Sunday, October 30, 2016

October 31: Mendelson's regular leg meeting preview

Media advisory from Mendo's office:

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson will hold a Media Briefing to preview the Council's upcoming Legislative Meeting.

Monday, October 31, 2016
10:30 a.m.

John A. Wilson Building, Room 412, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20004

Chairman Mendelson will hold a media briefing to discuss major actions to be taken at the Council's legislative meeting on Tuesday, November 1 at 11:00 a.m. or immediately following the additional Committee of the Whole.

Additional information is available by calling Lindsey Walton, (202) 724-8140.

Unable to make it to the Wilson Building?   Watch the briefing streaming live on the council website.

Like what you see? Enter your email address to subscribe to
Susie's Budget and Policy Corner daily updates:
Delivered by FeedBurner

Friday, October 28, 2016

#Storify: Forum for At-Large DC Council Candidates

Events in Wards 7, 8 October 29-30

#DCision16: Who's running?

Yes, candidates for the highest elected office in the land are well known (except for the one person (PDF) who has never heard of Obama, Clinton, or Trump), but some of the candidates for local office not so much.   Here's some help to get you informed before you vote:

Hats off to the bloggers and others who cover local elections!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Bye-bye Vine

Thought you might be interested Thursday: Kids cook for charity

"The Backyard Restaurant was born over an innocent glass of lemonade at our small blue cafĂ© table with our then 7-year-old son Adam who thought it might be cool to have a summer restaurant instead of a lemonade stand. We didn’t understand what we were getting into when we told Adam, 'Sure!' He immediately went inside, drafted a menu, set the prices and drew a logo. So we set the date and invited the neighbors."

Five years later, the backyard restaurant is going strong, raising money and teaching young and old all manner of important life lessons.   Learn more about the lessons in How My 7-Year-Old Son Started a Backyard Restaurant for Charity.

Want to do a backyard restaurant of your own?   Message the Keels to receive step-by-step instructions and much more!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New data set uploads from OCTO

OCTO's GIS team has announced recent data uploads.   A few from August 2016:
  • Liquor License Locations
  • Crime Incidents - 2011
  • Crime Incidents - 2008

Several from October 2016:

  • City Service Requests in 2016
  • Crashes in the District of Columbia
  • Campaign Financial Expenditures
  • Zoning Downtown Designated Streets Buffer

13214 L'Enfant Drive, Fort Washington, MD could be your next home!

This single-family home (see the listing for details) is in the perfect location.   It's in a quiet neighborhood only a hop, skip, and a jump from DC and National Harbor.

Grocery shopping is a breeze; Safeway is just minutes away.   And MOM's Organic Market and Sams Club, among other options are in Waldorf, a half-hour drive on weekends.

Need something other than groceries?   Waldorf and surrounding towns offer everything you need from sewing and craft stores to department stores to pet stores to technology-focused stores.   Waldorf+ are also home to entertainment and dining opportunities.

Want to stay a little closer to home?   Fort Washington's Charlies serves amazing french fries and Hovermales outstanding soft-serve ice cream during the warmer months.   Looking for an adventure?   Head down to Fort Washington Park (yes, a national park in your backyard!) or grab your boat moored at one of the marinas.   Or, play golf at Tantallon.

Full disclosure: This is my mother-in-law's house.

November 1: Using open data for good

Tune in to the Public Interest Data Science: The Data for Justice Project webcast Tuesday, November 1 at Noon to hear Berkman Klein Fellow Paola Villarreal talk about how the project is using open data for good.

The invite:

The Data for Justice project is an initiative that aims to make (open) data actionable empowering lawyers, advocates, community organizers, journalists, activists and the general public by developing the tools and frameworks that digest complex databases without losing sight of the ultimate goal: to tell a story that can effect social change and justice.

Monday, October 24, 2016

#DCision16: WAMU's voter guide

If you need information about the candidates for office this November, take a look at WAMU's voter guide.   The guide contains answers to listener-submitted questions.   Candidates from council up to President are included.

According to the station, "The best thing about this voter guide is you can make your selections online, save the results and print or view your ballot on your mobile device at the polls. A great cheat sheet!"

