Monday, March 31, 2014

Voter education: Candidate Phil Mendelson and the FOP

Unless you are living under a rock, you will have read or heard the FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) attacking candidate for DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson.   What you might not have seen is Mendo's response, What is the truth behind recent political attack ads?.   I'm not going to try to figure out the reasons for the animous.   What I will do, and have done here, is present the other side of the story since I've not seen coverage of Mendo's response.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What are your favorite YouTube intellectual channels?

Today I found the Constitution Center's YouTube channel; so psyched!   I found the channel via the BookTV program "Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance".   The Constitution Center's channel is a tremendous place to learn.   Other favorite YouTube channels of mine include:

What are your favorites?   Please comment and share some links.

Bike to Work Day May 16

Mayoral candidates on education (voter guide)

An informal coalition of public education advocates and ward-based resident organizations focused on public education, known as the Fork in the Road, has released a voter guide on education.

Among others, the Fork in the Road groups includes: Ward 2 Education Network, Ward 5 Council on Education, Ward 7 Education Council, Ward 8 Education Council, Teachers and Parents for Real Education Reform, Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization (CHPSPO), Senior High Alliance of Parents, Principals and Educators (SHAPPE), and WE ACT Radio.

New OP report presents interesting and compelling data about women

Friday, March 28, 2014

Mayor Gray's Mar. 29 sked

On Mayor Gray's March 29 public schedule is the 10:00 – 11:00 am participation in the grand opening of the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy (3675 Ely Pl SE).

Abbreviations cheat sheet

By now, you should know all the state abbreviations―DC for District of Columbia, MN for Minnesota, and CT for Connecticut.   But what about street-level abbreviations?   Ter for terrace, Pl for place, and on.   USPS has the cheat sheet: Official USPS Abbreviations!

I can see you scratching your head... I'm sharing this because I am a stickler for maintaining my contacts for personal and professional use.   This tool makes that easier.

Mayor Gray cuts ribbon on another playground Mar. 28!

Mayor Gray will cut the ribbon on the Douglass Playground (1898 Stanton Ter SE) March 28 from 10:00 - 11:00 am.   This comes on the heels of the mayor's March 27 announcement of District of Columbia Parks + Recreation Master Plan: Vision Framework (PDF), the city's ambitious, strategic visionary framework for making the most of DC's parks and recreation resources.

The playground ribbon cutting is just one item on the mayor's March 28 sked; other items are listed on the mayor's public schedule.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

CFSA FY 2015 budget briefing Apr. 7

Child and Family Services Agency staff will brief the community on the proposed FY 2015 budget April 7 from 1:30 - 3:00 pm at CFSA (200 I St SE, CFSA Conference Center, Room 2203).   The briefing includes a question and answer session.

RSVP to Racheal Streeter at CFSA via email,

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Young people express history through dance Mar. 28

Northeast Performing Arts Group young people will perform "When Will It End" March 28.   The performance challenges African Americans, especially the young among us, to know and understand their history and appreciate the ways culture and history inform the present.

Details about the performance are online.

You can be a citizen scientist!

District Department of the Environment, Fisheries and Wildlife Division needs your help

Easter Cottontail rabbit
Photo: Wikipedia
collecting information about Peter Cottontail, um, Eastern Cottontail rabbits.   DDOE is monitoring the population of bunnies as part of the city's Wildlife Action Plan.   The Eastern Cottontail rabbit is a Species of Greatest Conservation Need.

You can help by becoming a Citizen Scientist.   As a Citizen Scientist, you will record your rabbit sightings and share them with DDOE biologists.   More information about the program and becoming a volunteer is available from Lindsay Rohrbaugh via email,

Mayor Gray cuts ribbon on Turkey Thicket Playground Mar. 26

Mayor Gray will cut the ribbon on the Turkey Thicket Playground March 27 at 10:00 am.   The playground is located at 1100 Michigan Ave NE.

The release describes the playground design.   It

centers on two themes: transportation and a "mini-village." The transportation component will include trains, cars and boats; the mini-village component will include mountains, play houses and a farmers’ market. Other new features include sensory play equipment, a community garden, seating, a splash pad with a lighthouse and boat, a climbing hill, musical instruments, shade structures, a movie wall, a walking track and more.

