Thursday, October 31, 2013

U.S. Parole Commission reauthorized, applauded by Norton

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton has announced the reauthorization of the U.S. Parole Commission, the entity which has jurisdiction over DC Code felons.
Norton Applauds Five-Year Reauthorization of U.S. Parole Commission, Chaired by Former D.C. Police Chief Isaac Fulwood

WASHINGTON, DC – The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today announced Senate passage of a bill to reauthorize the U.S. Parole Commission (USPC) for five years, ensuring continuation of the agency with jurisdiction over D.C. Code felons on parole or under supervised release. Norton pressed for a minimum five-year reauthorization to provide greater certainty and consistency for the Commission to function rather than its prior two-year reauthorizations. The bill now goes to the President for his signature.

"I am pleased that we were able to get a somewhat longer reauthorization," said Norton. "However, considering that the USPC now has continuing responsibilities for D.C. Code felons and certain federal offenders, it is important to stabilize this important public safety agency with the same permanent authorization as other federal law enforcement agencies. Congressional reauthorizations have not caught up with the significant new jurisdiction Congress gave the Parole Commission with more than 17,800 D.C. Code felons. The periodic authorizations date back to a time when federal parole was abolished and Congress believed that the Commission would go out of existence. The Revitalization Act, however, guarantees the Parole Commission will have continuing responsibilities, particularly jurisdiction over D.C. Code felons."

Read the rest of the release on Norton's website.

Help UDC vision for the future

The University of the District of Columbia is visioning its future and seeks additional public input.   The new Vision 2020 website contains information about the planning process as well as details about public input sessions in November.

Make Halloween a safe one!

Halloween Safety Tips 2013

Mayor Gray's regular visit with Bruce DePuyt, Oct. 31

Mayor Gray makes is regular monthly appearance on NewsChannel 8’s NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt October 31 from 10:00 - 11:00 am.   Tune in to the show streaming here,, to see the conversation with Bruce DePuyt.   If you have questions or comments, call (703) 387-1020 or email the show.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Political Influence: Clout, Corruption or Democracy in Action?

Political Influence: Clout, Corruption or Democracy in Action? takes place November 18 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm at UDC David A. Clarke School of Law (Building 52, Room 518 [Moot Court Room]; 4340 Connecticut Ave NW).   More information is available from Martha Mitchell at (202) 330-8043 or   Register online for this free and open to all event.

Panelists are:

  • Darrin Sobin, Director, DC Board of Ethics and Accountability
  • Frederick D Cooke, Jr., Partner Rubin, Winston, Diercks, Harris & Cooke, L.L.P.
  • A. Scott Bolden, Partner, ReedSmith
  • Billy Martin, Partner, Martin & Gitner, PLLC
  • Art Spitzer, Legal Director, ACLU-NCA

Shelley Broderick, Dean, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, will moderate.

The forum is sponsored by DC Leadership Development Council, DC Appleseed, DC Vote, the ACLU-NCA, and the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law.

DHS statement on the Winter Plan and youth

On October 28, DHS director David Berns issued a letter to the community about the Winter Plan and unaccompanied youth.   It's on the DHS website.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fall back this weekend

Remember to turn your clocks back November 3.   The whys and a wicked cool photo are explained in Daylight Saving Time 2013: When Does It End? And Why?

Discussion on Race and Gender Disparities in the D.C. Criminal Justice System, Nov. 14

At-large CM David Grosso just shared the information below; RSVP online.

Staff changes in and outside of government

Here are some of the recent changes in and outside of government:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Get Hypothermia Alerts as declarations are made

There are several institutionalized ways to get the news that Hypothermia Alerts are on and off.

The first is from DHS staff Darrell Cason.   He emails alert notices as they become available; get on the list by emailing Cason.   And a shout-out to Cason for including the Shelter Hotline number (1-800-535-7252) in all alert notices.

The second way is to sign up for alerts from DC Alert.   Related to this is the HSEMA iPhone/iPad/Android application.

The third way is to check the Department of Human Services website,   The website is updated automatically but you have to remember to check it.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Upcoming events

Resetting the Poverty Debate: Renewing our commitment to shared prosperity takes place October 29 from 9:00 - 11:15 am at the Center for American Progress.   The Half in 10 third annual report tracking economic opportunity is the basis for the event and comments from esteemed panelists.

Left Behind: Why trends in family structure and parenting are setting some kids up to fail takes place October 29 from 1:00 - 2:30 pm at American Enterprise Institute.   The event will feature a discussion of how education reform, vocational programs and family policy can better engage America's new family structure.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cold kills: Use and promote the Hypothermia Shelter Hotline

When the temperature or wind chill is 32°F or below, the District issues a Hypothermia Alert.   The notice appears on the Department of Human Services website (in "DHS Popular Links") and is emailed and texted out by HSEMA.

Your organization can promote use of DC's Hypothermia Shelter Hotline phone number simply by adding this image (see below) to your blog or website.   Want a different look?   Design your own.   But no matter which image you use, please advertise the Hypothermia Shelter Hotline number because cold kills.

