Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The text of #SODA15

April 1: Mayor Bowser Community Meet & Greet

On Mayor Bowser's Wednesday, April 1 schedule is the 3:30 pm Community Meet & Greet at 2235 Shannon Pl SE.   The live chat with Kojo Nnamdi follows.

What programs do you want DPR to offer? Tell them now.

The Department of Parks and Recreation has launched a survey to find out from residents all across the District the kinds of programs/activities they would like to see offered at their local recreation centers and swimming pools.

It's a short survey―it will take you know more than 15 minutes to complete―but you can pack quite a punch.   Tell DPR about the athletic, arts, cultural, and other needs and interests of your family as well as the sorts of programming not offered that you would like to see.

But hurry.   The survey is only open through April 13.

Gr8 news from Knowledge Commons DC: Art books free for the download

Here to help: List of summer camps for kids

Are you looking for summer camp(s) for your kids?   The Summer Camp 2015 Google doc can help.

If your camp is not listed, feel free to add; just be sure to add the date in the Notes column.

Community, technology, and disaster response

On March 10, Berkman Center fellow Willow Brugh talked about community response to disasters at the Distributed and Digital Disaster Response event.   About the event:

The citizen response to 2012's Hurricane Sandy was in many important ways more effective than the response from established disaster response institutions like FEMA. New York-based response efforts like Occupy Sandy leveraged existing community networks and digital tools to find missing people; provide food, shelter, and medical assistance; and offer a hub for volunteers and donors.

In this talk Willow Brugh -- Berkman fellow and Professor of Practice at Brown University -- demonstrates examples ranging from Oklahoma to Tanzania where such distributed and digital disaster response have proved successful, and empowered citizens to respond in ways traditional institutions cannot.

Take a look at Brugh's slide deck.

April 2015 nonprofit webinar roundup brought to you by @WildApricot

Thanks to Wild Apricot, we've got the latest list of free webinars.   22 Free Non-profit Webinars For April 2015 includes the Wild Apricot event Converting Volunteers From Joiners to Stayers and trainings by others on topics such as fundraising, social media, risk management, and more!   My favorite is the April 8 Expect the Unexpected and Prepare for it: Crisis Planning for Nonprofits training.

Monday, March 30, 2015

@MayorBowser's 2015 State of the District via social media

Mayor Bowser's first State of the District Address takes place Tuesday, March 31 at 6:00 pm.   If you can't attend, you can still watch the live stream.

And if you will Tweet while you watch (in person or via live stream), use the hashtag #SODA15.   See what others are saying and join the conversation by using a platform such as TweetChat.   Or, follow or participate in the conversation by using a mobile phone or desktop app such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.

Just want to follow the convo?   It's right here:

How healthy are DC residents?

The 2015 County Health rankings are out (DC's data can be found here), and the data show DC performing well on some measures, poorly on others.

DC performs favorably compared to others on measures such as physical inactivity, uninsured, primary care physicians, and mental health providers.   DC does less well on the majority of measures.   The standouts for poor performance are teen births, STDs, children in poverty, low birthweight, premature death, and violent crime.

While there are limitations to comparing DC to unlike counties, a comparison to national trends makes sense.   More important, the rankings are a useful snapshot of where DC stands and looking at others demonstrates it is possible to improve.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

TA: Maximizing the benefits of hashtags

The latest advice about using hashtags effectively on social media platforms is from Hootsuite in The Do's and Don'ts of How to Use Hashtags.   While people now know that "#" is more than the pound sign, Hootsuite asserts that "many people still don’t understand how to use hashtags."

Let's start with why we use hashtags.   Again, Hootsuite:

The hashtag is likely the most popular means of categorizing content on social media. It makes your own content discoverable and allows you to find relevant content from other people and businesses. The hashtag also allows you to connect with and engage other social media users based on a common theme or interest.

Consider the Storify #commbuild Mobile Tools for Digital Storytelling in the blog post TA: Digital storytelling.   Birgit Pauli-Haack could pull the Tweets from the @CommBuild Twitter chat about mobile tools for digital storytelling by searching for the hashtag #commbuild.   It's the same way I was able to Storify the #AskDCDPR Twitter chat (see Miss the #AskDCDPR Twitter Town Hall Mar. 19? Here's the event Storified.).   And, it's the same way that someone will be able to Storify Mayor Muriel Bowser's first State of the District Address.   BTW, the hashtag for SODA is #SODA15.

Okay, back to the Hootsuite piece.   Hootsuite offers specific advice in both the Do's and Don'ts categories.   The main Do is to be specific.   Other Do's include determining whether the hashtag you want to use is already in use.   HOW TO: Effectively Use Twitter Hashtags provides links to online tools to find out.

