April 10, 2023 | Update

Newsletter: Budget, BOYB TONIGHT, Big Meeting, Bill Passed & Other Business

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We are well into budget season here at the Council. Mayor Bowser released her budget for the 2024 Fiscal Year, and I’m glad to see a few investments in Ward 1: I look forward to cutting the ribbon on recreation centers at Rita Bright and Park View, a revitalized Columbia Heights Plaza, and a new landmark for housing and culture right at 14th and U streets to replace the current Reeves Center. Not to mention continued historic investments in bus and bike lanes on U Street, Columbia Road, Georgia Avenue, and more. 

But I’ll be honest, the big picture of this budget is disappointing. Some of that is simply the reality of the financial deck that’s been dealt. But that scarcity reveals a lot of preferences for what we deem important. 

Using the lens of our most vulnerable residents, this budget falls short in so many ways. There are cuts to public schools that will require principals to reduce staff who play critical roles in school operations. Funding for teacher retention programs is woefully inadequate. The public safety cluster sees significant cuts to violence prevention programs and to services for victims of crime.  

Among the cuts to our most vulnerable residents: 

  • Reduced funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, from $43 million to $8 million, when the need is closer to $80 million. This is our most effective program for preventing eviction, one that I have fought to increase each year, and is a critical resource when rent increases are about to go into effect. 
  • Cutting the legal services provided by the Access to Justice Fund that help people when they are in need 
  • Cuts to smaller agencies in my new committee, like the Office of Human Rights and the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, which will make it harder for them to protect residents and grow digital equity. 

Scarcity does not have to come with a scarcity mindset. 

We've been told all of us will have to sacrifice in a lean year, but DC's Comeback Plan has been a gift basket for property owners and business interests in the form of a $41million abatement for downtown, a downtown TOPA exemption, a delay in compliance for green building laws and parking benefit alternatives.  

In the Committee on Public Works and Operations we are seeing cuts to our largest agency: the Department of Public Works. DPW, which has been in the process of filling many vacancies in both the Solid Waste Management division and the Parking Enforcement Division, had 90(!) vacant positions cut in the Mayor’s proposed budget. This will have a direct impact on the services our residents receive if we cannot identify additional funding for the agency.  

Does that make government work for its residents, our neighborhoods, quality of life and safety?  

I want to be clear: I am aware of the revenue reality. And I appreciate the difficult challenge the Mayor and her team have faced. I recognize that they’ve even made cuts to programs that she has championed. For me, making government work for our residents, many of whom are already tightening belts, is how we achieve sustainability.

You can read my full remarks from the Council’s first budget oversight hearing.

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Understanding the Budget Process

If you haven’t participated in the budget process before, it has been an all-out marathon for the past month, during which time committees have been holding budget oversight hearings, agency officials answer questions, members of the public testify, and councilmembers discuss, debate, and finally vote. 

There are still a few budget oversight hearings to go, in my committee and the others. You may wish to testify or submit written testimony. There is also time for you to email or call your councilmembers – me, of course, as your Ward 1 councilmember, but also the four at-large councilmembers, the Council Chair and, frankly, any/all councilmembers.

Find out more about the budget process and how to get involved.

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Even More Budget, You Say?

That’s right – we have a whole blog with updates every few days (and sometimes every few hours) on aspects of the budget that I’m paying special attention to, especially the portions of the budget that get oversight from the Committee on Public Works & Operations, which I chair.  

In recent posts, I raised concerns about lack of preventative maintenance at DCPS schools and other facilities in Ward 1, ask the Office of Human Rights about underfunding of their investigations and the impact that will have on protecting residents, and raise questions about public trash cans. Stay tuned for more. You can also get updates on my Twitter account, @BrianneKNadeau, and our new staff-managed Twitter account @CMNadeauOffice.

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Brianne on Your Block

On Your Block TONIGHT – Monday, April 10, 6-8 pm

BOYB is a chance to meet with me one-on-one to address a specific issue you need to resolve, such as trash pickup on your block, or to talk about issues, ideas, or concerns you have. I am available at the event to meet with people individually or in a small group. Tonight, I’ll be at Lost City Books, 2467 18th St. NW, from 6 to 8 pm. I encourage you to register ahead, but it’s also OK to just show up. 

Stay up to date on upcoming BOYB’s.


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Community Conversation With Cure the Streets and OAG


Prevention and Intervention: A Public Health Approach to Violence, April 24, 6-8 pm

I've invited the Reverend Judie Shepherd-Gore of Cure the Streets and Lauren Haggerty from the Office of the Attorney General to join me in a Ward 1 conversation about preventing violence, especially youth violence. Both are deeply involved in prevention and intervention efforts. Audience members will also have a chance to ask questions. 

Monday, April 24, 6 to 7:30 pm, in the Cardozo High School lecture hall, 1200 Clifton St. NW. No registration is necessary. 