When the temperature or wind chill is 32°F or below, the District issues a Hypothermia Alert.   The notice appears on the Department of Human Services website (in "DHS Popular Links") and is emailed and texted out by HSEMA.

If you see a homeless individual or family, call the Hypothermia Shelter Hotline, 1-800-535-7252.

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r.e.e.l. affordable housing event, Oct. 28

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Take part in DC's planning for a population that is aging

The Foggy Bottom West End Village is sponsoring the October 31 Community Consultation to assist the District in collecting input regarding the following aspects of city life that influence the health and quality of life of older adults: Outdoor spaces and public buildings; Transportation; Housing; Social participation; Respect and social inclusion; Civic participation and employment; Communication and information; Community support and health services; Elder abuse and fraud; and Disaster preparedness.

The meeting, open to Village members and our Foggy Bottom West End neighbors, is part of a series of community conversations that will help inform a plan to ensure DC is an age-friendly city in practice.

More information about the event is on the Foggy Bottom West End Village calendar.

But wait, there's more!   Your organization can also sponsor an Age-Friendly Community Consultation.   The Age-Friendly DC staff makes it easy.   Learn more about scheduling a meeting in your community; check out this advisory: Sponsor an Age-Friendly DC Community Consultation in your Community.   You'll find all the information you need in the flyer posted there.

Education forum, Nov. 6

UPO is holding a forum on education November 6 from Noon - 2:00 pm.   The event features DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson.   Deets below.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Mayor-Council Monthly Breakfast Meeting, Oct. 22

One item on the schedule of Mayor Vince Gray October 22 is the 9:00 – 10:00 am regular breakfast meeting with the Council of the District of Columbia.   The meeting, which takes place at JAWB, is open to the media so follow your favorite journos on Twitter.

Other items on the mayor's public schedule for the day are online.   Note that the mayor's sked goes live at midnight for the day.

And The City Fund is live!

The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region (CFNCR) today announced that The City Fund, the brainchild of Mayor Vincent Gray to support the valuable work of nonprofits serving DC residents, is a go.   Details about the Fund, including the deadline for proposals, is on The City Fund website

The key takeaways from the CFNCR email:

Proposals for the first grant round must be submitted via The Community Foundation’s online application system no later than 4pm on November 25, 2013.

The first round of grants, of up to $100,000, will be awarded for project/program support. The fund will also provide one-time capacity building grants that can be administered over a three year period. A second grant round will be issued in the spring of 2014 for capacity building efforts.

Two grantseeker information sessions will be held on October 28th and 31st. All interested applicants are encouraged to participate. Please contact Jennylee Hansen, Program Associate for the City Fund at to register for one of the information sessions.

The launch, as you may know, was delayed as a result of the federal government shutdown.

Keep in touch with DCPS

DC Public Schools makes it easy for people to hear from the school system.   DCPS has, on its home page a way for people to sign up for emails and texts.

And while the screen shot shows that DCPS is on Twitter, @dcpublicschools and Facebook, scroll down the website and you'll see that DCPS is also on YouTube.

Gray: ‘We No Longer Have the Luxury of Being a Company Town’

If you missed Mayor Gray on WNEW this morning, you can listen to the recording here, on WNEW.   According to WNEW, Mayor Gray said
"For starters, we are working hard to get the District’s local budget permanently set free from the federal appropriations process. And, "while the current budget deal means the District won’t be ensnared in any federal budget stalemates for the rest of the fiscal year, what if this happens again after that?" he asked.

Mayor Gray encouraged DC residents and budget autonomy supporters to ask friends in families in states to contact their members of Congress.   Perhaps have people use the #FreeDC Flat Papa Stanley to add a little fun.   Have folks take their picture with Flat Papa Stanley and email it to the members of Congress.   Find contact information here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

When Child Welfare Works: A Proposal for Financing Best Practices

This free event takes place October 23 from 9:00 - 11:30 am at Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill (400 New Jersey Ave NW).

This policy briefing is sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative.   The organizations will

introduce a set of specific and actionable policy recommendations to align federal financing of child welfare with best practices to promote better outcomes for children and families. Although some states have already undertaken reforms of their child welfare systems to capitalize on the latest research and new policies, many are still challenged to find resources to implement policies and practices that have been shown to improve child well-being.

Presenters and panelists will discuss how reallocating existing federal funds for child welfare can better support system adoption of best practices. Taken together, the proposed changes can promote goals that allow children to grow up in families that keep them safe and guide their social, emotional and academic development.

RSVP online.

DC Councilmembers in action

DC Councilmembers are out and about and here's a quick rundown:
  • DC Growing Healthy Schools Week, October 21 from 10:00 am - Noon at Thurgood Marshall Academy PHCS (2427 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE).   Ward 3 CM Cheh and others will kick off DC Growing Healthy Schools Week with healthy food competitions and other fun activities.   From the release:
    Councilmember Mary M. Cheh (D–Ward 3), author of the Healthy Schools Act and the FEED DC Act, will serve as a judge for the Best School Garden Awards at the kick-off event for Growing Healthy Schools Week in the District on Monday, October 21st. The event will also feature a competition, where local chefs will show off their culinary skills using fresh produce grown in Thurgood Marshall Academy’s Great Garden of Anacostia.


