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Ward 4 Dispatch: Doing Right by Tenants, Turkeys, Xi Omega Way, and Celebrate Petworth!

Dear Neighbors,

This week’s newsletter includes new legislation to protect tenants, reflections from our Ward 4 Faith Leaders Breakfast, an update on car break-ins, the newly-designated Xi Omega Way, our Ward 4 Turkey Giveaway and Celebrate Petworth Festival on Saturday, our final Petworth/Uptown Farmers Markets for the season, the latest on leaf collection, and plenty of other local events and resources. Let’s get into it all below.

The Doing Right by DC Tenants Act

In Ward 4 and across DC, far too many tenants face unsafe and undignified housing conditions in their apartment buildings. Right now, there is nothing to stop landlords who profit by neglecting their buildings from buying up new rental properties and doing the same to even more tenants. The outcome is predictable and tragic: tenants are forced to live in uninhabitable conditions, while community safety deteriorates for both tenants and the surrounding community. That is why this week I introduced new legislation to stop bad actor landlords from expanding their foothold in our community. My bill, which was co-introduced with six other Councilmembers, would deny new building permits and new business licenses from being issued to any individual or landlord that has five or more serious housing code violations in a 12-month period. The bill would both heavily incentivize neglectful landlords to resolve maintenance issues in their existing properties and keep them from buying new properties until they have done so. We welcome housing providers to our city, but we are also sending a clear message that if you want to do business in DC, you need to do right by tenants.

Preventing Car Break-Ins in Ward 4

DC is experiencing a surge in car break-ins that is impacting several neighborhoods in Ward 4 both east and west of Rock Creek Park. These offenses impact our sense of safety and quality of life, and they cannot be dismissed. We have been communicating with MPD about strategic interventions to address this trend and long-term strategies to improve safety overall. MPD’s special mission team is conducting surveillance and working diligently to identify and apprehend those responsible for these incidents. They are also increasing patrols and deploying additional resources to enhance their presence in neighborhood that are being affected. MPD encourages neighbors to continue reporting criminal activity to 911 in order to help apprehend the people responsible and provide the data MPD needs to target the most impacted areas during the times when most of the break-ins are taking place. If you have trouble reaching an officer, you can contact the Fourth District Watch Commander at 202-391-7177 if you live east of Rock Creek Park or the Second District Watch Commander at 202-438-4421 if you live west of Rock Creek Park. Please also take advantage of DC’s private security camera incentive program to ensure there is footage when these break-ins occur. Typically, multiple car break-in incidents are linked to the same small group of suspects, so making even one arrest can deter many future incidents. MPD also continues to remind neighbors to not leave anything valuable in their cars and to warn contractors who service their homes so they can take precautions against vehicle break-ins.

Celebrating the New Xi Omega Way

On Wednesday, we gathered at the Xi Omega Center on 14th Street in Ward 4 to celebrate the designation of Xi Omega Way in honor of the Xi Omega Chapter’s more than 100 years of sisterhood, leadership, and exemplary service to our community, our city, and our country. From promoting civic engagement and offering programs for our seniors, to organizing food pantries and supporting our children — the Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Sorority, Inc does extraordinary work in service to others, and we are proud to host its headquarters here in Ward 4. Xi Omega also has a powerful history of social activism for civil rights, racial justice, economic empowerment, and community health — a history that is intertwined with the District’s past and present. That is why my colleague Christina Henderson and I were proud to introduce and pass the legislation that designated the 4400 block of 14th Street as Xi Omega Way. As we love to sing, “Greater laurels to win, Greater tasks to begin.”

Ward 4 Turkey Giveaways This Weekend

The annual Ward 4 Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway for Ward 4 families in need is this Saturday, November 18 starting at 11am at Riggs LaSalle Rec Center (501 Riggs Rd NE). The event will be first come, first serve while supplies last, and residents will be asked to bring proof of Ward 4 residency (DC ID, lease, utility bill, etc). To ensure we help as many Ward 4 families as possible, each family will be limited to one turkey. I am grateful to be partnering with the Lamond Riggs Citizens Association again this year to co-host this event. Please help us get the word out by sharing the flyer in English or Spanish — or by sharing the flyer on social media and neighborhood list serves. Another option for residents is the Destiny Church for All Nations Turkey Giveaway on Sunday, November 19 at 9:30am at 5209 Georgia Avenue NW (closer to Petworth, Brightwood Park, and Sixteenth Street Heights). If you want to spread the word about other turkey giveaway events in our community, please share the events with us at Thank you to everyone giving back to our community. Let’s make sure every Ward 4 family has a great Thanksgiving meal!

