Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Great idea, great service, honor to all

Katie Prior started Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps to honor veterans.   Her organization was featured on ABC News May 30; watch the ABC News video.   According to the organization website,
The Youth Trumpet & Taps Corps is a service organization for high school trumpet players who use their musical gifts to honor military veterans. Our main project is volunteering to sound Taps at veterans' funerals when a professional military bugler is not available. Out of respect for service to our country, we feel that veterans' final honors are more worthy of a live rendition of our National Song of Remembrance.

There's also this YouTube video by US Cellular of Prior and Trumpet and Taps:

There are no state affiliations in DC, Maryland, or Virginia.

Update May 31, 5:50p: Video replaced with one that would play. Link to ABC added.

Measuring mileage manually? Try this time saver.

If you need to track mileage for work, volunatarism, or medical appointments, Shaun Dakin of Dakin Associates recommends MileIQ.   The app, available on Google Play and the App Store, captures the miles driven, allows users to attribute them to specific purposes (business, personal, medical, charity, etc.), and calculates the value of the miles driven.

The app has a free version and two paid versions.

Try it for free and get a 20% discount when you upgrade using Dakin's invitation.

I'm not making anything from this.   I'm interested in ways to make life a little easier and this seems like a good one.

Monday, May 30, 2016

May 31: Learning from the DC Housing Conditions Court

If you are interested in quality affordable housing, tenant rights, and housing conditions generally, attend or watch online What Can We Learn from the D.C. Housing Conditions Court? New Data Suggests Unusual Model Works Well Tuesday, May 31 from Noon - 2:00 pm (doors open at 11:30 am).   The event takes at the D.C. Bar (1101 K St NW in the Conference Center).   The brown bag event is sponsored by the D.C. Bar Courts, Lawyers and the Administration of Justice Section.

Fritz Mulhauser, Courts, Lawyers and the Administration of Justice Section Steering Committee will moderate.   Panelists are:

  • Beth Mellen Harrison, Legal Aid Society of D.C.
  • Jessica Steinberg, George Washington University Law School Clinics
  • Hon. Melvin R. Wright, Judge, D.C. Superior Court

About the program, from the announcement:

The program will feature a presentation of new data about the process and outcomes of a little-known unit within D.C. Superior Court that appears to be successfully dealing with housing code violations, and that differs greatly from other courts in its accessibility for unrepresented tenants.

Jessica Steinberg, clinical professor at George Washington University Law School, will present her research based on observing more than 300 hearings in the Housing Conditions Court and studying dozens of case files. She will explore the court's unique alternative procedures that seem to be yielding more highly favorable outcomes than commonly seen in housing courts elsewhere—that is, positive resolution of independently verified tenant claims about the habitability of rental units.

The originator of the court and its first judge, Hon. Melvin R. Wright, will be a discussant. He will be joined by Beth Harrison, Supervising Attorney in the Housing Law Unit of the Legal Aid Society of DC and the Director of Legal Aid’s Landlord-Tenant Court-Based Legal Services Project and Housing Right to Counsel Pilot Project.

The program will be of general interest to those concerned with maintaining safe and livable housing in the District for people of low and moderate incomes, and also to those concerned with access to justice more generally and ways to enhance courts' functioning to better cope with claims presented by unrepresented people.

Pre-registration for this program is encouraged but not required; walk-ins are welcome.   To register for the online webcast, register here.

Questions?   Contact the Bar via email, SectionsEvents@dcbar.org.

Activities, week of May 30 in Wards 7 & 8

BBP Anacostia update, June 1

Hear from Andy Shallal Wednesday, June 1 at Noon about his plans for the Anacostia Busboys and Poets.   Shallal will guest on The Kojo Nnamdi Show.   Listen online.

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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Considering online learning? Read this first.

I don't have any advice other than this: Read An In-Depth Guide To Choosing The Best Online Learning Sites.   Omar Samuels' post
provides in-depth reviews of some of the best platforms that I've personally used. It's meant to give you an idea of what's out there and what to look out for in deciding which platform best fits your needs – including a few powerful, non-traditional (and free!) options that are often overlooked.

Thanks to Sheila B Robinson's blog post Sheila B Robinson on a Great FREE Tool for Learning a New Idioma, Langue, Teanga or Lingvo!.