Which leads us to the Don'ts.   Mayor Bowser's campaign clearly did not determine if #FreshStart is already used.   Or if they did, did not care that a young woman with a hangover, a model who just got a hair cut, and all sorts of other folks worldwide who use the broad term to mean they are off to a, well, fresh start.   The problem for the mayor is that a search of the hashtag does not yield Tweets relevant to her.   A more appropriate hashtag for the mayor would be #DCFreshStart or #FreshStartDC.

Other Don'ts include making hashtags too long and using them too often.   While hashtags can be used to express your personal saying (think @Dizzyluv25's #Everydayisahustle), not every Tweet requires a tag.

Related to this is the number of hashtags.   Linchpinseo.com, in Infographic: Twitter Tweet Cheat Sheet To Increase Engagement, reports that the sweet spot for hashtags is one or two.   Engagement increases 21% when one or two hashtags are used and drops 17% when more than two are used.   The keys here are "engagement" and hashtags.   Not all Tweets are about engagement and thus hashtags will not matter.   Too many hashtags, however, is a surefire turnoff.

[UPDATE: Graphic updated 3/29/15, 7:20p.]

March 31 event: An Ecology of AIDS Infrastructures: A Sociotechnical History of the Present

This Princeton University Center for Information Technology Policy event will be streamed live Tuesday, March 31 at 12:30 pm.

From the announcement:

This presentation will traverse the history of HIV/AIDS from the perspective of three ‘stacked’ infrastructures that have supported research of that disease. In 1983, early in the epidemic, scientists founded the MACS to study a cohort of gay and bisexual men at risk for AIDS. Continuing to the present, the MACS has sustained a stable ‘kernel’ of resources to support research, such as a vast archive of data and specimens. In 1995, responding to a multi-pronged critique by AIDS activists, feminists and scientists, a new research infrastructure was founded focusing on women with HIV, called the WIHS. The WIHS was modeled on the MACS, sharing common methods and instruments to enable collaborative investigations. Lastly, in 2006, the NA-ACCORD was founded with the goal of integrating many HIV/AIDS infrastructures, including the MACS and the WIHS — a new organizational form for biomedicine inspired by Big Data and Cyberinfrastructure movements. By traversing the history of AIDS ‘through’ its infrastructures we can better understand the limits of our knowledge, and more broadly, the social and technical legacy-challenges faced by contemporary ecologies of infrastructure.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Are you offering summer camp this year? Do tell.

Is your organization offering a camp for young people (to age 24) this summer?   Add the basics to this Summer Camp 2015 Google doc.   I'll share the information with parents and other caregivers so they can make plans for the children in their lives.

You will notice DPR is not in this file.   I will be adding a link.

Recap of panel about HIV in DC

My two cents on Amy L. Kovac-Ashley's Medium piece on searching for a school in DC

Here are my thoughts about We visited 18 schools in 90 days in D.C., and this is what we learned. (in no order):
  1. PTAs.   Like the author, I often wonder about the inequities created by active/inactive PTAs.   It's not only about money, it's about oversight and accountability related to the school and it's leadership and parent/caregiver connectedness to the classroom.   Media reports about inequities abound; see How Budget Cuts and PTA Fundraising Undermined Equity in San Francisco Public Schools, PTA fundraising data shows massive gap between haves and have-nots, and As parents raise cash, schools confront big gap.    What fewer people pay attention to are the reasons why parents may not be engaged in their children's school: inflexibility at work, disabilities, transportation, dislike or fear of schools and teachers... the list goes on.   (See Improving Parent Involvement Programs and Practice: A Qualitative Study of Parent Perceptions (PDF))
  2. Elite status.   In response to "we often heard the refrain of 'Our school is more difficult to get into than _______________,' where the blank was filled in with the name of the Ivy League school du jour," I say read Two important discussions on college and listen to Frank Bruni on the Diane Rehm Show.
  3. School data.   Simply, more data should be readily available.
  4. Arrogance.   "It was dispiriting to hear one charter administrator speak with some level of hubris as if her school answered to no one, least of all the parents of the children in her school."   Oh, hell no.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

#dcfy16 budget hearing sked updated

The Council of DC has updated the FY 2016 budget hearing scheduled.   Changes appear on page 1.

April 1: Moving D.C. Forward, a community-based Kojo Nnamdi-Mayor Bowser convo

Moving D.C. Forward: A Conversation with Mayor Muriel Bowser takes place Wednesday, April 1 at 5:00 pm at Anacostia Playhouse (2020 Shannon Place SE).   From the announcement:
A live community forum that will explore the enduring challenges of preserving affordable housing, economic development, public safety and the Mayor’s vision for the year ahead in a rapidly changing city.

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Thought you might be interested Thursday

Learn more about plain language here: Must-use writing and editing tools, plainlanguage.gov, and Wikipedia on plain language.

