Thank you very much for such a great turnout at last week's public safety meeting -- over 350 neighbors packed the room. Chief Lanier outlined many of the steps taken by MPD as well as several recent key arrests. I thought the conversation was productive, but it also raised several questions and issues that need more work. As I said that evening, the meeting can't be the end of the conversation. Since last week, I've talked with the Attorney General, the US Attorney's Office, DC Court's Pre-Trial Services Division, and others about what more is needed to keep our neighborhoods safe and am working on legislative reforms at Council.
In addition to the work above, I've also been asked by residents what members of the community can do to help improve safety. There are two important steps I encourage you to take. First, please join MPD on Tuesday, November 10, at Friendship Public Charter School - Chamberlain Campus, 1345 Potomac Avenue, SE, at 7:00 pm for a Neighborhood Watch training meeting. Learn how to work with police and neighbors to create effective community watch efforts in your neighborhood. Second, with Daylight Saving Time ending last weekend, the days will continue to grow shorter as darkness arrives earlier and earlier. I invite you to join my effort to Light the Night and help keep our sidewalks and neighborhoods well lit to improve public safety.
Here are three quick steps you can take to Light the Night to improve the safety on your block:
Step 1. Turn your front porch lights on - and leave them on. A well lit block is more active and safe.
DC Schools Show Progress on National Assessment Test
While there is still much room for growth, the recent release of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test results for last year's 4th and 8th graders offered some good news for the District. As the Washington Post noted, “the District offered a bright spot in the otherwise bleak results, as one of just two jurisdictions that posted gains on two tests. Fourth-graders in the District made significant strides, climbing three points on the national math test and seven points on the reading test. Scores for eighth-graders, which saw a bump in 2013, stayed relatively flat in 2015.” We can be proud of the progress and growth we're continuing to see in our public schools, while remaining concerned about the persistent achievement gap between rich and poor students, and always looking for ways to improve our public education system for all.
DC Career Fair
Last Friday, my office partnered with Councilmember Elissa Silverman and Arena Stage to host a DC Career Fair. This effort provided focused, immediately applicable employment training and hiring services onsite for hundreds of District job seekers.
Working together with more than 15 social service and workforce development organizations, we offered participants a morning of employment counseling and interview training workshops followed by an afternoon job fair. This event was a little different from previous job fairs we've hosted, with a much stronger focus on career skills and training. I heard a lot of positive feedback from attendees about this new format and look forward to hosting more Career Fairs in the future.
Council Hearing on Safe At Home Bill
Last week, the Council held a hearing on legislation I've drafted to help DC residents successfully age in their homes. The bill, titled the Safe at Home Act of 2015, creates a new program to help residents make home modifications to address aging or disability needs, both through a grant program and a tax credit. Whether as simple as adding a grab-bar in the bathroom, or as complex as installing chair lifts, there are modest changes in the home that make the difference whether someone can stay safe at home, or be forced to move. At the hearing, we heard from advocates from AARP and senior and disability service providers, residents who have made home modifications themselves, and leaders from Capitol Hill Village -- all in support. I'm looking forward to working with my colleagues to move this bill forward in the coming months to put these important initiatives in place for our neighbors.
Ward 6 Businesses Win DC Economic Partnership Awards
On Friday, I joined business leaders from across the city for a lunch to talk about the direction of our city as well as to recognize several outstanding local businesses and projects. During the awards section, I was very pleased that several Ward 6 businesses took home the hardware. Union Kitchen was awarded the top Creative Economy award, Ben Miller and Fundrise were awarded the top Innovation and Tech award, and Monty Hoffman of the The Wharf in Southwest was awarded the top Real Estate award. If you'd like to check out the awards, or the newly released report on DC in 2030, please visit their website here.
Wednesday, Nov 4, 6-8pm: DCPS FY17 Budget Hearing -- Stuart-Hobson MS
Wednesday, Nov 4, 7pm: NAACP DC Branch 2015 Freedom Fund Banquet
Friday, Nov 6, 8-9:30am: Community Office Hours in Shaw - Compass Coffee
Saturday, Nov 7, 4-7pm: DC Firefighters Burn Foundation fundraiser - Dubliner
Saturday, Nov 7, 6-10pm, Hilly Awards -- St. Mark's Episcopal Church
Friday, Nov 13, 8-9:30am: Community Office Hours in Southwest - Waterfront Starbucks
Friday, Nov 20, 8-9:30am: Community Office Hours on Capitol Hill -- TBD
Monday, Dec 7, 6-8pm: SAVE THE DATE - Ward 6 Brickie Awards -- Eastern Market North Hall
As always, thank you for your support and please let me know if there’s anything I or my staff can do to help you or your neighborhood.