More Twitter news

Friday, May 27, 2016

Recap of May 26 Ward 3 homeless shelter meeting

Be a part of history: Help craft DC's Constitution

The New Columbia Statehood Commission wants feedback on the draft Constitution of the State of New Columbia it released earlier this month.   The commission is sponsoring four town halls and a Constitutional Convention to get feedback and build momentum for DC Statehood:
  • Town Hall, Thursday, June 2, 6:00 - 8:00 pm at Bertie Backus UDC Community College, 5171 South Dakota Ave NE
  • Town Hall, Saturday, June 4, 1:00 - 3:00 pm at Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter School, 2427 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave SE
  • Town Hall, Tuesday, June 7, 6:00 - 8:00 pm at African American Civil War Memorial & Museum, 1925 Vermont Ave NW
  • Town Hall, Wednesday, June 8, 6:00 - 8:00 pm at Raymond Recreation Center, 3725 10th St NW
  • Constitutional Convention, Friday, June 17, 6:00 pm, Woodrow Wilson High School, 3950 Chesapeake St NW
  • Constitutional Convention, Saturday, June 18, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm, Woodrow Wilson High School, 3950 Chesapeake St NW

Learn more and RSVP for one or more of events on statehood.dc.gov.

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Love it! A cheaty drawing tutorial!

Need an illustration?   Do what Sarah Cooper does: trace a photo.

Read Cooper's I Don’t Know How to Draw - And you can, too and learn how she does what she does and how she learned to do it.

This is a terrific summer learning opportunity!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Commemorate Memorial Day at Soldiers’ Home National Cemetery

Commemorate Memorial Day with the wreath laying ceremony and a tour of the Soldiers' Home National Cemetery, officially the United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery, Monday, May 30, 10:00 am - 12:30 pm.

The cemetery is the final resting place for more than 14,000 veterans.   Some of the graves, shown to the right in the photo taken by Steve Fernie, date to veterans of the Civil War.

The wreath laying takes place at John Logan's mausoleum; Logan formalized Memorial Day celebrations in 1868 and is the namesake of Logan Circle.   Cemetery tours start at 10:15; learn more about the tours and reserve your spot on the President Lincoln’s Cottage website.   President Lincoln's Cottage is partnering with Armed Forces Retirement Home and Arlington National Cemetery on the commemoration events.

Thought you might be interested Thursday: Dad + crayon leftovers = magic

Learn more about TCI in Dad Finds Brilliant Way To Reuse Leftover Crayons From Restaurants And Schools.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Live in Ward 7? Follow @6DCOC on Periscope

Follow 6D on Periscope.

Update your media list: WJLA gets a new reporter

DCRTV and others have reported that Tim Barber is joining WJLA as a general assignment reporter.   He will be on nights Monday through Friday.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Add a little beauty to your day

If you like art, you are going to love the Art Camera from the Google Cultural Institute.   An eye for detail: Zoom through 1,000 artworks thanks to the new Art Camera from the Google Cultural Institute explains what the camera does and why it does it.

More interesting to non-techies is the fact that the Google Cultural Institute has just released 1,000 pieces of art "scanned" by the new camera.   Visit Art Camera Images and see works by Pissarro, Signac, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Remington, and Boudin to name just a few.

The Art Camera Images are a treasure; as is written on the Google Blog,

So much of the beauty and power of art lives in the details. You can only fully appreciate the genius of artists like Monet or Van Gogh when you stand so close to a masterpiece that your nose almost touches it. As you step back from the brush strokes, you wonder how it all comes together.

The video below takes a quick look at the camera and what it can do.

May 31: Ballot measure advocacy by nonprofits webinar

Participants in the Tuesday, May 31, 2:00 pm webinar Take a Stand: Ballot Measure Advocacy for Nonprofits will learn that nonprofits can engage in ballot measure advocacy.   They will also learn why ballot measure work is lobbying and not electioneering and much more from Bolder Advocacy's Abby Levine.

Registration is required for this free event.

Monday, May 23, 2016

DC Council candidates interviewed

Petworth News' Drew Schneider is interviewing candidates.   Here's what's been done so far, oldest to newest:

Instagram will add analytics

If you are on Instagram and are interested in your reach and engagement, head on over to Social Media Today and read Instagram’s Analytics Tools are Coming.   With this new functionality, you will be able to ascertain:
  • Locations of followers
  • Times followers are most active on the app
  • Breakdown of followers by gender
  • Breakdown of followers by age
  • Audience gain by gender
  • Number of impressions by post by week or month

Kids, enter now! 5th Annual "A Book That Shaped Me" contest.

