Friday, October 30, 2015

The October 30, 2015 Tweeted and Storified

TA: Facebook or Snapchat or Twitter... Which do teens use the most?

Earlier this month, Piper Jaffray released the results of their semiannual survey of American teens.   The Wall Street Journal reports on the social media elements of the survey in Survey Finds Teens Prefer Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat for Social Networks.

These results should matter to organizations (nonprofit and government) interested in connecting with young people.   As illustrated in the WSJ chart below, teen use of Instagram and Snapchat is growing while use of Twitter and Facebook is dropping.   Certainly, youth-serving organizations should know best the likes and dislikes of their involved youth and they may differ from the Piper Jaffray findings.

The Journal correctly points out that the Piper Jaffray findings are not consistent with those of other researchers:

Other reports offer a different view. In a survey released this spring, Pew Research Internet Project found Facebook the site used most frequently by U.S. teens between 13 and 17. The Pew report showed 41% of those polled described Facebook as the site they use most frequently, followed by Instagram with 20% and Snapchat at 11%.

A 2013 report by Pew showed that teens were growing increasingly frustrated by the presence of adults on the site, but few teens had actually dumped Facebook.

Last summer, nearly half of 4,517 teenagers surveyed by Forrester Research Inc. about social media use said they used Facebook more than a year earlier.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

ICYMI: Jenny Reed focuses on performance

Jenny Reed has left the mayor's budget office and is now Chief Performance Officer in the Office of the City Administrator.   Jenny's contact info:
Telehone: (202) 478-9206
Mobile: (202) 257-3068

Decorum in the Chamber

Thought you might be interested Thursday: Why private schools

Did you see the California test scores last month?

This is why I send my son to private school here in Los Angeles.

This is how Michelle Maltais' Medium post Why I send my black son to private school starts.

Maltais explains, and describes, how she and her husband reached the decision to send their son to private school.   Maltais' personal journey involved private school education, a public school education that was a let-down from her earlier prep school experience, different standards for black and brown students in public school, and general expectations for life.

There are no do-overs or reboots, and our primary job as parents is to lay a solid foundation for our children’s future.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

October 27: Mayor-Council breakfast

Mayor Bowser will host the Mayor-Council breakfast Tuesday, October 27 at 9:00 am.   The mayor will focus on education reform and new CPR training initiative.

Follow along on Twitter.

Monday, October 26, 2015

CM Jack Evans on revenue, tax cuts

From the CM's October 22, 2015 newsletter:
The District had been fortunate over the past several years to continuously collect tax revenue in excess of the amounts we've budgeted for.

That's good news for you as taxpayers as I've been able to keep my colleagues from spending all that excess money, and instead put it into our city savings account to make us financially stronger, increase our credit rating, and as a result make it cheaper for us to undertake capital projects like rebuilding schools, roads, and bridges.

While financial reserve funds are critical to a strong municipality, there's an even better use for excess revenue for tax payers: lowering tax rates.

At the end of September, DC CFO Jeffrey DeWitt certified our revenue was $39.3 million more than we budgeted. Despite attempts by some of my colleagues to delay tax cuts we have already promised to residents and businesses.

Specifically, beginning next year (tax year 2016), personal income between $40,000 and $60,000 will be taxed at 6.5%, rather than 7.5%; the tax rate on income between $350,000 and $1 million will drop from 8.95% to 8.75%; and the business income rate will drop from 9.4% to 9.2%.

These cuts follow even more substantial cuts that we implemented this past year including the creation of that $40,000-$60,000 income bracket and an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for low income residents.

Some of you may remember that in 2014, the Council passed a sweeping tax reform package that was based on recommendations from an expert Tax Revision Commission lead by former Mayor Anthony Williams.

The tax package was a broad-based adjustment to our tax structure to make it fairer and stronger. It included some provisions that I didn't like (expanding the sales tax to fitness classes) and some that some of my colleagues didn't like (lowering the business tax and personal income tax rates), but the commission made principled recommendations based on sound tax policy. It was a compromise that we agreed to implement over several years as we saw increased revenues.

Implementing these tax cuts now is responsible public policy. It puts money back in the hands of the individuals and business who earned it, makes us more competitive to attract and retain residents and businesses, and reminds people that the District government is able to make good on its promises.

We're got more work to do to improve our tax structure, but this is an excellent start. It is important that we recouple the District's estate-tax level to the federal level, which adjusts with inflation every year. This change is particularly important for our seniors, many of whom cross the District's threshold simply by owning a home here. We also need to expand the personal exemption and standard deduction to ensure all residents are benefiting from the increased prosperity in the city. Additionally, we need to continue to implement the commission's recommendations about lowering the business tax rate to attract and retain more businesses in the city to employ District residents.

