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Ward 4 Dispatch: DC Budget Status, CARE Days, and Events All Over Ward 4

Dear Neighbors,

First off, I’m excited that we are launching our Ward 4 CARE Days later in May as a way to engage our community and bring resources to every Ward 4 neighborhood. If you haven’t yet, please find your closest CARE Day event and sign up. My newsletter this week focuses on updating you about our work on the DC budget and critical legislation to replace lead pipes in DC and strengthen DC’s minimum wage law. We also have an amazing lineup of Ward 4 events this weekend, including Brightwood’s Spring Cleanup, live music on Kennedy Street, the Shepherd Park Garden Tour, the grand opening of Flowers by Alexes, the Crestwood Plant Party, the Sixteenth Street Heights Spring Fling, and the return of Ward 4 Farmers Markets!

Rallying for a Lead-Free DC and a Living Wage

On Thursday, I rallied in front of the Wilson Building alongside LiUNA! construction workers, worker rights groups, environmental organizations, and other community members in support of replacing all lead pipes in DC and guaranteeing every worker a living wage. The rally focused on my Green New Deal for a Lead-Free DC Act, which would rapidly accelerate the replacement of lead pipes in DC while also creating the good green jobs that will be necessary to get the job done and lift up working families in DC. Exposure to lead is incredibly dangerous, especially for young children, those who are pregnant, and senior citizens. But DC will fail to even come close to its goal to replace all lead pipes by 2030 without confronting the barriers that are slowing us down, as our bill does. This is a critical public health issue, an environmental priority, and a racial justice imperative.

We also rallied to pass the Minimum Wage Clarification Act I introduced to close a major loophole in DC’s minimum wage law. Currently, companies only need to pay workers DC’s minimum wage if they spend more than 50% of their working hours in the District. Some employers take advantage of this loophole by rotating construction workers, catering staff, retail employees, janitors, and other workers between different job sites across the region so they can pay these workers below the minimum wage. This practice is unfair and exploitative, and my bill would stop it. We were thankful to have my colleagues Charles Allen and Anita Bonds join us at the rally given their leadership and strong record on labor and environmental issues.

DC Budget Status and Legislative Session

Last week I wrote to you about the work our Committee did to strengthen DC’s investments in the maintenance and security of DC schools and rec centers, programs that serve residents with disabilities, the welfare of children, and other priorities for DC families. This week Councilmembers came together in a 12-hour budget work session to discuss each Committee’s budget changes and other unmet needs that still need to be addressed in the final budget. Now, the Chairman has the opportunity to make changes to the proposed budget before it comes to the full Council for amendments and a vote on Tuesday, May 16.

During our budget work session, I made the case that we need additional funding for emergency rental assistance and housing vouchers, both of which were dramatically cut in the Mayor’s proposed budget despite the immense need in our communities. Just today, the city released its Point-in-Time Count showing a 11.6% increase in homelessness in DC over the last year. Our homelessness crisis will only worsen if we cut back the programs that get people housed and keep people housed. I also want to see DC increase SNAP benefits by funding the Give SNAP a Raise Act we passed last year. Every single day, my office gets calls from Ward 4 residents who are struggling with food insecurity after Congress allowed the federal expansion of SNAP benefits to expire. Many families are running out of food stamps only two weeks into each month. And another critical priority is reversing cuts to legal services that support survivors of domestic violence, help families enroll in public benefits, and prevent our neighbors from being evicted. These services make an enormous difference in people’s lives, but they face a 60% cut in the Mayor’s proposed budget for next year. DC faces more budget constraints this year, but there is nothing responsible or sustainable about forcing our most vulnerable neighbors to bear the cost. And dismantling critical programs that DC families depend on will exacerbate the housing and public safety crises that impact all of us. 

