Newsletter: It's Budget Time
As we prepare for budget season here at the Council, I’ve sent Mayor Bowser my budget priorities and recommendations for Ward 1. They include funding for safety improvements, a library, rec center improvements, and implementation of the street vendor and domestic worker rights laws (the last two having impact throughout the District, but especially in our ward).
In a separate letter, I made my budget requests for citywide programs and projects.
My Ward 1 requests include new investments in public safety, schools, small businesses, transportation and more.
Here are a few of my requests:
- $20 million for a new library as part of the redevelopment of 1617 U St. Police and fire, located there, will occupy the redeveloped space, as well. A library on U Street would address a notable geographic gap in the library system. And the redevelopment would establish a permanent space to reinforce the past, present, and future of U Street – Black Broadway – as an artistic and cultural destination and add a new anchor for daytime traffic on the corridor.
- T Street NW targeted substance abuse outreach pilot. This additional funding would pilot an intensive outreach on the 600 block of T St., with a focus on opioid abuse treatment and prevention. This builds on the success we’ve seen in intensive outreach at Columbia Heights Civic Plaza.
- U Street streetscape enhancement. This $9.3 million project should be pushed up (it’s currently not scheduled until FY 2027) and broadened to include U Street east of 14th Street (it currently includes only 14th to 18th St.). This is a high injury section of road. The U Street Safety Initiative concluded that changes in the built environment go a long way towards improving public safety, cleanliness, and nightlife management.
- Dedicated traffic control officers in central Columbia Heights. Especially at 14th and Irving and Columbia.
- Sobering and stabilization center. This already-approved project, along with continued funding for the targeted outreach program at Columbia Heights Civic Plaza will assist residents experiencing substance abuse and mental health crises and improve resident experiences at the plaza.
- Mount Pleasant streetscape. This $8 million project would support the community-led effort to string together public spaces from Lamont Plaza to the future Amigos Park to Ragaut Park at 16th and Harvard, all of which are in need of safety and beautification improvements.
- 18th Street pedestrian zone and streateries. Funding to continue the popular DDOT Streatery program, which has made18th Street car-free for a few days each year.
- Park View Recreation Center enhancement. Eight million additional dollars would be used to modernize the center, as the original budget allocation, from four budget cycles ago, is insufficient to put the project in line with similar recent modernizations of other recreation center projects.
For a full list of my priorities and requests, please read the full budget letter posted here on my website.
Budget Letter, Part 2
I submitted my second budget letter this week. In it, I outlined more than three dozen funding requests in education, housing and homeless services, public safety, health, community, workforce development and business.
A few of my requests:
- Increase funding for Nightlife Task Force programs, which deploys DPW to get illegally parked cars of the street, DDOT to regulate traffic safety, and other agencies overseeing liquor establishments. This program has reduced violence on U street since its implementation.
- Bolster the emergency rental assistance program, $117 million.
- Support school-based and community-based behavioral health services, $18 million.
- Add funding for Out-of-School-Time programs to ensure students at all schools have access to enriching activities and experiences, $10 million.
The Mayor is expected to submit her proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget to the Council on March 22, after which the Council will hold numerous hearings with government and public witnesses (see my note below about testifying!), ask executive agencies to explain how they will use their budgets, make revisions based on public feedback, and vote on a final budget, likely in late May.
Brianne on Your Block
Meet with me one-on-one to talk about issues, ideas, concerns, or to address a specific issue you need to resolve, such as trash pickup on your block. Be sure to let staff know when you arrive so they can add you to the queue. Thank you to Whitlow’s for making your space available!
RSVP's encouraged but not required
We Need Your Voice
On March 22, Mayor Bowser will publish her proposed budget for fiscal year 2024, initiating the Council’s budget oversight process. Building on information and lessons learned from the testimony of agencies and public witnesses during performance oversight hearings, each Council committee, including the Committee on Public Works and Operations, which I chair, will analyze the budgets of the agencies under its purview and recommend changes to the full Council. Budget hearings will take place in late March and April.
Any resident can speak before my – or any — committee during budget oversight hearings. Members of the committee greatly value the input of residents, advocates, and others. You don’t need special skills or expertise to testify! Tell us what you think is working right and what is not working well in the agencies the committee oversees, from trash pickup to safety to parking enforcement, human rights, and more. The most valuable feedback we get comes from residents who are everyday consumers of government services.