Essential read: Board chair research finds improvements needed

In August, the Alliance for Nonprofit Management released the "the largest study to date about nonprofit board chairs in the United States: Voices of Nonprofit Board Chairs." (press release)

The Alliance queried 635 board chairs across the country on several topics including preparation for their role as chair, their role on the board as one among many members, and their role in the organization relative to the executive director.   The findings are incredibly important to DC given the number of and role played by nonprofit organizations in the local arena.   What did the Alliance find?   Read the short version (Voices of Board Chairs: A National Study on the Perspectives of Nonprofit Board Chairs on Medium) or the longer one, again, from the press release:

Although nonprofit board chairs are expected to provide significant leadership to their boards and their organizations, this study finds that only half prepared for their critical leadership role. Of those that did prepare, their primary source of training was through the observation of prior chairs, regardless if they were effective leaders. Very few board chairs received formal training, used the internet for resources, read nonprofit books or magazines, or used libraries to help them learn how to be effective chairs. And many board chairs only served on their boards, in any capacity, for three or less years before assuming the leadership role; often times, they took on the role because others were unwilling.

There is increasing focus on nonprofit accountability to the communities and constituents they serve; however, other findings reveal that board chairs have little contact with the community and constituents, media, funders or other community stakeholders.

Based on the results, the study researchers has made several recommendations:

a) develop an intentional practice of board chair preparation and succession planning; b) provide more accessible resources, as well as training, coaching and mentoring for board chairs; c) develop shared leadership models rather than relying on one individual to fulfill all board leadership roles; d) build leadership capacity for many potential and emerging board leaders; and e) support and expect board chairs to be actively engaged with their nonprofit’s community and constituency, and in leading advocacy efforts.

How does your nonprofit board chair stack up?   Has the chair been trained?   Is there a leadership path on the board?   Do board members get to have growing responsibility the longer they serve?   Is there a feedback loop in place?

Read the full report (PDF).

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Good food prepared locally now sold at JAWB

No offense to the folks who work in JAWB, but right now, Tiny Grocery is the best thing going on!   The council's PIO covered the installation of the new vending machine in a recent newsletter:
The Wilson Building is not just home to the District government, it belongs to all District residents. We at the Council do all in our power to make visitors to the building feel welcome and comfortable here. Soon, we will not just be your seat of government, we will also be your eat of government.

That effort has taken a big step forward with the arrival of a Tiny Grocery here at the Wilson Building. Located in a ground floor breakroom, just inside the Wilson Building's D Street entrance, this is not your mother's/father's vending machine. Often, those machines spend as much time offending as they do, uh, vending. Unlike an old-school vending machine, which may feature a generic, fossilized, pre-packaged honeybun dating from the Walter Washington Administration, the Tiny Grocery only stocks foods that are fresh and local.

The bulk of the Tiny Grocery products are their own creations, produced daily at their Ward 5 kitchen. These products include breakfast and lunch sandwiches, salads, soups, wraps, paninis and rice bowls that are made from local, humane, and sustainable ingredients. Additionally, the Tiny Grocery also will feature snacks and drinks offered by beloved "Made in DC" companies such as Confluence Coffee, Capital Kombucha, Trickling Springs Creamery, and others. The Tiny Grocery's inventory is remotely monitored 24/7. Products are replenished at least twice a week, and can be purchased with any credit card.

Prior to the arrival of the Tiny Grocery, citizens planning on attending a lengthy hearing at the Wilson Building that would extend beyond the next mealtime would need to plan ahead and implement a bring-it-from Home Rule. Now, visiting citizens, as well as Council staff, will be able to access tasty, fresh, local food at any hour of the day or night. Depending what time a late-night hearing ends, you may or may not be able to get home from the Wilson Building, but you will always be able to nourish yourself here.

So, the next time you are hungry or thirsty here at the Wilson Building, drop another (metaphorical) dime in the food box. You will be sustaining not just yourself, but also quality local food businesses.

Thought you might be interested Thursday: Reading fiction is good for you

If You Want to Succeed in Business, Read More Novels author Erika Andersen advocates for reading novels as a way to succeed in business.   Andersen points to The Business Case for Reading Novels by Anne Kreamer in support of her belief.   Kreamer links to Fiction Hones Social Skills (paywall) by Keith Oatley, a cognitive psychologist, to "prove" that her endless fiction reading is not worthless.

So what does the research find?   Andersen's anecdotal experience was that executive clients "who only read non-fiction tend to be somewhat more two-dimensional in their perceptions of others and of situations; they seem to have fewer options to call upon when making decisions or solving problems."   Kreamer's review of the literature lead her to this statement: "fiction-reading activates neuronal pathways in the brain that measurably help the reader better understand real human emotion — improving his or her overall social skillfulness."

And what about Oately?   He writes (PDF) that reading novels is more than mere entertainment.   Rather, "novels, stories and dramas can help us understand the complexities of social life."

What are you waiting for?   Grab some fiction!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

ICYMI: CM Nadeau has a new leg director

Ward 1 CM Brianne Nadeau's new (since the summer) legislative director is Tai Meah.   Get in touch, (202) 724-8835, via email,

Meah replaces Danielle Burs; Burs left the council in July and is now at Goldblatt Martin Pozen LLP.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

TA: Need a way to schedule meals for others?