    BACKGROUND: In the District of Columbia, schools are making significant changes to improve the health of students and staff, largely due to the implementation of the Healthy Schools Act of 2010, authored by Councilmember Mary Cheh. This year marks the second annual Growing Healthy Schools Week, which is the fusion of DC School Garden Week and DC Farm to School Week. Both programs were launched to celebrate local, seasonal food in school meals, and engage students in the farm-to-table process. These two celebrations were successful in stimulating more citywide support for and involvement in farm to school and school garden programs. Growing Healthy Schools Week highlights the interrelated goals of these two former weeks and reflects the components of the Healthy Schools Act, which encourages connections between farm to school and school garden programs.

  • Ward 3 Democratic Committee "Community Discussion", October 22 7:30 pm at the Methodist Home (4901 Connecticut Ave NW in the Assembly Hall).   Ward 5 CM McDuffie will address the crowd at 7:30 pm and Ward 3 CM Cheh takes the floor at 8:00 pm.   Direct questions to
  • Shaw Community Office Hours October 24, 8:00 - 9:30 am at Bundy Dog Park (5th and P Sts NW).   This event is a great opportunity to discuss issues that affect your neighborhood with CM Tommy Wells and members of his staff.   Contact Pat Joseph at 724-8072 or via email, with questions or concerns.
  • DC Latino Caucus PAC Series Conversation with DC Councilmember Jack Evans, October 24 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at Los Hermanos Restaurant (1426 Park Rd NW;Columbia Heights Metro (Green Line) or parking at Giant Supermarket, 1345 Park Rd NW, Tivoli Square; or DC USA Shopping Center, Park Road entrance).   More information available on the DCLC website, via email,, or by calling 526-1847.
  • Community Meeting on the Future of Options Public Charter School, October 28 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm at Options Public Charter School (1375 E St NE).   Ward 6 CM Wells and the court-appointed receiver will listen to the concerns and recommendations from the public.

    Background from the Wells release:

    On October 3, 2013, the Court appointed Joshua Kern as Receiver for the Options Public Charter School ("Options PCS"). The Court appointed a Receiver in order to ensure that Options PCS is able to provide educational and support services to its students and to maintain the school's safe and productive environment. The Court ordered Mr. Kern to hold, preserve, administer, and operate the business and activities of Options PCS in the best interests of the school's students and the public.

    Councilmember Wells emphasizes that the Court directed Mr. Kern to "not discuss any of his tentative or final findings or recommendations" in public meetings. However, he is delighted that Mr. Kern is eager to listen to the community and consider community insights as he administers Options PCS.

  • Job fair, November 7, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm at Arena Stage (1101 6th St SW).   CM Tommy Wells and Arena Stage are hosting the fair.   The job fair is open to the public and DC residents seeking employment are encouraged to attend.   Comcast, Safeway, Giant, DC Water, Unity Healthcare, Specialty Hospital of Washington, United Planning Organization, and the US Army are among the employers who will be accepting applications at the event.

And DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson shared the October 17 COW Hearing Overview Sheet.

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Friday, October 18, 2013

DC Independence Day: EVENT CANCELLED

DC Independence Day: EVENT CANCELED details why the event organizers have cancelled this event.   But it's important to note that while we've cancelled it, there is much work still do to to ensure this does not happen again.   #FreeDC's Budget will continue to post information about budget autonomy and statehood.

Webinar: Digital Strategy for Practical Advocacy, Oct. 24

This free webinar takes place October 24 from 3:00 - 4:00 pm; reserve your spot here:

The presenter is Colin Delany from   This is what Delany has to say about the webinar:

Change is hard - and advocating for change isn't any easier. Online/digital tools offer issue campaigns and nonprofits powerful opportunities to build support, raise money and affect policy, but only if they use them right. Otherwise, they can simply waste precious time.

How can organizations craft a practical strategy to put the internet to work to create real change in the world, based on their own needs, goals and resources? This webinar will walk participants through that process, helping them choose the right tools and techniques on which to focus based on their own organizational skills, culture and capacities.

Whether your campaign focuses on the grassroots or on high-level policy wonkery, you'll learn how to match your needs with the tools and tactics available today. No airy talk -- this webinar is all about getting real results.

The webinar is free for participants, but space is limited. Sign up today.

Colin Delany -- digital strategy for politics and advocacy

New interactive volunteer database, just for DC!

NeighborGood is a new DC-specific volunteer opportunity database and search engine.   It does two things.   First, it lists opportunities available to those who want to volunteer.   Second, it allows for nonprofits to share information about their current volunteer needs.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The national campaign for restaurant worker wage improvement

The ROCUNITED book Behind the Kitchen Door clearly and articulately makes the case that wages for restaurant workers must be raised.   Highlights from the book are shown in the trail, below.


Watch ROCUNITED executive director Saru Jayaraman on the issues of restaurant worker and safety wages, and of course the book, in this video.

And if you're interested in buying the book, Politics & Prose can get it for you.

