I’ve heard from hundreds of you in the past couple of weeks about the new administration and Congress’ renewed interest in meddling in our local affairs. While voicing our displeasure through social media serves a valuable purpose, we must organize for action. That’s why I’m planning a community meeting on Monday, February 13, at 6:30 p.m. at the Atlas Performing Arts Center to talk through the threats to DC laws and values, and work together outline (and take) actions that protect the progress that we’ve made here in the District. If protesting is the new brunch, then organizing is the happy hour. Join me and a diverse array of advocacy organizations who need your help to fight back right here in DC.
In my role as the new Chair of Judiciary and Public Safety, I spent several hours at DC Superior Court last week to learn more about our court system and how decisions are made during the pretrial phase concerning individualized supervisory plans for defendants. DC did away many years ago with its bail system, choosing instead a more effective approach to use a risk assessment process to determine who should have restrictive release and who should be held, pending their trails. As I mentioned before, I am also committed to examining the concerns raised by the Washington Post series on DC’s criminal justice system. I've begun an approach to review and investigate what reforms are needed, and am pulling data on several fronts to help inform decisions. Seeing the court system first-hand was an important step in that work. I will continue to explore the District’s criminal justice system and use these experiences to inform the work of my Committee. I’m also holding a public roundtable to review issues raised in the Washington Post series and on sentencing and the roles and responsibilities of local and federal agencies on February 9 at 9:30 a.m. If you wish to testify please RSVP here. You can also watch the hearing live.
Yesterday, I stopped by the post office to pick up commemorative stamps featuring Dorothy Height. She was an incredibly important and special person in the District of Columbia and it's more than fitting that she's featured by the US Postal Service for Black History Month. As Black History Month begins, take time to honor and celebrate the contributions that African Americans have made and continue to make to our nation and to the District. I'm proud of the many historic sites that Ward 6 hosts - from the Carter G. Woodson park and home in Shaw to the Mary McLeod Bethune memorial statue in Lincoln Park (and many points in between), our city honors these incredible individuals and their contributions.
Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club Renovation Project Meeting
Last Saturday, I helped the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development kick off the “Our RFP” community conversation around redeveloping the Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club building. It’s been a long path getting to this new redevelopment approach, but I believe Our RFP will create an inclusive process to bring neighbors together to reflect our community values and priorities for this important site. If you missed the first meeting, there are other ways to get involved. Share your feedback online to DMPED or in person at a follow-up Our RFP meeting on 2/16, at 6:30pm, at Friendship Chamberlain PCS (1345 Potomac Avenue, SE).
One year ago on Saturday, we officially launched the District’s Books From Birth program together with the DC Public Library. I couldn’t be happier to report that one year later, more than 21,000 DC kids have received more than 129,000 books thanks to Books from Birth. Nearly two-thirds of the participating families are from DCPL’s target neighborhoods, meaning that these books are getting to the children who need them most. We know that the District must do more to confront the literacy and achievement gap at its starting point, well before it shows up in the classroom. This program is an important tool for reaching our earliest learners, helping ensure every child in DC is prepared to learn when they begin school. If you have a child under the age of 5, you can sign up to receive one free book per month here.
If it’s February, it’s time for the Council’s annual Performance Oversight hearings. These hearings are a chance for the public and the Council to hear from each agency about their work over the past fiscal year, and for the public to provide feedback on their performance and priorities. As Chair of the Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, I’ve already sent detailed advance questions to the 35 agencies, boards, and commissions in my committee. I’ll be holding a series of 5 oversight hearings to follow up on each agency’s responses, as well as to hear from public witnesses.
If you’re interested in testifying, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 727-8275. I’m also a member of the Committees on Education, Business and Economic Development, and Transportation and the Environment, and attend those hearings, as well. You can find a full schedule of the Council’s oversight hearings here. While they make for long days at the Wilson Building (including a few nights), these hearings are an important chance for me to hear directly from you, our neighbors, and the agency leadership who serve our city.
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.
WMATA Construction and Delays Continue
From WMATA: Metro is reminding weekend riders of a major track work project that will affect service on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines this weekend. Free shuttle buses will replace all trains between Foggy Bottom and Eastern Market stations on Saturday, February 4, and Sunday, February 5. As a result, six stations will be closed: Farragut West, McPherson Square, Federal Triangle, Smithsonian, Federal Center SW and Capitol South
Constituent Services Highlight
A core function of our office is solving problems for Ward 6. In fact, our Director of Constituent Services, Jamaal Jordan, spends most of his day doing just that. Jamaal fields calls and emails from our all over the Ward about everything from alley repairs to missed trash collections to DMV issues. If you ever need any help, please don't hesitate to contact us. Here's a testimonial from one of our neighbors:
"Mr. Allen – Thanks to your office, especially my friend Mr. Jordan, who after a quick call last week got the light back on in the alley behind my house. I guess Public Works got the word and they were out in no time. You have lots of happy (and more secure) constituents in our little enclave that includes folk on SC Ave, E St and 3rd St SE. So let’s make sure that we get you to one of our block parties later this spring. I’ll keep you and Mr. Jordan posted." -Marc L.
Sat, Feb 4, 10 am - Noon: Virginia Ave Park Planning Meeting at 500 5th St SE
Thu, Feb 9, 9:30 am: Judiciary Roundtable on Sentencing in the District of Columbia
Fri, Feb 10, 8 am - 9:30 am: Community Office Hours in Southwest – Waterfront Starbucks
Mon, Feb 13, 6:30 pm: Hand Off DC: Ward 6 Community Organizing Meeting – Atlas Performing Arts Center
Fri, Feb 17, 8 am - 9:30 am: Community Office Hours in Hill East: Pretzel Bakery
Mon, Feb, 27 6 pm - 8 pm: Ward 6 Every Student Succeeds Act Community Engagement Meeting (OSSE)