Numeracy and health, one perspective

Rima E. Rudd, ScD, MSPH―senior lecturer on health literacy, education, and policy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health―asserts (PDF) that numeracy deficits prevent many Americans from "skillfully" accessing and using "information for mundane and critical [health-related] decisions."

Rudd on why numbers and understanding them are important:

Numbers are a vital part of health discussions and play a key role in health decisions and actions. People must grapple with numbers on food and medicine labels, insurance forms, enrollment documents, weather charts, and allergy alerts. They are expected to understand a test result or vital-sign measure in the context of a normal range. They are challenged to undertake risk-benefit analyses for critical decisions.

Rudd concludes,

Many suggested strategies focus on doing the math or providing imbedded calculators; encourage providing numbers along with words; insist on giving meaning to numbers; and offer insights for clear displays. All emphasize the importance of eliminating unnecessary barriers to comprehension, use, and decision making.

The research can help the various literacy and numeracy stakeholders―health, literacy, and employment, to name just a few―work in a coordinated manner to improve numeracy skills overall and particularly related to essential life situations.   Working together would leverage the many opportunities already available to educate and engage DC residents.   Best case scenario, collaborative work would result in the ability to engage additional DC residents, family members, and friends who also need improved numeracy skills.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Learn a new language

Want to learn a new language?   Check out Duolingo, an online language learning platform (they say they are the "world's largest").

Three essential elements of Duolingo learning are that the site is crowdsourced, learning is gamified, and people whose language is not English can learn another language.   The most robust second (or third) language learning opportunities are available to speakers of English, Spanish, Russian, French, Portugese, and several other languages.   Speakers of Hindi, Czech, and Polish, to name just a few may learn only English.   At the moment; the company wants to expand offerings.

There's also Duolingo for Schools.   Parents can use it to set parental controls (disabling certain vocabulary words and social interactions).

@hgil Tweets May 20 DCR

May 24: Are we shifting to a new post-capitalist value regime?

Berkman Center's Are we shifting to a new post-capitalist value regime? will be live streamed Tuesday, May 24 at Noon.   Tune in for this important discussion.   According to the P2P Foundation's publication What Does the P2P Foundation Do? (PDF),
P2P dynamics are most visible today in the many communities and movements self-organising around the co-creation of culture and knowledge. Some of the most well known examples are: Creative Commons, Free Software and Open Source, Open Access in education and science, Wikipedia, Open Data, Open Government and Free Culture.

These communities, values and practices are now also increasingly present in the world of physical production through Open Design, the Sharing Economy and Co-Working in Hacker/Maker spaces and Fab Labs.

These movements represent a cultural shift towards new kinds of democratic and economic participation that we believe are sowing the seeds for a more sustainable and democratic future.

P2P can be characterized by the presence of open, participatory processes of production and governance for the creation of common goods...

Why this matters: It's not clear, to me at least, how low-income and/or marginalized communities will be full participants in this new world order.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Have you heard? Twitter is rolling out an important, useful change.

Bloomberg's Twitter to Stop Counting Photos and Links in 140-Character Limit says it all:
The social media company will soon stop counting photos and links as part of its 140-character limit for messages... Links currently take up 23 characters, even after Twitter automatically shortens them.


It's a step in a larger plan to give users more flexibility on the site.

Have you noticed? WCP has a new look!

Friday, May 20, 2016

TA: More free image sources

Can festivals help Wards 7 and 8 thrive?

I am significantly more interested in the yes to festivals argument in Why cities should stop building museums and focus on festivals.

Why: Author Jonathan Wynn describes festivals as "equitable."   He also writes,

Festivals, both big and small, are becoming a more prominent feature of our cultural landscape. These events range from small street fairs to extravagant events that inhabit a city’s downtown area for a long weekend. They include Austin's massive South by Southwest (SXSW), Boston's smaller Jamaica Plain Music Festival, Manhattan's mainstream Governor's Ball and Brooklyn's two-day AfroPunk Fest.


Unlike permanent stadiums and museums, festivals are nimble; they’re able to switch venues and change up programming if necessary. They're also much more inclusive. Many are free to the public, utilize existing public spaces and cultural assets, spark interactions among community members and nurture positive images of urban areas, especially neighborhoods that might need a boost. (Emphasis added)

There are festivals east of the river.   Think Art All Night in Congress Heights, East River JAZZFest, the DC Environmental Film Festival, Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival, and the Anacostia River Festival.   What if there were more?   What if there were more Art All Night events in parts of Wards 7 and 8 that are not the usual home for such festivities?   Could festivals bring attention to more neighborhoods and serve as a booster for small businesses in particular?