Good news for DC: Deal lets DC spend its money through end of FY 2014

From D.C. wins year-long spending authority in deal ending federal shutdown by Mike DeBonis and Aaron C. Davis:
The District government scored a significant victory in the deal forged by Congress to end the 16-day federal shutdown, winning the right to spend its local funds through next September, according to Capitol Hill officials.

Mayor Vince Gray had this to say in his statement on the end of the shutdown:

"I offer thanks to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate DC Oversight Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.), Senate DC Oversight Committee Member Mary Landrieu (D-La.), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and President Obama for recognizing the District’s unique plight and that it is completely unjust for the District to be barred from spending our own local revenues during a federal shutdown," Mayor Gray said. "Most importantly, I want to offer my deepest gratitude to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, our tireless and fearless advocate for the people of the District of Columbia in Congress. We are fortunate to have her fighting for us every day."

The deal means that the October 21 rally being organized by DC Vote and many others is off.   But that does not mean all is right with the world.   There is still the issue of budget autonomy going forward.   Look to the DC Vote website for a statement this morning.

Public Hearings on Redrawing Voting Precinct Boundaries, from themail

This from DC Watch's Dorothy Brazil, Self-Righteous Cynical Misanthropy, October 17, 2013:
Public Hearings on Redrawing Voting Precinct Boundaries
Dorothy Brizill,
On October 4, the DC Board of Elections (BOE) announced that it was "proposing to realign all voting precinct boundaries in the District to correspond with existing Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) Single-Member District (SMD) boundary lines and to revise the precinct numbering system to associate each precinct to its designated ward. The new voting precinct boundaries will eliminate the existing precinct splits that divide . . . SMD area[s] into multiple voting precincts. The . . . 2013 Precinct Boundary Efficiency Plan (plan) will couple each SMD into a single precinct boundary as opposed to dividing an SMD into multiple precincts. The majority of the new precinct boundaries will contain only two SMD’s, while several precincts will contain no more than four SMD’s."

BOE’s plan to redraw voting precinct boundaries can be reviewed on the Board’s web site ( as well as on DCWatch (

DC residents and voters can comment on the new proposed precinct boundaries at two public hearings being convened by the BOE. The first will be held on Friday, October 18, at 10:00 a.m., in the Office of Zoning Hearing Room (Room 210, One Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street, NW) and the second on Thursday, October 24, at 6:00 p.m., in the Old Council Chambers (1st floor lobby, One Judiciary Square). Written comments on the plan may be submitted by mail to the DC Board of Elections, 441 4th Street, NW, Suite 250 North, Washington, DC 20001 or via E-mail to

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Please use and share safety tips for Halloween

Halloween Safety Tips 2013

Whose Money? Our Money? Rally for DC budget autonomy, Oct. 21


Where's Flat Stanley and what does he have to say about the DC budget?

Here's a post from #FreeDC's Budget:
Updated 10/16, 9:40a

Flat Papa Stanley wants DC’s budget free!

Children in DC and across the country can take pictures with Flat Papa Stanley to educate others that the District of Columbia’s budget should be free! DC residents pay taxes and the government raises revenue the way residents want. Let DC take care of itself. Congress and the President are holding the DC budget hostage. Let’s do what Flat Papa Stanley wants and free DC’s budget!

Flat Papa Stanley Free Dcs Budget by Susie Cambria

FY 2015 budget development schedule

The Office of Budget and Planning has announced the deadlines in the FY 2015 budget development process so Mayor Gray can deliver the budget to the DC Council and community on time.   Here are key dates of interest to the public:
  • December 13, 2013: Agency budget requests are due to OBP
  • January 2014: Budget Review Teams meet with agency directors
  • March 7, 2014 (tentative): Pencils down
  • Late March 2014: Mayor submits budget to DC Council

Mark your calendars and fire up your advocacy.   It's time to start your budget advocacy with the exec branch!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mayor Gray and Rep. Norton keep the pressure on to #freedc 's budget!

Earlier today Mayor Gray announced he would participate in a regional meeting about the negative impact of the federal shutdown.   The event takes place October 16 from 11:30 am - 12:30 pm in Room 509 at JAWB.   It is likely that OCT will stream the meeting and questions from and answers to the press.   Tune in to DCN to watch.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton continues to work on multiple fronts to keep the District open.   Norton Continues Multiple Efforts to Keep D.C. Open, Will Offer Amendment and Testify at Rules Committee Today.

Hillcrest Day, Oct. 19

Please recommend others read Susie's Budget and Policy Corner

Do you learn something by reading this blog?   Think others can also learn something?   Then please recommend they follow the blog in one form or another.   Folks can take advantage of the RSS feed or email option.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mark your calendar: DC Independence Day, Oct. 21

DC residents are taking action against the Congress and President, hostage-takers of the DC budget.

A new collaboration of advocates, activists, residents, stakeholders, and others has come together to call attention to the District's lack of budget autonomy.   The plan is to recognize DC Independence Day October 21, 2013 on Capitol Hill.   Individuals and organizations are encouraged to participate in the way that's most appropriate for them.   For example, a dance program could stage a short performance.   An OST program could offer the program on the hill.   The options are endless.   And at a time certain, we will all gather for a collective event.