I hope that you will consider testifying before the Committee on Public Works & Operations. View the schedule of hearings and sign up to testify.
If you prefer not to speak, you are welcome to submit written testimony and it will be included in the formal record and considered by committee members. If you’d like to submit testimony regarding agencies overseen by the Committee on Public Works and Operations, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the D.C. Council Budget for a more detailed explanation of the D.C. budget process and to vide the schedule of budget hearings for all committees.
Progress on Two Exciting Developments in Ward 1
I'm thrilled to see the new plans for the Rita Bright Family & Youth Center, announced this week by the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. The city will issue an RFP for the redevelopment of the site, which will include housing, in addition to a state-of-the-art recreation center. Thank you to Mayor Bowser for adding the critically needed housing component, something I have advocated for with her. Also, a shoutout to ANC 1B commissioners, and especially Commissioner James Turner (formerly of 1B now of 1A), who have been supportive of this approach.
DMPED also announced that the anticipated RFP for the 1617 U Street redevelopment will be issued before May 31. We've been hard at work on community engagement on this project and I'm glad to see it move forward. I’m also especially glad that the project will include a new library, something that Councilmember Brooke Pinto and I have pushed for, to fill a gap in the library’s neighborhood network. (The site is in Ward 1, but across the street from Ward 2, represented by Councilmember Pinto.)
Traffic Safety and the Role of Parking Enforcement
This week we witnessed a horrific accident that took three lives on Rock Creek Parkway and led to public outcry over the large number of unpaid fines by the driver of the car that appears to have caused the accident. Like many of you, I am outraged.
One of the reasons I requested to Chair the committee with oversight of the Department of Public Works was so that I could focus on that agency’s role in road safety and implementing Vision Zero.
DPW’s role in addressing illegal parking that blocks bus lanes, crosswalks and bike lanes is critical to keeping all our road users safe. As a mom of two kids who bikes across the city, I’ve been a victim of traffic violence. As a pedestrian, too. As a bus rider I’ve seen the impact of illegally parked cars on reliability and safety. And as a driver I see the same.
While the incident gaining so much attention this week is about reckless driving, we also find that some of our most egregiously dangerous drivers are also the people breaking our parking laws. We have the tools to get their cars off the street with booting and towing and we are doing more and more of that. Automated traffic enforcement cameras are a big part of this, and the expansion of those is coming soon. They are funded and in the procurement process for spring.
What I’m outraged about is that real enforcement rooted in a sense of accountability and consequences is seen as too radical (and sometimes inequitable), because driving is seen not as a privilege but as a prerequisite for participating in society. Fewer than half the people who live in the District drive as their main mode of transportation and yet most residents are at drivers’ mercy.
The current situation is not okay for our residents, and in my oversight role since January I’ve been pressing on this with DPW – in two hearings so far and in my first site visit with the parking enforcement division management – and it will be a focus of my site visit next week with the parking enforcement officers themselves. I’ll be there at the beginning of the 6 am shift, which is charged with getting all those vehicles out of rush hour lanes, to talk to them about the importance of their work. We need DPW to prioritize getting dangerous vehicles off the road. And while they are doing more now than ever, it’s still not enough.
Meanwhile, the D.C. Auditor came out with a report this week finding that the city’s traffic safety strategy is not making progress. The number of traffic deaths has gone up since Vision Zero was announced in 2016. Councilmember Charles Allen, who chairs the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, is working actively on this and I look forward to partnering with him.
You might be interested in some past traffic safety legislation I've been involved with, including my bill to standardize raised crosswalks and two bills to improve traffic safety and street design, and supporting many of my colleagues’ traffic bills, including no-right-on-red, bike lanes, and enhancements to public transit.
Adams Morgan Public Safety Community Meetings
Thank you to the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service for facilitating a great conversation on Monday night with our local human service providers, who are an integral part of the District's response to public safety issues. The meeting was the first of two public safety meetings. The second, which will focus on the law enforcement side of public safety, is scheduled for later this month (see below for more details). A big thank you to the Adams Morgan BID for organizing and hosting and to USDOJ for facilitating.
Our community members, including a few business owners, had great questions and it was a fantastic opportunity for them to hear directly from the individuals who work with some of the most vulnerable members of our community to prevent gun violence, respond to mental health crises, and provide housing and other resources.
We heard from the Department of Behavioral Health, Miriam's Kitchen’s outreach services, the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement’s violence intervention team, the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture, and the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs.