Because the Council is focused on the DC budget this month, our legislative session on Tuesday was relatively brief. One important measure we passed provides relief to our local restaurants that were facing increased charges from food delivery services or being excluded or demoted from customer’s search results if they were unable to pay a higher commission to these services. Our small businesses already face huge challenges; the least we can do is prevent them from being gouged by global food delivery platforms that are making record profits. We also approved a bill to speed up the renaming of Good Hope Road in Southeast DC to “Marion Barry Avenue” in honor of DC’s Mayor for Life. And we passed my resolution designating May 12 as Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day in honor of our amazing early childhood educations in DC.

Neighborhood Events

Cinco de Mayo on 14th Street

On Friday, May 5 from 6pm-10pm Uptown Main Street will host Cinco de Mayo festivities on 14th Street from Spring Road to Shepherd Street featuring Mariachi Guadalajara, Happy Hours, and special deals at local businesses and restaurants. Viva la fiesta!

Lighting of the Fountain at Chevy Chase Circle

On Friday, May 5 at 8pm the Friends of Chevy Chase Circle will host a block party for the inaugural lighting of the newly-restored Chevy Chase Circle Fountain. Come enjoy live music, popcorn, ice cream, and business specials on the front lawn of Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church (1 Chevy Chase Circle NW). This event is part of weekend-long Spring Fling activities.

Ward 4 Farmers Markets Are Back This Weekend

With Petworth and Uptown restarting, Ward 4 now has four active Farmers Markets:

Yoga at the Park at Fort Slocum

On Saturday, May 6 at 10am 4B06 Commissioner Tiffani Johnson will host Yoga in the Park at Fort Slocum in honor of 4B06 Day! The session will be lead by Kate Judson of Lighthouse Yoga, who offers intentional and grounding yoga. All levels, all bodies, all abilities are welcome.

Flowers by Alexes Grand Opening and Discussion

On Saturday, May 6 at 12:30pm Flowers by Alexes in Petworth (851 Upshur St NW) will host a community small business discussion followed by a ribbon cutting at 2pm. Come celebrate an amazing Black woman-owned small business with deep ties in our Ward 4 community.

Hellbender Brewery Record Fair

On Saturday, May 6 from 1pm-7pm Hellbender Brewery is hosting a record fair. They’ll have many vinyl vendors, two food trucks, a DJ, and live music. It’s a free, fun, family-friendly event!

Roots Muva’s Day Market on Kennedy Street

On Saturday, May 6 from 10am-4pm Roots PCS will host its annual Muva’s Day Market at 15 Kennedy Street NW. Stop by to shop, grab a bite, and be in community with neighbors!

Live Music and Local Businesses on Kennedy Street

On Saturday, May 6 from 5pm-8:30pm local businesses are teaming up to bring live music to Kennedy Street with performances by DJ Zach Pleasant, Dev Duff & Friends, and Carly Harvey in front of Anxo and Everyday Sundae. Come enjoy music, ice cream, drinks, and more!

Takoma Foundation Beerfest!

On Saturday, May 6 from 3pm-7pm the Takoma Foundation will host its fun annual Takoma Beerfest event at a new outdoor location—the Takoma VFW. Neighbors can get paid tickets to enjoy beer, brats, live music, community, and the company of friends and neighbors.

NEW DATE: Sixteenth Street Heights Spring Fling

On Sunday, May 7 from 1pm-3pm the Sixteenth Street Heights Neighborhood Association will host its Spring Fling on the Piney Branch Green between Varnum and Webster Streets (enter on 15th Street). Come out for an egg hunt, food, iced tea, lemonade games, and community. This was rescheduled from last Sunday to this Sunday due to the rain last weekend.

Weeding and Planting at Lorenzo Allen Park

On Sunday, May 7 at 3pm Petworth Blooms will plant annuals and remove weeds at Lorenzo Allen Park (Illinois & Gallatin & 9th NW). Neighbors can join and help beautify our park!

Brightwood Annual Spring Cleanup 

On Sunday, May 7 at 1:30pm-3:30pm the Brightwood Community Association and the Mayor’s Office of Clean City will host the annual Brightwood Spring Cleanup starting from 14th & Luzon Ave NW. Join your neighbors as they clean the Fort Stevens playground area and neighboring streets. Gloves and trash bags will be provided.