Stay apprised of the actions leading up to and on DC Independence Day on the #FreeDC'sBudget blog.   If you are interested in taking an action between now and DC Independence Day, join the DC Independence Day Google Group and share your plans.   All plans will also be described on the blog so the world will learn how to get involved.   Finally, tweet away using the #FreeDC hashtag.

Oct. 14 conference call on the #FreeDC Revolution

On October 14 at 1:00 pm, those who want to talk freeing DC's budget from the federal shutdown with action will be on a conference call to talk ideas, actions, etc.   The call-in number is (712) 432-1500 and the Participant Access Code is 287133#.

Some of the thoughts shared in advance of the call are below (no names since I didn't ask if I could use them―blame too little coffee).

  • I very much hope that you will be sure to emphasize granting statehood for the residential and commercial parts of DC as a permanent solution to this mess. If you haven't been focused on DC statehood as an issue, you might want to check in with Neighbors United for DC Statehood, which is a very grass-roots effort to educate and advocate for statehood. We have bills in both the House and Senate and have been working hard to get co-sponsors. (not sure about the current count, but at last count it was 53 in the House and 12 in the Senate.) We have t-shirts that we generated in response to this current situation. You can see them at our blog/website,
  • The problem is a familiar one: the folks that make the decisions are not vulnerable to District residents. Back in the day, Rev. Walter Fauntroy, facing the same problem, led a merrie band down to Florence SC to find someone to run against John McMillan, overlord and chair of the House District Committee in the primary. He organized the black churches to vote him out. That local action worked.

    There are now maybe 49 members of the tea party in the House and those districts will be heavily conservative. If Reid and McConnell get a deal, they will have to sell it to Boehner, who will try to sell it to the 49 to forestall disaster. If he can get maybe 15, that is enough with the Dems to get over 218 and roll the tea party.

    What may be called for is local action in some selected tea party districts to see if any of these wackos can be moved. In any event, threats from the left may not work very well because these districts are so heavily gerrymandered. While folks are justifably upset, unless folks can get creative about pressuring the tea party guys from the right, it is not entirely clear to me how agitation from DC might change this calculus but my analysis may be flawed on this many-layered weirdness.

  • I would guess if Reid and McConnell could get a deal, depending on McConnell, they may wait till Tues or so. This will jam Boehner up against the deadline and force him to roll the TPers. But I have no real special wisdom on this nasty situation. We will see what tomorrow brings.
  • Candlelight vigil at capitol hill.
    Good video of Capitol police denying us our right to petition for redress of grievances.
    Gotta get somebody (Soros?) to pay for PortaPotties.
    Gotta get a permit to place the PortaPotties on National Park Service territory. Oh, right -- permit office closed.
    Gotta get folks to clean up, that that is happening already.
    Invite the under-patronized food trucks.
  • We need to get people to recognize they can't be complacent and expect the Mayor to be the only one doing something.
  • marketing - graphic design, messaging, promotional meterials
    media relations
    congressional relations
    administration relations
    stakeholder relations social marketing
    public actions
    fundraising (Kickstarter campaign?)
    what else?
    let's get the drunk dial Congress people to partner with us
    let's get the food truck association to help spread the word
    taxi drivers too
    Metrobus ads?

Your voice is needed so please join the October 14 at 1:00 pm conference call about freeing DC's budget from the federal shutdown with action.   The call-in number is (712) 432-1500 and the Participant Access Code is 287133#.

UPDATE 10/14, 12:25p: Additional thoughts for partners, etc:

neighborhood and civic associations
Empower DC
DC Vote

Metrobus ads
Lost dog flyers
Neighborhood listservs

UPDATE: October 14, 12:32p:

The link for Appleseed:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mark Plotkin at first fall Q&A Cafe

Who in Washington doesn't love a good political discussion? And what better time than immediately after the next round of elections which, among other races, will decide the next governor of Virginia.

That's the question Carol Joynt, host of Q&A Cafe, asks in her blog post about the November 6 event.   But the Virginia race is not the only one to be discussed; the spring DC primary is also on Joynt's radar.   Go the the blog for the details about reserving a spot at this event.

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stop bitching and start a revolution!

Are you pissed off, offended, or mad as hell that the District’s budget is being held hostage as part of the federal shutdown/Congresssional-Presidential pissing contest?

If so, then "stop bitching and start a revolution!"

Join other activists to talk action on a conference call Monday, October 14 at 1:00 pm.   The purpose is to identify what we can do, in an organized, or at least informed, fashion, to make some noise, raise a stink, and generally get some attention paid to the fact that the DC budget—and DC residents—are being held hostage.

Please join the call Monday, October 14 at 1:00 pm.   The call-in number is (712) 432-1500 and the Participant Access Code is 287133#.

And share this opportunity with others—the more, the noisier and higher the profile!