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Later that week I’ll be joining the 3rd District MPD Citizen Advisory Committee meeting, along with representatives from MPD, to hear from residents and speak about public safety issues, including new legislation I am introducing that week.  

The 3D CAC meeting will take place Thursday, April 27, 7 to 8 pm at the 3rd District Station, 1620 V St. NW. The meeting is open to the public and no registration is necessary. 


Heading: In the News


Councilmember says DC needs to prioritize holding dangerous drivers accountable (WUSA9)

D.C. Council Votes Unanimously To Overhaul Street Vending Laws (DCist)

Concejo de DC vota para descriminalizar la venta ambulante (Telemundo)

Opinion | Child care should be much more expensive (Washington Post)

Bowser offers bigger tax breaks for office-to-housing conversions in downtown, but critics question value (WAMU)

“The logic of this budget seems to be this: D.C. residents need to make sacrifices now so that we can subsidize enough growth downtown to get people to move there, so that in five or 10 years’ time, those people will contribute enough new tax revenue to allow us to afford the things we want to invest in,” said Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1) during a council hearing last month.


Heading: Legislative Update

Street Vendors Bill Passed

The Council voted unanimously last week in favor of the Street Vending Advancement Act, which I reintroduced this year, along with Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.  

The legislation will remove criminal penalties for street vending violations, making it similar to other business license violations. It also creates a structure to better organize vending spots for the benefit of vendors, customers, and pedestrians. And it streamlines the licensing process, to make it easier for vendors to follow the rules and go into business fully compliant with the law.  

Street vendors contribute to the vibrant atmosphere of Columbia Heights, Mount Pleasant and diverse neighborhoods throughout the District. I often say that, for me, it is an essential part of what makes Ward 1 so energetic and beautiful. 

I want to thank Councilmember Christina Henderson and Chairman Mendelson for working on technical changes to clarify and improve the law in the final weeks before passage. 

While the decriminalization of street vending is poised to go into effect after Congressional review, the Mayor’s proposed budget does not include the funding to implement the rest of the law. I’ll be working with Chairman Mendelson and the Council to find the funds we need to put this long-awaited law into action. 

Heading: Community Updates

Expanded Rec Center Hours

Open hours at the Columbia Heights Community Center nearly doubled to 15 hours per weekday and more Ward 1 recreation centers will soon follow: On April 24, Park View Community Center and Marie Reed Recreation Center will see their hours expand, opening from noon to 8 pm on weekdays. More about the expanded hours.

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Thursday is the New Friday, April 13 

Join District Bridges on the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza for Juernes: Thursday is the New Friday | Jueves es el Nuevo Viernes on April 13 from 6-7pm. There will be a free salsa lesson followed by a short performance by instructors from Salsa with Silvia. There will also be free food from a local restaurant while supplies last.

Africa on the Avenue promo graphic


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Stilt Walkers and More: Africa on the Avenue, May 20 

Africa on the Avenue is designed to lift up the rich culture of the continent and to assist those navigating the immigration process. Saturday, May 20, 11 am to 5 pm at Bruce-Monroe Park (Georgia Avenue and Columbia Road), there will be performances from small ensembles, Afro-Brazilian groups, drummers and dancers, stilt walkers, as well as vendors displaying African wares, clothes and food and community groups offering information for those still needing assistance with finalizing their status in the United States. Vendor Application | Volunteer Sign Up | More info 

More events from District Bridges

District Bridges has a whole lineup of events from now through September in Columbia Heights, Mt. Pleasant, and areas nearby.

Heading: Calendar

Find Councilmember Nadeau or a member of her staff at these upcoming events. 

Monday, April 10, 6-8 pm | Brianne on Your Block. Lost City Books, 2467 18th St NW 

Tuesday, April 11, 12-6 pm | Committee on Public Works & Operations budget oversight hearing: Office of Risk Management; Office of Administrative Hearings 

Tuesday, April 11, 5:30-7:30 pmBlack Youth Agenda Townhall, Black Swan Academy 

Wednesday, April 12, 9 am-12 pm | Committee on Public Works & Operations budget oversight hearing: Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs; Office of Veterans Affairs; Office of Religious Affairs; Office of LGBTQ Affairs 

Wednesday, April 12, 7 pm | Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1A monthly meeting  

Thursday, April 13 | CM Nadeau will speak with Howard University class: Public Issues in Architecture

Thursday, April 13 | Washington DC Economic Partnership's Annual Meeting

April 17-21 | Council recess  

Monday, April 24, 6-8 pm | CM Nadeau hosts a Ward 1 Conversation, Prevention and Intervention: A Public Health Approach to Violence, 1200 Clifton St. NW 

Tuesday, April 25, 7 pm | Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1D monthly meeting

Wednesday, April 26, 7 pm | Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1E monthly meeting

Thursday, April 27, 7-8 pm | 3rd District MPD Citizen Advisory Committee. 3rd District Station, 1620 V St. NW


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