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Ward 4 Dispatch: Comprehensive Public Safety, Rock Creek Golf, and Newsletter by Text

Dear Neighbors,

As we head into the weekend, take a moment to catch up on our collective work to improve public safety, important city services, key deadlines, upcoming Ward 4 events, and local news:

Comprehensive Public Safety

There is no more urgent priority than addressing the rise in crime and violence in our city and the fear and pain it causes in our communities. To turn the tide, we need to confront the reality that the issues we are facing are driven not by one specific agency’s failures — but by our whole government falling short of what it needs to do to keep us safe. A mother’s cry for help for her child going unanswered, charges not being filed after making an arrest for a serious crime, a 911 call being dropped during an emergency, a family being destabilized after losing their home, a young person falling through the cracks… We see time and time again how failures like these lead to tragedies that could have been prevented. And because DC’s public safety problems are multifaceted, our solutions must be multifaceted too. That is why I am focused on increasing coordination and strengthening DC’s response across our entire government.

I also know that our leaders need to work collaboratively and thoughtfully to address crime in our city. There are several public safety-related bills pending before the Council in the coming weeks. We are at a critical moment, so it is important for Ward 4 residents to learn about the bills and weigh in. I will keep you updated as the bills come before the Council. 

  • Whole Government Response to Crime Act: this legislation I co-introduced with Councilmember Robert White focuses on recertifying DC’s troubled crime lab, improving performance at our 911 call center, requiring DC to track performance metrics for violence prevention programs, and increasing coordination across agencies.
  • Home Purchase Assistance for 911/311 Call Takers and Dispatchers Act: this bill from Councilmember Charles Allen, which I also co-introduced, seeks to fill the critical vacancies at our 911 call center by offering hiring incentives to call takers and dispatchers that other first responders in DC already receive.
  • Safer Stronger Amendment Act: this bill introduced by Mayor Bowser focuses on increasing prison sentences for gun and other offenses, as well as detaining more youth and adults before their trial. The Council already passed an emergency bill in July that included many provisions of the Safer Stronger Amendment Act.
  • ACTIVE Amendment Act: this legislation from Councilmember Brooke Pinto increases prison sentences for gun charges and other serious offenses and requires anyone on pre-trial release, probation, or parole to submit to searches in public spaces. This bill is part of a broader public safety plan called Secure DC.
  • Addressing Crime Trends Now Act: this bill was filed yesterday by Mayor Bowser and focuses on addressing retail theft, establishing ‘drug-free zones’, and making changes to police accountability and transparency measures.

My team and I will be listening to Ward 4 residents and assessing the bills to see whether they will make our neighborhoods safer, improve agency coordination, and build community trust. DC needs new tools to address public safety issues, but we also need to do a better job of enforcing the laws we already have. And we need to focus on solutions that are evidence-based, constitutional, and effective. 

Strengthening Violence Reduction Programs. This week I engaged public safety leaders in a Council roundtable focused on our violence reduction programs. In Ward 4, we have brought three of DC’s effective violence reduction programs to our community: the Attorney General’s Cure the Streets program (violence interruption), the ONSE Leadership Academy (school-based mentorship for at-risk youth), and the Pathways Program (transitional employment for our at-risk neighbors). At the roundtable, I raised several ways to improve our violence reduction efforts, including: living wages for people to do this work sustainably, hiring Spanish-speaking staff to address violence among Latino community members, adding clinicians and mental health resources for our students, and better data collection across the board to track program effectiveness. DC has a comprehensive plan for reducing gun violence that was published last year and needs to be implemented with fidelity.

Confirming Acting MPD Chief Pamela Smith. On Tuesday, the Council will vote on whether to confirm Pamela A. Smith as permanent MPD Chief. I have spoken to Acting Chief Smith about the importance of having stable leadership at Fourth District Station. We have had and continue to have great Commanders at 4D, but frequent changes in leadership set our community back. I have also emphasized the need to direct additional resources to Ward 4, especially more security cameras that provide evidence to close cases. Acting Chief Smith also expressed a commitment to have more officers on foot patrols, improve officer visibility in neighborhoods, and address morale issues within MPD. 

Supporting Our Most Vulnerable Children. Improving the way our children are cared for in DC — especially our most vulnerable children — is a critical priority for making our communities safer for everyone. As Chair of the Facilities and Family Service Committee, this week I held a hearing on three bills focused on improving child welfare in the District. These bills include the Grandparent and Caregiver Subsidy Eligibility Act that I co-introduced with Councilmember Zachary Parker. The grandparents and relatives who step in to raise children in our city are heroes. This legislation will increase the support that these grandparents and relatives receive, and it will create more supportive homes for vulnerable children in DC.