TA: Go old-school for note-taking

To this day, I can remember where certain notes were in high school and college notebooks.   I can also remember where important text is in books if I highlighted or took notes.   The why's are explained in The Best Way To Remember Something? Take Notes By Hand and the scientific The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking.

Why does this matter?   Because as technology drives us to take notes on tablets or phones, we may be losing much of the value of taking notes.   Here's the abstract:

Taking notes on laptops rather than in longhand is increasingly common. Many researchers have suggested that laptop note taking is less effective than longhand note taking for learning. Prior studies have primarily focused on students’ capacity for multitasking and distraction when using laptops. The present research suggests that even when laptops are used solely to take notes, they may still be impairing learning because their use results in shallower processing. In three studies, we found that students who took notes on laptops performed worse on conceptual questions than students who took notes longhand. We show that whereas taking more notes can be beneficial, laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

TA: Using social media to promote your events

If your organization does events, this article will surely be important to you:   16 Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Event.   Listed ideas include using Facebook ads, creating a highlight real from past events, including testimonials in promotional materials, use one hashtag across all platforms, and "share pictures of speakers with quote overlays."

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Former Mayor Vince Gray on NewsTalk Mar. 19

Ward 4 candidates answer more resident questions

Ward4CandidatesInfo.com has published the fifth round of Ward 4 candidate answers to resident questions.   See the Q&A.

The questions in this round, from newest to oldest:

  1. What is your position on term limits for DC Member of the Council?
  2. Do you support the proposals of Council Member Grosso for automatic run-off voting, open primaries and campaign finance reform, or some variations on those? Related, would you support a run-off election if no candidate for the Ward 4 Member of the Council's seat receives a majority of the vote?
  3. Do you support requiring vaccine immunization shot, as DC does now? (Do you support exemptions for "personal beliefs" or the ability of parents to delay when their children get shots to lengthen immunization schedules?)
  4. What was your position on Walmart coming into DC? Did you want the Walmart jobs, related economic development (such as mixed income housing in nearby areas) and groceries in "food deserts" (areas with little or no grocery store), or do you want to hold out for jobs or companies that meet certain standards before you allow them into DC?
  5. Registered Independents in the District of Columbia are disenfranchised, as they are not legally able to vote in DC primaries. What will you do to ensure all registered voters in the District are able to vote in primary elections?

(UPDATE 3/25, 9:20a: Fixed the graphic)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Membership TA via @WildApricot

TA: A free and easy-to-use color selector

Do you design things?   Flyers?   Pamphlets?   Postcards?   Icons?   Need help with colors?

Check out the free tool from Adobe: Color CC.   Type in the RGB or HEX color you are starting with and the tool provides four additional colors.   Users choose from one of the following color schemes: analogous, triad, complementary, monochromatic, compound, and shades.   Or, customize a scheme.

Monday, March 23, 2015

March 24: Council-Mayor Breakfast

On Tuesday, March 24 at 9:30 am, the mayor and council will meet for their regular breakfast.   The meeting will take place in Room 507 of the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW).

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Mayor Bowser talks ed March 24

Mayor Bowser will make an education announcement Tuesday, March 24 at 11:00 am at Brookland Middle School (1150 Michigan Ave NE).   The announcement is about "middle grade investments, including new summer school opportunities."

TA: Changing things at scale

Is Shame Necessary?: New Uses for an Old Tool, by Jennifer Jacquet, is "about the power of social disapproval... to change things at scale."   This is how Jacquet starts her February 23 Politics and Prose book talk.

Both the P&P event and the Book TV discussion are chock-full of examples about how public shaming has created social and economic change.   One example is the Sea World stock debacle of 2014. According to CNN's SeaWorld stock gets soaked, plunges 33%,

SeaWorld has come under fire after the airing of "Blackfish" last year, a CNN documentary that exposed the alleged dangers of keeping orca whales in captivity. The film has led to proposed legislation in California, home of SeaWord's San Diego park, to ban the holding of so-called "killer whales" in captivity.

In its earnings release Wednesday, SeaWorld acknowledged that attendance in San Diego was hurt by recent media attention around the legislation. It was the first time the company actually admitted attendance problems because of animal activism, said Barton Crockett, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets, in a research note following SeaWorld's earnings.

Learn about Blackfish.

Both videos are mandatory watching for advocates and activists no matter the issue they work on.   And naturally, the book is a must-read.   Why?   According to Jacquet, "while protests and consumer boycotts are valuable tactics in changing the behavior of governments and corporations, public shaming can be even more effective."   (Book TV segment).   Further,

while guilt holds individuals to personal standards, it proves impotent in the face of corrupt corporate policies. In recent years, we have been asked to assuage our guilt about these problems as consumers, by buying organic foods or fair trade products, for example. Yet, unless nearly everyone participates, the impact of individual consumer consciousness is microscopic.   (synopsis)

Jacquet is assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at New York University, contributes to Edge.org, and previously wrote Scientific American's guilty planet blog.