I don't have any of the answers but I (obviously) have numerous questions.   Feel free to share your ideas and reactions by leaving a comment.

League of Women Voters' candidate guide

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Shomari Stone is on Periscope

Follow NBC's Shomari Stone on Periscope, @shomaristone.

Free online social media marketing classes

Update your media list: WCP gets a new editor

The Washington City Paper's current editor-in-chief Steve Cavendish is leaving his post for his hometown of Nashville as announced Monday (Editor Steve Cavendish to Leave City Paper in June).   Cavendish will be replaced by Liz Garrigan (City Paper Names Liz Garrigan as New Editor (WCP), Washington City Paper Names Its First Female Editor-In-Chief (DCist)).   Cavendish leaves at the end of June and Garrigan starts in mid-July.

Got an interesting way to support aging in place?

Thought you might be interested Thursday: Amy Schumer's "sassy reminder" about women's health

Thanks to Greatist for sharing Amy Schumer’s Hilarious New Sketch Has an Important Message About Women’s Health and their quick and dirty summary of the ever-so-important issue.

Updated May 19, 7:56a: There were problems with the video stream; click on the photo or the link to see the short video.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Recap of May 17, 2016 at JAWB

Trull leads WAMU's new Race/Ethnicity Desk

Miss the council's May 17 budget action? Watch it now.

Will DC join states raising cig-buying age to 21?

A Rasmussen Reports poll has found there is support across the country for raising the age to buy tobacco products to 21.   In short,
California is the latest state to raise its minimum age for buying tobacco products to 21, and Americans are on board. Sixty percent (60%) favor raising the minimum smoking age to 21, a finding that has been trending upward. Just 53% favored it in 2013. Young Californians can still vote and join the military to fight for their country at age 18, but they'll have to wait a little longer if they want to buy cigarettes.

Legislators in the District of Columbia are (somewhat) interested in this issue.   In April 2015, Councilmembers McDuffie, Cheh, Silverman, Orange, Bonds, and Evans introduced B21-0152, "Prohibition Against Selling Tobacco Products to Individuals Under 21 Amendment Act of 2015".   According to LIMS, "As introduced, this bill amends District law to prohibit the sale of cigarettes to those under 21 years of age. Presently, the law prohibits the sale of cigarettes to those under 18 years of age."

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Health and Human Services with comments from the Committee on Finance and Revenue and Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs.   No action has been taken since the legislation was assigned April 14, 2015.

It's not clear when, even if, the health committee will move the legislation this Council Period.

More Periscope functionality

Periscope has improved functionality by adding a search capabiity.   According to Social Media Today (see Periscope Introduces Search, Saved Broadcasts and Improved Drone Support),
"When you tap on the search button in the Global List, you’ll see a list of suggested topics to search for, including #Travel, #Music, #Food and more. To broadcast about a topic, simply tap the Broadcast button in the topic’s search results to add the relevant hashtag, or add the hashtag to your title directly."

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

DMHHS on the end of the Trust

Improve your Twitter skills in nine easy steps

9 ways to up your Twitter game is a solid refresher about maximizing the utility of Twitter.   Consider, for example, these tips:
  • Try a tweet-by-tweet narrative.
  • Promote reporters, not just yourself.
  • Create a consistent schedule.
  • Find out what interests your followers.

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Poor connectivity makes every day a challenge for low-income children and families

Berkman Center's Under-connected in America: How Lower-Income Families Respond to Digital Equity Challenges will be live streamed Tuesday, May 17 at Noon.   Tune in for this important discussion.

Background on the issue:

While 94% of parents raising school-age children below the U.S. median household income have an Internet connection, more than half are “under-connected,” in that their Internet connection is too slow, has been interrupted in the past year due to non-payment, and/or they share their Internet-connected devices with too many people. Katz will discuss how being under-connected impacts the everyday lives of lower-income parents and children, how parents assess the risks and rewards that connectivity can offer their children, and the implications of under-connectedness for policy development and program reform. She draws from two linked datasets of lower-income parents with school-age (grades K-8) children that she has collected since 2013: in-depth interviews with 336 parents and children in three states, and a telephone survey of 1,191 parents—the first nationally representative survey of this U.S. demographic.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Council's #dcfy17 budget and homeless housing plan

May 21: DC Democratic Caucus

June 2: Six Reasons Why Infographics Matter webinar

Participate in the free Idealware webinar Six Reasons Why Infographics Matter and learn how infographics can be integrated into your organization's communications plan.