At the ribbon cutting, the mayor will also announce the vision for the Play DC Master Plan.   According to the release, "The Play DC Master Plan effort is led by DPR, OP and 25 stakeholders as the District defines a path for improving parks and services in a dense, fast-growing city."   Specifically, the master plan will:

  • Establish a clear understanding of the current conditions of all District parks, recreation centers, and outdoor facilities
  • Assess the current programs available at all parks and recreation centers
  • Identify challenges and service gaps
  • Develop and propose solutions that are:
    1. Phased for implementation over the next 10 years
    2. Based on sound and detailed analysis that is inclusive and responsive to District residents
    3. Grounded in community input and industry best practices that improve public services and reduce costs
    4. Improving the District's ability to protect and preserve historic resources
    5. Progressing citywide goals identified in Mayor Gray's ONE CITY Action Plan, including economic strength and diversification, education and workforce preparation, sustainability and quality of life.

Mayor Gray will be joined by CM Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5), Department of Parks and Recreation Interim Director Sharia Shanklin, Department of General Services Director Brian Hanlon, Office of Planning Interim Director Rosalynn Hughey, ANC 5B05 Commissioner Jenese Jones, and Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association's Debee Yamamoto.   Community members and students from the Brookland Educational Campus at Bunker Hill School will also participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Have you heard? The DC Code is open!

Have you heard the great news?   The DC Code is now open.   Check it out on the new website   This new website makes the DC Code more accessible―meaning user-friendly, searchable and downloadable.

For more information, read the BEGA press release and listen to the most awesome discussion of the new site and open government in general on The Kojo Show (March 24, 2014).

Improvement on the DC Council's website

Great news from the DC Council's budget and IT offices: They've started dating the updates to the oversight and budget hearing schedules!   Ask and you shall receive.   Yay!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mayor's biweekly presser and UMC announcement Mar. 26

As part of his regular biweekly press briefing, Mayor Gray will, with other officials, make an announcement about United Medical Center March 26 from 10:00 - 11:00 am.   The actions, according to the release, "will have an impact on health outcomes and economic development on the East End of the District as well as the District's fiscal health."   The briefing takes place at St. Elizabeths Gateway Pavilion (2700 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave SE).

More about the mayor's schedule is on the mayor's daily schedule web page.

DDS forum on the HCBS IDD waiver Apr. 9

The Department on Disability Services and Department of Health Care Finance are holding a forum on the HCBS IDD waiver April 9 from 4:00 - 6:00 pm at Saint Elizabeth's East - Gateway Pavilion (2700 Martin Luther King Ave SE; enter at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave SE gate) (Metro: Congress Heights Station on the Green Line and parking is available in the lot behind the chapel).

The purpose of the event is to proposed amendments to the HCBS Waiver, including new rates for services and changes to existing services; and CMS's new definition of Home and Community Based setting and DC's plan to assess our settings and come into compliance, where needed.   In advance of the forum review the details on the proposed Medicaid waiver amendments and transition plan.

A light meal will be served.

Confirm your attendance and submit any requests for accommodations by April 2 to Jestina Heroe, (202) 730-1586 or via email.   Send questions or comments to

The forum follows the FY 2015 budget briefing (see DDS FY 2015 budget briefing Apr. 9 (updated 11:10a)).

DDS FY 2015 budget briefing Apr. 9 (updated 11:10a)

The Department on Disability Services is explaining their FY 2015 proposed budget April 9 from 3:00 - 4:00 pm.    The briefing takes place at Saint Elizabeth's East- Gateway Pavilion (2700 Martin Luther King Ave SE; enter at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave SE gate) (Metro: Congress Heights Station on the Green Line and parking is available in the lot behind the chapel).

The event is designed to prepare people with disabilities and their families, advocates, providers, and other stakeholders for the April 11 DC Council budget hearing.   The briefing will share information about funding for the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) and the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).   Attendees will have an opportunity to make comments and ask questions.

Confirm your attendance and submit any requests for accommodations by April 2 Jestina Heroe, (202) 730-1586 or via email.   Send questions or comments to

The HCBS IDD Waiver Forum will follow the budget briefing, from 4:00 - 6:00 pm.   More info in another blog post.

Report on 200-participant education conference to improve student quality of life

YEP-DC's second annual Policy-to-Practice Conference in March engaged more than 200 young education professionals.   The purpose of the event was to "discuss how different stakeholders play a role in improving students’ quality of life in school and how those initiatives in the District of Columbia are driving results."

YEP-DC has summarized the event in the post D.C. Model Initiatives Demonstrate ‘Intersections in Education’ at YEP-DC Annual Conference.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Report to DC Voters: Breaks for Some Seniors Shrink the Tax Base

From my inbox:
Report to DC Voters From: Edward Cowan, March 22, 2014

Breaks for Some Seniors Shrink the Tax Base

Phil Mendelson, chairman of the District Council, voted against a bill to relieve some seniors of having to pay any property tax on their homes because, he said, "taxing needs to be broad based." He also thought the exemption was unduly generous.