Shepherd Park Citizens Association Garden Tour

On Sunday, May 7 at 2pm-5pm the Shepherd Park Citizens Association will host its annual garden tour starting from Shepherd Park Christian Church (7900 Eastern Ave NW). This is a self-guided walking tour showcasing the beautiful landscapes within Shepherd Park, Colonial Village, and North Portal Estates. Check out the event page for more details.

Crestwood Neighborhood Plant Party 

On Sunday, May 7 from 2pm-4pm the Crestwood Green Team will host a Plant Party in the alley between Webster & Varnum and 16th & 17th Streets. Neighbors are encouraged to bring their extra seedlings, seeds, plant divisions, cuttings, and extra garden gear to exchange and their nursery pots to recycle. There will also be free native plants and a lemonade stand!

Senior Mother’s Day Tea at Fort Stevens Rec Center

On Thursday, May 11 from 12:30pm-2:30pm Fort Stevens Rec Center (1327 Van Buren St NW) will host a Senior Mother’s Day Tea event with mothers who are 55 years and over sharing stories over a cup of tea and tasty finger sandwiches.

Mothers Day Crafts for Mommy

On Thursday, May 11 from 4:30pm-7:30pm youth and children are invited to Fort Stevens Rec Center to enjoy sweet tea and make sweet crafts for mom ahead of Mother’s Day.

Movie Night On The Lawn: Ratatouille

On Friday, May 12 at 6pm come to Petworth Rec Center (801 Taylor Street Northwest) to enjoy the family classic movie Ratatouille with your neighbors on the lawn.

Four-Hour Fiction Book Sale at Juanita E. Thornton-Shepherd Park Library

On Saturday, May 13 from 11am-3pm the Friends of the Juanita E. Thornton-Shepherd Park Library will hold a “Four-Hour Fiction” book sale with adult and young-adult fiction titles, as well as a huge number of DVDs for sale too. All items will be just $1 each, so come on by!

Takoma Flea Market

On Saturday, May 13 from 10am-4pm Takoma Flea Market will take place on Grant Avenue in Takoma Park with an outdoor market of clothing, jewelry, housewares, furniture, records, and more — as well as great food options. Find event details on the Takoma Main Street website.

Mother’s Day FREE Market

On Saturday, May 13 from 12pm-4pm Ward 4 Mutual Aid and Petworth Peanuts will host a Mother’s Day FREE Market at Emory United Methodist Church (6100 Georgia Ave NW). People can come pick up free gently-used maternity clothes, baby and kids’ clothes, strollers, toys, and gear. Volunteers are also needed to sort the donations, set up, and clean up the event. Please contact or 202-854-9830 for more information.

Bike Ride to Our Libraries in Lamond Riggs, Takoma, and Shepherd Park

On Sunday, May 14 at 12:30pm DC Public Library will host the 14th Tour de DCPL, a fun-filled bike tour of four of our local public libraries. The tour will kick off at Lillian J. Huff/Lamond-Riggs Library, visit Takoma Neighborhood Library, then Juanita E. Thornton Neighborhood Library, ride through Rock Creek Park, then finish at the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Library. There will be free swag, refreshments, library trivia, and more. Please register to take part.

Ward 4 CARE Day in Manor Park

On Wednesday, May 17 from 4pm-7pm I will be hosting our first CARE Day in Manor Park, starting from the Fort Slocum Park Pavilion (5800 Kansas Ave NW). Come join us for a resource fair with DC agencies, outreach to check in on neighbors, constituent services support, and a day of bringing our community closer together. Please RSVP online.

Community Resources

WMATA News: Yellow Line Is Back and Improved Red Line Service

After eight months of extensive rehabilitation work, the Yellow Line will reopen this Sunday, May 7 between Huntington and Mount Vernon Square with trains running every 8 minutes on weekdays and every 12 minutes after 9:30pm and during weekends. Riders will also see improved service on the Red Line starting Monday, May 8 with trains coming every 6 minutes during weekday peak hours (6am-9am and 3pm-7pm) and every 8 minutes during other daytime and evening hours. This will relieve crowding and provide more reliable service.