Friday, October 11, 2013


Last night, Mayor Gray updated the community on the status of the federal shutdown and its impact on the District.   Takeaways include:
  • We are not a federal agency...we are a living, breathing city! #freedc
  • The overwhelming majority of what the DC govt does is paid for with our own local money - not federal funds. #FreeDC
  • "Allowing us to spend our own money is not a partisan issue" -@mayorvincegray #freedc
  • #FreeDC from #Shutdown @mayorvincegray says it takes $20Million to run the District each day

Tweets with the hashtag #FreeDC are below.   Note: People from out of town are also using the hashtag.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mayor Vince Gray on the shutdown and DC

If you missed Mayor Gray's thoughts on how the federal shutdown is negatively impacting DC residents, watch the YouTube video, below.

You can also hear the mayor in his own words on the shutdown with Joe Madison: Mayor Vincent Gray On The Madison Show 10-09-13.

Mayor Gray calls community meeting on the federal government shutdown, Oct. 10

Mayor Gray 101013 Shutdown Community Meeting

Recap of Oct. 9 @mayorvincegray @eleanornorton presser to free the DC budget

Budget kickoff rescheduled

As you know, FY 2015 budget kickoff was scheduled for October 12.   However, OBP is focusing on the current day-to-day operations of the government during the federal shutdown and so kickoff has been postponed.   The new date and time will be announced when I get the info.

Take action against the federal shutdown

There are several ways nonprofits and residents can take action in support of freeing DC's budget from federal control and supporting residents via networking and sharing intel about open and closed organizations.   Deets:
  1. Attend the emergency meeting to network and identify organizations that will be open and closed during the federal shutdown.   The meeting takes place October 10 from 10:30 am - Noon at Kennedy Recreation Center.   More information, including online form to share info about program status (open/closed), below.
  2. Attend the press conference with Mayor Gray October 9 at 11:00 am to encourage the Senate to do as the House has done and approve the District's budget.
  3. Tell the Congress and President Obama to "Let OUR money go!"

Emergency Meeting Shutdown Networking

Let Our Money Go by Susie Cambria

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mayor Gray fights for the right for DC to spend its money!

Mayor Vince Gray today asked President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker John Boehner for meetings so the mayor can explain why DC must be able to spend its own money.   According to the release,
Mayor Gray noted that, for the first week of the federal shutdown, the District has been able to draw on reserve funds to pay its expenses – but that those funds will soon be depleted...

Additionally, the Mayor pointed out, the entire Washington region’s public safety is being compromised by the shutdown.

Mayor Gray, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and DC Councilmembers will call on members of Congress to free the DC budget Wednesday, October 9 from 11:00 am - Noon.   The rally takes place at the "Senate Swamp" (East Lawn of U.S. Capitol, across driveway from Senate east steps, near southwest corner of 1st Street and Constitution Ave NE).

Residents and providers should come armed with stories and pictures of the effects of the federal shutdown and related kidnapping of the DC budget by Congress and the President.   Those interested in sharing their stories and pictures on this blog should email them to   No profanity, please!

Oct. 13 WikiSalon to talk making a difference in DC

Wikimedia DC is hosting a special WikiSalon October 13 at 3:00 pm to talk about how Wikipedia and the DC area can help each other.   The salon takes place at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library (901 G St NW in the Digital Commons, Room 5) from 3:00 - 5:00 pm and dinner at Ella's Wood Fired Pizza (610 9th St NW) follows from 6:00 - 8:00 pm.

More information about the salon.   More information about Wikimedia DC.

What's the status of your nonprofit or government program during the federal shutdown of 2013?

Some organizations are closing, some are staying open but communication varies so it's hard to tell.   So, Strengthening Ward One Together, coordinated by Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative, has launched several tools to collect and share information about nonprofits staying open and closing.   All the tools are on this blog on the Nonprofit Status During Shutdown page.   Please take a few minutes to share your information.   It's quick and easy and incredibly helpful!

But wait, there's more.   Columbia Heights/Shaw and Bread for the City are calling together DC nonprofits for a meeting Thursday, October 10 at which nonprofits can talk about what they are doing and share intel, all related to the federal government shutdown.   Time and location are forthcoming, but mark your calendar for the Thursday morning meeting.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Let's help kids in Ward 7 get their read on!

Ward 7 Reads is collecting books―20,00 of them!―to ensure each elementary school student in Ward 7 has at least one new book of their very own.   This will help address the fact that literacy in Ward 7 is the lowest in the city: under 50%.

There are two ways to participate in this effort.   The first is the October 1 - 15 book drive.   The second is to sort books at the Ward 7 Reads! Extravaganza November 11.

More information, including the flyer, is on the One City Youth website calendar.

Friday, October 4, 2013

What is crowdsourcing?

The Storified story Crowdsourcing considers the questions "What is it?" and "How does it work?"   The story summary:
A Storify search yielded a lot of good information on what it is and how it works. The very day this Storify was created, a conference was going on about crowdsourcing, so there were many "hits" in the search engine.

To get us started:

This story includes tweets and incredibly informative videos.