Mendelson was referring to a bill sponsored by council member Anita Bonds (At Large), who won her seat in a special election in April 2013 and seeks re-election this year.

The bill, approved by the council on March 4 by a vote of 10-2, would benefit 4,362 home owners, according to the Office of Revenue Analysis (ORA). The bill would reduce revenues by $8.2 million this year and by $34.9 million over five years. There are in total about 193,000 properties in the District.

However, the ORA reported that the bill could not be accommodated within projected budgets and so could not become law unless the mayor or the council offsets the revenue loss (cuts spending by as much, or raises revenue). Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who seeks re-election, has said he will include the bill in his 2015 budget, due April 3.

Monday, March 17, 2014

In honor of the Irish among (and before) us

Interested in the Irish in DC?   Take a look at Matthew B. Gilmore' Bibliography – Irish Washington DC.

Participate in DC Vote’s Annual Lobby Day Apr. 4

DC Vote's Annual Lobby Day takes place Friday, April 4 from 8:30 am - 1:00 pm.   The purpose is to share with Members of Congress and their staff the real-life negative impact DC's lack of budget, legislative freedom, and representation has on families, businesses, and the city at large.

More information is available from Rafael Ramos-Meyer via email.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Community Poll: Help make DC restaurants accessible

The Office of Human Rights (OHR)―in partnership with the American Association for People with Disabilities, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Disability Rights, and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington―will release a new user-friendly guide for restaurant owners on how to make their establishments accessibility friendly.

To do this, though, the partners need your input, ergo the Community Poll (short survey).

According to the survey,

The guide goes beyond the typical structural elements associated with accessibility, to include best practices for serving customers with disabilities, and how to implement accessible friendly policies that can increase customers. Restaurants receiving the guide will also be asked to make a pledge to be accessibility friendly, and to place a window decal on their restaurant to let patrons know.

In the next few weeks, OHR will launch an on-the-ground effort in two District restaurant corridors to talk with restaurant owners and managers about accessibility issues, and we want you to choose them! Below are five restaurant corridors; one from each District quadrant. Let us know where you want us to visit!

Youth Division open house for Child Abuse Prevention Month

MPD Youth Investigations Division (1700 Rhode Island Ave NE) is hosting an open house April 19 from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm for Child Abuse Prevention Month.   From the event notice:
Please contact Sergeant Lisa Kelly-Griffith at (202) 576-7434 if you plan to attend and the number of youth that will be accompanying you by April 1, 2014 close of business. Also, let her know if you would like to set up a booth that highlights your programs and/or community events?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Net neutrality event later this month

Somerville (Massachusetts) Community Access Television is sponsoring a panel discussion with experts on Net Neutrality.   The event, which takes place March 25, is being taped and will will be available immediately after the event.

According to the event notice,

Because of a recent rule change, Internet provider companies like Verizon and Comcast can now block or slow down any website, application, or service they like. And they'll be able to create tiered pricing structures with fast lanes for those websites that can afford the tolls, and slow lanes for everyone else. Previously, all websites had to be treated equally by the Internet providers, a policy known as Net Neutrality.

According to the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet Order, Net Neutrality allows for an Open Internet, which "is the Internet as we know it, a level playing field where consumers can make their own choices about what applications and services to use, and where consumers are free to decide what content they want to access, create, or share with others."

On Jan. 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., struck down the Federal Communications Commission's Open Internet Order. This means that Net Neutrality is no longer required by law.

Monday, March 10, 2014

D.C. Speak: How Washingtonians Talk Mar. 27

D.C. Speak: How Washingtonians Talk takes place March 27 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at The Coupe (3415 11th St NW).   The event is sponsored by the Humanities Council of Washington, DC.

According to the Humanities Council,

This active happy hour will engage Washingtonians in dialogue about understanding DC's culture through its unique language known as DC Speak. The panel will examine how it developed, how it has changed over time and how it contributes to the building of community in Washington. The panelists through a brief presentation will also demonstrate what is meant by DC Speak. The evening will also feature the Council's signature drink (yes, its a real drink!) and other happy hour menu specials offered by The Coupe.