Confronting Dangerous Driving and Fake Tags. Reckless driving in our neighborhoods is another serious safety risk our residents face. This week the Council held a follow-up hearing on four important bills to strengthen enforcement against dangerous driving, fake license plates, and serious offenses like impaired driving and negligent homicide. In pre-hearing responses, we found out that drivers are caught speeding 20-30 mph above the speed limit about 50,000 times year in our city. I also know from conversations with law enforcement that fake license plates are frequently used by suspects to commit violent crimes without being traced. Stronger enforcement against fake tags and dangerous driving will help make our local streets safer. Also, this week MPD conducted a major Traffic Safety Compliance Checkpoint outside of Petworth Metro that led to 54 warnings or citations and 2 arrests for driving without a permit.

Get the Ward 4 Newsletter by Text

At our Ward 4 Senior Jubilee this year, I heard from several seniors who want to receive the Ward 4 newsletter by text. We heeded the call and have been sending the newsletter by text every week since last month. All you need to do is text 202-286-5268 to sign up. I am encouraging Ward 4 residents and ANC Commissioners to let your neighbors know about this, especially anyone who would benefit from having this option.

Rock Creek Golf Course Rehabilitation

This Saturday, November 4 is the end of the public comment period for the proposed rehabilitation of Rock Creek Golf Course. The project is a partnership between the National Park Service (NPS) and the nonprofit National Links Trust (NLT), which signed a 50-year lease for Rock Creek Golf Course in order to rehabilitate it. I encourage all Ward 4 residents to learn more about the project, read the environmental assessment, and weigh in by the deadlineThere will also be a Rock Creek Park Golf Community Day on Saturday, where neighbors can explore the course and engage NLT officials about their proposal. This is an important project with many potential benefits for our community, including reinvigorating the course, upgrading facilities, improving course trails and paths, expanding accessibility into the park, adding meadow habitats, and addressing drainage and irrigation issues. The project promises to make needed repairs and sustain Rock Creek Golf Course as an accessible and affordable public course in the heart of Ward 4 to serve our communities and our schools. As part of the project, encroaching vegetation, trees in very poor health, and invasive trees need to be addressed to make the course playable and promote forest health. However, the current proposal of removing more than 1,200 trees from the area is excessive and risks adversely impacting our local ecosystem. I hope NPS and NLT will make modifications to their proposal to reduce the total loss of trees and strengthen mitigation measures. We can reinvigorate Rock Creek Golf Course as a great public resource while also doing more to preserve our urban tree canopy.

Community Resources

Leaf Collection Continues in A Sections Next Week

Leaf collection will continue in Section 4A next week (the week of November 6). Section 4A on the leaf collection map includes residents in Chevy Chase, Barnaby Woods, Hawthorne, Colonial Village, North Portal, Shepherd Park, The Parks, Brightwood, and the part of Takoma and Manor Park west of 8th Street NW. Neighbors in these areas are asked to keep their leaves raked to the curb, easement, or tree box so DPW crews can collect them next week. If you live in Section 4B, your leaf collection will begin the week of November 13, so be sure to rake your leaves by Sunday, November 12. Section 4B includes residents in Crestwood, Sixteenth Street Heights, and the part of Petworth west of Georgia Avenue.

DPR Winter Programs Registration Is Open

This week DPR opened registration for its winter programs, including aquatics, team and individual sports, out-of-school-time programs for young people, arts programs, and senior-centered programs. Find a full list of programs and the registration portal on DPR’s website.

DC Health Link Open Enrollment and Medicaid

On November 1, open enrollment began for DC Health Link, which is the District’s online state-based health insurance marketplace with subsidized health care plans. Please visit to explore their plans and enroll. Many DC residents are also eligible for Medicaid coverage. Please visit the District Direct website to enroll in Medicaid or submit your Medicaid renewal forms to keep your Medicaid coverage.

Help Roosevelt Students with Interview Skills

Volunteer opportunity: Roosevelt High School will hold a resume and interview workshop for its Career and Technical Education students to begin helping them prepare for their Career Ready Internship interviews in March. The school is asking neighbors interested in supporting with the workshop to fill out this quick form. The workshop will take place on Wednesday, November 8 from 8:45am-1:30pm, and volunteers can join at the time that works best for them!

Free Community Shredding Day at AKA Xi Omega

On Saturday, November 11 from 9am-12pm the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Xi Omega Chapter will be offering free community shredding services at the Xi Omega Center (4411 14th St NW) in Ward 4.

Sunday Deadline: Georgia Avenue Bus Project

Interested in improved traffic safety and better bus service on Georgia Avenue? Then be sure to share your thoughts with DDOT on the Georgia Avenue NW Bus Project. DDOT has released an initial high-level concept design and will consider all feedback it receives before completing a draft design for the project this coming spring.