The tax cuts were unfortunately, hard fought, but well earned by DC residents and businesses. I will continue to fight to ensure that our growth in prosperity can be enjoyed by all residents who want to live, work, and operate a business in the District.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ward 7 education meeting, Tweeted

November 5: State of the Ward 4 Senior Address

Ward 4 CM Brandon Todd is hosing the State of the Ward 4 Senior Address Thursday, November 5 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at Riggs LaSalle Recreation Center (501 Riggs Rd NE).   RSVP to Solomon Waller, (202) 724-8052.

The event features:

  • The State of the Ward 4 Senior Address
  • Presentations from District agencies offering support services to older residents
  • Information about non-government services to older residents

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

#DCision16 aggregates campaign and candidate news

Interested in the local 2016 campaigns?   Read #DCision16.   Media reports about campaigns and candidates are aggregated on the blog.

Thought you might be interested Thursday: new research on poverty

New Findings From War on Poverty: Just Give Cash author Noah Smith examines the latest research on poverty and concludes that giving cash to the poor can break the cycle of poverty.

No matter your perspective―that better behavior will lead the poor out of poverty or conversely, that addressing society structures will help the poor leave poverty―the latest research, according to Smith, shows that "Even if bad behavior does make poverty worse, it’s also the case that poverty causes bad behavior in the first place."

Smith considers work by the National Bureau of Economic Research, work published in Nature Neuroscience, and work done by Harvard economist Sendhil Mullainathan.   NBER researchers, for example, have found that "giving poor families money, on top of the benefits they already receive, improves their children’s behavior."   The study published in Nature Neuroscience has identified

a correlation between child brain structure and family income. Simply put, family income is correlated with children’s brain surface area, especially among poor children. More money, bigger-brained kids.

And Mullainathan has asserted with Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much co-author Eldar Shafir, that scarcity insidiously creates "mindsets that rarely consider long-term best interests."   (Read more in The Science of Scarcity: A behavioral economist's fresh perspectives on poverty.)

All find, in some form or fashion, something different than what conservatives and liberals normally think and propose.   That's why Smith suggests that this "research should change how we think about poverty and welfare."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Get crafting: The 4th Annual Handmade Holiday Card Drive for vets is on!

As you can see from the photo above, last year's handmade holiday card drive for residents of the Old Soldiers Home/Armed Forces Retirement Home was a huge success.   Drive organizer Sarah Gabriel is hoping to make the 2015 drive even more successful.

Why you should get crafty:   Those who live at the Old Soldiers Home/Armed Forces Retirement Home gave of themselves for us.   The website explains:

The AFRH has been home to thousands of former enlisted, warrant officers, and limited duty officers. The people who have lived here have served in all five branches of the Armed Services in locations around the world. The jobs they've performed, the sacrifices they've made, and the histories they've witnessed make an incredible story.

Read about the residents and their service.

The goal of the drive is to deliver a handmade card to every retired soldier this holiday season.   According to Gabriel, "Last year we handed out over 600 hugely appreciated holiday cards from all over the country. The cards are delivered along with some hugs, singing and lots of holiday cheer."

This drive is perfect for schools, social clubs, early learning centers, community centers, houses of faith, families, businesses, nonprofits, and more!   To get involved, email Sarah Gabriel, sarchance10(at)aol(dot)com.   The deadline for completed cards to Gabriel is December 11.

What happens if there are more cards than Armed Forces Retirement Home residents?   Gabriel sends the extras to Operation Gratitude for inclusion in care packages to those serving overseas.

Libraries and beer (?) on @kojoshow Oct. 21

Shout out to MPD

Did you see?   MPD is publishing road closures in advance so DC residents and others can plan ahead.

MPD used to publish closure notices and maps but stopped.   I asked SOD to start publishing again and they have!   Thanks to MPD for listening to the community.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

October 21: Domestic violence forum

The DC Bar District of Columbia Affairs Section is sponsoring Domestic & Sexual Violence in DC - What the Law Says & What More Should It Say? Wednesday, October 21 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at University of the DC School of Law (4340 Connecticut Ave NW).   The event is free but registration is required.

The event features legal and policy experts discussing the legal challenges and issues of domestic and sexual violence.   The panel will focus on the most fundamental domestic and sexual violence issues, including those regarding the protection and housing of victims, arrest and prosecution of offenders and legislative proposals (including Council member Bonds' bill on sexual assault on campus).