The event takes place Thursday, June 2, 12:00 - 1:00 pm.


Highlights of events #eotr during week of May 16

Check out the Wards 7 & 8 Community Calendar for more events.

One reaction to the New Columbia Statehood Commission draft Constitution

By Ward 7 resident Ralph J Chittams Sr.:
I just finished reading the discussion draft of The Constitution of the State of New Columbia ("Draft Constitution"), produced by the New Columbia Statehood Commission. Other than providing residents of the District of Columbia voting representation in Congress, this would-be Constitution does nothing to increase participation of District of Columbia residents in the local political process.

The draft re-christens the current DC Council as DC's "House of Delegates." The Council Chairman becomes the Speaker of the House, "At-Large" Councilmembers become at-large members of the House, and so on… The Mayor becomes the Governor. However, this Draft Constitution does absolutely nothing to increase the political power and involvement of residents of the District of Columbia in local matters.

If individuals advocating for statehood for the District of Columbia were serious about empowering the people, they would not propose a unicameral legislature, but a bicameral one. That would be more democratic and give more power to the residents of the District of Columbia.

The current council should be restructured and become the upper chamber of our legislative body. Senators would be elected as follows. There would be one Senator elected from each of the eight Wards, and the President of the Senate would be elected on an at-large basis by all qualified voters of the District of Columbia. The total number of Senators would be nine.

The Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner would be abolished, and those positions would then become "Representatives" and comprise the lower chamber. As currently structured, each Commissioner represents approximately 2,000 residents of the District of Columbia. They are the elected representatives of the people closest to the people. Therefore, it makes sense that these individuals become the people's Representatives in our lower chamber. Additionally, a bicameral legislature provides more oversight of government and provides an additional check and balance which currently does not exist in the District of Columbia.

If the true goal of proponents of statehood for the District of Columbia is empowering the residents of the District of Columbia with greater access to democracy and involvement in the electoral process, a bicameral legislative body is the way to move forward. A unicameral legislature does nothing but enhance egos of current politicians by giving them better titles, while simultaneously continuing to disenfranchise the residents of the District of Columbia.

DC GOP on House budget autonomy hearing

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Fabric I've designed for sale at Spoonflower

You may have seen my Tweet about my fabric "boobs" being featured by Spoonflower.   If you did, you likely scratched your head.   I get it.   Like most things, there is a story associated with it; I'll tell you in person if you truly want to know.

Since that day, I've updated "boobs" in pink and changed the pattern a little.   I also went ahead and decided to sell Cherish Childhood in two colorways: pink and blue.   All four designs are shown below.   Should you need fabric (Spoonflower has a gazillion kinds they can print on), wallpaper or wrapping paper in any of my designs, buy away.   Not your style?   Again, I get it!   Take a look around Spoonflower to see if there is something else more to your liking.

@hgil Tweets May 13 DCR

Debra Porchia-Usher to leave CFSA

A message from CFSA:
A message from the Director, CFSA

CFSA and Partners:

I want to let you know that Debra Porchia-Usher will resign as deputy director, CFSA Community Partnerships, effective June 30, 2016. By her own choice, she is moving on to new challenges. Stay tuned for an opportunity to thank Debra for her outstanding contributions and to give her a fond farewell. When the time comes, Principal Deputy Director Heather Stowe will fill in temporarily, with help from Debra’s team, while we recruit to fill the position. Thanks.

Raymond C. Davidson

DMPED's on Twitter!

Interested in planning and economic development?   Follow the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on Twitter, @DMPEDDC.

Here we go again: Congress takes on DC

Friday, May 13, 2016

Update your media list: WMZQ has a new assistant program director

From dcrtv.com on May 4:
JT Bosch Joins WMZQ - 5/4 - WMZQ, 98.7, names JT Bosch as evening host and assistant program director. He will be heard weekdays from 7 PM to midnight on the iHeart country outlet. Bosch has handled both on-air and programming duties with stations in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. He most recently served as program director for iHeart's country KASE/KVET in Austin, Texas.....

Man the Block: Are volunteers being screened?