DC Tipped Minimum Wage Rises to $6 Per Hour

On Monday, May 1, DC’s tipped minimum wage increased from $5.35 to $6 per hour as the first step of implementing Initiative 82. DC’s tipped minimum wage will increase again to $8 on July 1, 2023 and will keep rising until it matches DC’s full minimum wage by 2027. Until then, employers must make up the difference between DC’s tipped minimum wage and DC’s full minimum wage ($16.10 per hour) if tips alone do not make up the difference.

Vote on Public Art on Upper Georgia Avenue

Upper Georgia Avenue Main Street needs your input on their public art project. Vote now for your favorite submissions to beautify the traffic control boxes around Georgia Avenue, Eastern Avenue, Alaska Avenue, and Kalmia Road. Voting closes at 11:45pm on Sunday, May 7.

Destiny Church Offering Job Training and Food

Destiny Church in Brightwood Park (5209 Georgia Ave NW) is offering a Job Training Class for DC residents interested in employment across several industries. Call 240-292-9129 to learn more. They are also offering Monthly Food Distribution every Thursday from 5pm-7pm starting Thursday, May 4 in the rear of the church. 

More DPR Hours at Fort Stevens, Petworth, Upshur, Takoma, and Lafayette-Pointer

Last week DPR expanded hours at or reopened several Ward 4 rec centers. Fort Stevens, Petworth, Upshur, Takoma, and Lafayette-Pointer are now open from 12pm-8pm on Mondays-Fridays. This is another important step forward forward in our efforts to expand opportunities for recreation, exercise, and positive activities in our community — especially for our youth. The youth side of Fort Stevens was closed for months, but it has now reopened.

Local News Links

Washingtonian: 8 Must-Try Restaurants in DC’s Mini Mexico Corridor (Mostly in Ward 4)

DCistCouncil Looks To Increase Funding For Rental Assistance And Vouchers

Washington Post: Migrants find no space in crowded hotels leased by DC

DCistAs Budget Vote Looms, Lawmakers At Odds On Future Of Troubled Crime Lab

Petworth NewsVP Kamala Harris drops in at HR Records on Kennedy Street

Barred in DC: New bar called Snappy’s to take over Qualia Coffee space in Petworth

DPW: DC’s Annual Truck Touch family event on June 3 at RFK Stadium

Next Stop… Riggs Park: Riggs Road NE Cycletrack 30% Design Phase

UrbanTurf: 100-Unit All-Affordable Development For Seniors Proposed at Walter Reed

Petworth NewsMary’s Bar & Grill takes over for El Torogoz on 9th Street

DCist: Proposed DC Budget Cuts To Legal Services Are A ‘Calamity,’ Local Orgs Say

Previous Ward 4 Dispatch: Kennedy Street Library, Budget News, and Earth Day Fair!

Committee on Facilities and Family Services: Making Major Investments in Maintenance, Disability Programs, Children, and Families

I’m consistently amazed by all the incredible events in Ward 4 that neighbors plan to give back to our community and bring people together. I had a blast at the ANC 4B Earth Day Resource Fair and Petworth Porchfest last weekend, not to mention all of the cleanups in Petworth!

This month we are celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and all the ways our AAPI communities make our city stronger and more vibrant. DC Public Library has great programming throughout May that neighbors should check out. Honoring AAPI Heritage Month means both lifting up the culture and history of Asian American and Pacific Islander people and standing with them in the struggle against displacement and hate.

And in case you missed it: it was a very exciting Wednesday on Kennedy Street as our Vice President Kamala Harris stopped by Home Rule Records to check out Charvis’ incredible record collection and buy a few as gifts. HR Records is a legendary locally-owned, Black-owned, family-owned business with an incredible owner and team. This Saturday starting at 5pm, Kennedy Street will be hosting live music on Kennedy if you want another reason to visit. Let’s all take a cue from the VP and make time to support all of our small businesses across Ward 4, especially this weekend when we are capping off National Small Business Week.

Wishing you a happy weekend, Ward 4!

Yours in Community,