Sunday Deadline: Survey on Future of Chevy Chase Civic Core

ANC 3/4G has launched a survey on the proposed redevelopment of the Chevy Chase Community Center and Library site to construct new facilities and add housing, including at least 30% of the units being affordable to residents at the 30-80% median family income range. The survey is open to all residents, has a deadline of Sunday, November 5, and will inform ANC 3/4G’s official positions.

Major DC Hiring Fair on November 9 

On Thursday, November 9 from 10am-4:30pm DCHR will be hosting a major job fair at MLK Library with more than 20 DC agencies, as well as several private companies. The job fair is open to all DC residents and will have a special session from 10am-12pm focused on DC veterans and their families. To participate in the job fair, pre-register by Sunday, November 5

Run for ANC in Riggs Park, Brightwood Park, and 16th Street Heights 

We have new ANC vacancies in three Single Member Districts in Ward: 4B10 in Riggs Park, 4D02 in Brightwood Park, and 4E04 in Sixteenth Street Heights. Check out this Ward 4 ANC & SMD map to see if you live in one of these three districts. If you do, please consider running for ANC as a great way to serve your neighborhood. Petitions to run can be picked up from the DC Board of Elections starting Monday, November 6. And please join me in thanking LaRoya Huff, Carla Ferris, Kate Judson, and all of our Ward 4 ANC Commissioners for their service. 

Water Main Replacement in Barnaby Woods and Hawthorne

This month DC Water is beginning a long-term water main replacement project in Barnaby Woods and Hawthorne. The work will primarily take place along Western Avenue from 9:30am-3:30pm on weekdays. These efforts will help improve water quality and system reliability, as well as increase water pressure in some areas. Check out the project notice for more details.

Modified DC Services Next Friday for Veterans Day

Next Friday, November 10 is Veterans Day, meaning many city services will be modified over the holiday weekend. DPW household trash and recycling collection scheduled for Friday will slide to Saturday. All DMV locations will be closed on Friday, and DMV Service Centers and Inspection Stations will resume regular business hours on Saturday. A full breakdown of changes to city services will be posted on the Mayor’s website next week. 

Neighborhood Events

Rock Creek Park Golf Community Day

On Saturday, November 4 from 9am-5pm National Links Trust will host a free, family-friendly Rock Creek Park Golf Community Day. The event will feature guided tours, arts and crafts, a disc golf clinic, free junior and adult golf lessons, invasive plant removal, an expo with local organizations, and more. Food and drinks will also be available for purchase, and all dogs must be leashed. Check out the NLT website for a full lineup of events.

Neighbor Meetup and Cleanup at Sherman Circle

On Saturday, November 4 at 10am join the Friends of Sherman Circle for a meetup and cleanup of Sherman Circle. This newly-formed group will work with the National Park Service to support the upkeep of Sherman Circle and will implement improvements so that Sherman Circle can better serve our community. Neighbors are welcome to come out on Saturday, help pick up trash in Sherman Circle, and share thoughts about Sherman Circle improvements. Please contact Kristen Smith for more information at

4B02 Takoma Community Cleanup

On Saturday, November 4 at 10am join 4B02 Commissioner Erin Palmer as she hosts a Takoma Community Cleanup starting from Van Buren & Piney Branch NW. Reusable gloves and bags will be provided, and 311 requests will be submitted. Come help keep Takoma clean!

Vinyl & Vintage Marketplace at 14th Street Graffiti Museum 

On Saturday, November 4 from 10am-3pm 14th Street Graffiti Museum will host its monthly outdoor vinyl and vintage marketplace with hundreds of funk, soul, hip-hop, reggae, and rock LPs available, as well as crafts from local vendors and music. Attend at 14th & Crittenden NW! 

Ram Brisueño Artist Talk at Zenith Gallery

On Saturday, November 4 at 3pm Zenith Gallery in Ward 4 will host an artist talk on Young Mornings, an exhibition featuring new works by Ram Brisueño that is running through November 25. Neighbors can attend the artist talk in person (1429 Iris Street NW) or virtually by Zoom. The artist talk will also feature Pilar Okeson, a Baltimore-based singer-songwriter.

Petworth Neighborhood Clean Up
On Sunday, November 5 starting at 12pm join Commissioner Casey Swegman (4C01), students, and neighbors from around Roosevelt HS, MacFarland MS, and the Petworth Library for a cleanup of the blocks surrounding these facilities as well as the 800 block of Upshur Street. Neighbors will meet by the front steps of the Petworth Library and disperse from there.