The panel discussed ways in which they support and engage people who need services – working with neighbors and businesses – and how that creates a safer community for everyone.
I often talk about the District’s multi-agency, multi-pronged approach to crime and public safety, and these two meetings, one focused on human services and the other on law enforcement, really illustrate that approach.
There will be a second opportunity for community members to hear directly from service providers involved with the law enforcement side of public safety on Monday, March 27 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm. We look forward to seeing you there. Watch Twitter - @BrianneKNadeau and @AdMoBID for registration info for that meeting. You can also reach out to email@example.com at the BID for more info.
Street Vendors Passed its First Reading
After years in the making, the D.C. Council gave initial approval at the March 7 legislative meeting to the bill that decriminalizes street vending and recognizes it as a livelihood that contributes to the culture and economy of the city.
With dozens of street vendors and advocates in attendance, the Council passed the Street Vendor Advancement Amendment Act 12-0, with one councilmember voting present. The Council will vote a second and final time at the next Legislative Meeting, most likely April 4.
I first introduced this bill in 2019 and re-introduced the bill this year with Council Chairman Phil Mendelson co-introducing. It ends criminalization, creates a pilot program in Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant with a vending zone manager, makes it easier for vendors to get licenses, and creates an amnesty program for unpaid licensing-related citations so that vendors can restart with properly obtained licenses.
Read more about the bill and my full remarks to the Council.
Non-citizen Voting Bill Becomes Law (Hands off DC!)
In Congress’ new war on D.C.’s ability to enact its own laws, the House voted to disapprove the Local Resident Voting Rights Act, a bill I introduced, and which passed the Council unanimously. Luckily, the Senate did not take up the disapproval measure, unlike their successful effort to overturn D.C.’s criminal code revision.
According to the Council, the bill became law on Feb. 23; according to the Senate, it became law on March 14.
Our neighbors – who pay taxes, attend our schools, and contribute to the vibrancy of our communities – will now also have a say in who represents them in our local government.
D.C.’s disenfranchisement is on full display right now. We’re expanding voting rights here while our autonomy is under attack. It’s a pretty spectacular juxtaposition.
Make no mistake, Congressional Republicans will try to use budget resolutions to undermine our laws – they could, for example, add a rider to prevent D.C. from using any federal funds to implement that voting rights law. And some Democrats may feel the need to go along with them.
I was proud to stand with fellow Councilmembers Charles Allen, Robert White, Christina Henderson, Janeese Lewis George, Zachary Parker, and Chairman Phil Mendelson at the rally in front of Union Station last week to call on the Senate to keep its Hands Off DC.
D.C. residents deserve full autonomy and representation. We are not allowed to send a voting representative to Congress, but Congress thinks it’s OK to make decisions for our city that they cannot and would not make for any other city or state in the country. Congress’ interference must not be tolerated, and the past few weeks have made clearer than ever why D.C. must become the 51st state.
I will continue to work with my fellow councilmembers to fight for our right to make our own laws and fight for statehood.
Homes and Hearts and ECE subsidy
Preschool teachers are getting a big pay raise this year, thanks to the Homes and Hearts Act of 2021, in which councilmembers Charles Allen, Janeese Lewis George and I proposed a very modest tax increase on the wealthiest residents to generate recurring dollars. By increasing taxes, we are funding major goals of the Council’s landmark birth-to-three legislation by raising wages for thousands of early educators, making a historic investment in ending homelessness, and introducing a monthly basic income for D.C. individuals and families earning less than $57,414 for a family of three. It was great to see Emily Berman’s article in the DCist highlighting the bill’s impact on teachers.
Longer Hours at DPR Rec Centers
Starting Monday, March 27, the Department of Parks and Recreation is expanding hours at eight high-demand rec centers; then, in April, they will expand hours at 37 additional rec centers. The new weekday hours will be 6 am to 9 pm and the new Saturday hours will be 9 am to 5 pm. The first eight rec centers to launch expanded hours are: Columbia Heights, Emery Heights, and Deanwood community centers, and Turkey Thicket, Edgewood, Kenilworth, Rosedale, and Barry Farm recreation centers.
Enter the Summer Camp Lottery
The D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation has introduced the Summer Camp Lottery Program, which is open to all D.C. residents and families interested in summer recreational programming for children and youth.