Need an easy way to schedule meals for a friend, colleague, or acquaintance?   Take Them A Meal is the perfect tool.   And it's free!

Monday, October 17, 2016

October 18: COW and leg meeting

Updated council list now available

Want a printable version of CMs, senior staff, contact information, and committees?   The updated CP21 list is done and on the council website: Download Council Directory (PDF).

Recap of October 11 leg meeting

If you missed the October 11 Legislative Meeting, head over to the DC Council website and read Metro, Youth Justice, Health, Quality of Life Measures Dominate Agenda at 33rd Legislative Meeting.   The write-up tidily summarizes the session.

If you must, watch the Thirty-Third Legislative Meeting for yourself.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The October 14 DC Register tweeted

Community meetings on MLK Library design

DC Public Library will host a series of community meetings in November and December about the main library modernization.   Attend and see the latest designs, the project timeline, and plans for library services during construction.

Meeting dates, times, locations:

  • Wednesday, November 9, 6:30 pm, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (901 G St NW)
  • Monday, November 14, 7:00 pm, Mt. Pleasant Library (3160 16th St NW)
  • Wednesday, November 30, 7:00 pm, Southwest Library (900 Wesley Pl SE)
  • Thursday, December 1, 7:00 pm, Shepherd Park Library (7420 Georgia Ave NW)
  • Monday, December 5, 6:30 pm, Woodridge Library (1801 Hamlin St NE)
  • Tuesday, December 13, 7:00 pm, Tenley-Friendship Library (4450 Wisconsin Ave NW)
  • Thursday, December 15, 6:30 pm, Anacostia Library (1800 Good Hope Rd SE)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

ICYMI: Susan Crawford on how government can use the Internet and data for good

Susan Crawford, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and a co-director of the Berkman Klein Center (BKC), talked Internet infrastructure and open government data and the ways municipalities can use them to improve communities at a recent BKC event.   It's a fascinating discussion about the Responsive Communities Initiative, an effort which melds economic development, social justice, and civil liberties.   And, Crawford acknowledges some of the work DC government has done to enable community ratings of government agencies and services.

Congrats to Patrick Madden, Edward R. Murrow award winner!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Council actions October 11, 2016

Highlights of the week in Wards 7 and 8

Blood and platelet donations needed

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, the Red Cross is calling for blood donations.   Donations in the DC region will help replenish the dwindling supply as explained by in Rich Johnson Red Cross seeks blood donations to aid states hit by Matthew.

Donations can be made at these facilities/organizations:

Monday, October 10, 2016

October 13: Community meeting on rent control leg

On Thursday, October 13 at 8:00 pm, the Van Ness South Tenant Association is hosting a community meeting on B21-0880, Rent Concession and Rent Ceiling Abolition Clarification Amendment Act of 2016 (PDF).   The meeting will be held at 3003 Van Ness St NW in the first floor community room.   The meeting is organized by Shirley Adelstein, SMD 3F02 and will feature CMs Mary Cheh (Ward 3) and Anita Bonds (At-large).

The CMs and meeting attendees will discuss Bill 21-880 in advance of the Wednesday, October 19 Committee on Housing and Community Development public hearing on that legislation and other rent control bills.   Additional information about the hearing is on the hearing calendar page.

TA: Image copyright explained by Hootsuite

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Update your media list: ICYMI, Leon Harris says bye-bye to WJLA

From Cision October 7:
Leon Harris Leaves WJLA
Leon Harris is leaving WJLA-TV Washington, D.C., this month after 13 years. Harris anchored the ABC station’s 4, 5 and 11 p.m. newscasts. He joined WJLA in 2003 after working at CNN in Atlanta for 20 years. He has won multiple Emmy Awards for his coverage of the 2000 presidential election, the 9/11 terror attacks and the Oklahoma City bombing. In 2006, he received a local Emmy Award for Best Anchor. Follow WJLA-TV on Twitter.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The weekend of October 8 and 9 in Wards 7 and 8

TA: Creating a social media calendar

Doing social media the right way is essential if your organization expects some sort of return for the expenditure of time and effort.   How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar by Cision offers several things to keep in mind when creating a social media calendar.

First, the reason for a calendar:

A consistent social media strategy helps build brand recognition online, gain followers and keep those followers interested in what your brand is doing. And a content calendar is a great way to ensure your social presence is consistent and timely.
Cision's advice includes understanding that "not all social networks are the same," planning and scheduling ahead, being aware of naturally occurring events and holidays, and using tools that work for you.   The only suggestion I would add is to use social media channels/platforms that work for you.