Buy the book at P&P.

Mayor Bowser on Carol Joynt's Q&A Café

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mayor Bowser's March 23 sked

The mayor's Monday, March 23 schedule includes the 10:00 am presser about early childhood.   According to the release titled Mayor Bowser to Announce Multi-Year Effort to Strengthen Early Childhood Education Programs, Mayor Bowser
will announce a multi-year effort to strengthen the District's early childhood education programs. The neighborhood-based program is designed to ensure more children and families benefit from early, continuous and comprehensive child development and family support services.

The press conference takes place at UPO at Frederick Douglass (3240 Stanton Rd SE).

The March 20, 2015 DCR in Tweets

April 2: Ward 4 candidate forum

A candidate forum will take place Thursday, April 2 at 7:00 pm at Kingsbury Day School (5000 14th St NW).   Details and to RSVP.

Teach Your Children from Glee finale

Because this is my blog, I'm sharing this from the Glee finale.   With a huge s/o to Jeff Coudriet with whom I laughed and cried and shared snarky comments on social media while watching Glee.   Here's to an end to an era and friends here and now and in the great beyond.

1-800-222-1222, the number for Poison Control

Memorize―and put by the telephone to be on the safe side―the number for the Poison Control Center.   The number is 1-800-222-1222.   If jingles help you remember things, listen to it here.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Turning "The Dress" meme on its head

If you want to learn more about how The Salvation Army used the meme for good, read 'The Dress' Has Been Repurposed As a Domestic-Violence PSA.

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CM Nadeau on Twitter

If you are not already, follow Ward 1 CM Brianne Nadeau on Twitter, @BrianneKNadeau.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Miss the #AskDCDPR Twitter Town Hall Mar. 19? Here's the event Storified.

A must-read: Pop Culture for Social Change from LightBox Collaborative

LightBox Collaborative introduces us to Spoiler Alert: How Progressives Will Break Through With Pop Culture in the blog post Pop Culture for Social Change.    While the two examples―#HowWeDoIt and #ImUnloading―in the blog post feature celebrities, Spoiler Alert author Tracy Van Slyke explains how we can use pop culture to achieve social change without celebs.

One of the two recent examples is #HowWeDoIt by the Make It Work Campaign.   The campaign is

about making things better for hardworking women, men and families across the country. We are a community of people who share the belief that hardworking Americans shouldn't have to choose between being there for family and earning a living. We're speaking up and seeking solutions because it’s 2015, folks -- and past time all of us were able to make it work.

Here's the #HowWeDoIt vid:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Two important discussions on college

This week, Diane Rehm spent a considerable amount of time talking college.   On Monday, March 16, Rehm talked with Frank Bruni about his new book Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote To The College Admissions Mania.   Rehm introduces the program with Bruni this way:
In the next few weeks, high school students around the country will begin getting letters from colleges to which they've applied. Many will be rejections. New York Times columnist Frank Bruni says that over the last few decades Americans have distorted the entire college admissions process. We've made young people – and their parents – believe that acceptance to one of the nation's top colleges is the key to success. And that being denied entry will keep many other doors in life closed. In a new book, Bruni explains why that's flat-out wrong. Bruni makes an argument for stopping what he calls the "college admissions mania."

Want to hear more from Bruni?   He will be talking about his book at Politics and Prose Saturday, March 21 at 1:00 pm (event notice).

Then today (Thursday, March 19), Rehm invited four panelists to the program to talk about the topic Worries About the Future of Liberal Arts Colleges.   Rehm introduced the March 19 panel this way:

After a century of educating women, Sweet Briar College in rural Virginia announced this month it would close. Its endowment of about $84 million did not protect the school from the financial strains of declining enrollment. Some higher education experts warn Sweet Briar is part of a national trend of declining student interest in expensive liberal arts education and single-sex schools in place of more vocational degrees. The challenges many small private colleges face, what some schools are doing to attract students, and if it matters.

Full disclosure: I admire Frank a lot having gone to high school with him and following his career.   And the Sweet Briar decision is upsetting as I went to an all women's college down the road in Roanoke, Hollins College, now Hollins University.nbsp;  I believe in single-sex schools and wish Sweet Briar could have made a go of it in the future, even if they had to go co-ed.

OCFO reports and news, March 2015 update

The Office of the Chief Financial Officer has recently released several reports and posted news:

Thought you might be interested Thursday: A bit of DC history

New or not to DC, 'Chocolate City' Loses its Prominence as the Face of D.C. Changes - The historical presence of D.C.’s black community dissipates during the age of gentrificatio​n is a worthwhile read.

