Last Thursday we celebrated the 10thAnnual Ward 6 Brickie Awards at the new Apollo DC building on H Street. It was a great way to kick off the holiday season and celebrate the people, places, and organizations that make the Ward 6 community great. We received hundreds of nominations -- thanks to everyone who sent in a suggestion. This year's Brickie Award winners included Nicky Cymrot (2016 Neighbor Award), Shaw Main Streets (2016 Community Organization Award), The Pretzel Bakery (2016 Business Award), Paul "South" Taylor, Department of Parks & Recreation (2016 Public Service Award), and The Hill Rag (2016 Civic Pride Award). Thanks to all our wonderful sponsors for making this event possible and congratulations to this year's recipients. We shared photos from this year's event here.
I was proud to vote with ten of my colleagues on Tuesday in support of the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act. This bill is about more than just maternity leave or paternity leave -- it's about time and it's about fairness. I wouldn't trade the time I was able to spend at home when my children were born for anything, and I want the same for every new parent and anyone needing time away to care for a loved one. Council also voted to approve three of my bills, passing the Collaborative Reproduction Amendment Act (a bill to support families wishing to have children by utilizing surrogacy agreements, which are currently prohibited by law), the End Taxation Without Representation Amendment Act (to create a DC Statehood license plate and update the standard license plate), and the Campaign Finance Reform and Transparency Emergency Amendment Act, a bill to tighten the District's contribution and reporting requirements. I also moved two bills through the Subcommittee I chair – one focused on helping more local businesses and Certified Business Enterprises compete for work through Joint Ventures, and another focused on having the city spend more of our snow removal dollars locally with groups like Clean and Safe teams, Main Streets, and Business Improvement Districts, ensuring our sidewalks, intersections, and crosswalks are quickly cleared of snow and ice to make our neighborhoods safer and more walkable after major snow storms.
Washington Post "Second Chance" Series
The recent Washington Post series on repeat violent offenders in the District is an important one, and I hope everyone has been reading it. In many of the cases cited, I've worked with the residents and victims involved in the aftermath of these crimes. The stories and events they've reported on are horrendous and infuriating. The pain that these victims have suffered is unimaginable.
Over the past year, I've spent a great deal of time working on public safety issues, but clearly our work isn't done. I know there are a variety of perspectives on the Youth Rehabilitation Act (YRA), the law discussed in the Post series. I believe we shouldn’t be afraid to re-examine our laws to understand what’s working, what isn't, and what needs to change. While I'm not a member of the Council Judiciary Committee, I have a strong interest in this law and will be meeting soon with a working group of juvenile justice experts to consider changes to the YRA in light of the Post's findings.
While the articles don't discuss this, I frequently hear that there are elements of the YRA that do work and do lead to better outcomes when applied for non-violent crimes - and I want to be careful not to undermine those gains. But the reporting highlights some serious concerns that should be reviewed, and I don't think that should be limited to only the underlying law. The District's court system presents some significant challenges, but I’m not going to shy away from reviewing the effectiveness of our laws if they aren't working as intended. I welcome your feedback and suggestions, and look forward to working together toward solutions.
DCPS Chancellor Nominee Antwan Wilson At Council For Confirmation Hearing
Yesterday the Council Committee on Education held a roundtable hearing on the nomination of Antwan Wilson as the new Chancellor of DC Public Schools, replacing Kaya Henderson, who resigned this fall after nearly six years as Chancellor. I met one on one with Mr. Wilson earlier this week and talked with him about the priorities I hear from Ward 6 families for DC Public Schools, including strengthening our middle schools, improving parent and community engagement, working to close DC's achievement gap, and adding rigor so that every student is challenged. The Council will vote on his nomination December 20 and, if approved, Mr. Wilson will begin work as Chancellor on February 1.
Subcommittee on Local Business Development & Utilities Update
As Chair of the Subcommittee on Local Business Development and Utilities, it has been a busy few weeks as we head toward the end of the year. In anticipation of the impending winter season, the Subcommittee worked on the “Snow Removal Agreement Authorization Amendment Act.” This bill focuses on pedestrian safety by authorizing the Mayor to contract for snow removal on sidewalks, curb cuts, and crosswalks during declared snow emergencies. Safe and passable sidewalks mean our residents can get to work and to the grocery store, children can walk safely to school and to caregivers, and our businesses can be open and ready to serve customers. In advance of the holiday shopping season, the Subcommittee held a roundtable at Steadfast Supply Company, a Ward 6 marketplace for locally made goods. The focus of this roundtable was to promote shopping locally on Small Business Saturday 2016, and to discuss the kick-off of the Made in DC Program, my bill to support local makers and entrepreneurs. I was honored to join Shaw Main Streets on Small Business Saturday for a ribbon cutting blitz and the start of this year's local holiday market season. On Monday, I helped CHAMPS launch their Holiday Sip & Shop event. If you haven't already, sign up on my website to take the #ShopDC pledge to do at least half of your holiday shopping in our small and local businesses. Sign up now and I'll keep you posted on holiday markets and Made In DC events around the District.
Sat, Dec 10, 11am-3pm: EdFEST Citywide Public School Fair - DC Armory
Sat, Dec 10, 11am-1pm: Mount Vernon Triangle Santa Celebration
Sat, Dec 10, 1-5pm, Santa Comes To Eighth Street, 530 8th St SE
Sat, Dec 10, 3-6pm, Capitol Riverfront Holiday Tree Decorating & Lighting
Sun, Dec 11, 12pm-5pm: DC Makers Market at East City Books
Tues, Dec 13, 6:30-8:30pm: Buzzard Point Park Planning Meeting - King-Greenleaf Rec
Thurs, Dec 15, 6:30-8:30pm: Ward 6 Short-Term Family Housing Design Meeting - Westminster Church
Fri, Dec 16, 8-9:30am: Community Office Hours on Capitol Hill - Radici
Sat, Dec 17 - Sun, Dec 18, 10am - 6pm: Shop 'n Shaw: Pop Up Bazaar
Tues, Dec 20: Last Legislative Meeting of Council Period 21
Tues, Jan 2: New Councilmembers Sworn In; Council Period 22 Begins
Thurs, Jan 5, 6:30-8:30pm: RFK Campus Redevelopment Citywide Community Meeting - Convention Center
Sat, Jan 7: Ward 6 Bird Count
As always, thank you for your support. Please let me know if there’s anything I or my staff can do to help you or your neighborhood.