Community Resources

Leaf Collection Status Updates

Next week, the week of November 20, leaf collection will continue in Section 4B, which includes all of Crestwood, all of Sixteenth Street Heights, and the part of Petworth west of Georgia Avenue. Please continue to keep your leaves raked on your tree box, curb, or easement. DPW also confirmed today that leaf collection in Section 4C will begin the week of November 27. So if you live in Riggs Park, Lamond, Takoma, Manor Park, or South Manor Park, please plan to rake your leaves on your tree box, curb, or easement by Sunday, November 26 for DPW crews to collect. DPW will also collect leaves in paper bags, but they will not collect leaves in plastic bags. All neighborhoods will get two rounds of leaf collection.

Tickets Being Issued to Cars Parking or Idling in Front of Bus Stops

This week DDOT started issuing $100 tickets to cars parked or idled in the areas in front of bus stops through automated traffic cameras mounted on MetroBuses. The Clear Lanes project aims to improve bus travel times and enhance safety and accessibility by ensuring the areas around bus stops are clear for riders to safely board onto buses. DDOT is also planning to begin issuing tickets to cars that stop or drive in dedicated bus lanes (lanes painted in red) some time around January. Find more details in DDOT’s announcement and check out the map showing all the bus routes equipped with cameras on DDOT’s website.

Final ANC 3/4G Civic Core Survey Results

ANC 3/4G has released the results of its extensive survey on the proposed redevelopment of the Chevy Chase Community Center and Library site to construct new facilities and add housing. Check out the results on the Commission’s website.

Truesdell Playground Modernization Survey

DCPS has a brief survey to gather student feedback for the new playground at Truesdell Elementary that will be built as part of the school’s modernization. Please note that while part of the current playground remains open to our community, it will close at the end of the school year (June 2024) so work on the new playground can begin.

Last Chance: Upshur Modernization Survey

Speaking of surveys, the ANC 4C community survey on the Upshur Rec Center Pool and Modernization officially closes this Sunday, November 19. Don’t miss the chance to weigh in!

Ward 4 Mutual Aid Grocery Distribution

On Saturday, November 18 starting at 10am at Brightwood Park United Methodist Church (744 Jefferson St NW), Ward 4 Mutual Aid will distribute gift cards, diapers, and other items to the first 100 Ward 4 families in need. There will be another distribution on December 16.

Update on Fort Totten Park Metal Canister Investigation

Late last week, the National Park Service shared an update on the investigation into the metal canisters that were found in the spring and determined to be WWI-era munitions. An area of Totten Park remains closed and fenced, and cement barriers and “no trespassing” signs will remain in place while NPS and the US Army further investigate. Read the full update.

You Can Now Look Up Rec Center Repairs Online

A small but important step towards transparency and better government: DGS updated its public dashboard to include work orders for repairs at our DPR parks, rec centers, and pools. The dashboard is updated daily and shows each work order’s request date, estimated completion date, and priority level. The Council required this change to ensure that DC residents can track whether the issues we see at our parks are being addressed. Please note that the dashboard is easier to navigate on desktop. You can display the full list of open work orders by selecting the small “FY24 DPR Open Work Orders” tab on the top of the screen.

Domestic Workers Employment Rights Act in Effect

After the Council passed the bill last year and funded it in our DC budget, the Domestic Workers Employment Rights Act is now in effect. The law requires employers to provide domestic workers an employment contract and a safe work environment. Please visit the DC Office of Human Rights webpage for more information on the law and how to file a complaint

DC Opens First 24/7 Sobering Center 

Last week DC opened its first 24-hour Stabilization Center at 35 K Street NE to provide short-term care for people experiencing a substance-use crisis or emergency. The 6,400-square-foot healthcare facility provides immediate care to patients free of charge and connects patients with nurses and nurse practitioners, peer specialists, and recovery coaches. The Stabilization Center is open to anyone 18 years and older with no residency requirement, no insurance requirement, and regardless of immigration status. Among many other benefits, the center will alleviate pressure on emergency rooms and emergency psychiatric centers.

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

We have ANC vacancies in three Single Member Districts in Ward 4: 4B10 in Riggs Park, 4D02 in Brightwood Park, and 4E04 in Sixteenth Street Heights. Check out this Ward 4 map to see if you live in one of these districts. If you do, please consider running for ANC as a great way to serve your neighbors. Petitions to run can be picked up from the DC Board of Elections.

Neighborhood Events

Shepherd Slope Cleanup with the Weed Warriors

On Saturday, November 18 from 9am-11am the mighty 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!

Celebrate Petworth Festival on Saturday!

On Saturday, November 18 from 11am-5pm the Celebrate Petworth Festival will held on the 800 block of Upshur Street NW! After being rained out from its original date, the festival is back in full force this Saturday with an amazing music lineup, plenty of kids’ activities, local vendors and artists, and an abundance of food and drinks. Check out the full schedule and map. Looking forward to seeing neighbors enjoy the festival and supporting our nearby businesses!

