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Happy Holidays, Ward 4!

Dear Neighbors,

I’m writing to you for one last time this year to share some quick but important updates about DC government and our community leading up to the holidays.

DC Council Final Legislation Meeting. Last Tuesday, the Council held its final legislative meeting, where we passed the second and final vote on my Safe Routes to School Act to make major traffic safety improvements around schools; Metro for DC to make MetroBus free in DC, expand bus service, and later on create a monthly transit subsidy for DC residents to ride MetroRail; the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights to provide essential workplace protections to house cleaners, nannies, and home health aides; legislation to increase SNAP benefits for families that still needs to be funded before it goes into effect; legislation to expand access to medical cannabis and provide a path for marijuana gifting shops to become regulated; a bill to overhaul the board of the DC Housing Authority that I opposed; reforms to improve DC’s troubled forensics lab and increase oversight and transparency at the DC Jail; and my bill to reinforce MPD’s police against dangerous police car chases that put officers, bystanders, and those being pursued in harm’s way — and led to the death of several residents, including our neighbor Karon Hylton-Brown. The Council will resume its legislative activity on January 3.

Proposed Council Committee Assignments Announced. On Wednesday, the Chairman announced his proposal for new Committees for the next Council period. I was nominated to chair the Facilities and Family Services Committee, which includes oversight over the Department of General Services (DGS). I am eager to lead oversight of DGS next Council period, which was my top agency request. It is critical for DC to improve repair and maintenance of facilities — especially our schools and our recreation centers. I’m looking forward to working with the agency, colleagues, and our communities. And I will be proud to serve as a member of the Committees on Transportation and the Environment, Labor, and Public Works so I can keep fighting for policies that confront climate change, create green jobs, improve traffic safety, support working families, and make government work better for people.

Leaf Collection Continuing in Area D. As I shared last Friday, DPW is finally making it to Petworth and Brightwood Park for the first round of leaf collection this week and the week of December 26. Leaf collection has been delayed several weeks due to weather and leaves falling earlier than expected. That means that the second round of leaf collection in Area A — which includes HawthorneBarnaby Woods, Chevy ChaseShepherd ParkNorth Portal, and Colonial Village  is now on track to happen during the first two weeks of January. My team and I are in regular communication with DPW to ensure that all blocks receive their collection, and crews are working hard throughout the week to make up for lost ground.

Government Services During the Holidays. DC will be observing Christmas Day on Monday, December 26, meaning several government services will be adjusted or closed from December 24-26. However, all household trash and recycling collections scheduled for  Monday, December 26 will be collected as scheduled. DC will also have the District Snow Team on standby on Friday morning to address possible freezing rain and light snow. Please help look out for our vulnerable neighbors and call the Shelter Hotline at 202-399-7093 if someone requests transportation to shelter. Also, be aware of the District’s warming centers during extreme cold. Meanwhile, WMATA will operate a Sunday schedule for MetroBuses and MetroRail on December 25-26 for the holidays.

Free and Expanded WMATA Service on New Year’s Eve. Speaking of WMATA… Are you making plans in the DMV on New Year’s Eve? WMATA announced that MetroRail and MetroBus service will be extended until 2am on New Year’s Eve. Additionally, all trips will be free for customers after 8pm on New Year’s Eve so residents can make it to and from their New Year’s celebrations safely.

Council Office Closed for the Holidays. Starting Friday, December 23, my office will be closed for the holidays until Tuesday, January 3. The break will provide much-needed time for my staff to rest and share time with their families. Please contact 311 for DC government services requests or call 911 for any emergencies. We are looking forward to responding to your messages once we return. And my next newsletter will be on Friday, January 6.

In these late days of December, I encourage our community to continue supporting each other as we always have. Visit our small businesses for your final gift shopping and some of your holiday meals. Make time to thank our mail carriers, trash collectors, health care workers, first responders, and everyone who keeps our city running. For your year-end support, don’t forget the local organizations that do so much to lift up our neighbors in need and keep us all healthy and safe. Also, check in on neighbors and loved ones who have lost family members recently because the holidays are an especially hard time for them. If you need extra help coping during the holiday season for mental health, substance use challenges, or for any reason, please call the DBH mental health line anytime at 888-793-4357. You are not alone!

Over the past few days I’ve had the chance to be in community with many of you, including at the Lamond Riggs holiday social and the Ward 4 PTO holiday market. We also had a walkthrough with the National Parks Service to discuss improvements at Grant Circle and Sherman Circle. In addition, I had the opportunity to attend the incredible end-of-the-year DC Youth Orchestra Performance, where I honored the DCYOP program and its outgoing director Liz Schurgin with a Council resolution. And we celebrated Ward 4 resident Dr. Carolyn Rudd for her leadership as the outgoing chair of the DC Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Have safe travels, stay safe, and stay warm, Ward 4. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Yours in Community,