The article in The Hilltop walks readers through the days before Home Rule, the period during which DC was known as "Chocolate City", and the days since, when the face of residents has changed.   The piece is much more nuanced, and has much more to offer, than this intro paragraph would lead you to believe:

Next to Harlem and Chicago, Washington, D.C. has been a mecca for young black professionals for the last 70 years. There was also a time when anyone could walk down U Street and see more black faces than white or brown faces on the street. Within the last few decades, the face of The District has completely altered, shoving the African American population below 50 percent. What was once considered a historically black community, now dwindles under the domination of gentrification.

Add this to the reading list for new staffers and interns.   It's a useful frame of reference and introduces readers to a variety of ideas and names.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

David Catania lands at law firm

CM Bonds' newsletter has a new look

At-large CM Anita Bonds has changed the look of her newsletter.   If you're not on the list, subscribe to her newsletter today.

Free TA: Converting Volunteers From Joiners to Stayers, Apr. 16

WildApricot's Free Expert Webinar: Converting Volunteers From Joiners to Stayers takes place Thursday, April 16 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm (there will be a bonus overtime Q&A session).   Space is limited so register soon.

From the event announcement:

Has your organization become a revolving door for disappointed volunteers seeking a better fit elsewhere?

Is it because you’ve neglected a critical stage of the volunteer life cycle – volunteer onboarding?

Tobi Johnson believes that when done successfully, your volunteer onboarding process can help new volunteers find a comfortable and stimulating place to support their association or non-profit.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

#dcfy16 DCPS budget guide

DCPS FY2016 Final Budget Guide

Get your fingers ready: DPR hosting Twitter Town Hall Mar. 19

The Department of Parks and Recreation will host its first Twitter Town Hall Thursday, March 19 from 11:00 am - Noon.   Join the conversation by using the hashtag #AskDCDPR; DPR's Twitter handle is @DCDPR.  Consider using a tool like TweetChat to make the most of the DPR Twitter Town Hall.

The event will focus on DPR's key summer programs, facilities and offerings, specifically:

  • Summer Camps
  • Pools
  • Summer Employment Opportunities
  • DPR's Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) opportunities
  • DC Free Summer Meals

April 1: #Ward8 DC Council candidate forum

A (large) number of Ward 8 organizations have organized a candidate forum and straw poll to take place Wednesday, April 1 from 6:30 - 9:00 pm at F.W. Ballou High School (3401 4th St SE).

Got questions?   Contact Charles Wilson, (202) 834-0600 or via email, charleswilsonhu@gmail.com.

Got space others can use?

Nonprofits spend a lot of time―too much time―looking for free and affordable space for meetings, events, and more.   In a 2009 survey, respondents agreed that an online resource listing free and affordable space would be useful.

If you have a space others can use for free or a small fee, enter the info into this online spreadsheet.   For this resource to be successful, owners of space will have to populate this list.   So please share far and wide.   And be sure to provide info for your free/affordable space.

Monday, March 16, 2015

COW, leg meeting on sked for Council of DC Mar. 17

The Council of DC's Tuesday, March 17 sked includes a Committee of the Whole meeting followed by a Legislative Meeting.

ICYMI: Council 101

Want to better understand what the Council of DC does?   PIO Josh Gibson is explaining.   The three posts to date are:

Future 101s will be posted in the council News section.   You can also learn about 101s and other news by following the council on Twitter, @councilofdc.

TA: Image sizes for various social media platforms

Buffer's The Mega Guide to Image Sizes for Social Media Posts: Guidelines for All 6 Major Social Networks is a must-bookmark.   While each platform has image size requirements, this blog post acknowledges that the two sizes that cover most platforms are 1,024 x 512 px (landscape) and 800 x 1,200 px (portrait).

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Friday, March 13, 2015

The March 13, 2015 register Tweeted

Calling Ward 7 residents

Do you live in the area of Ward 7 highlighted in the map below?   The boundaries are Ridge Rd SE to the north, Pennsylvania Ave SE to the south, Fort Davis Dr SE to the west, and Southern Ave SE to the east.   If you live in this area and are interested in joining the Penn Southern Nextdoor community, email me (susie.cambria@gmail.com) soon.   [Why is this area called Penn Southern?   The area was named before I joined.]

What is Nextdoor?   It is

the private social network for you, your neighbors and your community. It's the easiest way for you and your neighbors to talk online and make all of your lives better in the real world. And it's free.

Thousands of neighborhoods are already using Nextdoor to build happier, safer places to call home.