Fall Bazaar at Northminster Presbytarian Church

On Saturday, November 18 from 9am-3pm the Northminster Presbytarian Church (7720 Alaska Ave NW) in Shepherd Park will host a Fall Bazaar with homemade crafts, toys and games, clothing, collectibles, jewelry, kitchen items, and more. This is the first time the festival is being held since 2019, so don’t miss out. Check out the flyer for more details.

Coolidge Competes in the Gravy Bowl in Ward 4

On Saturday, November 18 at 12pm our Coolidge High School football team will take on Anacostia High School in the 2023 DCIAA Gravy Bowl at Roosevelt High School. Go Colts!

Invasive Plant Removal at Little Forest Park
On Sunday, November 19 from 9am-12pm NPS and the Rock Creek Conservancy are hosting an invasive plant removal restoration event at Little Forest Park in Chevy Chase. Volunteers will meet at the corner of 28th & Newlands NW and are encouraged to bring water and snacks. Tools and supplies will be provided. Register online to participate in the event.

Where Comedy Meets DC GoGo

On Sunday, November 19 from 7pm-11pm the Friends of Carter Barron Foundation For The Performing Arts will host Where Comedy Meets DC GoGo, a featured event with Nephew Tommy and some of DC’s favorite comedians and musicians — including Joe Clair, Mike Washington, Sirius Company featuring Sugar Bear, and Black Alley at the Capital Turnaround (770 M Street SE).

Thankful Feast at Lafayette-Pointer Rec Center

On Tuesday, November 21 from 5pm-7pm DPR will host a Thankful Feast at Lafayette-Pointer Rec Center (5900 33rd St NW). It will be a Thanksgiving Buffet Style Dinner open to all!

8th Annual Crestwood Turkey Trot 

On Thursday, November 23 starting at 9am the Crestwood Citizens Association will host its 8th Annual Crestwood Turkey Trot starting from the Point (18th & Shepherd NW). The event will feature a 5k fun run and a 1-mile family walk/run with strollers and wagons welcome. To participate, you need to register online in advance since there will be no on-site registration.

14th Annual CEASE FIRE Sit-Down Thanksgiving Day Dinner

On Thursday, November 23 from 3pm-7pm CEASE FIRE… Don’t Smoke the Brothers & Sisters will host their 14th Annual Free Sit-Down Thanksgiving Day Dinner at 4708 14th St NW in conjunction with Universal Madness. Everyone is welcome, and Chef Moe of Highlands Café & Grill will be preparing a scrumptious meal — as always. Check out the flyer for more details.

Last Petworth and Uptown Farmers Market

This Saturday will be the final Petworth and Uptown Farmers Markets for the season!    

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

Ward 4 in the News

DCist: Proposed Law Aims To Prevent Slumlords From Renting Out More Apartments

Petworth News: Grant Circle Gets Another Safety Redesign Proposal (for 2025)

WMATA: Metro Advises Riders of Weekend Track Work on Five of Six Lines

Next Stop… Riggs Park: Traffic Pattern Change at Intersection of New Hampshire Ave & South Dakota Ave & McDonald Place NE as part of Metropolitan Branch Trail Work

AFRO News: SNAP Benefits to Expand in 2024, Alleviating Struggles of DC Residents

Washington Blade: New DC Bill Would Fund Local News Outlets

Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education: Fill Out This Survey on DC School Policies and School Funding  

Petworth News: The Main Stage Lineup for Celebrate Petworth on November 18!

La Coop Coffee: La Coop Opens Pop-Up at Anxo on Kennedy Street to Serve Coffee and Pastries Everyday from 8am-2pm

DCist: New DC Bill Will Fund Social Work Degrees For Washingtonians

Jobs Not Guns DC: Citywide Recruitment Fair on Tuesday, November 28

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

Ward 4 Dispatch: Grant Circle Traffic Safety, Council Action, and Turkey Giveaway

A year ago, I hosted a Ward 4 Faith Breakfast where faith leaders from across our community gathered to discuss ways to work together and address issues in our community. Since that initial meeting, our faith leaders have been doing inspiring work building peace, addressing public safety, combatting food insecurity, and supporting our community. This week we gathered again for the second annual Ward 4 Faith Breakfast and had a fruitful meeting about deepening our partnerships and building on this work. Thank you to the Ward 4 Clergy Against Gun Violence for their service to our community — especially Rev. Scott Bostic and Rev. Patricia Fears for their leadership. I also want to express my gratitude to Councilmember Robert White and our DC agencies for joining the gathering, and to Peoples Congregational UCC for hosting us. Ward 4 is blessed to have dedicated faith leaders and vibrant faith communities that step up to serve their neighbors and address our city’s greatest challenges.

It’s shaping up to be a beautiful weekend, so I hope you can enjoy time outside and the great events we have coming up in Ward 4. 

Yours in Community,