Keith Alexander, WaPo Crime Reporter, will moderate the panelists:

  • Anita Bonds, At-large CM
  • Sarah Connell, Domestic Violence Section, Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia
  • Assistant Chief Peter Newsham, Metropolitan Police Department
  • Malik Washington, Training and Outreach Specialist, DC Domestic Violence Coalition
  • China Wilson, Director of the Office of Career Services and Experiential Learning and Title IX Coordinator, Trinity Washington University

A reception will follow.

Co-sponsors of the event are the additional DC Bar Section(s): Courts, Lawyers, and the Administration of Justice Section, Criminal Law and Individual Rights Section, Family Law Section, Immigration and Human Rights Committee of the International Law Section and Tort Law Section. Also in cosponsorship with David A. Clarke School of Law, The Federal City Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the University of the District of Columbia.

#no2tour: Your chance to see technology take on wastewater

You may have heard the news that DC Water is using waste to meet at least some of the Blue Plains plant's energy needs.   And in doing so, is converting #PooptoPower.   In less crass terms, DC Water's $470 million

waste-to-energy project... is producing a net 10 megawatts (MW) of electricity from the wastewater treatment process, providing clean, renewable energy to power about< one-third of the Blue Plains plants energy needs.

You can learn more about this new-to-North-America technology on one of DC Water Halloween Tours (aka #no2tour) October 28 - 30.   These tours are typically restricted to scientists and resource recovery folks, but DC Water wants to share the great news and technology with DC residents.   But hurry; space is limited.

New on Twitter: @DCHomicideCount

Sunday, October 18, 2015

10/16/15 DCR Tweeted

Meet Chris Shorter, DPW interim director

DC environmental Network is having a meeting to talk with Chris Shorter, the Interim (possibly permanent) Director of the Department of Public Works (DPW).   Shorter will present his goals for DPW and approach to aligning Sustainable DC's zero waste goals with the work of the agency.

The event is being held Thursday, November 5 at Noon.   RSVPs are required.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

WaPo: Poorer tenants fear being pushed out by planned Congress Heights complex

Changes at WUSA*9

On October 4,'s Dave Hughes announced there are changes taking place at WUSA*9.   Hughes wrote:
9 Readies More News Anchor Changes - 10/4 - As DCRTV tipped you back in September, Channel 9/WUSA will be making more news anchor line-up changes in October. Station news vet Bruce Johnson (right), who was recently reassigned from weekend duties to weeknights, has been teamed Lesli Foster at 5 PM and 6 PM for September, with Jan Jeffcoat and Foster paired at 7 PM and Jeffcoat and Johnson at 11 PM. Come mid-week, the October pairings go into effect. New arrival Adam Longo from Phoenix and Foster will anchor at 5 PM, Johnson and Jeffcoat at 6 PM and 7 PM, with Longo and Foster at 11 PM. Also, we hear that 9's evening news ratings are on the upswing with the changes and the recent arrival of news czar Bill Lord from Channel 7/WJLA.....

Your rent can be more affordable if...

Barbara Cline, in How one senior found a way to make DC more affordable, explains how residents aged 62 and older and disabled residents of any age have a legal right to apply for a permanent lower annual rent increase if they live in a rent-controlled apartment.

The Forest Hills Connection article considers the case of Kris Laurenti, a DC government employee, who lives in a rent-controlled apartment.   Cline walks readers through the rules and the calculations associated with the lower rent increase provision and provides links to valuable resources.

This is a must-read for those who live in a rent-controlled or know people who do, especially if they are close to or are 62 or older or who have a disability.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

ANC 1B has a new commissioner

Interested in what happens in ANC 1B?   Then read Borderstan's Meet Amanda Bonam, ANC 1B’s Newest Commissioner.   Bonam is a Howard student.

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Google curates health info. What are your thoughts, concerns?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Save the date: November 4, A Citywide Call for Justice and Mercy

A Citywide Call for Justice and Mercy takes place Wednesday, November 4 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (1313 New York Ave NW).   The free event features Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy and nationally known advocate for criminal justice reform.

Register for the event.

The McClendon Scholar in Residence Program at The New York Ave. Presbyterian Church is the sponsor and houses of faith assisting include Calvary Baptist, Emory United Methodist, Metropolitan AME, Luther Place Memorial, St. Columba's Episcopal, Shiloh Baptist, Covenant Baptist/UCC, Church of Christ, Right Now and St. Augustine's Catholic.