More details and to register:

CM and candidate Evans on NewsTalk Mar. 10

CM and mayoral candidate Jack Evans will guest on NewsChannel8’s NewsTalk Monday, March 10 at 10:00 am.   Tune in to the show streaming here:   If you have questions or comments, call (703) 387-1020 or email the show,

Friday, March 7, 2014

Budget and oversight hearings sked changes, Mar. 6

Upcoming voter education activities

The Un-Forum: One-on-One Conversations With DC’s Mayoral Candidates On Income Inequality (PDF)

Flyer Mayoral Candidates Forum

Public policy event, Inclusion and Outcomes: Where Policy and Disability Meet

The Saul I. Stern Symposium-Inclusion and Outcomes: Where Policy and Disability Meet takes place March 27 in the afternoon at the University of Maryland College Park.

The symposium, a student-led conference intended to address an underappreciated policy topic, includes a keynote speaker, four breakout panels and discussions, and closing remarks.   The tentative schedule includes breakout the sessions
  • The Special Education, General Education Connection
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Increasing Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities
  • What ACA and Medicare Policies Mean for People with Disabilities

More information about the event and to register, go to the website.   Direct questions to or Maria E. Blaeuer, Esq., 703-868-3544 (voice) or Blaeuer via email.

Wards 1 and 3 had largest gains in volunteers for Age-Friendly Block-by-Block Walk

Are you one of the nearly 200 people who have registered to participate in the soon-to-take-place Age-Friendly DC Block-by-Block Walk between March 20 and April 15?   As of March 6 at 4:00 pm, registration by ward looks like this:
  • Ward 1:   28 (gain of 13)
  • Ward 2:   18 (gain of 5)
  • Ward 3:   28 (gain of 9)
  • Ward 4:   22 (stayed the same)
  • Ward 5:   20 (gain of 2)
  • Ward 6:   15*
  • Ward 7:   10 (gain of 2)
  • Ward 8:   6 (gain of 1)

*there are a number of registrants whose SMD did not show up correctly; I've not corrected them and this mostly affects Ward 6

Wards 1 and 3 are ahead with registrants as you can see.   What isn't included are the commissioners in Single Member Districts in Ward 6; all have said they will participate.   Where will that leave Ward 1 and 3?

You don't have to be an ANC to participate.   Lots of regular people, including college students, are volunteering.

It's easy to register and easy to volunteer.   Sign up here.   And as for volunteering, you and a couple others will walk (or drive if need be) a Single Member District and take notes.

SAMHSA's behavioral health snapshot of DC

Thanks to Rob Fleming for sharing this great resource!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Get yourself some data: The Indices is out!

So what, you ask?   This is the best compilation of data for DC I've seen.   The report, which is published every few years, contains descriptions of DC government agencies, data in tables and maps, and (I think for the first time), pictures, and infographics.   And this year, the report is in color.

In the 2013 edition:

  • Chapter 1:   Washington, the Government and the People
  • Chapter 2:   Demographic Characteristics of the District
  • Chapter 3:   Economic Development
  • Chapter 4:   District-wide Planning
  • Chapter 5:   Government Operations and Finances
  • Chapter 6:   General Services, & Housing and Community Development
  • Chapter 7:   Health and Human Services
  • Chapter 8:   Community Services and Neighborhood Amenities
  • Chapter 9:   Education
  • Chapter 10:   Transportation and Environmental Services
  • Chapter 11:   Public Safety

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Leg meeting summary on DC Council website

Spring forward and be safe, advice from FEMS

A friendly reminder from DC government (in the great real estate known as the email footer):
As you spring forward, check your smoke alarm. It may be time for a new one. The DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department provides free installations of smoke alarms for owner-occupied District homes. Request an installation at or call 202-673-3331.

Bruce Johnson's update on CM Barry

The Future of [your] Street, a new way to talk and envision community improvement

On April 1st, 2014, invite neighbors into your home to talk, exchange ideas, and collectively vision for their communities all over dinner as part of The Future of [your] Street.   Sign up to host dinner by March 15.

Ward 7 Emergency Public Safety Meeting Mar. 10

There will be an Emergency Public Safety Meeting Monday, March 10 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at Deanwood Recreation Center (1350 49th St NE).

From a community list:

The heinous crime was and is an anomaly in the community and the intent is to keep it that way. This is the opportunity for the Public and MPD to come together for the safety and security of the community.

I would like to thank Commissioner's Walter Garcia and Antawan Holmes for reaching out to Chief Cathy Lanier, Commander Contee the Office of the Mayor and Ward 7 Council Member and making arrangements that made this meeting happen.

NAACP DC kicks off voter ed efforts

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Let's try again: State of the District Address Mar. 11

How does your ward stack up in registrations for the Age-Friendly DC Walk?