People are using Nextdoor to:

  • Quickly get the word out about a break-in
  • Organize a Neighborhood Watch Group
  • Track down a trustworthy babysitter
  • Find out who does the best paint job in town
  • Ask for help keeping an eye out for a lost dog
  • Find a new home for an outgrown bike
  • Finally call that nice man down the street by his first name

Ward 2 school budget community education forum, Mar. 24

The Ward 2 Education Network and other organizations are sponsoring the Tuesday, March 24 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm community education information session at Ross Elementary School (1730 R St NW, two blocks from Dupont Metro).   Children elementary age and up are welcome; there will be a room for them to hang out in.   RSVP via email, W2EdNetwork@gmail.com.

From the announcement:

How does the school budget timeline work in DC? What factors into the amount DCPS allocates for your school’s budget? What are the enrollment cut-offs for positions (like librarians, etc.)? How much discretion is there over use of funds at the school level? What is at-risk funding? How are at-risk funds allocated and implemented? Can parents advocate for add’l positions or resources for their child’s school?

This meeting will feature Soumya Bhat, education finance and policy analyst at the DC Fiscal Policy Institute. (Feel free to send your budget questions in advance by e-mailing bhat@dcfpi.org.)

This event is also sponsored by the Foggy Bottom Association, the Logan Circle Community Association, and the Dupont Circle Citizen Association in conjunction with the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions from Foggy Bottom (ANC 2A), Dupont Circle (ANC 2B) and Logan Circle (ANC 2F).

TA: Must-have website elements

I love 6 must-have elements for your website contact page.   It captures all my frustration with website contact information.   My favorite is must-have element 2, "An email address. It's better than a contact form because customers can send emails from their own inboxes, where they get confirmation as soon as email is sent."

The only thing better than number 2 is to prominently place the "contact" or "contact us" link on the website.   Please, please, please do not make me hunt for it.   If I have to, I will likely get bored and go away.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

DC's got a Chief Performance Officer

Mayor Bowser announced the appointment of Tony Saudek at CPO and CapStat director March 11; read the release.   DCInno reported the news in DC Mayor Announces Two Major Tech Hires: Here's What We Know.   The other big appointment (blogged in OCTO gets a permanent director ) is Tegene Baharu as CTO.

Thought you might be interested Thursday: The Wait, a documentary

Sharing simply because this is a good watch and a slice of DC history.   Here's the set-up from Kent Boese, ANC 1A chair:
In November 2014, DC artist Nekisha Durrett painted a mural on the south wall of the Mothership restaurant called "The Wait". Many may remember that Mothership (which sadly is closing today) is in the former Brown's Caribbean Bakery building located at Georgia Avenue and Lamont Street, NW. As part of the mural project, the artist and filmmaker Lorie Shaull made a documentary on the artistic process, the artistic concept behind the mural, and the Park View neighborhood. The documentary is just over 11 minutes and can be watched at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNzFyygYcLE.

I'm pleased that ANC 1A supported Nekisha when she first approached the Commission with her vision to bring this work to Georgia Avenue. It was also an honor to sit down and chat with her and the filmmaker as they created the documentary, some of which was included in the film. I hope you all enjoy the documentary.

With kind regards,

Kent Kent C. Boese, Chair
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A
Single Member District (SMD) 1A08

To learn more about why Mothership closed, read Mothership Will Close, El Floridano Food Truck Will Return.

Ward 1 event Storified by CM Nadeau

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March 11 learn another history of DC at the BBP S Street Rising book event

Ruben Castaneda, author and former Post reporter, will talk about his book S STREET RISING Wednesday, March 11 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at the Brookland Busboys and Poets (625 Monroe St NE).

From the BBP event announcement:

Castaneda, a long-time award-winning Washington Post journalist, covered the crime beat during the height of the city's crack epidemic. It was a scene he knew intimately, as he shares in this personal account, since he was swept up in addiction himself. Part memoir and part portrait of a city in crisis, S Street Rising is a vivid account of D.C. during the Barry era. (Bloomsbury)

DCist's Nicole Dubowitz describes the backdrop of this history book in her announcement of the event, Page and Perspective: The History Of D.C.'s Crack Crisis.   For example, Dubowitz paints Castaneda as a great storyteller (which he is) and a reporter using drugs while reporting on the crisis (he's now clean).

Another WaPo change; Outlook gets a new editor

Monday, March 9, 2015

Thoughts about MPD as shared with the Committee on the Judiciary before oversight hearing

The Committee on the Judiciary (Ward 5 CM Kenyan McDuffie, chair) will hold the MPD performance oversight hearing Tuesday, March 10 at 10:00 am.   (Watch hearing here.)   Here are two statements submitted to the committee in advance of the hearing.

Statement for the Record MPDOversight031015

Whidden Statement for the Record MPDOversight031015

March 10: Learning About DC's Data Sharing and Geospatial Tools

OCTO's Tim Abdella, DC GIS' program manager for the Government of the District of Columbia is participating in the Tuesday, March 10 event Learning About DC's Data Sharing and Geospatial Tools being held at MLK Library (901 G St NW, Dream Lab).