The new system provides families with three weeks to consider and choose a camp, eliminating the frenetic rush and giving everyone an equal chance to participate. Remember that registering early will not affect your chances and reduced rates are available for those who qualify until April 1. The lottery closes April 5.
Make a Plan: Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon This Weekend
This Saturday the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon will take place in parts of Ward 1: Calvert Street, Columbia Road, Harvard Street, 5th Street and 4th Street. Check out the race map if you’d like to cheer on the runners as they make their way around the course.
Road closures will begin at 7 am in Ward 1 and will re-open between 12 pm and 1:30 pm. Check out the schedule of road closures. Getting through the race perimeter with a car will be challenging, and there will be traffic delays so plan ahead. If you’re taking the bus around town on Saturday plan extra time.
Good luck to all our D.C. residents running the race!
Gas Pipes in Your Neighborhood
Washington Gas has released its March 2023 PROJECTpipes project calendar, which provides an overview of infrastructure work under way in the District. View the calendar to check for projects in your neighborhood. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Recycling Pickup Events in the District
You can recycle your old electronics like TVs, cell phones, laptops, and more at one of the many free drop-off locations. The District of Columbia's Department of Energy and Environment offers residents several resources for recycling electronics and fostering a more sustainable community. Residents can recycle covered electronic equipment in Wards 5, 1, 8, and 3 during collection events in March and April:
- Saturday, March 18, from 10 am to 2 pm A collection vehicle will be on Rand Pl NE, east of 24th St NE, near the Arboretum Community Center in Ward 5.
- Saturday, April 1st, 9 am to 1 pm. A collection vehicle will be stationed in Ward 1 near the FreshFarm Columbia Heights Market on Park Rd NW east of 14th St NW.
- Saturday, April 15, 2023, from 10 am to 2 pm. A collection vehicle will be stationed in Ward 8, near the Barry Farm Recreation Center, at the intersection of Sumner and Wade Roads SE.
- Sunday, April 23, from 9 am to 1 pm. A collection vehicle will be stationed near the Palisades Farmers Market, at the intersection of MacArthur Blvd NW and 48th Pl NW, in Ward 3.
Learn more about how to recycle your electronics, or contact email@example.com with questions.
U St. Bus Priority Corridor – U Street Flyer
Ward 1’s newest transit priority and road safety project is kicking off next week. DDOT will be holding an introductory meeting on the U Street Bus Priority Project and has already launched a project website. U Street, between 9th and 16th Streets NW, joins a bounty of similar projects underway in Ward 1, including Columbia Road, Georgia Avenue, and 14th Street.
U Street has lots of competing needs, including the essential 90s crosstown bus lines, and is a high-crash and high-injury corridor. My goal is to support this project to deliver more reliable service to riders and significantly improve pedestrian and bike safety. Because of its significance as a nightlife corridor, I’m also interested in working with DDOT and U Street neighbors on how to design a street that is adaptable for nightlife safety and activity, including infrastructure to strategically close lanes or sections of the street.
You can join DDOT's U St. town hall (online) on March 23, 7 pm. Info and registration.
Medicaid Renewal Process
Since the COVID-19 virus struck in March 2020, the District has not required Medicaid beneficiaries to renew their health coverage as usual. Starting on April 1, 2023, and continuing through June 1, 2024, all Medicaid beneficiaries must renew their health coverage for themselves and/or their families. The Department of Health Care Finance recently launched its “Don’t Wait to Update” campaign - an initiative to get the renewal process underway. To support this effort and make sure your benefits continue, visit DHCF to renew your coverage, and/or share this information to other Medicaid recipients you may know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Brianne K. Nadeau | Councilmember | email@example.com
Jaqueline E. Castaneda | Communications & Constituent Services Specialist | Jcastaneda@dccouncil.gov
David Connerty-Marin | Communications Director | firstname.lastname@example.org
Tania Jackson | Senior Advisor | email@example.com
Lauren Lipsey | Constituent Services Specialist | firstname.lastname@example.org
Maricela Nava | Deputy Chief of Staff & Scheduler | email@example.com
Kevin Pham | Deputy Director of Constituent Services | firstname.lastname@example.org
Niccole Rivero | Chief of Staff | email@example.com
Legislative and Committee Staff
Ariel Ardura | Senior Legislative Counsel | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Davis | Committee Director | email@example.com
David Meni | Deputy Chief of Staff & Legislative Director | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sabrin Qadi | Legislative Assistant | email@example.com