@hgil's Tweets of the October 9 DCR

Even presidents forget to return books

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

UVA delivers migration data visualizations

The University of Virginia's Demographics Research Group in the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service has created two interactive maps—using 2009-2013 5-year American Community Survey estimates—to illustrate migration in all metro areas about which the census collects data.   The StatCh@t blog post Mapping city to city migration goes well beyond the Washington Post's image of migration to and from the 10 largest metro centers plus San Francisco in A simple illustration of how Americans move between the biggest metro areas.

The Research Group's blue map allows users to select the "leave from" metro area and then maps where people move to.   So in the example below, the data shows that those who left the Hartford, CT area between 2009 and 2013 largely stayed in New England, and in fact, the vast majority simply moved to another part of Connecticut.   (Why Hartford as a starting place?   I spent some of my formative years in West Hartford.)

With the Research Group's red map, users select the destination and the map shows were people come from.   In this example, the destination is the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

US "quality of death" ranking: 9th

The United States ranks ninth in The Economist's story Quality of Death Index 2015.   Ahead of the US are United Kingdom (first), Taiwan (sixth), and Germany (seventh).

The rankings are based on "extensive research and interviews with over 120 palliative care experts from across the world" and data such as the cost of care (reported as affordability), the palliative care infrastructure, and public policies.   Additional categories are shown in the image to the right.

Read the entire report (PDF); the US is on page 77.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

From Street Sense: Solving childhood homelessness

In September, Street Sense held a forum on Child Homelessness.   The purpose of the event was to identify solutions to homelessness among children and their families.

Street Sense recapped the event in Forum Identifies Solutions to Child Homelessness.   The story features comments, recommendations, and horror stories from panelists Jamila Larson, (Homeless Children's Playtime Project), Christie Jones (school counselor and children's book author), Christina Dukes (National Center for Homeless Education), and Joshunda Sanders (individual with first-hand experience).   Kavitha Cardoza moderated.

Miss the COW and leg meeting today?

If you missed the Committee of the Whole and Legislative Meeting October 6, no worries, you can watch them here:

Becky Katz's new gig: Public Records Officer

This means that Becky Katz has left the council for the executive branch.   I presume the council's counsel will be hiring another attorney to fill the vacancy.

October 14: Improving the Lives of Children of Incarcerated Parents forum

Forum Announcement 14Oct2015

Catching up with The Kojo Nnamdi Show

Did you listen to Ward 2 CM Jack Evans on The Kojo Nnamdi Show October 2, 2015?   If not, here's the link.   You'll hear Evans talking with Nnamdi and Tom Sherwood about the feds and metro and more.

Interested in emergency services in DC?   Listen to A Proposal To Privatize Some Ambulance Service: D.C.'s Fire And EMS Chief which aired September 30, 2015.

If affordable housing is an issue you care about, listen to The Fight For Affordable Housing In D.C.’s Chinatown.   It aired September 29, 2015.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

October 5 media briefing on October 6 legislative meeting

Winter brings... snow and this shoveling volunteer opportunity!

Help your older or disabled neighbors out this winter by being a part of the DC Citizen Snow Team.   Serve DC coordinates this effort which is designed to make sure sidewalks are clear for those who find walking challenging or who are in wheelchairs.

Serve DC is holding trainings this fall―Wednesday, October 14; Thursday, November 12; Wednesday, December 9―and will schedule more if invited by ANCs or civic organizations.

According to Serve DC, there is a critical need for volunteers in Wards 4, 7, and 8.

What you will learn at the training:

  • How residents are selected by the DC Office on Aging to receive snow removal service
  • What parts of the property are to be shoveled
  • Snow versus ice removal
  • How to reach Tree Operations
  • Equipment distribution information
  • Injury and property liability information

Register to attend a training.   Have questions?   Contact Serve DC by phone, (202) 727-7925, or via email,

Photo by Steve Depolo.

Remember these DC businesses?

DC child vaccination rates lag behind national average, Healthy People 2020 goals

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 90% of kindergarten-age children in the District of Columbia in school year 2014-2015 were fully immunized with about 1% of the children not immunized because of an exemption.   This is less than the national average of 94% and the federal Healthy People 2020 goal of 95%.

CDC: Kindergarten Vax Rate High, But Not High Enough is the readable report of the findings published August 28, 2015 in Vaccination Coverage Among Children in Kindergarten — United States, 2014–15 School Year.