Weed Warriors Hike in Rock Creek Park

On Sunday, November 5 from 2pm-4pm the Shepherd Park Weed Warriors will lead a hike in Rock Creek Park starting from the trailhead at Holly & 16th Street. They will hike approximately 1.5 miles along the Valley Trail and back up the Pine Trail to look at trees, plants, and insects. Neighbors who wish to join are asked to wear sturdy shoes and to bring a water bottle.

Grant Circle Traffic Safety Meeting

On Wednesday, November 8 at 4:30pm DDOT will host a public meeting to present its proposals for much-needed traffic calming measures on Grant Circle to our community at Petworth United Methodist Church (32 Grant Cir NW). After the presentation, there will also be a community Q&A and a walkthrough at the Circle. The meeting is being co-hosted by DDOT, 4C05 Commissioner Brittany Kademian, and 4C06 Commissioner Karen Livingston.

Pizza and Poetry Slam Party for Youth 

On Thursday, November 9 at 4pm-5:30pm the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington will host a Pizza and Poetry Slam Party at 801 Shepherd Street NW. Winners will receive a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize. Come pick up your slice and be part of the event.

St. Paul AME Veterans Day Event

On Saturday, November 11 from 11am-1pm St. Paul AME Church will host a special event focused on veterans in our community at the HUB Intergenerational Activity Center located in the lower level of the church (4901 14th St NW). Come engage in conversation with Joseph S. Koroma Jr from the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs. RSVP no later than November 9 by sending your contact information to

Free Jazz Orchestra on Kennedy Street (Fran Vielma) 

On Saturday, November 11 at 1pm HR Records will host a free jazz show for our Brightwood Park community on Kennedy Street featuring Fran Vielma Jazz Orchestra. The show will take place at 713 Kennedy Street and will be preceded by music from DJ Don Vik at 12pm. 

Hellbender 9th Anniversary Celebration 

On Saturday, November 11 from 1pm-8pm Hellbender Brewery in Lamond (5788 2nd St NE) will host a celebration for its 9th anniversary featuring beer, music, food trucks, and more! 

Shepherd Slope Cleanup with the Weed Warriors 

On Sunday, November 12 from 2pm-4pm the Shepherd Park Weed Warriors will be removing invasive vines from the slope of Shepherd soccer field behind Shepherd Park Elementary (7800 14th St NW). Bring gloves and pruners if you have them, but they will have extras if you don’t. No prior experience or plant knowledge is required! 

Check Out Our Ward 4 Farmers Markets   

Get your fresh goods, crafts, and dose of community at our Ward 4 Farmers Markets:    

For more local events, check out DPR, DC Public Library, NPS, and Rock Creek Conservancy

Ward 4 in the News

Washington Post: A DC experiment seeks to save local news with local news coupons

Washington Informer: For One Night, Officers and Youth Get to Know Each Other on the Court

Petworth News: DPR gets ready for Upshur Park renovations — share your input

DCist: Attorney General Sues 14 Of DC’s Biggest Landlords For Colluding To Inflate Rental Prices

Washington Post: When Facing Eviction, Some DC Renters Will Now Get Free Lawyers

Washington Post: DC revises plan to issue $200 tickets to drivers blocking bus lanes

Washington Informer: Black Homeownership Declines in DC Due to High Student Debt

UFCW Local 400: Giant and Safeway Reach Tentative Agreement with Workers to Avert a Strike (Congratulations to our Ward 4 Unionized Grocery Store Workers!)

DC Public Library: DC Public Library Evil Laugh Contest 2023 Video Recap!

DGS: Repairing Exterior Tennis and Basketball Lighting at Fort Stevens Rec Center

DGS: Repairs Made to Baby Swing at Shepherd Playground

DCist: DC’s First 24/7 Sobering Center Opened This Week

Urban Turf: DC’s Armed Forces Retirement Home Scuttles Huge Redevelopment Plans

Lost Sock Roasters: Lost Sock to End Kennedy Street Pop Up This Sunday

Little Food Studio: New Cafe Location on Upshur and Afro-Fusion Dining by Night

PopVille: Al Volo folks buy the old Macombo building in Brightwood Park

Petworth News: Enjoy a spooky Halloween theatrical show — Spirits: A Hat Trick

Ward 4 Dispatch: Leaf Collection Begins, Towing Sweep, and Halloween in Ward 4

There was so much spooktacular fun all over Ward 4 this past week for Halloween! I loved making my way around our community and seeing all the creative costumes and family fun. Thank you to every neighbor who opened their door to trick-or-treaters or worked behind the scenes to plan these awesome community events. Councilmember Barbie had the best time!

This weekend is shaping up to have great autumn weather, so be sure to get outdoors and take in the fall foliage. Have a great weekend, Ward 4!

Yours in Community,