June is flying by. It's already time for summer vacations, Fourth of July celebrations, and pool and camp season! I'm looking forward to a vacation with my family later this summer, as well as the upcoming annual recess break for the Council that will let me get out into Ward 6 even more for a few weeks. Be sure to save Monday, July 24 through Saturday, July 30 for Ward 6 Week! We're lining up a bunch of fun events throughout Ward 6 to celebrate summer and explore our community. More info coming on this soon -- but just know, I am really excited about the plans we're finalizing.
You may have seen the story on Friday, June 23, where undercover US Park Police handcuffed three teens who were selling bottled water on the National Mall. I wrote to the Chief of the US Park Police to express my frustration with this kind of heavy-handed response. You can read the full letter on my Facebook page. This kind of enforcement does not represent who we are as a city.
Ward 6 Defends Its Title as "Best Ward" on DC Flag Day! Congratulations to the many Ward 6 residents who used their social media accounts to highlight DC Flag Day and win the annual DC Flag Day Competition between all 8 wards. Once again, we won the Best Ward category! This is our second straight title. I love DC Flag Day and the opportunity to celebrate our flag and our push for statehood - plus I'll take any excuse to ride a Bikeshare bike down Pennsylvania Avenue waving the DC Flag. Take a few minutes and browse some of the great submissions. And thanks to the great folks at Neighbors United for Statehood for organizing this event.
In Case You Missed It: Budget Wins for Ward 6
We are very nearly through the FY18 budget process for the District. Last week the Council voted for the second time on the funding portion of the budget, locking in how and where your tax dollars will be spent. All that remains is a final vote today on new laws that will pass as part of the budget. I'm very excited to share some of the projects I fought to fund in Ward 6 - especially an accelerated schedule to modernize our middle schools. I wrote an Op-Ed in the June issue of the Hill Rag breaking down what's coming.
You may have heard about funding cuts to the future development of DC Streetcar. This is something I'm very concerned about. I believe we need to continue investing in the Streetcar expansion to the east and to the west and into downtown as it was originally designed in order to see it reach its full potential as a public transportation option. I spoke with WAMU about my concerns after fighting to restore some of the funding in the budget. But we're going to need to do more work in the coming year to make this a priority beyond Ward 6 boundaries.
Summer Crime Prevention Roundtable Takes Place - As we begin the summer months, I brought together leadership in the city to discuss specific summer crime prevention strategies. My hearing featured not just the Metropolitan Police Department, but in the interest of taking a more comprehensive view of crime prevention, it also included leadership with the Department of Parks and Recreation and other government agencies and community members. It was a very productive conversation to have all of the key parties in one room and I hope it leads to a safer summer for our community. The Post has the recap.
Considering Expanding the Rights for Sexual Assault Survivors - I held an all-day hearing considering a bill that would expand the rights of sexual assault survivors, particularly for those ages 12-17 where there is a serious under-reporting issue in DC. It was an important hearing where a lot of survivors came forward to share some very personal stories and experiences as we consider the role an advocate could play for survivors under the age of 18 in seeking justice. I'll share more as we consider this important issue in the future.
Election and Campaign Reform Hearings - I will hold two hearings that tackle some larger questions about how we finance campaigns and ensure our elections process is transparent and strong. Thursday, June 29, we will consider a bill I co-introduced that would create a publicly-financed campaign structure. The following Thursday, I'll be hearing public testimony on a number of bills around campaign finance, all aiming to create greater transparency and accountability.
While We're Talking About Elections - I am proud to say that the Automatic Voter Registration Amendment Act of 2016 I helped pass last year was funded in this year's budget! DC is moving in the opposite direction of many states across the country and making it easier for citizens to vote. I came across this Pew Charitable Trust research paper that asks a simple question: Why are millions of citizens not register to vote? The (not so simple) answer: in many cases, no one asked them to sign-up. Automatic voter registration helps fix that while maintaining the integrity of our election voter rolls. Let's get more people invested in their government.
DC Commemorative Flag Program is Live! Just like many states and the US Capitol, you can now purchase a flag that has flown in front of your capitol, the John A. Wilson Building, through the Office of the Secretary of the Council. I already have mine - what are you waiting for?! Online ordering is coming soon, but you can order one now the old fashioned way.
Two Office Hours Dates Left Before Recess! The (almost) weekly community office hours I hold around the Ward on Friday mornings will be on pause until the Council returns from summer recess in September. I will still be working, but if you need to meet with me, circle July 7 in Shaw or July 14 in Southwest on the calendar. Details below in the Upcoming Events section.
Walk with me in the Barracks Row 4th of July Parade - One of America's great July 4th Parades takes place in our own backyard! Join me and walk in the parade on the morning of July 4th. It's a short, fun way start the day celebrating our independence. More information for registration here.
Summer in the District: Are You Ready? - School may be out, but DC Public Library's Summer Reading Program, DPR's Summer Camps, the District's Summer Youth Employment Program, and free summer meal sites across the city are up and running. Readers of all ages can enjoy fantastic summer events and prizes, youth aged 18 and younger can find nutritious free summer meals, and our pools and spray parks are welcoming anyone needing to cool off. Check back soon for our Ward 6 Week schedule of fun, free activities in late July across the Ward!
Want to See What I'm Up to Each Day? I'll just put a plug here to follow me on Twitter (@CharlesAllen), follow our staff account (@CMCharlesAllen), and my Facebook (www.facebook.com/CharlesAllenDC) if you'd like to see what I'm working on for Ward 6 and DC each day.
While the Council's official summer recess may be coming soon, please know our offices remain open and active as usual. Council's recess simply means that there will be no hearings or votes taking place. Please don't hesitate to reach out if I can help with anything or if you need assistance.
Barracks Row 4th of July Parade - Tuesday, July 4
Ward 6 Community Office Hours in Shaw (Compass Coffee) - Friday, July 7
Ward 6 Community Office Hours in Southwest (Waterfront Starbucks) - Friday, July 14
MarketSW Farmers Market 4-10 pm - Friday, July 14 and 28
Ward 6 Week! - July 23-30 (stay tuned for more info)
DC Food Waste Collection at Eastern Market - Every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm at Eastern Market (outside of the Rumsey Aquatic Center)
Southwest DC Community Farmers Market - Every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm in Lot SW