Shared reading, good for families, good for kids

It is well known that reading to children when they are young has powerful, positive impacts in childhood and beyond.   But did you know that "shared reading" is also important?

Shared reading, according to Reading Rockets,

is an interactive reading experience that occurs when students join in or share the reading of a book or other text while guided and supported by a teacher. The teacher explicitly models the skills of proficient readers, including reading with fluency and expression.
But as Reading to your child: the difference it makes author Peggy Albers points out, high quality experiences in school are not sufficient.   Reading at home is also important.   Researchers have found, for example, "that when parents, specifically mothers, knew how to interact with their children during shared reading using positive reinforcement and asking questions about the story, both children and mothers benefited."

DC families with children from birth to age 5 have a tremendous advantage in many ways given the Books from Birth initiative designed to get and keep parents and other caregivers reading to the children in their lives.   Once parents register, children receive one free book every month until they turn five.   While the program does not talk about shared reading as such, Books from Birth has been integrated into Sing, Talk, and Read, the DC Public Library early literacy initiative.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

TA: Tools to help with social media writing

Take a look at 16 Writing Tools for Social Media Marketers and you will learn about a number―yes, 16―of nifty tools to help with writing for social media.   I've not yet used any of the tools listed, but I will try WriteRack and Hemingway App.

DCAYA Storifies DC Council's May 11 #dcfy17 budget discussion

Must-read: 4 Ways to Help Evidence-Based Programs Succeed

The Pew Charitable Trusts' 4 Ways to Help Evidence-Based Programs Succeed is an essential read for elected officials, policy makers, advocates, and anyone interested in maximizing government investment for good.

Evidence-based programs must also be implemented with fidelity to their design in order to deliver the outcomes policymakers and citizens expect.

Pew has identified four "key" steps government can―and I would argue must―take to improve their implementation of evidence-based programs; they also briefly explain the reasons for taking the particular action.

  1. Identify Needs and Goals, Then Select Proven Programs
  2. Align Policies and Processes
  3. Train Personnel
  4. Monitor Performance

I would add several other "must-do's":

  1. Understand the difference between evidence-based and best practices.   They are not the same.
  2. Focus on fidelity.   Often during implementation, changes are made and these can impact the effectiveness of the intervention.   Have a plan for addressing changes.   Responses could range from requiring program to implement as designed and helping organizations do that to de-funding (if using a non-government entity to implement).
  3. Fund independent assessment and evaluation.
  4. Fund fidelity checks if that is a part of the model.
  5. Fund the program for what the real cost is.   Underfunding is not an option with an evidence-based program.

Thought you might be interested Thursday: The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore

What IS a gray rhino and why do we care even if we know what it is?   Author Michele Wucker explains:
A "gray rhino" is a highly probable, high impact yet neglected threat: kin to both the elephant in the room and the improbable and unforeseeable black swan. Gray rhinos are not random surprises, but occur after a series of warnings and visible evidence. The bursting of the housing bubble in 2008, the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, the new digital technologies that upended the media world, the fall of the Soviet Union…all were evident well in advance.

Learn more about the book, the challenges, and solutions by watching the C-SPAN program Book Discussion on The Gray Rhino which aired April 13, 2016.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May 17: First reading of #dcfy17

On Tuesday, May 17, the council will hold the first reading of the FY 2017 budget.   Members will consider the budget request act and budget support act at the 10:00 am Committee of the Whole and 11:00 am full council meetings.   The meetings will be held in the Council Chamber (Room 500) in the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW).

If you can't make it to JAWB, watch online: DC Council Channel.

DC population growth by 2040 fastest in country, predicts UVA

TA: Moving the Needle - Online Advocacy Strategies, May 19

The NetSquared event Moving the Needle - Online Advocacy Strategies takes place Thursday, May 19 from 6:00 - 8:00 pm.   Experts Ellie Klerlein (VP & Digital Director at Spitfire) and Prarthana Gurung (Community Activation Strategist at Netcentric Campaigns) will talk about successful online advocacy strategies.   Participants are encouraged to share their own tips.

RSVP online.

May 12: Congressional hearing on DC home rule

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is holding the hearing entitled "D.C. Home Rule: Examining The Intent Of Congress In The District Of Columbia Home Rule Act Of 1973" Thursday, May 12 at 2:00 pm.

Watch the live stream.