Why are full immunizations so important?   The CDC explains:

School vaccination regulations provide an opportunity for children who are behind on vaccination in infancy to be vaccinated by school entry. For example, the kindergartners covered in this report were born during 2009–2011. Despite differences in methodologies, when this cohort of children was included in the National Immunization Survey of children aged 19–35 months, their coverage with ≥1 MMR dose was 90.8%, compared with a median of 94.0% who had received ≥2 doses in this assessment during the school 2014–15 school year (9). Appropriate school vaccination coverage assessments at the state and local levels for all kindergartners will be critical to aid in identification of communities at risk for vaccine-preventable disease transmission, where further action could improve vaccination coverage to ensure that more children are able to benefit from the protection offered by vaccines.

Beyond this, there are the fundamental principals associated with population vaccines.   The World Health Organization argues that vaccines help mitigate the severity of disease and protect the unvaccinated population and immune-compromised population.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Get briefed on upcoming leg meeting Oct. 5

On Monday, October 5 at 10:30 am, DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson will brief the media on the Tuesday, October 6 Legislative Meeting.   The briefing takes place in Room 412 of the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW).   If you can't make it to the Wilson Building, you can watch the briefing online.

The Legislative Meeting will take place Tuesday, October 6 at 11:00 am, or immediately following the Committee of the Whole meeting.   Here is information about and for the COW and leg meeting:

Additional information about the legislative meeting briefing on Monday is available by calling Mendo's office, (202) 724‐8140.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Learning from others

Of all the responses in Parting Wisdom From 5 Outgoing Mayors published by Governing, I appreciate these two the most.   They will inform my work as a policy analyst, advocate, and resident.
  • Question: What have you learned about yourself as a manager during your time as mayor?
    Response from Don Plusquellic, former mayor of Akron, OH
    My grandmother told me, "Donny, the vast majority of people in this life are going to be good, and even if you mess up they're still going to be OK. But there's a group of people that -- no matter how hard you work, or what you do for them -- they're never going to be happy. And if you only remember them, you won't be able to serve the rest of the people." And I swear to God, that comes back to me all the time. You can't make everyone happy.
  • Question: How did the Great Recession affect you?
    Response from Michael Nutter, mayor of Philadelphia, PA
    As the great philosopher-king Mike Tyson says, "Everybody's got a plan till you get punched in the face." We got punched in the face by the recession. I had all these plans: We were going to hire 400 new police officers, we were going to do international travel. So, OK, you can't do all of that. You regroup. Figure it out. You still have to reduce crime, you still have to educate kids, you still have to get people jobs. Money or no money, you still have to do those things.

@hgil Tweets the October 2 DCR

Friday, October 2, 2015

Help keep homeless people dry during the storm

The Department of Human Services has announced that low-barrier homeless shelters will remain open 24 hours a day from Friday, October 2 at 7:00 pm to Monday, October 5 at 7:00 pm.   In addition, the Day Center (2210 Adams Pl NE) will be open Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 4 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Transportation to the low-barrier shelters and the Day Center is available for free; call the DC Shelter Hotline at 1 (800) 535-7252 to request assistance for people who are homeless.

Poverty and the media, a discussion Storified

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ward 7's introduction to ombudsman and student advocate

UPDATED: October 2, 5:00 pm.

Who needs affordable housing? October 13 panel discussion

Elevation DC is sponsoring the panel discussion Who needs affordable housing? Tuesday, October 13 from 6:00 - 8:30 pm at Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School (2427 Martin Luther King Junior Ave SE).

According to the website,

Panelists will explore the state of the housing market in the District and the region, dispel myths about housing, discuss how well-designed affordable housing contributes to an entire neighborhood, and figure out what exactly "affordable" means.

Our panelists are:
Polly Donaldson, director, D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development
Fernando Lemos, executive director, Mi Casa
Dave Stembel, director of housing and urban design at Grimm+Parker Architects
Ed Lazere, executive director of DC Fiscal Policy Institute

Andy Shallal, owner of Busboys and Poets and 2014 D.C. mayoral candidate, will moderate the discussion.

The event is free; reserve your seat online.

Thought you might be interested Thursday: Color

Color is more than the primaries, tone, hue, the Crayola 64 box (though I DO love my Crayolas).   Color is emotion, fashion, and is time-specific.

How Pantone Became The Definitive Language Of Color describes color and the role the company Pantone has played in graphic design, fashion, medicine, culture, and more.   And if you think color is not important, consider this:

Pantone scrubs have been used to improve hospital care. Nurses, doctors, and technicians cycle through different colors for each day of the week so that patients who have been there for long stays can keep track of time.