The invitation:

A conversation and opportunity to ask DC GIS' program manager questions, use the tools and give feedback
Tim Abdella, DC GIS' program manager for the Government of the District of Columbia, will talk about the District’s geospatial data site (http://data.dc.gov) -- the 600+ spatial datasets the District has available for anyone to use for research, analysis, product creation and more! He will also showcase the many geospatial apps and tools the District has built for residents, such as tracking snowplows and finding property information and permits. Come ready to offer your feedback on what you would like to see happening next with DC's GIS data!

Bring a laptop so you can use the data and tools yourself! The event is open to anyone. Please RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/Maptime-DC/events/220741310/

New report contains a wealth of data on 54 neighborhoods in DC

The DC Economic Partnership has released their annual DC Neighborhood Profile (PDF) report.   The report "highlights demographics of the 54 identified neighborhoods in the District of Columbia including population, households, income, age, and consumer expenditures."   (Read the full press release).   The report also includes information about the "number of grocery stores, cultural, or art highlights and provides detailed data and market intelligence."

While the report is designed for the business sector—WDCEP released the report at Mid-Atlantic International Council of Shopping Center conference—the reports provide a tremendous amount of information valuable to advocates, residents, nonprofits, and others.

The associated 54 Reasons to Love DC Interactive Map contains a map (duh), a photo for each of the 54 neighborhoods, and a neighborhood summary clearly written for the business and entrepreneurial set.


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AG Racine's oversight testimony

On Friday, March 6, AG Karl Racine appeared before the Committee on the Judiciary (Ward 5 CM Kenyan McDuffie, chair) and talked FYs 2014 and 2015.   According to the release,
He further emphasized that OAG could be even better advocates for the District and its residents if provided with additional resources, and he underscored the clear need – supported by an overwhelming majority of District voters when they approved of creating an independent Attorney General – for OAG to continue to serve as the District’s chief legal voice.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Oversight hearing sked updated Mar. 6

Time springs forward March 8

Remember to turn your clocks forward one hour before you go to bed Saturday night (March 7).   The official time change happens at 2:00 am March 8, but if you're like me, you're in slumber land at that time..   And before you think any snarky thoughts, there are plenty of clocks requiring a manual time change (at least in my house): alarm clock, oven, various clocks around the house.

Report: Mayor Bowser is tackling the wealth gap

Thursday, March 5, 2015

DOH oversight hearing rescheduled to Mar. 11

Cold Emergency to be activated March 5 and 6; how you can help people who are homeless

The District government is activating the Cold Emergency overnight Thursday, March 5 at 9:00 pm (through 7:00 am March 6) and Friday, March 6 at 9:00 pm (through 7:00 am March 7).   This means that all adults who are homeless should be in a shelter or at a warming site.

What you can do: Contact the Shelter Hotline and request transportation.   Do this by emailing uposh@upo.org or calling (202) 399-7093.   Provide the time you saw the person/people, the location, and a description (male/female, clothing).

You can also let a person who is homeless use your mobile phone to call the shelter hotline.   They should call (202) 399-7093.   If they don't want to use your phone, have them dial 1-800-535-7252 from a pay phone.

Since it's wet and will be so for the next couple of days, consider buying adult-size socks, hats, gloves, or mittens and donate them to UPO.   (Details about making a donation)   UPO operates the Shelter Hotline (hotline and the van) and they are in the best position to distribute these items.

Finally, program your mobile phone with the Shelter Hotline email, uposh@upo.org, and phone number, (202) 399-7093.

Thought you might be interested Thursday: @frankbruni on college

What resonates the most for me of Frank Bruni's column College, Poetry and Purpose is this:

And yet, she said, there are still many earnest young men and women who come before her wanting nothing more or less than to be bigger, better. She praised an undergraduate business major in the class that she is currently teaching, Poetry and Politics in Ancient Greece.

“She said that going to college develops something in you that’s like a muscle, in the same way that when you go out and play tennis or whatever sport, you develop certain muscles,” Hall told me, adding that she agreed with the student.

That brought Hall to her own answer about college's mission: "It is for developing the muscle of thoughtfulness, the use of which will be the greatest pleasure in life and will also show what it means to be fully human."

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Landlords needed to help city help homeless families

On February 12, Mayor Bowser and DHS acting director Laura Zeilinger, and others announced A New Lease on Life.    The program is described in the release as "an innovative initiative to help homeless families find quality, affordable housing."

The initiative has two parts.   The first is the new team approach to helping connect homeless families to housing.   The second is an aggressive outreach and engagement effort to identify and then bring landlords with available and affordable apartments into the program.