Google Slides adds real-time question submission

Google Slides is one of the several types of documents in Google Drive.   Like the rest of the Google Drive portfolio, Google Slides comes with a wide selection of presentation themes, hundreds of fonts, embedded video, animations, and much more.   As with Docs and Sheets, Slides is free.

Other attributes of Slides is that you can access presentations from a variety of devices―tablet, computer, phone―and when there's no internet connection.   PowerPoint presentations are easily and seamlessly integrated.

Even better?   The new Q & A feature lets the audience ask questions during a presentation.   Google adds Q&A and laser pointer features to Slides apps explains the details.

To see the new functionality in action, watch Introducing Slides Q&A: A new way to talk with your audience—not at them, below.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What's happening in Wards 7 & 8? Look at the community calendar!

Want to know what is going on in Wards 7 and 8?   Check out the Wards 7 & 8 Community Calendar hosted on East Bank DC.   The calendar includes select items from DC Public Library (there are sooooo many and East Bank DC links directly to the DCPL calendar), nonprofit and DC government events, and more!

It's free and easy to add your items.   Instructions are on the calendar page.   Be sure to add the calendar to your outreach methods.

@Ward7Outreach and @Ward8Outreach regularly Tweet calendar items.

Update your media list: Tati heads back west

DCRTV announced today that WPGC's Tati is heading back to the west coast, so be sure to update your media list.   Verified by Tati herself:

Sign up for Mayor Bowser's newsletter

Do you receive Mayor Muriel Bowser's email in your inbox?   If not, go to mayor.dc.gov/ to sign up.

The image (right) is the pop-up, a fairly new tool implemented by the mayor's comms team to increase the number of subscribers and reach of her office.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Help for Deanwood home owners: Homeownership Preservation program

Neighborhood Legal Services Program has a new program to help Deanwood residents.   The Homeownership Preservation program, operated out of the organization's Deanwood office (4609 Polk St NE) and managed by staff attorney Amy Gellatly, will advocate on behalf of homeowners and make sure that they have access to the District's services for homeowners in distress.

Learn more about the program in Preserving Homeownership in Deanwood by Washington Council of Lawyers and by reading the information below from NLSP (PDF version of flyer).

NYT video: Welfare and the Politics of Poverty

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Final four mark-ups, plus draft reports

On Thursday, May 5, four committees will mark-up the agency budgets under their purview.   Committees meeting Thursday are (as shown to the right), Housing and Community Development, Judiciary, Education, and the COW.

Draft committee reports, what is to be voted on at the committee meetings, are below.   Want the committee reports posted on the calendar item page and the FY 2017 budget page on the council's website?   Try emailing Mendo: pmendelson@dccouncil.us.

COHCD FY17 Draft Budget Report

DRAFT Committee on the Judiciary FY17 Budget Report

05042016 Ed Budget Committee Report DRAFT

5 4 16 FY2017 COW Budget Recs (Committee Report)

Calvin Lockridge obit

DC's "abundance of caution" about lead in drinking water

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Miss the May 3 leg meeting? No prob.

May 5: free webinar on social media and design

Register today for the free webinar Social Media Design Strategies for Non-Designers taking place Thursday, May 5 at 11:00 am.

Why participate:

If you have a splash of color in your content, people are 80% more willing to read it. Content with relevant images get 94% more views. Basically, pictures work. They make all of your marketing collateral more memorable and more impactful.

Some of the topics: Why design is critical, the social design cheat sheet, and design hacks for major social channels.

We must do more than lament the demise of the Trust

It [Do we really value our children 44% less now than in 2009? An analysis of OST funding, FYs 2009 - 2012] finds that funding for these “out-of-school time” programs has dropped precipitously in the past four years. Certainly that’s not surprising given the budgetary pressures the city has faced, but the 44 percent drop since fiscal 2009 stands in stark contrast to the modest rise in the city’s local spending (from $5.5 billion to $5.6 billion) over that period, to say nothing of the 6.8 percent growth in the overall budget including federal funds.

This was written by Mike DeBonis, then local DC WaPo journo.

While I may have been wrong about the Trust's ability to effectively manage it's budget and processes―"First, only the Trust has the ability to effectively and efficiently manage the granting process, from developing RFAs, to reviewing proposals, to training grantee staff, to tracking program-level data. All of this on a large scale."―the fact is that the DC government (commonly referred to as the "city") did not support and has not supported since the report was written children and youth in a substantive way.

