New Phase 2 Guidelines, Council Updates, and more
Hi Ward 1,
This week, many of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving, but it will look very differently. I know this is frustrating and most of us thought that we’d be able to reunite with our families by now. However, the safest options are to either celebrate with just the people in your immediate household or connecting with family virtually.
As you make Thanksgiving plans, it is also important to remember that COVID-19 has an incubation period. If you were exposed to the virus, you may get a negative test result on the third day after exposure, but a positive result on the fifth day after exposure. This is why public health experts have continued to encourage quarantining for 14 days as a means to avoid spreading the virus.
This morning, Mayor Bowser released new guidelines that will go into effect on Wednesday, November 25th.
Metropolitan Police Department Overtime Spending Accountability Emergency Act
In my last update, I shared my concern about a request circulated by Mayor Bowser that reprogrammed $43 million out of the Department of Health Care Finance ($28.3M), Workforce Investment, Fund ($12.7M), and Child and Family Services ($2M) to pay for the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) overtime expenditures.
After my colleagues and I sent a letter to the City Administrator asking for more information and an explanation, the City Administrator responded confirming and supporting the reprogramming. I know that many residents were calling on Councilmembers to file a disapproval resolution to stop the funds from being reprogrammed. However, I could not find a path out of the position that the Mayor put the Council in. Due to our budgeting laws, a disapproval of costs already incurred would neither stop MPD from receiving payment for their overtime expenditure nor result in those funds being reallocated to human services priorities. Instead, it would have required the Mayor to find a different, and potentially more problematic, funding source and would have resulted in the $43 million being frozen and not available for use at all.
So, I introduced emergency legislation to require MPD to provide a written report to the Council every 2 pay periods on its overtime pay spending. The report must include the amount spent year-to-date on overtime pay, and a description of the staffing plan and conditions justifying the overtime pay. This legislation will help increase transparency and accountability on police spending in the District, so that the Council will know quickly when overtime spending is exceeding its allotted budget.
Non-Profit Reimbursement Fairness Act
During my time on the Council, I've seen our nonprofits run on a shoestring to provide vital services to the District’s most residents. I, along with Councilmember Robert White, moved legislation to strengthen nonprofit compensation. This has been in the making for years! The legislation follows the lead of other jurisdictions and the Federal government by ensuring that nonprofit organizations who do business with the District government receive adequate and consistent compensation for their overhead costs as part of their contract or grant. I want to thank the many service providers (Bread for the City, Community of Hope, Latin American Youth Center, La Clinica Del Pueblo, Mary’s Center, So Others Might Eat, and more!) and advocates for making sure we understood the challenges they faced and pushed us to promote equity in our contracting.
The last several weeks have been tough for parents and teachers as the plans for reopening continue to shift and change. I share your frustration. In my last email, I communicated my stance on school reopenings, which is that I want to see us reopen schools, but only once our teachers and community trust the plan and feel it is safe to return. I published an open letter to the community expressing this, as well as my concern around the lack of plan to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic students or teachers.
On November 18th, several hundred students returned to school buildings, continuing virtual learning in “CARES” classrooms under adult supervision. However, the Washington Teachers’ Union is still in ongoing negotiations with DC Public Schools to try to reach an agreement on how to safely reopen our schools. I will continue to monitor the progress of these discussions and advocate for open communication and transparency.
Human Services Committee
In Case You Missed It
Comprehensive Plan Ward 1 Open House
On November 16th, I hosted an open house to discuss some of the components of the comprehensive plan that affect Ward 1. We talked about how zoning relates to the plan, how we maximize affordable housing through our land use policy, and more. Watch the recording here.
The Politics Hour
Last Friday, I joined Kojo Nnamdi and Tom Sherwood on The Kojo Nnamdi Show’s The Politics Hour to talk about the MPD overtime spending bill discussed above and rent control legislation. You can listen to the recording here, starting at 17:20)
Register for Classes at Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School
Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School offers English language classes, career training, GED and citizenship test preparation for adult English language learners. Registration is open now through December 11th for the Spring 2021 Semester. Classes will begin on February 8th. Click here for more information.
ZooLights has been transformed into ZooLights Express. A 24-foot flatbed truck decorated with light displays will visit one ward each night. Ward 1 is up first, on Nov. 27th! Click here to check out the route.
As temperatures drop, keep an eye out for neighbors that may need assistance. If you see someone outside in need of help or shelter, call the Shelter Hotline at 202-399-7093 or 311 and ask for the Shelter Hotline. Call 911 for emergencies.
EmpowerEd's Virtual Summit on Community Voice in DC Education
Join EmpowerEd for their virtual summit on Saturday, December 5th from 10:00a.m. to 12:30 p.m. You can register here.