Landlords interested in participating in this life changing program by contacting DHS by phone, (202) 698-4140, or email, newleaseonlife@dc.gov.   Landlords can add info about their available units in an online form.

The A New Lease on Life website also has a flyer that can be downloaded for distribution.

CM Silverman looking for volunteers

At-large CM Elissa Silverman appealed for volunteers in her latest newsletter.   Silverman wrote:
As I start to settle into the Wilson Building, I don't want to lose touch with grassroots events happening across our city. I want you--or at least some of you--to keep me informed of what is happening in your neighborhoods and in your wards.

So I am asking for volunteers to be part of ward teams to keep me and my office plugged in. If you are interested in helping me with this effort, please contact my special projects coordinator, Ian Maggard (imaggard@dccouncil.us). Ian and I are hoping that we can get several residents from each ward to help be the eyes and ears for our office, as well as let us know of meetings and events to attend. Please contact Ian if you'd like to help.

March 4 is National Grammar Day

Who knew there was a day dedicated to grammar?   There is: March 4 is National Grammar Day.   Check out the website for "podcasts, blog posts, and much more from Grammar Girl, including her new, free resource – the Editing Checklist."

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

TA: Tips for making your website useful to users

While Avoid Weak 'Links' in Your Digital Chain was written for federal government agencies, the advice is applicable to nonprofits and DC government.   As the article points out, linking appropriately is good for searchability and makes for good readability and a positive user experience.   Ways to accomplish the good practices promoted by DigitalGov include:

  • make links descriptive
  • be concise
  • use color, bold, and or underline to differentiate links from normal text
  • indicate if the link leads to a document versus a webpage

March 19: Let the Sun Shine: FOIA Requests for Journalists and Researchers

Let the Sun Shine: FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Requests for Journalists and Researchers, a George Washington University event, takes place Thursday, March 19 at 4:00 pm at Gelman Library (2130 H St NW, Room 702).

From GW:

Director of the Freedom of Information Act Project Nate Jones of the non-government, non-profit National Security Archive will lead a workshop on how journalists, historians, or any person can file successful FOIA requests to the federal government. His two-hour workshop will share the tactics the Archive has learned from the 50,000-plus FOIA requests and appeals that it has submitted. Jones will utilize real examples of FOIA requests, appeals, and releases to demonstrate how to pry government documents into the public domain and allow Americans to know what their government is up to. This event is part of Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Sunshine Week participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know. This workshop is free and open to the public.

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Donations = jobs at Goodwill

Monday, March 2, 2015

Sign up today: Free cooking classes in #Ward7 for #Ward7 residents

"Coffee With Kinlow" Mar. 2

Ward 8 Council of DC candidate Eugene D. Kinlow will talk with Ward 8 voters Monday, March 2 at 9:00 am at IHOP (The Shops at Park Village, 1523 Alabama Ave SE).   Voters are encouraged to stop by to get to know the candidate and his positions on public policy issues, etc.

Federal poverty guidelines for 2015

In late January 2015, the US Department of Health and Human Services updated the annual poverty guidelines.   The screenshot from the January 22, 2015 Federal Register lists the new guidelines in effect for numerous entitlement programs for this year.

March 4: #BlackGirlsMatter Discussion & Focus Group

#BlackGirlsMatter Discussion & Focus Group will take place Wednesday, March 4 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm at Busboys and Poets 14th and V Sts location.

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February 2015 updates from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer

The Office of the Chief Financial Officer has recently released the following:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Mayor Bowser to announce FEMS director Mar. 2

Mayor Bowser's March 2 schedule includes the 10:30 am presser at which the mayor will announce her pick for FEMS chief.   The presser takes place at Engine 2 (500 F St NW).

WTTG's Matt Ackland Tweeted news about Bowser's pick:

Office of Budget and Finance staff list

Office of Budget and Finance Staff 0215

Ward 4 voter education events

Lamod-Riggs Citizens Association Ward 4 Councilmember Forum, March 2 at 6:30 pm.   WaPo's Colby King will moderate.   The forum takes place at LaSalle-Backus Education Campus (501 Riggs Rd NE).

Ward 4 Thrives hosts candidates for the Council of DC seat Wednesday, March 4 at 6:30 pm.   The meeting takes place at Fort Stevens Recreation Center (Van Buren St NW between Luzon Ave NW and 13th St NW).   Candidates will present their views on land use, followed by questions and answers from attendees.

Shepherd Park Citizens Association and Chevy Chase Citizens Association Ward 4 candidate forum Wednesday, March 18 at 7:00 pm at St. John's College (Military Rd NW at Oregon, use Oregon Ave entrance).

Other candidate events are listed on the Ward 4 Candidates Info calendar.

Language immersion public policy and practice program Storified

Just say no to lowercase "d" for District