Twitter follow recommendations

Mayor Gray's Oct. 4 schedule

Mayor Gray will celebrate the renovations made to the Ward 8 DHS space October 4 at 10:00 am.   The modernized southeast space includes the Family Resource Center, the Food Stamp Employment and Training Office, the DHS Call Center, and the D.C. Health Link Contact Center.

DHS is located at 2100 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave SE.

Other items on the mayor's public schedule for the day are online.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Gerren Price moves to DME

Gerren Price has announced he is leaving the Department of Employment Services for the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education.   In his new role, Price will take on truancy and drop-out prevention.   Price's email:
As some of you may know already, my last day at the DC Department of Employment Services (DOES) will be this Friday, October 4.

On Monday, October 7, I will officially transition into my new role as the Truancy and Dropout Prevention Specialist in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education (DME). In this role, I will be responsible for setting the District’s vision for addressing school truancy and meeting the needs of students at risk of dropping out of school, designing key initiatives to address these areas, and evaluating the success of these initiatives in collaboration with a taskforce of District government agencies and non-governmental stakeholders.

I have always been passionate about education and I know that school attendance matters! I believe that the best way to prepare youth for success in the workplace is to encourage them to be successful in school. I am excited to take on this new challenge and I look forward to your continued partnership in serving and inspiring our youth.

If you ever need to reach me, please feel free to contact me. My work email address will remain the same (

I want to thank each of you for your on-going support, collaboration, and inspiration over my past three and a half years here at the DOES Office of Youth Programs. I feel so blessed to have been able to work with each of you. I cannot thank you enough for your commitment to providing the very best to our youth.

Finally, I am sure many of you have heard me say that we have a wonderful team here at DOES. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by youth development professionals who truly have a heart for youth and a passion for what they do. While the agency is under-going a search for a replacement Associate Director, I can assure you that you are being left in extremely capable hands and that our work will continue to move forward.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the following individuals:

  • For questions related to the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), contact: Ms. Thennie Freeman, SYEP Manager,
  • For questions related to our Year-Round Youth Employment Programs, contact: Ms. Kristina Savoy, Year-Round Programs Manager,
  • For questions related to the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Institute (MYLI), contact: Mr. Phillip Walker, MYLI Manager,

All the best,

Gerren Price
Associate Director
DC Department of Employment Services
Office of Youth Programs

Your attendance (is required) at the Oct. 12 forum on mental health

I cannot agree more with the message from the District government and partners planning the October 12 forum on mental health at the convention center.   Post after post on community Yahoo groups, comments to media articles, and discussions over the airwaves noted the importance of more and better mental health services, better identification of mental health challenges in individuals, and the need for improved access to mental health services and supports.

On October 12, DC residents of all ages have the opportunity to learn more about mental health systems and navigating life with an "issue" or two.   I urge you to take the time to attend and make a difference.   The event is free and young people (14-24) in particular are urged to attend.

Mental health issues have made the news recently and how we address those issues as a community are of great importance to our city. Bullying. Depression. Drug Use. Suicide. There are lots of mental health issues affecting youth in DC. Come talk about what mental health means to you, and how you can help yourself or others to get help. Join Mayor Gray’s citywide forum on Saturday, October 12th to learn the facts about mental health issues in the District of Columbia. Topics of discussion will include:
  • How to reduce the stigma associated with mental health care and increase people’s openness to it
  • How to understand the range of challenges youth face around mental health
  • How to support youth more effectively in our community when they encounter mental health challenges

This citywide town meeting – "Creating Community Solutions – DC" - will provide residents of all ages, health care providers and District agencies an opportunity to discuss these critical issues on Saturday, October 12 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW, from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM. A free lunch and refreshments will be provided for everyone who attends.

Hundreds of District residents are expected participate in this highly interactive meeting. Seating is limited and so register now to make sure you are not left out of this discussion. Visit to register online today.

Introductions from the dais Oct. 1

Eric Jones, Ward 5 resident, again has compiled a list of introductions from the dais, this time from the October 1 DC Council session:
Councilman David Grosso (I) At – Large
--Bill 20-0506 – the D.C. Fiscal year Designation Amendment Act of 2013 – this legislation would Amend title 47 of the District of Columbia Official Code to change the District Fiscal year for budget and financial management purposes to July 1 of each year to June 30 of the succeeding calendar year.
Co-sponsors were Bowser, Cheh, Wells & Mendelson

Chair Pro Tempore Councilman Kenyan McDuffie (D) Ward 5
--(Co-Introduced by Chairman Mendelson) Bill 20-0505 – the Critical Infrastructure Freedom on Information Amendment Act of 2013 – this was originally going to be introduced on an emergency basis but the Councilman introduced it as regular legislation so that a hearing could be held on it.
Co-sponsors were Alexander, Bonds, Cheh & Orange