Is the Trust a loss?   I think so.   It was a grand experiment in the face of daunting and disheartening data and stories.   Is the goal still worthy?   Yes!   We must do better by children, youth, and families.   That means more funding, tracking outcomes and not outputs, and coordinating services and supports across government agencies; among nonprofits; and between government, nonprofits, and the community.

Do we really value our children 44% less now than in 2009? An analysis of OST funding, FYs 2009 - 2012

April 2016 economic indicators report

Highlights of the April 2016 DC Economic Indicators report, according to the OCFO, are:
  • The total number of jobs in the District increased by 11,400 (1.5%) compared to the previous February
  • The federal government sector gained 1,200 jobs (a 0.6% increase) compared to a year ago; while the education and health sector gained 800 jobs (an increase of 0.6%) over the previous year
  • The unemployment rate for the District was 6.5% in February; the same as the previous month
  • The number of new unemployment claims fell by 7.8% compared to the previous year
  • 349 condos were sold in February 2016; a 17.5% increase from one year ago
  • In February the median price for a single family home increased by 3.4%, while the median price of a condo remained the same as the previous year

Want the report?   Email David Umansky, david.umansky@dc.gov.

Mary Frances Berry on vote buying and other illegal voting practices

Dr. Mary Frances Berry talked with Spencer Overton, President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, about her new book Five Dollars and a Pork Chop Sandwich: Vote Buying and the Corruption of Democracy on BookTV's After Words March 2, 2016.   In the book, Berry, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and History at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses a number of illegal voting practices taking place across the country.

According to the publisher,

Though voting rights are fundamental to American democracy, felon disfranchisement, voter identification laws, and hard-to-access polling locations with limited hours are a few of the ways voter turnout is suppressed. These methods of voter suppression are pernicious, but in Five Dollars and a Pork Chop Sandwich, Dr. Mary Frances Berry focuses on forms of corruption including vote buying, vote hauling, the abuse of absentee ballots, and other illegal practices by candidates and their middlemen, often in collusion with local election officials.

Vote buying—whether it's for a few dollars, a beer, or a pack of cigarettes—is offered to individual citizens in order to ensure votes for a particular candidate, and Dr. Berry notes it occurs across party lines, with Republicans, Democrats, and independents all participating.

The author summarizes her findings in this under-60 second video below.

Monday, May 2, 2016

May 3 Legislative Meeting agenda

The Council of the District of Columbia will hold its 25th Legislative Meeting Tuesday, May 3 at 10:00 am in the Council Chamber.

Read the agenda (PDF) and Emergency Legislation for May 3, 2016 Legislative Meeting (yikes, there is a ton!).

DDS gets interim after Nuss retires

Andrew Reese was appointed Interim Director of the Department on Disability Services (DDS) on April 22, 2016 following the retirement of Laura Nuss.

Read Providers say "Farewell" to DDS Director, Laura Nuss to learn more about Nuss' accomplishments.   An excerpt:

Laura Nuss is credited with making substantial systems changes necessary to create and maintain a high quality disability services model for District residents. She helped ensure that DC has lead the charge for changes in supports for citizens affected by I/DD and was recognized as a dedicated, thoughtful leader by Judge Huvelle in her final Evans v. Bowser hearing earlier in the day, wherein Judge Huvelle noted that the substantial progress that has been made in DC could not have been accomplished without Director Nuss’s leadership. Her efforts have ensured that people with disabilities will receive the supports necessary to achieve vibrant and productive lives as contributing members of their communities.

Video: Mayor Bowser on @News8NewsTalk May 2

#Storify: MMB on NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt May 2

My take on Matt Bailey's thoughts on ways DC government can improve

The three things Matt Bailey Tweeted as parting thoughts (Matt Bailey leaves DC gov with these parting thoughts) that resonate the most with me the policy and budget wonk:

And these two resonate given my experience in and outside government:

Mayor Muriel Bowser talks with Bruce DePuyt, May 2

Mayor Muriel Bowser will guest on NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt Monday, May 2 at 11:00 am.

Tune in to NewsChannel 8 streaming here, http://news8.net/, to see the conversation.

If you have questions or comments, call (703) 387-1020 or email (newstalk@news8.net) the show.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

June 4: Urban Kids Fishing Derby

Urban American Outdoors is hosting Urban Kids Fishing Derby (catch and release) in DC Saturday, June 4 from 8:00 am - Noon.   The free event takes place at Constitution Gardens on the Mall.

There will be a $100 grand prize.

Space is limited, slots are filling up fast so register today.