Are you one of the 120 or so people registered to participate in the soon-to-take-place Age-Friendly DC Block-by-Block Walk between March 20 and April 15?   As of March 2 at 4:00 pm, registration by ward looks like this:
  • Ward 1:   15
  • Ward 2:   13
  • Ward 3:   17
  • Ward 4:   22
  • Ward 5:   18
  • Ward 6:   15
  • Ward 7:   8
  • Ward 8:   5

Ward 4 is ahead with registrants as you can see.   What isn't included are the commissioners in Single Member Districts in Ward 6; all have said they will participate.   Where will that leave Ward 4?

You don't have to be an ANC to participate.   Lots of regular people, including college students, are volunteering.

It's easy to register and easy to volunteer.   Sign up here.   And as for volunteering, you and a couple others will walk (or drive if need be) a Single Member District and take notes.

Monday, March 3, 2014

danah boyd's talk at Harvard about It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

The great news is that the book is out!   I've not yet had the chance to read It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Berkman Center fellow danah boyd.   I'd love to make this space available for anyone who wants to review the book.

In the meantime, here are two reviews from

"I want to get this publication into the hands of every teacher, parent, policy maker, and journalist. Thoughtful in her analysis and adept at skewering the most common misunderstandings and anxieties about teens’ online lives, boyd is the best possible person to write a book like this, and this book does not disappoint in any way."
—Henry Jenkins, coauthor of Spreadable Media: Creating Meaning and Value in a Networked Culture

"Astute, nuanced, provocative and hopeful, boyd does it all in this must-read treatise on teens and their digital lives."
—Stephen Balkam, Founder and CEO, Family Online Safety Institute

If you are interested in what boyd has to say about her research, watch the Harvard Book Store video of boyd's book talk, also below.

Voter education from Good Faith Communities Coalition

Good Faith Communities Coalition has released the questions to and responses from mayoral candidates running in the April 1 primary.   From the GFCC website,
Questionnaire to mayoral candidates in the April 1, 2014 Democratic primary: 5 questions in areas related to social justice and homelessness as currently being experienced in the District of Columbia – Safety Net, Chronic Homelessness, Families, Affordable Housing and Outcome Measures and Transparency.

The voter guide is here (PDF).

Learning and networking opportunities in 2014

Cold Emergency activation notice March 3

Here's the latest from DC government on the Cold Emergency activation for March 3:
On Monday, March 3, 2014, the Cold Emergency Alert is activated. Additional services and supports are available to help residents who are homeless.

Please Note:

  • Due to the snow today, the Alert Night and Overflow shelters did NOT close at 7 am as usual; they will remain open 24 hours and close at 7 or 8 am Tuesday.
  • The West End Library and Sherwood Recreation Center will open at 7 pm tonight as warming sites.
  • The Shelter Hotline will have the latest information about open sites and will transport as feasible and safe under the conditions.

When the actual or forecasted temperature or wind chill is 32 degrees F or below, the District issues a Hypothermia Alert. If the actual or forecasted temperature or wind chill is 15 degrees or below, or 20 degrees with precipitation or other cold indicators, a Cold Emergency Alert will be activated. This means that additional services and supports are available to help homeless residents. To request support for persons in DC who are homeless and on the street now, contact the Shelter Hotline at 1-800-535-7252 or 311 or email Visit for updates. To receive alerts, register with Alert DC online at or by texting "DC" to 411911.

This information, and any updates, will be posted on

Wild Apricot's curated list of free training for nonprofits

Wild Apricot has curated a list of free webinars in March; the vast majority are about fundraising and volunteers.

This list is on top of the offerings by Wild Apricot itself.

A little blog housekeeping

If you receive emails announcing blog posts, you may have noticed that they are arriving in your inbox in the afternoon.   This will take a little getting used.   This change may require blog readers to be more proactive with the blog.   Mayor Gray, for example, doesn't announce his daily schedule for the following day until late in the day.   These notices are made after my emails are sent.   If you wait for the daily email, and Mayor Gray has a morning event, you will not see the information until later in the day.

There are plenty of other examples.   So why am I making the change?   The data on blog readership shows that there is more traffic in the afternoon; Twitter clickthroughs are the same.   So I'm giving it a try.   I hope you'll stick with me!

State of the District rescheduled to March 11

Mayor Gray has rescheduled the State of the District Address; the new date is March 11.   The SODA will take place at 7:00 pm at Kelly Miller Middle School (301 49th St NE).

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Legislative meeting media briefing Mar. 3 (cancelled)

DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson will hold the February 4 leg meeting Legislative Meeting Media Briefing March 3 at 10:00 am in Room 412 of the John A. Wilson Building.   Additional information is available by calling (202) 724-8032.

If you can't make it to the event you can watch on the DC Council website,

Your help is needed at the DC STEM Fair