Councilwoman Mary Cheh (D) Ward 3
--Bill 20-0500 – the Farmer’s Markets Act of 2013 – this legislation would allow for the Mayor to create a Farmer’s Market Ombudsman to assist the dozens of farmers markets in the city which operate on a regular basis as they interact with the government. In addition it would also increase SNAP funding for use at farmers markets in the city.
Co-sponsors were Bonds, Bowser, Evans, Wells, Graham & McDuffie
--Bill 20-0501 – the Conversion Therapy for Minors Prohibition Amendment Act of 2013 – this legislation would amend the Mental Health Service Delivery Reform Act of 2001 to prohibit the use of practices designed to change the sexual orientation of a minor by a licensed mental health provider.
Co-sponsors were Grosso, Alexander, Wells, Catania, McDuffie, Bonds, Bowser, Evans, Graham, Orange & Mendelson

Councilwoman Muriel Bowser (D) Ward 4
--Bill 20-0502 – the Ready Return Establishment Act of 2013 – this legislation would amend Title 47 of the District of Columbia Official Code to establish an automated tax return program for simple returns. This would allow individuals to simply review and confirm information used when they calculate their federal tax return and then file their local return based on the same information.
Co-sponsors were Cheh, Bonds, Wells & Orange

Councilwoman Yvette Alexander (D) Ward 7
--(Co-introduced by Bowser, McDuffie, Barry, Bonds, Graham & Wells) Bill 20-0503 – the Alcohol Beverage Window Advertisement Limitation Act of 2013. This legislation would amend Title 25 of the District of Columbia Official Code to require that all advertisements related to alcohol beverages can only be displayed in the window of a licensed establishment if the total area covered by the advertisements does not exceed 25% of the window space.
--(Co-Introduced by Cheh, McDuffie, Evans, Catania and Barry) Bill 20-0504 – the Tobacco-Free Kids Smoking Restriction Amendment Act of 2013 – this legislation would make it illegal to smoke tobacco products in a vehicle when there is a young person below the age of 13 present. Further it would also create an escalating penalty provision for each violation of the new law.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Charles Allen leaves Wells' office

An email from Charles Allen, CoS to Ward 6 CM Tommy Wells, well, through October 4:
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Friday, October 4th will be my last day at the Council.

It’s been an honor to work with so many neighbors, leaders, and public servants in my time as Chief of Staff to Councilmember Wells. I’ve loved every minute of it and have met so many incredible people throughout our city. I’ll be leaving to explore new opportunities to serve Ward 6 and the District, but I leave with great pride in the work we’ve done together for the residents, families, and neighborhoods across the ward and city. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with Tommy, our entire team, and all of you.

To stay in touch with me personally, please feel free to use my personal email address –

As our office undergoes this staffing change, I wanted to share the new responsibilities for three members of our staff:

Chief of Staff – Linda O’Brien,
Legislative Director – Melanie Bates,
Communications Director – Jack Pfeiffer,

Thank you very much for the opportunities we’ve had together and I look forward to finding new ways to serve our city and communities.

Charles Allen

Mayor Gray on DC and the federal budget fight

Safety tips for Halloween

Halloween Safety Tips 2013

Mayor's biweekly presser is Oct. 2

Mayor Gray will hold his regular biweekly presser October 2 from 1:00 - 2:30 pm at the Police Academy (4665 Blue Plains Dr SW).   Other items on the mayor's public schedule for the day are online.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Revenue increases for FYs 2013 - 2017

Today the Chief Financial Officer released the latest revenue estimates for FYs 2013 - 2017.   Revenue increases for all the years included in the estimate.   The revenue for FY 2013, which ended September 30, is $36 million higher than estimated in June.   The revenue for FY 2014, which started today, is $49 million higher than estimated in June.

Oct 12013 Rev Estimate

Fun for kids during DCPS professional development

The Department of Parks and Recreation has announced DPR Fun Days during SY 2013-2014; the days are Friday, October 18, 2013; Friday, February 14, 2014; and Friday, May 2, 2014.   Select recreation centers, listed below, will provide free enriching programming to children between the ages of 6 and 12.

More information about Fun Days, including required registration, is on the DPR Fun Day page; registration opens two weeks before the Fun Day.

Ward Rec Center Address Phone
1 Park View Community Center 693 Otis Pl NW 671-2186
3 Chevy Chase Community Center 5601 Connecticut Ave NW 282-2204
3 Hearst Recreation Center 3950 37th St NW 282-2207
4 Lafayette Recreation Center 5900 33rd St NW 282-2206
4 Riggs LaSalle Recreation Center 501 Riggs Rd NE 576-5224
5 Trinidad Recreation Center 1310 Childress St NE 727-1293
5 Turkey Thicket Recreation Center 1100 Michigan Ave NE 576-9238
6 Kennedy Recreation Center 1401 7th St NE 671-4794
6 Sherwood Recreation Center 640 10th St NE 698-3075
7 Deanwood Recreation Center 1350 49th St NE 671-3077
7 Hillcrest Recreation Center 3100 Denver St SE 645-9200
8 Bald Eagle Recreation Center 100 Joliet St SW 671-5125
8 Ferebee Hope Recreation Center 3999 8th St SE 645-3916
8 Fort Stanton Recreation Center 1812 Erie St SE 671-1040

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Health Benefit Exchange director guests on NewsTalk Oct. 1

Mila Kofman, executive director of the District's Health Benefit Exchange, will guest on NewsTalk October 1 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.