Ward 1 Update: We're Walking and We're Talking...
It’s been a difficult few weeks for public safety in the Ward and across the District. I cannot reiterate enough, I understand it has been incredibly hard for folks, not just with the recent homicides, but with the drug dealing and related issues. None of this is ok, but we are going to get through it by working together thoughtfully and strategically.
Many of you have attended the two public safety meetings I convened, the walk with Captain Hong, my Coffee Walks in Shaw/U St. and Adams Morgan, and my most recent Brianne on Your Block. You’ve also engaged in neighborhood email exchanges and emailed me directly. Your participation and feedback are key and I can’t thank you enough for your involvement.
I have spoken several times in the past two weeks with Acting Police Chief Pamela A. Smith. I’ve asked her to allocate more officers to the U Street area (PSA 305) and to other hot spots in Ward 1, which are chronically understaffed compared to PSAs with less crime in other wards. I’ve also requested that she find funds for an additional mobile camera and pledge to allocate funds in the next budget if that does not happen sooner. I advocated with ABCA to take up the petition for a moratorium on new liquor licenses on the 1900 block of 9th Street NW and they agreed to add a special meeting in September to expedite that.
You might be hearing me talk a bit more lately about the role of MPD, a result of the recent incidents. But my comprehensive approach has not changed since I first became involved in D.C. government as an ANC commissioner. We must focus on prevention, policing, prosecution, and rehabilitation. With a big emphasis on prevention.
Several items I added to the fy24 budget will kick in about six weeks from now, including safety ambassadors in Adams Morgan; a new violence interrupter around 14th and V streets and additional funds for existing violence interruption efforts in Le Droit Park, Columbia Heights and Park View; targeted substance use disorder outreach along U Street, lower Georgia Avenue and Mount Pleasant Street; and a pilot program for substance use and behavioral health services in the 600 block of T St. In the recently-passed budget, I also created a mechanism to fund a BID-like entity for the U St. area that can coordinate all kinds of non-enforcement services that can impact safety. I am excited about the sobering center that’s coming to Columbia Heights.
I remain as intent as ever on prioritizing these and other social services and supports, as well as police, parking, and other enforcement. I continue to believe, because it’s based on evidence, that longer term strategies such as addressing homelessness and creating job opportunities are the true way to eliminate crime. For these and other reasons I put much of my energy into housing vouchers and the Emergency Rental Assistance Program earlier this year.
As always, I invite you to share your thoughts and questions with me by email and to come speak with me at my monthly Brianne on Your Block (you don’t have to live in the neighborhood where we meet), walk with me on one of our Coffee Walks (next one is in late August in Parkview – watch for details), and of course to attend any of my public safety meetings or the ones with MPD.
“Civic Plaza For All” Report Release
Several years ago, unsatisfied with existing government resources to assist with substance use disorder on Columbia Heights Plaza, I funded a pilot for a dedicated community navigator program. In the last three years, the pilot has worked to address maintenance of the public space, public programming, and providing connective services to some of our most vulnerable residents who frequent the plaza. It’s been a phenomenal success and I added more funding for additional navigators.
District Bridges, which manages the program, will release a report on the last three years of the pilot, just as we are getting ready to expand the program across the ward, with additional funding allocated by Councilmember Nadeau.
I hope you’ll join me for the report release event on Tuesday, Sept. 12, from 6-9 p.m. at the GALA Hispanic Theatre, 3333 14th St NW. The event will include a presentation, discussion with panelists, including me, and a reception. Admission is free but RSVP is requested.
We're Walking and We're Talking
And drinking coffee
I’m always looking for new ways to connect with neighbors and address issues. We’ve been doing BOYB for a long time and recently added (brought back, actually) another type of event – the Coffee Walk. We start off with coffee and casual conversation at 8 am, followed by a 1 to 2 mile walk around the ANC. This gives us a chance to visit specific areas of interest or concern – from trash to drugs to pedestrian safety, school facilities issues and more.
In early August, we walked ANC 1B (U St. Corridor) with a dozen residents, starting at TCB on S St., the southern edge of Ward 1. We talked trash, street sweeping, traffic, pedestrian, and public safety and more.
In ANC 1C (Adams Morgan) about two dozen people turned out to meet up at Potter’s House. Concerns and updates included pedestrian safety at Columbia Road and Adams Mills Road, park maintenance at Kalorama Park, projects to renovate Hargrove and Unity parks (should begin in the fall, thanks to funding I secured), and the two additional public safety ambassadors I was able to fund in the budget. We also got to hear from Jubilee Housing about the two affordable housing projects they have in the works.
Our next Coffee Walk will be in ANC 1E (Parkview) in late August. Stay tuned for details.
Yes, You Can Play in the Street!
