mandating fire or tornado drills alone is not sufficient for states to meet the standard since these activities do not address other types of hazards. The state standard should apply to all schools, including public charter schools as well as private schools.

The District succeeds in standards 1 through 3:

  1. Having a plan for evacuating children in early learning (child development, child care): The state must require that all child care providers have a written plan for evacuating and safely moving children to an alternate site. The plan must include provisions for multiple types of hazards. Many states have different licensing requirements and regulations for different kinds of providers. To meet the standard, a requirement must be in place for all categories of child care providers.
  2. Reunifying families after a disaster: The state must require that all child care providers to have a written plan for emergency notification of parents and reunification of families following an emergency. Again, a state may have multiple classes of child care with separate regulations and the standard must apply to all regulated child care providers.
  3. Having a plan for evacuating children with special needs from early learning settings: The state must require that all child care providers have a written plan that accounts for children with disabilities and those with access and functional needs. This standard must go beyond specific classes of special needs that may exist elsewhere in state code — it must include a specific requirement indicating how all children with special needs will be included in the emergency plan. The requirement must apply to all regulated child care providers.

Save the Children considers the four criteria to be minimum standards, the floor for preparedness, not the ceiling.

Parents and others concerned about child and youth safety can use the advocacy component, Speak Up, Send a letter to your governor, associated with the 2013 report.

Michael Horsley's history of DC (DC history VI)

Hidden Washington: Michael Horsley's Archive of Washington DC, 1984-1994 shares social media mentions of Horsley's in-your-face photographs of Washington, DC the local city.   The Storifed piece includes a link to "Diametric Blues", a video collage of photos of DC's people.   Horsley has photographed people and buildings.   Take a look.

Mayor Gray's Sept. 4 schedule

Mayor Gray has two public items on his September 4 schedule:

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

DC embarks on training residents for "high-wage, high-demand" jobs

This from the mayor's comms staff:
Mayor Gray to Announce the Creation of Nine Career Academies in Partnership with the National Academy Foundation

WHAT/WHO: Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Interim State Superintendent of Education Emily Durso, Deputy Mayor for Education Abigail Smith, D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Kaya Henderson, and D.C. Public Charter School Board (PCSB) Chairman John "Skip" McKoy will announce the establishment of nine career academies designed to train District residents for high-wage, high-demand careers in the information technology, engineering, and hospitality industries. The academies will be housed in public schools.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

WHERE: Cardozo Education Campus
1200 Clifton Street NW (Note: General parking available at the former Meyer School entrance at 11th and Clifton Streets NW)

BACKGROUND: Mayor Gray and District officials will highlight the District’s Career and Technical Education Strategic Plan, note which DCPS and public charters schools will roll out the nine academies approved by the National Academy Foundation; and announce that all high schools will be able to offer Microsoft IT certification courses.

The Mayor will be joined by PCSB Executive Director Scott Pearson, Friendship Public Charter Schools Chairman and Founder Donald Hense, Workforce Investment Council (WIC) Executive Director Allison Gerber, University of the District of Columbia Community College (UDC-CC) Dean of Workforce Readiness Kim Ford, members of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Task Force, and industry partners.

Minimum vs. Living Wage, that is the question

I've stayed out of the LRAA debate.   But in the spirit of participating, though not telling the mayor to sign or veto the legislation, I'm sharing this Quora discussion, "Should the minimum wage equal the living wage?"

Free workshops on the budget in September

OBP Budget Basics 2013

Mayor Gray's bi-weekly presser, Sept. 3

Mayor Gray's bi-weekly presser is moving to September 3 this week.   It will take place from 10:00 - 11:00 am at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW in Room G9 and will be streamed via DCN, District of Columbia Network.

From the August 30 release about the presser:

Mayor Vincent C. Gray to Address Impact of Sequestration On the District’s Economy and Unemployment Rate

WHAT/WHO: Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) Victor L. Hoskins, Department of Employment Services (DOES) Director Lisa MarĂ­a Mallory, Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Budget and Finance Eric Goulet and Dr. Fitzroy Lee, Deputy CFO for Revenue Analysis, Office of the Chief Financial Officer to discuss the impact of sequestration on the District’s economy and unemployment rate.

BACKGROUND: Mayor Gray and District officials will highlight sequestration’s effect on federal funding for DC government initiatives and impact on the local economy and unemployment. They also will discuss their plans to foster continued job growth and economic development.

CM Evans guests on NewsTalk Sept. 3

Ward 2 CM and mayoral candidate Jack Evans and will guest on NewsTalk September 3 at 10:00 am.    Evans will be asked about the Large Retailer Accountability Act and the 2014 race for mayor.

Tune in to NewsChannel 8 streaming here,, to see the conversation with Bruce DePuyt.   If you have questions or comments, call (703) 387-1020 or email the show.