Like what you see? Enter your email address to subscribe to
Susie's Budget and Policy Corner daily updates:
Delivered by FeedBurner

Thought you might be interested Thursday: Practice dialing 911

Back in my early days at DC Action for Children, we had the Home Safe Home project.   One of the documents we distributed was "Important Numbers."   As shown in the image below, we included 911 as well as space for the home address and phone number.   At the time the handout was created, DC Fire Department (precursor to FEMS) did not buy the regular Verizon updates of landline information.   Meaning that DCFD did not automatically know the address from which the call was being made.   In addition, we added the space because we knew that the caller was not always the homeowner and, as such, would not necessarily know the address or home phone.

What Malcolm Gladwell is talking about in the clip is muscle memory, or motor memory.   According to Wikipedia, muscle memory:

has been used synonymously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems. Examples of muscle memory are found in many everyday activities that become automatic and improve with practice, such as riding a bicycle, typing on a keyboard, typing in a PIN, playing a musical instrument,[1] martial arts or even dancing.

If you want to learn more about muscle memory and what science is learning about it, read How Does Practice Hardwire Long-Term Muscle Memory? and No. 1 Reason Practice Makes Perfect.

Interested in the entire Gladwell talk?   Watch it here: How We Think Without Thinking: Malcolm Gladwell on Great Decision Makers (2005).

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

It's time to get working on the Comp Plan; here's how

Matt Scalf returns to DC government, joins OPLA

Matt Scalf is once again serving the residents of the District of Columbia, this time as Associate Director in the Mayor's Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs (OPLA).

You can get in touch with Matt via email,

Welcome back to DC Matt!

ICYMI: DC's revenue up in #dcfy16 and #dcfy17

On October 3, the CFO announced that revenues in FY 2016 (which ended September 30, 2016) were $180 million greater than previously estimated.   The CFO also said that FY 2017 estimates got a bump up by $35.7 million.

Why $180 million higher than estimated in June?   "(H)igher than expected business income, deed recordation and transfer, and estate tax receipts."

Read the September 2016 revenue estimate letter.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

It's budget development time! Here's the #dcfy18 sked

FY 2018 budget development kicks off October 14.   As of today, here are the deadlines for the remainder of the process:
  • Tier 1 agency budget submissions to OBP ― November 4
  • Tier 2 agency budget submission to OBP ― November 17
  • Tier 3 agency budget submission to OBP ― November 29
  • ORA issues revised revenue estimate ― February (TBD)
  • Final decisions on the Mayor's Operating policy budget (pencils down) ― (TBD)
  • Operating "Pencils Down" for Budget Administration ― (TBD)
  • Final Financial Plan and Budget Request Act ― (TBD)
  • Mayor submits FY 2018 Proposed Budget and Financial Plan to council ― (TBD)

Read FY 2018 Operating Budget Tier Submission Schedule to learn the deadline for each agency.

#eotr, what do we do about too few clinics/urgent care centers?

Changes at Anacostia Park

Read the Anacostia Park and Community Collaborative blog post Tara Morrison, new Superintendent of Anacostia Park to get up to speed about changes at Anacostia Park.

And subscribe to the APACC blog for news and other information about what the community is doing to support residents near the Anacostia Park and River, improve programming in the park to meet the needs of those residents, and clean up the river.   It's free and easy to subscribe.

Alicia Montgomery is WAMU's editorial director

Monday, October 3, 2016

TA: Mere mortals may now create Twitter "Moments"

Read Sarah Perez's Twitter finally lets everyone create their own "Moments" for the whys of this Twitter decision and the hows of creating Moments of your own.

This capability is another way for nonprofits, individuals, groups, DC government agencies, families, and more to tell a story in tweets using Twitter.   Time will tell how it will be used to tell stories, garner support, or bring awareness.

How will you use Moment?

Emergency Bill Status Report for October 11, 2016 leg meeting

Emergency Bill Status Report October 11 2016 Leg Meeting

Highlights of events in Wards 7 and 8, week of Oct. 3

My father created a book to take the guesswork out of what to do after he died

My father died several years ago.   As bad as it was to lose him, his "death book" made the days following his death a little easier to manage.

My husband and I each have such a binder and our children know who has responsibility for which chapter.   Okay, a little more than they wanted from us (!).   But it's certainly better than making the kids go through our stuff to find wills, bank account info, etc.

Not long after my father's death, a Twitter friend lost a parent and I shared the contents of my father's post-death to-do list.   I promised, but did not deliver, the actual template.   Finally, here it is.   Modify as needed.   I hope it makes the miserable and trying days after the death of a loved one less confusing and stressful.

Death Book