Pilot at Bancroft Elementary School
I’m very excited to share that DDOT plans to turn the block of Newton Street in front of Bancroft Elementary into a “Play Street.” The Bancroft community and surrounding neighbors have strongly advocated for this for a while, and I’ve enthusiastically supported that effort. The Play Street is meant to “provide a calmer, safer street for students and families to arrive or depart the school by bike or by walking.”
The Bancroft School Play Street will be in effect on school days from 8-9 am and from 3-4 pm. During this time, the street will be closed to through traffic except for school buses and emergency vehicles, when needed. Barriers will be placed at the intersection of Newton Street with Mount Pleasant Street and the intersection of Newton Street and 18th Street. I would love to see this at more schools in Ward 1 and across the District.
Terminology 101: The Who, What, and How of Special Education
Back to School Kick-Off Training at Petworth Library
Dealing with IEPs, FBAs, or BIPs? Not sure what IEEs, DAs, or SLPs are? The DC Special Education Hub is hosting a free, in person training to learn the who, what, where, when, and why behind special education lingo.
Thursday, August 24, from 6:30 to 7:30 pm at Petworth Library, 4200 Kansas Ave NW
End-of-summer DPR Pool Closures
Alas, we are coming up on the end of outdoor pool time at Department of Parks and Recreation pools.
Banneker Pool will close for the season at 6 pm on Monday, Sept. 4. Park View Children’s Pool and Happy Hollow Children’s Pool have already closed. All spray parks will close for the season at 8 pm on Monday, September 4, 2023. Here’s the full list of pool closure dates citywide.
IN THE NEWS
Criticism has come from progressive corners as well. For example, Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau said recently on WAMU’s The Politics Hour that she wanted the city to focus not on long sentences or on increased pretrial detention, but instead on swift and certain prosecution for people who commit crimes — and she cited Graves’ office as the biggest obstacle to that.
"I want folks to know that we are bringing a lot of resources to U Street – not just police but other enforcement agencies – that can help us deal with these issues," Councilmember Nadeau said.
Six slain in shootings in the District on Saturday, police say
[Nadeau] also called on the U.S. attorney’s office for D.C. to prosecute more cases. ‘We have tools in our toolbox that are not being fully utilized and I continue to push for them to be used to their fullest,’ Nadeau’s statement said.
“It’s got to be a partnership between all of our agencies, like the Department of Public Works, helping with towing … DDOT, helping with strategic road closures, our licensing agencies going out and doing enforcement, making sure all of our nightlife entities are following the law,” [Nadeau] said.
Where Councilmember Nadeau has been
Saturday, July 22 | Ward 1 Pool Day! at Banneker Pool
Monday, July 24 | BOYB at Johnny’s All-American
Tuesday, July 25 | Adams School site visit with neighbors
Thursday, July 27 | 3rd MPD District Citizen Advisory Council
Saturday, July 29 | Adams Morgan Pedestrian Zone and the Tenant Resource Fair hosted by ANC 1A and ANC 4B Housing Justice Committees, sponsored by me and Councilmembers Robert White and Janeese Lewis George
Tuesday, August 1 | Coffee Walk and Talk in ANC 1B (Shaw/U St. Corridor). CM Nadeau and staff walked with residents to give updates on known issues and take info on new ones.
Thursday, August 3 | Kid Power site visit at Bancroft Elementary School
Thursday, August 3 | Warden Court Apartments community meeting
Thursday, August 3 | A Conversation with Assistant Chief Kane and Update on the U Street Nightlife Task Force at the DCHFA Building on Florida Ave.
Friday, August 4 | Mikvah Challenge’s Summer Fellows Leadership Café including our office’s summer fellow, Tre
Saturday, August 5 | Conversations with residents at the Food Waste Dropoff tent at the Mount Plesant Farmers Market
Monday, August 7, 6 pm | Adams Morgan Public Safety Meeting convened by Councilmember Nadeau in response to Saturday morning shooting with MPD Commander James Boteler
Tuesday, Aug. 8 | Coffee Walk and Talk in ANC 1C (Adams Morgan)
Wednesday, Aug. 9 | Marie Reed Elementary School walk-through to review pending work orders before school year begins
Thursday, Aug. 10 | BOYB at Ben’s Chili Bowl.
Friday, Aug. 11 | Public Safety Walk on T Street with MPD Assistant Chief Morgan Kane
Where Councilmember Nadeau and/or her staff will be.
Late August (TBD) | Coffee Walk in ANC 1E (Parkview)
Thursday, September 7 | T Street Task Force monthly meeting
Thursday, September 14, 6-8 pm | Brianne on Your Block (ANC 1C), location TBA
Tuesday, September 19 | First Legislative Meeting after recess
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